Heinali – Iridescent

Iridescent is always altering, its glowing ambient music reflecting slivers of alternating prism-light. Out in October on Injazero Records, Heinali (alias of Ukraine’s Oleg Shpudeiko) builds his music from the ground up with a set of translucent, sonorous, and sparkling tones. These studio improvisation sessions were recorded in 2016 and 2017, but they morphed in post-production, gelling into sleepy symphonies as Shpudeiko worked with its modular system. 

Iridescent’s title gives it away as to what the listener can expect. Shimmering backgrounds and haloes of light rising out of the music’s deep end, contracting and losing a slim part of their shape before shimmering back into form. Dark electronic undercurrents, like something from a post-techno era, stalk the synths.

Heinali’s slow-burning anthems are interested in and constantly develop polyphonic sequences that are built one on top of the other, creating a stack of insurmountable height – a Jenga tower of a wave – and a sound that builds on top of itself. A thrumming bass will enter, but so too will a piano, joining a fluttery synth and linking up in harmony, voting for peace. And it all works. All sounds are created equal, and that’s true of Iridescent. In spite of its intentional layering, there isn’t an overarching, dominant sound; instead, they glisten together.

Iridescence can also be found in the structure. The body of the track stays the same but, as Heinali says, ‘its surface is flickering with various colours over time’. This is true of the music, its colours shifting in tiny degrees, a liminal, changing – morphing – sound, boneless, snaking through the music. Colours shift in imperceptible ways, spelling out all the tones of a strange rainbow, spray-painted in colours without a name. Its crystal tones are the only constant, as these colour schemes are always shifting, chameleon-like.

Accessible and deep at the same time, Heinali’s iridescent synths are unstoppable. Synth-work will always add grit, as sharp as a well-cared-for knife, and one that Michael Myers would be proud of, and this sharp tip points out of Iridescent. The synth would feel at one in a nightclub, veering towards pure electronica with its frenetic and sometimes turbulent oscillations of bright synth, and increasing the energy of the music. This caffeinated kick seems to come out of nowhere, and the cutting synth doesn’t dirty the sound – on the contrary, the synth increases the clarity of the music. The notes bruise, morphing from an off-set orange to a deep purple.

The staccato signals of ‘Shadow Invention’ blink in and out, sending coded messages to a secretive organization, in the same way that Alexa, a seemingly innocuous but actually voyeuristic device, will snoop in on your private conversations and then send them on to the CIA. Although the record shimmers and glints, its orbit inevitably faces the dark side. After all, there are plenty of dark options, and tints of onyx and moonlight pepper the synth. ‘Mist Ostinato’ is automatically darker. Perpetual sunlight will get old fast, so this is a welcome midday eclipse. ‘Rainbow Folding’ is a brilliant way to end the album, its magnificent mountain of blips and clinks erupting in some unfathomable way, strobing on and on, reaching the point of either breakdown or no return, bringing radiance back into the record. The music is left to shimmer, forever encased in crystal.

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