Synthwave EP Review: Fight or Flight by S.C.A.R.T.
S.C.A.R.T’s latest EP Fight or Flight is a study in contrasts between warm, soaring synth melodies and powerful driving beats, between light and darkness where shimmering arpeggios sparkle over a heavy rumble of bass. Fight or Flight offers up intriguing changes of key, rhythm and melody that keep the ear engaged. I’d say that it has moved onto a different plane than the music which kicked off the genre. Perhaps the difference has more to do with exploring a broader sonic palette than anything all that directly tangible, but I feel that the difference is what makes Fight Or Flight work.
A big part of why I found Fight or Flight an interesting listen is how S.C.A.R.T manages to create layers of sounds that grow one on top of the other. Just when you think you know what’s happening, a new sound or a new rhythm comes along to change your direction. It isn’t done in a way that’s disconcerting, but it does mean that boredom isn’t something that happens here. In my view, S.C.A.R.T has an affinity for creating soundscapes that seamlessly integrate a wide variety of textures and shadings.
I like the way in which each of the elements that make up Fight or Flight have been carefully considered. The synth melodies fit nicely into the tracks and interact well with the bass, the drums are prominent but not overly so and the arps have the right sort of glistening quality that one expects from them. It’s clear that he took his time in setting out the various elements to create a harmonious whole.
What’s interesting here is the way that some of the sounds that can be found in other synthwave tracks are combined. They don’t produce the sort of classic synthwave sound, but instead something that has a simmering tension and sinister elements without actually spilling over into darkwave territory.
For an EP, this feels extremely cohesive and complete. As a work, it has a good sense of being all of a piece. One track flows into another with no jarring transitions or strange juxtapositions to upset the flow. Some people like EPs to be a little more eclectic as if to showcase many facests of a producer/musician’s work but I am rather happier when it gels and hangs together.
I recommend Fight or Flight for anyone who wants an imaginative journey through varied and unique auditory landscapes whicih are able to elicit emotional responses in the listener. It takes the building blocks of synthwave but assembles them in a way that is fresh. S.C.A.R.T is a producer for whom I will keep listening out and awaiting his next exploration with interest.