VisionEar - "Future Sans"
(Future Records 2001, FR41592)
From Aural Innovations #19 (April 2002)
VisionEar is a solo project from Michigan based musician Jim Konen who I was introduced to recently by a couple of collaborations with Rotcod Zzaj (see AI #18). Blending highly charged electronic beats and patterns, and drawing on rock and jazz influences, Konen puts his personal stamp on the electro dance genre, having created a set of manic spaced out instrumentals that seem to occupy a realm between the Ozric Tentacles and Eat Static.
Among the highlight tracks is "Ambiene", an ambient space tune with multiple layers of electronic patterns and textures, some of which border on the symphonic. It's dancey but totally cosmic and includes some beautiful wailing guitar lines that add intensity but also partly creates the melody. After an electronic big band jazz intro, "Flight No." quickly becomes a quirky techno lounge tune. There are recognizable influences but all done in a unique way. I can easily see how Konen and Zzaj hooked up with each other. "Futuristic Guy" is one of my favorites, being a cosmic space hip-hop tune with trippy bubbling synth and fun lyrics. "Wiggley Giggley Stuff" features a meditational blend of space ambience and fiery electro beats. Konen is all over the place, blasting the listener from every direction with bits and pieces of seemingly countless electronic patterns. "Blackbox" and "Fluten" are among the most rocking tracks on the disc and feature mucho crunchy guitar. "Strange Attractors" is another one of my favorites. It's a jazz-in-space electro spectacular with rapid-fire beats, wind tunnel effects that suck the brain matter out your eardrums, Egyptian snake charmer melodies that evolve into energized fusion runs, ambient textures... LOTS going on here... and it's all got a frenzied groove to it as well.
In summary, Future Sans came as a surprise to me as my introduction to Konen's work was mostly in his capacity as a guitarist. I was pleased to discover he blends his guitar with electronics to create music that is stylistically recognizable but still a bit different from the rest. Highly recommended to electronica fans. Ozrics fans will find much to enjoy here too.
For more information you can visit the Future Records gallery at cdbaby.com: http://www.cdbaby.com/group/visionear.
Hear music samples at the VisionEar Mp3.com web site at: http://www.mp3.com/visionEar.
Contact via snail mail c/o Future Records; 23 W. Lawrence; Pontiac, MI 48342.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz