Ricardo Donoso – As Iron Sharpens Iron, One Verse Sharpens Another (Digitalis Recordings DIGIV061/2)

Since the vinyl debut „Progress Chance” on Digitalis two years ago, Ricardo Donoso has been the label’s highly acclaimed artist and now the Brazilian returns with the newest contribution “As Iron Sharpens Iron, One Verse Sharpens Another”, which is a staggering mix of fragile layers, flaming arpeggios and shuddering bass. The master of synthetic harmonies keeps the one-album-per-year pace and the newest one, out on two separate EPs, exhibits the artist’s poetic and captivating approach to the machine-made music.

Current work is his closest to dance canons, or could it be trance canons. Not comparable by BPM rate, the sound structures of Donoso’s album bear surprising resemblance with the 1990s psy-trance by the likes of Astral Projection, Man With No Name and others.

Subdued placidity of the introductory “Affirmation” is deceptive as it’s followed by „The Sphinx“, raising from the imaginary dust to stand tall as a symbol of intellectual trance music. Elastic layers and veiled whispering are placed on Front 242 aggressive riffs with immense traction power. Then “Diagonal Environment” explores the different shades of bass and fluorescent pads and “The Old Straight Track” is dedicated to the Mother Earth, the warmth of dubs reminding of SEEKERSINTERNATIONAL.

Opening the second part, “The Redeemer” carries immense entrancing potential with endless repetition and echoing radio transmissions across the space. Playing in the same league with „The Sphinx“, zigzaging arpeggios lend to “Open Drawer, Full Of Masks” uplifting trance qualities and it targets most intensely the floor here. For the next bass knobs are turned to the extremes in the floating „The Child Primitive“, where a a dialogue about the inferiority of the mankind is conducted with the Deep Thought. Plain machine language dominates in “The Master Game”, the album’s coldest track heralding the arrival of technological singularity.

Needless to say, Donoso has once again completed an extraordinary album, mastered this time by John Tejada.

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