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Synth Album Review: "Synesthesia" by Sonic Hz

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

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Sonic Hz’s Synesthesia paints intense images through sound, just as people with synesthesia “see” sounds and “hear” colours. As Sonic Hz combines intricately layered synthesizers and weaves ear-pleasing melodies, one can visualize the emotions and imagery that the sounds convey to the listener.

The synth palette on Synesthesia moves from glittering bells to growling bass synths and from soaring, evocative sounds to gently caressing ones. Sonic Hz constructs richly interwoven soundscapes that keep the mind engaged and the ears entertained as he paints intricate auditory images for the listener.

I’m also enamoured of the melodic writing on Synesthesia. Sonic Hz crafts strong, emotionally powerful melodies that convey the sensations that he’s trying to create clearly. I can close my eyes and just feel as the melodies enfold me and carry me away on a sonic journey as the album unfolds.

Another aspect of this album that I enjoy is its rhythmic quality. The way in which Sonic Hz combines massive retro drums and powerful bass creates a distinct pulse throughout the album and anchors each track to form a cohesive shaping influence. I like the guidance that the drums and bass provide in the music.

My Favourite Tracks Analyzed

“Aegean Waves” comes to life as heavy-hitting, throbbing retro drums thunder and an oscillating, chest-thumping bassline actively moves below the drums. A medium-high, twisting lead synth carries an energetic, intertwining melody that bursts with forward motion.

There’s a well-considered contrast as an elevated, chiming synth carries a flowing melody imbued with sailing feeling. The solid drum and bass heartbeat pushes the music forward and the twisting synth has a unique sound. The melody has a powerful sense of progress in it, giving it a sense of flying across ocean waves.

Sparkling chimes bubble up and flash like sunlight glinting on cool blue water as the heavy, powerful drums launch the music forward. The medium-low, distorted synth lends a intriguing timbre to the music as the chiming synth sings the smooth, positive melody,

Angular, sharp-edged bass surges as the solid drums punch in to start “Calico.” High, trumpeting synth plays a cascading melody that flashes out, full of bright light over the hard-driving, steady drums and bass. Xylophone-like synth moves in undulating lines that smoothly wash through the track.

The angled pulse of the drums and bass matches the wave motion of the music. The leaping, brassy synth carries its own repeating melodic pattern bursting with a metallic gleam. The xylophone’s shine adds patterned feeling in the music as the two synth sounds double each other.

The smooth rise and fall of the xylophone is broken into by the secondary melodic line, glittering and flashing, adding to the sense of progress that imbues the track. I am drawn to the way this track heaves with surging power and motion.

“Opal Mirror” comes into being as dark, swirling synths create a shadowed atmosphere but the round, full synth that forms a steady wave is gentler as it glides in along with an ancient-sounding, ethereal panpipe.

Glittering bell-like synth chimes out a bright pattern that wanders into the sweeping space around it. The pipe-like synth has a timeless feeling as it carries a reverent melody. It creates a haunting sense of mysteries lost to time which I find compelling.

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The flashing bells carry their own enigmatic melody which glitters as the high pipes wail out a roaming, twirling melody. This track generates images of epic journeys through forgotten lands. Oscillating, whirling synth climbs and falls in a high fluting pattern that is trance-inducing while the drums provide a steady guiding throb and the bells flicker with shining light.

Swelling synths full of warmth form a swirling, wavy background as the drums pop into the music and a xylophone forms a textural, metallic pattern that adds motion to start off “Emeralds In The City.”

A string-like, intensely shiny synth carries a smoothly wandering melodic line. The bass weight and the repeating, hypnotic xylophone creates a dynamic feeling of movement. Cascading, glittering lead synth roams through while behind it the waves of warm synth wash.

I enjoy how the glowing lead synth creates a feeling of early morning waking, a sense of getting out and roaming through city streets. A synth solo is carried on a full, medium-high, flashing synth in a whirling and spinning line full of uplift. The flickering, shimmering synth pattern is so airy and easy as the solo unfurls in wild energy through the track.

“Sonic’s Onyx” starts off as sweeping, gritty synths flow through the music and flashing, bursting synths trumpet. A charging, throbbing bassline moves below the massive drums while medium-high, brassy synths carry a leaping melody that rockets out with a blast of energy. The bass weight is heavy and the drums flourish and pulse while the melody flies out.

I enjoy the melody’s propulsive quality and sense of forward motion as solid, undulating bass wave flows far below it. As the bass oscillates, the gleaming synths burst in quick lines that soar upwards, flashing with light as the drums and bass keep charging onwards. The drums are massive and full to the brim with strength and the melody sings out in a dynamic flight.

Angular, medium-low, oscillating synth climbs and descends over pulsing drums that keep time with it to open “Magenta Horizon.” Crystalline bells shine in a descending pattern and an elevated, twisting synth carries a mysterious, sweeping melodic pattern. The nasal, medium-high lead synth unfolds in a melody with an appealing feel to it, singing out in a hopeful line.

Nasal, circular synths swirl before the jangling bells form a wandering, gleaming melodic pattern that drifts along. The primary note pattern is matched by a second medium-low, full synth as they ripple together. Drifting, high synth floats through while the angular driving beat and bass keep throbbing and the “A” section melody dances in again, full of yearning emotion. Shimmering bells ring out and elevated synth twists high above the beat as it pushes onwards before the track ends.

“Colours” comes into existence with a quick, shadowed burst of medium-low synth as the solid, powerful drums throb out a slowly propulsive beat. Dense, glowing synth carries an uplifting, warming melodic line that flows out over the drumbeat’s weight. The playfully bending, shining lead synth carries a melody that frolics pleasingly through the music, wheeling and flickering.

A xylophone plays a bouncing, climbing pattern that adds more shine to the proceedings over the throbbing, surging beat and bass. Shining, string-like synth flickers in and out while the xylophone ripples and the lead synth dances and skips along. The xylophone bounces, rising and falling, to double the bouncing beat as the flashing, string-like synth adds texture. The main melody whirls along, feeling jaunty as it bends and weaves over the angular bass oscillation and pulsing drums.

A mournful, smooth synth flow supports a jazz organ’s gentle shine to commence “Crimson’s Edge.” The backing synths keep gliding while the slow, delicate melody effectively exudes aching emotion, caressing my ears while a sharper, wandering synth pattern oscillates slowly.

The main melody is dreaming, full of hurt but also tinged with a hopeful feeling as the drifting, sharper-edged synth adds its unique timbre to the piece. The steady glow of the secondary synth lifts the melody as it unfolds, pained but not painful before the jazz organ’s round, bell like voice fades out.

Conclusion

Synesthesia is lush with sonic intricacy and full of audio storytelling. I have always enjoyed the ability of well-done synth-based music to evoke sensations and paint pictures. Sonic Hz does both things to good effect on this album.

© 2022 Karl Magi

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