Thursday, April 10, 2014

Professor Zonic Zynth's New York Vibes

The last time we visited with the good Professor was August last year with his totally rockin Nostalgic Fantasy EP and betwixt then and now Zonic has released three full albums. For some reason entirely unknown to me Zonic Zynth is a producer that never seems to get a lot of love; which he richly deserves. The last couple of releases came out at times that didn't fit with the Synthetix.FM schedule unfortunately, but it pleases me greatly to be able to give some quality time to his latest album New York Vibes which in my eyes is his most accomplished work yet.

I've previously mentioned how this producer in particular has a gift for creating true 80s spaces in music and as he's progressed over the last year or thereabouts, even more kick arse sounds have become part of the Zonic experience. Zonic Zynth is a producer's producer in that his craftsmanship and style seems to be appreciated by other producers, but doesn't seem to garner a similar excitement from the scene's fans. This is something that I hope changes with New York Vibes as it is a magical experience in 80s synth sounds.

The twelve tracks of this album are soundtrack oriented synth that get delicious new flavours with Zonic's wonderfully imaginative vision. The opening pieces are rife with tension and initiate the listener into the Zonic version of New York and its multicultural background. There are many, many bold moves taken in this album that I can but applaud as the Professor brings in a cacophony of varied instruments and makes them all work so beautifully well. The steel drums completing 'Eclipse' are merely a taster of things to come but certainly begin to open and unlock one's mind to rockin new possibilities.

Zonic's refined a lot of his techniques in this record but one area that this is hugely pronounced is in the percussion. He gambles and wins often rolling highly aggressive beats against serene melodies and firing machine gun rounds of fills into the mix with the precision of a veteran sniper. The album's tone retains much of the playfully authentic melodies Zonic is highly proficient in but now adds jazzier aspects that take the soundtrack's multicultural nature into account. The positively asiatic atmosphere of 'Summer Posse' stands out, with some progressions Yellow Magic Orchestra would be proud of. Energetic drums syncopate surreptitiously in the steamy back alleys of Chinatown, where gangs jostle for dominance and eastern mysticism permeates through the night.

One of the absolute stand out tracks on New York Vibes is 'Ferrari Lot'. The incredibly vibrant drums clash and rock with a golden swagger while synth melodies sweep in from behind; exuding expensive class and unattainable beauty. This track really feels like three or four people creating the music live and jamming along to the groove, making the different textures and tones presented in the instruments stunningly vivid.

A continental atmosphere is introduced in 'Cossack Queens' as an Italo vibe is given an Eastern European strength and force and the Russian Quarter of New York begins to rock and roll. Zonic's fascination with orchestral stabs has become one of the strongest weapons in his arsenal and in this track in particular he makes them work in an integral part of the piece's narrative and not just as an accented detail. Marvellous work.

The album has an over arching cop-movie storyline that crops up as set pieces between the albums more ethnically oriented parts. 'Cops By-The-Book' arrives on the scene at the record's midpoint with the melodrama of the crime wave hitting home and taking no prisoners. This track is followed by another one of the album's highlights: 'Manhattan Docks'. Things slow down as the investigations move into unfamiliar territory and pierce the shrouded moors with floodlights of synthual beauty. The plot becomes dangerous and foreboding with huge percussive cues signalling more sinister forces at play but one can not help but be utterly entranced by the resplendent synth refrain.

Edge of your seat thrills climax with velocity and explosiveness as the back end of the record brings the loose ends together and the pieces fall into place. The energetic inquiries surrounding 'Alley Of Fate' are set alight in the follow up 'Forbidden Formula MK-II'. Frenetic synths and drums meet with a definitively bluesy guitar track that echoes the dangers of this new street drug. The astronomical highs drop down to subterranean lows and Zonic's descriptive passages leave nothing to the imagination.

Some of my favourite aspects of Zonic's musical pastiche are his funkier bass-driven jams and in 'Out Tonight' he rides the groove right into the funkosphere and beyond. Cool and sophisticated horn sections bring a whole new level of refinement to the proceedings and the music takes off into outer space powered by its own celestial rhythms. The final chapter of the album takes a decidedly more restrained approach with smooth melodies lingering in the night air as the culmination of months of detective work brings the officers to the 'Moonlit Well' for a final discovery before the credits roll.

Professor Zonic Zynth presents the New York Vibes album on his Bandcamp page here and with no reservation what so ever this album is a Synthetix Reference Experience. The cohesiveness of the tracks given their huge variety of flavours is completely intoxicating. Zonic creates his own vision of New York and its diversity in a celebration of cultural differences that unite in superbly orchestrated synthphonies. This is easily one of the most complete soundtrack synth albums I've heard and you'd be doing yourself a monstrous disservice in not picking up a copy as soon as possible.

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