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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari


Updated: Jun 29, 2021

“Here is an exquisite blend of ambient, melodic and rhythmic music”

1 Space 6:03 2 New Horizons 4:46 3 Last Flight of Cassini 6:13 4 Neptune Flyby 5:18 5 Weightless 4:26 6 Ad Astra 6:30 7 Tales from A Starship 6:24 8 A Journey to The Pillars of Creation 7:42 9 Back to Earth 5:54 Johan Tronestam Music

(DDL 53:18) (V.F.) (Space Rock)

Johan Tronestam had a 2017 year which was as high as the expectations of his fans and the fans of cosmic rock in particular. Space Collection and especially the excellent Luther make no doubt; the Swedish synthesist is now in a class of his own. A conclusion which took shape since Roots and Legends from the North released in 2013. This time he teams up with Wolfgang Gsell, an accomplished musician who plays the synth since the end of the 80's and who made numerous collaborations, in particular since 2013, with an avalanche of publications on the label Aural Films and in an independent way on his Bandcamp site. And a little as Johan Tronestam his approach varies between the ambient, the melodious and the sequenced styles. Thus, we are entitled to expect a collaboration which should give very good results. And still here, the music of SPACE flirts pleasantly with those expectations. The rhythms are tied up well with a just balance between electronic percussions and sequences deliciously heavy and slow. The ambiences are well imagined with synths which forge splendid settings by a creative injection (neither too much nor a few) of effects. They develop luxurious layers which try to put to sleep down-tempos as the mid-tempos and also some very good solos where harmonious threads are not hanging around not too far behind. In brief, a superb album of cosmic rock!

Breezes of Orion and chants of Venus decorate the lunar opening of the title-track which quietly goes adrift in a cosmos and its intriguing sounds before the first palpitations of percussions liven up the atmospheres around the 3rd minute. And beyond the infinite cosmos and layers of gregarious voices, Space metamorphoses into a slow but still rousing cosmic rock swollen with carbon dioxide and with enveloping layers. The addition of the other percussions livens up a little more a pace which adorns itself of beautiful solos with songs tunes a bit sharp. The tone is set to this first collaboration between Johan Tronestam and Wolfgang Gsell. With its cosmic Gregorian chants, New Horizons snatches directly this sensitive thread which feeds the excitement of our hearing papillae. The rhythm is in the same vapors as in Space but appreciably more jerky, while the harmonious approach is sculpted by chords of a keyboard which ring like an acoustic guitar. The density of the lunar decoration is simply invading, and the synths realize a just sharing between the effects and the timid little more harmonious approaches towards the finale of an eclectic title which puts us in confidence for what is coming next. In the genre, Neptune Flyby is even heavier and livelier with another skillful mixture between Gregorian songs and some very beautiful synth solos. The rhythm? Settled between a good meshing of percussions and sequences, which make beautiful unexpected breakthroughs, it's the kind to make us stamp of both feet and to make us roll the neck.

Last Flight of Cassini plunges us into the universe of cosmic rhythms signed Johan Tronestam where the perfumes of Jarre and of Michael Garrison throne over this electronic rock also shaped on good percussions and on lively sequences. Weightless is just as much delicious between its impulses rationed by phases of indecision. Effects of voice melted in the harmonies of a synth and layers of foggy silk add a very extraterrestrial dimension to a title forged for its elements of atmospheres. Soft, slow and lively Ad Astra is the reflection of its music and cogitates on a lunar down-tempo with many cosmic ornaments and mini-lines of synth which wave and draw a depth of a tempestuous ocean. This is a good track with nice effects in the solos and with intersidereal gongs which bring our senses to another level. After a nice introduction with an intersidereal touch and which is centralized on an Extraterrestrial voice frozen in a vocoder, A Journey to The Pillars of Creation bewitches our senses with a slow rhythmic blooming which turns in a beautiful and catchy down-tempo. All the sonic fineries of a cosmic music inspired of the 70's are there and circulate or float through very nice solos from a synth very relax in its aerial approach. Tales from A Starship is as much effective and doesn't hesitate to bite its slow rhythm, which is in earlier here, with slamming percussions. The immense waashh and wooshh of intersidereal vessels are good intriguing decorations, moreover they open the path to A Journey to The Pillars of Creation, while the synths stay creative with a good lunar decoration, effects of cosmic video games and nice slices of melodies that we whistle easily. Very effective in the vision of its mission, Back to Earth ends this other Johan Tronestam's superb cosmic chapter with a melody shaped on an acoustic six-strings. A fanciful and cosmic decoration gets grafted in what could have be a very good radio hymn but which teleports rather towards a very good mid-tempo seasoned of the cosmic elements and these tunes of synth which tickle the threads of our soul from start to end of this very nice opus from the duo Tronestam/Gsell.

Sylvain Lupari (December 18th, 2017) ****½* Available at Johan Tronestam Bandcamp

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