Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Alpha Boy & J-F Conrad Go Back To The Lab

From their recent work together on Obsidian, Alpha Boy and Jan-Friedrich Conrad have now released a feature-length experience entitled Simplicity Lab. This album is seven tracks of artistic experimentation and free flowing ideas that evolve into all new experiences that are, in essence, genreless and timeless.

Alpha Boy's work in 80s inspired synth music has already been evidenced many times on Synthetix. FM but you may not be aware whom Jan-Friedrich Conrad is. J-F Conrad is a hugely prolific composer, also from Germany, who is responsible for many soundtracks to the German versions of many TV series an movies including such icons as Knight Rider, Nightmare On Elm St, Airwolf and The A Team. This composer was one of Alpha Boy's greatest idol's growing up and for him to create an album with this composer should not be understated. This is music that makes dreams come true and music the brings together the 'then' and the 'now' in ways previously unexplored.

It's been documented that the seven tracks that make up Simplicity Lab were made through much more organic, live music writing than tracking sounds and this becomes patently obvious from the first track: Blue Amber Rush. The Alpha Boy melodies begin to bloom in all new colours and variations with a natural and warm sound that opens up more as the music progresses. This avant garde style is what drives the Simplicity Lab's engine. The feeling of contemporaries jamming and feeding off each other, working as humans rather than humans working machines. The elements of live instruments add much to the soundscape, drums and percussion along with bass and guitars make for even more richly dimensional experiences, especially once Violent Violet begins to work it's magic.

The music retains a lot of 80s soul throughout the chapters, not just from Alpha Boy's more obvious nuances either. J-F Conrad's sounds come across as modernised 80s ideas that still glow with neon, even though tinged with the experience of time. Jazzier moods and varied instrumentations add even more layers to soundscapes, often resulting with a clear spatial transparency that is bright, fresh and always refreshing. One just needs to take in tracks like Solcena and Bending The Voice of the Prophet to hear mirages of great beauty that entice the listener with intimacy and the twist and turn into fathomless visions.

The flow and liquid nature of the tracks are a great part of what adds so much refreshing flavour throughout. Each composition is a river unto itself with it's own direction and lifeforms existing symbiotically within. It's hard not to be swept away and allow the current to be one's guide as the sounds buoy the listener's journey through mythical flora and fauna. By the time we get to Corrosive Agent Spill the technology begins to reaffirm it's value with the most mechanical experience on the album. Even still, the live drum sounds and esoteric synths provide warmth that penetrates the cold machines with all the forces of nature.

As the album finishes with the epic eighteen minute serenade to science, Credo Of The Church Of The Flying Spaghetti Monster, time is pushed back even further as progressive sounds of the 70s permeate the atmosphere with chemically enhanced synthesizers making the last adventure one of the most mind bending. This last track just pushes even further the 'alive' nature of the record as the music becomes it's own organism, with it's own fate that the composer's merely temper.

The Simplicity Lab is probably unlike anything else you've experienced in the world of 80s inspired synth music, and in all honesty, that descriptor is far too limiting for what is presented. The avant garde nature of each aesthetic might prove too 'out-there' for some, but for those that embrace that sounds and allow them to whisper their full story will be the ones that will remain affected by these experiments for much longer than the album's duration.

The Simplicty Labs is presented Alpha Boy and J-F Conrads joint Bandcamp page here. Synthetix.FM highly recommends this album and prescribes that it be best enjoyed in a dark, silent room when one wishes to achieve peace and clarity; sit back, relax and let the Simplicity Lab experiments work their magic upon you.

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