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Retro Reverb Records Top 3 Reviews: June 2020

Updated on August 2, 2020
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Karl is a longtime freelancer who's passionate about music, art, and writing.

1. Transhumanism - Ditsea Yella

“Transhumanism” by Ditsea Yella is a dark, glitchy meditation on how we’re trapped by technology and the digital world. It’s a sharp critique of the direction societies are taking when it comes to the virtual. There’s a technological sound to the music with broken beats that speed along. The darkness of the music is a complement to the dystopia that the words outline. It is a worrisome vision that they express.

The rough-edged musical elements support the cutting lyrical flow and imbue the whole track with a sense of darkness and weight that complements the biting social commentary. This is a track that hits hard and fills the atmosphere with a feeling of propulsive energy. The lyrics are well worked out and cleanly delivered, increasing the impact of their message. Ditsea Yella have the writing chops and musical skills to ensure their vision is clearly articulated to the listener.

2. Medusa - The Elite

“Medusa” by The Elite has a complexity to it as it roams from the minor sounding, slightly dark synth line that opens the track through to a warmer lead synth that glows over the steadily throbbing beat that adds propulsion and motion to the music. The melody is uplifting and has a gentle quality to it as it soars over the steady heartbeat of the percussion and the rolling bass that flows underneath it.

The track accelerates into a faster section where tightly clustered notes fly along to infuse the music with more energy and power before returning to the more sweeping, glowing sound that defines the track. The way in which all of these parts are layered and intertwined keeps the listener engaged and carried along by the music, while the main melody shines warmly out over the other elements of the track.

Tied for 3rd Place

Miami Nights - Mantus

There’s a great feeling of energy about “Miami Nights” by Mantus as those bright arps wheel out into the track and the classic synthwave drumbeat accelerates the music forward. A second and more airy arpeggiation spins into the music over the bass and drum throb. This was a piece of music that conjured up the feeling of passing under the neon glow of city lights as the night winds blows on your face.

The main synth line has a very upbeat and energetic quality as it dances through the music. This is a piece that shines and glides along easily. There are wind-like sounds that float through as glowing, lustrous sensations fill the listener’s ears. Everything in this track fused together to generate something bright and smooth. The combination of shiny arps, that addictive beat and smooth flow created a track that captures the best parts of the original synthwave sound.

Miami Mutilator - das cät

There is darkness and danger in “Miami Mutilator” by das cät. The track opens with a powerful, dark bass throb that rapidly moves underneath swirling dissonance and a pulse of drum rhythm. Synth twists and winds into the track as bass depth growls underneath the clustered high synth chords, feeling weighty and menacing. A high fluting synth cuts through the dark walls of rough edged sound around it as everything is driven by the insistent beat.

The main synth has a bending, warping quality to it as it plays a wandering melody. There’s a deep feeling of threat that lurks in this track, a sense that something terrible is waiting just out of sight. All of the elements of the track play a game of contrast and balance, so that the end result produces strong imagery and creates an atmosphere of menace that permeates the entire track.


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