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Synth EP Review: "Strange Matter" by Thought Beings

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

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Thought Beings’ Strange Matter EP is a tasteful, shadow stricken tribute to ‘80s New Wave synth pop featuring rich synth sounds and strong vocal performances.

“Strange Matter” is a song thick with bleak emotion and empty feelings. It opens with deep bass propulsion and big, throbbing drums that are touched by a repeating synth sparkle. Airy synths float in the background around Orion’s deep, powerful voice. A hollow, empty string strum with a static-y edge touches the music before Lemon’s expressive, warmer voice intertwines with Orion’s shadowy tones. A gnarly electric bass adds weight while the misty glowing synths swirl.

Orion’s cold, dark voice carries the vocal melody while the throbbing bass and drum drive goes on. The two voices of the singers enfold one another and spiral out into a more uplifting chorus. A twisting, nervous synth howl breaks into a distant, tumbling note pattern and the beat launches again. The song ends on propulsive drive and the synth howl.

The narrator asks, “Do you believe in all the lies? Does it matter at all?” The lyrics talk about going “into the myriad of nights.” The narrator asks if the song’s subject believes in “love and light” and wonders if that matters. There’s an image of the other person walking away into darkness, fading into legend.

In the chorus, the lyrics speak of “strange matter” that calls out in the night and guides the narrator’s heart “toward the light.” There’s a bleak image of “dark matter lost behind your eyes” but the narrator talks about how the other person will never die in their heart.

The narrator talks about how “every day it comes to life” as strange matter “resolves into the secrets of our time.” He asks, “Do you believe we’ll never die? Does it matter at all?” as he talks about walking away into the night.

“Alone Again” is told from the perspective of a perpetual outsider looking at the world around them. A dense, lush flow of gentle, airy synth is cut into by broad swathes of brighter sound as the song begins.The lambent synth moves in slowly floating, repetitive pulses along with swelling bass. Orion’s classic New Wave voice, aching and deep, carries the melancholy vocal melody as it soars over the steady heartbeat of the drums.

The chorus climbs as the soft synth whorls float out before the pained vocals move along with the bass pulsation. The whole musical background supports the emotive, expressive vocal performance. The huge, varied percussion sound breaks into steady oscillating bass pulses and gruff-edged, gliding synth. Orion fills the track with his strong voice over glowing, expanding synth sounds.

He talks about how “alone I dwell among the stars.” The narrator points out that even in his youth, his dreams were different. He adds, “my dreams of youth are not the same” and adds that they never saw things like other people did.

Even now the narrator says that he can’t bring his “passions from a common spring” and his “pains and woes” came from a different source. He simply doesn’t “feel joy at the same tone.” Ultimately “all I loved, I loved alone.”

There’s a sense of bleak acceptance in the lines, “Alone again. Nothing has ever changed. I’ll be ok.” In the midst of the streets and the “pleasant neighbourhoods” he sleeps alone. Now his “vision fades among the trees and other simple, lovely things” as he remembers that “the chilly moon and heated sun” are also alone. He adds, “When one goes down, the other rises from a different source.”

In contrast to the bleak message of the rest of the song, the narrator still cries out that he will be “whole again!”

“New Flesh” opens with a lashing drum pulse that leaps into the track as in along with a spoken word fragment which talks about how death is not the end, but the beginning of the “new flesh.” Trickles of shifting digital sound shimmer in quick lines while the broken bass throb and steady drum pulse propel the music. Wordless vocals move in an angular melodic line.

The beat twists through into open space while a smooth, medium-low synth surge creates an undulating effect over ear-grabbing percussion. The spoken word segment moves through with the bright trickles of glittering sound and the wordless vocals chant in ethereally. Distant, medium-low synth wriggles and that hollow percussion moves while the voices chant once more before fading out.

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