Jan 2018 07

Trade Secrets - Golden LifeTrade Secrets
Category: Electro-pop / Rock / Coldwave
Album: Golden Life
Blurb: Melodious and contemplative, the debut EP from Trade Secrets may bear more than a passing resemblance to Hypefactor, but now driven by the singular focus of F.J. DeSanto.


It’s been some time since we’d heard the smoothly sardonic electro/rock Hypefactor, the band’s last release being 2015’s 市中心中国 single. Since then, founder F.J. DeSanto has maintained his other creative endeavors in movies and comic books, but it would be his travels in Japan and facing a life-threatening illness that would serve as a backdrop for his newest musical outlet. Picking up where Hypefactor left off and employing a more singular yet still highly collaborative vibe, Trade Secrets’ Golden Life sends the listener sojourning through the hazy lit streets of an otherworldly metropolis, all the while contemplating mortality and hope for a better future. Written in collaboration with longtime associates, Golden Life is a rather cohesive and verdantly atmospheric album, with DeSanto’s Peter Hook inspired bass melodies serving as a tonal anchor for much of the EP’s jazzy and ambient excursions. For example, one could be forgiven for mistaking Trade Secrets for Hypefactor on a song like “Only You” as regular guest vocalist Peter Riley lends his crooning evocative of Chris Connelly to a rhythmic romp of concise rhythms and wispy pads, DeSanto’s steely bass hooks recalling the sounds heard on the Hypefactor debut album, Exit Strategies. Similarly, the opening title track resonates with sputtering organ-esque pads and plushy synth leads, topped off by John Kunkel’s wistful vocals and DeSanto’s phased lead lines, while “Pivotal” pulsates with a danceable rhythm that reminds this writer of Basic Pleasure Model, albeit with some ghostly vocoder vocals and DeSanto’s crystalline melodies. However, this is not to say that Golden Life doesn’t yield some pleasant surprises to distinguish it from Hypefactor; for instance, the closing instrumental “Boketto” is rather slow and meditative, the swells of warm pads and the sound of distant voices amid a resonant bass bears the same ingredients but somehow, the resulting flavor is more exotic. Similarly, Kanako Kobayashi’s emotionless Japanese dialect amid celestial pulses and sweeps of cosmic pads with sustained e-bow guitar lines on “Slow Reply” create the feeling of a cloudy overhead view of the Tokyo skyline, pensive and brooding, while Peka’s vocals on “Deaux” give the track a decidedly poppy flair with the spasms of clawing electric bellows. For all of the collaboration on this EP and the more than passing resemblance to his previous outlet, Trade Secrets is very much the sound of F.J. DeSanto as he acts as a conductor of sorts for the musical creation, his melodious and contemplative spirit providing a baseline for each track of Golden Life.
Track list:

  1. Golden Life
  2. Pivotal
  3. Slow Reply
  4. Only You
  5. Deaux
  6. Boketto

Trade Secrets
Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, Bandcamp
Distortion Productions
Website, Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, YouTube
Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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