Review Summary: One small step for man.
There are few styles of music that can deliver the same kind of elated catharsis a good synth-wave album can render. What’s not to love about it？ Those echoing snaps from the snare; the dense thud from the bass drum – married by epic textures and storytelling the synth work can provide when put in the right person’s hands. Honestly, it goes beyond mere rose-tinted glasses and love for the nostalgic 80's sound found within this sort of electronic music. And the revival in recent years has shown to be far from a superfluous exercise; offering a fresh perspective which has ultimately spawned a life of its own, transcending the notion it’s just a cheap thrill from a past-time. Artists like Com Truise, Perturbator, Scattle and, of course, Dynatron (to scratch but the surface) offer up a wealth of high-octane, melodic and intensely cinematic soundscapes in a number of different ways, and truthfully, I never tire from hearing it.
Dynatron’s arsenal of sounds separate themselves from the abrasive approaches a Perturbator song would conjure up, say, using an ethereal and spacey aesthetic to set the mood, one that takes its time to immerse you in the world than throw you in kicking and screaming. This sophomore effort is a much more refined attempt on the rough around the edges debut, a collection of songs that feel painstakingly calculated to optimise the listening experience. The crescendo building “Hyperion Sunrise” with its crackling and distorted crunchy introduction is smashed open with powerful horns and an underbelly of pretty melodies to set the epic mood here; while the spacious and free-flowing cracks and pops from the drums, backed up with a boatload of melancholy from the shimmering delay notes and tightly infectious driving melodies on “Aeternus Theme” solidify the bulk of sound for this epic journey. John Carpenter is an unyielding influence here, and you’ll hear quite a few tropes of his; namely his signature pulsating synth and bass kicks on tracks like “The Outer Rims of Traversed Space” and “Travelling the Wastelands”, but it’s these ideas that keep the moody atmosphere engaging for the duration. What makes Dynatron standout is he uses these Carpenterian techniques and merges them with the contemporary stylings the genre is known for today, and the results can be simply memorising at times. “Fluorescence of the Cepheids” is one of the highlights here, using a combination of derivative and modern-day ideas with scintillating effects; a brace of well-executed build-ups, high-energy sections and desolate note sequences. But the genius to the track comes from how well it flows and uses the contrast of emotions in such an effortless way, making for a surprising and exciting ride. Similarly, “Travelling the Wastelands” does the same thing, and though these moments aren’t as frequent as I’d like, it just makes these tracks that much more appealing.
The album isn’t perfect, occasionally tracks feel a hair stretched out, things could have been tightened in places, but as a whole this is a brilliant piece of work. The only time immersion was broken was during “Not of This World” where a really jarring guitar section enters the track and smothers the, up to now, consistent vibe. It’s a minor hiccup, but one which felt a little foolhardy considering how late on it happens – and happens only once. Still, if you’re a fan of electronic music that blends house and ambient in space, using the soundtrack formula, you’ll be in for a treat here. This is a pretty long album considering it’s an instrumental LP, but it never feels as such, and that is credit to Jeppe’s abilities as a composer. Yes, there’s a lot of competition out there for this kind of music, but Dynatron is definitely a creator at the front of the crowd and embraces the 80’s sound with his spacesuit on, ready to take you into the deepest corners of space.
SPECIAL EDITION: N/A