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Synth EP Review: "Rain in Europe" by Hunter Complex

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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

Hunter Complex’s EP Rain in Europe is an exploration of the textured, complex sound that makes his music unique. The way he mixes and contrasts all of the different sonic elements that he uses creates a sound that’s full and intense with layers and textures that interlock and weave together in ways that engage the ears.

There are so many different synth sounds that Hunter Complex employs in his music. On Rain In Europe there are moments where warm synths sing out, passages that are more shadowed and bright synths that spin out whirling arpeggios. Like a painter building up impasto on a canvas, Hunter Complex lays sound over sound. He doesn’t obscure anything, but manages to keep the elements clear while still allowing those sounds to mingle in different ways.

Melodies that are interesting and engaging abound on Rain In Europe. Hunter Complex is able to write tunes that can get into one’s head. I found myself singing the melodies after a while which is a clear sign that they are working for me. They are sometimes shining and bright, some of them have a timeless quality where they feel like they’ve existed forever and that Hunter Complex has just found them and brought them to us.

Each track on this EP is able to create impressions and feelings that are clear in my mind. They all have distinctive qualities that lend them character. Each track is like a sketch done by an artist, it encapsulates a sensation or a mood very intensely. There is a sense of different vignettes being shown as if from a sketchbook, each one a moment frozen in time and shared with the listener.

Track by Track Analysis

“Street Value” is full of sonic textures from pulses of synth with a very round quality to bright chimes that sparkle through the open spaces of the track. The sound comes in waves that are full of light as a beat takes shape and adds more forward motion to the music. This track is a good example of layering synths to produce harmonic richness. I also enjoy how the track grows more intense and powerful before closing on a gentler wash of synths. It is another way in which contrast is created on this album.

The two elements which most draw me to “When I Was in Africa” are the interesting percussion instrument sounds and the warm melody that comes in on bright string-like synths. There are angular and rapidly moving synths which contrast with the melody over top. I like the deep mixture of sounds with that great melody singing and glowing through the percussive beats and the bass that drives the track. There’s a unique pulse to the track that gives it a distinctive flavour.

“Coral Way” has an ear-catching opening with warm and slightly tremulous synth notes that move over distorting synths that play arpeggios. This is a track with a wall of analog synth warmth that I enjoy along with a moving bass line that climbs and descends under everything. I also like how bursts of synth come together to form an uplifting melody over the propulsive beat. There are sparkles of synth on this track that dance like motes of dust in the light.

The lead synth melody on “Sleep Wave” has a timeless quality to it that I enjoy. The melody has folk music elements that make it seem as if it has existed for many years. I am drawn to the way that the warm lead synth feels like it blooms into the track. I also like how a endless pattern of synth sounds spins over deep bass pulses and a steady drum beat. This track builds up a whole series of layers that interleave one into the other.

“Television Sky” has a little shadow to it that I like from the synths that open the track along with the pulsing deep bass that moves under them. I was taken by the contrast of high bright synth with rising, drifting sounds that flow underneath it. As the track evolves, there’s a triumphant lead synth line that keeps dancing over the flows of synth that continue to glide into and through the track.

Verdict

Rain In Europe is a engaging, enjoyable listening experience in which a whole plethora of synth sounds is forged into a unique musical expression that paints vivid pictures in the minds eye. I am always waiting to hear what Hunter Complex will create next.