By Rick Shithouse
Following musical journeys of producers is one of my favourite things about the new forms of 80s inspired synth music. Hearing their early work and feeling that magical spark, then watching it develop into shimmering embers before it explodes into musical fireworks is such a spectacle. I feel like a passenger going along for the ride on many instances. This time Plaisance pulls up in his new sports car, leans over and pops open the passenger side door and says 'Come on. Let's go for a ride.'
Ever since reviewing Regatta in 2012 I've felt on the same wavelength as Plaisance. He puts feelings into music that work exceedingly well, capturing one's imagination and the connection to the music feels intimate and familiar. Over the last couple of years I've shared much love on Synthetix.FM for Plaisance and his own brand 80s sounds and once again we get to jump in his car and take another ride into the past, this time with a stormy, sultry atmosphere that permeates through each delightful track.
Plaisance's muse works in a very direct manner and his releases are always conceptually based; from the coastal love affairs of Regatta and Boat People through to his youthful recollections in Children Of The 80s each release is focused and kept on a tangible storyboard with all manner of avenues and tangents being explored within the theme. I find, personally, that Plaisance goes deeply into these concept releases and lives the context of the music vicariously. In Thunder In Paradise we're taken on a new coastal trip to once sun drenched islands that are now overcast and heavy with atmosphere. The humidity and steaminess of the surrounds is what is embedded in each track and the refreshing nature of the pieces ride a storm that awakens the senses deliriously.
'Diving Board' begins the seasonal changes as we dive in to waters warmed by the sun; only to resurface to a blanketed cloud. The clarity of the sounds is like crystal with rivulets of water streaming down melodic passages, an energy of anticipation looms and each refrain heightens the intensity. The use of space in this piece is exceptionally well orchestrated as the resonance of the instruments is so gleamingly clean and the subtlety of the changes and nuances never lose importance or direction.
The storm breaks overhead as thunder rolls in and seeking refuge where one can enjoy nature's spectacle in relative safely opens up the title track. Snapping percussion and a climbing melody escort us into the beachside abode where rain begins to hit the glass of the windows with melodic timing and the song of the storm is begun. The humidity rises higher as the saxophone's inherent sultriness brings a new kind of sensual anticipation into play.
The storm sets in 'Under The Gentle Rain' and Plaisance summons elemental synth forces into a musical storm of tropical sounds that then break out at full gallop into the monsoon. The melodies in this track absolutely wonderful, rising on gusts of wind, charged with electricity and dancing like cumulus stallions across the tropical skyline. Utterly entrancing and capturing the essence of the 80s in that classic Plaisance way.
A meeting of glances and a sideways look during the frolics of the storm make passions begin to rise as the barometer drops. Plaisance turns down the lights and dials up the funk with a bedroom anthem that sets off a passionate embrace against flashes of lightning on the horizon. Flashes of light highlight the wanton desires hidden beneath saturated clothing, 'Blinded By The Shine' of that smile that you know means something else is brewing, something sure to be just as explosive as the storm itself.
Gyrations of bodies begin a dance as timeless as the storm with them moving closer, into space where Italo Disco begins weaving its magical charms through the thunder and rain. 'Dusty Dancing' is the command with an irresistible bassline bringing two beings together with steel drums and melodies turning up the heat by the second. Closer and closer each new chapter of the piece ushers in new pleasures of touch and arousal with melodic fingers igniting with electric magic.
Plaisance keeps the lust in focus for the final piece of the EP, 'Sweaty Beauty'. The details of the sounds trace the curves of heavenly bodies in delicate lines, using the dampness of the skin as a conduit to realms of new pleasures. It all happens in slow motion, graceful and seductive, sax and synth working as one melody; fading out gently. The storm has passed,.. and we were having such a wonderful time we forgot it was even there.
Plaisance presents the Thunder In Paradise EP on his Bandcamp page here. This stop off on Plaisance's musical journey is definitely his most intimate yet with the music feeling as close as the atmosphere. He has made a delectably formed experience that is detailed yet succinct and through his musical magic has weaved an experience that exists for only a short period of time but leaves lasting memories. Memories that every crack of thunder punctuated with light, falling raindrops summons a smile and the remembrance of that torrid affair set against a background of another one nature's wonders. Synthetix.FM very, very highly recommends Plaisance's new EP and hopes that you too feel the heat and moisture of those tropical climes, when the clouds and passions burst to an equally enthralling soundtrack; courtesy of Plaisance.