Charging The Electric Dream by Leon AlvaradoRelease date: December 15, 2022
Label: Melodic Revolution Records
As the cover is a construction of images of Leon Alvarado’s passport photo that has been taken for many, many years, it resembles a striking tribute to Steve Hillage’s two studio albums that were released in 1982; And Not Or and For To Next. It’s quite an homage for what he has taken by delving his toes into the water by Charging The Electric Dream.
Recorded throughout a span of several decades, Leon tips his hat to the electronic maestros that have been a part of his D.N.A., Eno, Vangelis, Wendy Carlos, Jean Michel-Jarre, and Tangerine Dream. Described by Leon as “Headphone Music”, it does play out as an alternate score to a sci-fi film that was made in the late ‘70s, early ‘80s.
There are also hints of a video game score brought to life in the Halo universe. And you can hear that on the pedal-to-the-medal chase sequence in the town of ‘Megapolis’. At first you think that you’re in the middle of the jungle, during its heat extreme momentum, but once temperatures start to boil, Leon reveals this once great utopia is now in utter chaos.
Then it’s off to the cosmos with nods to the Berlin School of Music, approaching this bossa-nova groove on ‘Space Glitter’ before taking the Moroder arrangements to higher ground by witnessing ‘The Rising Sun’ coming over the horizons with a mournful-like atmosphere of ‘Alternate Frequencies’.
I can imagine that Leon had listened to Side B of David Bowie’s ’77 album, Low. Hearing that opening track, it reminded me of ‘A New Career in a New Town’. What he has done is extending Bowie’s composition by giving the Thin White Duke, a shaft of light to go beyond the horizonic worlds that he had vision whilst getting cleaned up during his time in Berlin throughout the late ‘70s.
The closing track ‘Outside the Dream’ takes us on a Daft Punk-like race from the TRON Legacy sessions with church organs, Chroma keys, alarming synths, and you can never tell if you’ll be up for the challenge inside the Grid. Leon makes it more dangerous and leaving us, hanging on the balance for dear life.
Charging The Electric Dream is quite the ride. It’s exhilarating, terrifying, intense, and pushing us over the edge of the cliff, not knowing when the parachute will start its deployment sequence. And we got to be a part of Leon’s journey. Let’s hope that he will do more of this in the years to come.