Maps and Diagrams: Delius
Tim Martin has issued Maps and Diagrams music since 2001 on a large number of labels, including Static Caravan, Fluid Audio, Time Released Sound, Symbolic Interaction, and Nomadic Kids Republic, and now joins False Industries for the release of Delius, a twenty-four minute EP featuring six concise ambient-styled settings. The focus in this case is firmly on timbres and textures rather than beats and formal melodies, both of which are downplayed on the EP if not absent altogether. Martin weaves computer-generated textures, analog synths, sampled radio sounds, and field recordings into a whole that collapses the years separating today's digital production methodologies and the pioneering work produced by the likes of Cluster and Klaus Schulze during the ‘70s.
Martin often roughens the smooth sheen of his ambient drones with grainy industrial textures. He also generally excludes beats in the six tracks, even if the clicking pulses in “Child of the Cavern” and “The Last Man on Earth” suggest ties to earlier Maps and Diagrams releases. In keeping with their titles, “Sylvan Spring” is characterized by warm, enveloping swathes of synthetic sound, while “Avalanche” finds billowing vapours gradually building to a climax before deflating. An occasional field recording works its way into the material, and consequently a softly whistling meditation such as “Novachord Spectrum” assumes a somewhat pastoral quality that strengthens its connection to the natural world.
The material repeatedly resists settling into straightforward, easily definable structures; a piece such as “Child of the Cavern,” for instance, unfolds unpredictably, as if the material itself is determining in the moment which path to take. A similar approach characterizes “Yriarte” and “The Last Man on Earth,” which suggest that a fitting reference point for Delius is Fennesz, whose music likewise develops fluidly rather than fits into simple, predetermined structures. All in all, Delius impresses as an understated set whose occasional rough textural treatments can't hide the gentle heart beating at its core.