Multicast Dynamics: Aquatic System
Denovali Records

Multicast Dynamics: Scape
Denovali Records

A name such as Multicast Dynamics might give the impression of being one perfectly suited for a metal band, but Samuel van Dijk's project is about as far removed from that genre as could be imagined. Hailing from the Netherlands and currently ensconced in Tampere, van Dijk, an electronic sound designer who previously issued material under the Mohlao and VC-118A guises, creates texturally detailed soundscapes, seventeen examples of which are featured on Scape and Aquatic System, the opening parts in a projected four-part series.

One could be forgiven for thinking of Thomas Koner when glacial winds and rumblings inaugurate Scape, and truth be told van Dijk's material shares with Koner's fundamental ties to landscape and nature. By way of difference, Multicast Dynamics operates at a more microscopic level, with van Dijk's sound design evoking the incessant activity taking place at the cellular level. Using analogue synthesizer textures, field recordings, and lo-fi outboard effects, he conjures a micro-universe that's abstract for being invisible to the eye yet one charged with verisimilitude for the associations it engenders. The subdued percolations, crackles, hisses, and whooshes generated by van Dijk connect directly with the listener when they resonate as reverberations occurring at the sub-atomic level of all matter, the human body included.

That being said, Scape directs its focus more on the external physical realm than the inner workings of the body, the trajectory in this case moving from dry land to water and eventually interstellar space. But if on conceptual grounds the project grows more epic in scale as its forty-two minutes progress, the material itself never rises to a feverish climax; instead, van Dijk cues the dynamic level to a constant, low-level pitch—which is not to suggest that the seven pieces are static, by the way, as each is characterized by a constant flow of activity and fluctuation.

In contrast to Scape's encompassing scope, Aquatic System obviously limits its focus to water-related phenomena, and fittingly van Dijk composed the material for this second chapter by the waters in Finland and Fuerteventura. Designed to capture the element in its various forms, the material was created from synthesizers and processed field recordings of ponds, streams, lakes, and oceans, resulting in an hour-long travelogue that extends from icy streams to deeper waters where traces of marine life can be heard.

The early part of the recording evokes frozen water surfaces in those moments when reverb-heavy synth timbres shimmer insistently. But with presumed seasonal change bringing about the melting process, the relative stillness of the opening tracks gives way to greater levels of activity, the implication being that new creatures are emerging with the onset of spring. Pulsations and clicks suggest the excited communications of underwater organisms, sounds that gradually expand in variety as the recording advances. The bass pulses that throb near the album's mid-point hint that whales might be near, while swirls and high-pitched noises imply the presence of smaller aquatic forms within the same general area.

It would be reasonable to assume that the final parts in the series will act as a complementary pair to the first two, especially when Scape and Aquatic System, despite the fact that they focus on different though not unrelated phenomena, form such a natural twosome. As immersive as they are, the fullest experience of the project will only become available when the listener has the opportunity to absorb all of the parts together.

June 2015