He’s a music, art, and writing aficionado! Karl has been working as a freelance writer for more than ten years.
The album’s use of synths is comparable to how a director might compose shots and orchestrate action to create a scene. Each track on the album has a cinematic sensibility, with words and music unfolding as a filmic moment. Aquamaster’s self-titled album is chock-full of classic retro synth sounds that complement his deft guitar work and powerful vocals.
The two songs written by Aquamaster for the album are one aspect of the album that I find quite pleasing. Overall, I’m pleasantly surprised at how good they are. His lyrics are clear and expressive, his voice is powerful and emotive, and the vocal melody is perfectly balanced with the synths and guitar.
Aquamaster’s guitar playing is also of high quality. It never overpowers the tracks, but rather complements them. He clearly has the chops to lay down intricate and ear-grabbing solos and has a good sense of what kind of guitar tone will work with other musical elements in a track. I admire how well his guitar is integrated into his music.
Aquamaster uses a variety of synths, each with its own tone color, sonic texture, and timbre, to create distinct auditory imagery for each song, allowing him to express different emotions and explore ideas. As I previously stated, the album’s use of synths reminds me of a movie director’s use of the tools at his disposal.
As the beat continues to pump, a warmer, climbing synth enters, and Aquamaster’s voice carries a positive vocal melody. With a pumping beat and a glowing, nasal minor key synth line that bends and twists while a timpani rolls in and out, “Sunset Beach” jumps right into the action. As notes climb upward and a rapid arpeggio spins, bursts of synth appear to complement the vocal melody. I’m drawn to his singing because of its emotional quality.
The guitar strums along with shimmering notes, and the high synths sparkle like stars. The chimes call out in another series of melodic, gleaming notes, while a weaving line of raised, diamond-sharp synth sings through. Before the vocal melody bursts in, a wiggling line of high synth cuts in, feeling hopeful and dynamic.
He says he doesn’t want to “shine a light” on them, but “if I don’t, I won’t win.” This is a song about a stalemate relationship. “You don’t want to feel this way forever, only you can say how long it’s been,” the narrator says to the other person.
“But I know that I can do it, and when I put my mind to it, things will start to change,” he adds. He’s frustrated because “we’ve been down this road for a long time” and he doesn’t think things will change.
Over the solid drum beat that throbs into the track, a brittle xylophone plays an angular pattern of shifting notes. I like how the guitar howls out over the slap bass, giving it a bluesy feel. The arpeggiating xylophones rise and fall as the distorted, medium high, nasal synth winds out through. To begin “Fashion Statement,” distant, ghostly notes float behind swirling, rising synth, while a funky slap bass line adds weight to the music.
A sweeping, triumphant melodic line trumpets out over the beat’s drive on a dense, medium low synth. The xylophones whirl through once more, while the bass continues to pulse. Before we return to the high, glowing synth that writhes through while the beat continues to throb, an intricate guitar solo cuts through in sharp lines. Before the triumphant lead synth calls out again and the nasal, bright notes move in the angled pattern into silence, the bass synth shifts in waves.
The guitar plays cool, jazzy little licks in between the beat’s bounce, while the bright lead synth plays a dynamic pattern of notes. As Aquamaster sings, the melodic synth line moves with a spinning rush of energy, and the vocals have a rough edge, full of desire. “Camcorder” begins with a groovy beat driven by big drums and a funky synth lick that bounces throughout the song.
The percussion maintains a funky flow while sitting in the pocket, and the fat, trumpeting lead synth glimmers as it bops along. The cool percussion sounds that move through the track are cool, and the guitar licks are sexy as well. Waves of wide-sounding, gleaming synth rise to fill the musical space.
He says in the chorus that she has footage of herself that will “make you cry when you’re older” and that she has “the look, all in your folder.” The narrator points out that if he were with the person he’s talking about, she’d make him unsure of what he’d do. He reminds her that “the memories you make are on your camcorder” as she “puts it on” and “takes it off.” This is a song about the power of an image and desire.
As a smooth, solid beat is established, the power and speed continue to increase before slowing down. “87 Fiero” begins with a slowly revolving arpeggio that quickly accelerates, whirling faster and faster as the bass pulsates in time. High, round chimes, on the other hand, move in slow notes.
The melody, which is shadowed and tinged with melancholy as it winds through the track over dynamic, trembling synth flashes, has me enamored. Over the solid drum hits, a high, glimmering synth flickers out in a wandering line, sliding through the music. The lead synth wanders and slips by while the guitar notes move in tight, glowing lines. The melody floats along, while the intense high synth shimmers over the steady drumbeat.
A repeating pulse is played by full synths with a brassy feel, while chiming sounds with a metallic quality glisten through the sonic tapestry. With a tranquil, watery drift of medium low synth that moves beneath a sunny glow, “Endless Summer” comes to life. The guitar sings in a soothing, engulfing voice, while the synth shines brightly like the summer sun. The metallic synth shimmers in between the pulses as a repeating trumpeting sound pulses through.
I love how the guitar creates a yearning, hopeful melody that floats like the waves of aquamarine water in a tropical sea, with the drums providing smooth support. The metallic synth’s high light dapples like sunlight through palm fronds, while the hollow arpeggio circles in the background and the guitar gives the music a laid-back vibe.
The drums thud as dark synth grits in and warm sweeps rise, bringing us back to the A section as it writhes through. Over the beat’s charge, the synth line casts a minor key shadow. A shattered glass synth leaps in an uneven, whirling line to open “Moon Child,” interrupting a rapid, rough pulse of distorted synth. Over the throbbing synths with an angular drive, the lead synth moves in a tight, bright line. I like how the main melody’s manic energy contrasts with the extended synth sweeps below it.
Aquamaster creates an album full of lush, layered synths and guitar that is unabashedly influenced by ’80s music, but has a character and sensibility that is uniquely Aquamaster’s.