M Geddes Gengras
Known for his recent collaborative record with Sun Araw and The Congos, not to mention as a member of Robedoor, Pocahaunted and a host of other bands, M. Geddes Gengras steps out on his own for a proper full-length, operating under his god-given name. Here Gengras lets loose with two LP sides of sprawling synthscapes. Test Leads calls to mind Klaus Schulze’s Dune album or perhaps the Dune soundtrack scored by Toto and Brian Eno, but will also appeal to fans of Conrad Schnitzler and Manuel Gottsching, as well as Robert Hampson (Loop, Main), Bill Laswell, Roger Eno and Nurse With Wound. Thrown into the mix is some Sky Records / Wolfgang Riechmann-style (cold) poppiness. In a contemporary setting, Gengras could share a bill with anyone from the modern indie / pop / weirdo / drone scenes and fit right in. His suites range from odd pinball-esque plinking to cold, dystopian soundscapes, touching on all points between; Test Leads would sound good alongside releases on Mordant Music, Touch Music or Innovative Communication. These tracks could easily score the original Tron, The Black Hole or just about any episode of Nova.
The latest double LP from Los Angeles synthesis figurehead M. Geddes Gengras consolidates his entire arsenal of techniques and compositional tricks into a four-sided opus of immersive sound worship. Recorded and assembled across six years and far-flung geographies (California, Connecticut, The Netherlands), "Interior Architecture" was imagined as an "impossible object," simultaneously stark and lush, sprawling and concise, analog and digital. Gengras' array of processing modules allow for a near-infinite complexity of texture and movement: tones rise and morph and recede, inscrutable chords float in space, elements integrate and then refuse resolution. Long-time associate Seth Kasselman guests on clarinet throughout Side C but otherwise "Architecture" is, as per usual, a solitary affair – the rogue alchemist alone at his mainframe, the laboratory thick with smoke. His is an ambiguous and experiential form of tactile psychedelia, electronic rorschach tests for the 21st century. Gengras' own assessment is suitably consuming: "At its best it should feel like sinking into really warm quicksand or dying of hypothermia."