Forest Robots: “Timberline and Mountain Crest” – a truly intriguing listen

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Let’s start of by saying that Fran Dominguez aka Forest Robots is a master at producing chilled out electronic music with heavy beats, and lots of orchestral instrumentation thrown in the mix. To call it electronic music almost seems unfair, as it implies this is music made by machines. Yes, I realize he is called Forest Robots, but this could not be further from the truth, as Dominguez’s music is pumping with life and human emotion. His latest album “Timberline and Mountain Crest” showcases 10 tracks of stunning depth, the kind of album you just throw the headphones on, turn the lights out, close your eyes and get lost in. Out via Emmasierra Songs, this sophomore release by Forest Robots does have a back story, as does it’s critically acclaimed predecessor, “Supermoon Moonlight Part One”. Los Angeles based composer Fran Dominguez created the Forest Robots project over a period of several years during his travels to the legendary mountain range of Sierra Nevada.

Inspired by the natural landscapes, Fran at first compiled a collection of photos and narratives, which eventually inspired the music that would lead to the Forest Robots project. The birth of his daughter induced Rodriguez to educate her about the beauty and importance of nature.

This in turn led to his debut album “Supermoon Moonlight Part One”, which had its song narratives embedded within the confines of the forest. “Timberline and Mountain Crest”, steps outside the timberline to explore above and beyond. “Sudden Bioluminescence” opens things and it’s safe to say, if you like this you’ll totally love Forest Robots’ music.

This is Dominguez at his best, a great melodic track with heavy beats, shimmering synth lines and plenty more in the mix. A track you can bob your head to and relax to at the same time. Chilled perfection. “Where The Wild Summer Storms Run”, keeps the momentum moving forward with a thumping rhythm and well-defined bassline.

A thick layer of synths do the rest. “Through The Trees And Into Wide Open Landscapes” shuffles along with a pronounced kick and snare drum, as well as a set of busy keys to fill in the colors. Thoroughly suspenseful, the beat only relaxes towards its eerie end.

“Between The Orange And Purple Horizon” is among the highlights here. Extremely atmospheric and cinematic, the track also forges a strident mid-tempo beat and familiar-sounding bassline. The poignantly played piano on “As The Sun Rises Between Timberline And Mountain Crest”, makes for another standout track that conjures up vivid imagery connected to its title.

But Dominguez keeps it varied and interesting throughout, and changes gears on “On A Desolate Shore Under A Full Moon” where he juxtaposes the sound of plucked strings with heavy hip-hop drums. This has something so entrancing, and interesting about it, that just sucks me in.

A serene symphony of notes washes over the listener on “Farewell Sudden Summer Storm Clouds”, as we find ourselves in familiar territory of a sound that is categorically Forest Robots’ own. Soothing textures and melodies, nature-inspired soundscapes, and, this time, he brought in a few surprises too.

Ultimately, the producer’s use of multiple sonic layers and deep rhythm on “When Forest Leaves Begin To Change” makes this a truly intriguing listen for any electronic instrumental fan. “It’s Quietest At The Edge Of The Crestline” closes the album with an eerie, spacey and mysterious backdrop, that will leave you pondering for a while.

This is a recording where the listener is engulfed in a stunning aural experience for the entire album’s length, with great variety in the individual songs and yet an over-arching sound that links the entire album into one cohesive and beautiful listen. You’ll love the feel of distinctiveness that everything here possesses. “Timberline and Mountain Crest” is an accessible ear-friendly recording with so many unique moments stuffed into each track.

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