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Synth Album Review: "Into The Night" by L'Avenue

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Karl has been a freelance writer for over 10 years. He's passionate about music, art, and writing!

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Initial Impressions

L’Avenue’s Into The Night album is full of the shimmering light and warm flows of analog synth with a certain ethereal quality, sometimes with tinges of darkness and melancholy. There’s a real glide and smoothness to this album with a crystalline clarity to the sound that emphasizes the shining glow of the music. The qualities that have marked out L’Avenue’s sound since the start are still around, only now in a more polished, refined form.

Into The Night is an album that oozes with atmospheric feelings. There’s an airiness and an ethereal drift that permeates the tracks on this album. It isn’t ambient but it has a feeling of openness to it. Sometimes there’s some shadows mixed into it and at other times it breathes with ease and even grace.

I also enjoy the extreme clarity of the sounds on Into The Night. The synths, the bass and the drums are all sharp and distinct, even when all of these elements intricately weave around each other. There’s a cut glass quality to the music that allows every element to shine and occupy a distinct sonic space. I appreciate this kind of attention to detail in L’Avenue’s production.

The choice of synths on this album also contributes to the overall feeling it exudes. There are chiming bright synths, deep bass synths that sweep through underneath and unique lead synths that all have unique voices and carry the melodic and harmonic elements along, emphasizing them and adding to the album’s atmosphere.

Into The Night also has a nice variety of different feelings to the tracks. There’s tranquility to caress the ears, driving energy to launch one down the highway and shadowed tracks that create more tension. There is a cohesion to them but they also each stand alone and work in that context.

“Crystal Waves” opens on a spinning synth arpeggio that glows with that glass crystal sound as rising synth chords move into the music, a little melancholy and lost with all of the flickering light around them, drifts of that rich sound moving into the open spaces of the track before fading out. This crystalline track is a good introduction and sets the stage for the rest of the album.

A rich, full swell of gently flowing synth sounds opens “Into The Night” along with a shining synth arpeggio that is soon joined by a smooth, steady, reverberating beat as another high wash of light floats into the music. I enjoy the gentle smoothness of this track as pulses of sound sweep through it and high, sparkling sounds move in and around the bass that glides underneath them. The main synth sounds are warm and full, caressing the ears as oscillating waves and chiming light rise in an uplifting pattern of notes over the pulsation of sound moving under them.

“Osaka Drift” has a strong opening with a heavy wave of bass that moves into the music along with a dark, distorted vocal sample. There’s a good contrast as the pulse of panpipes and airy sounds is joined by a densely stacked series of synth chords that climb through the music while the beat drives onward. I like the dark swell of sound and deep bass set against the flash of chimes that sparkles in along with bright synth notes.

The sound of a powerful motor ripping into the night jumps into the track along with a rush of static, The track briefly drops into silence and then a rough, hard edged pulse of sound cuts in along with the beat’s steady throb. I enjoy the long synth chords that wash through as a darkly circling series of piano notes joins them. There’s a cutting synth sound that shines into the music like glassy shards which also drew my ear.

Soft breaths of synth flowing over a gliding beat that pulses smoothly into the music open “Closer” along with a soft female vocal sample. Waves of sound go flitting through the track as string-like synth notes, perhaps even a little reminiscent of a harpsichord, spin out in an arpeggio. Now the melody slides out on a synth with a bell-like quality as steady waves of beats and bass throb under it.

The wandering, shifting lead synth melody draws my ear. It calls out with passion and smoothness over the even beats and bass. I enjoy how the synths bend and distort a little as everything comes together. The high and medium synths intertwine as the chiming notes all float in breath and space.

“Dance” opens on a vocal sample asking, “Would you like to dance?” and then a smooth, steadily pulsing beat moves into the track along with sweeping air and flashing chimes. A melodic line with an easy glow to it shines out over the track’s steady pulse. I think that this track has a gorgeous flow as the percussion adds its own character to the music.

All of the elements sail along smoothly. I enjoy the soothing atmosphere of the music. The track is less about melody and more about caressing the ears. As the high, sparkling synths dance through I feel the morning sun coming through the window. It carries me along with such lightness.

In contrast to the previous track “Corporation” is a entirely darker proposition. Heavy bass oscillates as a driving, throbbing beat with shadows in it moves into the music. I am drawn to the mixture of sharp edged bursts of synth, floating wind and the ghostly drifting melody. There’s interesting contrast between the ethereal but shaded melody and the darker bass underpinning it. The sense of lurking danger is strong and throughout this track the beat doesn’t relent at all. I enjoy how the bursts of layering sound keep on twisting through the track.

“Malibu Haze” opens on the soft sounds of lapping waves and a continually pulsing synth. There are long, shifting washes of warmth and one bright sparkling flutter of notes as the bass line moves in quick, broken pulses over a smooth, steady heartbeat of percussion. I find the hollow quality of the synth that moves in quite intriguing. There’s a lambent brightness in this track that I enjoy. I also quite like the chopped up vocal sample that seems to form a melody of its own, its human quality adding another texture to the music. Everything here is soft focus and fits the title of the track well.

The soft sounds of rain and the rush of car tires on pavement that open “Lonely Highway” set the mood. Slowly floating synths float in as a higher synth calls out and resolves itself. A slow and easy beat makes a gentle entrance into the music. Chimes cascade into the track to provide a bright counterpoint to the soft sounds and easy slipping feeling of the music.

I especially like the melodic segment playing on bell-like, chiming synths. I like the jazzy, shiny synth that makes a wandering move into the music. Slightly hollow drums drift into the track as a sweep of lush sound while piano notes make their own gentle movements. A high, revolving synth again makes a delicate drift through the music along with the sound of rain.

Verdict

Into The Night has such a flowing, luscious quality to it. I felt a sense of openness and breathing to the tracks, even when moments of darkness crept in. There’s so much richness of sound on this album and it takes listeners on quite a journey.