JOHAN TRONESTAM: Arthur Went Above the Clouds (2016)
Updated: Jul 1
“This is a very catchy album loaded of those cosmic beats and moods of the 70's and 80's with influences from Michael Garrison and Alan Parsons”
1 Climbing the Beanstalk 11:12 2 A Reflection on Possibilities 8:48 3 A New Discipline 7:58 4 Arthur went Above the Clouds 8:46 5 The Kármán Line 6:44 6 A Journey of no Return 9:26 7 Magnitude 7:48 8 Mining Operations in the Solar System 8:36 9 Anti-gravity 8:46 SynGate – CD-R JT04
(CD-r/DDL 78:04) (V.F.) (Classical cosmic rock)
Always inspired by works of science fiction, Johan Tronestam dives into Arthur C. Clark's universe to produce another little jewel of cosmic electronic rock which always hesitates between the influences of Jean Michel Jarre and Michael Garrison. Composed between 2013 and 2015, ARTHUR WENT ABOVE THE CLOUDS is a collection of 9 titles, from what I've read there is enough material for another album which could be released later, which draws its roots from The Long Journey and that the synthesist from Sweden dedicates to the memory of his father who died last March.
After an ambiospherical introduction which clocks the 150 seconds, Climbing the Beanstalk reveals a good electronic rock which gets closer to The Long Journey's opening. The rhythm is supported by sober percussions which hammer a soft but lively pace and a line of sequences which scatters shining shadows. We hear synth waves which copied the mooing of sirens and which also throws some very nice aerial solos which bath in a tearful harmonious approach. We are in the lands of Tronestam and we already like it! A Reflection on Possibilities is livelier, more punchy, with motorik percussions, jumpy sequences and synth layers which float with a bit of mystery in the harmonies. It's a catchy track that put fire to our feet and which does very Michael Garrison with a good sonic decoration where the cosmos challenges e-rock. The second part offers a beautiful fight between sequences and percussions which restructures slightly a rhythmic approach wrapped up in celestial humming. The feet bite the beat! The opening of A New Discipline reminds me that of Voice from Alan Parsons' Robot album. Although a little more livened up, it's between a mid and an up tempo and the structure of bass sequences calls back memories. Little by little, Johan Tronestam decorates his approach with sequences which flicker under the soft waves of a synth loaded of floating and melancholic harmonies, especially with the appearance of a choir of spectres. The title-track begins in an ambiospherical mood with a kind of funeral march where the synth lays down plaintive harmonies. The rhythm settles down gradually to reach a good pace with nervous sequences which skip in a chaotic approach. Always very present, the synth scatters melodies and effects between nice small solos and layers of voices. The approach is very progressive, and it makes of it one of the most interesting titles of Johan Tronestam's repertoire. The Kármán Line offers another good electronic rock with a mid-tempo fed by a structure of sequences of which the mixed leaps give an approach as fluid as jerky. One would say a train which rolls quietly on summits decorated with voices and with cosmic effects. The harmonies, set apart the voices maybe, are absent here. I like the soft and wave-like rhythm of A Journey of no Return where the synth amazes with its very melancholic approach. It's my little crush here because of its melancholy which does very French movies of the 70's. Very good! Magnitude goes between the both poles of The Kármán Line and A Journey of no Return. Mining Operations in the Solar System is a catchy cosmic rock which is smothered in its envelope of bass sequences which oscillates with the fluidity of its heaviness. Anti-gravity ends this album with a soft and hopping rhythm coated by layers and astral solos.
How not to like the music of Johan Tronestam? Navigating on the influences of 2 big actors in the field of the electronic cosmic rock, the Swedish synthesist always offers a catchy music which is stuffed of beautiful harmonies, good intergalactic sound effects and great solos. An EM where the synth and the sequencing pattern live freely without overshadowing one or another. And ARTHUR WENT ABOVE THE CLOUDS is molded in this style. A very good album which is going to please undoubtedly to fans of the Swedish synth-man. And to those who miss Michael Garrison's style. And if it's your case, you should follow then the artistic path of Johan Tronestam.
Sylvain Lupari (November 8th, 2016) ***½**
Available at Johan Tronestam Bandcamp