Madeleine Cocolas – Ithica – (Someone Good/Room40)


Madeleine Cocolas is an Australian composer and producer who creates predominantly post classical and ambient instrumental music. She has released music through various international labels including Thesis Project, Salmon Universe, Futuresequence, Bigo & Twigetti, 1631 Recordings and Self Center Records. Ithaca, her third album is so lush and controlled. It is a thing of beauty.

There’s so much space in her music, it’s filled with gentle pauses, and opportunities to breath. Nothing is hurried, and if the tempo increases it’s because she has built this gradually over time and carried us along with her. She understands how sound can move. At times she creates these sonic waves that feel like living entities, with repetitive electronic pulses and swirling heavily delayed reverbed digitalia. These synthetic sounds often appear aside or beneath more conventional instrumentation such as piano.

At times the density and the cadence increases and it verges on triumphant – which is a real surprise. An example of this is ‘A Basic Understanding’ which builds into a euphoria that echoes elements of Vangelis’ Blade Runner score with its broad synthetic sweeps, but is significantly warmer – and weirder. At other times it feels almost new age due to the tranquil nature that she treats her ambient sound. But mostly there’s a weary melancholic feel to the music that wouldn’t be out of place in a film score – which ably demonstrates her ability to create emotion laden experimental music.

The lasting impact though is of stillness, of peace and calm. It’s warm, emotional and quite delicate, but it really creeps up on you until you’re totally immersed.


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Bob is the features editor of Cyclic Defrost. He is also evil. You should not trust the opinions of evil people.