|I am proud to say I have followed Brothertiger almost since the beginning; that is, ever since ‘A House of Many Ghosts’ appeared on Blalock‘s Indie/Rock Playlist late in 2010, and I had the immediate and uncommon reaction of “What on earth is that?” Oh, the creative sampling, the glowing synths, the warm and comforting vocals, the overall spirit of… “what?!” The feeling was foreign to me and I wanted more. Much to my dismay, however, it took me several weeks of digging before finally stumbling across his bandcamp page, where an EP called Vision Tunnels and, soon after, an EP called Point of View were available for donation of choice.|
Even still, as 2013 reaches its sunset months, there is very little information to be gleaned on synth pop artist John Jagos or his beautiful and unique electronic project, Brothertiger. On the other hand, the remixes have stacked up, and this impressive catalog of work speaks volumes for itself. He has remixed the likes of Keep Shelly In Athens, Casa Del Mirto, Teeel, Steffaloo, Monster Rally, and many more, doctoring them all with his signature patina of gold and glow. For a real treat, feast your ears on the Brothertiger remix of Monster Rally’s ‘Sun Videos’. Although the original song is catchy and summery, the remix is barely recognizable, having been run through the virtual solar machine that is Jagos’s genius.
Future Splendors is Brothertigers’ second full-length album, following last year’s much-anticipated Golden Years. Like everything that has come before it, each song is a thing of beauty. This is music of feeling, music that is supposed to lose you in a world of sense and sound, and this is where I, as a music writer, fail, because my words could never be as good as your ears when it comes to the magic of sounds like these. The album starts off with ‘Up From Below’, which sounds a little more synth-heavy than anything Brothertiger has done in the past… until the vocals begin, and they are every bit as cheerful and inviting and innocent as I remember. Following is the overwhelmingly positive-sounding ‘In Mind’, with dripping synths, calming vocals, and an overall feeling of a permanent vacation.
Although Future Splendors is generally more of the same (and more of the same is good – the formula is definitely working!), there are enough refreshing moments to keep listeners interested. For example, there is a moment on the track ‘You Should Know’ where the sultry sound of a saxophone breaks in and adds an element of smoothness and maturity to the final minute of the song. To be honest, I never really understood why this music was called “chillwave”, because although it can be pretty relaxing, it sounds more like a warm wave, at least when it comes to Brothertiger. The closest we come to chill is likely on the title track, where some cooler sounds are explored that are more reminiscent of the wintery ’80s synth pop that well deserves the splitter-friendly genre title “coldwave”. Instead of the reticent vocal delivery you might expect on such a song, Jagos sings as softly and balmy as ever, creating a pleasing juxtaposition between voice and instrumentation.
Other moments worth recognizing are the fully instrumental ‘Memorybank’, which is large, spacey and eerie with feedback, and the duet with a female vocalist on the penultimate song, ‘Further On’. In fact, after listening to this song, I have decided I want John Jagos to be my psychologist. I want to lie on the couch in a room where one whole wall is a mural of the sea, and have him tell me in his soothing voice that I can do anything I set my mind to. Forget that money exists, go for a run along the sand, leave your cell phone and watch at home, and listen to Future Splendors. - Violent Success