North Carolinian keyboard driver heats up his engine to reach out for the future delights.
Is there a common denominator for the subjects of this record’s title? Of course, there is: both halos and dogs can be hot, and the 70-year-old Robert Evan Schindler knows it too well, having worked with the likes of Ronnie Spector and Johnny Nash. So Robeone’s short, six-album discography shouldn’t confuse anybody – the veteran had just been busy playing for the legends. Still, for all his pop-soul associations, Schindler’s solo oeuvre focuses on futuristic sort of fusion, where a classic array of electric ivories – featuring, quite prominently, Moog and Mellotron whose retro vibe will be counterbalanced by Kurzweil and guitar-like effects – can sound impressive, yet there’s a lot of sentiments in Robert’s faux-cerebral sonic brew.
As a result, while the platter’s epic centerpiece, the 12-minute-long “Turn Off Your Brain Part 2” – a sequel to the number from 2020’s “My World” – emerges as a string of deceptively passive images only to expand into a multilayered, mesmeric and elegiac, and rather passionate, space trip, the opener “Don’t Ever Stop Your Heart” offers a pensive groove and offsets piano ripples with a parping bass and synthetic passages, unfolding romantic panorama right in front of the listener’s mind eye and marrying trad jazz figures to new-age ethereality and pseudo-abstract filigree. However, the dance-inducing landscape of “Morning Rush” feels arrestingly bombastic before faux-flutes add a folksy flourish to its suburban glory, and the pellucid veil of “Yesterday Again” is lifted to reveal cosmic balladry under a stereo-fanned veneer that’s glistening in the light of quasi-brass.
Further down the line, the plastic punch of “Clusters” – which has vocal samples attached – locates Eastern-flavored exotica on the route to Krautrock, leading to an almost-orchestral, fatigued grandeur of “Halos”: a perfect finale for the adventurous record that won’t tire Robeone’s fellow traveler. It’s simply fascinating.