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Ambient Music Album Review: "Deep Blue" by DepthCruiser

Karl is a longtime freelancer who's passionate about music, art, and writing.

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Overall Impressions

DepthCruiser’s Deep Blue powerfully evokes the danger, beauty and majesty of the world’s oceans. It uses a rich tapestry of ambient synth sounds to create atmospheric evocations of water in all its states along with powerful percussion to produce motion and dense bass to add a sensation of unfathomable depths to the music.

One aspect of Deep Blue struck me above all the others and that is the mastery of atmospherics that DepthCruiser demonstrates on the album. I’m mesmerized by the aquatic sensations that he creates on the album in which the synths palpably evoke a feeling of being carried through blue waters that can roil in stormy surges or sparkle as sunlight glows in their depths.

The synth selection on Deep Blue was another strong element for me. DepthCruiser uses a variety of synths that create textures and timbres which combine to form an auditory world which helps him evoke the atmosphere that he’s seeking. I enjoy how the synths are interlocked and layered, resulting in what can only be described as an immersive experience.

I am drawn to the way in which the bass and drums are used on this album. The bass does provide an extra dimension of depth to increase the oceanic feeling of the music and the clear, sharp drums define and guide the other musical elements as they move through the album.

My Favourite Tracks Analyzed

“Breathe” comes into being as a smoothly slipping, aquatic synth with a dark blue feeling washes through the music in easy waves. Brighter element flashes like sunbeams in moving water and a breathy rush shifts behind it all while elevated notes extend on and out in long moments.

There’s striking beauty as the tidal movement of the synths is touched by crystalline sparkles that sound like falling diamond chips. The high synth sounds add a subtle shine to the watery, floating sounds that continually move. Subtle synths undulate and the diamonds shine into the silence of the depths.

A crackling, swirling sound is joined by a rapid drumbeat that rushes along while quick flashes of nasal, hard-edged synth form an oscillating pattern to open “Daemonium Nymphia.” Dark chords shiver beneath the unstoppable drums as a thick, sharp synth pulse repeats. The sharp synth chords are joined by a metallic string-like sound that floats out into a segment where easy trickling water flows.

The lulling contrast as the powerful drums slow down and the other sonic elements smooth out is one which I enjoy. Writhing synths twist darkly in an interlocking line and the tempo accelerates once more. The string-like, metallic pulse is never ending as it matches the drums, shifting in a cutting line while the shadows wash and move in the background to add a sense of grasping and surrounding to the track,

“I Was In The Depths, So The Depths I Became (Part I)” begins with powerful, medium-low synth pushing through like a flowing ocean current. A massive, muscled energy flows along, sweeping back and forth with oscillating power. I feel as though I am being pulled and pushed by this track’s current as it flows. An exhalation moves along with subtle percussion that brushes the surface of the surging ambient depths.

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There’s a hidden power here like a riptide below the calm ocean surface, I feel like a diver at the mercy of those forces as shining synths flash through and the soft metallic drums keep up their gentle pattern. An added auditory element explodes, like the ocean growing more dangerous, as if an unfathomable energy is whipping it up and adding to the already potent aquatic strength.


The sweeping power that filled the first part of “I Was In The Depths, So The Depths I Became” is joined by more prominent drums in the second part. There’s a steady beat and a kick drum throb below the trembling, shifting synths. The drums emphasize sonic current’s dynamism and a medium-high, quickly moving synth creates additional texture.

I find the tidal tug of the gigantic sonic currents of sound are deeply evocative. Metallic, underwater sounds ring out as the drums pause for another exhalation. The elevated synth flow’s quick tempo has a contrary motion that shapes the other musical elements along with the bursting energy of the drums that fills the track. This section emphasizes speed and power to a greater degree than the first.

“Drowning In Her Eyes” comes to life as the drumbeat smoothly scuds along while luscious, aquamarine synth is guided and shaped by its glassy smoothness. Energizing, expansive synth carries a repeating note pattern and delicately glittering chimes slip along in a sunny line. Digital sounding synth drifts in curlicues and spirals over the beat’s steadiness and the track’s overall laid-back feeling.

The sparkling high synth flash is reminiscent of glinting light on calm water and all the musical elements are imbued with a satisfying sense of relaxation. Bright, elevated synth carries a twirling pattern that dances along with a feeling of hanging suspended in deep water as the drums finally fade.

A smoothly trickling wash of sound is joined by a single, resonant bass note that echoes out and fades, repeating in an extended line to start off “Between The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (Part I).” Synths softly rise, gentle tones moving out into open, oceanic space as the double-bass notes reverberate and become part of the background. A soft, watery hiss touches the music while the choral synths create an ethereal, deeply worshipful feeling.

The continual trickle of dark blue is joined by human breath - inhalation and exhalation - the swirling choral voices rising with a distant, slightly percussive beat. The sound of breath is not entirely comforting, as it seems laboured in contrast to the feelings of peace around it. I find that it adds a strong sense of claustrophobia in contrast to the deep bass resonance and peaceful vocal feelings around it. It has an unsettling feeling as a darker, lower choral voice moves and the hollow drum keeps up its constant beat.

“Between The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (Part II)” has a jazzy feeling from the drums along with the pulsing bass notes. Compared to the first part, the energy level ramps up as a twisting, squelching medium-low synth plays a roaming pattern that wriggles through the choral synths. The beat is strong and constant as dark-edged synth chords extend and fade.

The drums change to a hollow percussive sound and again breath fills the space. I enjoy the heavier, more dangerous atmosphere as the choral synths grow more threatening, the sonic pulses are shadowy and the energy level increases. A single heavy exhalation moves and again the angular, sharper synth chords echo out while the beat begins to fade into quiet trickling.

Flashing, bright, quickly medium high synth forms a dynamic, sharply angled pattern as "Destination Venus” opens. Oscillating, wide-sounding, digital synth carries a leaping pattern over the rapid tempo of the energetic drums that drive the track forward with a boundless energy that I find infectious.

A broad, medium-low note pattern shapes the music and another glowing, undulating melodic synth line cuts in over the interwoven drums and bass. The wide synth shifts in a wandering pattern over more subdued drums as small, tight synth sounds shiver through. The drums gain power again, pushing the track onwards while the thick, digital synth keeps roaming. Bursting synth blocks surge again and the music goes on, full of energy before fading away all at once.

Conclusion

Deep Blue is a listening experience that I find unique in synth music right now. It is an album that fully explores the concept on which it is based in a way that is engaging, all-encompassing and evocative. I enjoy the direction that DepthCruiser has taken on this album.

© 2022 Karl Magi

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