By James Mann
Mythical Vigilante tore through the scene last year with his powerful and lasting EP, Time Traveller, full of rich and gorgeous compositions showcasing some of the finest talents in songwriting. It was evident this Seattle based producer is no stranger to music, and continually evolves and strives to achieve different moods in each of his pieces and releases. The signature melodies and driving arrangements caught most synth enthused listeners by surprise, and immediately carved a name as one of the more proficient artists gracing the retrowave scene.
Working diligently with a variety of other artists for collaborations and remixes, coupled as a graphic designer, Thomas Hutcherson seems to have mastered his craft when it comes to designing or composing. His latest release demonstrates the range of growth and movement towards an even higher level of proficiency I am now keenly aware of. The LP, Mythical’s latest self release continues to grace us with his energetic and emotional compositions, focusing on driving beats with complex and heartfelt melodies, while taking the foray into moods and genres we hadn’t experienced from the sonic producer in the past.
'Light Riding' opens up the Vigilante gates with a complex and moody arrangement. Alternating between downtempo and a breakbeat/synthwave beat, the percussion and driving bass take the listener through roomy and thoughtful sounds. Almost sci-fi in it’s approach, the dynamics change throughout to offer a thoroughly enjoyable groove that builds on anticipation and surprise. Detailed synth work and a confident wall of sound rocks the listener and grabs your attention. Solid track, although a bit of a sudden ending. MV is off to the races with pure, raw and emotive work.
'Human Girl' delves into the world of minimal disco, triggering a Simian Mobile Disco-esque dance party crafted with the utmost care and eliciting a wide smile on my face within seconds. Minimal, heavy and pulsating bass carries through a swelling of synthesizers to culminate in a truly enjoyable piece. The lead synth reflects on some early Gary Numan and takes me back to the era of New Wave, smoke and neon lights. I really love this one. Mythical steps outside the box, toms dance across the arrangement and it all comes together for one of my favorite tracks on the album. Once again his proficiency in dynamics and uncharted territory seems so comfortable to this producer, and the sounds back this assertion quite well.
Mythical Vigilante joins forces with the mega talented producer Dream Fiend, master of lush compositions with impeccable production value. 'The Rescue' is a journey into everything 80s. A lo-fi intro of brass horns and retro moodiness give way to a spectacular breakbeat, gathering momentum with light arpeggiated synths and monumental brass pads. It joins forces with an incredible feel of confidence and joy. A vocoder fills in, carrying an ominous but at the same time accessible feel that accents the track quite well. A detailed synth solo dances through the speakers. Fantastic track and collaboration. The thought and effort put into this one did not go unnoticed. Strong and confident, I can hear this played across a wide platform of listeners since the appeal is that broad.
'Be Yourself' immediately grabs my senses with an infectious bass and drum line, I’m transported back in time with visions of a packed dance floor and light fractals steering me towards the light. Moody and delightful, this track stylizes the unique and addicting sounds of OMD (Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark for non-80s aficionados) and other artists around the time whose focus was to get you swaying and gyrating through the crowds of people in pure bliss. Catchy melodies layer to create a real work of art. This is the side of Mythical I dig the most. Unapologetic and heartfelt, he digs into personal space and emerges with an impeccable track that is so refreshing and pleasing to hear. Without a doubt my favorite on the album. I could listen on repeat all day and not tire, which says quite a bit about its impression and execution!
'Sunset Strip' is originally a track by the Canadian powerhouse 20Six Hundred. MV remixes this gem and lays his signature touches and in the process weaves a memorable and pleasant path of pure groove and love from start to finish. A sultry saxophone emerges through the bass and breakbeat, dancing around shimmering synths to create a track that’s nothing short of epic. Oh, and a guitar laces the latter part with heartfelt shredding? All of the layers come together for a huge sound, toms cutting through with precision and intent. One of my favorites on the album. This one is huge!
'Watch Out For the Bad Guys' takes you into the dark, subterranean world of the Vigilante. Pounding bass and drums with an accompanying vocoder build a dark, intense vibe swirling with atmospheric synths. This is the Mythical I remember hearing, signature intensity and vocoder which stamps a high quality and sweet production piece. I like the mood in this particular one, it follows 'Sunset Strip' nicely for that instant clarification and reminder that variety is in fact a huge asset to this artist. He cannot be defined by any sound, which works extremely well for him.
'Darkness Awaits' is simply a massive track. Originally a Stilz piece, Mythical took this beauty to another level. Pulsating, punchy drums and bass build for a head bobbing affinity that stays throughout the piece. Arpeggiated and crafted hi-hats compliment each other and remind me of a soundtrack oriented arrangement. Sweet and enjoyable, it’s evident that Mythical’s remixes are in fact his strong suit, and bring fresh and pleasing elements to already wonderful songs.
'Master Blaster' is the product of a powerhouse collaboration between MV and the one and only Kirk Gadget. Cinematic and driving, the melodies and progression in this are incredibly strong. Striking a balance between somber and action packed, lasers and arpeggiated bass lines attack the soundscape for a full range of energy and sound that make this a standout in it’s own right. Combining the best of two artists can be an amazing thing, and these two pulled it off effortlessly. The sounds go so well together and create one of the more massive tracks on The LP.
'Re -Animated' plays off as a nice vignette, crafted extraordinarily well with finesse and detail. Dark and driving with a smattering of glass synths create a really great vibe and track. For being such a short piece, it all pulls together quite well for a momentum that retains the drive that is so well executed in Mythical Vigilante tracks. I really do enjoy this one, my only wish is that it was extended just a bit more.
'The Mind Manipulator’s Murder Disco' is an incredible arrangement, navigating the listener through sections both dark and mesmerizing. Eerie, echo styled samples kick off the beginning over a lethargic beat. Immediately I’m intrigued, as the beat gains speed and momentum the track comes into full force with dynamic changes reminiscent of a space synth opera. A really interesting and fun tune, the bass line and synth arrangements race through scales to grab you as the piece advances to another section. Some of Mythical’s finest work lies in here. Thoughtful piano playing that brings a more organic sense of his work is evident. I think this is perhaps the strongest piece on the album. The epic chord progressions really take this one on another level, potentially a dance floor electronic release.
The LP is truly an incredible addition to anyone’s personal collection. Part of why it’s refreshing on so many levels, is simply because Mythical Vigilante manages to accomplish what other artists strive to do but encounter some difficulty in the process. Execute pieces that entail a wide variety of sounds, influences, and genres while maintaining a cohesive and commanding flow. From New Wave, to orchestrated and cinematic, to down tempo arrangements, I found all of these and more tucked away in this monster of a release with superb production value. He continues to move forward each day in his art and music, demonstrating an innate talent that is undeniable. I genuinely look forward to see what this producer comes up with for his next run, although I’m in no rush. This one is fantastic.
The LP can be purchased on Bandcamp here in the usual array of digitally downloadable formats and comes very highly recommended by Synthetix.FM.