Karl is a longtime freelancer who's passionate about music, art, and writing.
Saros-FM’s Skyonia is an album that breathes with air and flows gently around the ears, sometimes touched with shadows and often full of a yearning melancholy that finds expression in strong melodic writing and a wide palette of different, interlocking synth sounds.
My first observation about Skyonia is the strength of Saros-FM’s melodies. They have that quality which immediately takes hold of one’s ears and draws them in. They’ve got an approach that mixes a certain amount of sadness and aching into their brightness. I often find myself drawn toward the idea that even bright moments are sometimes tinged with melancholy, and the melodies on this album reach out and grab that part of me. They are the sort of melodies that I don’t tire of hearing.
The synths on Skyonia cover a wide swathe of sonic territory, from the sparkling brightness of wheeling stars to slightly shifting shadows and moments of slight distortion and fuzz. All of these unique sounds blend into a harmonious whole that seems to convey starlight and flow that occasionally spills over into something a little darker and more tense before returning to easier breathing.
The other element of this album that I find enjoyable is the sense of airiness to it. All of the tracks on Skyonia have a certain flow to hem as though everything is moving in a large space. The effect of this airy sensation is to allow the other sounds to expand into it. Nothing about Skyonia feels claustrophobic or restricted. It’s a canvas that allows for all of the elements on it to get their full due and express the range of emotions written in to the music.
My Favourite Tracks Analyzed
Here is a look at my favourite tracks.
“A Bright Future”
“A Bright Future” starts off with slightly sharp edged pulses of deep oscillating synth. A glowing analog synth line moves into the track and warm chords sing out into the music, rising on a tide of airy sound. There are bursts of high chiming sound that sparkle over the relentless bass pulse. I enjoy how the drums ramp up their energy level to match the pulse under them as sparkling moments of light cut into the track.
The lead synth solo comes in on a warm and caressing synth. I like the slightly wandering but uplifting quality of that solo as it moves over the throbbing beat. Before the track ends, there’s a break where rising synth notes are joined by the starlight of higher synths to add a breath before everything returns to the driving bass and wandering lead synth.
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There’s a shadowy, melancholy feeling that runs through “Darkened Sky” coming from high, somewhat nervous minor key synth chords over a fast pulse of dark bass. There’s the crackle of static and that endless pulse is now joined by even drums that add secondary pulsations to the music as those forlorn notes drift over them. I enjoy the lead synth’s medium high, vaguely fuzzy edge as it plays a sad, gentle melody.
The bass oscillation is relentless underneath, adding real movement to the track. Now we break to that throbbing bass and softly rising notes that flow through the background in a long stream. I’m drawn to the way the drums kick again those synth chords burst out through the music before that sadness-tinged lead melody hits again and carries through to the end of the track.
Warm washes of synth sound drift over the steady rise and fall of the bass as "Galaxy Caboose” begins. Now a quickly driving beat moves under those smoothly rising sounds and then a high bright and soaring melody cries out over the track, playing on a synth that is all starlight and easy flow. I am enamoured of the way Saros-FM takes us on a journey through space on a tide of light and throbbing drums under it.
Quick throbs of percussion slide through to accent the rising, floating sound of this track. I enjoy the bright climbing synth lines that leap in and quickly move through as warm chords climb and pulse through the music. Now there's pure drift and flow, gentle and gliding before the energy begins to climb up again and launch the beat once more, drums like a heartbeat bringing life to the track, ramping up the energy level yet again.
“Planet Earth” starts off with ethereal synths moving in long sweeps into the vast spaces that surround them. A slowly opening, flowering synth tone that has a hollow airy quality and warm drift to it is joined by a slightly uneven beat that moves in stutter-stepping pulses. I like how the rising, open lead synth gives a feeling of delicate flow to the open voiced sound before a soft, smooth melody comes in to brush the listener’s ears.
The melody calls out over the beat’s strong pulse and the drums add their own pattern to the track. There’s a glistening and chiming high synth that flickers through the music, glowing above that slightly uneven bass pulse and the drums that surge more evenly over the top. The track truly feels like there are long breaths being exhaled though it as the lead synth sings out over the track, crying that sadness-tinged melody.
“Starlight In Motion”
Bright synth sounds wash out into the track as a spinning, whirling high synth pattern sparkles through “Starlight In Motion” as a lower synth carries a touching, gentle flow of chords into the track. The drums have a unique sound on this track. There’s a drum fill before the beat accelerates and then glittering stars of synth move in as long washes of sound flow underneath them. I find the uplifting melody tinged with a wistful feeling quite lovely as it moves over the beat’s continuous pulse, shaping and caressing it.
The track bursts with starlight as synth chords carry into the open spaces around them and the beat keeps reverberating out into the music. Now gentle piano notes move into the track, adding their yearning voices to the music, so light and delicate as they are accented by a deep, single bass pulse. The track ends as we soar back into the steady movement of the beat and the singing melody over the top of it.
Saros-FM’s Skyonia combines all of its elements well to produce a unified, full sounding end result. There’s something aching and yearning about much of it with many moments of very beautiful sound and well-composed melodies. I feel that this album is Saros-FM’s best recording thus far and I hope to hear more music in this vein going forward.