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Synth EP Review: "Paradigm" by Sonic Hz

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

The cover of Paradigm by SonicHz. Read on to learn about the EP and hear why you might like it as well.

The cover of Paradigm by SonicHz. Read on to learn about the EP and hear why you might like it as well.

An Engaging Synth EP

Sonic Hz’s Paradigm is a wide-ranging and aurally engaging synth-based EP that takes some interesting directions and explores many of the moods and genres of music that synths can be used to create (and one that I find quite intriguing to explore). Despite having a diverse sonic palette, the tracks do form a coherent whole. There is poppy energy, some moments of shadow and unique twists and turns on Paradigm. This article will go through the EP's track listing song by song. The song order is as follows:

  1. "Long Live the New Flash"
  2. "Synth Medley"
  3. "Cr02"
  4. "Paradigm"
  5. "Streets of Chaos"
  6. "Is There Some Girl?"

Track 1: "Long Live the New Flash"

“Long Live the New Flesh” leaps into being with a bursting storm of noise, gnarled pulses of synth and a dark vocal sound. The drums throb with a massive sound and a driving, medium-high, glowing lead synth call out a dynamic and energetic melody that shines out over that beat and the solid drum hits.

The lead synth leaps as the big drums hit and the steady pulsation goes on. I like the minor key feeling in the lead that adds a little tension to go with the shine. The vocal sample comes in and emphasizes the darkness of the track while that sliding, sharp lead moves through.

Track 2: "Synth Medley"

I don’t think I’d ever heard Celtic music played on synths until I heard “Synth Medley.” A yearning, aching Scottish slow air Is played on a medium high synth with a few edges to it while the soft rushes of the waves behind it evokes the place of its origin. The next piece is a classic strathspey in which the synth creates a full timbre as the wonderful bounce of the strathspey rhythm dynamically moves through the music.

I’m pleasantly surprised at how well the synth captures the fiddle feeling, more resonant and reverberant as the track accelerates into one of the Cape Breton fiddle canon’s great reels. It’s imbued with the racing, irrepressible energy of a good reel. I also enjoy how well the synth can capture all of the fiddle ornaments and flourishes.

Track 3: "Cr02"

“Cr02” kicks into life as quickly moving arpeggios spin into the music with the smooth pulse of the beat that throbs behind them. A xylophone comes in playing a dynamic pattern of warm- feeling notes as the sharper edges of a bright, vibrant synth dance into the music. The xylophone now carries its own unique melody.

There’s a throbbing, oscillating background of shifting synth with a cutting edge under the xylophone part. The uplifting lead synth melody calls out over the shifting sounds under it and everything crescendos. I dig the howling, wheeling synth solo that cascades wildly through the track as the big drums throb on.

Track 4: "Paradigm"

Bright, full, rising synth sounds and a steady bass pulse open “Paradigm” with a feeling of energy as the drums throb. Shiny notes move over that pounding beat that propels the track along with crystalline sparkles of light from chimes flickering over it. Ashley McNally’s vocals are strong, full of emotion and warmth, adding to the pop feel of the song.

Flashing bursts of synth glow under the warm vocal melody as clear sparkles shimmer in the background. I enjoy the shifting pattern of those cut glass chimes and the rising bursts of energizing synth that feels full add to the overall depth of sound on this song.

This song starts off with a vision of the narrator as she combs her fingers through the subject of the song’s hair. There’s a sense of hope and resolve in the line, “They can’t take that away, all the kids come out to play, am I dreaming?”

The chorus asks, “Can’t you see a paradigm?” and adds a sense of urgency by stating, “You can choose but don’t take your time.” The narrator asks the listener to look ahead and “keep your eyes peeled, follow the road sign.”

The narrator yearns to see the subject’s smile because “you know its been a while” and asks,” Will you show me?” Before the final chorus repeat, our narrator’s request has an ache to it asking, “I’d like to feel your touch, if that’s not asking too much.”

Track 5: "Streets of Chaos"

“Streets of Chaos” begins with a dark, computerized, wandering synth that climbs and falls in waves as a steady, strong drumbeat circles behind the music. The chiming lead synth carries a sad, yearning melody. The computerized bursts of medium-high synth and the drums are now joined by a high, slightly distorted synth line that cuts in and out.

The singing, aching chimes shift and move over the heartbeat of drums and bass. I am drawn to the rich, sunny lead synth as it carries another melody tinged by delicate hurt. The track breaks to drums and high synth and moves to the second melodic line again.

Track 6: "Is There Some Girl?"

Glowing, singing synth carrying an addictive melodic pattern moves over a quickly driving beat to open “Is There Some Girl?” Both vocalists sing caressing poppy vocals over that throbbing beat and bass. I enjoy the way that the vocals are energetic but still touched by melancholy while the glowing synths shine and dance over the drums and bass.

The lyrics of this song are full of a dreaming sort of loneliness tinged with hope. The narrator first asks, “Is there some girl in this world who could give her love to me?” He is searching the world but “she’s not there, she seems to hide.”

Now he asks, “Is there some girl in this world who could give her heart to me?” He wonders where she is as “alone I stand against the tallest tree.” There’s a deep feeling of loss and loneliness as he “waits to see the dawn” and she’s not there. He seems to sigh in the line, “As the day passes by, my hope for her just seems to die.”