On Soniq Variants (Harmonic Resonance Recordings), Alpha Wave Movement (Gregory Kyryluk), delivers an hour of vintage electronic and atmospheric delights. Working mostly with vintage Ensoniq synths (VFX-SD (modified to SD-1), ESQ-1 and SQ-R+), Greg presents an overview of classic synth music, clearly having a lot of fun.
The album abounds with analog warmth, despite its digital origins. Classic-style melodic sequences sparkle and buzz. Electronic rhythms bounce, chug and hurry us along. Luminous chord progressions lift us up and expand our vision.
Sundial West starts the album with a gamelan-like intro, a sunrise invocation, a bouncy rhythm loping through the desert. There’s a strong sense of vast outdoor spaces here, sounds bouncing off distant rock formations under a blazing sky, as we travel without hurrying.
Of the album’s eight tracks, my favorites included the three most atmospheric pieces, and the most frenzied rhythmic one. That would be Sweeping the Soniq Spectrum, a nine-minute tour-de-force and easily the album’s slam-dunk soundtrack piece. Gorgeous spacy chords lift us up at the outset, with brassy chords adding more punch to the driving rhythmic lines later on.
Eternal Panorama is splendid and still, vast and earthy, with a slow, grounding rhythm and a vibrant and stately two-part melodic sequence. I wish that Sustained Environment, the album’s shortest track at under four minutes, had been sustained a few minutes longer. A lovely, shimmering chord, full of light, is held throughout, and long single notes rise and fall over a cool low sequence simulating a choir of frogs.
Contours & Cloudforms provides a strong closing for the album, starting with a subdued piano-like sequence under echoing bird calls and chimes. Beautiful, strongly-lit chords fly in over a minimal sequence and a lightly-tattering rhythm.
There are no great revelations here, but none are needed. The territory may be familiar, but the ride is no less enjoyable for it. Our tour guide has a firm grasp on the wheel, and his sense of fun is absolutely infectious. Don’t miss this album; I think you’ll be smiling when it’s done – as I was.
Soniq Variants is available (on CD or by download) from CD Baby.