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Forest Robots – “After Geography” – an emotionally-searching, calculated musical narrative

“After Geography” is the fourth Forest Robots full-length album following, 2018’s ‘Supermoon Moonlight Part I’ and ‘Timberline And Mountain Crest’, as well as 2019’s ‘Times When I Know You’ll Watch The Sky’. The album harks back on Fran’s past outdoor explorations. The California-based electronic composer, is a seasoned mountaineer with over 400 ascents and 6,000 miles of x-country river crossing, rock climbing, snow trudging, rock scrambling and bush whacking.

The album’s core theme centers on life altering situations while traversing in the mountains, when unexpected variables arise and regardless of your preparation, you have only your intuition to guide you. “The current world pandemic caused by COVID 19 and the social unrest and injustices taking place across the country (U.S.) have been reminding me of those moments lately,” says Fran. “I feel this current state of the world is very much on par with those life altering moments in the outdoors.”

Over the subsequent 10 tracks, which appear on the album, “After Geography”, it becomes abundantly clear that project leader, Fran Dominguez is still up to his old tricks, which is to say, making the obliquely strange, sound familiar, and making the deeply familiar, sound subliminal.

Minimal keyboard-induced ambient structures create a warm, sentimental glow which is simultaneously juxtaposed with the suspension and temporality conjured by the hypnotic swirling of restrained timbres and subtle melodies. The album unfolds with its ambiance and pace floating about in an extremely reflective state.

Forest Robots has crafted an emotionally-searching, calculated musical narrative, but what you see and experience is really out of his hands. Much depends on your own personal empathy and compassion.

This recording is consistently smooth, well-engineered, and flawlessly performed. Each note is given its own space and invites you to savor each individual tone. Hauntingly lovely, these compositions are just right for our troubled times. Forest Robots in a way seems to understand the importance of pushing not only his mind, but the minds of his listeners.

Forest Robots has struck gold with “After Geography”, and it’s perfectly balanced sound forms are nothing short of therapeutic. Stress, impatience, frustration, rage – all negative emotions – completely dissolve with even one uninterrupted session of this album, as Forest Robots stimulates you to ponder your life’s circumstances, while he chronicles the experiences of his voyages.

From “A Detailed Cartography” to “Awash In Granite Geometry”, and “Over The Drainage Divide” to “Night Sky Over The Face Of A Nearby Tarn”, these gently persuasive tracks will hold your attention and induce your mood.

Forest Robots’ excursions into the landscape on “After Geography” are beautiful and evocative. The sounds here, do not reach out to you, instead they draw you in towards them. Fran Dominguez not only creates a personal world of sound, but shows that he can conjure and also take willing participants through any sonic vista he imagines.

The music is as much about an inward journey of thought and discovery, as it is about an outward journey which may have been inspired by a certain type of environment, but applies to the world as a whole.

Whether approached as an active listening experience, or simply enjoyed for its utility as a chill album, “After Geography” satisfies on both levels. I could throw about song titles and dissect each track, but there are no words to describe the subtle moods and emotional depths of this work – you simply have to listen to it.

“After Geography” is a very diverse entity with regards to the Forest Robots catalog. With all the electronic bells and whistles temporarily laid to rest, this may just be Fran Dominguez’ in his finest hour.

“After Geography” is set for release in August 2020. Bandcamp Pre-Order Album Link: https://forestrobots.bandcamp.com/album/after-geography

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