Karl is a longtime freelancer who's passionate about music, art, and writing.
Sonic Gap’s album Cosmos is a study in balance and contrasts. There are airy flows of synth, throbbing beats and deep bass here, which all move under Sonic Gap’s clear vocals and engaging lyrics. There are also some shredding guitar solos along with jazzier, easier flowing sounds as well.
There’s a real feeling of open space on Cosmos. The production adds to the spacious feeling and everything sits in that space. It adds a sensation of depth to the musical elements along with making them feel like they are floating out and through the other parts of the tracks.
I'm a fan of how Sonic Gap adds chip sounds to the music. Their angular, clean sounds really add an extra dimension to the tracks in which he uses them. They cut through and also have a tech-y feeling that adds to the cyberpunk sensibility of the album and makes for good contrasts with the more ethereal parts of the album.
The songs on Cosmos are well-written and Sonic Gap’s voice is clear as it moves through the music. It sits nicely forward in the production and he’s pretty easy to understand so that those words have more impact as they move in and through the music.
I also like the shredding energy of the guitar solos on the album. Sonic Gap has some skills on the strings, and those solos drive the music forward and express more emotion as they intricately leap and dance through the other elements of the music.
Breakdown of My Favourite Tracks
The strength of "Futurehole" lies in the contrasts between the delicate sounds that move over top of the angular bass line underneath them. There are melodic chiming sounds that float easily through and starry arps that sparkle over the steady throb of drums and bass. I was especially drawn to the way the beat is swept around and over by the airy sounds and sparkling synths. As the track ends, I like how the soft vocal sounds dissolve into quiet.
There are deep, distorting and swelling synths in “Volcano” that gave it a fresh sound. The throbbing beat’s unique tempo was a good underpinning for the power and drive of the electric guitar solo that howls and dances into the track over the driving beat. Sonic Gap’s voice is strong and clear as he sings.
This is a song about a volatile personality. There’s a sense of imbalance in the lines, “You’re never in silence. You never are in peace. Your mind says, here’s violence. A brain signal disease.”
There’s a sense of this person always seeking the next thing to fuel themselves in the words, “Temptations, frustrations. You’re never in control. You need some elation. Some petrol for your soul.” Ultimately this combination leads to the fact that this person is “a volcano.”
“Clean and Pristine”
“Clean and Pristine” is a track that thrives on its clarity and shine. The throbbing beat and swelling synths move under bright chimes and ethereal vocal sounds flow through the music. I also find the stabs of shining synth which cut in to be quite effective. I found the melody engaging as it sings out on a harpsichord-like synth.
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There’s a great deal of light and sparkle that does a good job of expressing the feelings which the title of the track embodies.
I was drawn to the chippy jumble of sound at the start of “Someone Else” and how that contrasts with the warm synths that float gently through playing a caressing and soothing series of climbing notes. Sonic Gap’s voice moves into the track and what he sings is also a contrast to the ballad-like feeling of the track. I also found the emotive sound of the solo guitar quite engaging along with the chip elements fiickering in and out of the music.
This song a statement of resisting someone who is trying to change them in ways that aren’t healthy. The song’s also got a secondary meaning as the first line, “You’re a leecher. Sucking all my blood” can refer to both someone who is draining one’s resources and also someone downloading data.
There’s a sense of someone who wants to take control in the words, “You’re a preacher. Telling me who’s God” and also, “You’re a catcher. Catching energy. You’re a patcher. Telling who I should be.”
Despite this person’s best attempts to be a “a hider. Hiding all the sun. Such a spider. Covering all the fun” the song’s narrator ultimately finds that "But when I’m acting, when I search I find it in myself. No matter what you do to me. I can’t be someone else.”
“Ninja Control” has a quite layered feeling to it in between chip sounds, wandering high synth and a grinding bass that has a grit and roughness to it. I find myself enjoying the track’s wandering and roving melody that wends its way through the hard-edged bass and the cascading chip sounds. There’s a real sense of space and openness here which is quite enjoyable.
There’s a funky groove on “Disruptive Innovation” that backs up Sonic Gap’s voice and a really dance floor friendly beat that throbs through. I found the jazz organ here to be a lot fun along with the rising, cutting guitar solo that leaps higher and higher into the track while the drums and bass are right in the pocket.
This is a song about how sometimes action happens and sometimes that action is disruptive. There’s a feeling of urgency in the lines, “Sometimes I think I can do it now what takes a lifetime to master. Even if I know it's really hard I want to explore it faster.” This leads our narrator to ask, “Am I a disruptive innovation…?”
I like the portrayal of the problem as the narrator questions if he’s a "safety flaw in the system, linked to the wrong connections?” I also liked the lines, “Sometimes I think I should sit straight up instead of flowing in a bean bag chair. Even if people said I couldn't have you I followed my heart, I was there.”
“Inner Cosmos” is another track that’s dense with many layers of sound. There are deep rhythmic thumps of bass and oscillating distorted sounds into which a rough pulse of sound breaks. I was also a fan of the ghostly synth that grows and adds motion and energy to the music with the harsher, more angular sounds underpinning it.
Final Thoughts (What's the Verdict?)
There’s a good energy about Cosmos as an album. It has a balance of instrumental music and songs as well as contrasts in more harsh and more flowing sounds which all add to how engaging and interesting the music is. I found this to be an enjoyable listen and it’s another unique take on what can be done in modern synth music.