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Synth Album Review: "Curio" by Maestro Eternal

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Karl is a longtime freelancer who's passionate about music, art, and writing.

"Curio"

"Curio"

Initial Impressions

Maestro Eternal’s Curio is an album that she says is meant to take listeners on “a capricious dream ride of fantastic realms where the lines of reality become obscure," and all I can add is that Maestro Eternal has met and exceeded this goal (in my humble view). There are billowing clouds of ambient synth, melodies that glow and shimmer with summery warmth and deeper, blue undercurrents of rich sound that lift the music above them. This is music for drifting and dreaming.

The complex interactions between the multitude of synth tones, timbres and moods create a full tapestry of sound that weaves images on Curio. The hopeful, melancholy ache of the melodies along with the shimmering, floating and flickering sounds that intertwine and glide together create soundscapes that come to life in the mind’s eye. It’s like a film unfolding a gentle tale through sound.

Another strong component of Curio is the way Maestro Eternal balances ambient sounds with deep bass that feels like the gentle power of the ocean rising below the lighter elements and the smooth steady drums that add shape and texture to the music as it moves. There’s movement and life to the music that stops it from being anodyne or ambient in a boring way.

Maestro Eternal has done a good job of matching the feeling of each of her tracks to the stories that go with them. The emotions generated by each of the stories find strong expression in the music that accompanies them and adds to the sonic richness of the album.

My Favourite Tracks Analyzed

“Curio”

“Curio” breathes into existence with a warm flow of synth and shimmering chimes. Rising waves of sound lift upwards in gentle swells like slow breath. An effulgent synth flickers like distant starlight as the drums tap into the music along with a steady ebbing, flowing wave of bass. I am drawn to the way that the high notes flicker above the breathy drift below them.

Delicate, softly skipping notes cascade through the music as the open sounding synths call out in a caressing shine, Waves wash through the music, all of the sonic elements full of light and air as a climbing series of notes moves in and fades to silence.

“Ebb”

A steady flow of growing chords sweeps through with a delicate piano-like drift of elevated notes to open “Ebb.” There’s a watery glide to the music as the drums add a strong throb to the track while shining, climbing notes add their own tidal patterns over the drums.

The beat changes tempo and meter, slowing down as the brigiht glow matches the beat. I enjoy the waves of sound that continue to wash through with the sound of water sliding from sand. The track ends on notes that dance into the gliding flow in an easy motion.

“Blue”

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“Blue” comes to life with full, chiming metallic chords and bass weight underpinning them. An enfolding, soothing melody rises in shimmering waves to flash against the dark blue feeling of the bass below.

There’s a xylophone-like quality to the synth that carries the melody, ringing out over the sonic upwelling, like a deep ocean current. I am enamoured of the the way that the higher musical elements glitter like sunlight on water before floating out into placid and calming silence.

“Phantasms”

Steady oscillations of gritty bass burst into a rapidly throbbing musical pattern to start off “Phantasms.” Elevated notes with the purity of cut glass shift over the solid drumbeat as a melody with more crystalline shimmer comes in.

The melody has an aching feeling to it as it drifts on by. I am drawn to the underlying shadows in the track, despite the brilliance of the high synth. The whole piece is permeated by a yearning feeling, as if trying to return to time that can never come again.

“Ortu”

“Ortu” comes alive with rising waves of sweeping synth that lift under the triumphant, soaring melody, tinged with shadow, as it is carried on a medium-high, full synth. There’s a tide of hope in the melody but also sadness.

A stab of emotion hits me as the nostalgic feeling overflows into the track. The lambent synth is now joined by an accelerating drum beat and bass throb that moves out along with the dreaming melody. The lead synth melody has a feeling of adventure and movement to along with the same hopeful ache.

“Cumulus”

Glimmering, shimmering chimes move over a softly caressing melody to open “Cumulus” along with swelling, shifting waves of synth sound. The sound moves in easy patterns as the bright light of the high synths flickers before ethereal, almost choral sound synths call out.

The chiming melody shines and I am pulled in by the wash of the gentle sounds. There’s a cloudy drift to the music, conjuring up the title’s cumulus clouds in a sapphire sky. airy warm synths intertwine behind the easy brightness of the melodic pattern that is elevated over them. I feel a gliding sensation as the track fades out.

Final Thoughts

Maestro Eternal takes me on a journey into dreams and emotion on Curio. There's a tug at the heart on this album along with the delicate glow and rising billows of gentle cloud that wrap me in a cocoon of auditory images and carry me away on the light breaths of a nostalgic breeze.

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