They say the world is becoming a smaller place. However, there is a still a sense of distance and disconnect between music scenes that exist in Europe and Asia. A few artists close to home are doing their upmost to connect like minded individuals from international backgrounds but there is more work required before borderless interactivity can exist.
Ben UFO speaks fondly of his experiences record hunting in Japan whilst Optimo have taken the bold move of booking a relatively unknown, musical outsider, to travel from Tokyo to play at Glasgow’s Sub Club in a few weeks time. Gonno will headline the long running party on Friday 2nd October 2015.
His latest album released on Endless Flight, “Remember The Life Is Beautiful”, slipped under the radar for most. Frankly that’s a shame for a release that contains so much positivity.
The album leads with a track titled ‘Hippies’. Flickering squawks open the record followed by a shimmering burst of heavily reverbed guitar. It’s welcoming, inviting, and lays down a spacious landscape on which the rest of the album will sit. It’s a daydream track, one of peace, which would not sound amiss as the sun fell at a festival.
There is certainly a club inspired influence to the music featured across the album. There is a heavy focus on arpeggios throughout the second track which plays like an extended intro, it possibly runs longer than it should but works as a precursor for what is to come.
The next couple of tracks, ‘Stop’ and ‘Confusion’, find Gonno reaching out to the dancers. The first is bass heavy: bouncy and energetic, it wouldn’t sound out of place on a Jon Hopkins release. However, ‘Confusion’ is quite possibly the highlight of the record. It’s deep, slow moving and engaging as immersive chords drift between clatters of hi hats and percussion.
Melody is at the forefront of Gonno’s musical production and DJ sets. The entire album revolves around whirring synths, beautiful layers and delicate stabs.
‘Beasts in Your Mind‘ allows for a break from the drums and percussion. Intricate flutters create an inspired ambient soundscape, which sits perfectly in the middle of the LP amidst the waves of sound on either side. It is followed by the reintroduction of a kick in ‘Across The Sadness’ which features an eerie, repetitive electronic stab. There is potential for it to become tired and tedious over the six minutes but through intricate expansion and attention to detail Gonno manages to keep the same loop relevant. It’s very clever, melancholic and quite addictive.
‘Already Almost’ is the strangest piece on the album. It runs almost as an interlude. It could be deep, ambient and meaningful, or it might be the sound of a synth and sequencer left running whilst Gonno gets busy in his kitchen.
The concluding tracks on the record see a positive finish. Uplifting samba infused drums lure us out of Gonno’s interlude and back to reality. ‘Revoked’ is fast paced, positive and very danceable whilst ‘The Island I’ve Never Been’ is orchestral and whirring. The album closes with ‘Green Days‘, a beautifully chilled downtempo piece with Balearic sensibilities. Tuned percussion plods delicately throughout amongst a cacophony of cymbals and rhythmic patterns. Much as the album began, it sees us out in a calculated fashion allowing the listener to reflect on what has developed in their ears over the last hour.
This is a gorgeous album and one that is increasingly relevant as we begin to see the links between electronic music in Europe and Asia become tighter.
Remember A Life Is Beautiful is out now on Endless Flight, order a vinyl copy from Kompakt.
A2. The Worst Day Ever
A4. Beasts In Your Mind
B2. Already Almost
B3. Green Days (Album Version)
B4. The Island I’ve Never Been