JOHAN TRONESTAM: Next Steps (2020)
Updated: Jul 1
“Catchy rhythms interspersed with ambient phases, inspired melodies and great synth solos sunk in cosmic mist, the best of JT's recipees”
1 Departure 10:02
2 Moonchild (Back to the Moon) 9:18
3 The First Colony 8:49
4 2035 (Red Ground) 11:56
5 Flyby 10:14
6 Lagrange Point 8:23
7 Footsteps on Titan 11:49
8 Home Sweet Home 8:02
(CD/DDL 78:26) (V.F.)
(Cosmic rock, Berlin School)
It's in a cosmic setting, unique to Johan Tronestam's vision , that NEXT STEPS arrives in the coffers of Groove nl. Available in manufactured CD and for download, NEXT STEPS explores the confines of Cosmos in search of planets that can be colonized by humans. The 79 minutes of music are built in the purest JT tradition; catchy rhythms interspersed with ambient phases, inspired melodies and great synth solos sunk in cosmic mist. An album that can be listened to and be easily shared with newcomers in EM's realm!
And one of his great strengths is to start his albums with a catchy title, as much in terms of rhythm as in harmonies. It's therefore in a cosmic setting that Departure approaches our ears. Stars make their sparkles sing on the resonant whispers of arpeggios forgotten in the Cosmos. Already, a rhythm line makes its hasty flow heard. Hopping from one key to another, it sets its parameters in an electronic realm where the synth lets its first wandering airs emerge. The percussions arrive at the same time as the intensity sets in. Driven by modulations, the rhythm goes together with sober percussions in cosmic rock mode while the lines of sequences intersect their paces. The synth flows with an oneiric softness, caressing these stars which have never ceased to sparkle with their seraphic harmonies. Singing solos adorn this ambient phase which cuts the Departure's in half route. The title returns with more vigor and with synthesized impulses which make us dance of the head, while the synth sculpts its most beautiful harmonious chants on a structure which begins a circular trip, twirling with vigor like the blades of a helicopter cutting the atmosphere in sharp jerks. This is how Departure is made of, and so are the other seven NEXT STEPS' titles. Moonchild (Back to the Moon) offers a slower rhythm in an infinitely ascending form, like one of these good ambient and cosmic Berlin School. Even slow, this light tempo remains catchy and serves like basis for a magnificent synth weaver of solos and melodies as beautiful in fog banks that make us dream. If the rhythm slightly accentuates its cadence in the second half, the layers of celestial voices are there to make it dream as much as we do. We are entering in a first phase of Dark Ambient with the opening of The First Colony and these buzzing and dark winds that howl in a relative tranquility. The palette of cosmic sound effects and the orchestral waves of the synth help to appreciate this opening of atmospheres which returns to a rhythmic life after another long breath in a cosmic horn. The rhythm is woven into the work of a sequencer and its looped oscillations, as well as sober percussions in mode of electronic rock. The sequencer doubles the bet with another line of sequences more stubborn and of which the crystal-clear tone of the keys takes all the place in loudspeakers. The synth remains noble with lines of melodies coming from solos which roll in symbiosis with this good cosmic rock.
After an ambient opening that flirts with the 4 minutes, 2035 (Red Ground) releases undulating synth layers in what takes the form of a nice electronic ballad. The hopping rhythm of the sequencer accentuates the pace when JT gives it wings with another line which hops in parallel in a race which crosses banks of ocher dust and mists. The synth directs its layers in a rather timid orchestral vision, keeping its charm for good peaceful synth solos which sculpt some nice nostalgic melodious visions. It sounds like Software imitating Jean-Michel Jarre in his Oxygene years. A snap curtly stops this rhythmic ascent which evaporates in a valley of mist. Flyby is also born from the same introductory phenomenon of 2035 (Red Ground) before flying away in a solid electronic rock supported by sober percussions and a line of sequences which skip in block, like the inert action of eggs on a conveyor. The rhythm is very catchy, the most catchy even of NEXT STEPS, while being washed down with particularly good harmonious solos of a creative synth. A great title! After an introduction caramelized of variegated tones and of which the ambiences flirt with the ambient tribal style of a newly discovered planet, Lagrange Point offers one of these ambient cosmic rock unique to JT's repertoire. Footsteps on Titan is another good cosmic rock that stands out by its stationary state, even with the thrusts of the sequencer in a pattern of intersecting rhythm lines which give a nice effect of shift between the two lines. The synth is in symbiosis with this hypnotic rhythm and the foggy chants which are deposited by layers with a tone quite close to Rick Wright's. A melody woven by an electronic guitar throws a little beauty in this title which is a kind of prelude to Home Sweet Home. This ambient title, with a Pink Floyd-style opening à la Wish You Where Here, offers a rhythm without tonus. A rhythm of an electronic shuttle and its pioneers who are tired of traveling and who come home with the weight of adventures, and misadventures, of their cosmic odyssey on their shoulders ...
Another good album by Johan Tronestam!
Sylvain Lupari (June 30th, 2020) ***¾**
Available at Groove nl