Roger Doyle: The Electrification of Night

Reviewed on Tue 02 Jul, 2019

Roger Doyle makes electronic music seem bitingly relevant by imbuing it with palpable emotion.

At 70, Roger Doyle shows little sign of slowing down. An electronic music pioneer, he premiered his first opera in 2017, and this remarkable new collection continues to plough perennially fertile ground. Doyle makes electronic music seem bitingly relevant by imbuing it with palpable emotion. Immediately striking – and satisfying – here is his inexhaustible inventiveness evidenced in the variety and visceral directness of mood and atmosphere. Title track, The Electrification of the Night is an haunting exercise in atomised experience; a Takemitsu-like collage of fleeting impressions and silvery, numinous sounds. If Dark Tongue (featuring poet Michael Davitt’s fractured, time-blurred voice and mournful duduk) dives into dyspeptic, subterranean darkness, Gate Crash is a drunken ricochet of stumbling cello and washes of whispered reproach. Percussive propulsiveness drives The New Triangle forward with incessant conviction, Neutropenia a dystopian, carcinogenic nightmare of aggressive messiness, the piano-led Second Oak contrastingly poetic in its brittle beauty. In all endlessly enigmatic and mysteriously sirenic, it’s the product of a master musician at work.
–Michael Quinn