Simon Templar

Simon Templar is the production name of Finland’s Jussi Paasonen and for over seven years has seen releases on labels like Black Hole Recordings, JOOF, Lost Language, Touchstone, Bonzai’s Progrez imprint and Pure Trance Recordings. It is to the latter however that the spoils of the Man from Kerava’s debut album have fallen with an 11-track album entitled ‘Balance’.

Hailed as “dazzling”and “impressive” by DJ Mag UK, ‘Balance’ is a honed, evenly keeled assemblage of tracks that span the full beam of trance’s notably wider range. 

Kicking off with its title track, the first half of the album brings music from the more deeply natured side of the genre’s firmament. From the chunky drums and hazily dystopian feel of ‘Fly With Me’ to ‘Golden Ratios’ cruising, prog-trance stylings, mentally, it summons altogether darker imagery. The guitar-led evocation of ‘Bead Town’s intro cedes to its redolent, quirkily-effective Left Bank evangelising vocal. In uber-chilled fashion, ‘Sunday Rain’ has ‘Balance’ reach its midpoint - a beatless intermission that brilliantly sets the scene & builds the anticipation for its second half. 

On signing Simon’s long-player debut to Pure Trance Recordings, label boss Solarstone said: “I’ve long been a fan of Jussi’s sound; it’s always been melodically understated and firmly underground – with that sophisticated Finnish sheen. Very pleased to have convinced Jussi to sit down in the studio and tell a story.” 

As the strains of ‘Sunday Rain’ fade, ‘Balance’s tone upticks, with the soaring, powerful ‘Skyline’. The “forceful”, “floor-angled”, “primetime” (DJ Mag) lean of recent single ‘Morning Sun’ lends more weight, while the drum-punch and recursive progressive riffs of ‘The Eternia’ fuels its system further. Having (through its initial release back in 2014) already served ‘To The Stars’ two ways, Simon returns to the track with a third electrifying outing. 

‘The Fog’ pushes ‘Balance’s needle into stormy Psy territory, before ‘Jing & Jang’ offers a thrilling, quixotic slo-mo denouement to the album. 

It’s out now.