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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

DIGITAL HORIZONS: Generations (2022)

From a lively EM to Berlin School, this new DH album covers a lot of ground

1 Generations (Part One) 37:44

2 Generations (Part Two) 25:40

(DDL 63:00) (V.F.)

(Electronica, Berlin School)

Admitting the difficulties of composing short tracks, Justin Ludford offers a mosaic of short tracks in GENERATIONS. We are talking about more than half a dozen structures in the 38 minutes of the first track from this last Digital Horizons album-download. He then added transitional phases, allowing the music to evolve within the parameters of England School and electronica, while Part 2 is more homogeneous. The inspiration for the 63 minutes of DH's latest effort came from an observation of how different people from different backgrounds and ages can often find common ground in their thinking, interests and way of life. Still inspired by a certain Berlin trio, one can hear more and more of Andy Condon's (The Glimmer Room) influence in the work of Digital Horizons, which is clearly ascendant in the first part of GENERATIONS.

Undoing from its brief orchestral flight, Generations (Part One) rushes into our headphones with the speed and spasmodic snarl of a train. A bass layer rounds the edges of this rhythm that follows a road bumpy of dunes, creating these subtle rhythmic modulations that rise and fall in mists of violins. Subtle voices join this fury, as well as arpeggios with an uncertain melody whose sparkles are lost in an opaque envelope where chimeras and sibylline cohabit while refusing any fusion. The speed of this first rhythmic stage of GENERATIONS fades in a din of streaks with shouting scarlet colors some 20 seconds before the 5th minute. The multiple beats of keyboard chords then dance randomly on the depth of a bass layer and its more coordinated pulsations. Their vibrations weave an elastic sound wave that gets musical with modulations undulating in a vision of Electronica that is confirmed when arpeggios fall into a canon-like rhythmic cohesion. A 3rd rhythmic structure in rubbery and strobe mode animates Generations (Part One) around its 11th minute. A powerful bass answers this rhythmic echo with good pulsations while the percussions remain in military and electronic mode. A seductive passage for the ears as it metamorphoses slightly some 5 minutes later, combining Electronica with a sequencer in Tangerine Dream mode as Justin Ludford polarizes the influences of The Glimmer Room in one of the most beautiful and melodic passages of GENERATIONS. The hairs on my arms and my soul have risen! The track takes another turn a little before its 22nd minute. After a brief energetic jolt, the music falls back into a stroboscopic sphere but more ambient this time while keeping its same charms. Except for its last 3 minutes animated by a series of bass-sequences, Generations (Part One) proposes a last third more in ambient minimalist rhythm mode where scarlet stripes and keyboard chords with silver tones join the dimensions of a good electronic music (EM) quite pleasant and easy to approach.

Synth waves and noisy wind horns, Generations (Part Two) starts with waves of metallic sounds over a distance of more than 2 minutes before tinkling and percussive chords are heard. They feed a rhythmic structure whose only ambition is to wander around extending a resonance that blends quite well into this industrial din setting. Beyond the fragile synth loops, organic chords appear around the 5th minute in a sound panorama dominated by these noisy synth layers and laments. The first metamorphosis of Generations (Part Two) takes place after its 6th minute. Percussions, bass-pulses and organic percussive effects settle underneath the gigantic metal screaming striations as a slightly jerky circular movement of the sequencer scrolls its sequences in a floating rhythm pattern. It turns into a spasmodic membrane making revival some musical memories of GENERATIONS' first part. Gradually, this long first segment of Generations (Part Two) moves towards a transition phase around its 10th minute. This short atmospheric bridge builds in intensity with powerful analogue synth layers and sequences that leap in the shadow of the previous one in a finely jerky ambient movement that reminds of Tangerine Dream. Chthonian shadows arise from austere keyboard chords and layers with an air of apocalyptic trumpets, always reminiscent of TD's analogue years. They accompany the procession of this long phase 2 of Generations (Part Two) which comes alive a bit but still remains in a soft vision of 70's ambient music.

From a lively EM to traditional Berlin School, passing by various sources of Electronica and industrial ambient music, GENERATIONS is a download album that covers a lot of ground. It's good Digital Horizons, quite accessible since the music is not as disparate as this kind of musical mosaic can sometimes create. The production, as well as the mastering, are neat so that the music is as attractive on speakers as in headphones.

Sylvain Lupari (March 28th, 2022) *****

Available at Digital Horizons Bandcamp

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