Oscillotron - Eclipse

6 songs
41:01 minutes
***** ****
Trust No One


It’s been over three years ago when I was overwhelmed by Swedish doom sludge band Kongh’s second album Shadows Of The Shapeless. When I recently received an email by their frontman David Johansson to review the first longplayer of his solo project Oscillotron, I was not only intrigued because of his former great work, but even more so because Eclipse is supposed to be performed mainly on vintage synthesizers.

So instead of being in charge of vocals, guitar and lately also bass, Johansson quietly constructs six rather long tracks that feel like an authentic sonic journey through his most different emotions. Starting with Embryo, we get six minutes of not that much happening, but repeated listening will give you the impression of calmly being a, well, embryo again, swimming leisurely in amniotic fluid. The synth lines are really soothing, and all the while splashing water sounds can be heard bubbling in the background. But towards the end, an ominous down-tuned lead synth prepares for the more fleshed out moods of Dawn, still a rather unprepossessing piece of music, but with its delay-heavy synth notes, it’s already pointing the way into what will come next. And then it happens: the eight minute long Oracle is a miraculous piece of sequencer programming, combining the ethereal beauty of early Seventies Tangerine Dream and Jean-Michel Jarre with ominous wide-screen synthesizers reminiscent of early Eighties Rush. There are even drums featured on this track, either played by a real person or just incredibly well programmed. I do love the oscillating bass line running through the song, creating a wonderful backdrop for the melodic sequences. Assembly is another fine piece of sequencer craft, this time feeling a little more light-mooded, and why not?, considering that the final two tracks are digging deep into the darkness again. Terror is the longest track on the album, running well over eight minutes. Its first half doesn’t give its title justice, instead it’s a devastatingly sad piece of music, before the second half adds some droning synth bass lines that definitely arouse feelings of claustrophobia. The album ends with the title track Eclipse which comes with demented square wave synth rhythms that sound as if coming straight from the insane asylum.

While Eclipse couldn’t be any more different from David Johansson’s Kongh material, there are also some parallels. Band and project both sound very dark and desolate, even though Oscillotron finds more space for happier moments. In the end, I can only advise you to close your eyes when listening to Eclipse, and you will feel like being immersed into the soundtrack of a science fiction movie from the Seventies or Eighties. Unlike many other vintage electronic artists, David Johansson fortunately lacks the esoteric new-age mysticism that all too often destroys any otherwise good idea. Instead he uses the old equipment to create some kind of psychedelic electro prog that should find its audience with the electro faction as well as with sludge/doom fans interested in what else their mastermind is doing these days.

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