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(43:33; Brigand Broadcasting Corporation)
TRACK LIST: 1. Transient 4:10 2. Uniforms 5:25 3. Danger 5:11 4. January 5:40 5. Another Planet 5:50 6. Mr. Many Men 6:49 7. Out West 4:00 8. Uniforms (Darcadian Remix) 5:31 9. Uniforms Choral 0:57 LINEUP: N/A
Prolusion. The UK based composer and musician that simply wants to be known as The Captain has been leading his venture Captain of the Lost Waves for a few years now, debuting as a recording artist under this moniker in 2017 with the album "Hidden Gems" and also being a visible artist on the live circuit. "Synthesis" is his second studio production, and is probably best described as some variety of a compilation album. The album was officially released in 2018 through the imprint Brigand Broadcasting Corporation as a limited edition vinyl album and as a digital album.
Analysis. "Synthesis" compiles material from the first Captain of the Lost Waves album alongside songs that were planned for the then forthcoming second album to be released by Captain of the Lost Waves. Supplementing those 5 songs are two non-album tracks, a remix of one of the new songs and a standalone vocal outtake of the same song as well. As a stop gap release in between albums that is good value for money in itself, and that some of the old songs present are somewhat different from the original album tracks is another bonus. The version of 'Another Planet' in particular merits a mention here, as the version included here is the remixed single version, and an extended version of that remix too unless I'm much mistaken. So, a compilation album featuring old and forthcoming material alongside non-album tracks is a nice novelty feature and good fan service, but for those so far unaware of what Captain of the Lost Waves is all about the above descriptions doesn't really reveal all that much of course. Hence the music needs to be described a bit as well. Captain of the Lost Waves is a venture with a foundation placed somewhere inside the folk music universe. You might state that it is placed both here and there as a matter of fact, as the Captain roams the genre landscapes with very much a free spirit, appearing to have itchy feet and a great deal of wanderlust in his creative genes. So we get served an opening folk instrumental with Americana details, a spaghetti western inspired overlay, lightly flavored with cosmic details. Cabaret and vaudeville oriented escapades comes next with 'Uniforms', complete with orchestral details and textured undercurrents expanding the palette and providing a subtle ominous darkness to the song. And in a similar mood and atmosphere, but with a French chanson foundation going Russian folk music at the end we have 'Danger' next, pulled from the Captain's first album and a brilliant song in itself. On 'January' the style is more of a traditional melancholic folk music one, arguably with a few Celtic touches, and flavored with orchestral overlays. 'Another Planet' heads back to vaudeville, cabaret and Chanson territories, in this remixed version with added electronic textures and effects giving it a old music given a science fiction makeover feel. 'Mr. Many Men' returns to a more traditional folk music style; playful, uplifting and melancholic at the same time. 'Out West' bookends the album experience quite nicely, referencing back to some of the core features of the opening instrumental of this compilation album. The bonus features comes next: The remixed version of 'Uniforms' gives this song a 22nd century makeover that transforms it from an entertaining and solid affair into a slightly smoother and darker creation that I'd describe as both radio friendly and with a minor hit song potential, while the concluding brief choral extracts from the same song to me strikes me as more interesting than actually worthwhile as an individual cut. Still, at less than a minute playtime this brief conclusion isn't one that takes much away from the total album experience as such. The Captain is a gifted song-smith that has a way with words as well as instruments and arrangements. I have yet to hear a composition penned by him I'd describe as weak or even lackluster, and just about all his songs I've heard so far have their moments of brilliance at worst, and quite a few of them at best. Hence personal taste in music will be the main factor deciding whether you should enter his universe or not, as the quality just isn't in question.
Conclusion. Compilation albums have always been something of a divisive product among music fans. Some enjoy them for being more or less good introductions to an artist, others in general and fans in particular aren't always as positive as too many of them doesn't offer anything substantial to them. In this case fans and newcomers alike will get a product that provides them with material of value, as in essence only two of the songs had been released in the same or a similar form on an album prior to the release of "Synthesis". A good introduction to the universe the Captain explores, and a worthwhile addition also for existing fans. If folk music, vaudeville excursions and cabaret material are parts of the music you tend to enjoy, this is a production that merits a check.
Progmessor: September 29th 2019
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