After wrestling with the pandemic, Fran Dominguez aka Forest Robots, has resurfaced with a masterpiece in wistful, cathartic electro-acoustic explorations, his brand new studio album “Supermoon Moonlight Part Two”. Recording originally began in late 2019 but the initial stress of the pandemic in 2020 stopped the completion of the album. It wasn’t until the release of other work that served as a direct outlet for the struggles of the pandemic, that Forest Robots was able to complete the album. The recording, which deviates from the usual Forest Robots, neoclassical and ambient infusions, leans on moods and themes of pre-pandemic idealism and thru-pandemic infused anxiety.
Forest Robots’ music is as rich, as subtle, and as awe-inspiring as anyone else in the past decade of electronic music. He is that rare talent, a studio guru with a critical ear and a focused mindset. Through it all, there is triumphant energy to “Supermoon Moonlight Part Two”, which also signals Forest Robots debut with UK’s Subexotic Records. True to form, the composer builds heart-rending motifs throughout the record.
Encapsulating the ebb and flow of nature, of lockdowns, and of unprecedented times – before, during and after the fact. Forest Robots has constructed a bittersweet yet hopeful sonic companion, holding space both, for anguish and a blissful renewal. Regardless of tempos and tones, an organic warmth flows like an ocean current through these songs, and it’s delightfully easy to let yourself be pulled into it.
Though the aesthetics of some of these tracks have drawn comparisons to artists such as Ulrich Schnauss, Four Tet, Boards of Canada and Aphex Twin, as well as Brian Eno and New Order, Forest Robots certainly is in a league of his own, delivering a rich, majestic sound, and scintillating rhythms. It’s unlikely that you’ll find a track in which Forest Robots doesn’t sound equally masterful and comfortable in his craft, delivering his most vibrantly slick efforts to date.
Fluttering strings, keyboard motifs, orchestral arrangements and sweeping pads are woven atop infectious beats and rhythms for the most part, but there are also many moments of exquisite percussion-less ambient sounds. Instrumental electronic connoisseurs everywhere might expect to throw “Supermoon Moonlight Part Two” on, as a background soundtrack, and then suddenly find themselves standing there, mesmerized for thirty-five minutes.
“All The Rivers Born In The Mountains” kicks things off with a throbbing beat and animated keyboard strokes, before giving way to the syncopated basslines and stomping percussion of “Everything Changes Color With The Rainfall”. While still maintaining a dynamic sonic template, “In All The Places That We Roam And Wander” brings moments of peaceful, shimmering bliss. “Somewhere In The Early Morning Forest Mist” has a cooler more organic aura, than most of what passes for downtempo and chillout these days.
“Of Embers Warmth The Long Forgotten Memories” is a subliminally seductive collection of atmospheric sounds, while “Every Ray Of Light In Between The Reeds And Trees” reignites the pulsating rhythms and percussion. “And The Clouds Then Turned Into Castles” designs an unforgettable melodic motif of interwoven guitar and keys, which leads us to “Everything Changes Shape Under The Supermoon”, which thrives on a mesmeric repeating melody.
“Wind Always Runs Wilder Along The River’s Current” and “As The Sun Sets Across Wide Open Fields” transport us to the surrealistic bliss of classic Forest Robots compositions. These latter tracks show Forest Robots’ mastery of atmosphere and ambiance, which enables him to craft songs that unfold over repeated listening into extraordinarily evocative, almost cinematic experiences. These pieces have plenty of underlying feeling and intelligent arrangements to keep any listener’s interest.
It is interesting to note that the CD edition of the album includes ten works of prose that compliment and give the listener a deeper insight into the themes of each track, as well as a visual snapshot of Fran Dominguez’s outdoor adventures with his daughter – who is also the primary reason for the existence of Forest Robots. The project originally began as a personal love letter to Fran’s daughter about the wonders of nature and the importance of connecting with the outdoors. “Supermoon Moonlight Part Two” successfully carries forward that mission.
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