23 Jul 2022 - Stephan
Electronic, Synthwave, Krautrock | El Paraiso Records | Release date: 12 Apr 2022
For the fourth time Causa Sui drummer Jakob Skøtt teams up with fellow synthwave lover Kristoffer Ovesen for yet another album celebrating the warm magic of analogue electronic music. This time the ever-evolving duo added a new spin without losing their original flavour.
Until very recently, when I decided to grant WV Sorcerer Productions the same honour, there was only one label, which had its own special section in my record collection. The consistency of Skøtt’s jazz classics-inspired designs and the eco-friendly material of the sleeves just make the catalogue of El Paraiso Records a visual and haptic joy to dig through.
The almost constantly phenomenal and mostly instrumental music released on the Danish psychedelic label of course helps too. Frankly, it’s a shameful, unsustainable state of affairs that El Paraiso hasn’t appeared on Veil of Sound yet. But thankfully the fire brigade is here now. Cue for Videodrones’ most recent album After The Fall!
Just like all their previous works, this album isn’t one to overstay its welcome. Five tracks and a playing time of seventeen to eighteen minutes on each side make for a compact listening pleasure, which often is beneficial for synthwave and adjacent styles. Keeping it short and sweet, with the inherent need for just a little more and the tingling temptation to just spin it again, because why not, I still have that much time, haven’t I?
Yet even though it may be technically adequate
synth since the previous three albums have been exclusively created via electronic devices, simply labelling Videodrones as synthwave is a bit of a shortcut.
Ultimately Ovesen and Skøtt have always channeled a multitude of influences from soundtrack composers, Berlin and Düsseldorf school electronic music, (retro) future jazz, ambient and occasionally also pinches of rather unexpected ingredients like doom, and given it its very own dynamic vibe by grounding it in somehow loose but also astonishingly on point improvisations.
Mondo Ferox, Nattens Hævn and Atavistic Future (their previous three albums) already each had an individual flair, but the step from one album to the next has never been as obvious as it is now, because the nature of said improvisations, on which the rest of the instrumentation is built, has been changed drastically for After The Fall. The duo isn’t jamming on keys and knobs, but for the first time during this project Skøtt reminds us that his primal musical call is being a drummer after all, so he lays down a plethora of gripping beats that give the album an extra kick of dynamic energy. Compared to his wild extravaganza for the jazz fusion on the similarly constructed albums of the Martin Rude & Jakob Skøtt Duo, he keeps his performance accessible and in the pocket. The result is still unpredictably spontaneous, which makes the whole thing feel like a free jam take on what Zombi are doing. Where Pittsburgh’s synth (and bass and guitars) and drums duo go for a more polished and recently also metallic sound, Videodrones are rather based in the electronic dawn of the early Kraftwerk days during the 70s rather than the John Carpenter worship of the 80s, even though the horror score feeling still remains an elementary core of their sound.
Parallel to the introduction of drums Videodrones also bring guitars into the mix for the first time, establishing a whole new range of sounds and packing everything in a vivid production that wants to make hot love with your headphones. “Doomsday never felt this heady and funky before”, says the hype text on the record’s OBI strip and I can only second this assessment.
If you dig Blood Incantation’s foray into Klaus Schulze ambient with Timewave Zero, but yearn for the same depth and warmth of analogue synth-music in a groovier, more upbeat context, I urge you to “Irgendwann - Irgendwo” check out the “Inferno Verde” which the “Wasteland Interceptors” Videodrones created on After the Fall. This “Void Facer” of an album is a “Blaster”.