Oct 2022 31

Album CoverArkham Sunset
Album: The Noise Divine
Category: Synthwave / Synthpop
Label: Permanent Midnight Records
Release Date: 2022-01-21


Arkham Sunset’s Gerry Hathaway has gone a long way carving a niche for the span of a 10-year oeuvre. The Portland, OR-based project specializes in synth-heavy offerings that include film score interpretations that don’t exclusively fall into the popular listening end of the broad electronic music spectrum. The latest release from Arkham Sunset, titled The Noise Divine, is a further foray into Hathaway’s synth capabilities, offering a short but to-the-point five-track piece of ear candy that could, with some justice, be referred to as synthwave, synthpop, and even darkwave in many places without exclusively pigeonholing into any single one. Though the release is both short and eclectic, it is far from unfocused. The opening “Black Flame” is an upbeat yet somber cut, the first of two songs featuring the breathy, dramatic vocal talents of Anastasia Poirier. The seasoned listener is immediately reminded of electronic music releases of the golden age of synths, with lead lines akin to Joy Division and thudding, classic drum samples reminiscent of early Skinny Puppy. However, the album quickly takes a slight turn into straight-to-the-point bass lines that yield to equally straight, infectious synth grooves over simple yet effective synth percussion (think Welle:Erdball), accompanied by robotic vocoder. The EP continues much in the same vein through to the catchy closing title track. The beauty of Hathaway’s approach is simplicity that doesn’t feel sparse. The songs are all lush, spiced with synthesized melodies that never become overwhelming, and create variation with limited instrumentation, eschewing more modern wobble- and distortion-soaked techniques for meat-and-potatoes songwriting that will leave scene vets with a happy nostalgic glow and newcomers with a much deeper appreciation for the potential of synths of old.
Track list:

  1. Razor Line
  2. Portal into Shadow
  3. Lifeforms
  4. Black Flame
  5. The Noise Divine

Arkham Sunset
SoundCloud, Bandcamp, YouTube
Ian Nolan (ZeroGrav)

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