Skanfrom :: Postcards (Suction)

Minimal and stark in one breath, lush and inviting in the next. Crisp percussion thawed with lovingly constructed machine melodies.

Perhaps I shouldn’t have agreed to review Skanfrom’s new album. Why? Well, I fear that an unbiased opinion of this lesser known moniker was never going to fall from my hand. I say lesser known as Roger Semsroth has garnered greater attention under his Sleeparchive alias. But this analogue artist has a very dear place in my heart. His A.D.S.R. were some of the first vinyl records I ever bought, pulling apart packages from what was then Pelicanneck. Tender teenage years and wonderfully warm synth rich electronics. Dare I even say that’s my bit on Skanfrom’s discogs? You get the drift. But, the analogue plink plonk has been quiet since the early 2000s with only a solitary 7” in 2009. Five years on and finally, finally, this Electro Pop virtuoso has come out of hiding with a full length album for Solvent’s Suction Records.

The main fear with this new album might be a decision to change the tried and tested formula. Thankfully this has not happened. Some might say that variety is the spice, that change is healthy. But, when it comes to Skanfrom the model set down some fifteen years ago was next to perfect. Minimal and stark in one breath, lush and inviting in the next. Semsroth’s muse was always Bochum Welt and there are a scant few artists out there today who are still pursuing this rich video game style music. Across fifteen tracks the German artist delights. There is a refusal to extend tracks, instead brief and beautiful moments are crafted, floated and finally disappear. Everything is understated. Time is given, but not generously doled out. And it is that ephemeral nature that gives these pieces their wonder. Commodore inspired infusions washed over with autumnal light. Crisp percussion thawed with lovingly constructed machine melodies. That same charm and innocence that drew me to this German musician half my life ago is still very much present.

I find it hard to detach my critical ear from the all encompassing nostalgia that envelopes me on listening to this new offering. The needle drop is a time machine. Years where homework and spots were still an issue, amongst other things. But don’t mistake such sappy sentimentality with a blurring of the lines. This is an exceptional album of electronic music. Semsroth is one of the few, and I repeat few, artists who has pioneered this style of computer-tastic music. Superb synthesizer music from a true master.

Postcards is available on Suction.

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