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Released in November 2011 as Justin Vanderberg's debut on Spotted Peccary label and follow-up to his premiere album "In Waking Moments", released back in 2007 on Hypnos Secret Sounds. While "In Waking Moments" album was strongly focused on deeper, tranquil ambience enriched by fine Timeroom fragrances, "Synthetic Memories" shift towards traditional, warmly inviting cinematic sound of Spotted Peccary family. The opening composition, clocking to 9 and half minutes, "From Below", on which Justin is joined by his label mate Jon Jenkins, perfectly portrays this hauntingly sublime fusion of pristine chill-out melodies and serenely floating organic washes, all amazingly harmonized and wrapped by emotionally moving soundtrack-like arrangements. A really catchy intro I must say, even if holding stronger signature of Jon's collaborations with David Helpling. "When I Walk" dives into deeper, expansive atmospheric realms, charmingly colored by ethereally expressive piano. Elegantly gentle melodies return on "Synthetic Memories", a 13-minute title track, and are freshly blended with swiftly sequenced patterns and tranquil atmozones. Some sharper crystalline effects add a bit of cybernetic feel. "67" is deeply visualizing texture, tranquilly and graciously floating. "The Path" is invaded by strange effects and hisses, which quite disturbingly color strongly imaginative piano lead and washes. But razor-sharp tribal grooves join the stage along with other highly distinctive sounds for absolutely exciting show. A truly fascinating mixture of high-tech beats and evocative soundscapes, stunningly beautiful and mesmerizingly effective!!! "Dusk" enters panoramic desert vastness with spiraling drifts roaming over these vast open territories and recalling the ghosts of Timeroom. This is another side of Justin Vanderberg's artistry, presenting his soundscaping at its most expansive and immersing. Another highlight on this journey!!! "Drops" are truly heartwarming, nicely fragranced with modern classical-infused piano, quite minimal, but strongly imaginative. The closing, 9 minutes long "Cold Brightness", is more dreamy, pastoral texture with tenderly tinkling bells, slowly progressing through slightly more massive, droning paths. A nicely fitting finale of these "Synthetic Memories"!!! Justin Vanderberg, in US, Ohio based artist, definitely deserves his place among the Spotted Peccary team roster. "Synthetic Memories" are electrifyingly colorful, yet complexly constructed and skillfully executed, including elegant 4-panel disc eco wallet packaging.
Richard Gürtler (Apr 22, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)