ALBUM: Tones from Home (1994-1999)
REVIEWER: Matthew J.
Drawing on classic synthpop as well as techno, house and electro, Jonteknik's compositions are instrumental dance tracks for the most part, but his ability to take vintage-sounding electronic blips and beeps and turn them into infectious melodies will be instantly recognizable to anyone who's ever danced to Depeche Mode's "Just Can't Get Enough" or Pet Shop Boys' "West End Girls." Collecting 12 tracks from his output from throughout the '90s, this retrospective starts off with "Go Back," a classic electro offering with science fiction synths whirring and wheeling over funky breakbeat loops, then moves in a slightly moodier direction with "Radio Station," an even more playful assemblage of classic breaks and digitized vocal snippets. "Move" enters unabashed dance territory with speedy techno beats and sampled female speech delivered in a seductive tone that adds a hint of sexiness to the perky rhythms. The rest of the album ranges from classic dance floor filler, like the electro/house crossover "New York City," to playful but thoughtful synthpop like "Mauve," with its tinny keyboard melodies, to melodic ambient offerings like "Film," which combines string patches with the more abstract electronic tones that characterizes much of Jonteknik's music. On the ambient side of things, "Central" is particularly intriguing; it starts off as what seems to be a classic techno build, with looping outer space arpeggios that seem ready to burst into a thumping club beat at any moment but never quite do, instead regressing into the spaced out textures of '70s synthesizer experimentation. Also noteworthy is "October," which finishes the CD off with Jonteknik's most modern offering, a mellow and cinematic composition of piano chords, synth strings, and snippets of soulful vocals that's got as much in common with Moby as it does with anything from the early '80s. It also goes a step further toward painting a portrait of Jonteknik's versatility; given the fact that he's able to switch so smoothly from house to synthpop to ambient, it's clear from this collected overview that his reliance on vintage sounds comes from his passion for them, not from a lack of ability to do anything else, and that carefully chosen aesthetic helps to bring these diverse songs together into a cohesive whole that sounds more like an album than an arbitrary "greatest hits" collection.
Visit Jonteknik online at www.jonteknik.com.
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