Ehsan Gelsi – Ephemera (Heavy Machinery Records)


Some music is big. Excessively so – grand sonic gestures overflowing with pathos and triumph. When that music is synth driven it occupies a special place for derision thanks to the unchecked and at times quite ridiculous progressive music and portentous imagery of the 70’s – where too much was never enough.

So it is strange in 2021 to find an album that harks back to the size and sounds of this era. It’s the work of Melbourne electronic composer Ehsan Gelsi who has previously delved into techno, hip hop, electronica and more experimental realms. It’s his composition for the Melbourne Town Hall Grand Organ, with the addition of Moog, Buchla, analogue electronics and live percussion. It sounds huge, and it’s impossible not to think about Rick Wakeman in a cape, Vangelis, Keith Emerson and their ilk. I even think I can hear elements of Goblin in there. It’s probably due to the towering presence of the ten thousand pipe organ so prominently in the mix.

It isn’t all bombast however. Gelsi’s suites are quite melodic, dynamics build and drop away, with the two twenty minute plus pieces composed of a series of quite stylistically differing movements. And they just keep coming. Gelsi is relentless. It’s just as overblown and ludicrous as the forerunners in the 70’s. The music is simultaneously hilarious, triumphant, tragic and astounding. Somehow it’s also reassuring. You just don’t hear music like this anymore. It’s a truly bold and welcome vision. Now someone needs to make a film for it. I wonder what Dario Argento’s up to these days.


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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.