I used to feel as if Chrome Sparks took a long time to release new music. That was until I looked up his discography in order to write this review and realized that he’s been working at the respectable rate an EP a year from 2013, which is not objectively a ‘long time’ by any means. Maybe it’s my hunger for more content as a fan, or a function of the shorter EP format that he seems to prefer. And though these certainly play a role in my subjective experience of time between releases in no way reflecting reality, the large part of it comes from the fact that his work is so strong that I can’t help but want more.
Despite having half the amount of tracks as his last two efforts, Parallelism clocks in at roughly the same length, and this extra temporal space is used to really play with the musical ideas presented in each song in a way that the three-four minute runtimes of Chrome Sparks’ earlier work didn’t really allow for (at least not to the same extent). This EP also sees an increase in the average tempo and the incorporation of a relatively constant pulse that lends this EP a more danceable vibe than its more cerebral predecessors. Indeed, they are the closest thing to bangers Chrome Sparks has ever produced.
The opening track, ‘Moonraker,’ is essentially a handful of melodic and textural ideas that wouldn’t necessary be associated with each other in isolation. Here, they are masterfully placed next to one another, and then combined. The pulse is more or less constant, and each variation is contrasting and frequent enough that it always comes as a pleasant surprise. The atmospheric ‘Got to Give it up’ follows by wading into increasingly dramatic musical territory, highlighting the different compositional doctrine at work: A new loop is added every couple of bars (of which the enormous chords in the lower register is a highlight), and a pummeling section jumps out from behind a cheeky bar of silence (at 3:45) after this gradual build.
All three tracks in Paralellism are excellent and danceable, but ‘Ride the White Lightening’ thumps the hardest and is the most club-ready cut. Jeremy deploys his entire arsenal of synths in this song and very aspect of it is subject to some form of transformation, with textures shifting constantly and melodies deforming and reforming (see 6:30 for a great example) around some absolutely fantastic percussion (although the same about rhythm can be said about Chrome Spark’s entire discography).
It will probably be a subjectively long time again before Chrome Sparks puts out another release, though for the time being Parallelism is a brilliant distraction from the hunger for more content, albeit a tantalising taste of what’s to come.