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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

JOHAN TRONESTAM: Androids (2022)

An excellent musical journey in the heart of the cosmic French School

1 Cutting Edge 7:23

2 Self-learning 8:59

3 Awakenings 11:36

4 Artificial Intelligence 7:17

5 I'm Here 11:31

6 Among Us 11:17

7 Equality 12:41

8 Andromeda (A.I.) 8:45

(CD/DDL 79:33) (V.F.)

(Cosmic Rock, Berlin School)

Cutting Edge doesn't waste any time! The sequencer starts a pulsating line that zigzags in a slow strobe motion and already Johan Tronestam's solos fill our ears with a tasty analog bouquet. Vintage solos on a sequencer that spins the rhythm in cosmic orchestral arrangements are the prerogative of the first 2 minutes of Cutting Edge. Already captivating, it becomes even more so with the bass percussions that stimulates a rhythm evolving towards a good cosmic rock, half a minute before the 3rd. Welcome to ANDROIDS, the latest intergalactic adventure of the Åland Islands musician-synthesist. And the least we can say is that JT delivers here an excellent album where the influences of Jean-Michel Jarre flirt with the essences of Michael Garrison. Inspired by the immense possibilities, as much as the dangers, of Artificial Intelligence and the ever accelerating evolution of robots, Tronestam offers 8 evolutive tracks that are articulated around catchy rhythms always in permutations phases making them so fascinating, if not magnetizing. These polyrhythmic structures are born of rich atmospheric soundscapes filled of cosmic orchestral haze as well as secret voices, while the many beautiful synth solos are poetry without lyrics. This other excellent production of Groove nl is available as a manufactured CD, as well as a download on the website of the Dutch label.

And if like me you like these heavy and soft rhythms, your ears will be gorged to satiety on ANDROIDS. And it starts with Self-learning that get rid of these slow layers spreading their oblong wings in two colors on a distance of about 2 minutes. The synth weaves a short melody that feels very analog, releasing a tasty soft and slow rhythm sets on a bass-sequence line. The banging are catchy and are driven by great synth solos, the key element of ANDROIDS, in a structure that changes its rhythmic DNA in seductive phases, often with biphasic sequencer structures or circular lines grazing each others, culminating with the arrival of percussions between the 5th and 6th minute. All along its evolution, and the principle applies for the 6 other tracks, JT floods his rhythms, as his ambiences, of very good synth solos and hazy orchestral textures. At times, we have the impression that Gert Emmens contributes to the album so much the sequencing is that close. Awakenings stands out by the power of its synth solos. Synth that was also dominant in its opening. Its ascending rhythm line is born from between the entrails of a gargantuan beast, and as the solos roar, another structure centers in its midst and waddles until the percussions restructure the rhythm into an elegantly syncopated circular trance. Orchestral layers feed its ambiguity as the waddling movement works in an increasingly magnetizing manner. Artificial Intelligence does not have this long atmospheric intro. Its driving rhythm emerges from the 35th second under a cosmic night shrouded by solos and melodious snatches of a synth wandering between the universes of Jarre and Garrison. It is melodious and energetic cosmic rock which sounds like in the good years of the French School.

Drones coming from hollow breezes occupy the first 115 seconds of I'm Here. Slow synth layers emerge. Their musicality bows to the ambiences that fill with vocoder lyrics as a jerky effect from one of the threads of these layers is escaping to create a wave of reverberations. This setting brings us to the 5th minute where a soft, slow rhythm, swaying over tap effects, evolves into a heavier, driving structure some 2 minutes later. The vocoder is still heard, as well as some good percussion elements, on a heavy and slow structure with an excellent strobe angle and a synth that fills our ears with always great solos. Theatrical like a Walter C. Rothe work, I think of Let The Night Last Forever, the opening of Among Us leads to a first sober rhythm structure that will take a more dynamic growth about 20 seconds before the 5th minute. The sequencer speeds ups a line of ascending bass-sequences and another one whose unruly flow sculpts a spasmodic structure as in dozens of marbles hitting each other on a conveyor belt. Sumptuous lyrical solos brush past this biphasic structure under layers of cosmic mists and absent voices. Like Cutting Edge, Equality doesn't waste a second in order to introduce its sequencer which weaves a circular movement that develops with hashes in its flow. Its sound envelope breathes that of the vintage years with nice synthesized harmonies that furnish an increasingly accelerated pace. Its flow follows the trend of Among Us in a more sober musical envelope and always attracted by a cosmic vision. Let's say it's the kind of track that explains why it's not always necessary to put almost 80 minutes in a CD! Especially since it precedes the splendid, dramatic and melancholic Andromeda (A.I.) whose opening pushes on the influences of Vangelis in Blade Runner. A silky opening that leads to a rhythm that provides chills, so much so that its blossoming is anything but what one would have thought. A semi-slow and circular flow with theatrical flights of the synthesizer weaving solos and melodies in an interstellar mist whose each rhythmic pulsation resounds like a drop of rain on a skin of tenderized by these shivers. A very beautiful title which concludes a very solid album from Johan Tronestam!

Crowned of 8 tracks maximizing the art of captivating and melodious electronic music, this ANDROIDS from Johan Tronestam offers a very pleasant listening where our ears discover the art of wonder from track to track. An excellent musical journey in the heart of the cosmic French School in a no less excellent production by Groove nl. An album to own!

Sylvain Lupari (April 12th, 2022) ****¾*

Available at Groove nl

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