Beautiful from the outset for its lovingly-crafted synth embrace and the combination of artwork and title implications – Raz Hardy sets the mood with ease as his brand new album takes listeners on a much welcomed Journey.
Intro keeps things simple – a wash of inviting warmth that calms the soul and lures you in for the experience. Then we get to the meat of the style, the multiple synths and colours and keys that rain down amidst a fuzzy bass and rhythm – Cycle Of Life proves all at once experimental and comforting in its nostalgic instrumental calm.
Moving forward with the creative and eclectic, Music To Cruise To picks up the pace, delivering short yet striking bass work and rhythms that make for a quickly hypnotic progression.
Structurally there’s a notable shift at the halfway mark – the cruise pausing to allow for reflection, the audience to gather their thoughts. This one is somewhat minimalist yet brilliantly addictive in its hit of escapism. An early highlight, with a descending melody for a clear thread of recognisable character.
Other highlights from the twelve-track project include the panning ups and downs of Swim – intriguing and brilliantly artistic in every intricacy and detail along the way. Superb production – mostly a Journey for the listener to find (or purely lose) themselves within, but also a decidedly impressive display of skill and focus from the creative behind it.
The white-noise weight and retro bass of Deep Dive makes for another stand-out, with a strong use of contrast as each new section falls into place. The distinction between moments of subtle distortion and absolute clarity is powerful, especially the shift to piano and bass from the fuzz of earlier – Hardy’s attention to the particulars is second to none.
During the latter half we get some melodic calm and space with Ase’, piano and synth uniting for the easy engagement of the body and mind as things settle in to contemplation.
Motor City follows and injects a little energy and electro-funk for more of a conceptually relevant hustle and bustle feel. We’re then quite suddenly prompted to consider our role within the world – our lives, the very idea of time, as heavy bass and a melodic rise and fall quietly impart the question; Where Did Time Go?
Farewell Beneath The Snow closes the album down well, offering a suddenly striking use of cleanly mixed, somewhat gritty and awakening layers of unique rhythms and riffs. A dreamy yet intense, increasingly euphoric composition, which reminds us again of the abilities of the producer, whilst providing a mighty hit of escapism that overwhelms at the final hurdle.
As stated earlier, a wonderful album – one that grabs hold of the listener and refuses to let go throughout. An easy place to take your mind for an hour or so.