Stephen J Buckley rides on modular waves. His modular synth improvisations as Polypores start out chaotic but find a center; a kinetic heart that beats messages from beyond. Just dive into albums like Chaos Blooms or Shpongos for proof of the circuital wizardry he’s capable of. The chaos reveals something far deeper than just random buzzes, bleeps, and melody exorcised from knobs and patch cords.
On his latest album(out today via Frequency Domain), Buckley takes Polypores deep into unchartered sonic territory. Two tracks covering 50 minutes of ethereal noise from some cosmic pocket, Gargantuan is an ever-evolving musical journey. While the music feels as if it’s forming right in front of your eyes(and ears), it still carries with it a sense of composition and narrative. An unruly, unpredictable journey that never seems to share where it’s taking us. Yet engrossing enough for us to not really care where we’re going.
If you’ve heard Polypores’ Chaos Blooms then you have an idea of what to expect here. But since this is Polypores, the sounds always reveal something just under the surface. “Part 1” buzzes and bends with a sense of urgency, and despite the nature of modular synths to do what they want, Buckley still pulls melody and light from the chaos. His work curating the Stefan Bachmeier records for label Spun Out Of Control shows his deft touch for melody and understanding the delicate nature of electronic works.
“Part 2” comes across like communications from another realm. Much like the cover art for this album, “Part 2” feels like a microcosm of worlds, places, beings, and even realities all coalescing together simultaneously. It is chaos, but a chaos of beginnings. The creation of something great, right before us in real time. I feel like this is the sound of a busy, kinetic mind taking apart what’s in front of it and rebuilding it into something else; something greater than what it started out as.
If you’re like me and can appreciate a dense, kinetic musical work that doesn’t reveal all its secrets on the first, second, or even fifth listen then Gargantuan is going to hit all the right spots for you. Polypores has once again blown my mind, and I’m the better for it.
8.2 out of 10
‘Gargantuan’ is out now via Frequency Domain. Buy it here.