Friday 24 May 2013

The Synthetic Dream Foundation - Where Drowned Suns Still Glimmer

Album review by

Blimey. You can't get a much more hippyish/prog band/album name than that. It's odd then, that this project from Florida fit neither category. The Synthetic Dream Foundation weave slightly magical feeling electro-pop with a healthy mix of classical music giving them a lush orchestral edge. It's a surprisingly individual sound given the amount of electro-poppers out there; it's also a very ambitious one. Formed in 2008, the project has one solitary member, Brett Branning, but he sure as heck didn't cover all the instruments here; it sounds as though he was aided by a decent sized cast. This is evident from opening track 'Wings (feat. Aliyah Davis)'. We kind of guessed those vocals weren't his own.

'Where Drowned Suns Still Glimmer' is as full of drama as its name suggests. Take 'Medusa's Lair'; it's basically an operatic classical piece updated to take in electronic production, and it works a treat. Who the guest vocalist here is we don't know, but on 'Forever More', a song that's a bit like The Knife if they weren't quite so strange, it's Lauren Krothe who lends her note perfect tones. Again this is full of drama, the album could be a soundtrack, and an incredibly grand one at that. The elegance is momentarily ditched on the more electro-led 'Summoning Her Iron Golem', a dark and stormy instrumental (which makes us wonder where on earth the song title came from). This is much closer to what we'd expect from the US techno scene, with just that added touch of exciting turmoil.

Immediately this relative harshness is offset by the much mellower (but somehow no less powerful or dramatic) 'Tempus Edax Rerum (feat. Summer Bowman)', a very dreamlike piece that belongs in realms other than just musical. The closest we get to any old-school electronica is maybe 'Deeper Beyond The Machines', but even here that word crops up again: drama. Drama drama drama: it's what this album is made of, almost as if it pre-existed the songs and attached itself to them as they were being created. By now you know nothing will change, and the final trio of tracks continue this path that The Synthetic Dream Foundation has created, two of the songs given a partial operatic makeover by Susan Siren's vocals. This is stirring, powerful and mightily impressive stuff.

The Synthetic Dream Foundation's website

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