Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Lost Years Cranks Up The Amplifier

Coming into the back end of 2013 the big releases will keep on hitting with alarming regularity as the culmination of the year's work is allowed to plumpen into deliciously ripe fruit, bursting with vitality and ready to rock you into aural bliss. We've shared the journey in many of these cases, and in the case of Lost Years, we've been treated to many previews and teasers throughout the year as each piece takes form and is reshaped into it's final manifestation.

Much like an excellent professional wrestling match with it's ebbs and flows and well laid out set pieces, the climax of this adventure is at hand as Lost Years' Amplifier is now available for our delectation and inspiration. Just like a great conflict between the face and the heel, Lost Years has performed the swerve of the year and has released an album I wasn't quite prepared for. I'd been lead to believe through much of Lost Years' tracks shared this year that his 2013 love affair with Italo Disco was leading to a new album primarily focused on this genre. This was to be merely the tip of the iceberg.

In Amplifier, we not only get these killer Italo sounds but also a myriad of other, previously unexperienced, gems that are full of Lost Years synth magic and get travel many new (and familiar) universes with a divine craftsmanship present in every episode of Amplifier's cast. The Lost Years sound has taken great strides since 2012's Black Waves, as a composer and storyteller the musical depth of Amplifier is a step forward on every conceivable level.

In 2013 Lost Years appears to have developed a funkier sound. It would appear that Black Waves' 'Electro Clash' track became a bold new direction this producer as much of the more dramatic OutRun driven sounds are traded in for a richer melodic experience where funk elements are never far away. Lost Years has reinvented his sound by taking away the darker aspects and replacing them with delicate melodies and catchier hooks. One need only experience the opening title track to hear this change first hand. Melodic drama is eschewed and replaced with sweet melodies and dancing xylophone flourishes. The structure of the track also moves into different moods with delightful segues and uplifting refrains.

The second track, 'Convertor' is an incredibly engaging evolved-OutRun experience that is so catchy it's almost deadly with it's deep level infection. The pace is middling, not foot-to floor high speed chase, no, this piece moves with melodic inertia, swerving left and then easing right, gently accelerating through the inclines and coasting majestically with the pitch of the descending asphalt. Movement is effortless and natural, never panicked and utterly captivating.

These smoother, creamier sounds, full of flavoursome elements and robust nuances are hallmarks of the Amplifier experience. 'Park Avenue 1989' has evolved into a sultry bedroom anthem, rife with passions and fervent tristes, salacious and sweaty with echoes of lustful souls swirling in the heavy night air. It's pure synth erotica, intimately building to an earthshaking climax and into a lingering after glow of unbridled ecstasy.

More traditional Lost Years sounds lead us into 'Controlled Faith', however there is a temperance and control to the track, a refinement to the delivery of the music that elevates it into new realms. Small details create big reactions, and again the exquisite melodies sit beautifully astride powerful drum fills and marching rhythms. Lead after lead take us into new, exciting places and the dimensions traversed seem to multiply through every passage.

Much of the Lost Years experience is 'lead heavy' in that it's the massive synth leads that are allowed to tell the story and intimate the ideas. These leads are again driving into inexorable rapture in 'The Other Side Of You'. This tracks demands to be listened to numerous times to fully appreciate it's depth of narrative with sweeping synth caresses diving and soaring with incredibly detailed emotional depth, it's very nearly a Synth Romance experience, very nearly. But Lost Years always does a great job at making my job of defining his musical styles a very hard task indeed.

The combinations of synthscapes that Lost Years blends appears to be a focus of Amplifier. 'The Second' dances about with more funky synths and lighter than air melodies lend pastel colours to otherwise very street-wise sounds. It's engaging and balanced, coercing the listener into worlds where only Lost Years knows the rules.  The musical melange is continued in 'Breacher' with Italo Space Disco sounds given the treatment with rousing energies that tell triumphant stories of cosmic grandeur.

Although drama is not the driving force on Amplifier it is used in elemental manners that allow for more varied interpretations. Near panic is initiated in the opening passages of 'Red Horizon' as heart rates rise in time with rhythms, however we are soon guided into an oasis of idyllic melodies away from the maddening forces and even the marching beat seems to be comforting rather than threatening.

It brought me great pleasure to hear that Lost Years had included a stellar sequel to Black Waves' 'Electro Clash' in the absolutely kick arse 'Remedies'. This inspirational electro rockin jam is frenetic and unrelenting in it's delivery, a full force impact of synth funk breaks blasted over intricately sharpened percussion. An instant classic if there ever was one and one of the loftier high points on the album.

The final piece on Amplifier is the American Psycho homage 'I Am Simply Not There' and in this finale Lost Years takes things into his darker milieu as a synth miasma descends, enshrouding the ambiance in a malevolent aural haze. The meandering melodies take you into the the mindful shadows of our subconscious desires, a fitting end the bridges the many world's Lost Years has shown us throughout the album.

Rossa Corsa Records presents Lost Years' Amplifier album on their Bandcamp page here. On this record Lost Years has consistently raised the bar on his brand of 80s inspired synth music. Not only is the musicianship wonderfully engaging but also the overall production is covered in a glossy polish that makes every instrument sparkle with a brilliant chrome finish. Across the ten chapters of Amplifier we are treated to many varied synth experiences that are all crafted with care and emotional investment from the composer. Amplifier is a definitive Synthetix Reference Experience and is a stellar example of how powerful 80s emotions can be captured by modern musicians and retold with vision, homage and passion.

1 comment:

  1. Hilariously synchronistic. I randomly downloaded "Amplifier" yesterday not really knowing what to expect and gave it a listen.

    Holy $hit ! This one is really polished, shall we say... up to a Mitch Murder level of Chrome.