Code Indigo is regarded as one of Europe’s premiere electronic music bands and with MELTdown, they’ve delivered an aptly named follow up to the 2007 release ‘Chill’ and it has already been described as; “A majestic tour de force”.
Helmed by veteran UK synth maestro David Wright, co founder and sole survivor from the original 1994 line-up, and producer Dave Massey, the new look Code Indigo continues its own tradition of producing imaginative and thematic keyboard/guitar based chill-out music.
While comparisons have been made with instrumental ‘Pink Floyd’ and ‘Art of Noise’, the Code Indigo sound and style remains totally original, unique and above all, contemporary.
Review by Sylvain Lupari – www.gutsofdarkness.com
After an absence of more than 7 years, Code Indigo make a strong comeback with a solid album which allies ethereal progressive rock to melodic EM. “MELTdown” is a delicious concept album which denounces white collar bandits and their economic crimes.There are lots of noises and background ambiences in this finely polished album, indeed, the atmospherics remind us of Pink Floyd with voices and brief commentary of current events weaving within rhythms and ambience. The music, and its musical themes, bewitch us, both by a delicate harmonious approach and the constant progression of its splendidly content rhythms. Code Indigo forges a musical story that conjures up an image of the failure of society and the financial sharks in suits. Beyond its story, “MELTdown” is the result of a strong musical consortium where David Wright, Dave Massey, Neil Fellowes, Nigel Turner-Heffer and Dave Bareford charm as much as they amaze with an album which seems as timeless as the talent of its authors.
Winds, gratings of blue metal, rustles and jerky ringings which scroll with hesitation herald the opening “Welcome to the Asylum” which widens its five minutes in an asylum where the noises and spectral winds feed constantly a climate of paranoia. We are hearing easily the lost arpeggios which ring in an ill-assorted harmony, where tears of synths kiss the emptiness. They evaporate to make room for the chords of a piano with a vague melody that hangs onto the elytrons of cymbals in order to merge into the soft rhythm of the title-track. Arched on a bass line, from which the chords are cooing in a soft undulatory shape, sober percussions and synth lines with crisscrossed tremors, and “Meltdown” seizes our ears with a superb guitar which draws a haunting, melodious riff. The rhythm is fluid. Not aggressive, it sits astride a sonic valley. Escorted by azure winds, hiding suspicious lamentations and eroded hopes, guitars and synths dance with moods that are torn between soft, progressive and ethereal e-rock.
The rhythms are buried in the lost ambiences of “City of Fools” where voices tinted with scorn curse to the black winds with spectral lamentations of floating guitars, before being reborn out of the ambiences with “Costing the Earth”. The track evolves into “Eco-Nomic” and the rhythm softens into sequences which flicker in a static sphere where guitars and synth exchange harmonies through some suave morphic solos. The rhythm takes back its vigour and the main theme emerge again and fades into the organic intro of “Information Cascade”.
The big wealth of “MELTdown” is its sound depth! There is no weak spot over the 76 minutes that fills this latest magical opus from Code Indigo. And the intro of “Information Cascade” is a perfect example. With the gurgling, cascading noises that fills the veils of the ether and then the tears of violins waltzing beneath a thick cloud of pulsations, the track effortlessly evolves into the beating sound forge of a pounding rhythm. “Information Cascades” pulls us between its dynamic rhythms and lamenting moods to conclude the first segment of “MELTdown”.
Even if the rhythm is pulsating, “Keep Taking the Pills” reveals its soft harmonic veil with a melancholic piano whose relaxing notes fly through the breathe of a lunar saxophone. A duel takes shape between the guitar and the piano where the music witnesses an atmosphere of morphic jazz on a rebellious rhythmic structure that is kept harmoniously well tamed.
With sparkling arpeggios which cavort with innocence to join the chords of a guitar weaving through an embryonic rhythm, “Black Gold” surfs on a line of blue vapor, establishing the link between the atmospheres of “Keep Taking the Pills” and the incisive rhythm of “ID Code”. Strong percussions and sequence lines are crisscrossed and flutter to shape the structure of an edgy rhythm where the guitars treat our ears to solos sculptured in harmonious rock. Angels with crystal breaths and synth with seraphic strata take this rhythm into an ethereal universe, giving the final part of “ID Code”, with its more hammered rhythm and chords, the chance for guitars and melodic synths to spread out their vampiric veils with edgy harmonies and solos, beautifully sculpturing the second part of “MELTdown”.
The further forward we move into “MELTdown” the more it wraps us in its aura of melodious and ethereal splendour. On the soft harmonious tones of a keyboard and its keys of gentle glass, “Carbon” hints at some leftover rhythms under the cover of its mislaid voices which come back to denounce constantly the power of the economic world. The mood becomes dark and we fall in the airs of “In the Dark” and its lugubrious synth line which groans over an organ like fine rain. Guttural rustling threaten the fragile balance between despair and its antagonist, when angelic voices rise and chase away the agonies. Leaning on a slightly humming bass line, a soft guitar joins these oracles of silvered voices and morphing solos which cry out in the tranquility of a track which frees itself in the cosmic waves of a seraphic finale. And then “The Men who Crashed the World” falls on our ears like cosmic blues. Drinking in all the sonic elements which fill the mixed ambiences of “MELTdown”, this guitar navigates on a deep and increasing rhythm to be swallowed by a synth and its mystic solos. There follows a harmonious duel where the two main musical entities of “MELTdown” are trading their moods and harmonies in a superb morphic blues.
“Bail Out” follows with a nervous rhythm where the pulsations and the metallic ringings forge a tempo which bubbles without ever bursting. And this melody, embroidered in a fusion of guitars and synths, forge the last part of “Meltdown” which crosses the increasing rhythms of “Bankers in Wonderland” and “Greed in the Bubble” to end in the soft atmospheres of “Bonus Culture”, where footsteps fade out behind a door which slams violently.
In spite of an absence of more than 7 years and a new line-up with only David Wright remaining from the original band, Code Indigo have not stagnated. Without being hard-hitting or aggressive, “MELTdown” possesses the harmonious colours of its writers. It’s an album which transports us constantly over the course of its soft rhythms and bewitching melodies to a musical universe embroidered with imagination that respects the vast musical experiences of the members of this mythical English EM band. It is not just well done, it is extremely well done. And it speaks to us, it sings to us and it enchants us.