Forever exploring the connections between the physical world and spirituality, Fran Dominguez releases his fifth full-length album and delves further into the themes of existentialism, ethics, and parenthood in a time of great global cultural change.
Being a new parent myself this year, the changes within the world often capture my thoughts. Fran explores this beautifully – blending calmness and energy, creating these realms in which we consider the cycles of nature alongside our own innate cycles as humans.
From the outset, there’s a sense of heavy silence between moments – a stillness amidst uncertainty; a spacious presence. The Biggest Soul Searches Require The Widest Forests – It’s a statement that connects on a personal level for those of us who roam the forests in our free time, and always Forest Robots has this creative ability to rebuild these experiences in audio form.
Simplicity continues to guide us, simple layers or flickers of strings and rhythms, synths and details; breaths of life, water droplets glistening, roots strengthening and new branches of colour emerging. Long-form titles provoke thought every step of the way – Sustenance Comes From The Roots, Not The Height (a personal favourite). The depths of this statement are immeasurable, with so many aspects of existence proving relevant to its wisdom.
All Things Must Grow Through Dirt First. Another idea to ponder, as the bass notes of the ground contrast and encourage the lighter, higher ones that begin to spring out above.
Perhaps the titles on this project are more striking than any of his previous works. Or perhaps it’s the times we’re living in, giving new poignancy and strength to these philosophical musings. In either case, the mind is gifted the space and subtle guidance to consider them deeply and confidently here. We Only Die Once, But Can Be Grateful Every New Day. As always, these albums are about far more than music.
The concept of family stands out repeatedly within this collection – references to the roots, our inevitable return to them and need to reconnect; Even The Tallest Leaves Return To The Roots. Ideas true to me, personally, and comforting when thinking of the future. The music is uniquely detailed in each case, embracing the listener in a world of artistic reflection as the thoughts meander and grow.
Blending spacious extremes with subtle, retro keys – Mirror Your Patience From Trees, Persistence From Grass, a simple three-minutes-plus recording but with a surprisingly vast and intricate arrangement. Then to finish, the empowering wash of strength and knowledge that is A Weak Mind Will Never Defeat A Strong Soul. New dashes of composition detail, fragments of sounds, new takes on familiar samples.
Forest Robots consistently finds the right tools to build each soundscape and experience, and it’s always a refreshing pleasure to let yourself escape there.
Ambient, delicate, meditative – a breath of calm in a world of chaos. Enjoy.