It starts like an orchestra tuning up, resolving into playful minimal tones as it warms up. This is the opening track, 'No Maps'. Soon the piece bursts with the wonderfully rich voice of Jo Whitby, whose main musical incarnation is Lawrence Made Me Cry. A beautiful song to begin the album.
The suggestions of orchestral and choral music continue with 'Jacques de Vaucanson', titled after the 18th century French inventor and artist, 'who was responsible for the creation of impressive and innovative automata and machines'.
Picking up the tempo at track three with 'In Patterns'. In geometric shapes, the music here becomes progressively more dancable. Paul has a way of throwing dance vibes into his releases when least expected. It's part of his avowed love of mixing up genres in his music. 'In Patterns' comes across to me as minimal electro trance.
Another shy introduction into the next track, 'Broxen', as if retuning the instruments, and then, in small sounds, finding a growing groove. This is the title track of the album. It calls out for a second listen.
'Side Out Side' brings melody edging into atonality in a flow of tension and resolution. This is a collaboration with Robert Halcrow, who sings on it.
Another instrumental to follow this up with 'Plastiscene'. Then, like a night forest at a bush rave, comes 'Voices'. Hypnotic, minimal, trancey. Love it.
'Tank Museum' is up next, a collaboration with Manfred Hamil (aka Douglas Deep). That's Steve Kelly. I found and loved his music years ago when he was SK123. The names may change but the music stays great. This track sounds in my ear as deep ambient post rock. Sampled voice, slowed down. Reveries of war, reduced to mantric repetition of the word 'fire'.
Now, Paul picks up the pace again with some deft broken beats on 'Note to Self'. Along with the opening track, this is a favorite on the album for me. Again the electro vibe, replete with melodic musical renderings like pinballs, and an entropic ending.
Another sprinkling of vocals, with 'Artex and Oak'. Artex is that textured swirl ceiling many of us live under these days. I imagine Paul may also have oak in his music room too. The counterpoint seems ironic and yet evokes a true texture of 21st century living. Euphorically ambient ending. Highly inventive piece of music.
Next, 'This is freefall'. Melodic ambient, minimal piano. Longing. Music that, while referencing previous genres, is also from the immediate present.
'Will Reign' featuring Colin Robinson comes after that. Infectious driving rhythm to this track with Colin's vocals. Keeps shifting up gears in the instrumentals, dissolving into the entropy once more in a jazzy sax ending. Another fave.
Last track (not counting the bonus release on download) is Paul's remix of Squarepusher's 'MIDI Sans Frontieres". Anthemic ambient, again recalling the orchestral musical motifs in some of the other tracks.
If like me you listen from the download, get ready for another favorite track of the album: Douglas Deep's remix of 'Voices'. I love the deep minimal sound, closing up the album with a smoothly abrupt ending.
Paul Foster, under his label, Tanzwuth Recordings, has 23 album or ep releases at Bandcamp going back to 2009. This latest release is a marvellous new addition to an outstanding catalogue.