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Synth Album Review: "Primewave" by OtherWorldRio

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

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Overall Impressions

OtherWorldRio’s Primewave is a synth-based album overflowing with a luscious mixture of fascinating sounds, intriguing auditory imagery and a feeling of freshness in the way all of the sounds are combined. The result is an individual and unique approach to modern synth music.

Some albums stand out for their melodic content, but Primewave is outstanding because of the ear-catching variety and complexity of synth interactions that it explores. OtherWorldRio has a synth palette that runs from crystalline sparkle to gruff growl and through soaring height and cavernous depths. These sounds are carefully combined to create a cohesive whole that still ensures each fascinating synth voice can be heard.

Primewave paints synthscapes that create emotional states which touch everything from soothing sensations to feelings of tension as well as uplifting energy. Each track is a miniature sketch that carries the listener into different internal spaces through the tones, timbres and sonic textures that OtherWorldRio uses. As a whole, the album is a journey that engages the ears and the imagination.

This album showcases OtherWorldRio’s individual vision of synth-based music. While the building blocks that are used are similar to many synth albums, the unique qualities of the sounds and the fresh ways in which they are combined results in a distinctive listening experience. I find myself pulled in and held by OtherWorldRio’s musical approach on the album.

My Favourite Tracks Analyzed

“Pantheon of Gods” comes into being as gleaming synth echoes out into open space, leaping through one quick arpeggio. Deep bass throb is joined by slipping, pulsing drums as the glittering synths leap and fade. The bass oscillates while the synths swirl before brighter elements burst in and ethereal, vocal sounds move. There’s a pleasing contrast between the dense, pulsing bass and the delicate, vocal synths as they add a gentle glow.

The drums have a sliding quality as they establish a beat again. There’s a break to open space as the synths shine and wind sweeps while the shifting bass oscillation propels the track. The new segment features angular bass with driving power. Shining synths flare and fade, the hard-edged bass throbs on and the drums keep guiding the music before the glittering synths flash away.

Warm, flowing synths with a vocal quality intertwine as string-like, sharp-edged synth cuts in to open “Radiant.” A steady drumbeat and slowly throbbing bass moves below the airy, delicate synths that rise in clouds over the guiding throb of the beat and bass. The way in which the sunlit synth mist glides in reverent lines over the easy drum pulse is soothing to my ears.

Rough-edged, medium-high synths carry a slowly evolving, gentle melodic pattern while smooth, warm vocal sounds swirl up. Dense bass creamily supports the breathy, open-voiced synths as the drums languorously glide along. The diffuse, lambent synth clouds adds a relaxed, delicate sensibility as elevated notes drift in a lightly brushing line and fade.

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“Enigmatic" commences as round, sparkling synth with a metallic quality bursts and fades, repeating that pattern out into space. The smooth beat and sharp-edged bass throb in a slightly uneven line as elevated synths slip easily above the cutting sounds far below. Whorls of fragile sound shift as the angular, uneven bass and throbbing drums form an addictive rhythmic pattern. The medium-high, slightly distorted synth carries a dynamic note pattern that flows into a slowly expanding, mysterious melody.

The hard-hitting drums and bass form a pulse that drives on solidly as medium-high synth with a buzzing edge carries the roaming pattern. I am drawn to the shadowed, winding melody as it flows. Rising synth chords with a slightly gruff quality also rise and the uneven bass growl moves with steadier drums. Cosmic and foggy sounds float along in the background contrasting with the cutting edge of the bass and solidly hitting drums.

A slowly flowing current of deep synth is broken by metallic flashes as “AM Radio” begins. The low synth feels obscured and muffled as another synth with a steel drum quality plays a distant and indistinct melodic line with an angular, repetitive flow. The steel drum synth is hypnotic as it drifts while the density of bass grows,

The solidity of the drums adds weight and shape to the music as the diffuse brightness of the synth moves with dynamism. I enjoy the metallic sheen of the synth, reminding me of fog-obscured sun glinting from a building. Underneath it all, the rich bass actively moves before a more delicate, gliding feeling permeates the music before it all fades out.

“Photons” opens with dense bass throbbing below medium-high, distorted synth that gently rises and falls. The bass is diffuse and thick as it groans below the brighter sweep of the synths, feeling a little fuzzy. Glittering notes form a sparkling line before broad, medium-high synths carry a flowing melody. The main melody mingles uplift with minor key moments.

I am enamoured of the mournful contrast that the minor key shift creates in the lead synth melody. The vocal quality of the twirling synth behind the lead adds a unique feeling and misty synths form eddies and currents as they sweep through. High, glittering sounds slice in above, adding a more intense light as they move and the music fades.

Jangling synths exude a razor-edged brightness as they carry a roaming melody that wanders and flashes over windy sonic flows as “MindBender” begins. An insistent, hollow drum throbs while airy sounds sweep and the glowing synths burst out and fade quickly. A sliding, flashing synth carries a melody that is imbued with a triumph shaded by darker feelings.

Hollow drums thud below the melody along with gritty oscillating bass. I am attracted by the way in which the melody shimmers out, victorious but tempered by less positive emotions. The throbbing beat and bass sharpens the music and as quick, lambent flashes spill out and a hissing static feathers the music. After a drum fill, the melody roams in with mingled victory and loss before fading.

Conclusion

OtherWorldRio’s Primewave is a good example of the range and diversity of synth-based music on offer right now. It’s an album full of complexity, emotional depth and powerful creativity. I hope to hear how the artist develops his sound going forward.

© 2022 Karl Magi

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