Classic analog electronica and spacemusic drifts await on the latest release from Sensory++, Particles. Rife with all the familiar waypoints of the style, this disc is a fun and engaging ride. The opening track, “Alpha,” almost goes out of its way to run down the checklist. Big, dramatic galactic-vista pads? Check. Knob-twiddling Oxygene-style sound spirals? Check. Ear-filling “launch sequence” sounds? Check. Arpeggiated space harp? Check! Let’s go! Musician Joost Egelie is clearly well-versed in (and loves) the old-school style, and that translates here. He captures its energy and the low versus high/angles versus curves equation that defines it, then takes it for his own ride. His sequencer work is sharp, fast, and clear–listen to the bass-loaded run of “Beta.” Better yet, take the high-powered cruiser “Majorana” out for a spin. From the punchiness of the sequencers to the slightly tinny twang at the outset, this is the stuff us old guys fell in love with back in the day. A little bit Kraftwerk, a little bit Jarre, and plenty of TD. The melody soars, the bass anchors, and the listener is simply caught up in the wash. I also like the cool use of 8-bit chipset sounds, courtesy of the Vice for Mac Commodore-64 emulator, in “Gamma.” A fun and familiar blast from the past. Egelie’s drifts are calm and far-reaching in that “let me describe space for you” way. “Charm” is your point of reference for this. Long pads stretch toward the distance, the low end long and steady, the high end shifting and wavering. Sharp, hollow tones clink and clatter at the start, then fade back off, to return after a long, meditative stretch. Egelie keeps an eye on the space between notes here; nothing is hurried. Also check “Ion,” a spacemusic ride that may get a bit too ta-da in spots, like when it shifts to march-like cadence. However, when Egelie heads back into a quieter space toward the end of the track, it lets you appreciate more what he can do with a less-heavy hand.
Particles should be on the must-listen list for those who cut their electro-music teeth on the early stuff and those who still worship at the analog altar. It’s not new, but it’s the old done well. This disc has gotten a lot of repeat listens at Hypnagogue HQ.
Available at Bandcamp.