Helping listeners to escape reality—which has been known to grate, on occasion—has long been a noble aim of many musicians. One of the most effective ways to do that is to create imaginary soundtracks for impossible science-fiction films, the darker and more un-Hollywood-like, the better. Another method is to take inspiration from great works of architecture—which, as Goethe cogently noted, “is frozen music.” The latter route is used by Brooklyn producer Jonas Reinhardt (aka Jesse Reiner) on his sixth album, Palace Savant.
Reiner undergoes a profound solo odyssey on this album. Palace Savant may be the most spectacular realization of Jonas Reinhardt's outward-bound sonic aspirations. These eight tracks draw on 14th-century architect Peter Parler's breath-taking St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague. “St. Vitus is a statement to the future by the rulers at the time,” Reiner says. “It's surreal, grandiose, psychedelic—and the sheer scale of human ambition involved is almost beyond comprehension.” Parler reportedly deviated from the cathedral's initial blueprint and elevated the Gothic style to heretofore unimagined, bizarre levels. With Palace Savant, Reiner projected Parler's handiwork to Thomas Edison's era of electricity. “I envisioned [Parler] retrofitting his cathedral with excesses of incandescent light, preparing for a coming age of electronics. Palace Savant is what a contemporary electronic performance in that space might sound like.”
Recorded on tour and in New York over the course of a year and mixed at Transmitter Park Studio in Greenpoint, Palace Savant begins with the instant attention-grabber/pulse-accelerator “Old Kaizen.” At once claustrophobic and spacious, it possesses an urgent, chase-scene synth throb that would make John Carpenter or Bernard Fevre jealous. The turbulent “Remains Of Orr” sounds like Edgar Froese's kosmische-ambient masterpiece Aqua tossed into shark-infested waters. On “Androma,” Reiner's expertly modulated arpeggios contrast low and high frequencies, revealing his ability to create suspense with a chiaroscuro of whirs and pulsations.
Palace Savant achieves two towering peaks. The first is “Go Sceptre Go,” a swiftly moving, heavenly droner that veers off on a tangent into a much darker, more chaotic direction. The second is “Noctornum,” a burbling and soaring piece that's at once aquatic and astral, before an emphatic rhythm forms, pushing things into menacing Szajner-esque territory. The album closes with the midtempo arpeggios and muted, wailing siren tones of “Omat Principle Decay,” a moving finale to a record that's taken you so far and tingled your senses so intensely. A high point in Jonas Reinhardt's large canon, the dramatic and majestic Palace Savant does exquisite justice to St. Vitus Cathedral's grandeur.
released September 18, 2015
All music composed and arranged by Jonas Reinhardt
Mixed by Jesse Reiner and Matthew Patterson Curry
Recorded at Transmitter Park Studio & The Equinox, Brooklyn, NY
Mastered by Rashad Becker at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin
Album artwork by Andy Gilmore