Sueda by Yves De Mey

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Yves De Mey | Sueda
Line (DL)

It’s nice to see Yves De Mey returning to the LINE imprint.  His previous work with the label, Lichtung, was a single long form piece that was the original score for a dance solo.  This new album finds the Belgian artist exploring the robust sound world of FM and Modal synthesis. Over the last ten years, De Mey’s approach to sound has been influenced by his dive into modular synths, patching and creating various hardware systems.  This is evident on “Suenda”, the eight tracks all sharing an overall sonic identity that lends cohesion to the collection of pieces, with some surprises along the way.

The album begins with the title track, rumbling and groaning into life with slow shudders and modal plucks.  It’s a sluggish track, taking its time to wake before forming into a gauzy stretch of elongated tones, and the perfect way to introduce the LP. 

©Wanda Detemmerman

All the tracks here are highly experimental works that represent De Mey’s adventures in pure synthesis.  The usual glassy, crystalline tones of FM synthesis have been smudged and abstracted into less familiar ones.  “At Long Last” adds a little rhythmic quality to proceedings, albeit more implied than upfront.  Sudden bass bombs interrupt the soundscape, like depth charges splashing into an ocean of audio.

Clangor” abruptly changes the tone of the album, which until this point has been darker washes of electronics.  On this track, high frequencies burst through and brighten De Mey’s sound world, and skittering beats cling and clang.  I love the modal qualities on this track, sweeping through different frequency ranges, filters combing through different shades.  This is the most playful track here, recalling the generative FM melodies of recent Autechre. “Meshes” returns us back to the drifting ambience, with a buzzing drone that pans throughout the stereo field like a search light in the dark.  The title of this track seems to gel perfectly with the album art, crisscrossed lines like colourful threads. 

Manifold” again brings some light to the sound pallet, with trebly blasts too brittle to be called beats, but that create the illusion of rhythm nonetheless.  There are weird, melodic parts here too, and once these join the blast-beats, an escalation occurs where the whole track threatens to implode into itself.  Thrilling stuff!

The album ends with “Word Touch Gone”, maybe the most minimal of this suite of tracks.  Thin sine waves quiver and float above harder bell-like tones that simply ebb back into silence.  This album is presented with zero conceptual baggage or narrative, no historical background to explain the process.  Simply the result of De Mey’s fascination with synthesis, it’s shared with the listener to be enjoyed purely on the merits of the sounds as-are.

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