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Synth Album Review: "Starbright Adventures" by Powerkørd

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


Initial Impressions

Powerkørd’s Starbright Adventures lays out a mythical journey into strange lands through a richly varied, intertwining soundscape of synths, propulsive beats and strong melodies. The imagery that this album generates through sound draws the listener into the story and holds them there through its deep auditory interest.

The rich variety of synth sounds, tones and timbres on Starbright Adventures work together to produce a soundscape that can explore everything from flashing light and triumphant victory to dark, threatening atmospheres and moments of tension. The end result of this sonic tapestry is a story that unfolds through the mental images that are created by the synths and their interactions.

I am also drawn to this album by Powerkørd’s melodic talent. He writes melodies that are deeply expressive, memorable and able to hold one’s attention while they enhance the mental images that the synths create to advance the album’s ability to tell a story. The melodies have the same richness as the other musical elements on Starbright Adventures.

My Favourite Tracks Analyzed

“Starbright” comes into being with solid, metallic synth playing a minor key pattern of notes that add a quality of powerful danger to the music. An airy sweep of sound moves along with the steady heartbeat of a kick drum and there’s a crescendo as a hollow, hazy sound shifts behind the insistent, medium-high synth pulse. Underneath it all, the beat propels the track with dynamic energy.

I enjoy the leaping, cascading minor key melody that is still touched with hope as it shimmers out. An elevated synth breaks into deep, metallic pulsing notes that move in waves before the beat launches again. The hollow, metallic melodic pattern adds to the overall power and drive in the music before a burst into harsh, slicing synth and a return to the “A” section.

A wide-open sonic space and an old school, 8-bit tune start off “Turbo Brawler” as the hard edges of the bass pulse move below a quickly shifting pattern of oscillating synth notes. The deep, harsh pulse of the relentless synths arcs through the track and the drums add to the speed and power in the music. I enjoy the broad, triumphant and sweeping melody that rises majestically into the music.

The wildly flowing pattern of notes flows above the battering, surging power of the drums and bass. The shadowy, triumphant melody rises above the charging drums while extended, deep bass growls. A huge, sharp-edged pattern of notes slices in as a digital-sounding synth carries a leaping melodic pattern. The track ends on the main melody and a final segment of arpeggiating synths.

“Anubis” begins with threatening, harsh sounds moving into a wide-open space as a hang drum like synth is joined by metallic banging and an elevated, also metallic sound rises over dark synth chords. Gigantic blocks of jagged, low synth slam hard into the track along with a propulsive drum beat. Quick flashes of rising, glowing synth are joined by an active bass line and the chimes call out a rapidly shifting, nervous melodic line.

I am enamoured of the Middle Eastern-feeling, modal melody carried on the hang drum like synth, jangling and full of metallic sounds. The drums break and thunder, repeating as the minor key, threatening melodic pattern moves again. The main melody comes in again before descending into a a line of brittle, worried-sounding notes over the endless beat. As the track ends, the drums and bass divide into shattered, broken beats and silence.

A harsh sweep of desert wind and sand moves as a roar splits the track open as “Repkheros The Beast” begins. A dynamic arpeggio of glowing synth with a string-like quality moves along with the propulsion of the beat, matching the arpeggio as it surges forward. I like how variation is introduced into the arpeggio, starting to form a melodic pattern while the tempo and power of the track increase.

I am drawn to the way that the trumpeting, distorted lead synth calls out a melodic pattern that is full of a sense of power and victory. The beat and arpeggios swirl onward, imbuing the track with even more dynamism. After an energizing solo, the track ends on the scouring sound of desert wind and sand.

“Here We Go Again” starts out with a low, steady throb of full bass and a glimmering melody carried on a full, rich synth. A slightly aching, rippling synth pattern joins a melodic pulse over big, bursting drums.

A quick, nasal arpeggio forms a textured background behind a surging melody, full of an adventurous quality, carried on an intensely shining synth. I like the way in which the whole flow of the track has a tidal wash to it. Long, hard-edged sweeps of sound flow and the brassy lead synth is majestic, powerful and brims over with mythical feeling.

A lost, distant synth repeats a wandering melodic pattern over the surging throb of retro drums and deep, sharp-edged bass as “Terrabyte" opens. An hypnotic, shimmering pattern of synth keeps throbbing with the beat, dynamically tumbling and turning. The glimmering lead synth carries a minor key, propulsive melody before a series of full chimes rings out, carrying a repeating and contrastingly bright melodic pattern.

The beat drives on, adding more complexity to the track, before becoming a steady pulse and then varying again. The organ-like float of the synth rings out as it moves smoothly. My favourite segment occurs as a shimmering, dancing line of elevated synth ripples through the track. The dynamism and energy of the music is punctuated by a descending pulse of high, intensely bright synth as that chiming pattern makes angular variations into silence.


Starbright Adventures is an album that does a creditable job of storytelling through nothing but sound. There is no need for lyrics as the wide variety of synth sounds, ear-grabbing melodies and overall atmosphere on the album produce intense aural imagery.