It’s been a busy time for Tin Man aka US producer Johannes Auvinen. Having recently collaborated with Donato Dozzy on his Acid Test release, he now teams up with LIES producer Gunnar Haslam as Romans. Speaking recently to Juno Plus, Auvinen said that the project could act as a sound track for the end of the Roman Empire. While he undoubtedly had his tongue planted firmly in his cheek when he made that remark, Romans 1 does nonetheless deliver a slick interpretation of classic electronic sounds.
“Deva Victrix” follows the Detroit techno path and, over the course of nearly 10 minutes, sees the duo deliver melancholic piano keys, dramatic strings and heady synths climaxing over tight drums and percussion. It’s the most conventional track either producer has released to date but it also calls to mind the melancholic approach of Legowelt’s most recent album Crystal Cult 2080, as if a ghost from rave’s past is trapped deep in their arrangement. The two “Glanum” episodes are entirely different propositions. Avoiding the dance floor, the fact that they are beatless doesn’t lessen their impact. Stacatto drums and melancholic bass tones provide the basis for the duo to introduce sombre synths and the kind of wittering acid lines that Tin Man is known for.
If it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that both “Glanum” tracks see Auvinen prevail, it is also true that “Alba Lulia” is Haslam’s baby. More understated than “Deva Victrix”, its beats are soft and are accompanied by gentle percussive hisses. The centre piece however is the interplay between frosty synth lines and a niggling acid undercurrent. Neither element emerges as dominant, but it’s not that kind of arrangement it seems. Judging on this first instalment, Romans may not be out to conquer the world like their namesakes, but they still provide a neat synopsis of the sound of electronic music’s own empires.
1. Alba Lulia
2. Deva Victrix
3. Glanum 1
4. Glanum 2