Author: Karsten Hein
Category: Music & Talk
In 2014, Boris Blank, the enigmatic musical genius and founding member of the influential Swiss electronic duo Yello, returned with his solo project, "Convergence." Known for his distinctive soundscapes and experimental approach to music, Blank's new album promised to be a captivating journey for audiophiles and electronic music enthusiasts alike. Vocals were recorded with the Malawian singer-songwriter Malia. However, while "Convergence" offered glimpses of brilliance, it also stumbled in some areas, making for an intriguing yet flawed listening experience.
"Convergence" begins with "Prologue," an ambient and ethereal piece that immediately transports the listener into Blank's musically simple but sonically exploratory realm. The sparse instrumentation and haunting melodies create an atmosphere of mystery and anticipation. The attention to sonic detail and meticulous production are commendable, setting a high standard for what is to come. With the second song “Interference," Blank further showcases his knack for crafting intricate sonic textures. The pulsating beats, intertwined with ethereal synth pads, create a hypnotic groove that is hard to resist. However, despite the song's captivating qualities, it lacks a clear sense of direction and fails to fully engage the listener beyond the mere surface.
"Euphoria" is undoubtedly one of the standout tracks on the album. Here, Blank demonstrates his mastery of sonic layering and manipulation. The lush synthesisers, coupled with intricate percussion and ethereal vocal samples, create a captivating sonic tapestry that envelops the listener. It is a true testament to Blank's ability to create otherworldly soundscapes. While "Fragmented" exhibits some interesting sonic ideas, it falls short in execution. The disjointed nature of the track, although intentional, results in a lack of cohesion that makes it difficult for the listener to fully engage with the music. The experimental elements overshadow the melody and structure, leaving the listener feeling disconnected and disoriented.
"Resonance" again is a testament to Blank's ability to create immersive sonic experiences. His meticulous attention to detail in the production shines through, as the layers of instrumentation and atmospheric effects interplay with each other seamlessly. However, the track's extended duration feels unnecessary, and it could have benefited from more concise editing to maintain the listener's focus of attention. With "Metamorphosis," Blank ventures into more experimental territory, fusing unconventional sounds and rhythmic patterns. While the track displays a level of technical prowess, it lacks the emotional depth and resonance found in his best work. It feels like an intellectual exercise rather than an organic expression of musicality. The album concludes with "Epilogue," a somber and introspective piece. The delicate piano melodies, accompanied by atmospheric textures, evoke a sense of melancholy and reflection. It serves as a fitting ending, wrapping up the album thematically and leaving the listener with a lasting impression.
Convergence is a testament to Boris Blank's boundless creativity and mastery of sound manipulation. The album's highlights, such as "Euphoria" and "Resonance," showcase his ability to create mesmerising sonic landscapes. However, the album suffers from occasional missteps, particularly in tracks like "Interference" and "Fragmented," where the experimental nature overshadows the melodic and structural elements. Despite these flaws, "Convergence" remains an intriguing release that will undoubtedly captivate fans of Blank's unique musical vision.
Note: In daily practice, I occasionally take this album off the shelf to demonstrate the sonic width of a given HiFi setup, especially when presenting to tech-minded listeners. It also serves well to determine how potent a system is in plying apart individual sonic events and looking beyond the samples. It is not a great album to choose for sonic cohesion as, except for Malia’s vocals, there are not many natural yard sticks that can be applied.