CD, DiN, 2007
The Parallel Worlds project harnesses the imagination of Greek artist Bakis Sirros (with some occasional collaborators), who communicates his evocative and uncanny vision via the aptly titled “Obsessive Surrealism.” Floating abstractions and saturated textures abound in a landscape that reflects the creative potential of the unconscious mind, to borrow liberally from the definition of surrealism itself. Irrational juxtapositions, however, are absent. Limited to 1000 copies and consisting of eleven compositions in a rather predictable dark ambient and IDM cast, the album will not necessarily gain attention with its mediocre sound and style. Instead, these meticulously crafted, half-conscious worlds undulate with a clarity not often matched in similar classifications. The missed opportunities for a more pioneering edge on “Obsessive Surrealism” are therefore partly compensated by the apparent skill Sirros demonstrates in his smooth, plump and space-filling analogue synthesizer manipulations.
Like a soundtrack for American McGee’s “Alice,” the album sends its listener on a journey through shadowed worlds of nightmarish fantasy whose contours yet remain sharply defined and colorful. Calculated, and for the most part, slow-paced, “Obsessive Surrealism” reaches deeply into the realm of dreams and drowsiness. In fact, the album is so languorous as to run the risk of becoming boring, effectively putting its listener to sleep. It unfortunately is actually boring at times, although this aspect perhaps offers the listener opportunities for meditation. One of the few distractions is (ironically) provided by the breakbeat-infused “Distracted,” the most upbeat and engaging composition on the album. “Increasing Complexity” is another standout track, defined by a sweetly haunted lullaby tune, soft drums and a background of twittering bird sounds, while “Reflective” appealingly bubbles with rapid bass undercurrents. However tempting it is to generalize “Obsessive Surrealism” as bland overall, it is important to recognize the technique from which it springs, and therefore its general quality. Although Parallel Worlds may fall short in the ears of the discerning listener, glimmers of skillful achievement still manage to shine through its uninspiring tone.
— Dutton Hauhart