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Synth Album Review: "Fractured Veil" by NETRVNNER

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


Initial Impressions

NETRVNNER’s Fractured Veil has a minimalist sensibility, a caressing waft of ambient sound that is pierced by more troubled sensations and bursts of energy. There are also moments of lush, warm beauty and a creamy, enfolding feeling that carries the listener away on a fragile tide of music.

The nuanced, textured feeling of Fractured Veil is one of the features that most appeals to me about the album. There’s a restraint to the way in which NETRVNNER approaches his sonic palette that results in subtle variations in timbre, silken tones that intertwine with one another and atonal moments that provide a contrast with the gentler elements in the music.

I enjoy well-done ambient music and Fractured Veil fits my definition of well-done ambient music. For me, there has to be enough variation in the music to create interest, rather than anything too beige or bland. NETRVNNER explores soundscapes that coruscate, ripple and tremble as they move. Bursts of sunshine from glowing synths interact with textured sonic patterns as they all intertwine and contrast with one another.

There’s an organic feeling to this album that I enjoy. What I mean by “organic” is the sense that the music has gown together in a natural way. It feels as if each element in the music sprang up and began to grow together, weaving one part into the other as a plant grows a root structure or the hyphae of fungi begin to create an intricate network.

My Favourite Tracks Analyzed

“Oathbound” starts with a steady bass oscillation and hollow percussion that adds energy to the music. Distant, open sounds glow above the bass oscillation and crescendo as a diaphanous melody, carried on a pan pipe synth, drifts above the beat’s motion and the arpeggiating pattern of medium-high notes that adds texture to the music. The pan pipe synths play hollow notes that coalesce over the throbbing bass and drums that propel the track onward.

Elevated, bell-like notes chime out over the beat, flowing along more delicately as the bright hollowness of gliding notes moves above all the sonic elements. The whole track feels wide open as a delicate series of bright notes keeps slipping over the beat and the medium-high arpeggios that move through the music. I am drawn to the contrast between the lightness of the more ethereal notes over the harder- hitting parts of this track.

Extended synth notes, lambent and metallic, drift out on tides of sound as dense synth chords add support to “Silver Gate.” The soundstage is open and airy as a harder sound briefly sweeps through. Glimmers of shining, distorted synth twist and the beat establishes itself. Raised synth, thick and glistening, floats and the dark pulsation below it adds a more powerful feeling to the track.

There’s rising tension in the music before the oscillation goes on and the nasal, open notes rise in long lines out into the vast space around them. I enjoy the sensation of washing into smoother depths as the raised notes carry on over the waves below them. Arpeggios glimmer and flow continuously in time with the rippling sounds trickling behind them.

“Of Eve” comes to life with deep synth that shifts below a softly caressing series of notes. I enjoy how the wandering, twinkling notes form patterns like chimes brushed by a breath of wind. Pan pipes call out, softly calling above the beat that establishes itself more firmly.

The melodic pattern of the pipe synth flickers along as a quick arpeggio with a crystalline glow joins the intertwining sounds, tinkling and shimmering, everything moving at once in a densely interlocking motion, each part mixing but still distinct before ending on very high, shifting patterns of notes.

Very slow, droning tones begin to resolve into a series of extended single notes to start “Entre” off. A distant, delicately sparkling arpeggio twinkles above the long drones, sliding underneath. I like how there’s some atonal elements in the music that create a subtle sense of disturbance.

The music reaches a crescendo as undulations of synth move below soft, caressing notes while the arpeggio sparkles. There’s another crescendo and a hovering, round synth plays a slowly trickling melody, suspended above the spinning arpeggio. All of the layers of sound coalesce and shift, moving out into open space with a slight edge and resolving into more relaxed tones.

“The Road Less Fragile” comes to life with a static crackle and a warm wash of notes that slips out over the light percussion, adding a steady pulse to the track. Unctuous bass throbs slowly below the clustered, gentle notes and the higher line of synth that flashes above them.

I am enamoured of how the delicate synths have a creamy sensation, introspective and touching. Synths glitter, fade and glimmer again, every element imbued with a lush sensibility as they all interlock. There’s a clear feeling of being held tightly by the music.

Rising tides of sound climb as the drumbeat’s steady, solid kick comes through along with burbling percussion to open “Veil.” The metallic tick of the drums moves under medium-high, rich synths playing notes that flare up as they rise and end. An arpeggio flickers distantly behind the rising, circling notes that move below an elevated, hollow synth playing notes that flicker and fade.

An oscillating, medium-high pulse of synth wriggles and clear tones carry out, ethereally floating as the gentle beat keeps moving. I enjoy the weaving together of a variety of sounds to create a cohesive whole in this track. Flaring swells of sound are brushed by brief piano notes high above the full depths supporting the intertwining, extended pulses of sound that keep rising through he music.

“Wastes” breathes into being with a distant, twisted synth cry as a deep well of bass moves behind it. The drumbeat touches the track, feeling unsettled and a bit ominous, as a smooth throbbing sound moves over it. A harder, brighter synth shines through over the beat and below bass that twists. I enjoy the harsh sweep of coldly glittering sound that shimmers over the swirling darkness underneath and out into silence.

The sound of rising energy, low and full, is joined by deep guitar notes to start “Through The Front.” The guitar notes are rich and full in the silence of the rest of the track. A sparkle of glowing synth light glimmers out and the guitar plays forlorn, gliding notes over the wells of bass that hold it up. I am drawn to the frail delicacy of the guitar over the rivers of rippling synth that drift outward. The drums are a rapid heartbeat under the waves of the guitar notes.

The higher synths move in trembling lines over the quick drum pulsation. The deep bass drops lower still and the drums slow as guitar chords move with the shadowy sounds below them. Every element of the track draws to a slower pace, the airy synths still sparkling above the caressing, distant pattern of repeating sound.


The mixture of minimalism, lush soundscapes and textural elements in the music on Fractured Veil draws me into the album, pulling me into the auditory world that NETRVNNER creates as he weaves each element into a cohesive whole.