Karl is a longtime freelancer who's passionate about music, art, and writing.
My Initial Impressions of Weekends on Earth by M.K. Khan
M.K. Khan’a Weekends on Earth is an album that roams down the roads of nostalgia, ‘80s synthscapes and adventure with warmth, energy, and general feel-good vibes that are an antidote to the darkness and stress of the world that faces us. There’s a breezy feeling that permeates the album and the balance of modern production and ‘80s sounds is well done here.
There’s a strong melodic component to Weekends On Earth. M.K. Khan has a strong grasp of how to write melodies that can gently caress or positively energize the listener. I find that his melodies get stuck in my head and dance there joyfully. I’m a sucker for a well-constructed melody and this album delivers them again and again.
I am a fan of M.K. Khan’s synth choices on the album too. There are many glowing, chiming, and bright synth sounds but he sprinkles in some harder-edged sounds along with a liberal dose of unique synths that I find hard to describe sonically, but that I quite enjoy hearing. The sounds also make a good compliment to the melodic writing.
Weekends on Earth walks that fine line between nostalgic ‘80s sounds and modern production. There’s enough ‘80s vibe to the synths and drums but everything is crystal clear and pin-sharp. That clarity allows the melodies, bass, and drumbeats to come through well and impart their unique feeling to the tracks.
My Favourite Tracks Analyzed
“Hope for a New World”
“Hope For A New World” begins with bright, shifting pulses of synth and strongly ‘80s sounding drums playing a propulsive beat. There’s a segment feeling to the bass and beats as they throb together. The glowing, climbing melody is a strong feature of this piece as it rises in waves over that driving beat. There’s an enjoyable, wandering pattern of bright synth which flows through the music. There’s a break in which a minor key tinge comes into the track before the melody bounces in again. Now there are string-like synths adding their own light as a secondary pattern behind the lead and we break into the melody alone.
There’s a sense of delicate warmth on which “Diamond Heights” opens as a slowly rotating arpeggio moves into the music along with a high, singing synth that softly touches the music. Now wind sweeps in a throbbing mid-tempo beat that moves the track forward with ease while the high synth shimmers over it. The beat adds a nice sense of form and direction to the gentle sounds around it. I like the deep bass pulse that kicks in, playing a moving line as the mid-volume synth above them swirls. The high synth plays a melodic, caressing line that softly brushes over the other musical elements while the beat throbs on. The track ends on smoothness, air, and the song of birds.
“Night Sequence“ has a shadowed beginning with hollow-sounding pulses of deep synth and a sweep of air. There’s a good contrast between the chiming high synth notes that sit above the weight below. There’s a drum fill and a steady pulse of deep, shadowed bass moves through as the slightly distant lead synth sings an elegant, moving melody with chimes above it. The balance of ominous darkness and a chiming melody that’s a little melancholy over it is one to which I’m drawn. The thick bass adds support and then we return to the light lead synth calling out as the drums redouble their throb as the dark bass pulse slides underneath them.
Drifting, airy, and ethereal synth notes are swept in on a gentle wind to open “Fountain Valley” before the beat propels the music forward with driving energy as chimes shine and glow over it. There’s an intriguing hollow, open-sounding synth that plays a repeating pattern of notes as the beat continues to rush on smoothly with the bright glow above it. My ears perk up when the open, hollow and airy sound moves through and the percussion shudders below it as we break into the smooth flow and a delicate, soft lead synth melody sings out. Soft strings shiver under the glow over as the relentless beat dances on before the track fades out to silence.
"Keep Your Promise”
"Keep Your Promise” has a cascading warm flow of synth as it opens along with a moving electric bass line and a jazzy organ sound that sings out smoothly over the pulsing beat. There’s a great feeling from the airy, uplifting lightness of the track as the lead synth skims along with that energetic bass moving underneath it. I like the jazz-inflected melody in this piece as well as the throbbing drums and unique synth sound that contributes a nice flavour to the track. Again we return to the singing organ line as it moves over and through. This piece just feels good all over!
"Through the Canyon"
There’s a smooth rush of wind, computerized synth sparkles, and a sharp-edged, oscillating synth line to kick off “Through the Canyon.” An enjoyable, glowing lead synth line is played on shiny chimes that move in contrast to the sharp edged pulses and driving beats underneath. The piece breaks into long ethereal flows of synth over that jumping bass and beat. There’s an interesting segment where a ghostly synth floats through before the chiming, uplifting lead moves in again. The beat drives on and adds motion and energy to the track until everything fades out.
Sometimes it seems as if the darkness is closing in around us these days. Weekends On Earth is an auditory escape hatch that allows us to drift into a world of bright, uplifting sounds and take a sonic journey into a sparkling place full of light and exciting adventure. I have a feeling it’ll be on frequent rotation for me!
© 2020 Karl Magi
Amanda Brumbelow from Camas, WA on November 02, 2020:
I have recently gotten into synth music after my husband and friend started sharing their favorites. Just listened to "Hope for a New World" and I can't wait to show them! It was really good.