Alan Abrahams’ take on his own “Say It’s Going to Change” as Bodycode opens innocently enough, pleasantly eerie synths right out of Selected Ambient Works 85-92 backing a metallic, robotic house beat. Halfway through, though, everything changes: after a quick flare of upper-register whirrs, a twisty bassline thuds in, sending the track into more traditional !K7 territory. The remix masterfully pulls elements in and out of our reach, warm synths eventually dropping out in favor of an all-out bassline assault. Its slow transition from unfocused synth jam to functional dancefloor killer is yet another example of the absolute madness Abrahams can wreak on an unsuspecting mass of bodies crowded around his turntable.
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Atoms and Void‘s “This Departing Landscape” is, appropriately enough, atmospheric. This is in the sense of the video, a haphazard, awkwardly beautiful collection of found footage from years of touring and recording, but it’s also in the sense of the way the song plays out. Quiet vocals drop out only a minute through, paving the way for careful electric guitar to call out into the void. The guitar keeps calling and calling and calling and the piano and the drums and the bass keep growing and growing and growing until the piece burns out and fades away. It’s the audio representation of the maxim “life is about the journey, not the conclusion”, which makes for a wonderful ride.
Savoir Adore makes glitzy, glittery electropop, and “Paradise Gold” is a good example of why that neon-soaked sound continues to work. A shuffling intro gives way to a disco-lite verse, bass snarls and quick darts of guitar interplaying until the chorus takes hold in a puff of cotton candy. It’s equally Madeon and Breathe Carolina, scene elements interplaying with funky electro house. It’s a sound that certainly doesn’t have universal appeal — it has too much fun for that — but I’m glad this kind of music still lights up my parties.
NERVE seems fairly dark and nearly apocalyptic, and thus far most of its soundtrack has reflected that. However, Rob Simonsen‘s “Night Drive” is a more positive bit of synthwave, a major-key piece straight out of a whimsical SNES racer. Its arpeggiation is a mix between Kavinsky’s sobriety and Todd Terje’s cheekiness, tempo changes adding to a sense of levity. Its crashing house beat is straight out of a Justice song, and its syncopation reflects a little bit of that French house influence. We’ll see where it fits into the movie, but it will hopefully belie a multifaceted and versatile score on the whole.
Edison’s “Open Road” is an upbeat piece of acoustically-inclined folk, all harmonicas and handclaps and good cheer. It’s stylistically similar to Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, especially their smash hit “Home”. You’ve got the obvious—“home is wherever our feet go” vs. “home is wherever I’m with you”; the invocation of the South, Edison’s Phoenix and Tennessee contrasted with the Zeros’ Alabama and Arkansas—but the main similarity is the tone of the two pieces. They’re both unbreakably positive, male-female harmonies heartily extolling the virtues of the open road, all peace and friendship and the power of wandering. And if we lose that sort of enthusiastic idealism in our music, then where will we be?