Synth Album Review: "Making Waves" by Gab Manette

Updated on June 11, 2020
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Karl has been a freelance writer for over 10 years. He's passionate about music, art, and writing!

Album artwork for "Making Waves," by Gab Manette
Album artwork for "Making Waves," by Gab Manette

Making Waves is Gab Manette’s latest album and it’s full of fun retrowave energy. There's something so light, airy and playful about it that makes it perfect for combating the darkness that sometimes feels like it's rising around us. It harkens back to a simpler time and is full of brightness, positive vibes and good feelings generated by bouncy beats, some pretty funky moments and synths that ooze nostalgia in a cool way.

Making Waves Album Review

The production of Making Waves is absolutely full of ‘80s sounds. It just exudes from the way in which things are mixed and how all of the components are presented on the recording and it suits the overall sounds of the music well since Gab Manette wasn’t afraid to be unabashed in using musical cues that set this album in an era. It isn’t stifling but actually makes everything feel fun and easy.

The synths that Gab Manette chose for this album are all so bright, airy and nostalgic in their vibes as they play uplifting melodies. The other sounds like the piano and the funky brass only serve to paint a fun and happy picture here and that ties in nicely with the nostalgic elements of the music. This was one big ‘80s daydream and in my mind there’s nothing wrong with grabbing hold of that vibe and running with it.

I was also taken by the percussion on Making Waves. Not only are the sounds nice and crisp, but there are some interesting choices on some of the tracks that really imbue them with a different vibe than simply sticking to more conventional ideas. It added a certain sense of something more contemporary to the overall retro-tactic vibes found on the album and helped to keep things fresh.

As I've said before, I’m a fan of music that paints a strong picture in my mind and Making Waves paints a pastel-hued, slightly soft edged retro picture in my mind. It reminds me of coming home after school and watching TV as I grew up as a child of the ‘80s. I think that even if one wasn’t a child of the ‘80s there’s an undeniable vibe about the music that’s quite compelling.

My Favourite Tracks From Making Waves

“Making Waves” is a track full of chiming, singing sounds that lifts any dark clouds. It has a great retro feeling to it along with a jazzy, moving bassline and the lead synth melody is full of ease and playful movement over a flitting beat that is sunny. I was so calmed and uplifted by this track.

The track “Unwind” is defined by the dancing pan flute synth that jumps and bounces through the track over a shifting, jazzy bass. Everything is glistening on this track and the mixture of sparkling moments and that pan flute sound is so easy on the ears. This track makes me feel like relaxing and unwinding as it cascades and leaps along.

“Daydreams” is a track that bursts with uplifting and positive vibes. The full- sounding synths playfully rise and fall over the drive and movement of the jumping drums and steady bass. The main melody flies out from a high, happy-feeling synth to lift over the track. The music is light and frothy which frankly I can use right now. It is nice to daydream about a possible world that is glowing and bright, full of new chances and a sense of hopeful movement.

“Prom Night” is the track I most enjoyed on the album. There’s a soft exuded by the synth chords. They feel delicate and easy as they caress the ears along with rich bass that swells underneath them. The melody is full of a sense of innocent romance with love stretching in front of us, full of hope still. I was touched by this track, given all of the things we’re facing in this world. The embracing feeling of this music is something that I can use more of.

“Summer Haze” has a really funky, fun feeling to it. The bass bounces through the track along with the propulsive drumbeat. The lead synth melody has a lot of brightness to it and I am a fan of the chiming, metallic synth that plays an infectious pattern before there’s a jazzy lead synth solo that winds and flows through the track. I thought the track had a great vibe to it.

Verdict

Making Waves is an album chock full of positive energy. It is nostalgic without being too cheesy, light but still musically interesting and it lifts me up and helps clear away some of the gloom with the retrowave energy and playfulness that it exudes.

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