Irish electronic producer Johnny Delaney operates distinctly in the ambient IDM realm, composing his tracks on a homemade modular synth system. For this debut album under his alias The Fully Automatic Model on Birmingham label Tape Throb ‘Modulated Landscapes Vol. 1’, Delaney set himself the goal of creating each piece of music from start to finish within a single day, with each of the eight tracks collected here being recorded in a single live take before the modular system was stripped back, potentially never to be played the same way again.
The most immediate comparison point here is often those legendary hoarders of hulking modular equipment, Tangerine Dream – particularly the group’s post-‘Rubycon’ work and subsequent move into film soundtracks. There’s a definite post-Berlin School feel to the way that synth sequences intertwine and drift alongside one another, with ‘A New Dawn Chorus’ opening this album on a brightly optimistic note as twinkling melodic sequences interweave with moodier bass chords, dubbed out electronic squelches conjuring up images of soaring seabirds as the synths reach towards the horizon.
‘The Fully Automatic Model’ reaches out into more widescreen cinematic territory, spending its eight minutes building up vast layers of rippling synths that evoke John Carpenter’s electronic orchestration, the epic soloing synths that arc against the icy background arrangements offering up what’s easily one of this album’s most ambitious and impressive tracks.
Elsewhere, ‘The Connect’ raises the energy levels a few notches as the synth sequences accelerate into jagged flutters and jittery arpeggios against vast sheeny bass pads and phased swooshing noises as things venture closer to Pete Namlook / Orb-style territory, before ‘Long Forgotten Oxids’ closes this album with its most cold and austere moment, as glitchy crackles echo out through a sea of dubby reverb, the doomy drones that rise up and consume the entire track representing an unexpectedly menacing twist right at the end. If you’re a fan of modular synth-heavy IDM / ambient, this is well worth checking out.