Jake Schrock makes music that seems out of time. He works with a plethora of analog devices that tick, clack, and wheeze sonic spells which transport you to seemingly alternate dimensions. Island rhythms and haunted melodies paint visions of steely shores and chrome waters as double suns set in a nuclear horizon. His 2018 Holodeck Records debut, the tranquil and exotic Tropical Depression, was a stunning work that stood toe to toe with German electronic music pioneers like Rudiger Lorenz, Klaus Schulze, and Kraftwerk. His analog language, spoken with vintage synths and drum machines, was familiar yet alien. Island grooves and Komische melodies crashed on strange beaches far beyond our comprehension, which made for my favorite album that year.
Jake Schrock has returned to us during a time when we need him most. While the world sits in an uncertain holding pattern, Mr. Schrock has presented us with Omnibus, a seven track album that continues his unique musical vision. While building off the magic of Tropical Depression, Schrock pushes forward more into dystopian, futuristic vibes than what came before. We can still see the steely shores and chrome waters, but only when the mainframe allows us to. Omnibus is musical escapism at its finest.
“Grey Skies” opens the album with a striking shift of tone from what we heard in 2018. Tangerine Dream-meets-Mark Isham vibes permeate this excellent track. The island grooves are replaced with a robotic pulse and futuristic drive. No matter what the mood, Jake Schrock has a gift for creating melody and “Grey Skies” gives us one to latch onto. “Deep Sea” takes us back to the shorelines of our distant dreams and lulls us into a waking dream state. If ‘island electronic’ is the next great electronic music genre then Jake Schrock is its Godfather. “Deep Sea” works up a synthetic breeze as the sun cooks our already leathery skin under translucent skies. “Gewitter” goes full-on Krautrock with a motorik beat and sparse pulsing synth melody. It’s a skeletal frame of a rhythm that Schrock hangs a muscular melody on for us to hold onto. This is pure Berlin School bliss.
One of my favorite tracks here is the slick and strutting “Wormhole”. Where some would go full hazy Komische bliss with a name like this, Jake Schrock turns in a full-on android strut. A prominent electro drum beat with some seriously gritty synth hung onto it for good measure makes this track as hypnotically corrupt as it is intrinsically funky. “A.51” sounds like square waves overflowing from a tear in the universe. Bubbling synths come together with an almost lo-fi rhythm that has Psychic Chasms vibes, but with much more class and not nearly the Psilocybin levels. “Patterns” closes the record on the same Exit/Le Parc vibes that “Grey Skies” opened on. It’s a sound that suits Jake Schrock well. A melancholy melody lulls us into a strange peace while the world slowly goes dark. This strange and wonderful world Jake Schrock built for us dims, but we can return whenever we like.
Omnibus is a proper follow-up to Jake’s masterpiece Tropical Depression. It’s familiar enough that it feels like a continuation, but it’s alien enough that we’re surprised at nearly every turn. Jake Schrock has done it yet again. Plug into the mainframe and get lost.
Omnibus is available now on Medical Records. Order the limited edition vinyl or digital version here.