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Magic From Space – Ioeoular

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Ioeoular by Magic From Space delivers a collection of evolving soundscapes that meld ambient and modular synth textures, drum machines and sampled percussion with guitars and elements of funk music. There is significant variety to be found among and within the album’s eleven tracks, to the extent that it is difficult to generalize the overall sound of this collection with any real accuracy. Still, the band’s website puts forth an admirable effort in this regard, describing their sound and creative process as “light and dark, loving explorations in captured modular synth sketch recordings. Evocation via dissection.. re-score.. re-scaled.. scalpel.. sculpture. Twitches and lo-instrumental..”

It is intuitive to describe this music through reference to the visual field. As a whole, the album strikes a nice balance between what seem to be captured experimentations and intentionally structured movements.

Ioeoular has unique and pleasant sound-design throughout. On opener “Ube Ceqr,” synths arpeggiate and bounce along to vintage drum sounds, there’s an underwater quality here that is only momentarily broken by a funky dub riff. “Beezykneezius” starts with a frenetic drum sequence that builds to a breaking point before dropping off into a soothing outro. In “Aerial”, the track almost feels like we’re witnessing a creative process wherein multiple ideas are jostling for position while being auditioned concurrently. This is not to say that it feels unfinished, but that many songs here fearlessly embrace experimentation and eschew conventional structures. It’s easy to imagine the band using the various sonic elements of these songs in new sequence live. Wonderful and weird sounds are sprinkled throughout: translucent lo-fi guitar notes bent and stabbed at odd angles, manic percussion that vacillates between resonant and waterlogged tones, synth squelches infinitely delayed and then pulled back into formation, reversed parts rapidly balloon into being only to disappear, and driving electric bass that deftly jumps from the background to the foreground and back again.

The band seems to revel in the natural impossibility of these sounds, there’s a playfulness in the production: individual instruments echo in rooms that rapidly expand and contract within the span of a single phrase while other sounds frantically ping-pong from left ear to right. There’s a great deal of activity and movement within these songs – for me they call to mind miniature recreations of parts of the larger world, a fish tank or model train. It has something to do with the feeling of witnessing familiar activity in an unnatural context. It’s a fun listen throughout and certainly music for activity. Magic From Space also has an impressive back catalogue of soundscapes and experimentation that shouldn’t be missed if you’re in the market for a blend of funk, jazz, and West African guitar sounds with electronic instrumentation and production techniques.

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