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CD Feature/ bpmf: "Parousia Fallacy"

img  Tobias

In Albert Camus' „The Pest“, there's a writer who just won't get beyond the first sentence of his novel. He keeps on refining its vocabulary, adding certain bits and taking others away, constantly improving on his first draft. In the end he dies, with the final version close to perfection, but his work still only a single sentence long. For quite some time, Jason Szostek's „Parousia Fallacy“ seemed destined to meet the same fate. Initially conceived as an ambitious science fiction story, it was later transferred to the acoustic medium, split into its atoms and only later pieced together again from tiny puzzle pieces which suddenly turned out to point in the same direction. Ten years have passed between recording the first note of this album and the last and so much has happened – is Szostek's magnum opus doomed for irrelevance?

While the story of the album already makes for great Hollywood material, Szostek's biography should have producers panting for air. Everything starts in 1982, when he buys his first synthesizer, writes tunes with a friend and, out of the blue, finds one of them included on a prestigious sampler of unsigned bands. During the entire decade, Szostek will be releasing tracks and albums in various line-ups, setting up his own label and operating in a lively underground. Things will start to speed up as he meets Taylor Deupree, who back then was still miles away from the trademark emotional soundscapes his current outfit 12K has become famous for. There seems to be a genuine mutual understanding and their ongoing collaboration results in the 1993 album „Acid Technology“, recorded in a single night with Deupree and third project member Dietrich Schonemann. It documents Szostek's profound love for the maturing techno scene, while simultaneously trying out a more spacey sound with his new alter ego bpmf. Along the way, he would hook up with Fischer Spooner, who ended up being a  temporary sensation a couple of years later. Bpmf would continue to release on and off, while its figurehead retreated from his semi-professional stance towards the music biz to  hobbyism.

All of this matters, because traces of the different phases of Szostek's past are omnipresent on „Parousia Fallacy“. To some, it may sound retro, but the simple fact is that this man has never stopped using his old gear. On his homepage, there is a detailed analysis of each single track written personally by him and the enthusiasm for his synths, drum machins and inbuilt arpegiators is almost contageous. Music is a playground for him, which is also why the record has ended up being extremely airy and weightless for a concept album. The colourful symbiosis of drones, beats, snippeted vocal samples, psychedelic ambiances and irregularly looped chime cycles takes all intellectual ballast out of these sometimes wayward, leftfield and experimental tracks. Szostek is working on a naive avantgarde, he is approaching a strictly textural music from a groovy side and counterpoints straight rhythms with nonlinear theme development. While the more atmospheric side has ended up a mild version of progressive orchestral pieces („Ecce Homo“ was modelled on Strauss' „Also Sprach Zarathustra“), the ten-minute long „Trippin through the wild strawberry patch“ personifies the techno-influenced electronic headtrips of the album's core. Bpmf keeps the patterns and structures of acid alive, but he uses them as a basis to construct equally halucinatory and yet much more complex compositions of intricate minimalism.

Gone are the black humour of his archetypes and the apocalyptic feel of the psychedelic trance scene: „Parousia Fallacy“, as much as it is about the end of the world, has ended up a slightly eccentric album, but never a defeatist one. It is full of energy and creative impulses, catching the essence of a full decade of experimenting, discarding, gradually improving, failing and succeding. It has as many links leading to the past as to the future, awarding it a quality which catches it between two stools: Timelesness. Without being absolutely certain, I strongly suspect that, just like the writer from Camus' classic, this was exactly what Jason Szostek was after.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: bpmf
Homepage: bpmf at MySpace

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