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Jonas Reinhardt - Powers of Audition

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Artist: Jonas Reinhardt

Album: Powers of Audition

Label: Kranky

Review date: Mar. 15, 2010

The first self-titled Jonas Reinhardt record evoked nostalgia for a futurism that went out of vogue before synthesizer maven Jesse Reiner (then JR’s sole member) went to kindergarten. With its basic sequenced rhythms and layers of big, squishy analog synthesizer tones, Jonas Reinhardt resurrected the sounds of Jean-Michel Jarre, Klaus Schulze, and Tangerine Dream. Reiner’s fidelity to both the sound and the optimistic spirit of early popular electronics made that record ingratiating, but it was his knack for big simple hooks that promised better things to come.

Powers of Audition doesn’t completely shake off the past. Its plush first track ”Mumma Deed Family Clone” is as sure to induce late-1970s reveries as pictures of Tom Baker in his hat and scarf and its not the album’s only Doctor Who moment. But the crisp drumming that kicks off “Atomic Bomb Living” serves notice that the record is not merely a retread.

The music is still replete with swirling synths and vintage elements, most notably the Michael Karoli guitar lead that peals over an open-throttled Klaus Dinger beat. But more important than the influences they crib is the energy that drummer Damon Palermo (Mi Ami), guitarist Phil Manley (Trans Am), and bassist Diego Gonzalez (Citay) bring. They don’t just rock a Neu! beat; they really rock, and by doing so yank Jonas Reinhardt out of the past and into the now.

This is the work of people doing something in real time and taking other people along for the ride. While the first record was space music, Reiner and his new band connect with a lineage that extends beyond Krautrock, from the Orb through the Basic Channel platters — music that imparts a sense of space, but also connects with the body.

By Bill Meyer

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