In Review: Chrome Sparks’ ‘Parallelism’

Few artists are able to breathe the kind of energy and life into instrumental music the way Chrome Sparks does. Effortlessly interweaving the intricate detail of the organic and synthetic to create a a musical hybridity like none other, the music somehow placates and excites simultaneously. Having dropped previous EP Goddess a year ago, Chrome Sparks have been consistent with their releases over time, choosing to release smallish EPs every year for the past three years. This works on two fronts: on one hand it keeps fans satiated for the time being, however the amount of songs is paltry enough as to keep us hungering for more.

At just three tracks long, Parallelism certainly achieves this. A decidedly less commercial venture than the incredibly catchy Losing U, it departs thematically from Goddess on several fronts. If Goddess could be imagined as an odyssey of some kind, one where you Enter the Chrome Forest, only to be Lost in the Chrome Forest, to a place where you eventually find the long-prophesied Goddess as a climatic end to the EP, then Parallelism is more like the amorphous exploration on the new frontier of the unknown. 

Enter the parallel universe, where everything sounds unfamiliar. Like you’ve entered a brave new world. Starting with Moonraker, you open to an unfamiliar soundscape cautiously, unsure what to expect, until the building crescendo of synths and percussion opens out into a more broad landscape. But this is only the calm before the storm, where the slick synths become like the needles of an acupuncturist pricking delicately at your central nervous system. 

However, Moonraker is just the precursor to the enormity of Give It Up, an epic, sweeping soundscape of grand proportions. Beginning with the gentle petter of the keyboard keys, a disembodied voice asks again and again, “Would I give it up?”, becoming clearer and clearer, while it’s underplayed with the distended voice of another. Then a crescendo starts to build, sounding like the apocalyptic sound score of a Terminator movie, before segueing abruptly into the hypnotically monotonous arrangement of keyboard rifts and synthesisers.

As it progresses, the beat is slowly stripped back, until it’s only the sound of the keyboard and and heavy bass, the sound oscillating unpredictably between different chords and volumes. It’s this continual variance along the six-minute length of the song thats keeps you engaged and enthralled, right from the beginning. When you listen to this song, you almost feel as if you are going to meet your maker.

Ride The White Lightning steps it up a notch. At a colossal nine minutes, we now understand why this EP is only three tracks long. Beginning on a simple, catchy percussive hook, it soon evolves into the ephemeral interplay of synths. Reaching its peak all too soon, the song downshifts into an exotic collection of sounds, all intersecting with each other in a manner so distinctively Chrome Sparks.

Although a short collection of songs, the length of each individual track makes up for it, while never tiring nor stagnating. Each unique piece smacks of the idiosyncratic sound we’ve come to expect from Chrome Sparks, while still remaining fresh and engaging.

It’s hard to put into works what hearing Chrome Sparks is like. If you have synaesthesia, its akin to a auditory display of kaleidoscopic explosions bursting behind your eyes from your neurotransmitters. Project of 22-yeard-old Jeremy Malvin, the Brooklyn producer has the unique ability to use sound to illustrate the intransigent nature of instrumental, percussive music. Each song is utterly unique and possesses an air of timelessness about it, as if it could go on forever. Once again, Malvin manages to achieve what is unique to his project: the ability to keep us hooked and clamouring evermore for the highly addictive music of Chrome Sparks. 

Paralellism is out now via Future Classic. You can buy it right here, and order your vinyl edition here.