Thursday, July 18, 2013

D/A/D Creates The Construct

I'm going to go back in time, just a little, before I get on to the great new record from D/A/D. Back to 2009, which is pretty much the year that the 80s inspired synth scene began to bloom from it's formative stages in 2008. It was during this time that many incredible producers came into my life. Producers like Futurecop!, Sferro, Palm Highway Chase, Miami Horror, Yan 'Mr Vector' Larsen, The OutRunners, Symbolone, Maethelvin, Anoraak and many other rockin producers featured on the MOTU2 and Valerie compilations. During this time there was quite a bit of nu-disco and house crossover with 80s sounds, as there still is today, but some producers pushed harder and harder into traditionally authentic 80s synth sounds and arrangements.

D/A/D, or Day After Discovery, was one of the first generation of revival artists on the scene in 2009 and when I discovered his Super Motives release (still available for FREE, here) the bar was raised exponentially for me. It was not until the releases of 2010 from Mitch Murder, Lazerhawk and Miami Nights 1984; among others, would I get to hear such wonderful music as what was contained on Super Motives. Upon release of The Construct I went back and revisited this now four year old release and my heart was warmed as to how relevant it still is.

It was a genuine epiphany to me that this music doesn't date. It's so intrinsically linked to a period of time already that the passages of time since the 80s become irrelevant. Super Motives was always one of my fondest early memories of that time when I finally got to hear the music I really wanted to enjoy, as most everything else newly released in this period felt decidedly like it wasn't in any way shape or form for me to enjoy. The D/A/D magic was so beautiful and emotive, it was just what I needed.

Bringing the time forward a little, to the beginning of last yet when I was in the planning stages for Synthetix. I began going through some of the earlier 80s inspired synth releases and an idea began to germinate in my mind 'Wouldn't it be totally rad to be able to review new albums from those original producers on my own site?' The thought of sharing new music from the likes of Palm Highway Chase, Maethelvin, D/A/D et al was one of my driving forces for getting this site going. Being able to share this hugely under appreciated music with like minded fans, old and new, this was what Synthetix was always about.

Which takes us up to today and this week, after years of drip feeding tracks sporadically D/A/D has released his second album: 'The Construct', and the prolonged wait has just made it all the more special.

I'm often one to go on about the 'magic' I feel in 80s inspired synth music, as that's the best way I can describe the combinations of sounds and melodies that intimate the true 80s musical emotions. These are the hallmarks of 80s synth music, the ability to conjure and present feelings and visions in spectacularly colourful ways and these are the foundations on which 'The Construct' has been built upon.

Formed like a ten chapter soundtrack, the album is richly detailed with strong passages, and ephemeral vignettes. Opening with introductory piece 'Farthest Reaches' it becomes very apparent that this is going to be an adventure of epic proportions and fathomless dimensions. In this unadorned foreword the melodic magic of D/A/D begins to sparkle like a distant star, and its delicate light begins to descend.

The sheer contrast of 'Backbone Of The Night' marches in quickly and begins a dramatic procession of layered synths that verily dance like beings of pure electric energy. The lead melody is an absolute epiphany, framed by brilliant nuances and set to a jubilant pace. The soundscape is just so thoroughly uplifting that it's impossible to not be carried away upon waves of fantasy for the track's entire duration.

The third chapter finds D/A/D experimenting with a much more traditional pop synth milieu and has enlisted the talents of USA Gold and Sharaya Mikael to add even more lustre to 'Love Will Make You Stay'. Languidly paced and full of authentic 80s pop sensibilities this song is a marked departure from previous D/A/D experiences, but is no less thrilling. 'Innersphere Lasergames' marks the recall of drama and tension to the synthscape as layers of Italo tinged synths meld into things of pure electronic beauty. D/A/D is still one of the most gifted creators of 80s melodies on the planet and this is a classic example of just that.

The metaphysically enlightening 'The Terminal' serves as mid point lapse in consciousness for the album. Dreamy cognition fades in and out of reality, while Japanese announcements make us very aware we are not in our own minds but are instead drifting through planes of another existence. Time to  get off the dream train and embark on a new chapter, this time to 'Orion Beach'. Taking synth romance cues throughout this track, D/A/D creates a lushly coloured teenage crush that is sparkling with excitable synth melodies and powerfully passionate guitars. This track, in particular, is arranged to absolute perfection as each passage opens new doors to new ideas in expanding upon the thematic.

'Titan' begins with a new and alien introduction that creates an ambiance of the unknown and hints at possible dangers. Otherworldly sounds are accented by strata of synth layers that take you deeper into an unfamiliar world. Staccato basslines delve into spaces of intrigue and just as the darkness begins to take over purely angelic synth chords cast new and vibrant light on the atmosphere creating an illuminatingly beautiful contrast.

Returning the brightness and wonder is 'Sky High' which displays some of the most fantastical moments on the album. Each element sounds crafted of pure light and contains magical properties that rise to the stratosphere and beyond. D/A/D's melodies shine with brilliance throughout this adventure with a warmness that dazzles and enthralls.

Drama of the night returns in the following and title track. 'The Construct' takes one hell of a powerhouse lead melody and builds equal amounts of excitement and danger around it's dynamic. This track is once again full of heart stopping moments of pure exhilaration amid the deeply rich narrative. The Construct is completed with the perfect book-end to the experience in 'Star Echoes'. Melodies coursing with vibrant synthcerity ascend heavenward and each crash of the percussion echoes throughout the ages. A cosmic voyage of the heart and mind into realms of fantasy, completely unlimited in scope. By the time the incredibly rockin guitar lead starts shredding a feeling of complete illumination begins to wash over the listener and an understanding of what 'The Construct' has shown us ushers in a new level of contemplation and contentment.

Without a doubt this album is one of the finest experiences I've ever hard in 80s inspired synth music. The musicianship is superb in every track but more importantly there is an innate honesty in every single second of the The Construct's duration. An honesty that is emotionally embracing, offering thoughtfully arranged fantasies and possibilities that I've found impossible to resist. After four years absence D/A/D has released an album that will stand up for years to come and is without a doubt one of the most invigorating releases in the 80s inspired synth scene in 2013.

Rosso Corsa Records presents D/A/D's The Construct on their Bandcamp page here and I can't encourage every fan of 80s sounds and moods enough to pick this up. This is the definition of a Synthetix Reference Experience and is a high water mark for authentic 80s synth music that has a heart and soul driving it's passion.

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