Ricardo Donoso – Progress Trap – Yellow/Green LP, 180 gr
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Ten years after the transcendent syncopated debut ‘Progress Chance’, Ricardo Donoso returns with a pulsing retrospect of rhythmic determination and wide-eyed wonder with ‘Progress Trap’, his new album for Denovali. As is customary with Donoso, the moods on these electronic miniatures vary from piece to piece; some somber, brooding, and laden with mystery, others starry-eyed, tinged with sci-fi, and hungry for adventure.
Connections are finally forged between Donoso’s early hardware synthesizer arpeggiation experiments, his darker and more abstract work with an emphasis on synthetic textures, pulsation, and sound design and the more recent extreme full throttle electronic mayhem and prog inspired technical opuses found in the Calibrate/Re_Calibrate/Content era.
Progress Trap is as harmonious as its predecessor allowing dissonance to subtly seep in, providing mere hints at the undercurrent of threat hidden beneath the music’s smooth surface. If ‘Progress Chance’ was naive and innocent, ‘Progress Trap’ is mature and calculated. Perhaps some of the optimism has extinguished, but there is a stalking exhilaration which threads through the entire album, taking on merely different shades between sides – as with most of Donoso’s work something verging on a deep longing always lingers heavily as an aftertaste. There’s a lot to digest on Progress Trap, as with Donoso’s entire canon, but as always, the effort is repaid.