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Synth Album Review: "Alive at 1" by Murat Gurel

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


Murat Gurel’s Alive At 1 roams across wide-ranging, complex synthscapes that explore tonal, textural variations and weave together a unique synth palette.

"Part 1” starts off with sharp-edged, dark synth pulses that wobble and expand out into open space as percussion comes in and echoes out below the extending, rough synth pulse. The percussion grows more powerful as rising, warmer sounds wash through the track.

As the ticking, trembling beat establishes itself the steady high sound shifts over the shadowy weight of the bass and drums. A powerful, rising vocal sound calls out over the throbbing heartbeat of the music, twisting and shifting, a metallic tapping added to the percussion now as a saxophone like sound calls out in triumph and the track winds down.

An active baseline with depth and smoothness to it wanders as the drums provide a steady ticking to open “Part 2.” A gruff, zapping synth sound floats in and slices through as the drums pop and leap while distorted, hollow synth repeats in an energizing pattern. Synths wash in oscillating waves that create a hypnotic flow.

Guitar-like strumming comes in along with the sharp, dark synth and a higher, brighter sound crying out over it. It shines with a harsh light as the bass undulates and washes over the track. Solid pulses of dense drums move with the lashing, cutting sounds above it and into silence.

“Part 3” begins as twisting, medium-low synth carries a repeating note pattern over a steady, weighty bass motion. The drums are strong and heavy as flashing, metallic synth with a string-like feeling carries a melody mingling worry and a hopeful feeling.

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Gruff, pulsing bass is broken into by a wriggling, distorted, bell-like chime that flickers with an almost melancholy light. A siren-like synth intertwines and repeats over the massive weight below it and the guitar sings thick notes with a bluesy quality. The track fades away on a deep bass tide.

A deep, slow moving synth pulse adds an ominous feeling as higher notes drift in a spaced out line, over sweeping wind as “Part 4” comes to life. Deep, rough-edged synth wriggles and oscillates over a steady bass undulation.

The synth has a dynamic twist to it as it forms a rhythmic pattern over angular, cutting synth and distant drums. The churn of a shining, edgy guitar moves in before a tense synth carries a rising, drifting note pattern over the ticking drums. The notes rise higher and higher before a low, gruff synth moves in.

Elevated, shining synth rings out and the track returns to the driving, rhythmic pattern that oscillates. The guitar bends and howls, crying out into the music. Every musical element has a bit of grit to all of the sounds as the bluesy guitar winds and writhes, full of emotion.

“Part 5” commences with digital sounding synth notes forming a dense, repeating pattern as elevated synth distantly wanders. A swelling bass tide lifts the interlocking note pattern while drums add energy and forward motion to the track.

The digital-sounding synth pattern and floating notes that wander with it are woven together and guitar carries a melodic pattern that has a certain melancholy feeling to it. The drumbeat propels the music and the deep bass lifts the other elements.

The melody shines out on the guitar and glowing, dense synth notes wriggle and shift in a pattern that has that same vaguely tragic quality as the melody. A shivering, rough bass line growls and fat, wide guitar sounds distort and fade away.

© 2022 Karl Magi

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