Released: November 10, 2008
This CD took me back to a sunny spring afternoon in high school, when the promise of summer vacation filled the air with excitement. I was driving down a little side street in Albuquerque when my friend Dave put on Poland by Tangerine Dream. I immediately made fun of Dave and his pretentious music, but even as I laughed, I got sucked into the hypnotic sounds. The music was uneventful on the surface, but if I paid close attention, I could hear every facet of the sound continually evolve into something completely new yet completely the same.
That Tangerine Dream CD opened a musical door I’ve never closed. I fell out of love with electronic music as it evolved into the vapid new age of the late ’80s, but as club culture blossomed from the ashes of disco and the roots of house, I discovered the same layers of subtle excitement in virtually every stripe of electronic dance music.
It’s neat to hear Jonas Reinhardt and be taken back to some of the deepest parts of my musical roots. Reinhardt understands what made the electronic music of the ’70s and early ’80s special. His compositions are subtle enough to fade into the background, but interesting enough to hold your focus if you choose to pay attention. Best of all, he knows the value of letting sound constantly evolve.
Unfortunately, he’s not doing anything new. After hearing his debut, I went back and listened to Tangerine Dream’s Phaedra and Klaus Schulze’s Mirage; Reinhardt fits so seamlessly among them that it’s difficult to tell where they end and he begins. Rather than using the past as a launching point for something new, Reinhardt merely imitates his musical forefathers.
There’s nothing wrong with imitation, but unless it’s combined with innovation, it’s nothing more than nostalgia. When you consider how many great contributions have been made to electronic and/or experimental music over the past few decades by artists as diverse as Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Paul Oakenfold, Einsturzende Neubauten, and Tim Hecker, it’s hard to find time for someone who simply recreates the past. Even if he recreates it incredibly well.
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