Joel Shanahan’s gliding, atmospheric synth experiments have morphed through a few distinct forms over the last few years with the decayed luxury of his Golden Donna project. The latest release from the Madison, WI melody and groove enthusiast arrives at a particularly dream-drenched, cascading realm as Auscultation, a new project debuting on 1080p with this S/T cassette and digital release.
The holographic, arpeggiated voyages of these new works are expectedly lush and retain as much of the insular, basement/bedroom-based zonage as they do way out, starry abstractions. Shanahan’s by now recognisable sense of the cosmic and unique and meticulous synthesis/sound design definitely wins out thanks to the deep and constant shroud of brightly hued ambience.
Practically every layer of these 50 minutes worth of hybridized tracks is melodic; building gradually into slow, marbled washes on a track like “Ash” with particular patience, while the chords at the front of “Wave Rejection” oscillate with particular vigor and high-reaching emotive intent. Low, heavy bass and a series of texturally varied percussions finishes out each of these seven heavily layered, reverberant tracks for feelings both maze-like and expansive.
Auscultation’s movements are guided by fragments of specific dance music genre ideals, but the overwhelmingly psychedelic sensations take over. Processing his own take on the decadence of house music as well as his passion for lush drone and noise results in hazy, labyrinthian heights that have echos of hypnogogic pop as much as italo.