This is the second release in a trilogy from the enigmatic Anti-Genre Musician and Composer, Hasmody, which began with Δs=dQREV/T (or as I like to call it, ‘Delta Sierra Equals Delta Quebec Rev Over Tango’). The third instalment is yet to be announced, but let’s see what happens in, say 2022, shall we?
Where my interpretation of the subject matter (nihilism, inevitability) for Δs=dQREV/T was based on the provocative track titles, that and a look at Hasmody’s blog, the aim of Synapses is to examine questions about consciousness and free will.
Highlighting that philosophical questions inspired this instrumental release might distract us from the music. You’re free to explore the questions and, to some extent, Hasmody‘s musings, if not answers, in the blog. De-emphasising that angle for the purposes of this review might be more productive. But just as the track titles on ‘Delta Sierra Equals Delta Quebec Rev Over Tango’, got me thinking deeply (for me) about whether fatalism is the same as inevitability, the heat death of the universe and nihilism, the titles on Synapses might mean I still get all existential on your @r5e. While we’re at it, take a look below at the track titles. Then ask yourself – with such provocative titles, how anyone could possibly avoid using the same modus operandi in reviewing Synapses as was used in reviewing ‘Delta Sierra Equals Delta Quebec Rev Over Tango’? Just look at the titles!
I mean – you can, if you are so inclined, imagine a fully formed brain being more likely to spontaneously spring into existence in a void, complete with a false memory of having existed in our universe than it is for the universe to have come about in the way modern science thinks it actually did. But that doesn’t really tell you what to expect, musically, from Track 1, Here Comes The Boltzmann Brain. Or you might want to consider why the people you spar with on social media feel mental discomfort and imbalance when you challenge their attitudes, belief systems or behaviour, after listening to the spiky and dissonant Cognitive Dissonance. Me? I just like the sound of it.
Synapses is performed more with electronic instruments, at first. For the purposes of this recording, that represents the left hemisphere of the brain, and as the album progresses, guitars and acoustic drums representing the right.
As we all know, the two sides of the brain are deemed to represent the two sides of human nature: the left governing logic, intellect and intuition, the right being the avatar of emotion and creativity. But there’s nothing clinical or robotic about Synapses. There’s a groove.
Hasmody deliberately shifts the emphasis from electronic to “real” instruments through the course of the album (left brain to right brain). Now, naysayers might be thinking that’s a little pretentious, as we start with a thought experiment and end with allusion to a fictional venomous creature hatched by a cockerel from the egg of a serpent or toad, with the ability to breathe fire – clearly a mythical creature from the silly side of the brain. The other side of the coin? You might consider it interestingly symbolic. Depends how open your mind is. Plus – you can just go with the groove.
Expect more spiky dissonance in PsychAlgorithm, some proper 1980s style action adventure in Just Epiphenominal, some lovely sequenced modular synth in When Uncanny Valley Ends accompanied by some Derek Forbes-esque bass, some weirdness from the left hemisphere in Rhizomatic, some smooth “saxiness” and Colin Edwin-ish bass in Hominem Ex Machina… it’s all good stuff!
I was reminded of another experimental artist, The Bob Lazar Story. Not only in the music. Though there are similarities, it’s more to do with my suspicion that Hasmody also has a thinly veiled agenda, that is, to make music with which the listener must engage in the experiment, though less as the actual test subjects, as TBLS would have you, and more as peers. But more important than any of my ramblings: remember this – gRoOvYnEsS. It’s full of some cracking riffs and bass lines and it’ll get you moving.
Luckily, I managed to avoid getting all existential. My cumulative conclusion from this album and its companion release, ‘Delta Sierra Equals Delta Quebec Rev Over Tango’ (Δs=dQREV/T), is that you can enjoy the music and ignore the questions of consciousness, inevitability, and existentialism. But you can also participate in this music as if it were an intellectual exercise. If you’re the sort of person that competes in the Most Interesting Person At The Dinner Table League, you can use these releases as a springboard to discover a few things that might possibly promote you to the rank of Captain Interesting, rather than see you relegated to the “I’ll Get My Coat League”.
It is clear that Synapses is the brainchild of someone who tasks his own synapses with tremendous amounts of work and, as such, I must heartily recommend it.
01. Here Comes The Boltzmann Brain (3:06)
02. Cognitive Dissonance (2:37)
03. Just Epiphenomenal (4:38)
04. PsychAlgorithm (2:51)
05. Where Uncanny Valley Ends (2:40)
06. Rhizomatic (3:36)
07. Hominem Ex Machina (5:02)
08. Basilisk Afterthoughts (4:18)
Total Time – 28:48
Hasmody – Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Electronic Sounds, Orchestral Instruments, Vocals, Vocal Samples
Record Label: Independent
Country of Origin: Greece
Date of Release: 23rd March 2020