Steve Hauschildt’s second album for Ghostly International comes from the spacey and sci-fi side of synthwave and electronica, built on lush-sounding pads, super-gentle percussive sounds and thoroughly baked and polished in sonic elegance and reverb. At times it dips into slightly more esoteric and experimental territory, but not for long periods, as exemplified by the title track which rolls a deep rhythm with quirky squeaks and glitchier sounds on top, gradually introducing stuttering chords that unfold into calm, or the tempo-challenging final track “American Spiral”.
The gradually building pulses and arpeggios of “Subtractive Skies” will appeal to Tangerine Dream fans, while “Attractor B” has a more modern, techno-light flavour. “Reverse Culture Music” is an unexpected highlight, making strong use of real string plucking and bowing with a bubble-like electronic rhythm for something really quite captivating.
At times though, it does all sound a little bit too easy. A lack of cut-through melodies prevents any long-term memorability, and tracks like ambient workout “A Planet Left Behind” could, if cynical, be described as synth-electronica-by-numbers. At 42 minutes long though there’s nothing which overstays its welcome and the result is a successful collection of deeper synth work for your more philosophical electronic moments.