While most travellers kill time with a good book or some in-depth headphone listening Jeff Witscher used his journeys as an excuse to craft his latest Rene Hell album Vanilla Call Option . It marks the first full-length from the U.S. synth explorer since 2011’s career-defining Terminal Symphony but his newest record is hardly a proper followup.
Composed while trekking between airports venues and the like Vanilla Call Option is abstract to say the least with its 11 tracks playing more as a collection of scattered audio experiments than a cohesive piece of work. While a free-form approach can be refreshing the record proves to be a tough sell as Witscher lays out musique concrete-like sonics that bring plenty of challenge but little reward.
Instead of Rene Hell’s kosmische-tinted synth play or even classically geared chaos Vanilla Call Option sticks to electronic experiments that buzz oscillate drone and scrape all the while steering well clear of melody form or structure. Real instruments and field recordings peek through from time to time but mainly this comes across as the isolated work of a man lost in the machine.
At best Vanilla Call Option is a diversion but if you come expecting Rene Hell’s old synth heroics prepare for disappointment.