Karl is a longtime freelancer who's passionate about music, art, and writing.
Review of Music for Space Stations by Sunesis
Music for Space Stations is Sunesis’ latest EP. It is an album that showcases her songwriting abilities and her strong and expressive voice and ability to create music that is full of spaced-out atmospheres, drifting and glowing synths, and a feeling of openness to the sound.
I am strongly drawn to Sunesis’ voice. It has a broad emotional range that moves from loss and pain to love and desire. It has a gentle feeling to it but can still come through strongly when necessary. The production of this album also helped to make sure her voice sat front and centre in the mix, showcasing it to good effect.
There is a strong atmospheric quality to Music For Space Stations. The synths and the feeling of open space allow the music to express both desolate emptiness and the glow of stars in the darkness. Warmth washes through and sometimes there is a bleakness that touches the music, contrasting with the warm moments.
Sunesis chose her synths well to accompany the songs. They create a shine and glow along with darker passages that move into open space and all of the different textures serve her voice well. The synths don’t get in the way of her vocal melodies, only provide them with support and enhance their strength.
I was also drawn to the contrast of melancholy and hope in many of the songs. There’s a sense of possibility in songs like “Go On” and “New Horizons.” This contrast often happens in our relationships and I feel that Sunesis expressed those contradictory feelings well in her writing.
“Be Alone” is full of sweeping shadowy synths that float off into space underpinned by a deep bass pulse. The melody is touched with sadness and a yearning warmth. There is indeed a certain coldness to the bass and drums, overlaid by the expressive qualities of Sunesis’ voice.
The overlay of her warm voice and the flashes of lighter synth contrast with the lurking bleakness. As the track closes, the open space rises more along with the harder edges of what is underneath.
There’s a sense of desolation in the lyrics of “Be Alone.” The bereft feeling that Sunesis expresses in her voice is echoed by the words, “Cold and dark/Afraid to be apart/Don't wanna be alone…” and the sense of loss is starkly expressed in the lyric, “There's only space between us/Only a place to think of/You in my mind, you in my heart.”
The reverberating bass pulse and slow waves of synth that fill “Go On” provide support for Sunesis’ emotional voice. There’s a thick, heavy beat that matches the pulses of shiny synth which swirl through the track. There is a sense of uncertainty that matches the lyrics of the song.
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This song is an exploration of the intensity of the emotions we feel when we are strongly drawn to someone, but can’t realize that attraction. Sunesis expresses in the lyric, “Oh darling I'm holding you in my dreams/Oh baby you gave me a kiss/Oh darling please set me free/I’ve lost all my immunity”
The churning mixture of emotions is well described as Sunesis sings, “I feel like not touching your skin/I feel like I don't know where this is going/You've filled my mind with stories” and her yearning is clear in the words, “I wanna be there, be able to tell you/How long I've waited for this story that hasn't begun/But it's all in my mind.”
“New Horizon” is full of wide-open space, echoing and reverberating as a solid beat throbs out into that space. The lead synth melody is shadow-tinged and contrasts with brighter flickers of high synth that move around it. The steady beat, slow in tempo, gives some shape and structure to the floating airiness in the track. This track has a solemnity to it, like a space station revolving in the vacuum all around it.
This track’s meandering vocal melody is carried by Sunesis’ resonant and emotive voice. Glowing moments of synth flutter out over the deep bass pulse and the drums that thud with weight underneath and into openness. The float and glow of the music only serve to emphasize Sunesis’ voice. There is a lost feeling along with the gentleness of those synths that move delicately over the track’s surface, brushing it softly.
This is a song that expresses the emotional complexity of a relationship. There’s a struggle as she expresses the need to say things to the person the song addresses. She sings, “I feel divided/I want you/I feel excited/I love you” and the intensity of those feelings is well summarized in the lines, “Like a storm in my world/like a stone in my throat/I feel divided…”
Sunesis’ cover of Massive Attack’s “Teardrop” starts out with even darker bass pulses than the original and the steady throb in it is done with a synth rather than drums. Sunesis’ voice soars out but there are no specific words, unlike the original. This track has a less minimalistic feel to it than the original does, creating a much fuller and richer sound.
“Only We Know” is full of Sunesis’ voice almost trembling with emotion as the intensity of the song and the synths that pulse and shine grow more powerful. Every element has an easy glide to it and a sensual feeling that permeates it. Sunesis expresses the essence of the words with a spaced-out background that seems suffused with starlight as the track moves forward.
The lyrics to this song are a clear and powerful statement of intimacy and passion. As Sunesis writes and sings, “You tell me your name and I'll write a song (for you)/Tonight I give you the signs/This time don't let it pass.” As she writes, “Only we know/What's going on when/You say those words to move me babe.”
The passion is clearly expressed in the lines, “Give me a reason/Give me a mission/
And live the dream of flying free” and she explains that the fear and pain just fade away as “this war is over for us.” Ultimately she says, “Take my hand/Touch my heart/ I just melt away/We feel/We feed/We just find a way to survive.”
Music For Space Stations carried me through drifting textures, dreamy astral environments and emotionally honest lyrics delivered in Sunesis’ strong singing voice. I enjoyed the atmosphere of the album and the feelings that the tracks evoked in me.
© 2020 Karl Magi