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Synth E.P. Review: "Dying Devices" by Charlie Vincent

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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

Charlie Vincent’s Dying Devices EP is full of intensity, complexity and a richness of sound that conveys a wide range of emotions and auditory sensations. Charlie Vincent takes the component parts of synthwave, but uses them in an original and fresh way. There’s a feeling of an artist pouring his full creativity out into the music he’s creating here.

There’s a complexity to the interactions of sound on Dying Devices. There are many layers of synth that complement and contrast each other, shifting patterns and melodic segments that vary throughout the tracks of the EP. They weave one into the other, taking the listener’s ear for a ride as they interact and produce ear-grabbing moments of sound throughout the album.

I appreciate the way that percussion works on Dying Devices. The drums move through the tracks, providing support or adding energy as necessary. Charlie Vincent has a good ear for when to bring them on strongly and when to back off and allow them to play a secondary role to other sonic elements. It gives the tracks a real heartbeat that anchors them.

Charlie Vincent also has a knack for good, interesting melodic writing. His melodies are clear and often balance elements within them. They can soar and leap with an intricacy or ache with a sense of melancholy, but they are effective at generating expression and imagery as they unfold throughout the album.

Track-by-Track Analysis

“Runciter” has its birth in deep, full bass as the soft hiss of static is joined by bursting layers of bright synth that cry out in waves over the drums. The track explodes into energetic forward motion, as the synth pulses shredding along to the slick drum and bass heartbeat. A flashing, dancing lead synth breaks in with short bursts of notes that fly through the music.

I especially enjoy the thick layers of synth that add richness and depth to the sound. Glowing synths rise upwards over the deep, sharp-edged bass line moving underneath and now alternating low and high arpeggios whirl through and the track breaks into silence and a minor key, tense lead with a trumpeting feeling to it moves in before fading out again to slowly shifting bursts of shadowed synth.

There’s an airy hiss of static and reverberating synth pulses as “Fading Away” begins. A steady, smooth beat glides in along with a shiny, full synth adds a lot of light to the music as it stair steps upward. A smooth, almost chiming high lead synth carries a melancholy and gentle melody.

I am drawn to the way this melody exudes a sense of loss as it slips out over the drums, bass and soft hiss under it. Broken drifts of synth float through briefly before the beat establishes itself again and those dense, stacked layers of synthesized sound move out over it as the track returns to we return to the delicate, chiming and light segment, softly moving and suffused with light.

“Overheat” starts off with solid, hard-hitting drums with a bit of a jagged edge before the track explodes into forward motion, fairly erupting with energy as the quickly oscillating hollow and distant synth sound flashes behind a slicing blade of sound that calls out through the track.

There’s a brief pause before the music charges forward rapidly as the hard-edged, jagged synth cuts into the music in a relentless pulse. I like how the track has a wild profusion of interweaving sounds filling it.

Bursts of bright synth move into the palpable hiss behind them as “Dying Devices” begins. A high shining synth lead synth floats out above it as the drums add a slightly uneven throb to the music. The lead synth carries a bright, positive melody that feels light over the trumpeting synths underneath it. A broken stutter of sound vibrates rapidly underneath brassy synths that sing out over it.

The track moves back to that glowing lead as it cascades and roams through the music. There are high, choral synths that move with the stuttering sounds around them. There’s something particularly compelling about the secondary melody that comes in, carried on minor key, slightly wavering synth. A trumpeting cascade moves through the music, touched with bending distortion. Finally he wandering and dynamic lead leaps back in as the track closes out.

“Last Patrol” kicks off with a dense flow of dark synth with a buzzy edge that moves through the static behind it and over oscillating bass pulses. There are quick, ragged-edged vibrations of synth notes that form a dynamic pattern over the big drums that support them. Rapid pulses of metallic synth move in lockstep as the lead melody comes in on a unique sounding synth.

Quickly moving whorls of sound are joined by energetic and interesting drums before returning to the steady pulse of metallic synths. I am intrigued by the way that all of the sounds seem to vibrate with energy as they shiver through the music.

The soft rush of raindrops and a splashy and delicate synth starts off “Rainfall.” The delicate synth plays a gently roaming pattern of notes as a lower waves of synth and bass with a rather grungy feeling to them are joined by deep drums and a high, yearning and vaguely nasal synth that plays a delicate pattern.

Rising, falling pulses of medium-high, rich-sounding synth add a feeling of waves washing on shore as they are joined by the light of a higher synth doubling them. A pattern of shifting notes plays on an echoing synth while a series of arpeggios flutter through the track and the grunting synth pulse is joined by the soft sounds of breath as the whole track grows and solidifies. I feel that this is a soothing way to close out the EP.

Conclusion

Dying Devices is an intriguing synth journey that exploits all of the sonic capabilities of synthesizers along with Charlie Vincent’s sense of rhythm, melody and general enthusiasm for creating interesting music.

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