Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Mega Drive Into The Dark Abyss And The Glorious Heavens

Mega Drive is one of those producers in the scene who goes about his business, makes little fuss, and releases his music in very matter of fact way. No pomp and circumstance, just a small notification and we as fans are allowed to assemble the pieces of work in manner we see fit. In his new EP release, Mega Drive has provided a six track affair that offers an extremely fierce and intense side that is balanced by some extremely beautiful and intimate suites of pure synth rapture.

Through his releases in 2013 we've witnessed much exploration in the Mega Drive experience and on this self titled EP it feels like this release ups the ante and pushing things to much greater extremes. There is a definite thematic running throughout this EP, the stories are strong and well realised, but we are not told everything and Mega Drive allows us to fabricate our own visions and meanings to the synthscapes.

I was caught a tad unawares by the opening track, 'Activate Your Steel'. The synthscape is voracious in appetite, punching violently into a frenzy of discordant atmospheres before galloping into an EBM styled lead melody. The power is on overload throughout the piece, onslaughts of machine gunned melodies strafe constantly and the places to run and hide soon run out. The instrumentations push the aggressive nature even further and the maelstrom of aural firepower does not relent until the final second.

Such an extreme opening track made me think for a second that perhaps Mega Drive is changing directions and losing his 80s passions but this was soon to be dispelled by the following piece that gave a more balanced approach to the ambiance, but was no less brutal in it's delivery. 'Convertor' is a slow motion OutRun dirge with climbing melodies cresting then falling into an abyss before rising once again. The arrangements usher in a welcome amount of 80s love and give some humanity and emotion to the experience, something that was machined-out of the opening salvo. The darkness of the synths are still very prominent all the way through, but an even balance through the track's passages offer some very entertaining contrasts.

'Digital Ghost' keeps the mood tense and fearful, layering in mesmerising leads the begin to take off and  soar into the sky with a newly revitalised energy. Brighter sounds add counter point and hope to the more sinister elements and also give a haunting presence, the threats and darkness seems to be on the verge of consuming all, but a balance is achieved.

Track four, 'Future Life' is one of the strongest tracks on the EP, and has become one of my favourite all-time Mega Drive tracks also. The mood is sombre and restrained but the emotional investment is mined deeply through a sublimely beautiful lead melody. The bassline holds the the elements together in an ethereal and magical envelope of electronic delight of musical perfection.

To quote Sepultura, 'From The Past, Comes The Storms' which is the most accurate way I can describe the transition from 'Future Life' into the juggernaut of unassailable doom in 'Judgement Day'. The forces of dire powers meet in sensory attack that takes things to even further extremes than 'Activate Your Steel'. Melodies are broken and twisted into disharmonic fusions, marching into a fiery oblivion with forces from other worlds and dimensions bringing an end to our own realities with crushing force.

Spectral beauty returns in an absolutely wondrous manner with the Blade Runner inspired 'Tears In The Rain'. I believe the way this EP has been arranged has made the brutal and beautiful ends of the spectrum magnified as this piece as stunningly beautiful in it's evocative and innate glory. The movements are glacial and are yet full of life and command an abundant dexterity in the finer details. It's thoroughly engrossing, one of those tracks I wish went for ten or twenty minutes, one that allows you to drink deeply from it's magic and is totally inspirational to behold.

Mega Drive presents his self titled EP on his Bandcamp page here, and this EP is another worthy journey in the Mega Drive experience. I feel like this EP is an experiment in taking things to greater extremes, with extreme beauty and extreme brutality trading blows from passage to passage. It's contrasts allow for some very intense moments and it's this intensity that makes this a highly recommended release. Perhaps not one for those faint of heart. but definitely for those with deep passions and strong hearts that thrive in the face of adversity.

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