20 November 2012

Bee Mask

Chris Madak, aka Bee Mask, was responsible for one of last year's best electronic albums, the wonderfully varied affair that was "Canzoni Dal Laboratorio Del Silenzio Cosmico". Madak mixes analogue and digital sounds to stunning effect in a way that clearly sets him apart from much of the neo-kosmische scene, and puts him somewhere between that genre and noisy electroacoustic sound experiments. Last year also saw the release of his retrospective double-LP "Elegy For Beach Friday".

The last couple of months have seen him return with not one but two new albums, albeit quite short ones as far as playing time goes. But what they lack in that department they make up for in quality and scope of vision.

The latest one, released on digital this week, is his return to John Elliot's Spectrum Spools. "When We Were Eating Unripe Pears" feels like the follow up proper to "Canzoni". It has that same ability to drift seamlessly from almost pure noise to blissful kosmische without any apparent effort. The sound world Madak paints is captivating. There is a nostalgic streak to the proceedings, but never merely for the sake of it. But I also find it hard to imagine a more contemporary sounding record. It's this duality that make it such an interesting and compelling listen. A worthy follow up to "Canzoni", indeed.

Last month Bee Mask also released an LP on the label Room40 called "Vaporware/Scanops". It contains two sidelong tracks of roughly fifteen minutes each. This is a more toned down album than "Unripe Pears" and the kosmische leanings are much more apparent here. The general feel is not far removed from what Klaus Schulze managed to achieve in his heyday with albums such as "Timewind" and "Moondawn". Instead of quickly switching between different moods, that Madak does so well on "Canzoni" and "Unripe Pears", here he let's the sequences slowly develop over the whole tracks, and it makes for a thoroughly entrancing listen. Maybe not the most groundbreaking of his work, but an essential entry in his oeuvre never the less. Together with "Unripe Pears" this has convinced me that Bee Mask surely is one of the most interesting acts of the current synthwave/neo-kosmische/experimental electronic scene. Bee Mask manages to combine well crafted composition and cutting edge sound design in a way few manages to match.

Read full review of Vaporware / Scanops - Bee Mask on Boomkat.com ©

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