Collective by Gnome & Spybey

Gnome & Spybey | Collective
Ant-Zen (DL)

This is a compilation of tracks by Tony D’Oporto (Gnome) and Mark Spybey from 2009-2014 working as a duo under the moniker Gnome & Spybey. It has some in common with the moody, wavy synths of Moby’s very contemporary ambient atmospheres, as well as his Voodoo Child alter-ego. The opener, Achim is delicate and irascible, not too light, not too weighty. It simply flows like the tide washing to sea.

These selections were carefully culled from six albums, and hearing most of this material for the first time makes me feel as though I’m catching up long after these surfaced. There’s a great sense of luminosity here, and the blend of instrumentation (horns, percussion, synths) is like one of those umami flavors that arises from a soup that has been reducing all day long, something that comes from time, experience and patience.

Though there are whispers and broken voice samples disparately scattered, tracks like dreamed of being a river rise out of the ashes of an otherwise vacant room, like particles of dust floating at moderated speed, captured by the lens of a flashlight. This flows with the steely essence of mercury, an element of such dangerous beauty. This has synthesized curvatures that take you back to the progressive scene in 70’s German electronic music (Can, Neu, Tangerine Dream), especially induced on in the colour of the red bull. The piece meanders into spacelec moodily within a certain scope with only modest highs and lows and lots of squishy melody, like staring into a lava lamp that changes color every so often.

A certain elegance wraps ’round the entire album, like an invisible forcefield. Stunning icy elements can lead to rumbling effects and assorted microsounds. And mesmerizing psychedelic organs interspersed by looped reversal makes for an uncertain sway to the mysteries still coming. Solemn piano playing offers gentle harmonies only to be abstracted by bits and pieces of effects and shaded voices. By the end of the record (communiqué #7 and communiqué #4) the record takes a turn for something more narrative and collage-like. By the bridge of the latter it would seem as though gates may be opening or closing, perhaps both, saving a warm tension-filled conundrum for the very end, dangling as a cliffhanger rather than a synopsis.

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