For someone seemingly lost for good in a synthesized simulacrum of the ’70s, Toronto’s Jess Forrest keeps herself pretty present in the here and now. Last year she provided a live original score to John Boorman’s “rather special” slice of vintage sci-fi cinema, Zardoz, at Toronto’s Royal Stompbox. She’s also scored the CBC kids’ TV show Robotik, opened for Faust and Silver Apples, and released two albums under the name Castle If – starting with 2017’s Plant Material, an entirely artificial homage to the organic. Can she take the conceit any further? The title of her new EP, Beyond!, implies the affirmative.
In classic library-music fashion, Forrest has provided curt summaries of each track, allowing your humble reviewer to excuse himself momentarily, make a coffee, and feed the damn cats so they’ll shut up.
“Starlight”, 3:44, “synthesized sonata with abstract electronic sounds”. “Leap Year”, 2:50, “spooky upbeat space anthem with arpeggios and acoustic drums”. “Beyond”, 3:14, “uptempo pop theme with disco conventions and synth trills”.
Okay, I’m back. Everything clear? Great. I’ll simply add this: Forrest’s grasp of modular synthesis, and of the equally comical and compelling tropes of the discipline’s golden age, demand that the genre’s fans pay attention to Castle If – no ifs, ands, or buts.