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Flint Glass/Polarlicht 4.1/Transistor – Zoran’s Equation

Flint Glass/Polarlicht 4.1/Transistor - Zoran's Equation

CD, Funk Welten, 2011

The Internet does not say who Zoran is or give his/her equation, but does inform us that it is a major feature of a French science fiction novel from the Sixties, The Ice People (originally titled La Nuit des Temps), by René Barjavel. Two bodies preserved under Antarctic ice, discovered amongst the ruins of an unbelievably ancient civilisation, reveal much about how advanced these people were and how they destroyed themselves through war. Apparently, the equation relates to providing a limitless supply of food and energy, secret information with tremendous implications.
With this fantastical yet intriguing story as the scene, we have this three-way collaboration piece to provide the soundtrack. Highly respected French artist Flint Glass has teamed up with lesser known, closely related German acts Polarlicht 4.1 and Transistor, to offer 45 minutes of ice-cold atmospheres and dark archaeological beats. Being more familiar with the work of Flint Glass, it is mainly his sonic fingerprints I hear clearly all over this work, but numerous variations from his usual style demonstrate that the collaborators have delivered much of value to this arrangement. Bleak synth washes evoke the sub-zero temperatures, sharp electronic tones depict the mysteries of science, while eerie tribal rhythms hint at the passing of great swathes of time.
Taking “The Ice People” as the title track, we find a strong focal point, the harsh sounds of pickaxes striking the permafrost, unveiling the secrets of millennia with a powerful, determined beat. Also in that thematic area, “Frozen Bodies” begins more calmly, yet equally ice-bound, before climaxing in an alarming mass of clashing tones. “Immortals” is another fine composition, blending carefully structured percussion with sparse ambiences and tense, shrill electronics piercing the gloom. Other standouts include the driving, pounding drums of “Gondwana”, apparently the name of the ancient civilisation, and the poignant harmonics of “Lost Souls”, bringing to mind its ultimate, tragic demise.
I have no doubt that “Zoran’s Equation” would make an excellent accompaniment to reading The Ice People late at night, most likely improving the experience as the plot does seem rather incredible and implausible. It has nevertheless encouraged me to keep an eye out for the novel on the cheap somewhere. Regardless of the written work, if you favour dark ambient electronica of this nature, it is most probable that you will find much to enjoy in this brilliant album.


— Nathan Clemence

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