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Album Review

Ian Boddy, founder of the DiN label, celebrates his company's 25th release with his own Elemental album. It's a fitting record for this honor, and not only reinforces the high caliber of DiN itself, but Boddy and his label's adventurous spirit. Elemental takes the artist in a dramatically different direction than his last two sets as he moves away from spacy atmospheres to create a far more organic sound. The sequencing of the tracks enhances this feel, and the set's wholeness is heightened by the songs cross-fading into each other without a single break to disturb the momentum and mood. Which isn't to suggest that Elemental is cut from a single cloth, far from it. The set is bookended by two cathedral-esque numbers that effortlessly link beginning and ending, like the snake swallowing its tail, but "Never Forever"'s swelling majesty is far removed from the much more delicate, introspective title track. It takes some inspiration to shift "Never" into "Stormfront," via subtle organ, splashing waves, birds and frogs, subtly moving into the dramatic swirl of dark musical clouds that are the leading edge of the storm. The barometer drops, the wind picks up, raindrops begin to fall, and finally the storm bursts forth. It soon blows away, however, as "If All the World Was Blue" begins, leaving behind dripping leaves, a brightening sky, and a watery world, a calm after "Stormfront"'s deluge. Both these numbers utilize very subtle industrial effects, which break out on "Foundry," the ebb and flow of the water supplely shifting into rhythmic factory beats. But even in this most man-made of settings, Boddy conjures up organic atmospheres with the prominent bassline perhaps echoing the beating hearts and pumping blood of the foundry's human workers. For all the din and noise around them, the inner calm and routine of just another working day is always evident, as Boddy reveals the living soul at the heart of the machine. "Reflex" shifts from driving rhythms to decidedly juttery ones, as "Foundry"'s strong melody gives way to layers of rhythm, delicate streams of industrial effects and waves of ethereal atmospheres. Combined, these two songs — the album's showcases — clock in at over 18 minutes, allowing Boddy to delve into the joys of rhythm. "Flux" floats gently in a netherworld, eventually giving way to "All Roads Lead to Home," another strongly rhythmic piece, but now twinned to a sparkling melody, a slightly yearning atmosphere yet with a brightness that dreams like Dorothy of where one's heart truly lies. There's a touch of the choir floating overhead, which will come to the fore with "&Elemental," which eventually takes this sublime musical journey back to where it started. A phenomenal set.


Born: Durham, England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Ian Boddy is one of the most important and influential virtuosos in the e-music community. He has been recording electronica since 1987 and has had two major labels for his releases. He founded Something Else Records as a vanity label strictly for his own music. He released at least 15 CDs on that label and became closely associated with Ron Boots and Kees Aerts as a "friend" of Groove Unlimited. They feature his music on their website and he has performed many concerts with them, one of which was...
Full Bio
Elemental, Ian Boddy
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