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Synth Single Review: "Black Liquid" by Retrograth

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


Retrograth’s Black Liquid is a comment on humanity’s addiction to the easy freedom afforded to us by fossil fuels. A rough edged, trembling pulse of repeating synth forms a shadowy melodic pattern as the airy feeling beat keeps relentlessly pushing on. A digital-sounding, nasal synth line wriggles as Retrograth’s clear, dark voice moves in while the beat stutters and whips in and out along with dark, drilling pulses of low synth.

The warning and opportunity in the lyrics is well delivered by Retrograth’s voice over the shadow and grit of the other elements of the track. The narrator talks of the “hot tires, asphalt dazzle on a summer day.” There are “pine trees, gravel roads” and rain clattering on the window frames. He adds, “black liquid takes you anywhere.”

The idea of “absolute autonomy on the empty highway” as you can take “winding roads” and make random stops is expressed by the narrator. The conclusion is that while the “black liquid” can take you anywhere, but that it is ultimately “freedom fuel for a trip to nowhere.”

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