Synthesist, Light

On his second outing, Synthesist presents 10 tracks that switch between calm spacemusic and New Age-tinged synth songs. On the spacier side, composer Christopher Pearre hits all the genre-right memes. His flows are calm filled with with layers of stellar-twinkle electronics. The title track nails it spot on, from the deep drifts to the rain stick accents. The must-listen track here is “Tibetan Bells,” a meditative wash of sound that rolls in like a subtle tide. About midway through the track, Pearre weaves in a low-volume bass that tracks like an understated beat. Wisely, he keeps it down there, leaving you to wonder if it might morph into something else–but no, it’s just there, as present as a pulse. Great track. There are spots on Light, however, that stray a little far into a formulaic, new-Age-lite sound. “Air Wave” and “Ascension” are the culprits here, but it may only be that the better pieces surrounding them make their heavier hand stand out. “Air Wave” made me feel like I was patiently waiting for the next available representative. And the thing is, Pearre can straddle the line between beatless constructs and more traditional melodic structures. It’s there on the excellent track, “Pareidolia.” Here, he keeps his melody half-submerged in a catchy sequencer line and threads a little tension through the air. It’s laid back yet really rich in feeling. “Morning Light” also finds itself in this kind of space, gingerly skirting the New Age edge. It swells with romance in spots, but never overflows or gets sappy. This, I think, is Pearre’s sweet spot and when he hits it, it’s very much a pleasure to listen to. While this disc runs about 60/40 for me, its strong suit is that every track is filled with passion and feeling. Well worth checking out.

Available at Synthesist’s web site.

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