Label: Melodic Release Date: 20/07/09 Website: Rec.tangle MySpace Heavy Maple is for the most part played by Adrien Rodes, a Brighton-based France-born musician who states Philip Glass, Can and The Doors amongst his influences. Opening tracks on Heavy Maple are very promising, with opener ‘Square One’ made unnerving by an undulating melody and by vibrato on the echo. The second track, ‘Anima’s Lament’, begins with a sinister, almost Latin piano part, and then develops into another deliciously haunting track. Interesting instruments define this album, picking from across the spectrum of soft-sounding timbres: xylophones, harps, guitars, pianos, tinkling keyboards, triangles, bells and more. You can hear the Philip Glass and Steve Reich influence in most tracks, a minimalist feel dominating throughout. By fifth track ‘Elliptical Equilibria’, the style is getting a little boring. Again, it is an eerie track based on ambient arpeggios and an ever-changing texture of elements, but it’s almost identical to what has come before. Because there are no words, it needs something to sustain the listener’s interest, and to be honest, it lacks. Each track has its little quirks, like the slight discords in ‘Seaharp’ and the weird title of ‘Ethylic Fugue In Q Minor’. However, like in modern art, trying to work out why a strange title fits the piece only fills a few seconds, and leaves you feeling a bit bemused and/or disinterested. Unusual time signatures and use of a sitar in ‘Copper Dunes’ haul back some of that lost interest (you’re probably staring at the ceiling with catchier music bouncing off the insides of your skull by now), but its lost again pretty quickly when you realise nothing more is going to happen. Maybe the common denominator in all of the tracks is the ambient noises in the background. Perhaps if that layer was taken away, and something different replaced it in every song, Heavy Maple would sound less like the soundtrack from a dull futuristic film about tiny pink aliens. Something you can say for this album is that it is very neatly produced. Similar musically to The Soundcarriers, Heavy Maple has surpassed them in production quality: all of the parts have been meticulously organised and I can’t hear a missed note anywhere on the album. If Adrien Rodes played almost all of the instruments, he is definitely a talented musician, but there is such a thing as wasted talent: this album is stifled by its predictability and repetitiveness, a shame considering the promise of the first tracks and the skill of the playing. Rating: 5.5/10 Buy: Melodic Site