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Price: €26.99
Format: Vinyl Album
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Rob Burger's mysteriously upturning chord-changes express depth and melancholy without ever fully straying from a sense of curiosity and charm making the somber moments believable and palatable, as indicated in the album's first moments. The Grid rolls in on a cloud bank of old-world sorrow with its piano and accordion prologue “Alternate Star,” but by the initial note of the second-track “Harmonious Gathering” all the sonic elements-- dusty drum machines, choral keyboard patches, and rubberized synth bass-- seem to be smiling in glorious unison. This song, as well as the title track that shortly follows it, hint at what it might sound like if Harmonia had stayed intact and were scoring A24 films. Rather than nodding to his influences with simple pastiche, Burger pairs his well-chosen homages with inventive, modern sound design that implies he has never heard the word “preset” in his life (and if he has, it's writ large on the studio wall so that he always remembers to avoid it). Case-in-point, “Sleeping Queen” is a shimmering barrage of celeste and reversed dulcimer whose microscopic scrapes and shuffles verify the track's handcrafted status. Uplifted moods like these are made more impactful by their contrast against dusk-lit pieces such as “Bent Moon,” a piano and mellotron vignette with a slight eastern tinge that conjures some ancient, sand-hued halcyon. Despite a few more peaks along the path, The Grid ends on its darkest note, “Ghost on a Wire”. Though it was originally conceived for a horror film, it is an unexpected yet fitting ending that counterbalances the album's levity via a goosebump-inducing blend of dampened piano beneath, brassy, detuned drones that are paralyzingly grim.

While The Grid was being constructed many events came to pass in Burger's life-- including the birth of his children, and the death of both of his parents. What results is a more varied and well-rounded emotional tone that is truer to reality where most self-contained pieces of art tend to curate and stick to a single mood. Burger is able to weave it all into one seamless tapestry, the most prominent thread being its sense of adventure. The Grid captures the undeniably exploratory spirit of a lifelong sound-seeker who can't help but let his enthusiasm for the process-- and all that leads up to it-- bleed into his work.
released June 21, 2019

  • Electronica
  • Modern Classical Ambient

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