Odds are if you’re reading this article, you’ve heard of Forest Robots’ music before. If you haven’t, it’s your lucky day: you just struck a hidden gold mine of music that will catch you off guard. The best part? Forest Robots’ latest album, “Times When I Know You’ll Watch The Sky”, is even richer in instrumental gold than anything he has done before. Forest Robots is a project by Los Angeles based composer Fran Dominguez. This is his third album, and follows the release of “Supermoon Moonlight Part I” and “Timberline And Mountain Crest”. While the previous releases heralded the celebration of Spring and Summer respectively, the latest recording is an ode to Autumn. “Times When I Know You’ll Watch The Sky” is a representation of Stanley Horowitz’s quote about fall, where “Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all,” explained Dominguez.
Forest Robots’ music is painting made audible, an impressionist smattering of comfortingly sensitive tones and warm hues. The producer’s soothing brand of electronica turns short glimpses into majestic kaleidoscope vision. Intensifying and softening melodies, he delivers chimerical hallmarks in spades.
Aptly named, the album finds Forest Robots often exploring his comfort zone and cultivating expansive audio vibes. Driven by both melody and rhythm, Dominquez finds a niche wedge between intentionally warm compositions and electronic sophistication. Track by track, the general swirl of texture, tone and emotion washes over you.
In this sweet spot, Forest Robots treads a fine line between soothing background music and multifaceted sonic landscapes that invite close listening. The album opens with a steady, insistent beat on “Just Before Nightfall In The Forest”. It’s a rich and vibrant introduction with plenty of chiming instruments to hold your attention.
“Everything Under The Light Of The Full Moon” follows, with a resonating bass and a lively snare boosting Forest Robots’ distinctive synth sound. “It Lies Sunk Deep Beneath The Old Lake” continues this trend, reaching a poppy, pixilated crescendo, before “In The Late Autumn Afternoon Rainstorm” sets in with its persistent percussion, and escalating keyboards.
The mingling of repetitive motifs and zipping snatches of synthesizer captures the essence of this album, and the transition from a sunlit state of awareness to a carefree slumber. “Deep In The Milky Way Spectrum” maintains the flirtatious momentum with its changing tones, eventually giving way to the glacial sobriety of “The Last of The Melting Snow”.
“Times When I Know You Watch The Sky II” is vibrant with the pastel colors of Forest Robots’ ability to make startling sonic images of simple musical passages. By the time we arrive at “The Clouds That First Gather At The Mountain”, it becomes clear that production is meticulous on this recording.
That this album is a subtle panoply of rhythms and musical ideas is evident all the way through. At the same time, it’s not full of cheap ear worms and it doesn’t betray its own nature, and so strikes that perfect balance of being memorable and addictive without being cloying or labored. The essence of the aforementioned statement can be savored via the evocative melodic synths on “Faint Sunlight In The Far Horizon” and “Of Rivers And Rivers Of Light”.
The washing, immersive sound Forest Robots produces is none more apparent than on “Follow The Fog and The Rain”, allowing the listener to either start the record again, or drift off into a peaceful siesta. The pastel palette and narcotic haze makes a potent combination here.
“Times When I Know You’ll Watch The Sky” is in many ways a perfect record, as it achieves all it sets out to do. Furthermore it demonstrates Fran Dominguez’s development as an artist. Overall, this album is Forest Robots at its most lucid, mature, and perhaps, its best.
On release, the album will be supported by a short film called “All Things Grow Faint With Great Adorn In Autumn”. The film is explained as Fran Dominguez’s visual interpretation of nature and the transformative effect it has on all of us.
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