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Synth EP Review: "Reanimated" by Specimen 73

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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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Reanimated by Specimen 73 takes on music from a variety of anime series (and one game) and imbues it with new, interesting and synth-filled life. Specimen 73 creates soundscapes that respect the originals but aren’t necessarily faithful to them. I enjoy his more dense, hard-hitting sounds and his use of chip elements in his remixes.

The first comment that I want to make is on Specimen 73’s reinterpretations of the original material. The remixes reflect his distinctive musical ‘voice’ with a feeling of sharp edges, some glitchy or broken elements and unique sounds. While I can feel the heart of the original music, the remixes genuinely offer a fresh take on the material.

Another element that I enjoy about Reanimated is the personal nature of Specimen 73’s responses to the music. Each track was chosen because of the personal connection and impact that it had on him. In my view, this imbues the remixes with an element of passionate expression that would be lacking without that deep personal contact. It seems to me that his love of the music spurred him on to treating it with greater respect when he remixed it.

Track By Track Analysis

The “Zetsubousei Hero Chiryouyaku” remix opens with chip sounds and an undulating pulse of drums. Specimen 73 uses a slicing, aggressive lead synth to stand in for the shredding guitar of the original which I feel works well. Now the drum ’n bass drives in hard as a ghostly floating synth drifts behind it while the synth moves through, feeling heavy and dense.

There's a secondary lead synth part that continues with a ghostly quality while the background growl is joined by hard edged, grinding pulses of mechanical sound. As a remix, this takes the original and makes it into something even more wild and jagged in nature. It gets the essence of what made the original strong and adds an additional sharpness.

Distorted, drifting piano notes and a vocal sample with a distant feeling kick off “Isabella’s Lullaby.” The original tune is delicate, ethereal and has a sweet melody and a touching emotional core, but the remix moves into darker territory. That sweet melody is darkened and twisted as it winds through on a wavering piano.

The ethereal vocal line wends its way through the music, shadowed now as the piano wavers, winds and flickers in and out. This is a rather disturbing take on the original, adding a level of something shadowy that creates darkness around the beauty of the melody. There’s a contrast between the delicate and the shadowy which I enjoy.

The original version of “Kamado Tanjiro No Uta” has a beautiful, expressive melody and a rich mixture of instrumentation that lend it a sweeping depth and emotional scope that expands outwards. The gentle piano notes that open the original also start off the remix. There’s a background reverberation along with a hollow, open synth sound and a stuttering beat that kicks into the track as the piano notes shift above them.

A high, dancing synth carries the melody, cascading through as it leaps and distorts, while the beat adds nice additional energy to the music. There’s still the same gentle feeling and majesty here with a unique sonic palette. The choral voices add a haunted quality as well and now we move back to the driving melody doubled on piano and xylophone with the shivering distortion of synths above it.

The original version of “Other Side” is full of howling, shredding guitar and chanting vocals over a throbbing beat. The rapped quality of the vocals and the overall demeanour of the original are shrouded in darkness. In the remix, there’s an equally dark and shredding synth with a chip-tune quality.

The remix has a slowly throbbing beat and there’s a great deal of glitch and twist to the track, stuttering and spinning as the synths touch the music. Rough flows of distorting sound oscillate underneath the synth that climbs and shines above it. The remix manages to capture the feeling of shadows growing while adding a smoother, less intense feeling to the track in my view.

There’s a considerable variation between the original version of “Dream” and the remix. In the original, everything is ethereal with soft flows of gently washing synth, deep gliding bass and a beat that ever so lightly brushes the music. The melody is delicate and barely perceptible.

The remix is harder edged and more energetic. The chiptune lead kicks the track off as those computerized sounds quickly oscillate over a rebounding beat. That melody which is barely noticeable in the original version slices into the music playing on that high, sharp lead. I do like the breaking, pulsing and stuttering feeling to the track and the vocal sample adds an ethereal quality.

This is a piece of music that has a full, thick sound to it. The track moves into a slowly oscillating synth that plays high over a steady beat that begins a second segment with a high, tightly wound synth crying out over the smoother, more even beat.

The “Touch Off” remix takes the basic melody of the original and turns what start off as a rocking track driven by battering drums, leaping guitar and a howling sax into something with a much more technological, hard edge that gives it a fresh character. The remix delivers the melody on a string-like, reverberant synth that carries the melody over a lower, oscillating synth that moves under it as the beat throbs steadily along with the bass that supports it.

The drums gain energy and drive while the lead melody moves along over twisted, broken sounds. The segment where the piano chords jump in over a bouncy synth have a ear-grabbing quality that I enjoy. I’m also enamoured of the dense synths that rise and fall into the music with an organ-like part moving through with the vocal sample.

Verdict

Overall I like the personal, distinctive approach that Specimen 73 took to the remixes on Reanimated. He manages to capture the emotional connection he has to the music and allows his distinctive ‘sound’ to permeate the tracks without disrespecting the source material.