Okay, everypony, I’m going to level with you. I almost didn’t listen to this album. The first time that I played “Flyby at Night”, I got about a minute in, and I bailed. “This is too much 80s-style synth for me,” I remember saying at the time. I guess I was busy with some other stuff, and it didn’t engage me at first. Then I looked at the Bandcamp page and modus_ponens’s review. It was a glowing review, and it listed “Flyby at Night” as the reviewer’s favorite track. “Okay, okay,” I thought to myself. “I’ll give it another shot.” Later that day I found myself in the kitchen needing to get a bunch of cooking done and wanting a little background music. Long story short, that time flew by, and now I have to agree with modus_ponens–these are all great songs. Please give this album a listen! Feel free to read on for my take on this soundtrack to a story that I wish that I knew better!
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“Flyby at Night” | Synthwave
After that initial listen, I have gained an appreciation for this song. The track starts out with a couple of layers of synth and builds slowly through a shifting, somewhat chill progression to a steady, synthy soundscape that thumps along with a good energy. Towards the end of the track, a little extra melody is thrown in, and the track ends up setting the table nicely for the rest of the album. If you enjoy retro vibes, you will love this track!
“Canterlot Cruise” | Synthwave
I thought that this song would be a laid-back affair, something summery or shimmery that would treat the listener to the aureal majesty of Canterlot. As with the rest of the album, I was pleasantly surprised to not get what I was expecting. The opening synth has almost a siren-like quality to it, and, combined with the urgency of the bassline that joins it, it sets up a dramatic progression. Then the song kicks into high gear as drums and cymbals are added in, and the arrangement begins to shift between this high gear delivery and a shifting, futuristic arrangement that continues sprinkling in instruments that have been tweaked in a way that is both engaging and unsettling. There is also a really cool warped choir effect that kicks in during the second half of the song that works magnificently with the song’s other elements. Safe to say that this isn’t the leisurely cruise that I was expecting.
“Hooves There?” | Progressive House/Psytrance
This song is a high energy sound design treat. The opening synths are paired with skittery percussive elements that set a tense atmosphere, and then the bassline kicks in and gets things thumping! The progression tails off, but then it thumps back to life with a deeper, more intense delivery that keeps skipping off reverb-heavy elements. It feels like the backing track to a dramatic action movie sequence where the team is piling up all of the armaments and readying for battle.
“Quick Buck” | Darkwave
The high energy continues in this intensely danceable track that gets off to a thumping start! Featuring super fun chord progressions and delightful distortion, the track bops along to a steady beat that backs a melody that is at times playfully melodic and at other times infectiously urgent. One Track Mind does some fantastic work with the lower frequency stuff here immersing the listener in a bouncing, buzzing, skipping, shifting field of sound.
“Voices” | Experimental Ambient
This track begins with a gentle melody supported by the soft hum of a synth that, along with lots of reverb creates a murky, expansive soundscape. Once the titular voices arrive, a chippy rhythm begins. The voices themselves are robotic, ethereal, emerging from swirls of melodic mist, as if belonging to something that’s just beyond your vision that never comes clearly into view.
“Tartarus” | Darkwave
I had to take a dance break for this one. The track opens with an intense melody that soon becomes a full-on beat barrage before falling off into a more subdued bit. The fall off, however, just sets the listener up for the next aural assault. Aside from the fantastic balance of melody and bass, there’s some really great play between the more forward melody and a lighter melody that’s more in the background throughout this track, and the waves of lighter/heavier sections really work well together.
“Ends Justify Naught” | Experimental Ambient
A great end to the album, this track is full of ambient goodness. Some really nicely-designed keys, strings, and synths purr, plink, and thrum to sombre melodies forming a soundscape that feels equally organic and artificial. There’s a wonderful tension throughout, an expectation that’s never met. What lies beyond the edge of this song’s captivating story? We may never know, but it’s a fun journey all the same.
Thanks for taking the time to read! I really hope that you check out this great album! Special thanks to One Track Mind for being cool on Twitter, and also to Drake for all of the encouragement while writing this. You rock!!