Like all the best things Miracle Pond just kind of appeared from nowhere. In 2019 the South Yorkshire based label has put out five releases, four if them cassette only, that sit in the middle of a Venn Diagram containing electronica, prog, drone, psychedelic, ambient, noise, space pop, surreal poetry and the avant-garde. As if by chance their latest release, the glorious Brainflowers by Polypores, combines more of the above genres to create an album that sounds futuristic but also retro.
The main theme of Brainflowers is space. The compositions are filled with so much space it gives a postcard of the Grand Canyon a run for its money. This openness prevents the luscious drones from feeling cluttered and gives them room to breathe. Each song has a clear objective, be that melody, tone or emotional content and the space allows this to flourish. Through this space Stephen James Buckley crafts mesmeric soundscapes that gently undulate along, whilst never losing their impact. Then there are the tones of the music. Space and beyond is clearly a theme. At times it feels like Ocean Floor covering Vangelis for a live score of 2001.
The lynchpin of the album is the 12-minute opus ‘Why on Earth’. Here Buckley takes his time and shows what he can really do. The opening salvo is simple, gentle chimes, that loop and shimmer off into infinity while pleasant drones billow below the surface. The most striking thing is how measured it all is. Nothing feels out of place as the oscillations swell to a gargantuan crescendo at its delirious outro.
Brainflowers is the kind of album that makes you fall in love with it every time you play it. The compositions are huge in scope but contain intricate melodies. Usually when something is complicated there is an emphasis to make it dense or claustrophobic, but here everything has room to breathe. And breathe they do. Every time you play it, you notice a new motif appears, or something jumps out at you hitherto hidden. But there is a light and airy feeling to the compositions. And this is what makes Brainflowers so intriguing.