Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Music Review //
Phantoms vs Fire

Around this time last year, I first heard the music of Phantoms vs Fire with the album "Swim".   Since then I've been following along, listening to the music and not really writing about it because I'm not fully sure how to describe it all.   I'm one of those people who says they don't really listen to electronic music, but if you go through my reviews (because those are the best representation of what I listen to) you'll see that I actually listen to quite a bit of electronic music (and also tend to say that I don't in a lot of the reviews) it's just... not what you think of when you think of electronic music.

To me, electronic music in my early years meant creating this sound sample that was cool and then holding the key on the keyboard which made said sound for three minutes to make a song.   You all know these artists who do this, right?  I don't have to name them by name or anything?  Ok.  Good.    I feel like electronic music somehow gets a worse reputation than other genres though.  I mean, I love rock music but I'm not all hesitant to admit it just because someone might think it implies I listen to Nickelback.   All this being said, I think 2019 is the year where I finally need to admit that I enjoy electronic music... just not those artists you think of when I say electronic music.

"WLDLFE" begins with synths that are big and fun.   There is something magical in these songs and perhaps the biggest thing to take away from those previous two paragraphs (if nothing else) is that while electronic music has always felt cold to me in the way that it was computer generated and lacked any real sense of human emotion, the sounds of Phantoms vs Fire feel rather organic, which is seemingly the opposite of electronic but the way that this bit of magic is able to appear is why I enjoy it so much and why no one (not just me) should write off an entire genre without at least hearing this first.

With beats, this can sound somewhat new wave at times and other times it can feel like a video game.   There is a small industrial vibe in here as well.    Pianos become faster and give off the feeling of something out of "X-Files" though perhaps a bit more upbeat.   Sometimes it sounds like it's singing even though it is instrumental.   "A Beautiful Madness" is my favorite song, if I had to choose, because it has catchy hooks and that's not something you hear in a lot of music but it is executed flawlessly here.

"Ghost Fauna" is haunting (and not just because of the name) but it also makes me think of a samurai or a certain style of 1980's/1990's synth songs.   Oh, to have something such as "Kill Bill" exist in 1989 and this be the soundtrack to it.  (Yes, I know, we could probably find a Sonny Chiba film to put this soundtrack to but I'd want something more... not mainstream, but even like Buckaroo Banzai level of popularity would be cool)   The sound travels above what I've heard in video games, almost as if it progresses as such soundtracks over time and it is now more like a video game from the future.

Elements of artists such as Yves Malone and Make Up And Vanity Set are in here and, yeah, I guess I do listen to electronic music.    It's not exactly the same as those two artists, but if you are a fan of them you will enjoy this also.    "Cave Dreams" goes full dancy and there are these falling synths like shooting stars.    "Nightwalker" has more of an actual "X-Files" vibe than what I wrote about before and then "Starfish" has this upbeat sound which feels like we're driving around, like in speed boats in that GTA ad with Flock of Seagulls (you know the one)

Big synths in "Cycle" with sonic cymbal crashes and then the beats take us to the final song which has a hook that makes it feel like it is singing but also like a pop song somehow. For some reason it reminds me of that  Lady Gaga "Gaga oooh-la-la" hook or Britney's "Toxic" only you also really have to appreciate the pianos.    Phantoms vs Fire creates an electronic symphony which is not only difficult to rival amongst its peers (other electronic artists) but just other musicians in general.   If you're one of those "I don't really listen to electronic music" people, let "WLDLFE" be your exception.

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