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Baltic Fleet - The Dear One album review

Warrington wizard Baltic Fleet conjures up lofty progtronica.

As Baltic Fleet, Paul Fleming has been steadily building his reputation for the past decade. 2008’s self-titled debut, recorded on laptops and ad hoc instruments while touring as Echo & The Bunnymen’s keyboard player, featured Will Sergeant.

And the ambient contours of the award-winning Towers, his 2012 follow-up, brought him further into the public eye via gigs with Public Service Broadcasting and slots on Yoko Ono’s Meltdown and Liverpool’s International Festival Of Psychedelia. The Dear One is his most emphatic statement yet. A conceptual piece set in the bony wilds of the Pennines, it revolves around characters found in the pages of a 19th century diary, mapping their lives and aspirations through a pulsing vista of sound.

Fleming has lost none of his feel for classic motorik grooves, though here he splashes them with EDM beats and trancey synths. Swallow Falls is bright and expansive, its pastoral percussion offset by the piping techno of Tuns, which recalls both Daft Punk and latter-day Jean-Michel Jarre. Yet Fleming remains a deft creator of mood, be it via the rich guitarscaping of Angel’s Shotgun or, most impressively, the Cluster-ish esoterica of La Cygne, which disappears into banks of synthetic ripples.