Bee Mask, Vaporware / Scanops, Australia, Room 40, RM450 (2012)
Deceptively innocent and cheerful, this spacey and spaced-out recording by Bee Mask (Chris Madak) reveals some unexpected dark moods and a slightly forlorn air that suggests longing and loneliness in parts.
“Vaporware” relies heavily on a hard electronic space-ambient groove to whip up the rest of the music into readiness for launch into the vast reaches of space. Three-two-one and it’s off we go into heady vistas of interstellar wonder riding on flotsam and jetsam of busy rubber sonic stitchery, curvy bubbles, popping drone and fairy celeste tone melodies. A beautiful journey in sound and mood this is, rich in bejewelled bedazzlement and a mix of joy, awe and not a little sadness that this all has a finite life.
Sad wistfulness continues to be a driving force in “Scanops” but the sighing sounds give way to sampled voice and effects that have a playful, sunny quality. The music tails off into bubbling water, twittering swirls and repeating voices. More bewitching and befuddling sounds follow that draw the rapt listener into an active and ever-changing sound universe. Our journey eventually drifts into a soft and quietly happy world that is known to very few others.
At times Madak falls too deeply in love with these sounds and hangs onto them for all they’re worth, to the point where the music almost starts to sound laboured and self-indulgent. I almost want to turn away to something more focussed and less pretty. Apart from this little gripe, I find this extended single / short album is a welcome and pleasant work to play late in the evening. You may be at home late at night on your own after yet another hard day and want something to remind you that there are still wonders in the universe shyly waiting for you to reach out to them: well, this recording is your guide to these quiet beings.