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Synth EP Review: "Rogue Racer" by S T H

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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

S T H’s Rogue Racer is set up as a part of the soundtrack to a video game that’s never been made. It tells the story of an “up and coming racer” in the year 2045. As S T H explains, “the challenge takes our heroine on a globe-trotting multi-race contest that could cost her life. Knowing that first place will guarantee wealth beyond her wildest dreams, she has no intentions to lose.”

I feel that this EP has captured both the futuristic feeling and the sense of a video game soundtrack. There’s a real energy to the music, a layered series of unique synths that interlock with ear-catching beats. I enjoy how S T H has really had fun with different sounds and auditory sensations on Rogue Racer because it adds to the overall feeling of movement that seems to define this EP.

There is a sharp clarity to Rogue Racer’s sounds which only contributes to the way in which the music grabs my attention. It keeps my ears listening out for all of the textures, emotions and sonic variations that S T H has put into the music.

Track by Track Analysis

“Deep Orange” opens on resonant single piano notes that flow out against a background of soft synths, lingering there as a steady, pulsing beat moves gently into the track. There’s a slow coalescing of the piano notes into a more cohesive melody as deep washes of bass move through along with high chiming sound, I find my ears drawn to the slow, melancholy refrain that is quite delicate over the heavy weight of bass shifting under it.

The tempo picks up while the melody remains melancholy but grows in energy, adding layers and complexity as it moves through the track. I like the ethereal feeling that permeates this entire track. As it closes, we we return again to the single notes flowing into open space along with the pulses of deep bass.

There’s a quick pulse of edgy oscillating bass that accelerates faster and faster to launch “Race 1 Volcanic Garden.” I enjoy the explosion into action as an uneven pulse of mid-range synth moves into the track, sounding a little hollow and nasal. Another synth with a high, computerized sound plays a shifting melody that leaps and hops through the track, high above the depths of oscillating bass.

There’s a fun interaction between those e deep throbbing synth lines with skipping percussion rattling over the top. There’s a solo section as the hollow-sounding mid-range synth drifts through the track. As the track ends, there are sharp-edged bass pulses and uneven drums that move through.

“She Can Do Anything” starts off with long flows of slightly distorting synth that move through open space. Those flows create a wave that shifts quickly back and forth, creating a strong sense of push/pull. I enjoy the bright metallic, string-like synth sounds that play shiny patterns of notes while a a flickering, uneven secondary synth moves in more to add even more light.

Those sparkling high notes shine like starlight into the music over waves of synth sound that bounce smoothly back and forth through the track while bass also flows as a continuous sound under it.

Deep bass and hard-hitting drums along with chippy sounds and a vocal exhalation open “Flawless Victory.” Unique synths with an oddly vocal feeling interlock with the uneven throb of bass and drums as a metallic percussion sound moves through the track. This is one wild auditory ride. I find it tough to really classify or even describe some of the sounds, but they create an effect of madly blending textures. It is definitely something that grabs my ears as the wild kaleidoscope of shifting, jumping synth sounds all interlock.

Verdict

I am definitely keen to hear more instalments of S T H’s Rogue Racer. I enjoy the concept for the releases and if he can manage to generate as much interest to the ears with those other releases, I think that this is going to be a super fun and enjoyable series of pieces of music.