Synthwave EP Review: "On The Run" by Dimi Kaye
Asphalt rushing under the tires of a 1980’s Porsche 911 is the first image that sprang to mind as I listened to On The Run. This is an album that evokes the thrill of driving a high performance sports car down a twisting road. It has a distinct feeling of speed and energy that’s exciting and enjoyable to hear.
Any time I listen to Dimi Kaye, I enjoy his guitar chops. The guy can howl and sing, shred and fly on the guitar. On “Breezing Through” we get a showcase of TZA’s equally shredding guitar talent. This is an EP on which the guitar solos have been well-judged to contribute to the total feeling in the music.
Melodic writing is another forte of Dimi Kaye’s and he’s written some energetic, evocative melodies for On The Run. They have a real verve to them and definitely produce that feeling of movement and speed. I think there’s also a great sort of open road sensation that they generate through uplifting synth sounds.
Synthwave lives and dies by its rhythmic underpinnings. The heavy wall of bass and the energetic percussion definitely contribute to the pulse of On The Run. It really does evoke the rush of speed and the tempo of driving as the tracks unfold and accelerate down the road at high speed.
I have recently been listening to Takenobu Mitsuyoshi’s music from the SEGA OutRun series and I can confidently say that I got a similar vibe off of some of the tracks, particularly "Breezing Through" and "Coastline." As a huge video game music fan, this is a positive comment from me.
As this is an EP, I’ll comment on each of the tracks and discuss what I felt about them and why I found them interesting.
“On The Run” launches with a bouncing, moving melody, along with bass and drums that glide along easily. The melody is full of a driving feeling only emphasized by the quick drum beat and wells of synth that rise up around it in the background. This definitely does have a “on the run” feeling in the energetic nature of the track. Now we get a high, trumpeting and soaring melody as the track moves to its latter half. Throughout the beat is relentless and pushes the track forward.
The main synth melody on "Breezing Through" has an energy and a dynamism to it as it calls out over the bass and percussion. I really enjoyed the tones of the synth pad part and the way it climbs up over the track. TZA’s guitar solo has a nice grit to it and he manages to shred in a very exciting way.
"Coastline" opens up with an energy-filled percussion part and a thick bassline. The melody that comes in is flowing and easy, evoking the sensation of gliding down an open road. Throughout the track, the percussion and bass keep the asphalt flowing under the wheels. The track has a jazzy synth solo that Dimi Kaye unleashes along with another smokin’ guitar solo that dances and calls out, full of intricate playing.
The track "Skyline" would apply equally well to an approaching city skyline or the legendary Nissan Skyline GT-R, the original Godzilla. The track locks together bass and synth to provide real depth and a chest-thumping kick. There’s another fun soloistic synth part in the track and once again there are those first-rate guitar chops that lift the track to another level.
There was something quite evocative about On The Run. It set out to capture the mood of speed, excitement and positive energy of a run down a twisty road with the sparkling sea stretched out underneath it. Dimi Kaye has created a very enjoyable, energetic EP with On The Run.