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Synth Album Review: "1986" by Nanoverse

Author:

Karl has been a freelance writer for over 10 years. He's passionate about music, art, and writing!

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Initial Impressions

Nanoverse’s 1986 is an album that is drenched in an atmosphere that’s nearly tangible. The music creates a feeling of something simultaneously melancholy and ominous. There are moments of dread, passages that ache with pain and segments in which driving power dominates the music. The synths are well-selected, the musical building blocks of the album all work together and there is a definite sense of character that fills each track.

The atmospheric nature of 1986 is one of its strongest qualities. Each track gives off a sensation of lurking danger that waits to emerge and strike at the listener. There’s a miasma that fills the music and a seething feeling that terrible things are about to happen. In contrast, the melodies are often tinged by sadness and a deep melancholy that tugs at the heart. The combination makes for an intense emotional connection to the music.

Nanoverse has chosen his synths with care on this album. There are shadowed sounds that fill the tracks with danger and jagged buzz saw synths that add a lacerating feeling to the tracks. On the other hand, gentle synths glow and elevated sparkling chimes flicker through the music like tiny lights in rising waves of darkness. They are woven together to produce an engaging sonic cohesion on 1986.

I am also enamoured of the bass and percussion sounds on 1986. The bass adds more weight and darkness to the music which boosts the sense of dread and omen on the album. The percussion has drive and power to propel the music forward as well as adding shape to the tracks, underpinning the other sonic elements in the music.

My Favourite Tracks Analyzed

“1986”

“1986” begins with pounding, ominous bass that throbs as full, medium-low lead synth repeats a melodic pattern of shadowed, minor key notes. I am enamoured of the simultaneous feelings of melancholy and threat in the melody. The vast weight of drums and slicing bass move below the pained, repeating synth as it breaks into another angular melodic pattern.

The melody moves in dark waves over bass chug and drum throb, full of lurking danger. Choral synths carry a reverent feeling as extended pulses of rough-edged synth rise. The main melodic pattern of aching, shadowy synth dances and intertwines with the other elements in the track, forming a densely interlocking wall of sound. Despite the interwoven nature of the music, each part is clear and clean.

“Murcielago”

Rich, resonant synth plays a shifting melodic pattern of minor key notes that are tinged by warmth to start off “Murcielago.” Thick bass pulses in steady waves below the melodic pattern as it fills the track’s sonic space. A thudding kick drum comes in as the melodic pattern crescendoes before a slow beat and sharp edged throb of bass move below it.

Dense, slightly distorted synth carries a threatenihg melodic pattern and an elevated line of lost-sounding synth carries a wandering melody. I am drawn to the disembodied drift of it over the flashes of hollow synth and the relentless beat and bass flow that underpins the track.

“Entheos”

“Entheos” starts out with slowly expanding, round synth notes that flow in a slow series of waves. A steadily throbbing bass line oscillates as a warm melody with a feeling of something lighter and more hopeful dances along with smooth drums.

The percussion supports the other sonic elements of the track. I enjoy the energetic, wandering feeling of the melody as it twines over the throbbing bass and the drums. The A section floats and glows again as the solid, clear drums hit again and those round synth notes swell and expand over the beat.

“Repetition”

Spinning arpeggios carried on a dense, warm synth drift out in quick succession as an ethereal flow of sound swirls to bring “Repetition” to life. An elevated, shining synth carries a melancholy, gentle melody that contrast with darker swells of synth that slowly bloom. The drums add their own powerful throb and motion.

I am attracted to the way that the melody shimmers delicately, as it trembles and flows. A lower, denser line of synth carries a melodic pattern that is both ethereal and aching. The second melody drifts like dandelion seeds on the breeze while the beat and bass shape the track.

“Indecision”

“Indecision” starts out with a metallic, even synth throb along with a series of round, rough edged pulses that move in waves through the music. A distant sounding series of medium high notes sweep through the track in an arpeggiating pattern. I enjoy the gently drifting line of braided synth as it flows along. It’s joined by a solid drum beat that bursts into the track below a cosmic, floating synth.

I can only describe the next melodic segment as being carried on a synth that feels “wide.” The melody itself is full of pain and in the final section of the track, a delicate synth carries a line of hesitating notes that create an indecisive feeling before fading away.

“The Curse of Thorn”

A shadowy bass pulse opens “The Curse of Thorn” along with a gritty, hard-edged synth note that cuts in and out over a misty, flowing synth pattern. I am drawn to the way that the high chimes sparkle like dead, distant stars in space over the forlorn synth melody.

There’s jagged edged bass and echoing, thick synth carry a nervous melodic line here. The drums have a heightened power along with the strong synth melody on those dominant synthesizers and dark vocal sounds.

“The Beginning of the End”

“The Beginning of the End” comes into life with metallic, glimmering synth carrying a wash of lost notes that echo over a dense, bouncing bass line. A drifting melodic line is closely stacked one note on the other and carried on an elastic, circular feeling synth.

I especially like the string section effect that’s created in the background of the round synth pattern that yearns in a space full of loss. In contrast, a rough growl of sound shifts underneath it along with heavy bass. The brightly brittle lead synth sings the roaming melody while the string section sound adds body and form, but also a trembling delicacy to the fuller and thicker sounds of the track.

Conclusion

1986 is an album that plays up the ability of well-done synth music to create sonic textures and atmospheres that enfold the listener and draw them in. It creates moments of intense dread as well as deep melancholy, shot through with the occasional ray of hope. Nanoverse has a knack for creating strong sonic images and that’s something which I enjoy!

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