Memphidos :: Walking To Loneliness (Sonic Loom)

Walking To Loneliness is a hypnotic blend of warm, dense atmospherics, powerful bass and dizzying, coruscating synths.

Memphidos is the project of Athens-born graphic designer Dimitrios Sakkas who has been writing and producing music since 2000, but whose debut album on 33 Recordings wasn’t released until 2009. Walking To Loneliness is his third album, and his first for Sonic Loom, an imprint formed in 2011.

To describe the material on Walking To Loneliness as hypnotic would be an understatement on the grandest of scales, the key formula employed for the duration being the slowly morphing repetition of warm, dense atmospherics, powerful bass and dizzying, coruscating synths. Every track is possessed of elements designed to intoxicate, sedate or mesmerize, with “Escape From Reality” making an opening bid by partnering crisp percussion and chunky bass with swarms of heady, rippling synths.

“Prevision” takes that palette and ups the tempo, throwing in sweeping pads and background construction site laser drilling, then keeps it going for a mesmerizing nine plus minutes. Even the more dancefloor oriented beats of “Fog” are shrouded in cavernous bass pulses, massive eddies of chitinous debris and alarm calls, while the insect chatter and birdsong of “Nature” are combined with the kind of high-pitched tinnitus drones that accompany the onset of a heatstroke collapse.

It would be hard for most musicians to keep this going across sixty-plus minutes, so there are inevitably a few less than remarkable moments. The title track is surprisingly forgettable, the first half a dark and slightly discordant blur that the brighter, more melodic second half arrives too late to make up for. Similarly, the ill-judged and rather irksome percussion, lackluster melodies and overly bright arpeggios of “Flying In My Dreams” are too melodically similar to the far superior “Overlight,” on which a repeating pipe-organ motif, juddering machinery and glitched electronics penetrate far deeper into the psyche.

Walking To Loneliness loses some of its momentum in its second half, primarily through lack of invention and innovation. The epic “Overlight” also overshadows “Aurora’s Melancholic Lights,” which sees the album repeat itself once too often, and even the closing “Finding You” only extends the formula with some awkwardly timed piano chords that fall just short of being truly catchy. The whole atmosphere, along with the listener’s calm, is completely shattered in the latter half of the track by incongruous, rather grating spoken word samples.

That aside, Walking To Loneliness makes a pretty strong first impression and is not an album you’re likely to forget in a hurry. It’s occasional lack of variety may not bother those who truly love the formula employed here, but even then there’s enough mind-altering intensity here to make it well worth investigation.

Aside from the digital download of the album, Walking To Loneliness is also available as a deluxe, handmade CD/DVD package, a complex, custom-cut, Z-folded oversized digifile affair that also includes a poster and individual art cards for each track. The three videos included on the DVD make an excellent partner for Memphidos’ signature themes and well worth a watch, though the video that accompanies the playthrough of the entire album is little more than a slowly morphing visualization.

Walking To Loneliness is available on Sonic Loom.

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