Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Dan Terminus "The Wrath Of Code" (2015)

Browsing through upcoming releases for games on steam I came across NeuroVoider, a fast paced rouge-light top down shooter with a dark, atmospheric and synth heavy soundtrack. My ears immediately perked up and with a little research I found the soundtrack was made by one man band, French musician Dan Terminus. It was this record, "The Wrath Of Code" and if it was composed with the games soundtrack in mind? I am unsure but my impression is that this is another record, his third, in his discography that the developers picked up to use as a soundtrack for the game.

What was initially striking about Dan's music was a lack of predictability. Despite being relatively mild and traditional in composition style for modern music, I found myself mostly at the mercy of uncertainty to the direction it was heading. I found this experience extremely enjoyable and now after many listens I can put my finger on it. The "Dark" side of this music isn't what I'm used to, normally I gravitate to emotionally darker music, where minor, pentatonic and other such scales prevail. In this music we find a playful retro fantasy of dark cyber realms where the atmosphere create visions of movie-like heros adventuring through the electronic landscape.

The music itself is well realized with lush electronic tones oozing retro buzz saws and sine waves with a balance of harsh and softer tones that meld together in a smooth array of reverb. The atmosphere creeps through from behind with quiet ooh and aah choral synths playing in the distance and cueing the biggest moments between the the songs lead instruments. The drums are quite contrasting, with highly compressed, cutting snares and thudding kicks that lack reverb or cushion. They cut through the mix and it ends up serving as a key component in the records chemistry, the contrast in style holds the music in a unique balance.

Another notable distinction is the manipulation of dense snarly synths that roar and moan like demonic monsters, they crop up in some tracks and do wonders the further enforce the fantasy cyber world scenarios these songs conjure. I feel i should also mention this is an instrumental record, something I neglect to do as it feels irrelevant, it wasn't until writing this that it crossed my mind. "The Wrath Of Code" has been a fresh and entertaining listen however with familiarity it has lulled somewhat. It was nice to find something new, but despite being a well rounded record, there is a lack of gems or stand out moments to ascend this release into something great.

Favorite Song: The Chasm
Rating: 6/10