Saturday, 28 April 2018

Album Review | Forest Robots | 'Supermoon Moonlight Part One' (2018)

image credit: fran dominguez

The combination of nature and synth – forest and robot – is a strange concept to fathom. No longer is that so thanks to Fran Dominguez and his solo project Forest Robots. An LA-based electronic music composer who has stuck at his craft and created a specialty in generating emotionally charged works of art, Dominguez has honed his talents into a debut album, entitled Supermoon Moonlight Part One.

The birth of his daughter and a mesmerizing trip through the mountain range of Sierra Nevada gave life to Forest Robots; where narratives and conceptual ideas could combine and thrive, ultimately creating the symbiotic soundscape heard on Supermoon Moonlight. Rooted deep in instrumental electronica and synthwave, Dominguez demonstrates his natural ability to merge to seemingly opposite ideas into one, merging the natural with the unnatural to create a beautiful, lasting legacy for his daughter to grow up around and appreciate.

To appreciate the balance of our modern lives and the nature surrounding us. We often get too caught up in the mundane aspects of our technological existence, so much so that we forget that there is a whole world waiting out there that we cannot replicate through our phone screens. Dominguez wants not only his daughter to see this, but for the rest of the world, too.

By beginning each of the ten tracks on the record with minimalism and a gradual build-up, Dominguez is able to firstly grab our attention with the strange sounds that eventually morph into a symphony of synths and punchy beats. It’s these preludes for tracks like ‘A Path Among the Woods’, ‘Times When I Know You Watch the Sky’, ‘Last Silvers of Moonlight’ and the diegetic sounds used in ‘Mandelbrots in Winter’ and ‘While Birds Dream of Dawn and Wind’ that allow Dominguez to explore his conceptual goals whilst also bringing something completely new to the art of instrumentals; reminiscent of Cliff Martinez’s work on the 2011 masterpiece Drive.

As is stated in the press release for the record, Dominguez ‘mixes orchestral instruments with various synthesizers, filtered drum beats, and electronic pads to illustrate the beneficial dynamics of personal intimacy that can be achieved through connecting with nature on a deeper level.’ Supermoon acts as a preface for a longer story, that we all need to be comfortable – and able – to root ourselves in a future that isn’t heavily reliant on technology. We need each other, and we need the nature surrounding us.

But that isn’t to stop an amalgamation of the two, as Dominguez demonstrates through his debut that a firm grasp and balance between technological advancement in the music industry and a more traditional mindframe can create some of the most surreally beautiful soundscapes that I’ve ever heard.  

A tight, clean production and a distinct singularity really sets Fran Dominguez / Forest Robots above his contemporaries. He does not lack style nor substance and has a heart rooted firmly within his family and the nature surrounding him. For a debut, Supermoon Moonlight Part One is simply sublime; I certainly hope that there is a Part 2 on the horizon. 

Instagram: @forestrobots
Twitter: @forestrobots
Facebook: @forestrobots
YouTube: @Forest Robots 

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