- A gifted producer from Dallas shows off his melodic gifts.
- Few people outside of Texas, except for dedicated synth heads, have heard of Jake Schrock. Yet the Dallas artist is one of the most proficient analog synth musicians in the US. He's as technically skilled as Seattle's Panabrite, with the cinematic touch of Steve Moore and the pop flair of S U R V I V E. He met member of the band Michael Stein in college, and they enriched each other's love of old gear and synths, as well as their gift for melody. Schrock's last album, Tropical Depression, was released on S U R V I V E's label Holodeck in 2018, when it made a dent in a small but vital Dallas scene. Now he moves to Seattle's Medical Records armed with a bigger and better sound.
Though Schrock makes instrumental synth music, he writes songs, not tracks. That's clear off the bat with "Grey Skies," which cruises full steam ahead like an early '80s Tangerine Dream track. Drum machine hits, bulldozing bassline arpeggio, triumphant chords. The shimmering Berlin School tribute "A.51" stays focused and driven, keeping your attention with small shifts in programming. A track like "Deep Sea" satisfies the yearning, sci-fi melody quotient, but its sinuous melodies are kept within the limits of a three-minute waltz.
Schrock's sense of economy is one of his defining features, and some of the most exciting parts of Omnibus are when he tries out firmer structures. "Home Alone" could be from an old Metroplex record in the late '80s, and the way it takes influence from starry-eyed Detroit electro feels like a tribute to Dallas's decades-long tradition of Detroit-inspired dance music. "Wormhole" might be Schrock's best, arranged with the heft and dynamism of a whole band. Some outlandish effects, like when his synth approximates the roaring of a jet engine, complete Omnibus's melodramatic but lighthearted vibe. Somewhere in the sweet spot between flashy technical demonstration, emotive playing and a penchant for songwriting that makes him more than just another synth wiz.
01. Grey Skies
02. Deep Sea
04. Home Alone