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Synth EP Review: "Temporal" by Silent Andrew

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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

Silent Andrew’s Temporal lays out the story of a man trapped in the future when his time machine fails. It unfolds from the germ of an idea to the machine being started and the subsequent disaster as it fails. The music on Temporal uses a diverse combination of sonic textures to create a portrait of the emotions experienced by the time traveler in the tale.

The way that Silent Andrew combines varied sonic elements on Temporal shapes the complexity of experiences and emotions of the story. He writes in a way that allows gruff bass to interact with elevated, glowing synths or a delicate flow of ethereal sound to be suddenly broken by the bursting energy of throbbing drums.

All of these permutations and combinations flesh out the imagery of the music and create a filmic experience. The moments of interspersed non-musical sound also help shape the story.

There’s a well-considered use of auditory contrasts on Temporal that deepens the interactions between the varied musical building blocks of the album. For instance, there are many occasions in which gritty, hard-edged bass sounds interact with more shimmering, higher passages. The end result is that each of these elements stands out while still creating a harmonious whole.

Track by Track Analysis

“Please Hold” appropriately begins with the sound of being put on hold before a deep, throbbing drumbeat and a caressing flow of warm sound come in. There are also drifts of chiming light that flicker and glow while the easy-going beat pulses in the distance. There’s a twist of something troubled in the wash of light synth sound that introduces an enjoyable contrast to this track.

The beat’s hollow throb is joined by chimes that shimmer and glitter as the music glides. A bouncing feeling comes into the beat as the slightly unsettled, medium-low bell synths move under the higher, chiming sounds. The track ends in flickering piano and the sound of a disconnection.

A quick flow of sharp-edged bass shifts rapidly under a smooth drumbeat to open “Ignition.” I am drawn to the wandering melodic pattern carried on the piano that contrasts with the growling burst of the guitar below it. There’s a textured, bright synth with hard edges that comes in over top of the oscillating, dark bass to provide more contrast.

An uneven drumbeat moves underneath the ominous, elevated synths that cut into the music in sharp bursts of sound. The track breaks into a deep, oscillating pulse as distant airy sounds move over the depths below. The guitar slices in again as the track accelerates and the slicing synths cut shining lines through the bass depth.

“Loop” comes into being with rapidly revolving arpeggios whirling over a steadily throbbing beat and rich bass. The beat pulses on as a guitar reverberates and echoes out into open space with a circular feeling about it. There’s a pleasing richness to the way that the melodic piano dances through the growl of the circling guitars.

The glittering arpeggios have a gritty edge as they spin and the beat adds shape and energy as it throbs. Xylophone notes glide in a bright wash over the beat and the rough edged arpeggios circle as the track fades out into distant flow again.

A ticking clock and a hazy, full melody with a rounded quality to it kick off “Time We Lost.” The wandering, flowing melody is joined by a drum beat that moves in bursts through the open space of the track. The beat becomes more consistent as the gentle sounds are joined by a lost-feeling melody that wends its way through the music carried on a jangling piano.

The clock continues to tick and the piano notes move over that bursting beat, all swelling into a rich interlocking tapestry that I quite enjoy. The the clock’s ticking accelerates as the track returns to bursting drums, roaming piano melody and flashing, bright synth.

Conclusion

Temporal’s strength lies in the way that the musical elements are interwoven to tell a sonic story. They explore the emotional world of the narrator and help move the tale forward.

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