Thursday, December 5, 2013

LARP of Luxury by Eyeliner

Here's another release that has a serious 80s synth feel to it, complete with the best of what the 80s offered in terms of synthesizers and not forgetting the quintessential drum machine. I dunno, maybe the 80s hardware (even if it is all virtual) is perfect for melody driven work.

This album has great melodic lines all over. The sounds chosen for the instruments are sometime a bit on the weird side of things (I didn't say "cheesy"), like the pan flute in "Sauvignon Blanc" and "3D Pool Designer". Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad thing at all. Some tracks sound definitely more modern than others. Again, not a bad thing.

The standout tracks in my humble opinion are (in terms of melodic content): "Nespresso" (really like the lead synth sound), "3D Pool Designer" (the melody that's driving the pan flute is bang on), "The North Face", and "Toyota Prius" (especially, that synth sound at the beginning with the sliding effect).

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Psychedelic Cowboy by John DePatie

I was very excited by this submission because John DePatie is a professional guitar player, a "sideman", and I really like guitar instrumentals that are well inspired (Joe Satriani is a bit of a god to me.)

The album opens with "Reggatta de Guitarra", an instrumental that seems as if it could have been created while vacationing in Jamaica. A little criticism: I didn't really like the melodic motif going up the scale as it sounded a bit forced, especially at the 4th iteration. Maybe it's a detail but that bugged me. The tone changes towards a more rock n'roll feel with "Jellyfish" while still maintaining a tiny bit of a reggae vibe (at least, at the beginning). The track evolves (always a good thing) and gives us, listeners, a nice melodic hook to sink our ears into. Then comes the title track, "Psychedelic Cowboy". It starts with an acoustic guitar which is soon accompanied by a vintage sounding electric guitar. That kind of transports us to somewhere on the west coast, maybe at the beach after surfing the waves. "Jaeljo Overture" brings the tempo way down. It features an acoustic and what sounds like a glockenspiel. The melody is incredibly strong, making this track my favorite of the album, so far. "Song For My Dad" sounds like an hymn with a drum track reduced to the bare minimum. It's a beautiful track. "Up To My Eyeballs" is a bit different as there's a bass that does a number at the beginning. The track evolves into a two voice tune, each voice or guitar with its own melodic line. "Wind Chimes From Jupiter" showcases some extravagant picking work and a melody that's just, well, inspired. That's another favorite of mine, right alongside "Jaeljo Overture". "Counting Sheep", the last track of the album, is, as its name implies, a little lullaby. A perfect way to end an album, any album.

The tracks in this album seem to evolve over time. That's a very good thing. They also have strong melodies. That's another very good thing, especially for this blog. This is much more restrained than Joe Satriani, no doubt, but it's not a bad thing at all. My favorite tracks in the album are actually the slower ones: "Jaeljo Overture" and "Wind Chimes From Jupiter". It is without a doubt a great little album.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Music for space travel vol​.​2 by [ the bleeping machine ]

This album is an EP, so it's on the short side of the listening stick with just four tracks (which are not that long, either). I've selected this album to appear on here for two reasons: 1) it's old school synth and 2) it's not overly layered.

It's a cross between spacey synth and 80s synth pop (with a sprinkle of the more psychedelic 70s stuff.) The heavily melodic leads which appear on the last two tracks are reminiscent of popular 70s psychedelic bands like, I don't know, Tangerine Dream, Yes, or Emerson Lake and Palmer.

If you like the sweet sound of vintage synthesizers and melodic leads with a whole lot of notes, then this is something you should definitely check out.

Make You See the Truth by Rushthethrone

Ok, this album is absolutely not a collection of instrumentals. It features an incredible vocalist and tunes you wish every indie rock band that comes along would write. I discovered this album on TheseAreOurAlbums, a sub-reddit I created on a whim mostly to discover new talents to feature right here, on this very blog. There are quite a bit of submissions and once in a while you stumble upon a gem, like this one.

The vocals and heavy hitting guitar work on some tracks are reminiscent of Dionne Farris's "Wild Seed - Wild Flower" album. What Rushthethrone are doing is a combo of rock and soul, just like when Dionne Farris teamed up with guitarist David Harris in the 90s. I love Dionne Farris and this album reminds me of her, that's all.

This might be the best non-instrumental album I've heard in a while on Reddit, the front page of the internet.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Highest Technique by .::neocognitron::.

I am really psyched to present this album that's actually a 68 minute long single track. It's synth galore reminiscent of the glorious 80s but it sounds super fresh.

The track starts with some female chanting (almost a drone) floating above some tight percussion and what sounds like the synth of doom. It's got a very Middle Eastern new age vibe to be honest. Not a bad start but not that representative of the whole thing. At some point (near the 4 minute mark), the beat tightens and the ride really begins when a really fat synth invites itself to the party. Another luscious retro synth soon takes over the lead role and you know right then that it's gonna be all good all the way to the end. There are lots of breaks and rhythm changes in this track, and all I can say is that it's produced flawlessly, never dull or boring (you'll find some glorious synthesizer leads a la Jan Hammer in there, and even some chiptune stuff.) The only thing that bothers me a tad is the ending of the track, as I think it deserved more than an easy fade out.

Enjoy the ride and let me know if you don't think it's one the best things you've heard in a while (I need comments).

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Machinedogs by Hades of Spades

This album is a bit different from what's usually offered on "Super Melodic Tracks" (again). It's much more on the electro house, dubstep, breaks, dance floor, etc side of the electronic music scene and it definitely has a hard edge to it.

The beat is so intense and the bass so wobbly that the melodies shouldn't really matter that much, right? So, any time melodies are given some thought, it's a welcome surprise. Most of the tracks feature some really good short catchy melodic riffs alongside contrasting longer melodic lines. It's like "Phantom of the Opera" on acid. To illustrate this, check out tracks like "Acid In My Head", "The Leaning Tower Of Babel", "Childhood's End", and "Kaleidoscope Of Pain".

In my opinion, the best track in the album is the last one: "Endless Quest". Of course, the others grow on you pretty quickly. A great album which I totally recommend.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Alpha 3 by Suecae Sounds

I wouldn't call this album super melodic per se but I like it enough to review it, albeit briefly (it's only 4 tracks after all). I would describe the album as electronic music with some dark/industrial ambient overtones as well as elements of techno ("Basic Channel" comes to mind but without the trance or minimal element.)

The EP opens with "Angel Strings" which really sets the mood of a certain melancholy. There's some singing that surprisingly doesn't feel out of place at all (the heavy processing certainly helps). Track 2, "Svarta Fält", feels much more mainstream electronic (not a bad thing) with the heavy techno beat. Mood wise, it certainly lift things up. Track 3, "Audemea", brings in a little bit of "real" instrumentation in the form of an electric bluesy guitar, a nice addition to this very electronic and often sterile world. The last track of the EP, "Delta 3", is much more ambient, which must mean that you have reached the end of the journey, a state of inner peace, or maybe a new beginning.

I wish the album were longer. How's that for a compliment?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Cheesecake Hypothesis by Blah Kesto

This release is a mix of ambient, downtempo, and post-rock genres. You also have piano, strings, and acoustic guitar which kinda make it semi-classical or orchestral. The post-rock electric guitar that shows up parsimoniously brings a more than welcome dynamic to the tracks. Since this album is being reviewed here, it of course has a good dose of melodic content.

Some of the tracks are a bit on the melancholic/dark side. I am thinking "Memorare novissima tua.." with its rather pleasing floating electric guitar and " in aeternum non peccabis" with its strings lingering over the piano (the drumming is almost out of place). It's probably a Latin thing. "Out of Context" has a little bit of the vinyl crackle/noise thingy which kinda turns me off almost instantly (just kidding as it's done very tastefully and briefly, eheh.) I am an absolute sucker for glockenspiel-type melodies so "Utility Monster" is kind of a highlight for me. "Time Flies" is also an instant fave with its bass set on repeat, completely anchoring the tune. The album ends with "Ex Nihilo", a track featuring an heavily distorted electric guitar and some power drumming, maybe the perfect closing track.

Cheesecake Hypothesis by Blah Kesto is another one of these albums that are on the border of various genres, flying way below the radar. I am hoping this post will help spread the word.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Bionic Visions by phil.harmoniq

Let me start by saying that this is an EP, but since there is a respectable ten tracks in there, I don't feel bad reviewing the album. I am not a big fan of the EP format because, one, I don't think there's enough material and, second, there's usually a full length album that's gonna replace the EP in the near future (although it doesn't always happen). This release by phil.harmoniq is on the uptempo side of things and, lo and behold, it has vocals (on selected tracks). I think it's a nice change from the usual downtempo instrumentals that seem to rule here.

Track 1, "Just Ask", is a nice little gem of a tune. It's fast and catchy, a great way to get things going. Track 2, "USA", apparently features a guest vocalist (I think), named Slowriter. It's a bit underwhelming at the beginning but things get better when the vox stops and the tune really gets going. Track 3, "Transistor", is probably more dance oriented and not that interesting (just like track 4). Track 5, "Mile Away", features Slowriter once again, and this time, the tune delivers with a very catchy chorus. Track 7, "Feel the Same", is very dance oriented. I feel that the track gets better as time moves on, it gets really good after the 3:20 minute mark when the harmonies between the two vocalists kinda kick in. Track 8, "Skylight", also gets better with time. It gets to standout track status after the 2:30 minute mark. The last two tracks left me wanting for more, as I think there's great potential there.

This is a great house dance album. You've got some nice catchy tunes and it's nice to hear tracks that evolve and go places that happen to be nice. It doesn't hurt that the production is top notch.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Black Cake 2 by HEXSYSTEM

This release by HEXSYSTEM is probably less melodic than the other albums reviewed on this very blog, but, after a few complete listens, I figured it had its place because it's well produced and quite enjoyable to listen to. The tracks are for the most part downtempo with some typically spacey ambient sounds and well crafted drums. The opening track, "Shapes", gives a good idea of what to expect. The first seven tracks are good but a bit in the same mold. Track 4, "Last Try", and track 6, "Latency", are probably the best of the bunch. Track 8, "Crossing", brings a nice change of pace with its dark and crunchy "progressive rock" vibe. This is a standout track in my mind. Track 10, "Saw", has a pleasant industrial feel, if there is such a thing. Track 11, "Television", is another standout track. The percussion work, once it gets going, is outstanding. This is my fave track in the album.

This a rather well stocked album with 14 tracks, most of which are of the long variety. Some tracks are quite forgettable but there are a few really outstanding tracks that make listening to the whole album really worthwhile.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Nonsense by Thiefinger

This album by Thiefinger is quite diverse as it's got some 80s synth pop and funk influence on top of the more modern (albeit sterile) electronic music mold. It's well worth listening just for that. For some reason, I felt like giving my (deep) thoughts about each track in a very linear way. Note that my reviews are based on a couple of listens. I wish I could spend more time listening to tracks again and again to fully appreciate them, but I just don't have the time.

Track 1, "Total Fat", starts with a rather annoying vinyl crackle but other than that, it's a great opening track with a rather "off the beat" percussion. By the way, vinyl crackle is never a good thing.

Track 2, "Grim Reaper", starts rather well with heavy drumming and a gritty synth sound in the background. Then comes a distorted sampled voice which, I must say, didn't do anything for me.

Track 3, "Catch", catches the listener a bit by surprise with its 80s inspired synthesizer action. The tune itself gets a little bit cheesy at times with a not so great lead, but it still is a great track overall.

Track 4, "Fun", is also 80s inspired and is a bit on the cheesy side, not that it means it's a bad track (just needs some getting used to the synth sound).

Track 5, "La-Di-Da", goes into funk territory with its extremely heavy bass. It's a really good track.

Track 6, "Sugar Mountain", is more melody oriented with once again an off the beat drum part that is a bit underwhelming. It has a retro sounding lead and goes through quite a few interesting rhythmic changes, which is always a plus.

The album ends with track 7, "Lame", which is quite groovy and strong. It's always nice to a closing track that means something.

I know the review sounds a bit critical at times, but, let's be real here, this is a good album, otherwise it would not be featured on this fine blog.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Voodoo Economics by Adipsia

I have discovered Adipsia on reddit, the self-proclaimed front page of the internet, thanks to a subreddit I have created called TheseAreOurAlbums. You probably know by now that I am always on the lookout for melodic music. This offering by Adipsia hit the right spot as soon as you started streaming the album. It took about a month to finally write about it on Super Melodic Tracks, this very blog.

The first track, "Sin Significado", sets the tone with a sweet melodic riff that's driven through a series of rhythmic changes (nice drums by the way) and instruments (from some video game inspired bleeps, I think, to the always welcome electric guitar). The rest of the album is pretty much of the same vein with the heavy drumming (a bit underwhelming on track 6, "God Damn These Electric Sex Pants!!"), the cool melodies, and the frequent changes of atmosphere. The final track, "Teaching Patience Through Omission", is pretty much just a short melodic riff going through all kinds of motion in a minimal/hypnotic kind of way.

It's a good album, albeit short (only seven tracks), and I am glad to finally have it reviewed on the blog.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Back to the Void by Deramico

Here's a downtempo album I can safely recommend if you like melody filled instrumentals. The second track, "Skydiving", gives a good idea of what the album is all about with its grand piano, bass, spacey synthesizers, and ambient style drumming. The third track, "Last Day at the Beach", is full of exquisite melodies and it could have been a real masterpiece if the drumming were a little less boring (could be easily fixed, in my humble opinion). The next track, "Thorns", is a melodic gem with a solid melodic line in the background and a melodic counterpoint that keeps everything fresh. The sixth track, "Other World", has a pulsating bass balancing the melodic grand piano work. The ninth track, "Home at a Star", suffers once again from the wimpy drumming syndrome (in parts) but the melodies easily make up for it. Well, I could go on describing the remaining tracks but it would probably get a bit boring and tedious. The last five tracks are probably not as strong melodically anyway.

"Back to the Void" by Deramico is a solid release. I think the drumming could be improved to make this album even better.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

City of the Architects by The Mercury Waltz

This offering by The Mercury Waltz has that progressive feel to it with well crafted melodic instrumentals and a boatload of notes. All tracks are solid but there are two that stand out:
- "Pillars of Creation", a true masterpiece. This tune has a melodic riff that will stay in your head for a long long time, trust me. This really should be the featured track, in my opinion, of course.
- "...And So It Goes Down As Legend" (closing track of the album). It's a long one (more than 7 minutes) but the melodic lines are remarkable.
There's one track that's quite different from the other, "Metropolis" and it happens to be my least favorite of the album.

If you like clever progressive music with catchy melodies, classic sounding synthesizers, and intense drumming but without the heavy stuff usually associated with melodic metal and the borefest of classic "prog rock", this album is for you.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Disco Love by MrJoGiHB

This is the 2nd album of the artist formerly known as justoneguyinhisbedroom (see The Idea Giraffe by justoneguyinhisbedroom). The music MrJoGiHB makes can be put under the ambient/downtempo umbrella although its main claim to potential fame (I really hope it's gonna happen) would be the (layered) melodies that populate the tracks.

The album opens with "Beneath", which is kind of your typical melancholic "new age" ambient instrumental fitted with a great melodic line that lingers up and down the scale. It's powerful, no doubt, and that really makes you eager to listen to more of the album. Track 2, "Our Sunshine Garden" doesn't disappoint, bringing a more upbeat vibe. The title track "Disco Love" brings the tempo back down but the quality is definitely there. As with many of MrJoGiHB's tracks, drumming samples are introduced at some point (here, about the midway point) to keep the track fresh and never boring. I was kinda expecting a disco track but it was not meant to be, I guess. "Giraffes Are Having A Tea Party" provides some kind of nice interlude before "I'd Love To Be Inside The Milkshake Machine" which again layers drumming samples over a soft melodic line. I guess I could go on reviewing the album track by track but it would get a tad boring since the remaining tracks are pretty much all in the same vein.

What I really love about MrJoGiHB's music are first and foremost the melodies (of course), but also the instruments he chooses to render those melodies (they're crisp and clean, varying from bell type sounds to square waves reminiscent of the chiptune scene). The layering of instruments keeps the tracks interesting without ever muddying the mix. And then, you have those lovely drumming samples (MrJoGiHB's specialty, it seems) which bring additional life to the tracks.

Well, enough with the compliments. The drum track on "Why Did I Close The Fridge?" is a bit uninspired, eheh. It's a great track though with its super hook and the big uplifting sound, a fitting end to the album, an album I strongly recommend to check out as soon as possible.