In which Polypores gets completely pixelated. It’s hard to imagine the prolific Stephen James Buckley ever kicking back with a games console and a pizza, but the nostalgic bleeps of ‘Terrain’ are inspired by both a 1990’s childhood spent chained to an Amiga 1200, and a lockdown summer in a deep relationship with a SNES, exploring the immersive gaming worlds of ‘Earthbound’ and ‘Zelda: A Link To The Past’.
Buckley’s music creates distinct environments. Recent albums ‘Flora’ and ‘Azure’ stranded him in oversized woodland and an aquatic paradise respectively, but the landscape of ‘Terrain’ is evocatively 16-bit, one of clunky forests and scrolling, snow-capped mountains. In ‘Draw A Moon’ his trademark tides of ambience are punctuated by hypnotic chiptune motifs, and the tinkling, midway point of ‘Streems’ feels like the triumphant collection of a cache of bonus points.
Buckley is vanishing into his own worlds, and we should be grateful for these charming postcards from his modular mind palace.