Karl is a longtime freelancer who's passionate about music, art, and writing.
Aeronexus and MASKED's Cosmic Calamity EP evolves his sound in new direction by adding a dose of powerful, aggressive and snarling power to his trademark sound. I appreciate how he’s exploring a new direction in his music while maintaining its unique qualities. This allows his music to keep its integrity while deepening the darker, heavier elements and doing so in a way that I found interesting.
One of the stronger elements of Cosmic Calamity are the synth lines that Aeronexus and MASKED have created. On the whole, the EP is not heavily melodic, but the sonic patterns that are built up in layers are ear-catching. There’s a particular wandering, yet intricately wound quality to the lead synth parts as they cascade and leap through the tracks. They give the music an energy and complexity as they move along against the heavy backdrop.
There’s a snarling aggression and weight to the overall sound of Cosmic Calamity as thundering bass, thudding drums and walls of distorted, fuzzed out and powerful synths all combine to produce a growling, in your face auditory assault. The crucial thing to remember is that this aggression is still kept in balance with other musical elements so that it produces an effect rather than a one-dimensional onslaught.
I also enjoy the use of orchestral elements on this EP. They add a quality of depth and interest, a more organic sounding balance (even if they are all virtual instruments) to the overall synthetic nature of the music. They also make for moments of beauty which again provide a balance in the midst of the roaring power of the rest of the music.
Track By Track Breakdown
Here is a look at each track.
“Chaos Theory” has open space, deep bass and computerized high bleeping sounds that shimmer through the track as it begins. As the track begins, it balances weight with the higher sounds of panpipes. A subtle darkness forms as chimes repeating a minor pattern of sound flicker over the depths of the shifting bass underneath. I am enjoying Aeronexus’ use of orchestral sounds here to add a richer texture to the musical palette. The rumble of bass in this music is like the darkness behind the stars.
One aspect of this track I find fulfilling is the cavernous space around the notes. It adds more emptiness to the music that fits the sensations of a vast void. Where this track really starts to hit me hard is when the gloves come off, sonically speaking. There’s surging, roaring synth energy that thunders through the track with ferocity. As the track ends, we fade back into dark depths.
I find the opening of “Cosmic Calamity” quite compelling as the dark notes of a cello and the delicate touch of a piano intertwine their sounds together while a nice warm synth tone dances over them. The track grows harder and more aggressive as the arpeggio whirling over the top adds a sense of tension.
There was a well-done contrast with the rough surge of synth that rams into the track, growling and edgy and the triumphant and rising lead synth melody coming in after it. There’s a frenzied energy to the lead synth as it goes wild, cascading madly. The track breaks into long, harsh waves of synth that oscillate out into space before the track ends on a growl of aggressive synth.
“Duality of Man”
“Duality of Man” opens with a sharp clash of what sounds like blades before synths with a choral flavour move into the track along with rapid computerized arpeggios that add a edge to the music. Once again, this track is imbued with aggression from the ferocious distorted growl of the synths to a surging beat driving the track forward. There’s a unique medium high synth with a bit of a nasal quality that plays spinning patterns in a minor key as those higher elements with an almost drilling quality come in.
I must say that this is a recording that has a good grasp of heavy, hard synth sounds. There’s a growling aggression about the music as the beat hammers and the synth wheels spins and turns with shredding intricacy. The momentary pause as all of the elements of the track are briefly muffled, as if the rage is contained for a while, only serves to heighten the tension in this piece of music.
“Red Lights (Interlude)”
There’s definitely a sense of taking a breather on “Red Lights (Interlude)” which I felt was necessary after the power and aggression of the previous tracks. Long, very slightly rough whispers of synth are joined by a whirling, evolving arpeggio that circles and floats through the music as more waves of smooth, gentle sound also drift with it.
I feel that the choral synth melody that rises through the music adds a majestic feeling while the snare drum sound that comes in adds extra shape and texture to the track. This interlude is a good way to gather strength for the maelstrom that Aeronexus will unleash again momentarily.
“Dead Sky” is a track that does not mess around. There’s a thick depth of bass and a pounding beat that launches right away along with sharp edged synths that rumble through the music in long, climbing and descending lines as the bass throbs out in pulses under them. I feel that the intricate, interlacing and shredding lead synth line adds a powerful feeling of movement while the choral-sounding synths in behind it increase the sense of drama. The swelling pattern of melodic notes that has an orchestral feeling add a cinematic sensibility to the track.
There’s a moment of breath while the choral synths flow into open space with stabs of deep drum and bass sound cutting through into the fuzzed out background, but once again the beat comes to punch the listener in the head. I enjoy the synth solo that shreds and swirls in a complex dance of notes, carrying out with a triumphant feeling over the surge and thump. As the track ends, there’s the nice touch of a more positive, uplifting synth that cries out through the fuzzed out sounds around it.
Hayley Victoria Leeson’s snarling and aggressive vocal delivery is a crucial element on this cover of the Beastie Boys' “Sabotage.” The vocals are well matched by the deep, harsh moving pattern of synth notes that join a tension-filled high synth line. There’s a solid slab of pure rage as a rough, aggressive and battering beat attacks the ears while computerized sounding synths shred angrily. I appreciate how the free-wheeling feeling of the synths didn’t disappear here, despite the raging feeling of the music.
“Shining Lights, Even In Death”
“Shining Lights, Even In Death” is an appropriate track to close the EP as drifting, floating and gentle waves of synth flow easily into open space along with an oscillating, moving lead synth line with string like-qualities. The drums have a smooth heartbeat that fits the warm flows of sound well. I enjoy how there are waves of sound that move out and through the music, washing over my ears while a quickly spinning arpeggio dances into the music along with light chimes forming a pattern that flickers and flutters along delicately.
There’s something majestic about the long, slow and deep washes of cosmic synthesizer that flow through the music, lifting and carrying everything on a warm bed of sound. I like the contrast as more minor feelings come in from the panpipe/vocal synth sound that floats into the track. Rising depths of synth wind sweep through in a long arc as a wandering pattern repeats over it, adding a definite feeling of moving into outer space.
Cosmic Calamity is an interesting fusion of different elements that showcases some core elements of Aeronexus' music but the collaboration with MASKED has contributed to the depth, power and darkness of the music that I feel works well.