reaches Justin Randel Chicago Chicago’s Reaches, the pseudonym of the solitary Justin Randel, performs introspective party music fashioned from spending the winter months converting the city’s ice-cold gloominess into sound. Although Randel studied music composition, his music is informed by the raves of the past decades and the blogosphere’s capabilities to dispense world music. He has been active over the past decade performing in various formats under a different moniker and has toured across 14 countries in three continents. The avant-pop of Reaches' debut album "I Am Alive And Well" has the wide-eyed, exploratory spirit of early 80s popular music without dipping into the cliches and tropes of the era. Asymmetrical synth melodies dance over a bed of off-kilter electronic ostinatos, sounding simultaneously familiar and alien, infectious yet disorienting. The juxtaposition between the cool, calm production and the raw emotionality of the wide ranging vocals is like an auralcounterpart to the dizzying cinematic technique of the dolly zoom. In the end, the technique creates an emotional effect that can be rare in electronic music. Randel's primal, uninhibited warble recalls an unhinged, psychedelic Ian Curtis, going from brooding to manic in seconds. At its heart, "I Am Alive And Well" is a compelling pop record, delivered in a surrealist package.