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Jonas Reinhardt - Jonas Reinhardt


Like fellow Californian Sam Graw, Reinhardt, who is a product of Harvard, is in thrall to the primal electronics of German pioneers such as Tangerine Dream and Cluster. His self-titled debut album never manages to escape the fact that they cast their large shadow over his sound, but it’s interesting to hear that it’s the darker, more primal sound of albums like “Zeit” and “Electronic Meditation” that are, to these ears, the biggest influence on him.

“Jonas Reinhardt” kicks off with a bang as the first 3 tracks are amonst the strongest on the album. Firstly there’s the austere and Froese-heavy “Modern by Natures Reward”, complemented by some clattering and decidedly analogue rhythms before hitting one of the album’s highlights with “Lord Sleeps Monmouth”, a delightful synth journey that recalls the arpeggiated glory of Manuel Goettsching at his height, and then the woozy and narcotic synth of “How to Adjust to People”, Reinhardt’s keyboard playing here in particular is a delight.

It’s the two middle songs though that give the album its weight, as Reinhardt casts off the influence of those German synth legends and adds a more familiar sound for fans of everything Kranky orientated, namely on the drone-drenched glory of “Worm Preach the Struggling Fire”, which is hued with a golden reverb that sounds not unlike Labraford but is underlined with a beautiful elasticated bassline, and the gentle distortion of “Tandem Suns”, as slowly evolving synths meander over a Cluster-style old drum machine.

The album dips slowly towards the end, as the remaining songs are more exploratory in their nature, but there’s still time for Reinhardt’s strong harmonies to show their head.

The core of the album is essentially the dramatic glory of vintage electronic equipment. There’s a distinct beauty in all the tracks on the album, and I feel this is down to the raw feel that sounds so strong against everyday modern recording techniques. Whilst sparse at times, the production on “Jonas Reinhardt” is nothing short of exceptional, and the sequencing of the tracks gives it a strong sense of progression and textural space that bears fruit on repeated listening.

As said before, it’s hard to detach the fact that the influence of Cluster and Tangerine Dream in particular weighs enormously on the composer’s shoulders, and albums such as “Zuckerzeit” and “Sowieso” are almost replicated sound-wise at times. What Reinhardt doesn’t have yet is the sense of innovation that made those artists so special, but having said that, he has demonstrated a deft ear for harmony and ideas that should bear well for the future.

Toby Frith



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