Amidst the noise and haze of the incredible amount of Synthwave that has been pervading the scene of late the resolve of the Synth media outlets has been tested immeasurably with how much there actually is out there and let's face it not all of it listenable. Fatigued though some are, straining under the groaning weight of volume, if you persevere there are some with sharp enough elbows to barge their way into your sonic field of vision..enter VULKARI64!
Heralding themselves as "the next generation in Synthwave, Vaporwave, and Chillwave Music" is a bold claim to say the least when there are other more established Artists who reign supreme but with their debut EP 'Gas Station Breeze' they certainly made their mark leaving me with an altogether pleasant phonic experience.
For a new band 'Gas Station Breeze' was a great debut, and though subjective in my opinion it stood strong amongst other releases around that time. Trouble is, was it an anomaly? did they hit that groove too early? where do you go from there?
Here at Forged we thought we'd take a walk around their new album 'STARSET' released on the 21st September take a look at what we thought below...
Arcadia Sunrise (intro) | Rather stylistic with the now done to death tape being placed into a deck scenario I had already been rolling my eyes which wasn't the greatest of starts but the distorted retro-esque VHS opener intrigued me which bled nicely into the first full track..
Throwaway | An unmistakable retro vibe, it feels somehow comfortable to listen to. I do like to feel challenged in what I hear for the most part, this however didn't challenge me as much as I thought it would but I went back for seconds and thirds in an effort to ensure I didn't miss a beat, it's a grower not a shower but I'm cool with that, you should be to!
IBM Model M | Now we're talking, this is a fantastic track that draws you in from the outset. Full of atmospheric intent with a space age like flavour that is so ultimately listenable and cements for me the reason why their sound can be quite addictive. Leaving the nerdy title aside this is a stand out for me thus far and delivers massively. Great work!
Vigilante | Slow and all consuming this track is such a mood. The beat punctuates the narrative so well and keeps it on the right path. It's brilliantly produced and feels like it should belong on a retro film of yesteryear. There's no doubting V64's sensibilities in reading the genre just right and they hit the mark with this one! And like a sensual sonic relay it hands off beautifully to the next track....
LyteCykl | By far the strongest track on this record that I've heard, now I realise I'm not even halfway through this Album yet but there's literally no denying it's intent and that pulsating undercurrent that throws it's arms around this track commands your attention. It's a track that tells a story if you close your eyes and let it! Astounding!!
Tape Drive | Chillwave for your magenta minds. Released as a stand-alone single back in August it's wonderfully nostalgic and hits all the right chords. Images of Palm Trees under salmon coloured skies abound to make this a rather clever back bone to the Album overall.
The rest of the Album holds if's own with Two tracks in 'Kanto League Champion' & 'Holding You' being the most danceable on the Album itself.
Planet Maroon feat Shikimo | This track has that one two punch I was looking for and I'm so incredibly pleased with how it's turned out. Whilst it was co-written it's certainly all style and even more substance, impressive and worthy of anyone's playlist even as a stand-alone track. Designed to play loud no doubt and is such an enjoyable listening experience.
Gigantopithecus | The largest Ape that ever lived that was doomed by it's size....quite why this was used to name a track is anyone's guess but unintelligible as the track name is it's a confident number and a damn sight better than the Album opener was for me. It finishes on a high which is what I was half expecting and it paid off!
In summary this is a confident, well produced offering which holds it's own. With more hits than misses it's fair to say that V64 are here to stay and that's all you can ask for!
Planet Maroon feat Shikimo & LyteCykl
STARSET is now available on your preferred streaming devices. Please consider buying the digital album here: https://vulkari64.bandcamp.com/album/starset