Lazerhawk - Dreamrider
Synthwave is an interesting genre. It never really broke into the mainstream fully, but you can hear elements of it peppered in a ton of modern music. The biggest breakout for the synth as of late was the massive success of the TV show "Stranger Things" and it's soundtrack created by S U R V I V E. However Lazerhawk is deeply rooted in this genre being part of it's origins and rise. His albums in the past had a particular theme; Space, Love, Driving ect., but this record seems to try to explain it all, life and everything else. A big undertaking but one that Lazerhawk seems to be more than prepared for. The entire hour of music is so unified with each track building and improvising on the one before it, while still holding tight to it's overarching ideals. The pictures that Lazerhawk paints are so vivid and so distinct you find yourself falling in love with the world that he creates around you. "Feel the Rush Tonight" has this opening guitar line that eventually fades into a synthy sound and it is really just incredible. Dreamrider has really special elements of dance but refuses to be just that and pushes forward constantly. Nothing on this record feels forced or outside of the scope of the overarching concept, Lazerhawk is so good at what He does He is able to just do it rather than try to do it and the results are incredibly organic sounding. It seems almost like live painting or improv, as if you are the first and perhaps the last to ever hear this music.
What some synthwave producers do is get to bogged down with being the most inventive and really exploring what the synth can do. It becomes more of a technical challenge than a musical one, and the results are often hollow, not here. The synth for Lazerhawk is an extension of his personality and not a technology to be mastered. The elements which are outside of the synth also add great elements. On "Cool Breeze" you get a really great percussion line at the beginning which sucks you right in. Dreamrider never sacrifices anything, each element feels completely intentional which for an artist is exactly what you want. While different people will take different things away from the record everyone will be able to pick out where Lazerhawk wants this journey to take us. By the time you look up, who knows where you are or how you got there, but you are happy for the adventure. Dreamrider really is an achievement and it shows that sometimes the first person to do something might also happen to be the best at it.
9.0 out of 10