Karl is a longtime freelancer who's passionate about music, art, and writing.
Nakatomi Freefall’s Twilight Radio Show combines powerful vocal performances, emotive songwriting and a richly unique mixture of synth sounds to create a journey through human emotion. This album explores all of the wonderful contradictions and emotional states that make us who we are.
Marjie Velour’s vocal performances are a major reason for my enjoyment of Twilight Radio Show. She has a powerful voice with a large range that allows her to express the full range of emotion in the lyrics. She can soothe with her voice or let it charge forward as she belts out the songs with feeling and conviction.
The lyrics that Nakatomi Freefall have written for the songs on Twilight Radio Show also draw me into the album. They explore the complicated, even messy emotional states that we all find ourselves in at times, while also expressing the inexhaustible hope that seems to define the human race. I enjoy the emotional honesty in the songs which cuts right to the heart of things.
Corey Rokkett’s melodic writing and synth playing also add to my enjoyment of the album. He’s chosen a unique synth palette that combines wide ranging sounds from glittering strings to sharp-edged slicing sounds and gigantic drums to highlight the vocal melodies. Those melodies are well-crafted and capture the emotion in the lyrics while giving Marjie Velour free rein with her voice.
My Favourite Songs Analyzed
“Wait For Tomorrow” comes to life with flickering, trembling synth pulses moving rapidly over a deep bass wave and gigantic drums. Marjie Velour’s strong, rich and expressive voice carries a gently hopeful vocal melody over the percussive weight of the drums while the smooth synth waves wash. I find the way in which Marjie Velour injects the lyrics with emotion to be affecting.
The rising, flashing synths climbs while the propulsive drums shape the music and the whispered vocal adds a delicate feeling over the throbbing percussion and bass. The vocals flow out, full of feeling and the higher synth with its breathy glow shines before the music fades on rapidly spinning arpeggios and bass weight.
This song is a fascinating way to explain the sensations of ADHD along with the complications of navigating a relationship. Our narrator talks about how everything moves rapidly in the “altered state of mind” that ADHD creates. She talks about how “nothing lasts and no one sees” and it’s just a time filler.
As the song unfolds, the narrator talks about how her brain is “moving faster than my heart” but she’s talking faster still. She admits “don’t know how to do this” and she reaches out for the other person but they’re “rushing past.”
Our narrator talks about how she’ll wait for tomorrow as she is “taking a chance, taking a breath” and hoping to see the other person then. Now she tries to slow things down and “widen the gap from sensory input to when I react” she adds that her “synapses are screaming” but she steps back from it all.
The narrator continues by pointing out that “sometimes you win, sometimes you lose” and sometimes the game’s not played like that at all. She says that’s when "the ADHD leaves me frozen in the headlights and laughs at me anyways.”
Now she just has to wait for tomorrow and take a chance that she’ll see the other person then. She concludes, “I'll wait for tomorrow. Slowing it down so you see me tomorrow.”
Worshipful synths swirl together in a smoothly gleaming line and digital sounds flicker as “Clean” starts up. Hollow, rippling drums pulsate as Marjie Velour’s slightly distant voice is tinged with soft feelings. Pipe-like synths carry angular, wandering notes that trickle above the solid bass heartbeat and open drums.
The vocal melody is wonderfully full of memory for a lost love as it calls out through the music. Light-filled pipes twirl and dance in a breathy flow over the solidity below. Sharp, deep strings intertwine and shiver together while Marjie Velour interprets the lyrics with trembling emotion.
A round, rising synth carries a melody mingling a dreamy feeling with hope and a fear of loss in its notes. The soft synth flow rises along with the vocals as we wash out on the tremulous, wriggling pipes and misty ease.
There’s an exploration of the emotional turmoil of re-establishing a relationship in this song. The narrator admits she’s nervous but not avoiding the situation. I enjoy the cautious imagery the lyrics create in the line, “tentative footsteps bring me back to you.”
She’s overthinking as she wonders what the other person will say and asks, “Will you shut me out?” In the chorus, the narrator expresses the desire to “lay by your side again” and says “all I see is your eyes looking back at me.”
Our narrator has to keep stopping as “every mile brings me closer, drives me crazy.” She talks about how she sees “so many faces that look just like you” rush by her and it stops her from focusing. The narrator ponders on if the other person will want to see her or slam the door.
She worries that they’ll “replay who I once was” and only see that version of her. As the song ends, she wonders if the other person will cut her off “before I’ve even started. She says, “My hands they shake. Will you call me out?”
“Twilight Radio Show” commences with big drums throbbing steadily into open space while wriggling sounds tremble. Marjie Velour imbues her voice with deep power as a synth climbs in swirling whorls and the soft drums tick and tap.
Corey Rokkett’s vocals are also full of strength and contribute a punchy energy to the song which I enjoy. Circular, gruff-edged synth inhales and exhales as the drums guide the music. Trembling sounds vibrate through above the vocal melody which soars out with inspirational energy.
Clips of radio shows move in, all the voices mingled together and full synths flow and grow as the drum heartbeat keeps shaping the music. The piano carries more delicate notes and Marjie Velour’s voice grows more caressing and gentle.
Nostalgia for the way the radio could create emotion and connections fills this song. The narrator talks about how there’s a “new sound of a generation” spreading across the world, but something is missing from it. She harks back to a time when there was an escape to the “twilight radio show” if you were young and feeling “lost, invisible, confused and low.”
Our narrator recalls how the “song that you were hoping for” came on the air and “everything’s alright.” There was a powerful connection as “everyone sings at the same time across the city tonight.” The narrator points out how the connection has been lost “down those disconnected request lines.” She adds that she knows that those kids are still out there and reassures them “you’re not alone, it’s time to amplify.”
The song becomes an impassioned plea to “take back the radio they stole” and to “use your voice ’til it makes you whole.” She adds that technology advances but “you can keep the spirit alive” as she urges everyone to “take back the airwaves, take back the radio.”
A huge, battering drumbeat throbs in to open “Can’t Stop.” The drums are powerful and bursting as rough-edged synth sounds sweep in along with deep bass. A medium-low, repeating synth with a jangling quality shifts as Marjie Velour’s powerful voice drives the equally powerful lyrics into the music effectively.
Hard-edged, gritty sounds growl and the sweeping synth light is battered by huge drums. Corey Rokkett sings his equally powerful vocal line as elevated, digital synths flicker. Underneath it all, the drumbeat is a throbbing, bursting creature. Marjie Velour’s voice carries the arcing vocal melody as the surging synths charge on before breaking to a steady quick pulsing synth and then silence.
Sometimes in life, there’s an undeniable connection between two people, even with a fleeting contact. Our narrator talks about how “eyes lock, inhibitions” drop in a space full of strangers but “impressions last” but it happened quickly and then she was “out the door.”
The narrator talks about how the “city sounds with the windows down” are a danger she can’t resist that’s locked in her head. The “late night dreams” she had have “shaken me to the core.” She adds that “tonight I believe in you” adding that it can be a single night “with or without you” but she’s confident that “you can’t stop thinking about me.”
Now our narrator says that she never gets “a dance with a second chance” and adds that “this one’s down to the wire.” She wonders if she should “pay the price and walk on thin ice again.” The narrator adds that she’s “afraid of the fire” but says “here we go, here I go” anyhow.
At the end of the day, she can’t stop thinking about the other person constantly because “you get me so high.” As the song ends, she points out that “you can’t stop thinking about me.”
“Staring At The Sun” begins as harsh digital sounds float out into open space, forming a slow cascade of drifting notes. Marjie Velour’s voice has a delicate, tender feeling that contrasts well with the harsh digital sounds. Deep bass flows and a snare drum adds a unique voice while softly reverent synths glide.
The lead synth is warm as it floats along, mirroring the caressing emotion in the lyrics while the snare drum pulses. Sharp-edged synths sweep in while bass weight adds support. The vocal melody reaches out in a yearning line while the beat keeps the music moving forward.
Swirling synths mingle and slide through the music, shimmering out over the throbbing bass and the angular digital-sounding synths. The tremble in Marjie Velour’s voice matches the feeling in the lyrics. The lead synth gleams and sweeps while the snare drums keep moving into the music and we fade to silence on digital grit.
In spite of our best intentions, relationships break apart and leave an ache behind. Our narrator talks about how she’s like a “star struck tourist who just can’t let a place go” but ultimately they leave “when it’s time to come home.” She says that she still wanted to try “but I didn’t get a vote.” Instead she was left with “no closure, empty apartment and no note.”
The narrator is left sitting with “only the echoes in my brain” and realizes that “in a thousand other universes” the end result would be no different. She adds that they “flew too high, staring at the sun.” Our narrator also realizes that the other person was “the only one who never said die.” She repeats that the other person was “the only one” but she still hasn’t cried over it.
“Not for lack of trying” she says that they stayed “on the same page” through all of the emotions from humour to passion and even rage. The narrator comes to understand that “some things in a picture you can’t see unless you look.” She got close enough to see but the other person “slammed shut the book.”
The final image in the song is haunting as she talks about “rain on the window, ghosts in the street, ghosts behind my eyes at midnight."
Rain, thunder and a distant radio open “Cloudburst Over Route 99” along with extremely deep bass and round, slowly drifting synths. A hard-edged, oscillating line of sound now gives way to metallic strings sparkling in a tightly intertwining, vibrating pattern.
Full, medium-high synths create a rising glow and the bass pulses unevenly. I am drawn to the way the lambent, sparkling synths create a textured feeling in the music. A mournful, nasal sounding synth rises in the background and the strings echo and glide out, wrapping around one another in a glittering flow.
The high synths sparkles over the depths around it and out into the echoing spaces of the music, a high melodic line now crying out in a fragile voice over the rich tones and timbres of the other elements as the flashing string-like synths all mingle and then flow into quiet over the rich bass.
Twilight Radio Show is an album that unfolds in a human dimension. It’s music about how we feel and how we deal with the experiences which life throws at us. I enjoy how Nakatomi Freefall weaves their synth fabric around the vocal performances and lyrical exploration on the album.
© 2022 Karl Magi