CD, DiN, 2009
The fifth CD release by Parallel Worlds and the first studio album to appear since “Obsessive Surrealism” (2007), “Shade” delivers more of what listeners might expect from Greek musician Bakis Sirros. A knowledgeable hand when it comes to analogue modular synthesizers, Sirros has developed a distinctive sound via his Parallel Worlds project, at once anachronistic and immutable. The album is full of pillowy and fluid sounds; hard edges are notably absent in this somnolent journey that relies upon atmospheric IDM and ambient. This is music distinguished by its understated quality, seemingly devoid of tangible energy yet humming with a subtle vitality all the same, more spiritual than physical.
Despite evidence to the contrary, when hearing “Shade” it actually appears to consist of but a singular track; each of the ten compositions rather melts into the next in a flowing palette of melodic sound and atmospheric wash. If the listener’s attention tends to wander (no great surprise), it is difficult to determine where one piece has ended and another has begun. Everything sounds very much the same. It is obvious that Parallel Worlds intends to create this dreamlike stupor, this numbing drowsiness, though at what point it becomes torpidity altogether is another matter. Despite that “Shade” is easily digestible – or perhaps because of such – it may not appeal to everyone in this respect. Its languid ambience, devoid of the unexpected, tends to anesthetize, and unless the listener is really paying attention, it becomes relegated to the domain of background music. For which, admittedly, it is ideal.
Owing to Sirros’ primary use of analogue synths, the music of Parallel Worlds has a somewhat archaic character, though its clean production and pure sound indicate otherwise. Songs are presented in manageable doses for ambient music, the longest only stretching over ten minutes. Despite track titles such as “Frightening Frontiers”, “Mutating Realities” and “Urgency”, it’s difficult to find “Shade” truly sinister; it remains, however, moody, futuristic and dark in its background mellowness. In fact, “Urgency” stands out precisely for its compelling atmosphere and upfront beats. Similarly, “Compulsive Mechanics” is noted for its machine aesthetic and “Not Being Mirrored” for its hallucinatory noir twinges. “Shade” is an album embodying that which lurks out of the sun, and although its overall homogeneity borders on bland, its rich, shifting layers might make spacing out to it worthwhile.
— Dutton Hauhart