Karl is a longtime freelancer who's passionate about music, art, and writing.
My Initial Impressions of Survival II by Full Eclipse
Full Eclipse’s Survival II EP creates strong auditory imagery through the use of a wide variety of synth tones and timbres, powerful bass, and passages of electric guitar that move between gentleness and a more soaring, triumphant feeling. There’s an interwoven tapestry of sound on Survival II that keeps my ears refreshed as I listen to the music.
The skillful way in which Full Eclipse is able to combine a range of synths and synth sounds on Survival II is the first element that stands out for me. He weaves together glowing moments with rough-edged ones, shimmering brightness, and airy light with harsher, darker sounds. The layers of sound wrap around each other without becoming a jumble and create moods and atmospheres that draw me in every time.
The guitar work is well-done on Survival II. There’s a delicacy and an ease to it on many of the tracks, with tones that make it shimmer and glide, but in the more soloistic passages, it is definitely allowed to soar and leap out in triumphant power. Sometimes the guitar slides into the background and adds texture and sometimes it is strongly and clearly foregrounded. Either way, it works.
I also want to talk about the bass on this EP. Full Eclipse has created music that throbs and pulses with deep washes of thick bass. It provides a solid foundation for the music over it and, when combined with the drum sounds on the album, it creates a heartbeat that propels the music onward.
“Surfacing” comes to life with deep, resonant synths that swell along with the thick bass and a higher drift of guitar notes above it. There’s a great deal of power in the deep, heavy bass that has a nice counterpoint in the shining flashes of synth that fly over the top of it. The synths have density and a solidity to them as they all rise together in a wash of warm sound that floats over the depths, indeed feeling like breaking from dark water into surface sunlight. I find the rich, full sound of this track quite enjoyable.
The first part of “No, More” is driven by a moving electric bassline and a throbbing, solid drumbeat. Soon it’s joined by a medium-high, round-sounding synth that plays a melody that is yearning and warm, while bright chimes sparkle over the top. The richness of this track’s sound appeals to me as that wandering melody flows along over the solid beat. Now there’s a break and gentle, caressing piano notes move in with just a frisson of minor-key sound in them.
There’s a real heartbeat to this track that I enjoy while the lead synth line dreams above it. There’s a soothing second break as the piano floats, the melody gentle and more delicate while chimes lightly brush the music. The electric guitar echoes out into the music along with a glowing synth and a different drumbeat. This pattern that has a repetitive drive moves through the music.
“Returners (Feat. Gloom Influx)”
“Returners (feat. Gloom Influx)” has the siren call of an electric guitar with a voice that moves in distorted waves over a drifting background full of reverb. The guitar cries out in long drifting lines as a smooth, steady electric bass line and pulsing kick drum also move into the music.
The guitar is joined by a drifting, patterned synth melody that has a certain pulse in it that matches the pulse of the drums.
A rising, choral-sounding synth adds a feeling of reverent majesty to the track that I find quite appealing. The rough-edged guitars now become more soaring and uplifting, a slow and evolving melody unfolds in a triumphant climbing series of notes to shine up high, bright and airy over the vocal sounds under it. The soloing guitar has a power and energy to it that carries.
There’s a certain weight to the opening of “Gateway Nipigon” with a deep upwelling of bass and a dense synth, but that weight is leavened by a gentle electric guitar that calls out softly through the music. A smooth, even percussion pulse starts in the track as gentle swells of sound grow and move into and through the track. There’s a pleasing contrast between the easy glide of the guitar as it plays a climbing melody and the bass depths that move underneath it.
The guitar adds a full brightness to the track while an easy breathing synth is joined by a high shine of starry light from a gently chiming sound that sparkles above it. The drums grow stronger, striking harder but everything still drifts on with the deep waves of bass and the soft rise of choral sounds under it all. There’s a feeling of ease to the music that I enjoy.
“Witness” begins with fuzzed-out guitar, a chiming shine of synth and full-sounding electric bass. The luminescent synth sings out a delicate line as another medium-high synth adds a mournful feeling to the track. The guitar is full of emotion and the drums add motion to the track, throbbing on with force and energy. Now that medium-level synth plays the dense washes of sound that add further shape to the music while a pan pipe-like synth adds a soft airy breath behind it.
There's yet another synth sound, this one deep and rather like a tubular bell, that moves underneath the waves of expanding sound from the guitar. I’m quite taken with the caressing but still-powerful piano melody that moves in. The solo here is taken on a trumpeting synth which carries a rising melody before the track glides again and then a guitar solo full of energized passion dances and whirls up above the throbbing drums and deep bass.
“Stagger Into Paradise”
Waves of thick, deep bass wash over the opening of “Stagger Into Paradise” along with slow pulses of a low synth that throb into the music as the guitar creates a shifting wall of sound. There’s a piano that shimmers into the track over the depths of bass along with extended lines of high synth. There are chimes that shine as well over the slightly melancholy piano line as the guitar keeps extending notes out before fading into silence.
Survival II is full of richly layered sounds that are textured and combine in nuanced ways to create an EP that has quite a bit of variety, but variety that still manages to produce a cohesive sonic world and one that I found enjoyable to listen to.
© 2020 Karl Magi