Boomkat Product Review:
Veteran Dutch sound artist and composer Michel Banabila celebrates four decades of releases with this latest set of fourth world atmospheres, ferric ambience and warped electro-acoustic manipulation. RIYL Andrew Pekler, Machinefabriek or Visible Cloaks.
On "Echo Transformations", Banabila conceptualizes a virtual space and skates around ideas with freeform glee. He's been working as a composer for theater and TV for many years, and has an impressive catalogue of solo albums, as well as collaborations with Scanner and Machinefabriek - this album feels like an opportunity for him to flex his inter-dimensional muscle. The loose framework is hinged around the fourth world stylings of Jon Hassell, but Banabila has more in mind than reverberated marimba (although there's plenty of that, too).
The album's striking centerpiece is levitational long-form zoner 'The Three Stage Of Endurance', that allows cybernetic syllables to sing out over loose environmental recordings and distant tape loops. There's a breath of Oneohtrix Point Never's early material in there behind the future-ancient glow, but Banabila's music is deeper, submerged in layers of psychedelic waveform wobble and stuttering a-rhythmic percussion. 'Zoosemiotics' is a particular zoner, and plays rubbery wind tones through mouthy electrical processes, letting an inebriated electronic rhythm and dank vibraphone hits create a Badalamenti-esque backdrop.
At its best, "Echo Transformations" sounds like a spectral companion to Andrew Pekler's "Sounds From Phantom Islands" or Visible Cloaks' "Reassemblage". There's a sense that Banabila, having cut his teeth writing narrative music for other peoples' visual worlds, has far more fun imagining his own.