Jon brooks' new album has finally arrived. Autres Directions comes hot on the heels of Brooks' recent collaboration with Ed & Edd of The Friendly Fires (who also produced a stunning compilation plucked from the Chapell AV library archives recently called 'Glistens', for which Brooks wrote the linear notes). It also follows 2015's '52' under his own name and the haunting synthy epic 'From Out Here' in 2014. Not to mention running the Cafe Kaput label and giving the mastering touch to my personal favourite album last year (and the shop's number 4) 'Stasis' by Pye Corner Audio.
So, busy then? It would appear so, but fortunately it doesn't come across in the music. As with all of his work (in whatever guise it may take), the music is meticulously crafted, brilliantly evocative and thoroughly beautiful.
The wonky clicking percussives of 'Se Reveiller' spring forth from a trademark static drone and pastoral melodic turn, blooming into a woozy swirling synth loop. 'Le Chateau' comes in where the previous left off, offering the same sort of hazy lilt but this time bolstered with swelling pads resonating around the stereo field and a swooning LFO-warped filter sweep lending variety and inconsistencies to the slowly building euphoric shimmer. These first two pieces act as an acclimatising influence, readying the ears for the graceful journey that is to come. PN_17 takes things further towards the retro-futuristic dystopian realms always present in his works, dampening the unease with airy field recording of bird chirps, balancing the organic relief expertly with the cavernous inorganic swells of static sines and grounded electric hums.
The eponymous track is as much a continuation of this theme as it is a thematic repeater, giving new outlooks on previously established territories and giving them scope to bloom into new realms. Led by a brilliantly satisfying looping bass riff, forging it's way forwards despite the ambient scree blocking the path. There is an urgency to the (completely beatless) rhythm here that incrementally but imperceptibly builds before quickly fading away into the distance.
Move further along and Lanverec is a gothic sidestep, trading in the same ambient flourishes but led by chillingly forlorn organ swells and whole-body washes of aquatic delay and plate 'verb.
As impressive and immersive as anything i've heard, this collection is a testament to Brooks' skill as a sound designer and songwriter. It is at once bold and chilling, forges memories and dreams carved out of the juxtaposition of unease, and the comfort of symbiotic communication. Autres Directions is a thing of wonder, and yet more evidence that Jon Brooks is indeed one of the greatest composers out there today.
STAFF COMMENTSBarry says: Get in there quick for this one folks, it's a very limited and intensely brilliant sidestep for Brooks, but shining with everything you'd expect from him, and more. Can't recommend this one enough.
FORMAT INFORMATIONLtd LP Info: Orange Vinyl, Limited repress!
Ltd LP includes MP3 Download Code.