What point is there to life if you can’t pretend you’re a cloud every now and then? Keith Berry (not the boxer) knows exactly what it's like to be a floating body of evaporated water, and his new album Viable Systems 1 is like a warm cocoon of gently shifting and transposing pads. Think Pausal, think beatless Selected Ambient Works, think Kompakt's Pop Ambient series.
7/10 Jamie Staff review, 31 October 2017
Synth sounds are coming for you. Like a selection of the best, most foggy-sounding synths from the seemingly never-ending Pop Ambient series from Kompakt (or perhaps from Aphex Twin’s ‘S.A.W.’ series), coming at you all at once, only to stop and hover, weightless, over a body of shimmering water, perhaps. Keith Berry, with the inaugural release on his own VSM Theory label, has created a body of work here full of ambient synth tones that he has (sternly) instructed to: “just keep chillin’”.
Berry is a man interested in generative music; of systems that can be set and let run to freely, riotously (gently) produce their music… y’see, hence ‘Viable Systems 1’. Possibly the first of many, then, and here’s the first artefact to attest to this. In musical CD form, no less.
The synths play, hover, bloop, fade away… and come back again to bloop some more. All in a very relaxing way, conducive to cogitation or mediation. You’re welcome to do whatever you like when this CD is on, I never judge. With tracks titled like ‘Isomorphic’... ‘Autopoiesis’... ‘Equilibrial’ and ‘Cellular Automaton’ -- you get the idea: floaty, deceptively simple, seemingly free-form but often surprisingly melodic and statuesque.
These synths may well run on and on and replicate pretty sounds ad lib, ad infinitum… ad nauseam. Perhaps... Nice synths, though.
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- VIABLE SYSTEMS 1 by Keith Berry
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