By Jerry Herrera
I don’t mean to nit pick or cause any division in the retro synth scene because trust me, it’s all good, but I think there’s ‘80s inspired tracks and those that achieve a different level of authenticity. I won’t say “higher level” because like I said, it’s all good. It’s just that some guys just understand the sound of the era better. This is not a complete theory, because I don’t know if it’s an age thing or just a certain mania that some producers suffer from.
Satori in Bed, from the beginning, seemed enamored with the retro aesthetic. He pushes his sound and everything Satori In Bed related to a depth that I just don’t see a whole lot. And really, I don’t think it’s any one huge advantage or bit of technical prowess, but just a metric ton of little things. I loved Legendary from top to bottom, and when I look back on it, it’s because of the gentlest touches on each track that made the album worthwhile.
The first dramatic notes of 'I Means Silence' (ft. Rika Stewart) are the perfect indicator of how intense this retro odyssey is going to be. 'Legendary' (ft. Mikól Iordán) is the perfect follow up as we enter a world of striking drama. This track is full of grim, almost horror synth elements, without allowing itself to be pigeonholed. It’s definitely more murder mystery than slasher flick.
'Salima' opens in a similar manner, because Satori In Bed does theatrics extremely well, but quickly and easily lifts the tension and seamlessly shifts us into a different gear. Here we are simply gliding through a neon night, with synths fluttering in between channels and touches of funk and R&B accenting the mood. It’s both nuanced and repetitive enough that I found myself comfortably lost, and if were actually driving, able to focus on the road, and the city lights ahead.
'Kind of Indigo' is a rich, somewhat jazzy synth cruise through heartbreak and longing. It’s got all the elements for a real 80s love theme, but it starts off ominously as if we’re in for some more horror synth. Satori In Bed straddles a line between drama, fear, and love but all while remaining true to this almost tongue in cheek retro sound.
'To The Core' (ft. Li Boo) is pure ‘80s pop, perhaps even the theme to a movie that has all the great elements: crime, romance, action. The vocals are appropriately retro and maybe even a little Gary Low influenced, and there’s a sweet guitar solo towards the end, the first on the album I believe. 'Tergiversation' continues this fictional soundtrack with a little ‘80s chase and some really intense toms towards the end.
It really is a match made in heaven to have Satori in Bed and Dana Jean Phoenix collaborate on a track, and it’s no surprise that 'Little Piece of My Heart' is the highlight of Legendary. It’s powerful, highly dramatic (there’s that word again), catchy and DJP’s pop sensibilities are used extremely effectively. The duet works perfectly, and no one is singing over each other.
To finish the album, 'Riot' is an aggressive, snare driven track that’s more chase than OutRun then '7 Times' finally scratches that horror itch that’s been teased throughout the album. After a lengthy intro of strings and synths and little bits of digital devilry here and there, the basses kick in and we’re taken on a funky, frightening night drive through foggy streets. It’s my other personal favorite track on the album and not to be missed.
Satori In Bed has a couple other strong releases and Legendary clinches his spot as one of the guys to watch in the scene, and someone to study when you’re unsure of how this whole synthwave thing is supposed to go. On one hand it’s being a huge 80s/retro nerd but on the other it’s an understanding of not only the instruments/synths but how they were used at the time. I’ve said this about a few other artists and I have no problem saying it about Satori In Bed: He’d blend right in if he woke up tomorrow and was somehow transported back to 1988. Do not miss Legendary if you consider yourself a fan of the genre.
Satori In Bed presents Legendary, which is available for purchase on Bandcamp here and is very, very highly recommended by Synthetix.FM.