One of the brightest, shining stars of the 80s inspired synth scene is Perturbator. It amazes me to this day how many people know of Perturbator yet know none of his peers. Perturbator flies the 80s flag high and his work has been constantly refined over the last year or so especially and his sound has still retained its 80s flavour without embarking on a truly slash electro thrill ride. The Perturbator brand of 80s inspired synth is first and foremost driven by strong, deep melodies. His style of expanding and exploring his melodic passages is often his hallmark with many tracks having climactic points that explode the preconceived notions of the melody into all new dimensions of being.
I'm a firm believer that Perturbator's collaborative works with many of the scenes most rockin producers has tempered his sounds into a their own beast and these influences be they unabashed or subconscious have made for a very strong album in Dangerous Days. Perturbator isn't afraid of emotional moments and doesn't resort to high tension techniques to make his music grab you, his confidence and belief in his melodies is what shines through and this is what gives this Perturbator record in particular a strength that is completely formidable.
The power becomes even more apparent when taken in a full album experience. The conceptualisation of Danger Days is lucidly told within the thirteen chapters that range vastly in content and theme but all are tied together by Perturbator's own characterisations that are given a stage big enough to explore each piece in a completely luxurious manner. It is the level of songwriting in the tracks on Dangerous Days that shines through, more than anything else, and makes this album the ultimate Perturbator experience thus far.
Beyond the scene setting introductory passage of 'Welcome Back' the rockin begins with a double barrel explosion of synth fury in the eponymous 'Perturbator's Theme'. The velocity and potency of this track really puts your right in the middle of Perturbator's dimension with electrifying energy blasting thunderbolts of synth action and while this aural violence takes place the epic nature of the lead synth melody shines even brighter in the face of such darkness. This is the balance of Perturbator's arcane synth magic; the blend of light and dark, the vintage and the modern, the knife's edge is danced across with wanton disregard for safety and with maximum levels of excitement.
The real tempering of this sound is what is crafted so well throughout Dangerous Days. New soundscapes appear like new challengers, with fists bandaged and surprise power moves lurking beneath the surface. In 'Raw Power' we get to hear Perturbator's videogame inspirations take form into a retro pastiche of ChipTune seasoned dark synth action. The combination is rockin to the max and the blend works magnificently well with melodies trading blows betwixt the synthscapes in a ferocious free for all.
Whilst darkness is always the number one colour in the Perturbator palette it never is allowed to race out of control and is restricted to a tight leash. The murderous intentions of 'Future Club' are masked by a disco swagger that doesn't show the flash of the blade until the last second. The unforgiving brutality of 'War Against Machines' is contrasted with sublimely uplifting, humanistic passages that shine like a beacon amid a sea of impenetrable pitch black haze spewed forth from the archaic machinery.
It brought me great pleasure to find Perturbator investigating purely emotional contexts once again in Dangerous Days and this first parting of the clouds to allow the sun to warm the synthscape occurs in the longingly constructed 'Hard Wired' featuring Memory Ghost's Isabella Goloversic on vocals. The melodies are merely hinted at in small, accidental glances while Goloversic's vocals intimate a haunting and languid story. The track is delicate and emotional and positioned perfectly in the album's make up.
Tensions resume at a fever pitch in the follow up 'She Is Young, She Is Beautiful And She Is Next' as the giallo disco phantasm manifests bright melodies that soon get crushed into oblivion by unrelenting percussion and guitars. 'Humans Are Such Easy Prey' ramps things up into marching obliteration of electronic maelstroms that can barely hold their physical being together. The tone of this piece marks an excellent new method of structuring a Perturbator experience as the pace is increased along with the depravity of the melodies, the back end providing the most kick arse ending you're likely to hear to a track in 2015.
Right when you think Perturbator's gone over the edge and has plunged into a gaping maw of hellish barbarism from which there is no return he does a complete 180 and doubles back on his own tracks with a new exploration in synthual tenderness. 'Minuit' featuring Dead Astronauts performing the vocals is dreamy and passionate with an ethereal presence that warms and drips like chords from heaven its self.
'Satanic Rites' brings old fiends back together in a black massive of twisting and writhing melodies hellbent on experiencing every unearthly pleasure inhumanly possible. I really love how the synths get extra toasty in this demonic narrative and cries of both pain and elation mirror the excruciating pleasures, thrusting their lusts amid the synthscape. If self flagellation is your thing; you've just found the anthem to your next session.
Bringing out some hefty artillery for the final collaborative piece on the album we find Carpenter Brut feverishly racing to the death with Perturbator on the aptly titled 'Complete Domination'. The more film score like Brut nuances bleed as one with the steel shredding synth power tools in both their arsenals. This track feels like everything is put on the line, the intensity grows into such an epic spectacle that you'll be picking up the pieces from the final explosive chapter for weeks.
Sounder structures mark the aftermath of 'Complete Domination' as 'Last Kiss' echoes its way through Vangelis flavoured textures and swell with a serene melancholy. The sparsely populated synthscape is allowed to share its details in a beautifully graceful unfolding of a new reality. One that seems light years away from the torture and brutality we've experienced, but the scars still tingle with life affirming radiance.
The Dangerous Days experience is completed with a twelve minute synthphony that builds like wall of monoliths across spatial dimensions. The completely entrancing nature of the simple refrain becomes a mere facet of the intriguing exploration of sounds as the journey breaks free from its earthbound origins and rises higher into the heavens, on a journey of aural discovery. 'Dangerous Days' finishes the album on a massively high note, with questions being asked as the last fade to black teases even greater things to come from the imagination of Perturbator.
Perturbator's Dangerous Days is presented on his Bandcamp page here for digital download at a name-your-own-price point, the physical vinyl editions of this album have already sold out, but keep an eye on Telefuture Records here and as of the time of this being published Blood Music is still taking preorders for CD copies here. I would highly advise securing a physical copy as quickly as possible, if this is something you're interested in acquiring as they will be high in demand. And you SHOULD want a physical copy of this album!
Perturbator's Dangerous Days is an absolute Synthetix Reference Experience that raises the bar on how blends of both light and dark synth work can be used to such wonderfully engaging extremes. The 80s glow is never far from Perturbator's brush strokes and even when he's stabbing at the canvas with bloodthirsty homicidal intent there is always a presence of melodic 80s magic to centre the experience. Definitely a high water mark for Perturbator's own brand of 80s inspired synth sounds and most definitely one of the most kick arse records you're likely to hear in 2014.