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Synthwave Album Review: Moon Talk, "Moon Talk" EP

Karl is a longtime freelancer who's passionate about music, art, and writing.

Cover photo for Moon Talk's new EP "Moon Talk"

Cover photo for Moon Talk's new EP "Moon Talk"

Melody is something that has become less popular in electronic music over the years, but I’m a sucker for it in almost any genre of music. For me, nothing beats a really well-crafted melody, and Moon Talk’s self-titled EP is absolutely full to the brim with beautiful and melodic moments. This is a warming recording that does a great job of showcasing the smoother side of synthwave.

Let’s talk about those melodies! I was taken by the richness and beauty of Moon Talk’s melodic writing. It’s tough for me to pick out any particular melody as being better than the others on the album because they’re all excellent. Whether the melodies are gentle and wistful like the one on “As We Were,” tinged by sadness on “Angst and Makeup Kit,” or delicately chiming like “Clouded,” it is always well-constructed and quite often tugs at the heartstrings.

The decision to make the bass and the drums smoother and more subtle was a good one on Moon Talk’s part. As much as I enjoy the aggressive side of synthwave with thundering drums and heavy bass, I find myself drawn towards music that’s a little more mellow and laid back. That isn’t to say that Moon Talk’s EP is dull, just that he’s crafting more settled music that has moments of real delicacy, along with segments that still move with more energy and have a distinct groove.

Along with melodic music, I’m also a sucker for anything that creates a mood in music. Moon Talk’s EP has a chilled out, tranquil vibe to it that I found quite appealing. Everything flows and glides, enfolding the ears like velvet and draining away the tensions of the day. Unlike purely ambient music, it still has enough groove and energy to it that one isn’t lulled into napping. Those well-crafted melodies are one component to the vibe as is the sort of mid-tempo grooving that happens on tracks like “Clouded” and “As We Were.”

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I also like Moon Talk’s subtle touch with the production on this EP. Resisting the temptation to overdo things, he seems to have focused on keeping everything well-balanced and ensuring that no one element overtakes the others on the recording while also emphasizing the smoothness and flowing nature of the music.

Analysis of the Best Tracks

There are, as always, tracks that truly grabbed my attention, and I’d like to share my impressions of a few of them with you now and talk about why the tracks made those impressions.

“As We Were”

“As We Were” has one of those beautifully thought out melodies that sings out, feeling gently nostalgic and a little wistful in character. The track starts with a beat that rebounds back and forth as stabs of synth pulse in between those beats. The sense of nostalgia was palpable on the track and something I enjoyed deeply.

“The Bridge”

There’s a lightness and brightness about “The Bridge” that grabbed me. I felt a little lump in my throat at how soft and delicate the melody is on this track. It’s something that speaks of being bathed in warm rays of light. This is the kind of synth music with which I have the most affinity because of how airy, open and yearning it feels to me. This whole track tugged at my heartstrings.

“Angst and Makeup Kit”

A touch of darkness runs through “Angst and Makeup Kit” with an almost pipe organ-like synth sound that starts the track. This track feels expansive and the melody again plays to the strengths of analog synths. It has this quality to it that aches just a little more than the other tracks on Moon Talk. The bass and drums are deep and full on the track and they act as a strong foundation for it, carrying it along nicely.

“Let Them Down Easy”

“Let Them Down Easy” is a track full of emotion. There’s melancholy and pain here along with a reflection on times past. There is an idea that synthetic sounds can’t be infused with emotion but this track definitely manages to inject more than a little of that feeling into the track through the melody. The rhythms here flow along with ease, adding just the right amount of energy to the track.

Moon Talk’s self-titled EP is a melodic voyage across gentle, yearning and aching emotional territory. It is infused with warmth and a balanced energy leant by the rhythms that have the right tempo and bass that has just enough weight to carry the EP along. I’m going to enjoy hearing the sonic territory that he’ll explore into the future.

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