Substrates – Lethean


A music video for “Enter” from the Lethean EP
Directed by cskonopka
Music by Substrates


          This year was a big one for the synthesizer community, and Im’ excited to start off the New Year with the new EP from Substrate – ‘Lethean’. One after the next, the tracks are filled with chilling minimal layers of piano, organ and synthesizers. This album reminds me of soundtracks done by the likes of Vangelis or Tangerine Dream because it fills the listener with a sense of awe. ‘Lethean’ is filled with well-formed synthesizer loops, soundscapes and melodies.  

The first track “Edges”, is a dreamy opening track. Beginning with a basic theme, it builds up and fades into a brilliant piano melody. As the track continues to layer and build up, the sound intensifies. It induces visions of future landscapes filled with flying cars and bright lights. The piano adds an intense dramatic vibe to the track. 

            Track two “Surface”, begins with a lead sequence and an inspiring filter sweep that is sweet on the ears. The sounds are so foreign they could be an alien choir singing through a vocoder, singing the hymns of the future. The organ on this track really intensifies the mystical feeling. As the song fades out I wonder: what are the voices in this track singing about? 

“Enter” is a hypnotic track, with magnificent ethereal pads and textures. The different synthesizer tones are wonderfully crafted and sound like brass instruments, placing the listener somewhere in the future. This track brings up feelings of sadness as if a significant event has happened. 

            The album ends with the track “Return”, which is filled with piano chords and sounds of strings in a big chamber. The song is dramatic and uplifting as if one has overcome an obstacle in life. Each individual track is dense and complex, but there’s also a softness that makes it easy to lay down and listen to on loop for hours.

The more times I listened to this album, the more it started to embody its name. I was drawn into the music, forgetting where the time went. Like a calm river it grabs your attention, yet lets you relax and float down it while you are guided on an epic journey. Like you know a secret that no one else does. Substrate defines his music as “neo futuristic orchestral music” and for Lethean such a description is fitting.

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