Amongst A Landscape Of Spiritual Reckoning is a new album from Forest Robots (the musical project of Fran Dominguez), being released through Emmasierra Songs and Wormhole World Records. The album has an official release date of April 2, 2021 but has been made available for preorder on Bandcamp.
With this latest collection of instrumental compositions, Fran focuses most of his attention on spirituality, ethics and existentialism, approaching them within the context of parenthood in a rapidly changing world. As with his previous releases, the relationship between humans and their natural surroundings features prominently, as Fran attempts to musically illustrate how the cycles in nature mirror our own spiritual and philosophical rotations.
It can be difficult to convey such illustrious themes musically (especially without vocals), but the titles of the songs offer the listener some direction. For example, as the track name suggests, A Church Is Religion, A Tree Is Spirituality explores the distinction between religion and spirituality. As the artist’s daughter has gotten older, apparently philosophical questions like these have become more common, adding new levels of complexity to the role of parenting.
As far as the music itself, Forest Robots once again has delivered some truly stellar compositions. The music here is avant garde, creative and technically superb. The sound oscillates between softly meditative and boldly theatrical. Songs like In The Climb, Not The Summit, Lies The Most Wisdom have a 1970s, almost eco-futuristic quality. The atmospheric ambiance could be that of either a remote part of the wilderness or the outer regions of the solar system. It’s probably my favorite song on the album and would haunt nicely in any classic, European science fiction film. We Only Die Once, But Can Be Grateful Every New Day has more of a delicate, graceful feel to it, while Mirror Your Patience From Trees, Persistence From Grass is enchantingly orchestral.
The music has an “experimental” component to it but is also well-performed in the traditional sense. Forest Robots cites Jon Hassell, Gigi Masin, Weather Report, Nick Drake as musical influences for this album. Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s Prepare Thyself To Deal With A Miracle is also listed as a thematic inspiration. Overall, Amongst A Landscape Of Spiritual Reckoning is a powerful work of art. It’s sensitive, beautiful and extremely moving.
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