Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Dallas Campbell Plants The Origin Seeds

The more avant garde producers that draw inspirations from vintage synth music are ones I always find myself gravitating towards. The inventiveness and willingness to stray from convention and into all new ideas is something I enjoy just as much as producers who pride themselves on their authenticity to the original music. Occasionally these two spheres of thought collide and create something that contains hallmarks of both schools of thought and that's exactly what you experience in the new Dallas Campbell album: Origin Seeds.

Dallas Campbell first came into my awareness via his marvellous 'Miami's Squarest Grouper' last year and the refreshing blend of disco sounds and a quirky eclecticism to the synthscape had me very intrigued. Synthetix.FM was unfortunately on hiatus when his last conceptual release called The Ballooner Takes Flight was released but I'm very pleased that I get to give some well deserved love to his latest album. This producer's sounds are taken to a new level in Origin Seeds as a polish and lustre that is engineered into the synthscapes allows for the Dallas Campbell vision to come into sharp and fascinating focus.

The genres and ages traversed by Campbell in Origin Seeds is vast and this album is not about reinventing sounds and creating the familiar and is instead more about creating universes, galaxies and beings from scratch. The seeds of tracks germinate and grow with alien forces and nutrients guiding them which then creates the ten compositions presented on this record. The producer's homage to vintage sounds is ever present and in many ways the progressively oriented music harkens back to the late 70ss synth movement when this instrument made music an entirely brand new proposition.

The introductory launch sequence begins the journey before 'Indica' unveils its cryptic synthual elegance and springs to life with cosmic 70s orchestrations setting a vividly beautiful scene. The fabric of life hangs on each note with elements performing a musical balancing act until forward momentum solidifies their direction. Each layer tells an individual story as each sound sprouts a new aural consciousness; evolving with each passing nanosecond into a higher form.

It is the experimental and metaphysical nature of Campbell's music that comes to the forefront in 'Stardust (short and sweet edit)'where deep, channelling grooves are laid into the cosmic synth magic and disco beats merge with the celestial bodies in an uplifting synthphonic chorus. Weightless melodies sparkle with new life and the emptiness of the heavens becomes teeming with pulsing lights of disco magic.

The effervescence of life continues to evolve and take on new forms as the Origin Seeds take root. The infectious swagger of 'Sativa' brings a coolness to the atmosphere that is moist and burgeoning with natural energy. Sidestepping into brighter light momentarily the melodic story tells a different branch of the story before the hook of the bassline and the swell of the synths rock things back into perfect rhythm.

Like all great conceptual records the stories are having recurring characters that expand upon their initial introductions, such is the case with 'Horizon II'. Familiar voices guide us into new levels of consciousness where guitars echo like shooting stars in the purple alien sky and a dreamy vocal track follows in its path like a vapor trail. Campbell's songwriting proficiency really comes to the fore in this wonderful escapade as each new chapter is unrestrained with glorious brilliance while retaining a solid and meaningful direction.

The pop sensibilities of some of Campbell's earlier work take spectacular form in 'Green Sea And The Spice' with smoothly delivered vocals from stylised male and female voices describing a celestial courtship amid the invigorating alien oceans. I absolutely love how this song manages to be so non traditional and experimental in its passages yet never loses that sweet disco hook that keeps you rockin from beginning to end.

'The Sygnus Operation' initiates some higher drama into the synthscape are crashing alien guitars and tense percussion elucidate a dangerous phase is upon us. Synths blast searing leads through all manner of cosmic threats which are followed by totally kick arse rockin guitars that dive and barrel roll through the clash of life threatening asteroid fields with supremely elegant grace. The energy level peaks and the reward is great, landing safely in familiar territory once again.

The mood is taken back to a languid pace in the follow up piece titled 'It Came From Under The Ice (album edit)'. Luxuriously appointed synth melodies are once again our vehicle of choice as the once alien landscape is now familiar and comforting. The terror and fear we would have once felt in the face of this subzero abomination is now replaced with awe and respect in its monstrous presence. The midpoint breakdown in this track gets even groovier and the cold and icy landscape is given a synthual warmth, a warmth felt deep within.

The evolutionary phases of Dallas Campbell's universe take on their final forms in the intriguingly formulated track 'Hybrid'. The wonderfully sparse melody is exacted with a presence and layers in funkier elements that perform a superlative call and response function. The narrative steers a steady course amid a myriad of complementary sounds and completes with splendidly ambient conclusion.

Origin Seeds' final act takes flight to a new world, departing this now fully evolved universe and embarking on a new mission. We bid farewell to this beautifully conceived and realised dimension only to find it doesn't want to let us go so quickly. The tentacles of the universe refuse to relinquish their hold until finally slipping away, echoing into the darkness as we move onto new creations; creations currently brewing and forming in the consciousness of Dallas Campbell's imagination.

Dallas Campbell presents the Origin Seeds album on his Bandcamp page here and as a conceptual work of beautifully crafted synth worlds this sits among the upper echelons for creativity and originality. The palette chosen by Campbell is lovingly textured with glorious vintage sounds and his artistry in creating avant garde compositions while keeping the ideas bold and exoteric makes for some wonderfully engaging experiences. Origin Seeds comes very, very highly recommended by Synthetix.FM to all listeners of vintage synth sounds that value having their imaginations taken on a fantastic journey to rockin new dimensions.

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