Synth Album Review: "Trans Am Death" by Daniel Adam
Daniel Adam has created a dark, twisting and image-rich album with Trans Am Death. It has the feeling of the soundtrack to a horror movie that is full of dark atmosphere and feelings of omen and foreboding. For all of that, there are still beautiful melodic moments and small glimmers of light. All in all, it told a story of fear and tension leavened by hope and some possibility of a brighter ending.
Album Review for Trans Am Death
One element that struck me strongly on Trans Am Death is the bass. Daniel Adam has used some of the thickest, heaviest and most Stygian bass that I have ever heard on a synth-based album. It adds a profound sensation of portentous danger to the music as it rumbles and thunders under the other musical elements on the track.
Daniel Adam’s use of high and nervous sounding synths also adds to the feeling of threat and danger on the album. They wind and spin out through the music and contribute to the sensation of something threatening that lurks on the edges of one’s perception. In combination with the rumbling bass, the atmosphere is full of tension on Trans Am Death.
In contrast to all of the darkness on Trans Am Death, there are also some beautiful and delicate moments. On tracks like “The Rain” and “A New Frontier” there are gently flickering synths and delicately whirling arpeggios that weave soft tapestries to break the feeling of oppression that permeates other tracks on the album. Adam also has a gift for creating soaring, uplifting melodies along with more devious, twisted tunes.
A final observation that I have on Trans Am Death is the cohesive nature of the album. The track order has been well chosen to move the listener through the story and helps to generate a feeling of being carried through a narrative with all of its emotional peaks and troughs.
Favorite Track Breakdown
“Riders” is underpinned by deep, heavy bass pulses like a heartbeat. In contrast, I enjoyed the rich synth sounds that drift through in long passages along with a tension-building series of high, repetitive vocal synth sounds. Daniel Adam has woven together a tapestry of many shifting, moving synth lines that all interact to form a track that’s full of depth. The drums were used well to add a feeling of increased drama to the music on this track.
The dark bass weight that rumbles through “Hunting” is in contrast to the high, moving lead synth that adds to the growing feeling of tense energy, albeit a tension touched by warmth. The main melody is surprisingly light and easy over that tense dark movement under it. I was struck by the hypnotic effect of a constant synth pattern creating tension. Warmth and darkness mix well on this track as something triumphant rises out of the patterns in the music.
“The Rain” has an almost classical feeling with its quickly moving arpeggiation. The steady throb of drums creates more sensations of motion as delicate notes swirl and oscillate over the bass that flows in waves underneath it. There's a gently drifting melody that floats along over the dancing arps and the darkness in the track is leavened by the sounds around it.
Long drifts of bass reverberate out through the empty space around them on “Wolves” with each note extending before fading away. A steady, thudding beat is established along with more oscillating synth lines. I was drawn to the rising, twisting melody that has a feeling of something majestic about it. There is also a unique fluting synth that adds a feeling of something ancient to the music. This track was permeated by a feeling of power and danger and it had a certain slow menace about it.
“A New Frontier” has a hopeful feeling even with the incredibly deep bass sound that rumbles through it. I enjoyed the rising triumph of the lead synth and the vocal synths that flow warmly. There are bright and airy arps that whirl out into the track as the long echoes of the other sounds move underneath them. This track had a hopeful, dreamy feeling for me.
Rapid minor key arpeggiation and a pounding beat immediately launch “Chrome” and create a sense of drama and speed. There’s a sense of scenery rushing by as the track drives on and the whole track conjured up the feeling of a powerful car speeding down a long road in the dead of night.
I have long enjoyed albums that create a soundtrack in my mind. Trans Am Death has certainly done that for me. Daniel Adam has used all of his musical tools to generate a cohesive and image rich album that took me on a dark, dangerous and sometimes hopeful journey.