A three-part suite of long-form techno-industrial pieces inspired by Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time series? Yes, please. On Madoc, Disparition (aka Jon Bernstein) uses the repetitive structures of minimalism and the driving beats of techno/trance music to wrap the listener in a heavy density of sound. Which would be pretty good in and of itself, but instead of stopping there, Bernstein sets your head spinning with his hypno-spirals, then laces in some surprising turns. For example, there’s an acoustic guitar, with a delicious Spanish flair, that pops up after a steady storm of drone in “Charles Wallace.” In the 40-minute epic “Echthroi,” a rush of piano sparkles in the flow for a few minutes, a hustling minimalism that sounds like what would happen if Phillip Glass felt it was time for a little jazz-flecked house music. The title track begins and ends with ambient structures that are comparatively calm–though still edgy, particularly at the end. They roll on, hushed and floating and whispering their way to the finish. Throughout, Madoc is driven along by a thick, techno-style beat that, it seems to my ears, doesn’t change tempo that much, if at all. And this is a good thing. It comes and goes, sometimes altering its identity slightly in terms of what it sounds like, but the pace of it remains steady. When it drops or fades out you continue to feel its influence for a bit, and when it resurfaces, it’s like picking up where you left off. This really comes across in “Echthroi,” where Bernstein has plenty of time to shift and re-shift, to pull us in and out of mutations of the concept. However he morphs the general structure, from those raspy drones to bass-drum-loaded pulses to one great stretch that speeds along on vibraphone-like chimes, the beat comes back as the constant. It’s this, combined with the come-and-go from acoustic elements as identifiable anchors in the swirl of drone, that has allowed Madoc to absolutely hypnotize me on quite a few repeat listens. I keep coming back to it because I’m sure that the inevitable mental haze it induces, I’m probably missing something–and I want to hear it all. You will, too.
Available from the Disparition web site.