Wasting no time in launching into a warm, Chicago-flavoured jam featuring the inimitable croon of Robert Owens, it’s not hard to figure out Brian Chinetti’s intentions as his Orgue Electronique project makes its first foray into the long player format. Since first emerging amid the Dutch enclave of labels such as Bunker and Eat This, Chinetti’s music has been a celebration of stout analogue grooves and sci-fi romanticism. Even the cover art for Strange Paradise features a rose-tinted Delorian.
There’s no denying that the approach across all eleven tracks is rather du jour, as every man and his dog is looking to the fundamental roots of house music for inspiration. As ever in these cases though, it comes down to pure intentions to sort the wheat from the chaff, and with a sizable commitment to this strain of electronic music stretching back to last century, it’s safe to say the Chinetti is far from a bandwagon jumper.
That comes across no more than on a track like “Watchmacallit”, an uptempo cut with a frantic ripple of beat that refuses to let up. However it’s the tweaked out synth work that sets this music apart, calling to mind a very Kraftwerkian kind of electro. In many current instances, the primal functionality of early house and techno has been latched onto for its rhythm and raw impact, but many left behind the unique psychedelia that the likes of Cybotron were reaching for. It’s the kind of elevated expression that thrives in the shackles of (mostly technological) limitation, forcing the artist to reach further into the means they have to summon up a transcendental feeling.
It’s hard not to get lost in the sumptuous layers of tracks like “Real Rainforest” or “Wind Of Summer”, as the sweet but ambiguous harmony Chinetti creates reaches the same heart-string as some of Larry Heard’s most blissful moments. Throughout Strange Paradise, it’s that striving quality that makes this music special. To all intents and purposes the formula is a similar one from track to track; the bass lines comes in rich square waves, while the beats work away on a consistent staccato groove throughout, but the melodic elements are always creating an enchanting atmosphere of wonder and mystery. In that sense the album title couldn’t be more spot on.
1. Our House (featuring Robert Owens)
4. Meant To Be
5. Undergrowth (featuring Fre2k)
7. Real Rainforest
8 .Relieve Me
9. Wind of Summer
10. Dance of the Robbins (featuring Alden Tyrell)
11. Sunn (Reprise)