Monday, July 7, 2014

Ron Cannon Commits Blue Light Murder

By David S. Walker

After settling in for the night with the lights low, the winds howling and the atmosphere primed; I give Ron Cannon's 'Blue Light Murder' a spin and take a ride back to the early 80s, making a detour via Camp Crystal Lake and Elm Street, with sightseeing narration by John Carpenter. Blue Light's greatest feature and most immediately noticeable is its authenticity, both in its efficient minimalism and sparse, haunting soundscapes.

'Opening' sets a dark scene of street lights and deserted neighbourhoods, slow and methodical synths pulse calmly as the sounds build, thicken and layer into a collection of textures that Cannon stays true to throughout the album. The textures vary from the pleasantly familiar pulsing basslines that are a staple of the synthwave genre, to analogue insanity as Cannon's abstract scary moments grind and scream out of what sounds like authentic hardware.

Cannon sticks to his guns as the album moves on, effectively scoring a horror movie that was too dark to ever see the light of release. This is where the release shines above others in its field; it has a goal, it has a concept, and it rigidly sticks to it. It makes for a few predictable moments toward the end of the album.

'Back There' and 'Future Kill' land exactly where a viewer would expect the pace to heighten in a horror movie of this era. But where Cannon knows to let his chase scenes come in, he knows how to throw a curve ball in and catch us unawares with 'Back There' moving into a beautiful synthscape that fits right in with the rest of the album, but stands out, showing that Cannon is a man that could score for other films cooked up in his imagination outside of the horror arena.

Ron unapologetically takes his time with his slower, more brooding tracks. 'The Lonely' is a great gear shift into something much more delicate and although it clocks in at just under 2 minutes, compliments a scene that'd give its characters a chance to catch their breaths. 'Last Exit' brings the album near to the end as frantic breathing holds the pace of the track as the now-familiar synth patterns swirl and dance around it.

Cannon knows his stuff, that much is obvious, as he effortlessly picks apart soundtrack elements from Friday The 13th and The Fog, and makes them his own. 'Unsafe' feels like the single of the album, something that wouldn't suffer from having vocals added to it, but doesn't feel lacking in any way. The album closes much as it began with 'Midnight', which as I mentioned earlier is where Ron Cannon has excelled; by sticking to his palette and remaining consistent.

Future 80's Records presents Ron Cannon's Blue Light Murder album on their Bandcamp page here and this is a very highly recommend album for Synthwave fans looking for something on the authentic side. It wont be for everyone, but producers and fans of the slasher genre will find some wonderful nostalgia here and a schooling in how this kind've music really was.

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