There are few artists that fully embody the spirit of Kosmische Musik as well, nor as genuinely as Tarotplane. His latest record, Horizontology, is further proof of that.
Right from the very first song on this album, Tarotplane (AKA PJ Dorsey), plunges the listener deep into outer space with the help of various synths and other electronics. Each track soars with pulsating tones that swarm and crescendo like the flowing auroras of a geomagnetic storm. Reverb and an array of other delay and oscillating effects give the shivering drones and sonar-like pings that dominate the record an extremely wide sense of scope. With the right kind of speakers or headphones, the listener can feel completely adrift in a sea of astral keyboards and hypnotic beats. This is especially evident on the opening track, “Shatner’s Bassoon,” which at times sounds like two satellites bouncing signals off of each other as they slowly coast by in orbit.
Despite the spaciness of the LP, there is a palpable warmth in many of the songs. The new age/ambient hybrid “Ceramic Hearthbreak” and the nearly proto-techno “Ritual Believer” feature an uplifting atmosphere and looping rhythms that are almost danceable. Imagine something halfway between Tangerine Dream’s soundtrack work of the 80’s and records by Hiroshi Yoshimura or Shiho Yabuki.
Yet the real standout tune on the record is the concluding suite, “Light Under Water/The Rescheduled Dream Delivery Service/Malaysian Forest/A Tiny Coven.” Across 19 otherworldly minutes, this epic piece morphs from an oozy cosmic dreamscape to a celestial acid folk jam, and finally an ethereal collage of manipulated field recordings, blissful guitars and heavenly keyboards.
The space folk essence of groups like Bröselmaschine and Gila collide on this track with the synth-backbone of Ashra and the ephemeral psychedelia of “Echoes”-era Floyd and Amon Düül II. This is the point in the album that pulls the listener deepest into another realm, but it’s also the point that returns them to the pillowy comfort of the terrestrial and the familiar, via the processed snippets of children laughing and bird song that appear by the song’s end. During the final few moments of the suite, the listener truly feels like they’ve made it home safely.
This is an album that the spirits of Florian Fricke and Edgar Froese would certainly smile upon. If you want to give it a try for yourself, pick up a digital copy from 12th Isle’s Bandcamp page today.