DIGITAL HORIZONS: December Runways (2018)
“This is a long long track album offers only on DL at a fair price, so I think it worths it”
1 Launch 9:35 2 Control Tower 7:07
3 Landing 21:22
Digital Horizons Music (DDL 38:07)
(E-Rock of the 80's style) I quite enjoyed Ghost Station. Enough to make a very detailed review! I'm not saying that DECEMBER RUNWAYS is its equivalence, but the atmospheres are very close. Enough not to make a link. Composed and recorded at the end of 2018, the music breathes this atmosphere of cold winter, as well as this strange sensation of traveling through this cold. This mini album, this E.P. of 38 minutes has this particular attraction at the level of sound, the impression of hearing the reflection of music on the frosted windows of a wagon filled with the feeling of living tight between the elbows of travelers. And if you like Tangerine Dream of the digital years, and even beyond, you must look at Digital Horizons, because Justin Ludford has never hidden that it was his main source of inspiration.
It's with staggering and ill-fitting chords that Launch comes to our ears. The tone is sizzling, like white noises coated with verdigris, and resonates in opalescent mist gases. It's like a carousel dragging overweight. A huge synth layer lies down. Swapping for a more symphonic approach, it envelops this introduction built on uncertainty. Lively and nervous sequences spew forth a rhythm which advances and stops in a setting of the industrial genre with chthonic voices as layers of winter mood. And everything freezes after 3 minutes! Launch breathes through the faint pulses of mist and of the chords which ring like glass anvils hit by an ice hammer. The arpeggios of the introduction come alive again when a layer of buzzing helps the stop-and-go structure to come out of limbo. This time, percussion breathes dynamism and intensity at this pace which relapses into its ambiospherical industrial phase, but Launch arrives at its last destination. This membrane of white noises, crackling in the background of the music, is also present on Control Tower and its undecided structure that clings to a big electronic rock at around 2:30. Dramatic effects spew resonant vibrations as the sequences and arpeggios jump into the muted impulses of the reverberations in which astral voices are huddled. The structure is very similar to that of Launch, except for some adjustments in the harmonic design of the arpeggios and a more percussive approach of the drum machine.
The long title Landing offers precisely this kind of heavy ambient rhythmic structure that shines of very Tangerine Dream tones with repetitive suites of keyboard chords which travel between Firestarter and Wavelength. Tied around this pattern of sequences and percussions which hop up and down, the tempo is more fluid than in the first two titles with rattling percussions that whisper in a language adapted to the metabolism of white noises, of interferences. And if we pay attention, we hear a ghost structure that is incomplete at the level of sound maturity and that fills the moods, among other elements, for a good part of DECEMBER RUNWAYS. Split into two parts, Landing offers a very solid second part with a hyperactive structure crisscrossed by a good and zigzagging bass line. Synth effects stretch their musicality in multi-color layers that re-form into other effects and then into orchestral layers. Additional percussive effects try to influence this quite nice axis of sedentary rhythm, but nothing to do; this finale is rich of its sedentary rhythm and its plethora of synth layers painted of ambivalent colors. This "Landing" is worth the cost, which is not very high, of DECEMBER RUNWAYS if one seeks to fall under the charms of Digital Horizons and discover the universe of Justin Ludford.
Sylvain Lupari (May 22nd, 2019) *****
Available at Digital Horizons' Bandcamp