Multicast Dynamics: Outer Envelopes
Denovali Records

Netherlands electronic artist Samuel van Dijk brings his four-part Multicast Dynamics album series to a close with Outer Envelopes. In certain respects, it replicates the approach of 2015's Scandinavia in concluding the album with a VC-118A “reshape,” VC-118A being one of the producer's other aliases. But whereas the third album's sound suggested some degree of kinship with an ambient-focused Pole, the fourth one presents soundscapes that are often more industrial- and electronica-styled in tone. One might still be reminded of Pole as the forty-seven-minute recording unfolds but also perhaps artists such as Pan Sonic and Bola.

Working with analogue and digital technologies (noise generators and home-made modular synthesizers among the gear deployed), van Dijk creates multi-dimensional settings that alternate between alien ambient evocations (“Modular”) and pulsation-heavy set-pieces (“Merge”). Animated by an insistent shuffling rhythm and teeming with ethereal atmospheric detail, “Sonar” sounds like the best cut Bola never released; “Kabina” by comparison conjures the image of a mysterious, depopulated planet whose lonely transmissions have managed to reach us despite originating from an immeasurably far distance away. Such mysteriousness isn't exclusive to “Kabina” either: “Interior 1967” and “Atra II” paint pictures that are just as haunting, even if their abstract design prevents the listener from forming a totally clear impression of their content. If some of the nine tracks seem to plunge into deep space, others evoke microscopic biological realms filled with the amplified chatter of amoebic organisms.

In the penultimate position, “Outer Envelopes” re-establishes the preceding chapter's Pole connection in presenting a woozy, dubbed-out swirl of pulses and whooshes, after which the aforementioned VC-118A “reshape” intensifies the material's rhythmic thrust until it becomes dizzying dub-techno. Outer Envelopes certainly holds up well enough as a stand-alone, but much like another recent Denovali release, Ricardo Donoso's multi-part Symmetry, van Dijk's Multicast Dynamics recordings might best be experienced as a complete four-chapter work in order to reap the maximum listening benefit from the project.

April 2016