Synth Album Review: "Different Forms of Power" by Lazerpunk
Lazerpunk’s Different Forms of Power is an album that is mostly made up of remixes of his well-loved track Power along with a few other tracks. This is not synth music for the faint of heart. It is dark, grinding, heavy and indeed powerful. There’s an oppressive weight and sense of menace oozing from much of the music here that is undeniable.
Much of the weight of the music on Different Forms of Power is derived from the dark, heavy bass that moves under the music. It has extreme depth and strength as it shifts and flows like some kind of eldritch creature gilding just below the surface of dark water, threatening to rise up and engulf the world.
The use of unsettling sounds is another reason that this music has such a dark feeling to it. There are screams, metallic clanking and synths that are glitchy, harsh or full of extreme tension that play patterns of notes which reinforce the basic discomforting nature of the music, leaving the listener feeling that tension intensely.
Lazerpunk is not afraid to go on an all out aural assault in the music. All of the interlocking parts combine in a crescendo of fear and anxiety that runs like a dark thread through all of the music. It is a sort of enjoyable terror that he creates. In some ways, it’s a sort of catharsis to listen to this music and put some of those tensions and fears that we all hold back into the music.
Before I talk about the remixes that I most enjoyed on Different Forms of Power, I just want to summarize the track that is mostly being remixed here. “Power” opens with the sound of clanking chains and then breaks out with an intensely dark, deep and heavy beat that thunders through the track, feeling hard and rough.
The sound of a terrified scream flashes across the musical landscape and an oppressive synth weighs down on the track. An aggressive vocal sample cuts into the track, a voice full of threat and menace. The operative words for this track are “crushing” and “dark.” This is not a gentle or easy track, but an attack on the ears that pushes one down under it.
Out of the remixes on Different Forms of Power, there were three that I especially enjoyed. I’ll run through those before I also mention Lost in Berlin which is one of the non-remix tracks on the album. As usual, I’ll talk about the musical elements of those tracks and why I enjoyed them as much as I did.
“Power (Sierra Remix)” has a more energetic feel to it than the original. There’s an infectious and beat that makes this more of a dancefloor friendly track. There’s female vocals that wind over the throbbing, grinding synths and surging bass and beat. Those vocals serve to slightly lighten the tone of the music, but only slightly. There’s a high synth that twists through the track, ratcheting up the nervous tension, wriggling and writhing. This is the perfect tune for a post-apocalyptic dance party.
There’s a surprisingly gentle, warm feeling as sweeps of synth filter up delicately through the music on the Grendel remix of “Power.” A woman’s melancholy voice rises, singing in some unknown language that adds an exotic sound to the remix. A bell rings out mournfully and a pipe organ wends its way through the music. An intense, forceful beat rumbles and thuds through the music and there are touches of orchestral sound as the track progresses. The ancient sounding chanting and acoustic sounds add a unique twist to the original sound established on Power.
The Sidewalks and Skeletons remix of “Power” begins with deep bass and surging synth tones that rapidly gain in strength. The tempo is slow but those waves of throbbing bass and drums are intensely power. Higher synths yearn and whirl over the top of that growling surge. There is a brief moment of floating rest before the track roars and thunders again. This is a track with real bite and aggression to it.
As for “Lost in Berlin” this is a track that is dominated by a rapid tempo, club oriented bass beat along with short, choppy bursts of synth that slice into the track and a moment of airy flow before the beat whacks you upside the head and thunders hard. Nothing easy or gentle here and the attack is full bore. This track will have you dancing to that aggressive beat and letting it take a hold of you. In contrast, there are also moments of gentleness that are made almost aching by the weight and speed of the other elements in the music.
I am always intrigued to hear how different artists remix and re-interpret the music of their peers. Lazerpunk gave them excellent material to work with in "Power" and they rose to the occasion to create unique, but no less powerful and dramatic interpretations of his basic material. If you like your synth music heavy and dark, you won’t go far wrong with Different Forms of Power.