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Synth Album Review: "Aquamaster" by Aquamaster

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

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Initial Impressions

Aquamaster’s self-ttiled album is full of classical retro synth sounds that balance with his skillful guitar wielding and strong singing voice. The album has a cinematic sensibility in which each track is a filmic moment, unfolding in words and music. The way in which the album employs synths is similar to how a director might compose shots and orchestrate the action to produce a scene.

One aspect of the album that I find quite pleasing are the two songs that Aquamaster has written for the album. His lyrics are clear and expressive, his voice is strong and emotion-laden and the balance of the vocal melody with the synths and guitar is spot on. All in all, I am pleasantly surprised by how excellent they are.

I also enjoy the quality of Aquamaster’s guitar playing. He’s got a good sense of what kind of guitar tone will work with other musical elements in a track and clearly has the chops to lay down intricate and ear-grabbing solos. I like how tasteful his guitar integration is in his music. It never overwhelms the tracks, only enhances them.

The usage of synths on the album is, as I said, something that reminds me of a movie director’s use of the tools at his disposal. The mixture of synths and their differences in tone colour, sonic texture and timbre creates distinct auditory imagery for each song, setting the stage for Aquamaster to express different emotions and explore ideas.

My Favourite Tracks Analyzed

“Sunset Beach” jumps right into the action with a pumping beat and a glowing, nasal minor key synth line that bends and twists while a timpani rolls in and out. A warmer, climbing synth dances in as the beat pumps on and Aquamaster’s voice carries a positive vocal melody. I am drawn to the emotive quality of his singing. Bursts of synth leap out to accent the vocal melody as notes climb upward and a rapid arpeggio spins.

Elevated notes shimmer and the guitar strums along while the high synths sparkle like stars. A wiggling line of high synth cuts in before the vocal melody bursts in too, feeling hopeful and dynamic. A weaving line of raised, diamond-sharp synth sings through and the chimes call out in another series of melodic, shiny notes.

This is a song about a relationship trapped in a rut. The narrator addresses the other person and says “You don’t wanna feel this way forever, only you can say how long it’s been.” He admits that he doesn’t want to “put the spotlight” on them but “if I don’t, I won’t win.”

He is frustrated because “we’ve been going down this road forever” and he’s not sure things will change. There is hope as he adds, “But I know that I can do it, when I put my will into it things will start to change.”

Distant, ghostly notes float behind swirling, rising synth as a funky slap bass line adds weight to the music to kick off “Fashion Statement.” A brittle xylophone carries an angular pattern of shifting notes over the solid drum beat that throbs into the track. Distorted, medium high, nasal synth winds out through and the arpeggiating xylophones rises and falls. I enjoy the bluesy feeling of the guitar as it howls out over the slap bass.

A dense, medium low synth carries a sweeping, triumphant melodic line that trumpets out over the drive of the beat. The xylophones whirl through again while the bass keeps pulsing. A intricate guitar solo slices through in sharp lines before we return to the high, glowing synth that writhes through while the beat keeps throbbing. Bass synth shifts in waves before the triumphant lead synth calls out again and the nasal, bright notes move in the angled pattern into silence.

“Camcorder” leaps into life with a groovy beat carried on big drums and a funky synth lick that bounces through the track. The melodic synth line moves with a spinning rush of energy and the vocals have a rough edge, full of desire as Aquamaster sings. The bright lead synth carries a dynamic pattern of notes and the guitar plays cool, jazzy little licks in between the beat’s bounce.

Fat, trumpeting lead synth glimmers as it bops along and the percussion keeps up a funky flow, sitting in the pocket. The wide sounding, shining synth rises in waves that fill the musical space. I like all the cool percussion sounds that move through the track and the guitar licks are pretty sexy too.

This is a song about desire and the power of an image. The narrator points out that if he was with the person he’s talking about, she’d put him in a state where he isn’t sure what he’d do. In the chorus, he says “you’ve got the look, all in your folder” and that she has footage of herself that might “make you cry when you’re older.” As she “puts it on” and “takes it off” he points out that “the memories you make are on your camcorder.”

A slowly revolving arpeggio starts off “87 Fiero” and rapidly gains speed, whirling faster and faster as the bass pulsates in time. In contrast, high, round chimes move in slow notes. The power and speed keep ramping up before slowing as a smooth, solid beat is established.

High, glimmering synth flickers out in a wandering line, sliding through the music over the solid hits of drums. I am enamoured of the melody, shadowed and tinged with melancholy, as it winds through the track over dynamic, trembling flashes of synth. The melody drifts along while the intense high synth keeps up a shimmer over that solid heartbeat of drums. Guitar notes move in tight, glowing lines while the lead synth wanders and slips by.

“Endless Summer” breathes into life with a tranquil, watery drift of medium low synth that moves below a sunny glow. Full synths with a brassy feeling play a repeating pulse while chiming sounds that have a metallic quality glisten through the sonic tapestry. The guitar sings out in an smooth, enfolding voice along with synth shines like that summer sun. A repeating, trumpeting sound pulses through and the metallic synth shimmers in between the pulses.

I am enamoured of how the guitar calls out a yearning, hoping melody that glides like the waves of aquamarine water in a tropical sea while the drums smoothly add support the music. The high light of the metallic synth dapples like sunlight through palm fronds while the hollow arpeggio circles in the background and the guitar fills the music with an easy going feeling.

A rapid, rough pulse of distorted synth is broken by a shattered glass synth that leaps in an uneven, whirling line to open “Moon Child.” The synth line casts a minor key shadow over the beat’s charge. The lead synth moves in a tight, bright line over the throbbing synths that have an angular drive. I enjoy the manic energy of the main melody as it contrasts with extended synth sweeps below it. The drums bust as again dark synth grits in and warm sweeps rise and we return two the A section again as it writhes through.

Conclusion

Aquamaster weaves together an album full of lush, layered synths and guitar that is unabashedly influenced by the music of the '80s, but has a character and a sensibility that is all Aquamaster's own.

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