Crisopa: Biodance

One challenge constantly facing electronic music producers involves matching the visceral passion that the guitarist and pianist are able to express with such immediacy though their instruments. Madrid-based Santiago Lizón does a pretty good job of bringing similar levels of vitality and energy to the material on his Crisopa debut album, in part because he includes guitar, drums, and vocals as part of his instrumental arsenal. It could all be mere sleight of hand, of course—the drum beats galloping through “Es Todo Mental” and “Ruled by Strange New Laws” might just as likely be programmed as played live, given the level of sophistication routinely displayed by today's electronic producers—but it's nonetheless a convincing result, no matter the production means deployed.

A liner note declares that Biodance “is a system of self-development that uses music, movement, and positive feelings to deepen self-awareness,” but one can ignore that statement for something more direct: Biodance is, put simply, a widescreen, fifty-seven-minute amalgam of post-rock, shoegaze, trance, and IDM that's heavy on melody and densely layered arrangements and thus thoroughly embodies n5MD's “emotional experiments in music” credo. Anything but anemic, the album's material feels at times as if it's bursting with energy, such that “Gaviot” and “Biodance With Me,” for instance, might open in ambient mode but quickly escalate to the level of pulsating roar. It's at such moments that Lizón's Crisopa project, born in 2005, is at its most impassioned and powerful. The album's rounded out by two remixes, the one by Adapt of “Last Membrane” ear-catching in the fragmented vocal treatments that are draped across its dreampop flow and the other by Kit De Crein of “North Left” also a shimmering dreampop exercise though this one less vocal-dominated. At times melancholy (“White Vacuum”) and elsewhere exuberant (“Ruled by Strange New Laws”), Crisopa's Biodance repeatedly collapses borders, both geographical and musical.

May 2012