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Jonas Reinhardt

Music For The Tactile Dome

[Not Not Fun; 2011]

By ; November 30, 2011 

Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOG

Jonas Reinhardt, the brainchild of San Francisco’s Jesse Reiner, but also including other area musicians, make kraut-indebted electronic ambient music that calls to mind the 70s work of synth pioneers like Klaus Schulze and Manuel Göttsching. A veteran of the Kranky label, the project has turned up its retro-futurist polish to eleven with their new album Music for the Tactile Dome that perfectly explains its release on the VHS-chic Not Not Fun label.

“Tactile Dome” opens the album with rapid-fire arpeggios, a steady thud of a beat, and languorous bass tones. It’s pretty much Blackdance, and what sounds like a synth flute solo at the end of the track underscores this 70s prog feel. When it ends in a burst of space ambiance and melts into “Smokey Jotus,” you can practically hear Edgar Froese tapping his foot in approval.

But what’s interesting about Tactile Dome isn’t the way it mines older electronic material — we’ve got plenty of that already — but rather the way it does so with a genuine sincerity we don’t always hear from the Not Not Fun set. As much as I love that label, many of its releases seem to arrive with air quotes and stoned smirks, as though the artists are in on the joke just as much as they revel in it.

And with an über-German name like Jonas Reinhardt, we might expect to hear similarly ironic synth work from Reiner and company. But what sells the album is how it’s totally not ironic; from the sanctified synth washes on “To Lord Eminence” to the minor-key drama of “Eos, The Dawn,” there’s a palpable appreciation for studio refinery and electronic resonance in this music that makes for an engaging listening experience.

That’s not to say that Tactile Dome is breaking new ground here, and frankly, though I think this is a more explicitly electronic album than Powers of Audition, both albums tread similar territory. But Tactile Dome simply sounds brighter and crisper, and it’s this clarity of production that lets songs like “Arise Tempi” breathe. Here, buildup is gradual while textures overlap; it’s a droning work that takes full advantage of its (nearly) six-minute running time. The powerful electric guitar crunch at the 3:40 march heralds an equally gradual outro that strips away the robotic atmosphere and lets a couple synth lines do the talking. “Headband Harvest” is the subsequent comedown, but it’s just as lovingly layered as “Arise Tempi.” It seems we have a producer’s album wearing a cloak of krautrock, and it suits Reiner nicely.


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