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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

JOHAN TRONESTAM: Compunctio (2014)

Updated: Jun 29, 2021

Compunctio is a nice meeting point between lot of old Berlin School reminiscences well mixed in a contemporary scent

1 Intro3:13

2 Loneliness7:40

3 Between the Lost and the Coming8:16

4 What is the Truth6:42

5 Rituals6:56

6 Rituals II6:32

7 The End and the Beginning7:18

8 Ritual Combinations7:20

9 Recognition8:19

(CD-r/DDL 62:19) (V.F.)

(Melodious analog Berlin School)

The beauty is often in the simplicity! We remember these years where the cosmic rock surfed on Teutonic percussions, of which the rattlesnakes' tones sat imposingly on robotics beatings, and lovely synth solos filled of dreamy coils? This is downright what we have with the universe of COMPUNCTIO. A meeting point between the fluid rhythms of Michael Garrison, and those more cosmic of Jean-Michel Jarre, as well as Klaus Schulze's vibes of ether, this last Johan Tronestam's album is a real gold mine for those who like the lively rhythms of the cosmic rock in what it of more traditional there. Another electronic rendezvous wisely selected by the SynGate label which, undoubtedly, amazes more and more.

Intro throws us the first measures of an album where the rhythms are forged by a docile complexity. Lively percussions and line of jerked sequences a bit staggering, the rhythm is as melodious as lively with words effects that will remind the essays of JMJ on the use of voices in sound effects. The synth is magnetising with a soft ghostly melody which floods its obedience in synth pads filled of ethereal voices and electronic chirpings which stabilize the fights between the rhythms et ambiences in this album. Except these ethereal cosmic effects, the synth embroiders some very pleasant lyrical solos which call back the beauty of the analog years. And down from its 3:14, Intro modifies subtly the axis of its rhythm, showing the unpredictable colors of an attractive album of electronic cosmic rock. The beginning of Loneliness lets hear knocks of percussions which roam in wind corridors ventilated by hoarse breezes and twisted waves. This start of ambient rhythm forms a strange carillon filled by knocks of percussions which flutter in dark winds. Moreover, the last groans expel a march of resonant sequences of which the sinusoidal knocks root a rhythm as heavy as tottering. A delicate melodious membrane is covering this rhythm which stuffs itself with percussions and of their fluttering knocks while that quite slowly, Johan Tronestam spreads a melodious shroud that will be our first. Set apart this melody, the synth, which will always be so charming, throws these effects of mist and voices from outer world that will channel all the cybernetic beauties of a work which aims to be the mirror of pain, as physical as spiritual. Each detail matters here. If the rhythms are at the effigy of the Teutonic cosmic rock, the ambiences are modelled on the interstellar model of the French school as established by Jarre himself. At this level, Between the Lost and the Coming shows both models. And even more! The intro is embroidered in the mystery with percussions to the skin of rattlers which ring in somber moods. Twisted breezes adorn the mysteries while that quite slowly a Germanic rhythm spreads its hold with big staggering steps. This ambient rhythm is submerged by beautiful solos with psychedelic essences and cosmic gurglings, whereas that quite slowly pads of ether a la Schulze ennoble the music which swings constantly between the rhythmic simplicity of COMPUNCTIO and its a little more progressive visions.

After this almost ambient interlude, What is the Truth skips in our ears with this meshing of sequences and percussions which forge the cosmic rhythms of the album. Multilingual voices hold our ears on the alert, knotting a tiny link between the docile and melodic rhythms of Kraftwerk, while the synths are mixing mists and solos full of an oniric sweetness. And, as a little throughout this 4th album of the Finnish musician, the rhythms evolve in delicacy at the whim of percussions slamming in the winds of Orion and sequences which become a little more incisive. We enter this phase where the influences of Tangerine Dream besiege the compositions of Johan Tronestam. Rituals presents a lively and very catchy rhythm. A rhythm which follows variable curves, and which is submerged by a very creative synth among which the superb twists and solos pierce some very nice orchestrations as well as voices filled with mist. This is a second crush that hooks us at the very first listening. You have to hear these very sweet cosmic solos which infuse essences of Jarre. Splendid! Rituals II is somehow a bit dreamier. This is a kind of music piece which charms at each new listening. The mark of a good track which proposes a rhythmic structure as ambient as on Between the Lost and the Coming while the ambiences are embracing those of the French musician in his Ethnicolor, from the Zoolook album. We remember the ping-pong fight on Concerts in China? It's what jumps to ears with the very ambiospherical opening of The End and the Begining which eventually adopt the structure of the sinusoidal sequences in Loneliness. Except that this time the rhythm is clearly more robotic, a la Kraftwerk. It's a solid old vintage cosmic rock with electronic percussions which hammer a Teutonic beat covered of robot voices and good, very good, synth solos of which the hybrid tones don't get rid of their hold as ethereal as cosmic. We stamp of the feet! Here and on the superb Ritual Combinations which is, and by far, the most beautiful track among the 62 minutes of this album. The fans of the Garrison-style of analog rhythms of will be filled here. And the melody.... Hum, simply great! Recognition ends this Johan Tronestam's first album outside the lands of TeamQuasar with a rather ambivalent rhythm. Sometimes uncertain and sometimes incisive, it flutters between moods sometimes ethereal and sometimes rather cynical of a track which is the logical conclusion of an album which fills our ears of some great structures in constant permutation.

Structures where the rhythmic logic of Johan Tronestam flirts with the morphic vibes à la Jarre on vaporous rhythms à la Garrison or robotic à la Kraftwerk. And sometimes we discern nebulous reminiscences of Klaus Schulze and even of TD, testifying to a very beautiful album that will rally a whole generation of EM lovers, from the vintage years to those more contemporary.

Sylvain Lupari (August 11th, 2014) *****

Available at SynGate Bandcamp

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