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Synth Album Review: "Cyborg Nation" by Everdune

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

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Everdune’s Cyborg Nation is musically complex, heaving with energy and full of a sense of grand adventure. Everdune constructs a densely interlaced synth tapestry that paints vivid images of space exploration and a futuristic world dominated by cyborgs.

I deeply enjoy the detailed richness of the tracks on Cyborg Nation. Everdune has formed mini-symphonies out of each individual track. Each track is divided into “movements” that use unique melodies and synth instruments to delineate them, but they coalesce into a cohesive unit. I feel that the tracks manage to stay away from becoming too “note-y” despite their complexity.

The atmosphere that Everdune creates on Cyborg Nation is another reason I was drawn to it. Sensations of flight, futuristic soundscapes and rushing speed abound and the lush nature of the different sonic elements deepen the intensity of the imagery which is created on the album. I enjoy it when music transports me and this music definitely did that.

The diversity and depth of the melodic writing on this album also attracts me to it. Everdune composes melodies that are detailed and full of feeling. I feel each emotion that the melodies exude, even when they express sensations that are less clear-cut. I also enjoy the fact that Everdune is capable of writing tunes that are able to encapsulate layers of feeling, as it isn’t a skill that every creator possesses.

My Favourite Tracks Analyzed

“Power Gain” kicks off with a quick rush of cymbals before brassy, rough-edged synth cries out in a victorious melody. I am drawn to the dramatic energy of the “A” section melody on this track.The rapid, solid drumbeat and oscillating bass charge in to shape the track. Now a medium-high lead synth with an interesting, intertwining sound carries a melody that blends uplift with loss.

The “A” section melody returns, adding contrast to the more conflicted second part before there’s a break to deep bass oscillation. Powerful percussion thumps and drives the main melody. A smoothly flowing synth breeze blows through the track as a medium-high, slightly buzzing synth carries a gentle, sadness tinged melody while delicate chimes sparkle.

Bass and drums thud to propel the music into a new melodic segment with a trilling, ornamented, medium-high synth melody skirling out. Propulsive synth calls out in a confident, brassy voice over thundering, martial drums. A final hurting and caressing melody with minor key shading shifts over the relentless beat before the giant drums pulse and fall silent.

A dark bass flow drifts out into vast silence and a robotic voice is broken by a sharp-edged synth trumpet fanfare that flurries through the track to open “Landing In The New World” over the granular bass sound. The steady drum beat and active bassline create energy and the ancient-feeling percussion adds its unique tones. An orchestra hit slams in over the steady, pumping heartbeat while chimes shimmer. I enjoy the expansive, majestic melody carried on the brassy synth.

Sharper, harder metallic synths cut in over the drum and bass heartbeat. A secondary melodic segment with a lighter touch comes in, gentler and more enfolding than the first melodic part as angelic synths rise in the background. The two melodic segments contrast with each other, trading parts.

There’s a shift to dark, misty synths moving below minor key, leaping synth brass that repeats in an energetic pattern. A fourth “movement” features a dreamy, hopeful melody carried on a sparkling synth while the drums and bass continue an unending pulse and one more melodic pattern jumps in angular lines broken by orchestra hits and a robotic voice. The “A” section returns with flashes of bright chimes before it all closes out.

“Capeman From The Sky” launches with a jet-like sound swiftly moving into a slamming beat and oscillating bass with snapping sounds cutting in. The drums skip along and ear-catching percussion sounds move underneath a radiant synth blast I enjoy the leaping melody as it radiates strength and creates a sensation of rocketing across wide open sky. Choral voices rise and a string-like synth cuts in pizzicato bursts. A nasal synth plays a flurry of slightly less positive feeling notes before the lead melody calls out on the shining, brassy synth.

The second melancholy tinged, minor key melodic part is carried on a nasal-sound synth that reaches a high point above an airy sonic flow. Another section has a string-like, metallic synth that carries a fragile melody and a robotic voice. Ringing, shadowy synth rises and falls over a beat that won’t quit. A series of drum fills throb through and there’s leap back into the flying contrail of the “A” section melody.

Choral synths add a reverent sound behind the other musical elements and a spinning synth revolves through, ramping up the energy levels. Metallic sounds ring and the drums add weight as the pizzicato strings add their own texture and the nasal synth drifts more sadly.

A desolate wind blows as “Lost Desert” begins and a crystalline synth echoes out carrying a melody both pained and trembling as an angular beat throbs along with dense bass.

Smoother, more ethereal choral sounds glide while the glittering synth cuts in. I am drawn to the secondary melody, full of a spirit of adventure, that is carried on a flaring, shiny synth. Now a more minor key, yearning melody calls out accented by a glassy glow.

The “A” section returns with its leaping synths adding sparkle before as the tragedy touched medium-high synth and unevenly spinning arpeggios whirls through the track. The beat pauses as crystal strings flutter and the oscillating, angular bass keeps throbbing. The “B” section melody is carried by trumpeting synth energy before the interwoven string-like synth plays a rippling melodic pattern. The relentless beat throbs before an arpeggio comes in, revolving smoothly as the beat propels the music onward.

“Cyborg Nation” comes to life as rumbling bass grows into the track and a synth with elements of a voice and a woodwind instrument carries a drifting, wandering melody. The tech-y, aggressive bass and drum pulse propels the track with gleaming orchestra hits and cosmic synths that form a cloud. The beat’s urging is joined by a metallic notes forming a sonic filigree before a shimmering, medium high synth carries a driven, high energy melody.

I’m drawn to the flickering string sounds that trill and ripple in wriggling lines while the drums and bass throb onward. The music returns to the “B” section’s metallic, bouncing melody that speaks of strength and forward motion as it jumps through the track. After an orchestra hit, the dark bass pounds and a choral synth vaults from the depths to the heights.

Tightly clustered string-like synth twists and shimmies through as arcing, glittering arpeggios briefly flash. The “A” section melody comes back, bursting with feelings of achievement and dynamism as quickly sparkling arpeggios dance over the bass. The beat keeps pushing on, lunging onward and the shimmer of repeating synth is broken by quick strings before fading.

A smooth, delicate synth flow is joined by a restrained arpeggio spinning on medium-low strings to start “Sapphire.” Hard-hitting, divided drums and bass support the climbing, aching arpeggios. The track accelerates into an angular, speeding drumbeat and pulsing bass before a rapidly singing melody exudes a feeling of restrained energy as it bubbles in. A warm, airy synth carries a melody that feels fragile and caring in a way that moves me.

There’s a break into minor key, shaded synths that undulate and climb in tight patterns over the endless beat before dancing back into the restrained first melody. After a drum fill, sunlight erupts from the secondary melodic line, crying out in mingled joy and loss. Rough edged, darker synths surge in slightly tense patterns.

An open feeling synth adds growing tension that is further emphasized by rough edged sound Glowing chimes sing out a softer, caressing melodic line before breaking into rising, falling patterns again while the robotic voices echo and the track comes to an end.

“Hazardous Venture” opens with a quick drum fill as musclebound bass oscillates and a tight, shiny, medium-high synth plays a clustered note pattern. Flaring ,metallic synth carries a melody that mingles triumph and threat before chimes carry a soothing melody over the strength of the beat. I enjoy the sensations of journeying, success and the possibility of danger exuded by this track.

The chimes contrast the main melody with a more uplifting touch to create a balance. After another orchestra hit, hollow pipe synth drifts in a slow pattern that glints easily. The music explodes into an angular, sharp-edged synth line with a digital feeling while dense, smooth chords rise to enfold the ears. Another melodic section drifts in an unmoored way on string-like synths over the sharper edges underneath and through it all, the beat never lets up.

Orchestra hits slice in and the chimes glimmer again while quickly evolving, sharper synth moves and another lower, chiming and metallic synth carries a melodic pattern that laps in waves against the smooth depths of the drums. A rapid bass oscillation supports twinkling, glassy chimes that ring out over it as the track closes out.

“Loner in Space” coalesces as bouncing, uneven drums and bass pulse in and launch a speeding melody, that goes rushing into hyperspace. A rough-edged, medium-low, brassy synth carries a similarly hyperactive melody and a series of arpeggiating notes cascade and leaps punctuated by flashing strings. I especially enjoy the ancient-feeling minor modal melody that comes in on a harpsichord-like synth.

The track moves into surging, bright synths playing a charging pattern before the rough-edged trumpeting synth surges with barely contained energy and arpeggiating patterns shift. The harpsichord carries the second melodic part as brass pulses add more angular energy over the beat. A thudding kick drum comes in as medium-low synth repeats a doom-laden pattern.

After a drum fill, the shadows flow more heavily over the minor modal melody, now carried on a wide-feeling synth. Misty, airy sounds flow and the brassy synths leap with urgent energy as shifting, tightly wound notes move. The harpsichord tumbles and roams through, doubled by a string-like synth and metallic pulses before the music ends.

Galactic, shining synth spins out a slow arpeggio that sparkles distantly over electric bass to commence “Ad Astra.” The bass notes add an air of ease and rest to the music while the gentle arpeggios drift. A robotic voice calls out, following the depth of the bass while the arpeggios revolve. I am enamoured of the tragedy tinged melody with a dreamy feeling that floats into the track.

The melody is followed by rising robotic vocals over the drums that shape the track. Soft clouds of sound are broken by quick, delicate flares of medium high, string-like synth and the robotic voice bubbles through in a broken line. Ethereal synth glides in behind and the robotic sound adds a unique feeling. Rapid string-like synth lines trickle through over the solid drum pulse and the electric bass and end on the broken vocal sounds.

Conclusion

Cyborg Nation is a luscious album full of ear candy that brims over with atmosphere, melodic beauty and a complex synth palette as it creates detailed synthscapes. I must admit to enjoying Everdune’s approach to modern synth-based music.

© 2021 Karl Magi