Teleplasmiste - Frequency is the New Ecstasy

by Joseph Majsterski Rating:8 Release Date:2017-03-31

Most pop music is one-dimensional. And this isn't necessarily meant to be an insult. It's simply a fact that a pop song will take you in a straight line from A to B with no major surprises. Ambient music, on the other hand, can sometimes be a journey, but it's more about creating spaces. Whether you move through them or simply exist inside them, they're 3-D. And so it is with Teleplasmiste, who have created an enthralling set of spaces to spend some time in with their new album Frequency is the New Ecstasy.

First things first: this is definitely the kind of music best enjoyed with headphones. There are a lot of subtle things happening that won't be as apparent on speakers. Having said that, the music is extremely clever, even as it often sounds quite sparse. There are lots of layers to sift through here.

'Fall of the Yak Man', for example, puts a wheedling, twisting-in-the-wind synth out front, but fills the air with a huge, ghostly, almost terrifying moan that ebbs and flows in the background. Meanwhile, a wind chime-like melody delicately begins to assert itself and move to the forefront. The combination is hypnotic, making the track a real highlight in its way. 'Gravity is the Enemy' is equally disturbing, but with more of a dystopian, rather than supernatural, aura. Something that sounds like a bagpipe being slowly crushed, or warning alarms in the distance, sets the stage, while staticky beats drip down from the crumbling ceiling of the dank, dark passageway. It sounds like what hiding from Big Brother must feel like.

While nothing here is particularly upbeat or optimistic, there are moments that are less soul-crushing. 'Mind at Large' is well named, for it is much more meditative and introspective, and less worrisome, than most of the other tunes on offer. Big bassy pads provide cushioning below, while a steady hum guides the journey inward. About halfway through the song, a new vista opens up, with two more synths: one effervescent and the other strangely warbling like a piece of metal being quietly shaken out like a dusty rug.

One of the obvious comparisons to make with this set is to Aphex Twin's seminal Selected Ambient Works, Vol. 2. With only six tracks, there's no chance for this album to be at that level of achievement or leave such a lasting mark on the genre, but it's absolutely in the same neighborhood. If you're willing to take the time and have some patience while listening, there are vast landscapes of beauty to be found within.

Overall Rating (1)

5 out of 5 stars