Always an artist known to embrace creativity, artistic expression, and the changing seasons, Forest Robots returns this November with a rightfully autumn-themed new album.
At this point in his journey, there’s a certain air of professionalism and character throughout his work. The opening moments immediately put the listener at ease – here comes that fine fusion of retro electronica and the sounds of the natural world; here comes the dreamland, the ethereal bliss.
I’m tempted to say I lost myself in this album more easily than the last couple. Perhaps it’s that now familiar and trusted approach, or perhaps it’s that there’s an instant sense of rhythm and melody that quickly but calmly washes over you.
From Just Before Nightfall In The Forest, through Everything Under The Light Of The Full Moon, the sci-fi-meets-the-natural-world aura rains down with stunning delicacy, as well as an EDM-like energy and pace. You can relax to this, and you can get stuff done – it picks you up or settles you down, depending on what you need from it. Furthermore, these 11 tracks in full flow beautifully into one-another. It feels like a complete and relevant playlist, a short film or blanket of escapism that you can completely succumb to.
While the music provides all of the above, it also exists on some deeper plain of thought. If you choose to, you can dig further into it – consider each title and the underlying themes, then see where the music really has the power to take you. This changes the experience intensely, but whichever manner in which you choose to listen, you can rely upon the music to gift you something refreshing and worthwhile.
In The Late Autumn Afternoon Rainstorm sees a hint of melancholy emerge, cooling rainfall and time to consider. Then Deep In The Milky Way Spectrum takes things full sci-fi, complete with intense pauses, and gripping contrast between retro bass-notes and lighter, distant high notes. There’s less rhythmic embrace here and more of a vastness and unpredictability, for the most part. The latter half undoubtedly finds its groove though.
The Last of The Melting Snow brings a longer moment of pause, simplicity but with complex, artistic undertones. Then Times When I Know You Watch The Sky II sees this profound and other-worldly aura meet with a simple trip-hop beat and guide you gently through these quietly pulsating, unique scenes and ideas; all of which will be something new for each listener – another treasured characteristic of Forest Robots’ work. There’s a classic, nostalgic vibe to this one that really takes you back if you let it.
As the latter half progresses, there are more than a few moments of creative insight that take you somewhere unexpected. The Clouds That First Gather At The Mountain, for example, is at one moment a film-ready, rhythmic accompaniment for the remake of Flight Of The Navigator, and at other moments, is purely a series of effects and communicative details that take you right up to the mountain side. Faint Sunlight In The Far Horizon plays a similar series of tricks, but drives with an overwhelming touch of sadness (a personal observation).
At the penultimate moment, Of Rivers And Rivers Of Light is a weird one, somewhat tribal yet decidedly electronic at the same time – calming and unsettling all at once. The title though, has the power to redirect the experience, and as you consider the associated images, the journey varies significantly.
Afterwards, Follow The Fog and The Rain is outright an addictive and memorable highlight. Partly dance-floor and remix ready, simplistic in riff and synth use, partly insistent on transporting listeners to the natural world and away from anything remotely related to the rat-race. Simple and short yet multi-faceted and a clever way to finish things up.
Accompanied by a short film, All Things Grow Faint With Great Adorn In Autumn, Forest Robots proves himself an artist through and through with this release – consistently in the moment, thoughtful, and in search of a greater sense of meaning and direction.
Not just music to be tried out or skimmed through, this is an album you can turn to, again and again, in any number of settings. Categorically up there with the best of them. The Forest Robots catalogue in full offers so much in the way of timeless, considerate and multi-layered soundscape creations.