Charlatan: Equinox

What a beautiful set of blissed-out synthesizer music this is from Digitalis label head Brad Rose under the Charlatan name. This aptly titled Equinox recording, the second vinyl release under his new solo project moniker (following the release of Triangles on Digitalis), spreads seven sunblinded and starry-eyed settings across two twelve-inch sides.

“Titans” opens the album with nine declamatory minutes of widescreen radiance where long synthetic trails blaze and soar in transcendant formation, until the track flames out in a massive climax. Following that grandiose opener, “Pyramids” and “Tetrahedron” bring the intensity level down for their reflective, dream-like presentations. On side two, “Delta” and “Minus Ten” evoke realms of wonderment and serenity in their becalmed blends of reverberant chords and shimmer. At times, the keyboard tones exude the bright clarion tone of a calliope, such as during “Seed & Light,” and a hint of psychedelia sneaks into the closing piece, “From Dust,” when dazed vocalizing forms part of the entranced, hiss-laden sound mix.

Though the material is wholly keyboard-based, it's compositionally rich enough to render that detail moot, and one finds oneself repeatedly being swept up by the ravishing synthetic textures, as if one is warming one's ears before their radiant glow. A sense of uplift and exultation permeates the album's material, and one comes away from it refreshed and rejuvenated.

January 2012