[Giants Under The Microscope sleeve]"Giants Under The Microscope" (Album, 2012)  !dso Recommended!

Self Release

This March 2013 re-issue extends Jonteknik's album first released in September last year by adding two additional tracks. And a welcome release it is too as the Jonteknik name is still relatively niche in spite of the credible work Jon Russell has under his utility belt as a producer and remixer. He produced Paul (OMD) Humphreys' debut Onetwo album Instead in 2007, and only earlier this month delivered a trademark remix for OMD's Metroland 12”. The latter especially exposing Jonteknik to a far wider audience that he's garnered so far.

Whilst some of the sound palette and subject matter invokes understandable comparisons with a legendary Dusseldorfian outfit, there's a much Krautrock as Kraftwerk DNA across these fourteen (largely instrumental) compositions. Nowhere is Jonteknik's statement of intent better exemplified than in the inspirationally cosmic Thule that opens proceedings. It may run for less than two minutes but it confidently sets a beautiful tone for much of what follows.

Come at this expecting to hear a collection of pop songs along the lines of The Model or Pocket Calculator and you'll be left wanting. Instead, if you tune yourself in beforehand by listening to those atmospheric paeans to human inventions that OMD do so perfectly, and original run Harmonia then you just might have discovered an essential new artist. Despite being 100% synthesized there is a satisfyingly 'earthy' feel to many of the tracks. This is unashamedly high-tech, but high-tech that's firmly rooted in the soil of our Earth. (Is there such a sub-genre as Eco-Technopop?) Indeed, it's easier to visualise a helicopter tracking shot of rolling green fields and rippling lakes or mountain tops when listening to this than it is the clichéd neon of Tokyo or the lightcycles from Tron. It's that organic sensibility that gives this its (guitar-free) connection to ambient from the Krautrock era. 8/10

Rob Dyer (May 2013)

See also:

Jean Michel Jarre
Karl Bartos
Orchestral Manouevres In The Dark