Death And Adoration
The larger histories of synthwave likely won’t be written for another few years. But it seems probable that a good deal of the nuance which went into the genre’s early days and its most primary influence might be easily lost in a wash of custom Euro sportscars and magenta lipstick fonts. I don’t even mean to suggest that there ever was some halcyon age in which its retro stylings ever carried some purer weight in the broader culture, but only that some of the restraint shown by, say, earlier Gatekeeper releases might carry some gravitas which might endure years after we’ve all forgotten why we were expected to have measured takes on the Kavinsky catalog. It’s in that spirit which I feel the sophomore record from David Christian’s Crimes AM project must be read. Part throwback to a time before synthwave was termed as such, part chilly and restrained adjunct to its current excesses, it’s a reminder of how outré and melancholic this style once was.
Death And Adoration is certainly less grimy than its predecessor, Softcore. Rather than drilling its synthline into distorted textures which connote the depraved world the project’s original Crimes After Midnight handle, the production on this record is resolutely clean and straight-forward, with the focus being kept on economical trade-offs between rhythm and harmony as tracks slowly process synth line after synth line. Because of this, it’s possible to read the record as being austere, especially when its religious imagery is taken into account. It’s tough to get a clear sense of how the record’s religious themes are woven into the music; apart the song titles, artwork, and the odd muffled vocal sample which might be liturgical there aren’t any clear thematic connections to Catholicism (or cribbing from sacred music which I could catch). But there’s certainly a somber mood which is carried through the whole affair which might not be ill-suited for processions, self-flaggelation, and the like.
That commitment to a particular theme lends some structure to a record which might otherwise feel restless or saturnine without cause. Regardless of its provenance, Death And Adoration carries with it the talents for layering and timing which Christian’s bringing from his years of expertise with the far more abrasive Cervello Elettronico project. Brooding and considered, it’s a dour take on a style which could perhaps benefit from a solemn gaze at itself in the mirror every once in a while.’