Thursday, February 12, 2015

Bronson On Bronson

By James Mann

Spatial sequences. Colors. Numbers. There are some of those in the world who possess a highly unusual quality, the power of synesthesia. This is a neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory pathway leads to automatic experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. It's likely that these individuals experience and see a myriad of colors coinciding with music, that notes have a particular tone and hue they connect with. While I certainly do not have any these exceptional abilities, I feel it is possible to experience a connection between color and music. The range of melodies and moods evoked on Bronson's self titled release (not to be confused with BronSon from France) carry strong feelings of nostalgia, contentment, and color. Bright, cheerful and layered melodies dot this EP with touches of grace and control, while driving, confident beats and some darker tones are evident as well.

One of the first things I noticed about the release was the album artwork. A delicately vector like composed facial image of the one and only Charles Bronson, the vigilante we all know from Deathwish. Nice touch there and a fitting homage to the nighttime crime fighter.

'Miami Spice' opens the color stream with a cinematic start, and quickly carries you into a sonic filled journey of exploding synths. Compressed, expansive bass drums and driving bass build a track that is a perfect opener. The quick down beat of the bass drum reminded me of a new wave track, one that's quick and danceable. Side ponytails and nikes scootching at right angles on the floor. Ah…80's are there. The use of layering and building is quite effective, as the sounds of Bronson are quite powerful. I might add the production value is flawless, crisp and clean.

'Spring Heir' perhaps is an homage to College, either that or the group is heavily influenced by him. An opening pulsing bass with the signature gorgeous melody on top reminds me of a Valerie Collective tune, but Bronson adds a bit of a touch with their powerful synths and a beat claiming the sound for their own. Quick and pleasing, the track seems more of a "sonnet," or an interlude that could easily fit the soundtrack to a movie.

'Future Tits' starts with a punk like baseline, one reminiscent of the Dead Kennedy's or Exploited. Eerie yet beautiful synths fill in the bass and the retro 80s direction take off into a futuristic world full of smeared color and moods. The track builds nicely, layering into a driving force that maintains melody and keeps a cold edge, not an easy balance to achieve. The mastery of these brothers are evident and impressive. I really enjoyed this one.

'Good Intentions' winds through a synth filled scape of wonder and slowed down breakbeat for a truly enjoyable ride. Bronson seems to nail those notes just right and builds into space for vocals to accompany the journey. The inspiration behind this track is clear when the singing begins, a Joy Division/Ian Curtis feel winds through an effort of moodiness and sadness. Very impressive! It's like these guys know how to pull the best parts of the 80s while keeping it synth driven.

Have you ever felt as if a soundtrack could play in the background of your life? One signifying love…change…joy? '8T3' brings the best of Bronson in one phenomenal track, representing all facets of this Vancouver duo. Shimmering synths and hopeful melodies deliver an incredible feeling of joy and contentment through a confident arrangement. This is a keeper that shines as perhaps the best track on the EP. Beautiful work guaranteed to grab you as a listener and keep you in the fan base.

The phone isn't ringing. You're home without plans. You can't stop thinking about the love and adoration you once had from her. 'Lonely Nights' is another exceptional track from Bronson that transports you to those nights, but it's it seems more than manageable, almost…comforting. Knowing you will wake up to another day of opportunity to make things right once again. Bronson really did save the best for last! Upon the opening notes, I feel transported to memories of those lonely nights. Beautiful progressions build into a orchestral bloom of reds and yellows textured with orange hues. Ah, well I never professed to seeing the colors one would have from synesthesia, but this track really topped of my sensors for a spectrum of colors and a ride I felt was too short. This track could truly last forever.

I can't say that many musicians I've listened to kindle visuals, streams of color and moods with each note and progression. Some are born with such a gift. This journey into 80s familiarities through a range of genres expressed so elegantly by this artist prove I do have the sensibility to see and feel this. I'm not quite claiming to see colors in sequences or in notes, but I'm one step closer after experiencing the full and inspiring sound(scapes) of Bronson.

Volunteer Media presents Bronson's self titled release on their Bandcamp page here and it comes very highly recommended from Synthetix.FM.

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