Thursday, October 17, 2013

Botnit Recreates And Explores Vivid Memories

Botnit has been a bit of a unknown quantity in 80s inspired synth worlds. His sounds have come across as experimental and adventurous, tapping into numerous old and new influences. In his EP from earlier in 2013 entitled No Winter (reviewed on Synthetix.FM here) the Botnit universe was found to still be chaotic formation with numerous styles colliding head on with each other in an explosive manner. The result was definitely exciting, but stuck to the harder edges of the spectrum with a visceral savagery that ran concurrently through the tracks.

On Vivid Memories we find a growth and transformation of his sounds, via his single releases, that allows for more contrast and a different kind of intensity. The sounds are still cut from many different cloths and stitched together in some non-traditional manners however the scope has been broadened to encompass a variety of new emotional contexts. The ten tracks on Vivid Memories seem to have softer edge to the sounds too, with a warmth that glows more than burns, with focuses shifting to a melodically geared emphasis.

Botnit has gone to the trouble of describing what each track is based on on the Bandcamp page for the Vivid Memories, so be sure to get the sharper pictures with his insights as you listen.  The compartmentalised nature of this release gives a great deal of strength to the individual ideas and it's fantastic to share a bit of the behind-the-scenes creative process.

With the opening track, 'Shoulda Brought Back Up' we are initiated into the Botnit take on progressive house sounds taken into 80s dramatics. Shades of the wonderful Michael Cassette echo throughout the synthscape with much beauty. The instruments are wonderfully warm and inviting in their presentation, almost comforting and the feeling of being transported into new worlds in absolute safety with Botnit's sounds being so soothing and invigorating. This is continued into 'Technoir' that takes Botnit's melodic structures into a bit more an Alpha Boy zone and works the stars into synthual alignments of bright colours and hypnotising structures.

The aptly titled 'Innovation' takes the Botnit sound back to it's more visceral tones with a violently brooding bassline that contrasts the glittering melodies. Interspersed samples about the new technology of the compact disc add a great feel and I can easily envisage visuals to complement this experience. The progressive flavours and dangerous bassline definitely make 'Innovation' rock hard. It's the bassline that keeps things rockin in the following piece 'Sensation'. The groove is kickin the 80s in all the right ways as the layers of synths bring in radical new energies.

One of the few musical relationships on the record goes from 'Sensation' to 'Hi-Score', similar ideas are taken in new directions and with a ramped up intensity. Again the use of samples is expertly implemented adding perfect context for the musical narrative that builds into a synth explosion towards the latter movements. As the subdued tones of 'Drive The Best' drift into view we're taken to a new part of the Botnit repertoire with airy synths and subtle details allowed to combine into a beautiful new space. The synthscape is vast in it's presentation while intimately describing every possibility.

The sounds are eased into a style I'd describe as slow motion OutRun on the piece 'City Montage'. Explorations of intensity but with a ghostly element about them provide for a marvellous dichotomy of sound that ebbs, flows and moves more like a bird weaving in and out towering skyscrapers with a natural ability mankind can barely relate to. 'Finish Line' is easily the most delicate piece on the album as gorgeous synths are intimated with reverence to classic 80s emotions but are delivered with a contemporary structure. The result is entrancing in its spatial realities and restrained beauty.

'A Robot Sings' is a visionary excursion where the Botnit experience is humanised through technology and emoted in a wonderful manner. The lead 'voice' is inquisitive and soulful with ideas and emotions transcending traditional language as the music jams along at a respectful canter in response. The final act of 'Vivid Memories' feels like the most emotionally invested track on the album as the narrative takes to the skies and wanders the clouds with swelling synths and syncopated percussion. The synthscape is kept to a bare minimum to keep aloft and the thermals provide dizzying heights as the heavens beckon to us to rise even further. This piece bookends the album with flashes of previous ideas and moods being explored ever so gently before the final fade into the azure vastness above.

The Vivid Memories Botnit has created on this album are places and ideas I want to revisit time and time again. The growth displayed in this artists aesthetic is undeniable as is his deeper emotional investment in his creations, which in turn makes the album incredibly rewarding and involving from the listener's perspective. Botnit's music has come of age in this album and I feel that this record was made looking more inward than outward, something that always makes for great listening experiences.

Botnit presents the Vivid Memories album on his Bandcamp page here and this album is a vividly lucid chapter in Botnit's musical journey. The personalities and ideas in each piece are tempered with equal parts of homage and creativity and Synthetix.FM very highly recommends this album to all fans of 80s synth sounds that know where they came from but also know where they're going.

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