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Album Review

"Pure" — clean, unsullied, uncorrupted, guileless, untainted, unadulterated, sheer, absolute, abstract, the synonyms pour forth, and every one of them perfectly describes this sublime album. "Pure" is a term that wouldn't, however, describe Distant Rituals, Markus Reuter and Ian Boddy's first collaborative effort. A splendid but far more impressionistic set, it stands apart from this, the pair's second album, which is tightly thought out and executed, pure in thought and deed, so to speak.

Exploring and interweaving a series of precise musical ideas, Pure's tracks are interconnected, although each is distinct in feel and flavor. The album begins with the delicate textures and melody of "Presence," while "History" features an even lacier one, a melody like tinsel that's sent fluttering by a hefty bassline, with house-tinged synths, and a wisp of funk. "This Life" explores that latter musical style, while ambient synths wash overhead, and before the track is done, the duo have slid straight into house and jazz territory. "Glisten" does precisely that, fuller and fleshier than the preceding tracks, with a swoop of synth ebbs and flows across a delicate, tinkling, Eastern-tinged melody, a tinge that we're fully doused in on the blissful "Immersion," where bells chime out the iridescent melody, and the synths swoon around them. "Clearing," in contrast, is a glorious, ambient piece conjured up through a series of disconcerting rhythmic sounds and effects, while a gentle melody glitters overhead. The atmosphere darkens and the aura takes on a gloamier shade for "The Source," before the mood subtly shifts brighter, then darker again, until final the lovely melody breaks to the fore. "The Level," the most expansive piece on this set, is classic Boddy, a number driven by a pulsing rhythm while a bounding melody skips and dances gleefully around Reuter's popping, hopping guitar. After that, the pair need to pause and "Breathe" across a starkly beautiful, crystalline piece. And then the duo dive straight back in on "Fragments," a bright, brash, bubbly number that indeed sounds to have been intricately constructed from a mosaic of musical bits and bobs. The title track closing the set is a wash of iridescent effervescence. This is a sensational set that beautifully interweaves synth and samples, vocoder and guitar. An album as light as a feather, as tightly woven as a Persian carpet, but for all the intricacies of its structures, it's the luminescent quality of the atmospheres that truly sate one's senses.

Customer Reviews

Good stuff

Contemplative, evocative, confident enough to be restrained, and at times beautiful, these offerings go beyond standard ambient fare (in the musical sense). Stronger first half than second, but worthwhile overall. Best: Presence, History.


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
Pure, Ian Boddy
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