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Synth EP Review: "Volt Rectifier and the Circuit of Life" by See Thomas Howl


Karl has been a freelance writer for over 10 years. He's passionate about music, art, and writing.


See Thomas Howl’s Volt Rectifier and the Circuit of Life is full of dark electronic energy, many complex layers of synth sounds that work together to produce a shadowy cyberpunk atmosphere and a sonic landscape that keeps one’s ears and brain working as the music unfolds.

初め (Beginning) comes alive with bursting, hard-edged and slightly distorted synth moving in a funky pulse. It’s joined by sawtoothed sounds and a high warning noise that flows through and fades out. The beat throbs under the somersaulting, vaulting lead synth that wriggles over it. Another hollow, medium-low pulse of synth is joined by a twisting, fuzzed out sound that moves over the shifting lead. I am drawn to the jazzy, funky lead synth line that moves through and dances over that bass and those drums.

A quick, driving drumbeat moves under technological sounding, hollow synth and a fuzzy burst of guitar-like sound to open “Gremlins Fucked The Resistor.” Deep, hollow bass pulses descend over the battering drums as the bright lead synth leaps and dances in snake-like movements. A very high, unique sounding synth is joined by oscillating lines of high synth and the dark noises.

High, quick, chip-like sounds wiggle through and the beat keeps on along with a pipe-like lead and quick sharp blasts of twisting sound. The high synth line has brightness and a playful feel to it. Another synth that feels warmer and ethereally triumphant moves in and through the track. Elevated sounds with a twist add a mechanical feeling to the proceedings as the almost sound like an impact wrench before we get back to that high, shining lead.

“Never Say Diode” kicks off with harsh, twisted pulses of dark wobbling synth with an open sound. The beat grunts and grits as a medium-high synth makes a bouncing, unsettled journey into the track. The synths now sound almost vocal as they dance in over the breaking, twisting sounds under it as the deep drums tick along. All of the hard-edged, aggressive sounds slice into the music over a steady pulsing beat.

Deep, surging bass and a rough pulse of synth is joined by a howling, wild flow of sound over the pounding beat as “Between A Shock and A Hard Place” begins. A bouncing, shadowy bass line emerges from the metallic rushes of noise and intertwining synths that wind through over the surging beat.

A sharp-edged synth that evokes feelings of high technology complements the beat as a bright rush of high, edgy sounds turns around over the low synth and the throbbing, jumping beat. We break only to that deep oscillating bass and again those high, howling and shifting sounds move through the track.

"New Way To Die (Poisened Apple Re-edit)" starts with high, drifting flows of delicate sound over a tense and nervous bed of sound is joined by a dynamic, moving melody over a bursting pulse of a beat. Washes of high sound wriggle and writhe over the energetic beat and a high computerized synth plays descending, delicate sounds.

There’s a brief break before the high synths begin cascading and twinkling again. A medium synth pattern with sharp edges is joined by high sounds that cry out over the throb and pulse under them and drive the track on. There’s something nervous and threatening about the high, twisting sounds.

A hollow open-sounding synth that has a technological feel opens “終わり (Ending)” playing a steady pattern over the hollow drums. Drifts of high, distorting sound slide over the beat and the surging bass pattern as the beat pounds harder. The high sounds float and dance out over the heartbeat of the track, surging on as the synths lower down match the beat.

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