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Retro Reverb Records Oct. 2021 Chart Toppers

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


First Place

KMX VI’s Down the Night exudes power and muscle-bound energy along with triumph tempered by darker feelings. Portentous bass descends in a gruff pattern that is joined by jangling bells that shine with harsh light. There’s a hard-edged sense of power to the melodic pattern that comes in. The bells ring out in an arpeggiating pattern as the drums launch the track forward over the depths of bass, dense and full of muscled energy.

A rush of air sweeps in and the trembling, but victorious synth melody calls out. The melody is leavened with painful emotion that hides behind its triumphant initial impression. There’s weight and surging motion in the drum and bass underpinnings and the bells cry out their arpeggiating pattern. The gigantic, melancholy lead synth calls out in a soaring voice and rushing bass synth pulse throbs and buzzes below arpeggiating sounds.

Joint Second Place

Helsinki Project’s Metatron glows with angelic light and gentle energy as it unfolds. Shining synths intertwine in a delicate pattern, shimmering with light as a slowly revolving arpeggio is joined by a smooth drumbeat. The drums glide elegantly over the even bass throb while a constellation of glimmering synth flows out. The sound forms glowing lights, fragile as if heard from a great distance.

An open-voiced synth turns in slow, galactic whorls while airy chimes flicker through above the track’s drum heartbeat. This track’s soundstage adds to its vast feeling. The music breaks into a cosmic feeling, slowly shifting synth line as the star lit arpeggio spins through the openness around it. A gigantic drum fill precedes a rush of air and the aching synth melody that cries out over the steadily throbbing beat. The lambent sounds are all joined in a rich, angelic galaxy that fades out into quiet as the track ends.

Nakatomi Freefall’s Can’t Stop has a wild energy, passionate vocals and a technological sound. Drums patter into the song in a rapid flow while distorted, metallic sounds writhe and pulsate. Bursting synth moves with an oscillating flow over the weighty bass in a shivering, expanding line. The drums are gigantic below Marjie Velour’s expressive vocals carrying the powerfully passionate lyrics. The drum pulse and wriggling, wild synths batter into the music in a roaring wall.

Corey Rokkett’s vocals add their own sound and energy to the song. The lyrics are full of feelings of desire and need. The music that supports the vocals is aggressive and fierce, as unambiguous and strong as the lyrics to the songs. A digital-sounding, melodic synth line snakes through the track and a gigantic, surging wall of interlocking sound adds depth behind the expressive vocals. Bright flashes of broad synth reverberate out into the tech twisted audio environment as the track finishes.

© 2021 Karl Magi

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