Saturday, August 15, 2009

David Schombert, "Metropolis" (Jamendo)

Album cover photo: by Daniel Verson

In the netlabel movement we share experiences and ideas. Due to the nature of the medium, with its download-at-home shared experiences, the music often transports us to imaginary cities of our dreams.

David Schombert's electronica Jamendo release "Metropolis" features a solid set of songs which provide us a rail pass with which to our inward imaginary city. The title track envelops its synth line in chill percussion and robust melodic pads. The result is a smooth down-tempo bit of urban melody, like a walk past tall buildings and small parks at dawn.

"Cyclus' begins with field recordings of gentle noise into which percussion elements subtly intervene. An appealing minimal groove meets a wave of slow melodic pad. A bass line joins the action in an understated way. Mr. Schombert appreciates the power in doing less and implying more. Samples and melody interact. The effect is smooth and infectious.

"Lunapark" transports the listener to a different place, in which in my mind night sounds and urban cool meld into the the fog, to be transformed."Long Step" counterplays a cinematic synth line with a robotic synth line. The effect is vaguely dancefloor and vaguely krautrock.

Although the tracks in Metropolis fit squarely in the electronica camp, each features a human element which moves beyond the machines. A woman's laugh, a chill pad, percussive electro-beats--an intersection which we feel comfortable and at home, but not bored.

"The Beat" has a retro "beats and bass and synth hits" feel about it. The song could be the soundtrack to a sleek 1980 urban detective show set in northern California.

"Trance" mingles percussion and synth elements to achieve a smooth, subtle melodic attack, as if we dined in an Italian restaurant in which the sauce is minimal but full of subtle flavor.

"This way" points us down the one-lane street into a square of bohemian shops, in which one could imagine the sound of women intoning "bon jour!" as one walks in the door, and in which the goods are hand-crafted by local students from the nearby art school.

This collection of instrumental songs transports one to a place which is an imagined Paris or Lisbon or Winnipeg or Osaka--a place in which down-tempo calms overcome the stress and fears of population density. With an mp3 player and these songs, one can walk the streets with a bit more calm, and a jaunty step forward. Perhaps a few instrumental lanes here are familiar, but the feel is "well-beloved street" and not "tired old alley". This release is a good listen, and a soothing cityscape.

Download it from here