Synth Album Review: "The New Vessel" by Aeronexus
Aeronexus has created an evocation of a grand journey through the stars in his new album, The New Vessel, which continues the story that started on Forever Drifting. This is an album where synths sparkle like starlight, deep bass creates a vision of the endless night of space. The intricate lines of melody and harmony intertwine to paint strong images for the listener.
Review of The New Vessel, by Aeronexus
The way that Aeronexus has used synths and other sounds on The New Vessel that drew my auditory interest. He has managed to create textures and sensations that drive home the feeling of a quest that crosses space. There are deep bass rumbles that suggest vast, velvet blackness and high singing synths that evoke nebulae and constellations. All in all this creates strong imagery in one’s mind.
The lead synth parts on The New Vessel use pan pipe, metallic bell/chime sounds and even a Theremin along with more typical synth tones. All of these instrument sounds produce effects that fit the melodies they play and in my view add a freshness to the sound of the tracks on which they are used.
There are interesting melodies and harmonies that call out through this album. Some of the melodies are delicate, others are full of triumphant power and there are moments of minor key melancholy as well. The harmonic interactions between all of the various intertwining synth lines also stand out for producing unique contrasts. To all of this, I have to add my praise for Contre-Attaque's intricate, shredding and driving guitar work on “Universal Equilibrium” which gave that track so much energy and power.
Another aspect to The New Vessel that I found enjoyable was how layered the tracks are. There are a lot of unique sounds and interactions between layers of sound on the album. It seems that the more times I listened, the more I got out of the music. The trick is that it isn’t too busy. Aeronexus has managed to create complex music that isn't muddy or overdone on this album.
My Favourite Tracks
“Into the Depths” starts out with brightly shining synth chords flow out into the track, extending out through it. They feel reverent as a pan pipe synth floats in, delicate notes slipping between deep kettledrums as the solid, retro drums kick in. I found the delicate, shuddering melody on this track beautiful to hear. There are depths behind the melody that give the lead synth the feeling of something bright shining in that velvet darkness. It produced a powerful sensation of space travel for me as I listened.
Bells echo out in reverberating waves, metallic in the void of space around them as “Forgotten Worlds” opens. As the track evolves, dark waves of float out along with another pipe-like synth playing a spinning melody which caught my ear. Eventually the lead synth moves to playing a wandering, ancient sounding melody that suits the pan pipe tone nicely. There was a deep feeling of wonder that permeated this track. It painted a vivid image of these forgotten worlds coming into view.
“The New Vessel” created a sense of a spacecraft sweeping by out of the darkness, passing by in a majestic drift. The lead synth has a full and rich tone to it as it gently weaves notes together over deeply reverberating bass. Arps rise and fall, slowly floating down over the track, fluttering through the other sounds that drift past. It was satisfying to hear the layers of sound as they built up a dense tapestry of musical textures and produce a full, deep result.
Contre-Attaque elevates “Universal Equilibrium” to another level with his rocking, intricate work. The guitar shreds and leaps through the track, thrust forward by the driving beat. I also liked Aeronexus’ use of the Theremin sound to add a haunted element to the music along with the wavering oscillation of the synths and a dancing, rapid harpsichord section. The manic harpsichord also contrasted well with the flowing soundscape underneath it as well. The balance of darker and lighter elements in the music held my attention.
“Planet Eater (feat. MASKED)” expresses the vast blackness of space in the deep rumble of bass that underpins the track. At the opening, I liked the slow, darkly shining arps that flowed into the music. As the track evolves, hard-edged and slicing synths roar in the track, sounding aggressive.
The music conjures up images of a huge spatial anomaly as it moves to engulf a whole planet.
Warmly swelling synths and softly spinning arps start off “The Last Survivors.” There is a ease and lightness that continues to flow through the music, but also something sad in the drift and glide of the music. James Nicholas Cusack has just the right touch on this track.
The New Vessel is a clear evolution from Aeronexus’ first album. His production is more polished, his musical intelligence has grown and he has a real sense of how sounds interact to produce richly textured imagery. I enjoyed how he was able to conjure up a quest through deep space using melody, harmony and interesting instrument sound choices. It’s always good to hear an artist growing and developing their sound in new and unique directions.