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Synth EP Review: "NIght Limbo" by Kiomono

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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

Night Limbo by Kiomono is an EP that creates atmosphere through a soundscape that includes shadows and light in equal, interlocking measures. The building blocks of synth music are used on Night Limbo in a way that focuses on patterns, arpeggios and the interlocking of bass and beats, rather than intensely melodic material. To my mind, this is music that is strongest when it is creating mental imagery for me. Night Limbo is also very well-produced and creates a clarity of sound that only adds to the listening experience.

The first element that strikes me about Night Limbo is the way Kiomono uses synth patterns to create different sonic textures and feelings. Sometimes he uses high synths that spin out rapidly whirling arpeggios or sends a ghostly flow of sound through the music to generate auditory sensations. There are chord patterns that form blocks that move through the music, creating shadow or light depending on their overall height or depth. I also enjoyed how oscillating waves of sound move through the music at times to create a pulse.

The bass on Night Limbo is often heavy as it wells up under the music and the beats are also quite often relentless and insistent. These two factors create a sense of motion and strong underpinnings that lend support to the other musical elements on the album. There’s a strong pulse to the music that I seem to feel quite frequently as I listen, beating out into the openness of the music.

It’s that wide open quality of the sound on this album that I also want to discuss. There’s a feeling of space that surrounds all of the different musical elements and gives everything a feeling of airiness and allows all of the sounds to move across that open canvas and each have room to breathe.

Track by Track Analysis

“Night’s Coming” is a track in which the extremely deep bass adds shape to the music along with a throbbing beat of drums. I feel that powerful pulse surge through me as a revolving pattern of medium high synth spins out minor key arpeggios. I’m drawn to the diaphanous feeling of the higher synths as they drift through the track, feeling ghostly. There’s a feeling of something threatening creeping through this track’s relentless patterns of sound that’s rather powerful.

There’s a strong series of slowly revolving synth patterns on “Midnight Café” that all weave together to produce interlinked patterns. I enjoy the slightly mysterious sounding synths in concert with the pulsing drumbeat that keeps moving behind it. There are oscillating sounds that have a tinge of melancholy to them as well as a high flash of synth that plays a wandering, roving line of sound which adds more complexity to the track. I find myself drawn into the surging, angular synths and the patterns that twirl and twist through the bass and drums under them.

“Radicalm” is most definitely radically calm in its musical nature as soft flowing sounds and the gentle trickle of water open the track. Kaarin Zoe Lee’s voiceover is equally calm as she talks about our individuality despite the similarities between humans. This is an airy track where the drums throb and a singing synth melody carries over the warm washes of sound around it. Everything is warm and caressing as a second lead synth line plays a moving pattern of notes into that open space around it.

There’s something hypnotic and trance-inducing about “Daybreak Outbreak.” Minor key arpeggios circle in a continual pattern as the pulsing beat and flowing synths move through the track. There’s a sense of distance in this track as quick, shining synth notes move into the music over those unstoppable arpeggios and the throb of the drums. I feel myself drawn to the delicate section of the track in which ethereal synths meet the organic sound of birdsong. This music is rich in patterns and layers.

Verdict

Night Limbo is full of patterns, sonic textures and a feeling of being made up of a densely woven musical tapestry. This is synth music that explores all of the various ways that synthesizers can be used to create unique atmospheres and compelling feelings. I want to hear more from Kiomono.