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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Digital Horizons Electric Sky (2022)

Updated: Oct 16, 2022

An album for the two audiences of DH where each of one will find his pleasure

1 Circuitree 7:43

2 Across the Bay 6:37

3 Electric Sky 5:55

4 Intergrated Geography 17:24

(EP DDL 37:41) (V.F.)

(New Berlin School)

As I wrote before, there is something extremely bewitching, strange in terms of magnetism, when listening to Digital Horizons. Yet, the music is far from being complicated. Justin Ludford offers good melodious rhythm lines that anchor themselves to our ears with the fierce intention of not leaving them. Composed and recorded in the spring of 2022, ELECTRIC SKY is an EP available only for download that I divide into 2 parts. The first one is composed of the first 3 tracks which are rhythmic and melodic. So, very accessible. The second part is composed of the long evolving track, Intergrated Geography, which requires a greater investment of your time in order to assimilate an electronic music obviously inspired by the first albums of Paul Haslinger with Tangerine Dream.

Let's take Circuitree! Even its droning sound, as vaporous as a slow snake in the form of smoke, has that melodic and melancholic edge that stimulates the listening. The synth wave that follows has that false trumpet air that we have heard before in the wonderful world of Dream. The reciprocal modulations between the low hum and the synth injects an aura of musical drama to this atmospheric opening that runs just over 75 seconds. The sequencer structures a line of delicately jumping arpeggios in rows of two alternate jumps, creating a hypnotic earworm, both rhythmic and melodic, that already obsesses the emotions. The bed of ambiences remains this reverberating bass layer that moves like a vampiric shadow and this ode of false trumpet that maintains this high level of emotionality that the percussions root even more with sober strikes. A short meditative passage on a pulsating background and Circuitree resumes its work of enslaving our listening. Simple but very effective! This union between the celestial tunes of the synth and this undulating layer of humming also decorates the decor of Across the Bay which proposes the same style of rhythmic melody which is however slower. The spaced out pulsations of the bass add a very emotive character to this structure that jumps around in a subtle stroboscopic filament under synth tears and lunar orchestrations that once served the repertoire of Vangelis. The music takes a livelier tangent, closer to a technoïd rhythm after the 5th minute. I tell you, we become addicted so much it is simple, beautiful and effective. The title-track is more fierce. Electric Sky is a very good electronic rock that moves the feet as much as it captivates the ears by the nervous flow of the sequencer. The music is driven by sober percussions and a pulsating bass line where a double rhythm line hangs with sequences that throb in the shadow of the previous one. It's like alternating two balls of musical metal on a very narrow conveyor belt that works in short spasmodic bursts. It structures two parallel rhythmic lines, one of which is a hyperactive flow that is as harmonic as catchy and whose fluctuations flow under very good solos from a synth that is always very active on the melody level.

Intergrated Geography begins with ripples of artificial mist and synthesized dialogue. Chords coated of radioactive mutation begin to waddle in not more than 2 minutes later. Borrowing a slow circular structure, the flow from these chords is heavy and resonant. Its upward movement welcomes a line of arpeggios flourishing with its silver tone and whose undulations harmoniously go along with this rhythmic slowness which dictates the first part of the longest track of this ELECTRIC SKY. Digital Horizons adds layers of voices to the ivory sparkles in this opening of a title which will become evolving from its 7th minute. A parade of arpeggios shimmers under vibrating and dramatic synth waves. The purity of this atmospheric harmony gleams in an intense climate of dystopian cinematographic vision. The movement takes a rhythmic tangent that is equal to the intensity of the atmospheres, creating a phase of harmonic rhythm whose tone inspires us to listen to the fascinating Tyger, or Underwater Sunlight, from Tangerine Dream. This second evolution of Intergrated Geography reaches its zone of atmospheric mutation a little before the 13th minute. This phase is obsessed by layers of seraphic voices. The opacity of the voices and its tenacity to stay in place smothers this rhythmic ascension that struggles to emerge under these apocalyptic synth waves, creating an intense dramatic finale. Let's just say that this is the kind of track that requires more than 3 listenings!

ELECTRIC SKY reflects this perfect balance in the art of nuancing the accessible and more complex visions of Digital Horizons in its compositions. The music is very pleasant to the ears and quite easy to make us tap our feet. The English musician-synthesist shows that he is still at ease in short structures, we still have to go back to the fall of 2020 and his album The Movement of Mercury to hear his short melodious tracks, than in his long more evolutive ones, like in Generations and especially Extraordinary Path. So, an album for two audiences where everyone will find his pleasure.

Sylvain Lupari (October 16th, 2022) ****½*

Available at Digital Horizons Bandcamp

(NB: Text in blue are links you can click on)

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