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Synth EP Review: "Nightcycle" by Disco Men From Mars

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


Disco Men From Mars’ Nightcycle explores the project’s wide ranging sonic palette, layered synthscapes and playful sense of fun with three new pieces and two remixes from their Invasion album.

“Nightcycle” breathes into being as the sound of night streets is broken by pulses of rough, sharp bass that growl in along with a radio sample. Driving, extending, warm notes float out over the grit of the bass, moving in long but separated lines.

A fat, funky synth is joined by a powerful percussion that adds to the groove. Synths sweep upwards at the end of each rising line and a flickering, bright, piano-like synth accents the music.

Oscillating, medium-high, tight synths shift over dense bursts of sharp edged sound while the drumbeat has a chest-thumping throb to it. A distorting synth dance wriggles along in time to the beat before a segment with spinning, metallic arpeggios is cut into by digital sounds.

Undulating, nasal synth wavers over the steady beat and metallic pulses ripple out rapidly along with deeper, chippy sounds and glittering chimes. The beat pushes on before the delicate swirls and shiny chimes fade out.

Sharply glowing, rough-edged synth moves in quick pulses that tremble and fade in and out to open “Neon Visions” while a solid bass pulse throbs. Broad-feeling, open drums form a steady, gigantic throb while the bass adds weight underneath the wriggling, cutting synth.

Wandering flashes of medium-low, digital synth cut over the varied percussion and the huge drums keep up their pulse. An evolving, expanding synth ripples out over the digitized swirling while a vocal sample shifts in, disembodied and distorted, while the drums hit hard and we end on a deep flow.

“DJ Hal 9000 Bleach Blanket Bebop ( Living In A Vacuum Remix)” commences with static hiss and an old radio sample. A steady, hollow-sounding drumbeat echoes into a vast space and a twirling, whirring synth line undulates and wiggles. A digital, hollow synth plays a familiar, jaunty melody in a very computerized fashion before reverent, rising synth clouds flow. Funky guitar dances out before bass oscillations are joined by echoing claps.

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Trickling synth bubbles through over the active bassline and a bright guitar brings the funk. A vocal sample from "2001: A Space Odyssey" comes in before the playful melody is underpinned by a smooth reggae pulse.The track returns as another sample from "2001" cuts in before the full drum kit and driving beat returns. Energized, medium-high synth and bright guitar move in quick, shiny lines.

Groovy guitar is matched by huge, hollow drums and the reggae beat returns. Bursting, wild synths scuttle through and a breakbeat section comes in along with spinning arpeggios. The main melodic segment returns as the unmistakable reggae beat anchors it. The beat breaks again before the guitar leaps in a sunny melody and the drums bop along.

A full drum kit flourishes to open “Charla en la Acera” before a powerful bassline adds an energizing element to the track while Latin flavoured percussion moves over the bass. A hollow pipe-like synth plays a melodic pattern doubled with a funky guitar sound as glittering arpeggios shimmer.

The pipe-like synth plays an undulating pattern as additional catchy percussion elements are joined by an organ sound winding through the track. The pipe melody wriggles its way over the other sonic elements as bright arpeggios keep sparkling.

The shape of the music is strongly influenced by the percussion as tight, nasal synth wiggles in a taut line. Misty glowing synth waves sweep over the percussion’s richness, giving an easy flow and the beat is now on its own before sparkling, metallic chimes flicker. Nasal synth plays a compact line while the chimes arpeggiate and a repeating bass flow oscillates into the end of the track.

“Moog Sunset (Better Living Through Circuitry Remix)” kicks off with a throbbing, floor filling beat and quick, dark synth sweeps are cut by synths reminiscent of distorted steel drums with a warm resonance that move in gentler lines. Intricate, warming medium-high synth ripples out over the drum and bass drive while varied and interesting percussion adds more character. The bell-like, steel drum synth sound flares and glides along with dark, rough bass below it.

Crystal lights twinkle from an elevated synth that chimes over the relentless beat and a shimmying, medium-high synth bubbles and wavers over the beat’s solidity. A dense, rippling synth texture spreads above wide feeling, hard-edged sounds. The drums pulse along with a nasal, low wobble while a tremulous synth vibrates.

Burbling synths wash out in a textural pattern while the drums and bass keep the propulsion going, joined by a high, shivering sound. Bursts of metallic synth rise up in short lines and a xylophone-like synth volleys back and forth. Drifting, popping and medium high synth with a hollow feeling carries on before a static-edged sound repeats hypnotically, shifting back and forth before everything fades.

© 2022 Karl Magi

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