When TimeCop1983 came into my life I was massively impressed by his ability to create 80s Synth Romance emotions in his music so innately. This kind of music comes naturally to this producer, it would seem, as each successive release has found TimeCop1983 building deeper and grander musical stories that instantly transfix and linger in one's consciousness for the longest time.
Journeys marks the debut album release from TimeCop1983 and it caught me by surprise on numerous levels. Firstly, it surprised my by its timing as it seemed like his Synthetic Romance EP was still fresh in my mind, although this does date back to a January release. Secondly, the amount of collaborations on this album are magnificently orchestrated in very surprising ways. I never figured TimeCop1983 for being a big collaborator as his sounds are so intrinsically emotional and channelled from his own muse, the inclusion of others on this album shows a great deal of musical maturity and the superb way these other artists are implemented in the TimeCop1983 aesthetic is truly wondrous.
My last surprise was by far the most rewarding as this album's twelve tracks manage to stay always sounding totally TimeCop1983 while offering individual new chapters in his musical journey. In this album TimeCop1983 cements himself as a true artist of the 80s inspired synth scene that has formed his raw innate talent into something refined and beautiful.
It is the malleability of this talent that really shines throughout the album and gives fantastic individuality to each chapter. The yearning of Synth Romance melodies is deep and full of tiny details and progressions that enthral throughout. I must say, when I saw Dana Jean Phoenix, yet again, on another 80s inspired synth release my heart sank a little. Nothing personally to do with DJP herself mind, but I find that every new track I hear with DJP vocals sounds like every other DJP song and become indiscernable to me as the producer's musical individuality is lost entirely behind the vocals. I will confess to having major issues with the lack vocal diversity that the producers of 80s inspired synth music are willing to use in general, however.
The real point here was that I was ready to dismiss this track due to my own preconceived ideas but the truth of the matter is that the opening song 'Dreams' on Journeys is possibly the best use I have heard yet of DJP's vocals in 80s flavoured synth sounds. Her relaxed delivery and complete symbiosis with the melodic structures is warm and pleasing to listen to and devoid of her usual trademarks. For the first time in a year or thereabouts I got to hear a DJP vocal that genuinely added something new and vital to the music. It took TimeCop1983 to extract this performance and it was definitely worth it as 'Dreams' is a stunning exposition of 80s romantic moods with the vocal adding more passionate gravitas to the piece.
Climbing instrumental adventures of the heart are TimeCop1983's favourite aural pleasures and the instrumental pieces on Journeys continue to expand his horizons and understandings with a deeper resonance felt in the details of many tracks. 'Far Away' brings this home with an incredibly subtle guitar track that adds an immeasurable amount of emotional investment to the piece. It is stunningly employed with a reverence and poignancy that accentuates the sheer delight of synths in ways you feel and not just hear.
The Journey continues with a new partner to travel with for the next league in Per Rinaldo who provides the vocals for 'Lost In Your Eyes'. I don't believe I've had any previous experience of Per Rinaldo's work, but I hope I do again as his performance in this piece once again perfectly in tune with TimeCop1983 sumptuous, dreamy synths. There is restrained power and delicious harmonies in Rinaldo's delivery and the editing is totally right on the 80s dream pop romance aesthetic. The songwriting is once again of the highest calibre with a finely pitched balance working between the instruments and vocals.
The real magic in Synth Romance sounds is the searingly emotive lead melodies, melodies that ascend skywards into bright sun filled lens flares of happiness with soft, sustained tones of electronic whimsy. You feel the melody in 'Summer Heat'. It warms from within with glowing light, it saturates colours and shines with bracing reflectivity. Even on spicier night themed pieces like 'LA Nights' the warmth of the TimeCop1983 lead melodies create basking glows no shadow can escape from. These romantic synth leads are exchanged for guitars in 'Journeys' as the piece takes this new instrument and gives it a proper home in the TimeCop1983 soundscape. The trading of melodies between synths and guitars in a wonderful call and return style gives the guitars passion and nuance that keeps the synths relevant and complimentary.
This idea is taken into an all new inspiring level in the next chapter, 'Breaking Waves' as Phaserland takes on the guitarist role and delivers a performance totally rockin to the max. The guitars never overpower the synths, or fade into insignificance but are giving equal prominence and the passages of both instruments illustrate glorious 80s tones and colours with a focus on the more delicate and impassioned personality of the six stringed seducer. Once again, this collaboration is a magnificent demonstration of both artists' understanding of how to rock it right together.
Dreamy synthscapes of melting hearts and pastel shades are our next destinations with 'City Lights' being the upcoming stop. The pace of this piece is exceptional as it lures you into its world with deliberate movements and then opens up with a glorious lead that is about as close as TimeCop1983 can get to ripping whilst remaining in a Synth Romance style. Energies become more active and pulses begin to race with 'Inner Visions' as excitement becomes our next port of call. The swirling mists part before us with momentum having our speed increase incrementally at first until we ascend to the stratosphere above the clouds and dancing lights chime in time with the glittering melodies.
The purity of romantic synth interludes return in 'Flashbacks' but this time with a more melancholy edge as remembrances of past love becomes immediate and vivid. The emotions are stirred and rekindled via delicate passages, bright with synthual memories and become tactile and real once again. One can't help but smile and ride with the flow of times past as our journey takes a brief backwards sidestep before moving ahead. The final instrumental piece on the album is 'Lost Again' which takes a more esoteric approach to the Journeys we have partaken in. The melody asks questions, about where we are going, what we are doing and why we are even on this path. Introspectively muted, the music gives us the time and space to think and reflect; looking back we see how far we've come and looking forward we see how far there is yet to go.
The final Journey on the album is another brilliant collaborative piece, this time with The Boy And Sister Alma. The vocals add a mysticism to the musical atmosphere that haunts and creates an almost Twin Peaks/Julee Cruise type uneasiness, welcoming with open arms but completely unable to relinquish their grip. 'Call On You' is yet another exquisite combination of talents that create a whole which individually engaging yet still cut from that breathtaking TimeCop1983 cloth.
TimeCop1983 presents the Journeys album on his Bandcamp page here and the twelve tales that create this voyage into the future and the past are remarkable in many, many ways. The more I listen to this album the more depth I discover and the more I fall in love with the individual aspects of each track. This is truly a Synthetix Reference Experience in the wonders and pure magic of 80s inspired synth music and TimeCop1983 (and all his collaborators) should be very, very proud of the musical Journeys created and experienced thus far.