Space, the final frontier? These days, these covid days, these withdrawing from the world because the world is shutting itself off days, it may be that space is the only frontier. At least the one whose environs offer possibility and restriction as one and the same, so that we can be “open” to whatever and whomever we want, or want to be.
The open spaces of Subsequent, by Boodaman (aka Geneva-based Stephane Caviglioli), are not vistas over lakes, snow-capped mountains or even, really, wide and long roads. Travel is possible, and in songs such as the title track there is a momentum that propels you beyond, but that’s not the point.
In their analogue electronica settings mostly void of intrinsically “warm” instruments, these spaces are in one very real sense internal, like closing your eyes, looking in and finding an expanding universe of doors opening to other doors without end. Let yourself go in fact and you find yourself not so much floating in space as diving, sometimes accelerating.
Scary? Yes, at times, as it is whenever something feels open-ended both before you and behind you – ask anyone who’s sat with a psychologist who says, so tell me what’s worrying you. (To that point, I would not recommend first playing the album randomly lest you land on Twins From Lima, which actually is the closing track and a kind of drifting away on a thin line of connection that makes sense really only after experiencing the previous 43 minutes.)
In Green Disharmony, for example, we’re situated in a spare, echoey environment, untethered and without an obvious direction or starting point, and that will throw some people. It’s also possible the flow of Complexity, this time a definite movement but its rhythm is set for infinite journey not destination, could suggest a kind of lost in space mood.
But what Cavglioli manages is to make that space textured and never settled, provoking response – the space is endless but it isn’t faceless. In Arpon, a looming drone underlay and subtly escalating synth repetition, combined with some rare vocals (both male, grounded, and female, exploratory) ripples around you. Pulse54 grabs onto something solid very early, weighing itself down enough to suggest wading through thick and resistant form. And the ancien (video arcade) regime of Data Load 303 is all reflective surfaces, over bright but under focused lighting and the faint tang of stale cola.
So, yes, Subsequent is an internal experience, and by its nature a solitary one. But you’re never really without company. Ladies and gentlemen, we are floating in space, and it’s ok.