Jonas Reinhardt – Ganymede (2014)

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Jonas Reinhardt’s Ganymede comes as a double shot; not only is it a conceptual short film on the Jovian moon of its namesake but it’s also, in this case, the soundtrack that accompanies it.

Opener “Skeptical Seventh Sun” introduces the first of the six unusually titled pieces that we’re to be immersed into in the next 30 minutes. It’s also my favourite track of the album with its warbling drones the lush and spacious backdrop of the low-fidelity footage, the grittier pulses buried within the flashes of stellar and galactic light pinpricking the night sky. A tumble of gorgeous synth riffs introduce a phase of fractured and flowing fragments of distorted video in the most evocative and all consuming closing moments before it slips to black. Followup “Destruction of a Ghost” is rather different in appearance as well as sound as cyanotopic blobs writhe and jitter across the screen. Perfect blue balls oscillate and glide around as the coasting drone evolves into a growling, evolving menace, a chaotic phase of existence that sees the film move from simpler beginnings to a crazed, complex, multicellular end. It’s almost anticlimactic in the relieved but beauteous closing moments of soft synth fuzz.

“Airhouse” is rather more ambitious and perhaps the hardest to digest even in context. A patchwork quilt of bizarrely coloured images flash violently across the screen, distressed and decayed in appearance with purple, brown, yellow and green hues in a cracked and smeared framework. The music is reflective of this disgusting microscopic world as it thrums rhythmically to oscillating noise and thrumming synths pierced by briefly shining electronica, its pace but slow evolution mirroring that of this delicate and primitive world as it works its way up to its multi-textured climax. “A Young Colossus” is a welcome reprieve both sonically and visually is it opens to beautiful kaleidoscopic imagery and shimmery, repetitive synth riffs. It’s a bleary and sun-drenched track, the first to break out of the cold ice climes of the planet’s frozen interior and embrace the rainbow hues of the thin and weak sunlight on the moon’s surface. It’s jangly and shiny and fun and has a thick 60’s psychedelic vibe.

But this bright-eyed, bushy-tailed atmosphere doesn’t last for long with the murky tones and claustrophobic imagery of “Malevolence in Blue”, a track that perhaps decries the isolating and limiting nature of the imprisoning ice that encases Ganymede. There’s a rather active tempo set here by the marching tones of the repeating synth blats that accompany the grinding background drones, evoking a kind of industrious mood that seeks to use all its limited resources to make the most of its surroundings and break free as glimpses of mechanical devices flicker through the swirling organic darkness. It ultimately warbles out to thickly processed guitars and stuttering visuals to the soft pools and rippled footage of finalé “Lox Moon”, a track that has come around entirely too quickly. Jittery shots of running water and prismatic crystals kind of recreate what the underside of this confining ice-ceiling might appear like to its inhabitants, but there’s a sense of wonderment in the music and almost fringe resignation in its distal sound in the woozy, ethereal drones and submerged electronica that writhes so enthusiastically beneath a suppressing haze of reverb. It bows out rapidly and with that our half and hour excursion to this mysterious world ends.

I’m not sure how many people will have the opportunity to enjoy the videography alongside the music but it’s extremely complementary and helps to bring some sense of order and understanding to the rather crazed snippets of heavily processed video. That being said the music is also extremely enjoyable on its own, and continue Constellation Tatsu’s psychedelic and analogue synth rich catalogue in this heavily conceptually rich mini album. It’s a bit overwhelming at times given its rapidfire presentation and fast paced oscillating synths but it’s luxurious and intelligently crafted, definitely highly recommended.

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