Throughout his vast career, the New York based Australian composer JG Thirlwell has adopted many masks as a means of infiltrating and subsequently subverting a wide range of pop cultural forms. His work under the Foetus moniker has taken on everything from big band to opera to noise-rock. Steroid Maximus embraced exotica and the world of soundtracks, while his Manorexia project continued his quest to the outer limits of contemporary composition and musique concrete. Thirlwell has also carved out a significant output in the field of the soundtrack via the large body of work created for the animated television shows Archer and The Venture Bros. In addition he has been commissioned to create compositions by such notables as Kronos Quartet, Bang On A Can, Alarm Will Sound, String Orchestra of Brooklyn and many others.
Now we have ‘Omniverse’, the second release under the moniker Xordox. Xordox is a synthesizer-based project, and on this evocative album we see the project branch into many new avenues. The science fiction element brushes up against crime noir, even veering into areas that could well fit in the video game soundtrack genre. With an audacious attitude and an arsenal of machines Thirlwell serves up a selection of thrilling retro-future mind capsules. This is music made from a life saturated in culture, both underground and mainstream, high and low. Tense sequencing and noir tinged keyboard lines invoke a powerful visual image of films and memory, of screens and speakers, of sound and space, all entering the cosmos and the subsequent galactic race. Thirlwell’s decades long exploration of sampling and sequencing, composing and ingesting a daunting amount of audio and visual artworks speaks volumes for the bold assimilations exposed here. ‘Between Dimensions’ lays out a tense theme which starts off like a score to a a crime thriller before morphing into a simulacra of Kraftwerk scoring a video game. The living ghosts of Giorgio Moroder and John Carpenter haunt ‘Oil Slick’ as it permeates wormholes, updating lifeforms with its stealth sequencing and tense momentum.
‘Omniverse' is a synthesised soundtrack journey, one which embraces past forms whilst reshaping them for the new unknown. ‘Omniverse' is a thrilling liquid ride through fear and hope, and like all the best of Thirlwell’s output, is simply one hell of an enjoyable journey to take.