Originally developed as a way create new material for Tristano's p:anorig project ― a unique live set-up debuted at Barcelona's Sonar festival earlier this year, which finds the artist surrounded by large array of keyboards, synthesizers and other equipment (although ironically, no piano) in full view of the audience ― Surface Tension grew into a project in its own right. Now 34 years old, Tristano explains that he is only now at a time in his life where he has a studio he can truly call his own. "I can hook up all these synthesizers that I've picked up over the years," he continues, "it's the fulfillment of that." With an instrumentarium of analogue, digital, classic and modern gear ― ranging from Prophets to Moogs, to Rolands and Yamahas ― at his and May's disposal, Tristano has aimed to keep processing to a minimum from the word go. The pair aren't just using these synths, they're paying tribute to them, honoring the rich, recognisable sound palettes that have made them household names. The result is an album that feels, at once, nostalgic and fresh; that feels like an old friend, but one who never ceases to surprise. From the ambient vision of 'Esoteric Thing', drifting along to the sound of birdsong, to more beat-centric pieces such as 'The Mentor' and the quirky 'Xokolade' , the equipment, and the love it's been treated with, shines through. Both Tristano and May's individual presences are obvious too, yet work in a way so complimentary to each other as to blur the lines at which they cross. 'Pacific FM' is a lesson in uplifting techno, keys fluttering over padfoot bass; the futuristic Detroit dance of 'In Da Minor' is undercut by eerie, unpredictable glass synth-work; 'Rocco's Bounce' is free-form jazz tugged into line by structured four-to-the-floor; there's even an itchy, jittering, Decca Records-sanctioned remix of Japanese pianist and general Renaissance man, Ryuichi Sakamoto's classic 'Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence'.