Aleksi Perälä – CYCLES 2 月
Aleksi Perälä is the definition of a stalwart. The Finnish producer has been programming tunes to move your body to since the late 90’s. But his most distinct quality is his ability to evolve his sound with the times; he’s always created left-field EBM that walks the tightrope between techno and IDM, but it’s how he’s fine tuned his approach to creating that’s afforded him an enviable longevity. In recent years, he’s experienced somewhat of a renaissance that can be attributed to the new age mysticism of the Colundi sequence, bequeathed to him by Rephlex’s Grant Wilson-Claridge during his time with the label. In a nutshell, Colundi is a sequence of 128 sound frequencies designed to appeal to the bio frequencies of the human body. It’s believed that the frequencies in the Colundi sequence have the power to literally heal the mind, body and soul and believers in its power attribute it to an intersection of philosophy, science and spirituality that dates as far back to the time of Mesopotamia. For Perälä, the power of Colundi is so palpable that he’s gone as far as to suggest that he no longer makes music, but rather allows the music to be written by the sequence. It’s likely why he’s amassed a gargantuan body of work in such a short span of time, something over 35 albums since 2014, all with tracks titled in some sort of extraterrestrial binary code or through the power of numerology.
While much of the theory behind Colundi has been met with a fair share of skepticism like some sort of sonic snake oil, his embrace of the sequence has led Perälä to increasingly more interesting places. 2019’s Resonance for example, broke away from his usual ambient doused IDM output by plunging headfirst into earth shattering techno. But for every Resonance there is a Kinetic Theory, a less propulsive and more spacey exploration into the mythology of his adopted tuning system. It may be unsurprising then that his self-released Cycles series exists post-Resonance on the latter end of this spectrum. The series is an extended exploration of the Colundi sequence by way of electronic chime chords and synthesised shamisen strings. Cycles 1, released late last year, feels immediately heavier compared to the cosmos of its new second act. While that album found itself with the qualities of earth both deep and crystalline, Cycles 2 is far more buoyant and airy in tone.
Both albums are really more theoretical study than music made for a dancefloor. Like his The Colundi Sequence series, Cycles 2 and its predecessor is a collection of music in reverence of Colundi, a total surrender to the power that Perälä believes it wields. As its title suggests, Perälä is enamoured with the cyclical potential of Colundi here. It’s an exploration into one of the many facets that he has unlocked in his artistry by way of Colundi, an iteration of the sequence that investigates its potential in loops and repetition and may be designed to bring about some sort of cosmic revelation, or at the very least a discernible mood shift. Most of the music repeats a single phrase, played on chimes or twinkling synths, and then later revisits and re-explores the possibilities of how the phrase has been sequenced. The music takes its cue from Balearic and Tribal patterns, but exists largely as ambient or barebones minimal. From start to finish, it’s actually a deeply engaging experience. There’s a celestial sense of calmness that comes from allowing yourself to be immersed into Perälä’s galaxy of chimes and shimmering ambient tones. On FI3AC2261040, a repeated chime motif simply hangs against glowing and ebbing washes of sound that feel impossibly light and effervescent, and when the unexpected motif of a loggy tabla arrives every now and again on tracks like FI3AC2261020 and FI3AC2261100, the kinetic joy of these sounds bouncing off each other in space is impossible not to delight in. FI3AC2261050 is perhaps the most propulsive of the lot, synthesising the motifs explored across the album into a singular opus.
Whether you buy into the Colundi cult or dismiss it as music’s answer to homeopathy, it’s impossible to deny that it holds some magic over Perälä. The result is the emergence of a manically multifaceted artist, one who has the power to blow the roof off Berghain in the same breath that he may summon Gaia. Maybe that’s the power of Colundi; to unlock the multitude of possibilities there are for us to create and explore sound. As the leader of this movement, we can expect Perälä’s discography to grow not only in size but diversity. Yes, these long winded deep dives into the healing power of music are a touch self-indulgent but if it has the power to take us from the dance floor to the yoga studio, we’re here for it.
Listen to FI3AC2261050 from Cycles 2 below.
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