Forest Robots: Amongst A Panorama Of Non secular Reckoning
Launched 2nd April 2021
Purchase it from Bandcamp
The most recent album from Forest Robots will wash throughout you with its ambient, spacious sound waves. It’s tranquillity personified and splendidly composed by a talented artist. Go on, immerse your self. Gordon Rutherford evaluations for Louder Than Struggle.
There are few higher tasks that many people must carry in our lives than parenthood. California-based composer Fran Dominguez takes that duty extraordinarily severely. For him, his function as father to his younger daughter is the one most vital side of his life and he applies all of his musical talents to letting her know that. Certainly, he describes his music as a love letter to his daughter, one which expounds the wonders of nature and the legacy he needs to depart behind for her.
On his fourth and newest album, Amongst A Panorama Of Non secular Reckoning, Dominguez explores themes of spirituality, existentialism and ethics and the way every of those pertains to the expertise of parenthood in a world of instability and uncertainty. These are mighty huge themes and, by way of the titles of the ten tracks, we get a clue to what’s on the artist’s thoughts earlier than we even press play. It reads somewhat like a self-help handbook with titles reminiscent of In The Climb, Not The Summit, Lies The Most Knowledge and All Nice Issues Should Develop Via Dust First. As soon as we do get to the music, that sense of spirituality is additional underlined. This can be a assortment of beatific and ethereal glacial soundscapes, set firmly in ambient territory. These accustomed to Forest Robots’ glorious 2020 launch, After Geography (considered one of Bandcamp Each day’s Better of 2020), will discover few surprises right here. Dominguez clearly has a successful components and has decided that he ought to persist with it. And why not?
That total really feel derives from his different main affect. As an skilled mountaineer and all-around open-air fanatic (properly, you’d be in California, wouldn’t you), Dominguez takes inspiration from the nice outside and his explicit model of minimalist electronica does definitely evoke vivid landscapes in a single’s thoughts. Shut your eyes, let the sounds wash over you and also you visualise huge vistas. However curiously, the images conjured up by this album are extra akin to Far East than West Coast. With its chimes and marimba-like wood percussion, Amongst A Panorama Of Non secular Reckoning has the aura of tranquillity with its marked Jap mystical vibe, redolent of lush East Asian valleys enshrouding mystical, golden temples. In that respect, the album jogged my memory tremendously of Ryuichi Sakamoto’s early eighties collaborations with David Sylvian, such because the soundtrack to Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence and Bamboo Homes. Atmospherically, it has that numinous really feel; musically it’s laden with melodic percussion.
That strikingly peaceable Jap mysticism vibe seeps into your consciousness within the first few bars. The opening monitor, The Largest Soul Searches Require The Widest Forests begins with deeply resonating, plucked strings atop atmospheric synths. A discordant horn-like sound gives a beautiful counterpoint. That is adopted by the dream-like Sustenance Comes From The Roots, Not The Heights. Marimba-like percussion faucets out the melody, evoking photographs of wooden chimes plinking within the courtyards of temples of gold. Each of those tracks, significantly the latter, symbolize a powerful introduction to the album.
The rest of the album’s first half continues in the same vein, which leads me to considered one of my few criticisms of this Forest Robots launch. Because the album progressed past the second monitor, it felt as if it wasn’t transferring on sufficiently. By the point I reached the fifth monitor, In The Climb, Not The Summit, Lies The Most Knowledge, I used to be eager for it to do one thing totally different. I do know it’s ambient and that complete calming, meditative factor is the Forest Robots sound, however I simply needed one thing to happen and jolt me out of my reverie.
Fortunately, it got here alongside within the form of Even The Tallest Bushes Return To The Roots. Right here, Dominguez introduces one other fascinating counterpoint within the form of a scraping, discordant violin sound on prime of the synths and wooden percussion. Instantly, we’re again, prompted by the introduction of one thing sufficiently small to not detract from the tranquillity, however sufficiently big to make us sit up and listen. Satisfyingly, Dominguez continues with the nice surprises on the acoustic piano-led At all times The Tallest Mountain To Climb Resides Inside You. This monitor oozes character and heat because the sparse collection of notes mix to create one thing fairly stunning.
Nevertheless, the very best is but to come back and it arrives within the form of Mirror Your Endurance From Bushes, Persistence From Grass. As soon as once more, Dominguez introduces strings and brass that appear at odds with the jap chimes and waves of digital sound. He merges these totally different aspects exquisitely, creating a bit that’s totally spellbinding. It’s the excessive level of the album, a beautiful and spacious composition that may have you ever transfixed for its full three minutes and thirty-six seconds.
There isn’t a doubt that digital and ambient aficionados will love this album. Dominguez is a extremely expert composer who has produced an imaginative and thought-provoking assortment with Amongst A Panorama Of Non secular Reckoning. It’s an album that’s just like Boards Of Canada in the way in which it conjures up photographs of massive, spacious landscapes. And for these of you who aren’t absolute ambient geeks, relaxation assured that this album has a spot in your assortment. Certain, you’re unlikely to stay it on as you prepare for an enormous evening out in town. However there are all the time moments when you have to be transported some other place and it does that in spades. So, don the headphones, discover a darkish nook, lie again and stick Forest Robots on. I promise you, earlier than lengthy you can be in a extra peaceable place.
All phrases by Gordon Rutherford. Extra writing by Gordon might be present in his archive.