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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

JOHAN TRONESTAM: Luther (2017)

Updated: Jun 29, 2021

“Luther is yet another excellent album from Johan Tronestam who never stop to amaze and will please undoubtedly to fans of Garrison and Jarre”

1 Chosen 8:12 2 Bad Feelings 8:42 3 To Rome 7:48 4 Come Closer 8:32 5 Conflict 7:16 6 Excommunicated 12:46 7 The Liberation 7:30 8 Legacy 7:42 SynGate | CD-rJT05

(CD-r/DDL 68:00) (VF) (French School Cosmic Rock)

I'm listening on a loop this LUTHER since almost one week now and I'm still amaze by the quality of the writing and the structures of rhythms of this last opus of the Swedish musician. Introduced on the life of the Augustin monk Martin Luther, Johan Tronestam

did an in-depth piece of research on the one who established the bases of the Protestant reformation which was adopted by the Lutheran Churches and by ricochet, and in its major principles, by the other Protestant Churches. Set apart the idea behind the music, which actually gets cover at some places of a pastoral veil with layers of ethereal voices and with some esoteric passages, Johan Tronestam hasn't reform at all his approach. LUTHER is built on catchy rhythms. The sequencer and the electronic percussions live very well together while the decoration always remains closer to celestial bodies that of the Earth. The cosmic ambiences of the French School dominate, moreover the sonic prose is not far from the romantic fragrances of France, whereas the synths sculpture sound pleasures which are truly the first symbols of EM.

A series of bass sequences shapes a sort of Amerindian tribal dance of which the hypnotic approach waddles under rumblings of a sky on the edge of the explosion. Johan Tronestam gives the kick-off to his last opus with a structure built on the vitality of his sequencer. A shadow of the beat gets loose slowly from the primary movement of Chosen in order to dance on another pace. Already this subdivision of the rhythm excites my sense of hearing that the synth illuminates the ambiences with melancholic laments. Thunders still rumble when the rhythm spreads its tentacles with two lines of akin sequences and another which changes the dynamic with an organic approach as well as percussions in mode; bombard me a tiny techno for zombies. A bass line adds more fluidity to the rhythm that Tronestam seasons with attractive electronic effects, layers of voices and synth solos of more harmonious than acrobatic. And our neck rolling on this lively rhythmic pattern, Chosen enhances its seduction with a good harmonious approach which finds its place in its 2nd half. One finds on this track all the ingredients and the approaches which connect to the 60 other minutes of LUTHER, making of it a very good album of spacey electronic rock. Bad Feelings begins its onset towards our ears with an introduction knotted around the mystery. But this series of fascinating panting is short-lived because the ambiences are fading away when a lively structure of rhythm spits a good electronic rock. This is a very lively beat interweaved around spasmodic jerks and supported by other electronic percussions, without ornaments, as well as voracious keyboard keys where our hips roll faster than the neck. Besides of its cosmic effects, the synth is very good with its outfit of creative solos which float, sing and make ethereal twists. To Rome shows another Johan Tronestam's facet with the use of a vocoder. The rhythm is furtive, almost dramatic and intense, in its static spiral which turns between the 4th and the 5th minute into a cosmic mid-tempo with sequences and more active percussions. And as usual in the Tronestam style, the synth crowns this rhythmic ascent with other good solos. After its very cinematographic introduction, where stroll others very good synth solos which pushes the whole thing with an octave higher, Come Closer rushes towards our ears with a cosmic rhythm structured on fluid sequences and effects which belong more to the signature Tronestam than that of Jean-Michel Jarre.

It's a very good staging for the synth which doesn't stop to amaze my ears with very good harmonious solos. Conflict possesses all the ingredients necessary for a hit which would play in loops on any FM radio, like those hits from the French synthesist in his era of Oxygene to Rendezvous. The rhythm is animated by a nice meshing of sequences and seductive percussive effects. Voices murmur in the background and even sing a melody which hooks on the first listening while the cosmic effects and the harmonies of the synth suit very well to the pace. Solos? Effective and in the note! A very good piece of music. Excommunicated fits great to the idea behind its title with a somber and very esoteric introduction. A slow rhythm extricates itself from these ambiences a little after the point of 2 minutes. It adopts a soft romantic phase with a kind of smooth ride in the world of sequences and synthesizers and a crescendo which is carefully smothered by good electronic effects and a synth to the melancholic melody. The Liberation is certainly the 2nd hit of this album. The rhythm is slow and of an attractive languor which incites us to the dance. Always so skillful in the art to create melodies for which we whistle easily, Johan Tronestam reaches a level of excellence with this one which is as much catchy than the pace of the music. Brilliant! Legacy concludes this excellent album with a slow beat, like another soft ride but this time without greater swiftness, where effects and cosmic mists dominate in a sonic decoration which equals that of the opening track.

LUTHER is another strong opus from Johan Tronestam that will please undoubtedly the fans of Michael Garrison and Jean-Michel Jarre for its cosmic perfumes. But the rhythms and the solos! They are delicious from A to Z with this touch, in particular at the level of the rhythmic design where everything is alike, but nothing is similar, unique to Johan Tronestam. And if the Swedish musician was around the EM scene at the same time than of Jarre and Garrison, one would speak about him today like we speak about them at the moment. To put on your buying list…

Sylvain Lupari (November 12th, 2017) ****½*

Available on SynGate Bandcamp

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