Merrin Karras is a fresh path for Brendan Gregoriy to travel. After recording his own brand of techno and house under the Chymera moniker, Gregoriy’s new project finds him exploring new textures. Apex is an album recorded using layers of analog synths to create sweeping yet often shadowy compositions. The best stuff on Apex melds immediate, physical sounds with ambient layering. “Elevate” is full of synths echoing out into space, and yet it’s the bone-dry beat that gives it a chilling pulse. The title track takes cascading notes and smudges them, melting the edges to blur them together. “Void”, the album’s most epic track, builds slowly but steadily into a towering wall of keys that buzzes and shimmers at the same time. Some moments in Apex feel too bedded down in atmospherics, like the drifting closer “Isolation”, but that’s only because Gregoriy is so strong at bringing heft into those spaces in other tracks.
Apex feels sometimes classic (the rolling repetition calling to mind Philip Glass), sometimes nostalgic (some of this could soundtrack a long-lost ‘80s horror flick), and always immediate. It’s warm enough to soundtrack the summer, but with a hint of chill to carry it all through the year.