Tuesday, 23 July 2013

IONS IN THE ETHER - EP REVIEW

Ions In The Ether - When We Were EP 
Ions In The Ether - When We Were

Now, I'm mainly a guitars and drums kinda guy but every now and again I like to go back to my electronic roots. You see, growing up in rural Devon in the 1980s my main points of reference where my older siblings who were obsessed, in turn, with Peter Gabriel, Jean Michel Jarre (that was my brother) and the Eurythmics (that was my sister). I was a good 9 years younger but desperate to join in so I decided to make the Pet Shop Boys my own. We've all moved on but every now and again at Christmas these early obsessions creep out in the most glorious ways. Ions In The Ether is (for it is just one man, one man from Norwich) exactly what I love from my electronic beats; fun, bouncy, catchy and great beats/bass combos. Opening up with the hugely Jarre influenced 'Daydreamer', Ions In the Ether scatter about like an overactive screensaver but always holding your attention long enough to keep you enthralled - essentially, this is the music humming birds would make if they stop flapping their sodding wings long enough to learn how to use Protools. '1988', apart from being a classic year (Junior School was ace for me), is also an absurdly bouncy number that I'm sure Will.I.Am would love to rap uselessly all over but, refreshingly, all of Ions In the Ether's stuff is entirely instrumental. In many ways, this is reminiscent of the glorious music you used to hear under the credits of a computer game that, after months of trying and permanent damage to your wrists/eyes/thumbs,  you have finally completed.

As we move up to the half way point of this EP, we are greeted with 'Six Weeks' which is a much mellower, electric dawn of a tune. If Tokyo ever went to sleep, this would be the soundtrack to the sun rising with heavily processed keys and synthetic insects giving way to a simple but effective trance-ish melody and slow but insistent beat. There is a moment where this tune goes to a place that I'm a little cautious of but that's not a bad thing (that place being a basement where DJ Otzi and Napoleon Dynamite are collaborating with Gary Numan to come up with the perfect music for a kid's TV show based in a Japanese amusement arcade - listen to the tune, that will make perfect sense....I hope). Final track, 'Young(er)', takes the kid's TV music to another level but also manages to create the closest thing I've heard to an electro-lullaby. There are moments throughout this EP when, if you stand back from the funny noises and bouncy melodies, you can't help but marvel at the complexity of the music and its almost classical structures and movements. It will come as no surprise these days to hear that Ions In The Ether is just a side project, a play thing if you will, and that's probably what's kept this music so light but I want more. Just plug it in to my veins!

More information: https://www.facebook.com/ionsintheether

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