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Synth EP Review: "Synthetics" by RAN

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


RAN’s Synthetics is an EP full of strong melodic writing, compelling guitar playing and a rich atmosphere that paints visions of a shadowy future full of grit and the triumph of technology.

“A New Beginning” kicks off as a sweeping synth expands into space while another synth that has a cut glass ring to it winds over the deep bass and big, steady drumbeat. A rough pulse of metallic synth moves below the sparkling chimes and the gigantic drums grow even more powerful.

An uplifting, progressive melody moves over the thunder of the drums, carried on a medium-high, glittering synth. There’s a break into a harsh, throbbing synth pulse before hollow drums move below the soaring cry of the electric guitar over swirling sound.

The reaching, rising melody echoes through the track on a brightly glowing synth over the thick energy of the drums. A freewheeling, arcing guitar solo dances over the unrelenting beat. The track exudes a charging dynamism as the guitar’s impassioned voice calls out. The propulsive energy of the lead synth returns before the music fades on elevated shimmering and into silence.

An oscillating, broken synth pattern is cut into by insistent drums and a guitar melody that glistens and sings to start off “The March of Istan.” The music takes a brief minor key twist as the heavy slabs of the drums hit hard and a descending pattern of medium-high synth steps down through the rising clouds of sound around it.

The drums now break into the undulating waves of sharp-edged bass and a raised cloud of shiny sound before beat slowly propels the track and the guitar slices through over the top of the beat. A bright line of flickering, elevated synth dances and recedes before that guitar winds out in a repeating melodic pattern.

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After a flourish of drums, rapid glimmering arpeggios come in and out of the music while reverent synth sounds rise. A complex, majestic guitar line soars out over the relentlessly heavy drums and thick bass, leaping ever higher in wildly flying patterns before the track returns to the regal “A” section melody.

“Nexus 2 A.M.” opens with a dark, jagged, oscillating bass line that’s joined by a throbbing, steady drumbeat and a forceful melody permeated by positive energy. The oscillating, hard-edged bass pulse supports the mingled guitars that call out over the top of it.

Shifting lines of metallic sound and hollow toms move through before the hard-charging guitar line expresses a feeling of forward motion The beat keeps pushing the music along as a well wrought solo makes a cascading and energizing journey through the music.

A sweeping airy rush of sound, robotic and strange, is joined by a deeply pulsating beat and bass pattern to bring “Rise of the Synthetics” to life. A hollow, medium-low synth with a full richness carries a hopeful, still shadow touched melody which aches with melancholy. Elevated, melodic lines of synth call out, full of yearning, as the steady, insistent pulse is now joined by a minor key synth line that wriggles and twists through the track.

The majestic voice of the guitar is complemented with a pipe organ sound that adds weight and depth as it unceasingly pushes the music onward. A glowing synth moves behind the guitars that howl with expressive power. There’s a feeling of twisted domination to the guitar lines as their bright energy unfurls into the music. The track ends with power and drive.

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