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Synth Album Review: "Drawing From Life" by Dopesketch

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

Initial Impressions

Dopesketch’s album Drawing From Life is a textured mixture of interesting beats and unique synth sounds that utilizes repetition to reinforce and shape the sonic patterns that flow through the music. There are layers to Dopesketch’s music that add complexity and richness to the overall sound of the album.

There are moments of beauty on Drawing From Life, especially when Dopesketch uses string sounds. The warm, orchestral feeling of those moments is quite lovely to hear. The music can also shimmer and glow with sparkles of synth that dance through. There are melodic musical patterns that form, which are delicate and warm as they move through the music.

Repetition and pattern formation are a big part of how Drawing From Life works as an album. The tracks seem to circle and repeat patterns, breaking them briefly and then having them re-form again. This is a hypnotic process that, because of the textures and beats of the music, doesn’t become dull or uninteresting.

The drums are another major element of Drawing From Life. They throb and pulse, stutter and trip, adding motion and sonic interest to the music. They are another texture in the overall musical tapestry of the album and one that keeps all of the other elements knit together into a cohesive whole.

The synths used on this album range across a broad territory from high, brittle sounds to reverberating medium-high elements and from rough-edged noises to much smoother feeling auditory experiences. Taken together, they add more complexity and layering to Dopesketch’s music.

Taken as a whole, all of these elements intertwine to form a densely patterned and sonically rich whole that keeps me interested and listening out for how all of the interactions come together.

My Favourite Tracks Analyzed

Here is a look at my favourite tracks.

“Your Deal”

“Your Deal” has jazzy chiming synth notes and a beat that throbs easily along through in flows of sound that glow over it. I enjoy the way the dense and shining notes move in and the way the synths cascade and move. Everything is smooth and flowing as the densely packed sounds all interconnect.


There is a brittle, tight quality to the unique-sounding synths that whirl into “Dishes,” which I find interesting. The beat has a tripping quality that stutter steps along behind the undulating pulses of notes. I find the winding, wandering melody that wriggles through the track quite engaging. I also like how active and energetic the bass line is on this track as it moves with the stuttering beats.


“Differences” is compelling for the way in which deep guitar chords, shimmers of chip-tune like sound and strings playing warm notes over a stuttering, quivering beat all lock together. I especially like the strings, as they feel so vibrant and warm on this track. Many elements come together, flashing and dancing along. The track cycles through patterns, adding additional elements like handclaps to the generally warm and tightly knit musical forms.

“Day One”

There’s an easy flow to “Day One” with smooth drums and a synth that climbs and wriggles through the beat, feeling like silk. I am drawn to the way all of the musical elements flow together from the pulse of the beat to the warm keyboard sounds and the slightly rough-edged synth that whirls and cuts through the music. This track also has a strong heartbeat to it that I enjoy hearing under the other parts of the music.


“Dripping” has a nicely layered feeling. There are shining synths, an insistent beat that throbs along as those synths play a pattern of circling and climbing notes and a harder-edged, lower synth that moves along with them. There is a hypnotic feeling to the music on this track as it flows along. I also like how the beat stops briefly, and when it resumes, the patterns start again.

“Silly Mutha”

The rich strings on “Silly Mutha” add a real feeling of warmth and elegance to this track. It contrasts with the darker synth sounds that move through along with the slightly stuttering beat. I do like how there are some more rough-edged sounds to add balance. Everything is layered and twined together, that patterned and repeating feeling reinforced over and again in the music.


Drawing From Life is another unique interpretation of synth-based music. It has a complexity and hypnotic strength that comes from the intertwined and repeating patterns of sound that wend their way through the music and link the entire album together. Artists like Dopesketch continue to push synth-based music forward and out into new and different sonic territory.


Etsegenet Teodros on August 26, 2020:

Awesome review... I really appreciate how your language and interpretation is so vivid... Great job Dopesketch...