Thursday, August 21, 2014

A VHS Glitch In Evil Technology

By James Mann

Man. Machine. Software. The legend of VHS Glitch has been told for several decades. Now, the truth has surfaced with his latest release Evil Technology, and the results will leave any synth lover speechless. New York City, 1980. On a rainy, cold night the most successful technology companies in the world gathered for a meeting of monumental proportions. Their goal, to create one company called Neotech to develop a software so powerful it could control the minds of society. Meanwhile, in Tokyo a clandestine company finished the project to fight the powers of the Neotech corporation.

VHS Glitch was born as a human with a physical disability, and tired of his boring life he decided to donate his body for the project. Maintaining his human characteristics, VHS Glitch is capable of feeling the range of human emotions, from love to hate. The project was recorded in a VCR which was programmed to play at an unknown date.  That day is here, and VHS Glitch has one mission; creating awe inspiring soundscapes of not just machine driven synth warpath, but also wondrous, luscious, regal melodies directly into your headphones for an unequalled experience.

As each track from Evil Technology played on my speakers, several things became apparent. For one, this artist is unbelievably talented. The details in the synth work are astounding. Top notch production value with impressive percussion and bass prove this work of art is in fact a true treat for the ears. Each song evokes many different feelings, which enables the listener to enjoy the album in its entirety with one click. I found myself going down nostalgia alley at the arcade as a kid chomping on Centipede and 8bit Atari with tracks like 'Insert Coin', then tearing down a wet highway at night with high doses of instant adrenaline with tracks like 'Revenge', 'Streets on Fire', and 'Dark Alley'. Switching gears, I turned to pensive, thought provoking melodies that put me in a Jean Michel Jarre/Vangelis head space with tracks like 'The Search' and 'Reset'. Wow. This guy does have it all.

 I had the privilege of talking to the man behind the project, and the range of influences and inspiration behind the Evil Technology album are far reaching and well…impressive. “I get my inspiration from classic synth composers like Vangelis, Jean Michel Jarre, Tangerine Dream, and Isao Tomita, metal bands like Rhapsody, Dragonforce, and Stratovarius.” All of these synth master’s influences are evident in a seamless blend of variety as he takes you on an epic journey in Evil Technology. I found myself identifying with this inspiration as the tracks played, but VHS Glitch knows how to own his sound and brand it in true signature fashion with a mix of modern and vintage technologies.

The opening track 'The Glitch' opens the journey of Evil Technology and mind control of VHS Glitch. Through a rainy soundscape, the slow and orchestral chord progression (minus any drums or bass) lets you know right away this man knows the keyboard and means business.

'Blood In and Blood Out' starts with a mesmerizing melody that instantly gives chills. It layers its way into a driving, breakbeat accompanied with some tasteful shredding that coaxes your foot just a bit harder on the pedal. But wait. Before you know it the song breaks apart and layers into a refreshed melody that really hits the soul. The guitar makes its way back in, and the percussion steers the rest of your drive. Switching from gear 4 to 5 is easy now, and you are officially under Glitch’s control.

'Can’t Catch Me' throws you one layer deeper in the mind of VHS Glitch. Driving percussion and bass accompany an ornate, detailed melody that builds into perfection. Every layer has a purpose and never becomes too much. It’s full on cruise until the track decrescendos into a filtered kick drum. Then all systems engage for an explosion of synths and guitar that will have you in full on turbo charge mode.

'Insert Coin' will instantly bring a smile to anyone who had the privilege of the NES/8 bit world growing up. Reminiscent of games like Rygar and Section Z (I was a devoted NES kid), this song will fulfill your arcade fix. Does anyone have a quarter?

'Jaw Breaker' starts with a somber melody evoking a cityscape of industrial streets, empty at night after a hard rain. The street fighters are in the alleys donning the brass knuckles and head bands for a Street Fighter showdown. When the guitar kicks in the fight is on. VHS Glitch takes you on a street journey of defending home turf, the good guys always win! One of my favorites on the album.

'Streets on Fire' gives me insight into the true project of VHS Glitch. This guy can theme his way through a track, with each part telling a complex story. The battle of good guys (Tokyo Company) and the bad guys (Neotech) using the powers of Glitch for evil. It all makes sense. I now feel the purpose of Evil Technology. Beautiful melodies from start to finish, this epic song takes you through the unrest on the streets and deep inside the mind of VHS Glitch. A true winner of a track.

'The Search' is a gorgeous track, evoking an isolating feeling of being alone with just your thoughts. The pulsing hiss of steam gives it a slight edge, but the shimmering synths bring a feel of hope and aspiration. One of the most thought provoking and comforting tracks on the album.

'Dark Alley' jumps right into a driving beat with a bass line very similar to Kraftwerk’s 'Metropolis', but sped up and altered. Again, Glitch owns the signature on it but the nostalgia and influence is there. The hi hats and driving bass drum coupled with the bass and Sytarian-like synths showcase the complexities of this synthesizer master. Stellar track.

'The Return' is perhaps one of the strongest tracks on the album. A John Carpenter-esque melody cuts the air, and with the build up of angelic chorus and toms jumping in, you know that the build up will be intense. (That’s an understatement) By the time everything comes together at 2:10 the drool needs to be wiped away from your face. Cutting, hard and following through on a slight Castlevania/horror theme the track explodes into its own. Five star track.

'Reset' brings the energy of Evil Technology into a space filled, spectacular work of art that captivates your mind, and in the process becomes a masterpiece of sorts. Lost in space with Vangelis and VHS Glitch. What a perfect combo. I love this track, just gotta go back for another listen! Repeat!

'Revenge' brings the finesse of VHS Glitch behind the keyboards and proves how talented he is. Very reminiscent of Jean Michel Jarre’s Oxygene album for the first 30 seconds, (and subsequently later in the track as well) the progressions are truly stunning. Then VHS Glitch activates all systems and propels you through his world with a memorable bass drum/snare/hi hat combo that will play in your mind long after the album is over. Recalibrating, Glitch brings it down in his (now) signature fashion and heats up the song again with the drive and Jean Michel Jarre influence. What a treat.

'Final Round' is the true showdown. Where good versus evil and guess who won? With the amazing hero-like melodies dancing all over it’s apparent. VHS Glitch reigns supreme and will live to enact more mind/synth control over the masses. It is the Final Round for Evil Technology and so very fitting. The guitar solo confirms this, and what a good placement for this particular track.

'End of Transmission' is a message from the man himself. I can’t give anything away, so you will just have to listen!

VHS Glitch presents  Evil Technology on his  Bandcamp page here  and this exceptional album is a must have for any fan of the genre, especially those into the darker, horror influenced work. It strikes the perfect balance of tracks that satiate the desire for ethereal, moody, soundtrack inspired compositions as well and comes very, very highly recommended from Synthetix.FM.

The journey into the realm of VHS Glitch is an unforgettable one, and I see more incredible work for this talented producer in the near future. He’s currently working on a Kid Flash remix EP and will have a track on the upcoming Aphasia Records compilation which will be released at some point this year. Stay tuned for an EP for Halloween that will be available on his Bandcamp as well!

As VHS Glitch says, 'End Transmission'.

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