Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Protector 101 Story So Far, In Glorious Neoncholy

Protector 101 is a true dark horse of the 80s inspired synth scene. The Protector 101 experience is predominantly soundtrack synth oriented but simple definitions do a disservice to the diverse amount of musical tapestries woven from dark and light elements that he releases. In Neoncholy we are presented with an EP that details the music Protector 101 has been releasing in recent times by way of a mixture of demos, rarities and previously unreleased tracks.

The original vision for what was to become of the Neoncholy experience has changed from the artists initial plans with the main reason cited for this being Protector 101's own evolution in style and tone. As mentioned on the liner notes his original sounds were much more dance oriented 80s synth sounds and over the past year he has moved into much more soundtrack themed ventures. So the parts that make up Neoncholy are not the thematic masterpiece originally envisioned but instead a point form syllabus in Protector 101.

 This EP traverses many ideas and themes as each track forms a different piece of the puzzle but more than anything else this release shows the personalised soundscape that I now recognise as being Protector 101. The structures are built on similar foundations, even with the many varieties of styles explored certain hallmarks become instantly recognisable as Protector 101. It this point alone that makes this release an important one in this artist's journey.

The darker sides of 80s synth seem to be moving into more chaotic and turbulent territory with the likes of Perturbator, Gost and Carpenter Brut really taking this style into much more visceral forms. But the Protector 101 version of dark synth is much more soundtrack oriented and these slowly building, heavily shrouded and deeply black pieces inspire a hugely different response and context. Making each element count and allowing it's weight to be felt is one the Protector 101 hallmarks that I find totally engaging. His more minimalist compositions are like an ominous lead fog that are barely tangible yet have a presence far greater than their volume.

Keeping this kind of music focussed and the narrative strong is another area he has developed through the tracks in Neoncholy. A feeling of something greater happening in the music, intimating events of cataclysmic consequences and being at the mercy of powers far darker than our imaginations allow us to contemplate. These are the ingredients of the of this synthual experience and throughout this compilation we get to feel the terror of the unknown and the malevolent nature of Protector 101's creations through countless dimensions of dark synth horror.

 The music is not all darkness though, it's full of contrasting elements that add layers of hope and humanity to the sounds. Keeping this balance is done with great dexterity and it's a testament to the composers exploration of narrative and instrumentations that keep the listener transfixed by the possibilities of what may happen next. This soundtrack synth needs to no visual representation to conjure up those darker feelings and imagery and the writing displays this beautifully.

 For what happens next in the Protector 101 story, we'll have to wait and see, but there are definitely new projects afoot that I'm sure will take this exciting producer into all new territories. With such a firm grasp on the classic 80s soundtrack and horror soundtrack already in his armoury I'm sure that new adventures will certainly be most kicking of arse and terrifying of mind.

 Protector 101's Neoncholy is presented on his Bandcamp page here and is must have release for fans of 80s influenced synth soundtrack music that moves to the darker edge of the spectrum.

Be sure to also check out a fantastic interview with Protector 101 by Andy Synth on his Beyond Synth site to learn even more about this wonderful talent in the 80s inspired synth scene.

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