Despite CD sales diminishing year on year, there are still many musicians and labels around the globe who continue to release multiple albums at the same time. Composer and producer Clifford White has just done just this with his 46 track “Synergy” Series, an exploration of classic and modern electronic music in four volumes. From a musical perspective, the early works of Jean-Michel Jarre have always been a significant source of inspiration to the composer alongside Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk and Mike Oldfield.
The impressionistic music of “Waterworld” (Synergy Part 1) reflects on the beauty of the natural world through electronic music in a similar way to Jarre’s albums “Oxygene” and “Equinoxe” (especially the blending of sequencer strings and surrounding melodic textures on, for example, the tracks “Kinetic and “Moonlight Express”). It is fair to say however that Mr White’s exploration of alien planets, otherworldly landscapes and exotic ecospheres breathes its own unique signature resonating in the contemporary musical domain. The latter applies even more so when the music shifts briefly into higher gear, such as on the “Tranceport” track. Overall, the music discovered in the 70 minutes of “Waterworld” is uncomplicated and easy-going.
Motion is the key thing on “The Speed of Silence” (Synergy Part 2), an 11-track groovy up-beat mix of different styles, without things becoming too busy or tiring. Next to a few mellow pieces like “Vitamin Sea”, the 72-minute result also contains tracks like “Froesen Dreams” (a contemporary sounding tribute to Edgar Froese) “Fertile” (which harkens back slightly to Vangelis “Soil Festivities”) or the blend of symphonic and oriental flavours making up the attractive sound design of “Event Horizon”. “The Speed of Silence” title track however is the ideal candidate for a commercial single from the album.
The music of the 69-minute “Robot Dawn” (Synergy Part 3) is based on the composer’s desire to create a kind of Sci-fi soundtrack, with the robotic sound art of Kraftwerk as a major inspiration. It has led to 12 rhythmically driven compositions, groovy yet artificial sound designs with the occasional mellow interludes (such as those on “Oil and Water”, “Investigation” and “Deep Freeze”). The latter combines with darker textural motifs that make up the cinematic title piece.
The most upbeat album of the whole series is “Cityscape” (Synergy Part 4), a sonic journey through an imaginary city, where futuristic skyscrapers touch the clouds and cars float on currents of air. Initially planned as a homage to Vangelis’ album “The City”, Clifford’s ideas evolved over time to move away from that concept significantly. I’d say the 72-minute mixed-bag is also the most poppy and consistent of all four of the Synergy volumes, offering 13 tracks ranging from ’80s style retro-ish synthwave (“Sidewalk), dance beat (“Skyway”), easy-going funk-like stuff (“Cityscape”, “Garden Party”) to the exotica-lounge musings of “Lovers Lane”. There’s something for everyone here, I reckon.
Review by Bert Strolenberg of sonicimmersion.org.
See the original review here.