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Cerebral. Melancholic. Subtle. Dirty words these days, in a fast paced world, where easy to digest, simple music tends to dominate our airways and screens. All these words are suitable descriptions for Kiwi multi-instrumentalist and producer Module‘s latest effort, Imagineering, along with many other superlatives. Suitably, imaginative, given the title also fits snugly. It’s an album that harks back to the days of early pastoralists and neo classical composers like Vangelis, Jean Michel Jarre and Brian Eno, particularly his seminal works Another Green World and Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks, transposing their sense of what the future might sound like, into the actual future, being now. Obviously its processed through the prism of of modern production values, technology and styles, but it has a foot in both worlds. Future retro. Sci-Fi Roots.
Starting out in 2003 Module (Jeramiah Ross) released a couple of strong singles, before his career received a significant boost when he teamed up fellow kiwi classical electronica genius (I don’t use that term lightly-look up some of his tunes) Rhian Sheehan, touring with the likeminded producer throughout Australia and NZ, as part of his live show. He signed up with seminal NZ label LOOP, and audaciously released a debut DOUBLE album Remarkable Engines, which included a bonus disk entitled Movement (Piano Works). It was somewhat of a landmark recording, placing him in the top echelon of NZ electronica artists, although it didn’t set any sales records. He followed that up with a self released album Dreams for the sleepless, a single song, yet 73 minute album, which dug deeper into his now signature ambientclassicalelectronica style. That same year (2006) he teamed up with kiwi supergroup Fly My Pretties, performing some of his own compositions. His last album proper, pattern.dot.life, was another high concept type of deal, with free remix packages available for people to do with what they will. After various side projects including video game soundtrack work, we come to his latest work.
He describes it thusly;
A collection of ultra detailed instrumental sonic photographs taken over a 6 year period. A Journey out across wide stereo panoramic soundwaves on a musical boat through his Imagination. Each track another world, a concept and story. Engineered to perfection to take you away to another time and place. “These songs are soundtracks to strong visual concepts that play out in my mind in crystal clear high definition”
Which, for my money, pretty much covers it. He takes us on a moody, yet gorgeous, melancholic, yet sunny, ambient, yet beaty trip through epic worlds of sounds, immaculately imagined, and produced. With a quality set of headphones (thanks Audio-Technica! *Plug*), you can let your mind drift, and take in stunning vistas. This album deserves an accompanying silent film of imagery like Baraka or koyaanisqatsi, only more scifi, sailing through swaying purple pastures, busy spaceports with space ships flying past, and other such distant worlds. His time with Rhian really shows, the two of them obviously exerted a big influence on each other, for the betterment of both. It really reminds me of Sheehan’s classic album Paradigm Shift, with it’s epic tunes ‘Waiting‘ and ‘An Afternoon On The Moon,’ which had a massive influence on me in my formative years, although I always visualised navigating through the dark depths in a steampunk submarine, rather than this album’s lightspeed spacecraft. Might just be me though, and too much of that sweet, sweet sensimilia! It also brings to mind the kickarse neo classical tune ‘Cloud City’ off of Hermitude‘s recent album, HyperParadise. Great minds.
To pull out individual tracks does a disservice to the album as a whole, to use a DJ cliche, it’s all about the journey. Try it on for yourself, and see if you can pick one for yourself. See, it’s too hard. This is an album that requires an open mind, but what rewards. I’d also recommend some top notch speakers or headphones, maybe a bit of spliff, a comfy rug or sofa, and closed eyes. This is a work of high art, in more ways than one, hell, even the track names are amazing! I really appreciate what he’s set out to achieve, and I reckon he’s cracked it. It’s an engaging thought piece if ever there was one, and well worth a look, I can’t speak highly enough of it. It may not be entirely original, given the lineage, but it sits well within that framework. Much respect. Visionary.
Here’s hoping that film gets made! In the meanwhile, just use your imagination.
Buy it here.
His previous works…