Roland Tings — Salt Water (Nov. 8, 2019)                        Roland Tings — Salt Water (Nov. 8, 2019)
♦   Druhé album producenta z Melbourne, vlastním jménem Rohan Newman, inspirované australským bujným klidným deštným pralesem, zdůrazňuje melodii a texturu pozadí více, než velké kapky nebo basové linky. Roman vysvětluje: „Věděl jsem, že v první polovině nahrávky potřebuji opravdu euforickou stopu, abych pohnul LP vpřed. Když jsem slyšel původní vokál Alyss, věděl jsem, že je to perfektní pro to, co jsem chtěl. Produkce jejího hlasu byla psychedelická a texty zapadají přesně do toho, co jsem chtěl, aby záznam promluvil“. Doufejme, že toto svůdné album multiinstrumentalisty a skladatele nesklouzne mimo výseč radaru. Je to album, které má setrvačnou sílu díky umělecky atmosférickým a chytře uspořádaným pracím, převážně obsahujících nezapomenutelné melodické fintičky a emotivní expresionismus. Jak trefně poznamenává EARMILK: „s rytmy jak zrozenými k jízdě ve stylu get~go je to velmi vhodné pro přechod na pozdně~noční taneční parket.“ A XLR8R dodává: Je to „zabalené do řady kosmických syntetických scén, lesklých akordů a infekčně bublajících melodií.“
Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Album release: November 8, 2019
Record Label: Cascine
Duration:     51:27
01. Being There   4:55
02. Always Rushing (feat. Mild Minds)   5:24
03. Hiding In The Bushes   6:30
04. Up Close   5:09
05. Circulating   5:18
06. Rainforest   5:34
07. In A Cloud   5:23
08. Water Music   4:52
09. Song For A Sinking Ship   3:58
10. Sun Drops Behind The Hill   4:24
by Nathan Smith, Jan. 4, 2020; Score: 7.3
♦   On an international stage, contemporary Australian electronic music is most often identified with the EDM~inflected, festival~ready production of an artist like Flume, or the chill, algorithm~friendly compositions of lo~fi house, the preferred vernacular of DJs like Mall Grab and DJ Boring. Melbourne~based producer Roland Tings — real name Rohan Newman — sits somewhere in between, with a sound built for big rooms that still feels precise and considered. Though his live performances are energetic and immersive, his rhythms are more apt to nudge the body than shove it. Salt Water arrives four years after his self~titled 2015 debut, but it’s the kind of sculpted, careful record that sounds like it could have taken much longer: refreshingly untempted by current trends or timely rhythms, resolutely committed to doing its own thing.
♦   At earlier solo shows, Newman improvised drum loops on a TR~8, lending his sets an acid~house flavor that was classic without being nostalgic. Recently, after a few stateside tours with the likes of Chrome Sparks and Com Truise, he’s expanded his act, adding a live drummer and the occasional guitarist alongside his Juno 106 synthesizer. On his own time, he says he prefers listening to ambient and rock over electronic music, and the cross~genre influence is felt throughout his own work.
♦   Salt Water was recorded during a year~and~a~half period Newman spent living on Australia’s southern coast, near the Great Otway National Park. The ecological theme extends beyond song titles like “Rainforest” and “Sun Drops Behind the Hill”: The album has an organic essence, lush and alive like a rave in a foggy jungle. Each instrumental track functions as an equal member of an ecosystem. Brief stabs of acid sound like distant birds; percussive samples become a chorus line of cicadas; quietly thundering bass takes the shape of a storm cloud on the horizon. On “Rainforest,” “Up Close,” and “Circulating,” cascading voices float in and out of the mist, harmonizing with the acoustic surroundings until the exact words and their meaning is inseparable from the enclosing environment.
♦   Deeper into the album, cuts like “In a Cloud” and “Water Music” lull the listener with spacey, reverb~drenched synth lines. Newman’s work is euphoric and ecstatic without the melodrama of trance music. His songwriting begins with the overriding melody rather than an undergirding drum sequence, and he emphasizes background texture more than big drops or bass lines. For Roland Tings, ambience isn’t just what’s happening around the drums — it’s the main attraction. Just as spending time in nature is more about soaking up a feeling than seeing one thing in particular, Salt Water prizes the space between beats as much as beats themselves.
♦  Since 2012 Melbourne producer Roland Tings has gathered praise for his colourful take on dance music. His early~career releases for 100% Silk and Internasjonal hinted at an aesthetic that he’s since refined on his numerous records for Cascine, blending house, acid, pop and techno with enthusiasm and an infectious sense of melody. At home playing both raucous house parties and large~scale festivals, Roland's a staple part of the Australian music community.