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Synth Album Review: "The Void Drifter" by GalacticTapes

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

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Overall Impressions

GalacticTapes' Void Drifters paints vivid images of cosmic power and galactic vistas through a varied, interlacing synth palette. The music combines well-written melodies, sonic layering and atmospheric soundscapes to carry listeners on a journey into the stars.

The imagery that GalacticTapes creates on Void Drifters is clear and compelling. As he combines the complex layers of synth sound, he lays out visions of stunning galaxies in a variety of interlocking sounds. The synths run the gamut from velvety bass flow to brilliant starry light and Galactic Tapes crafts them into luscious portraits of space.

Melodic writing is clearly one of the artist’s strong suits and it’s well showcased on Void Drifters. Many of the melodies have a sense of melancholy to them that gives them a lost, drifting feeling which fits the overall sound of the album. The way that GalacticTapes combines his excellent melodies with synths that glint with soft light or hollow airiness gives them added depth and power.

There’s an overall feeling of deep space on the album. All of the sonic elements, the soundscapes and the way the music unfolds creates the indelible impression that the listener is enfolded in the cosmos. There’s a sensation of floating past starry structures on the solar winds and out through the universe that permeates every track.

My Favourite Tracks Analyzed

“Ghosts Of Autumn Past” starts out with sharp-edged, coolly shining synths moving in slightly broken blocks. A hard-edged bass oscillation and gigantic drums form powerful underpinnings for the glowing, dancing arpeggios that wheel above the music. A trumpeting, elevated synth cries out in a melody that mingles energy with darker emotions while the whirling arpeggios add warmth.

Underneath it all, the massive drums thunder and the bass pulsates. The music glides briefly before the main melody calls out once again. The way the melody mingles a caressing gentleness with shadowed feelings is beautiful for me. A minor key synth part with an emotive ache comes in over the thundering drums.

There’s a return to the “A” section with its shiny, dancing arpeggios that add a smoother feeling. As the “B” section melody comes in again, it’s cut by sharper, raised synths that pulse in tight lines. Oscillating bass moves alone briefly before the main melody’s mixture of elegiac emotion and gentle feelings returns to call out over the surging drums and bass. The track ends on tense, shining synths.

Distant, ringing synth with a darker feeling calls out in floating, worried-sounding notes that drift into space as “Synthetic Surges” opens. A steadily pulsing, undulating bass line moves along with big, throbbing percussion to propel the music forward.

Above it, lambent synths intertwine in a spinning melodic pattern that sails out smoothly. There’s a lush feeling as the glowing synths expand, swell and flow along over the driving drums and pulsing bass.

The track slips through space as those interlocking synths tumble and revolve around each other and the drums and bass move the music forward. The rapid, entangled arpeggios swirl and run together as the percussion and bass stops, leaving the flickering notes to flow out alone into space.

“The Void Drifter” opens as tight, elevated synths echo into open space before a gruff, throbbing bass line growls and pulses while the drums tick along. The medium-high, luminous lead synth bursts in angular lines before resolving into a shadowy, steady melodic pattern. The pattern glides through the music over the gruff weight underneath it.

Crystal light emanates from the synth carrying the main melody as it dynamically shifts. I enjoy the way in which that melodic pattern increases the sense of tense motion. A rising sonic sweep cuts in before rich, full synths sail into the music with a delicate touch. The round synths are full of hurting and emotion over the surging bass.

String-like synths take up the tenderly caressing melody while the harsher bass keeps pulsating. The “A” returns as brightly broken synths move over the steady drum and bass heartbeat. Shimmering synths arc upward and the rhythm section propels the music onward before fading on jangling, glittering synth.

Sharp-edged digital sound sweeps in along with a nasal, hollow bass that undulates along with a steady kick drum to start “The Unavoidable Paths To Nowhere.” Rippling synths with a bright, string-like feeling echo out in a rising, yearning melody that flows up and out over the throbbing drums.

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Fluting, pipe-like synth carries a slowly floating, hurting melody before we flow back into the intertwining string sounds. Hollow, nasal bass moves below the sweeping higher synths. There’s a lovely ancient, lost feeling to the pipe-like, open-voiced synth as it glides through the music carrying a fragile melody while the flashing strings flow out in undulating waves. The music fades on swirling, misty synth and a soft glow.

“Starlight ’89” kicks off with rapidly pulsating, tumbling sounds along with hard-hitting drums and a dynamically leaping bass line. Quick, sparkling chimes flash over the driving drum throb. A round, digital sounding synth with a bell-like quality plays a repeating melodic pattern tinged with melancholy. Deep, flowing lead synth carries a roaming melody full of adventurous feelings, tinged by something shadowy over the propulsive drums and bass. Round, shimmering synth tumbles down through the music with a glistening light.

Bell-like, digital sounding synth repeats the distantly shining note pattern, giving it more energy to ramp up again. Surging bass trembles through the music before the “A" section melody comes in, floating along and imbuing the music with a feeling of a star journey. Burnished, whirling synths dance in an elevated line that shines and flickers as it moves above the driving drums and relentlessly pulsing bass. Broken percussion vibrates before the track ends on glittering synth and smoothly flowing sound underneath it.

Blocks of slowly evolving sound grow as “Metaproxicon 4” commences. The sonic blocks are rough-edged and distorted as huge drums add power and nasal bass slowly oscillates. Effulgent, flashing strings flow out in a coruscating line before hollow, tight synth roams through a dreamy melody which is full of hope.

I enjoy the yearning reflected in the synth’s galactic twinkling. Bursts of throbbing, nasal synth undulate over the broad sounding drums before delicate, enfolding, elevated synth carries the aching melody. A tense, twisting synth part adds a nervous, darker feeling as it intertwines through the music. The track glides into the pained melody that flickers in a fragile dance over the power below it, in a contrasting brightness. There’s a majestic feeling in the music as it shines before fading out.

“Funnelled Cure” begins as swelling, flaring synth shines and slips in cosmically powerful lines and solidly throbbing, open-sounding drums and oscillating, thick bass form a slow tempo pulse. Above the rhythmic pulsation, glowing arpeggios slowly revolve and breathy, medium-high synth carries an ethereal melody.

Undulating arpeggios whirl in galactic revolutions through the music as the drums and bass fade briefly. The solid rhythmic pulse returns along with floating, expanding synth carrying a distant melody. I am drawn to the way in which the melody conveys a sense of ancient mystery. In the background, starry light twinkles over the powerful bass as it adds shape to the music.

The track paints images of great cosmic processes as they unfold, while and the drum and bass heartbeat contributes to the feeling of huge forces at work. The “A” section’s airy, cosmic melody returns along with the gently spinning arpeggios over the unrelenting bass pulsation that supports it all. The track ends on vast synth chords calling out into space.

Nasal, whirling synth oscillates over a quickly throbbing, hard-hitting drumbeat and massive bass to start “As We Wait For the Void.” Elevated, ghostly synth flows in a drifting line over the heavy drum and bass pulsation. The chiming melody sings out in an uplifting, energizing line over the bursting, beating drums and chest-thumping bass.

The oscillating bass rises and falls before the track breaks into a segment with hollow synth jumping in a dynamic line. Vibrating medium-high, gruff synth ripples and the constantly throbbing drums drive the music forward. There’s an intense, exciting feeling that I find compelling here.

Glittering synths cascade through the music, lending jewelled light to the propulsive power below them. As the drums fall away, the flickering cascade keeps falling. Rapid, nasal synth oscillates and spectral synth moves above it. The positive, sparkling melody sings out again over the dense bass and drumbeat that keep the music moving until it fades away.

“In Waiting” comes to life as distorted, ultra-low bass wobbles and writhes and the drums add a steadying influence. Undulating, vibrating medium-high synths form a tremulous pattern that glows and shimmers over the massive power beneath it.

Cascades of flowing synth shiver out while the tremendous weight below them shifts and moves. Shimmery synth vibrates and tumbles through the music while a metallic sound echoes out. Warmth is added by a secondary layer of slightly rough edged synth and the vast bass weight below it is held in warping tension.

The shaking synth lines move over top of a lyrically floating melody. I am enamoured of the dreamy ease of the melody as it’s carried on a sunlit synth. Below it all, the drums and bass guide and direct the music before it quietly ends.

Conclusion

As a whole, I find that Void Drifters immerses me fully in a musical evocation of the majesty, loneliness and power of outer space. GalacticTapes creates moods, images and emotions that capture all of the many thoughts I have about the magnificent universe in which we all live.

© 2022 Karl Magi

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