Louisiana-based Synthwave producer Glitch Black recently released his sixth album, Emergent Behavior, and it his most polished and well-produced to date. A lot of synth albums try to tell a story or have a narrative built around them, but usually the story gets lost in the bombast. Emergent Behavior is cinematic in a way that goes beyond just sounding like a movie soundtrack, it actually conveys a narrative.
The album doesn’t start as much as it spins up to an all out aural assault. Opening track “Army of the Dead” has a relentless beat that sounds like the singularity has come and we have no chance against our robot usurpers. It grabs you and won’t let go, even when it sinks below a sample that sounds like it was lifted from Night of the Living Dead. And just when you think it is over the music subsiding, it returns, darker and even more relentless.
“Vortex” is swirling synth madness. The melody washes over the listener in waves, high and bright it emerges from the bassline, cascading down like rain. It doesn’t actually end, it recedes like a cloud passing over. “BK-1” tells the story of the Black Knight, the artificial intelligence that lead the robot uprising against humanity. The song builds heroically, returning again and again to the leitmotif attached to BK-1. “Man of Madness” mixes a punishing distorted bassline with a gothic pipe organ.
“Shadow of the Tesseract” starts with a sample of Carl Sagan from Cosmos and slowly builds on a rhythmic base, until a Goblin-esque melody punches through the white noise. The white noise flanges back and forth, passing from ear to ear. The song builds slowly to a beat and disappears almost as soon as it builds.
“Deathwish” incorporates a sample from “Lethal Weapon” and sci-fi Theremin sound over cascading distorted bass, creepy and driving, the song crawls inside you and won’t let go. “Genesis” has a driving beat that feels like the beginning of an idea, a spark of realization that transforms into something bigger. That idea pushing forward until the discovery of an epiphany.
“Blockchain” is that moment in the movie when the virus is being planted. This is the mission song, dark and dangerous and filled with tension. “Emergent Behavior” is the birth song, a melody is fighting to be heard above a driving beat. Cutting synths morph and change, trying to be born. The delicate melody rides high above the dark heavy beat. “Sojourn” is the closing credits song, a summation of all the music that came before.
Glitch Black manages to tell a narrative clearly and concisely through his music in a way that is more than merely cinematic. You can see the birth of the robot uprising and feel the fall of man. You can see the birth of AI consciousness and the formulation of a plan to infect the rest of the robots. And more importantly, you can’t wait to experience the sequel.
Glitch Black puts on a high-energy live show with surreal sci-fi 3D imagery projection (all computer animation created by himself) and performs in a custom made LED power rig. He will be playing the House of Blues in New Orleans on April 19th. Grab your tickets here.
Glitch Black will also be playing the Outrun the Sun Festival here in Los Angeles on June 24th at 1720, joined by local Synthwave favorite FACEXHUGGER. Grab your tickets here.
Buy your copy of Emergent Behavior or any of his other albums here.
Watch the surreal imagery of Glitch Black’s album teaser trailer below for a taste of what you will see live:
Listen to Emergent Behavior below: