Featured on episode 42.
In a description accompanying his track Zen on YouTube, artist Synthesthetics offers a definition of that neurological phenomenon known as synesthesia, which science kicked up a frenzy about during the 19th century only to abandon its study early on in the 20th century. It just rather recently became a subject deemed worthy of research again.
Synesthesia is a sensation produced in one modality when a stimulus is applied to another modality, as when the hearing of a certain sound induces the visualization of a certain color. Synesthetic would be the adjective that refers to this sensation.
The list of renowned musicians supposed to be synesthetes is varied: it ranges from Listz to Pharell Williams and includes Aphex Twin. The name of the artist this review centers around, obviously, is a play on that concept which affords a wonderful field of fascination to most anyone interested in music. And no wonder: most of music aims, simply put, at transcribing something, be it ideas, sensations or emotions, from one plane to another, from one person to another. The effortlessness, the instantaneousness and automatism that characterize synesthesia cannot fail, then, to captivate the musically inclined.
Whether he actually experiences synesthesia or not, Synthesthetics, an independent artist from Brooklyn, definitely succeeds at having an atmosphere translate into musical terms to the listener with his synth savvy.
Far at the back of the tranquil sonic space of Zen lies a near imperceptible stream of water. One needs to be paying attention, to be focusing to truly notice it. Nonetheless it is there and its faint presence soothes the listener on an almost subliminal level. At the forefront of the track’s mix, like an electronic transfer of that natural element, blips cascade prettily and clash and intertwine like so many currents of the same river. Discreet twangs of oriental strings provide relief, here and there, like leaves being rustled into life by some gentle breeze rising.
The track’s essentially chill flow picks up speed and opens up its spectrum of relaxing sounds as the song goes forward. Zen generates a vivifying energy within the listener, the kind that is most welcome on any given day in this 21st century.