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Synth EP Review: "Requiem" by Gribbles

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


Initial Impressions

Requiem by Gribbles showcases this artist’s singular vision for synth-based music. It’s full of experimental touches and a diversity of sounds the are all interwoven to create music that’s rather dense and full of textures. Gribbles also has a good sense of melody and a feeling for painting images in music that were enjoyable on the EP.

The experimental nature of Requiem is evident in the choices of different synth sounds that pervade the track, often going for something challenging or intriguing. I always enjoy artists who eschew the most obvious choice and try something different. I’d say that on this EP it’s largely successful even at more ear-challenging moments.

Building layers of sound also define the album. They are all woven, one into the other, creating moving patterns and establishing textures. These layers aren’t too busy and they don’t become muddy as they interact, so that each part is clear despite their interconnections.

The melodic parts on Requiem are nicely done, creating more imagery in the mind with their expressive natures. Although the EP is less melody-driven than some recordings, when there are melodies they add to the music.

Track by Track Analysis

“Requiem (for a lost people)” is tinged with darkness from the deep bass and given a dense feeling by the keyboard-like notes that drift and form intertwining patterns that continue through the piece. The melody, on a high synth, has a tinge of sadness and I enjoy how the shining, piping synth adds a second, equally tragic melody line which does express the sense of this being a requiem.

There is a hypnotic quality to “What Are The Media?” which is created by spinning arpeggios moving over bass that flashes in and out of the track as the steady beat matches their rather bouncing feeling. There’s a winding, minor key synth line that carries on under the samples of Noam Chomsky’s rather unsettling commentary on the nature of media which adds a real edge to the track that I was drawn into along with the tension in the music.

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“Hive” does start out with a buzzing synth sound, deep and hard-edged, as the sounds above it sweep in a circle while a glowing, but still minor key melody twists through the music in a way that I quite like. Underneath it the bass pulse keeps all the layers of sound anchored. The secondary, softer melody in the track was also appealing before the music returns to a more shaded, minor theme as the track closes.

I was soothed and set at ease by the gentle synths which swell up like pink mist to enfold the listener on “Airwatching.” This music with waves of soft sound like pillowed clouds drifting through along with a breath of air before a beat with a springy sound begins to emerge along with a high synth line that emerges from the misty, ephemeral sounds around it. I like how the track is layered and full, one warm sound building on another.


Requiem by Gribbles has a real atmosphere and mood about it generated by the way in which all of the different musical components of each track interact and flow together. Once again, Gribbles has an original take on synth-based music with this EP.

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