Greek imprint Modal Analysis have had a pretty flawless run since their founding in 2012. They approach their records in a careful, considered manner – making sure each sounds unique whilst still maintaining a consistent aesthetic. Their latest 12″ managed to capture my attention before I’d even listened to any of the tracks, showcasing a rather intriguing collaboration between Greek experimentalist Biomass (Panos Kyveleas), and Italian improv-noise duo, R.O.M (Alessandro Quintavalle & Luca Pastore).
The so titled ’M.D.O.F’ EP (standing for ‘multiple degrees of freedom’) arguably deviates the furthest from Modal Analysis general blueprint. Despite their gritty textures previous records have felt wholly electronic – here the fact the ‘M.D.O.F’ EP is the product of several unrestricted live jams with acoustic instruments is incredibly audible. If you give the record the attention it deserves, the details and nuances hidden within unfold continuously, revealing more of themselves with each listen. There is some ambiguity between which timbres are organic and what is synthetic – Kyveleas’ buzzing drones and R.O.M’s menacing free-jazz ramblings churn together as a single entity.
Take opening track ‘MDOF#1’ for example, it’s hard to tell where each artist’s work starts and finishes across the sparse, seething soundscapes Quintavalle’s earth-rumbling bass work almost indistinguishable alongside the bed of found-sounds and warbling synthesisers. Proceedings seem to get progressively warped as the release moves forward, ‘MDOF#3’ working into a particularly gurgling climax, more unsettling than the darkest of Lynchian nightmares. ‘MDOF#4’ maintains these surreal contortions, screeching woodwind building to a headache inducing climax around the track’s midpoint, before faltering to reveal Kyveleas’ muted static percussion.
For the electronic avante-garde to fuse with the orchestral so gracefully is a rare occurrence, especially in an age where classical music meeting the electronic world usually results in some dodgy tech-house with a string track laid over the top. Biomass & R.O.M have managed to present a release which explores the relationship between these two spheres with rare grace and originality.
Words by Theo Darton-Moore.