Sulatron /Deep Distance
“It was an evening in summer upon the placid temperate planet Mars. Up and down green wine canals, boats as delicate as bronze flowers drifted. In the long and endless dwellings that curved like tranquil snakes across the hills, lovers lay idly whispering in cool night beds” – Ray Bradbury, The Silver Locusts
For some reason as I listened to the new electronic work by Sula Bassana, quotes from The Martian Chronicles kept popping into my mind. Organ Accumulator has that feeling of transporting you to another world which is both alien, beautiful and familiar.“Lichtbundel” begins the album with a haunting unearthly feel to it. Its floating organ is reminiscent of Klaus Schulze’s Irrlicht album of the early seventies (apparently this was recorded almost entirely on a Casiotone 403). When the sequencing kicks in, a melody begins to drift over the top and sounds like gazing at those ancient Martian buildings from afar, lost within the red deserts only a glistening spire can be seen. Bass notes rumble and synths drift cosmically over the swaying rhythm. This all becomes trance-inducing as the music folds around you and becomes your total world view, suddenly you are lost to the cosmos. “Morgentau” has a slightly metallic rhythm to it and slips more into a Kraftwerk mode; that is until the lush chords lift the piece into something quite sublime, the sound of machines discussing the universe with each other. The track is graceful and drifts in to the nothingness of deep space. “The Frogs” has a darker hue to it with unsettling synth sounds being propelled forward over an almost dance beat, a Fender Rhodes-sounding electric piano letting chords hang under a high-pitched lead that appears every now and then to convey a sense of unease.
The title track starts with spiralling spacey synths sound, giving it a very Berlin School cosmic feel. When the drum machine hits in and the punchy chords start playing we begin to hit more in to Neu! territory as the track becomes a soundtrack to the motion of space travel. Electric guitar kicks in and it suddenly starts to become quite Hawkwind-sounding with its repetitive rhythm. The bass has that wonderful early seventies warm feel to it as we gather speed on our trajectory. “Grashamster” is lush with Farfisa Syntorchestra as it picks up a darker beat than the proceeding track. When it hits its middle section it reminds me of Exit-era Tangerine Dream in the way it builds its soundscape. It has feeling of a techno society of the future as seen through the haze of modernity of 1981.A note bass synth introduces “Nebelschwaden” and soon a sequencer joins in with tumbling notes over the top. This also hints at seventies Tangerine Dream without ever making it obvious. It is the sound of music from the domed houses of Mars as the early evening desert mist begins to form outside and inhabitants listen to their books as the two moons rise. At times there is a hint of Michael Hoenig’s Departure From Northern Lands in its feel and when the chords rise and fall it touches into Vangelis territory, but its sense of otherworldliness reminds me of Adelbert von Dreyen’s Nordborg album from 1979. As a closing track for the album it is beautiful and lilting in its majestic, slow-moving rhythm.
The CD version of the album comes with a bonus mini-album called Disappear that was one side of a split LP with 3AM. Guitars and drums are more evident on these three tracks with its ten-minute title track being the highlight of the three pieces. The Deep Distance vinyl version of the album is a sight of wondrous beauty to behold on swirling coloured vinyl that looks fantastic and sounds wonderful. So far this is my album of the year, snap it up while you can.