Donner - Hesitant Light

(CD 2021, 40:45, Apollon Records AP081CD)

The tracks:
  1- Melancholy City
  2- Hesitant Light
  3- Dance Of The Swallows
  4- Night By Night
  5- Floating World
  6- Street Heat
  7- Andromeda Waltz
  8- Escape From Plague City
  9- Devil's Highway
10- Coda:Street Haze

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Band info. “While the Norwegian-Israeli multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Jacob Holm-Lupo is best known as the leader of one of Scandinavia's foremost progressive rock bands, White Willow, he has taken a lot of musical detours of late. First with the 80s-loving art-pop project The Opium Cartel, and then with a surprise collection of instrumental hard rock bangers with Telepath's Mental Mutations. His latest baby, a project he calls Donner, was originally intended as a pure electronica project. The original inspiration came, to a large degree, from Berlin School electronica like Tangerine Dream, Manuel Göttsching and such, as well as synth-based soundtrack music from the likes of John Carpenter and Fabio Frizzi.” On this album Jacob Holm-Lupo plays on an impressive array of vintage keyboards (Yamaha DX7, Oberheim Matrix-6, Ensoniq TS10, Kawai K3, Korg Monologue and Korg Polysix) along guitars, beatboxes, programming, samples, loops and percussion. He is supported by Keith Carlock on drums, and many guest musicians (vocals, guitars, lead synthesizer, bass and flute).

After a few listening sessions I conclude that Donner succeed to deliver pleasant electronic music, with variety and dynamics, not always a feature in electronic music. Only one song contains vocals, Night By Night: first a catchy mid-tempo, then a slowdown, a dreamy female voice joins, topped with a flashy synthesizer solo and heavy guitar work.

The other 9 tracks alternate between mellow climates and catchy beats, embellished with tasteful work on keyboards, synthesizers and at some moments sequencing, like in the Tangerine Dream inspired Melancholy City (ominous electronic music atmosphere) and Andromeda Waltz (fat synthesizer drops and a spacey synthesizer solo). Hesitant Light contains a fiery and distorted guitar solo, Dance Of The Swallows bluesy guitar work, Floating World delicate work on the flute, Street Heat powerful bass and jazzy guitar, Devil's Highway a xylophone-like sound and Coda : Street Haze fat and funky synthesizer runs and a powerful guitar solo, in a swinging rhythm.

***+ Erik Neuteboom (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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