Forma: Forma Review
We are lucky here in the Twin Cities to be a hub for the ambient-synth resurgence that is happening in a lot of different places, but having such great bands from the genre in your hometown can make you a little blind to what is going on elsewhere. Luckily there are some bands, like Forma, that are simply too good to not get recognized and set themselves apart from the fray.
The 11 songs on the bands recent self-titled LP are simply titled by numbers, which I believe represent their place on the tape when the band recorded them. The songs balance delicately on the tightrope between sounding cold and calculated and improvised and loose. Each mode can be a downfall of bands in this particular genre (noodling vs over calculated), but Forma pump out warm synths and assaulting rhythms that never lose the listener over the span of the album. Bookended by the spaced out 237A and the more unwieldy 237B (one jam session they, for whatever reason, decided to split up) , the record is a study in synth grooves, both of the hard charging and the spaced out variety. Local fans of Food Pyramid, Deep Earth (or most any Moon Glyph bands) or Lighted will recognize and appreciate the calculated but inquisitive sounds on Forma. Whether barroling through foot stomping kraut grooves like “197” or losing themselves in the psyched out ether (“235,” “211”) or somewhere in between “230”/””233B,” the band are at the top of their game on Forma and produce one of the most arresting and compelling albums of the year.
In a genre of music that can lack a tangible difference between a good and great album, Forma create a record that finds a way to be a visceral gut punch that impresses more and more with each listen. The songs find that subtle groove between jammy and structured and are some of the best ambient synth songs that have come out recently. With the amazing talent in our local scene, it takes a record like Forma to really look outward and see some of the amazing music in outside scenes. In a somewhat strange twist, rumor has it they may be putting out material for a local label in the near future, so keep an eye out on this great band and hopefully their next offering can be as powerful and engaging as their self titled debut.