Boomkat Product Review:
Mor Elian returns to her Alloy Sea project after 2020's brill "Petrichor" tape, borrowing IDM aesthetics, dub tech and new age drones to construct tweaky FM bass-music inversions. RIYL Arovane, B12, Martyn, T++.
When Elian debuted the Alloy Sea project, it was with 50 continuous minutes of flowing ambience and dub techno-indebted moods, assembled like a mixtape and released on her own Syn Syn label. 'Xoomin' is a more robust proposition, put together at the request of Paralaxe Editions' Dania Shihab and made up of eight FM-powered tracks that betray Elian's love of early IDM and glassy new age sounds.
The linking thread on 'Xoomin' is Elian's sonic palette, using frequency modulated synths - the sounds most commonly connected to Yamaha's DX-series of synthesizers - to give the record its particular sound. Combining these textures with snippets of voice, she makes music that exists in a hypnogogic state, between dancefloor and sleep zones.
Opener 'The moment' deploys Elian's vocals at an almost inaudible level, smudged into raw Grouper-esque notes underneath synth blasts. Just when you expect the track to erupt into a full-pelt 4/4 monster, Elian pulls it back. 'You stepped outside' is muddier still, sounding as moody and dreamlike as Motion Sickness of Time Travel and as rhythmically propulsive as B12's defining 'Time Tourist'. The use of FM sounds roots 'Xoomin' in 1980s electro and TV soundtrack aesthetics - we can't help but get reminded of Peter Davidson's Radiophonic Workshop run - but Elian saturates these sounds and curves them thru nu-dub ideas to separate them from their usual cultural references. So while 'On your skin' sounds relatively throwback, 'Rain fell down' drags the glassy sounds thru miles of muck, sounding closer to Vladislav Delay or T++.
'We will never' is our pick of the bunch - a mid-point between early electronic experimentation and electro punchiness, it flows around a single, distorted low-end synth tone, moving slowly thru robotic, rhythmic loops, before being suddenly disrupted by sharp FM blasts.