Idpyramid is Quad Cities musician and composer Dennis Hockaday (formerly of Mondo Drag and Bedroom Shrine). He recently released Dawn Rider II through Chicago experimental tape label Eye Vybe Records, the second installation of adventurous, soundtrack-y synth pieces (Dawn Rider I was released on cassette in 2015) and his fourth solo release to date.
On this collection, Idpyramid expertly weaves analog synth textures to create a 27 minute piece that is equal parts krautrock, gothwave and ambient new age. Aside from the sides of the tape, the music on Dawn Rider II is not broken into songs or tracks, though they do travel through distinctive landscapes. One moment you’re in a clubby, beat-heavy part, and the next you’re gliding through Dusseldorf in the late 1960s, on your way to Plantasia. There are sludgy, warped trenches and bright shiny melodies that come fast and furious. Without an actual film to provide a visual or narrative context for the shifts, the evocative and diverse moods of each section give the recording a lot of momentum and imply a quickly shifting landscape. I guess I’d call this an “action-packed” composition.
From one track to the next, the only real consistency of the Idpyramid tape is that you’re very certain the guy behind the buttons is very much in control of this ride. Idpyramid’s Bandcamp site describes Hockaday as a “Midwestern musical chameleon.” The music on Dawn Rider II definitely has a phasing, cyclical quality, with process and product emphasized equally. Idpyramid cycles through times, genres, moods, colors and textures and invites us along with this beautifully executed, curious and original listen.
This article was originally published in Little Village issue 213.