Aerosol: Airborne

Rasmus Rasmussen's sophomore Aerosol collection collects nine grandiose electronic-shoegaze settings into a transporting whole. The Copenhagen, Denmark-based producer first established himself as a member of Limp, the post-rock outfit that counted Jonas Munk (Manual), Jakob Skott (Syntaks), and Jess Kahr as fellow members, before bringing Aerosol to life in 2000 and eventually issuing his debut full-length All That Is Solid Melts Into Air six years later.

By imbuing the opener “Midnight Ride Down the Mental Freeway” with the acoustic warmth of piano, organ, and acoustic guitar, Rasmussen brings forth the wistful nostalgia and melancholy that's at the composition's heart. Justifying its eight-minute length, the graceful piece builds subtly until electric guitar playing reminiscent of Rasmussen associate Manual appears three-quarters of the way along. With piano chords guiding the way, “Transition” at times sounds like an alternate take of “Midnight Ride Down the Mental Freeway,” even if Rasmussen dresses up “Transition” in a more expansive arrangement. Apparently composed in reference to a tour around Morocco, “Psychedelic Coffee Buzz” oozes a languorous slow-burn that hints that something more powerful than caffeine was ingested. The title track opts for serenading shoegaze, while “Dreams Flow Wide” and “Sleepy Sunset” likewise gravitate in the direction of pastoral electronic.

It should be obvious by now that the style offered up on Airborne isn't far removed from that of Manual or Syntaks—not that that's a bad thing—though the Aerosol style, while as gauzy and densely layered as the music of his compadres, exudes a slightly more pronounced “sun-kissed,” psychedelic vibe—a trippy character clearly implied by song titles such as “Infinite Expanse” and “Psychedelic Coffee Buzz.” Even so, when (acoustic and electric) guitars move to the forefront, as they do during “Let the Seasons Drift” and the lilting closer “Softly Slipping,” it's hard not to hear Aerosol as being so close in spirit to Manual that their styles become almost indistinguishable (a likeness strengthened even more when Rasmussen's preferred electric sound is a Manual-like chime).

November 2009