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Breakin' Is a Memory - Tony Rolando

Breakin' Is a Memory - Tony Rolando

by Sam Chittenden

Tony Rolando is a familiar name in the modular synth world, and has recently re-entered the music world from a different angle. After a lengthy hiatus from recording music, the founder of Make Noise has released Breakin' is a Memory, a tight, six-track album drenched in nostalgic synth tones, interesting arrangements, and a relaxed but insistent energy. The tracks have a nice polished sheen to them while maintaining a very "live'' feel. There are interwoven arpeggiated lines that are pushed and pulled into overlapping rhythmic variations and the tracks are tonally quite present and immersive, even though they aren't a blur of massive washy spaces. A very digestible collection and nothing suffers from being too long or spirals off into jam territory. The pieces are very well composed with ideas and motifs given room to breathe.
Despite the comfortable running time, Rolando allows space to explore and evolve his timbres and rhythms in very satisfying ways. The opening "Running Toward an Edge" has a neon-drenched city-scape vibe with manipulated delay lines moving against a pulsing bass line. "In a Forest of Phenomena'' features wonky, off-kilter melodies, and "Moonlit Through a Veil of Smoke '' has Rolando's dulcimer-esque tones being mixed with noisy washes and some very understated and distant percussion. Breakin' is a Memory's pacing and cohesiveness are more inline with an artist who has already found his stride, not one re-emerging.

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