ALBUM: Sounds from the Electronic Garden
REVIEWER: Matthew J.
After numerous collections, retrospective and remixes, prolific UK artist Jonteknik is back with a brand new album. Always a talented producer, with his latest release Jonteknik proves that not only is he proficient at crafting tracks on a technical level, he's also capable of writing real songs. Thank in part to a number of guest vocalists, the offerings on this album are some of his most memorable. Both "Opposite to You" and "The Space Beneath Your Feet" feature a singer named Iebole, and both are magnificent in their own way; the former is understated and soulful, Iebole's croon in the foreground with quiet arpeggios and sampled strums behind, while the latter, though downtempo, borrows leads and a sense of psychedelic futurism from the trance scene. Paired with Iebole's rich vocals, the effect is something like a more retro-themed take on Swarf's techno-inspired pop. Scottish singer Blue-Jean Muir sings on "Hollow," and while the song itself is a fairly standard synthpop number, her voice is gorgeous enough to elevate it to one of the album's most addictive offerings. Deborah Lequoque isn't quite as stunning, but her French vocals bring a subtly continental coolness to "Electrons Libre" that is sure to appeal to fans of groups like Celluloide and Foretaste. As for the instrumental offerings, Jonteknik continues to pay homage to classic electro with tracks like "A Cold War by Modern Design" with its moody analog arpeggios and "Time" with its sampled ticking clocks and synthesized speech. He also plays with ambient tropes on opening track "Tabula Rasa," with its tinkling synth sequences, bittersweet harmonic textures and tinny beats, and "Raymond," a rhythmic (though mostly drum-free) composition of fuzzy sequenced electronic tones. Occasionally things feel more like sketches than complete tracks, as on "King of the Mountains," which sounds a bit like a synthpop song with the vocals missing until a keyboard melody finally kicks in, but fans of early techno will especially love Jonteknik's sparse arrangements of pulsing breakbeats and warbling synthesizers, and the presence of vocals on a number of songs help to broaden his potential audience.
For more information, visit www.jonteknikmusic.com.
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