I never had a Nintendo or Sega when I was young. Not because my family was completely impoverished or in the shit, but because my young American mind saw those colorful, dazzling new technologies as an out of reach fantasy. When I was a little older, the same went for synthesizer music by the likes of Vangelis and Francis Rimbert. This is true: when I heard Vangelis’ theme from Cosmos I thought “this is my favorite thing in the world!” but I never got the fucking album! What? Are there any mental disorders where you don’t let yourself have what you want the most even though it’s right in front of you? (Masochism.) Jesus christ, at least now there’s enough spiraling synthesizer music to last several lifetimes.
So let me stop being a narcissistic dumbass and mention Panabrite, aka Norm Chambers, one of the current crop of “synth explorers” (to use a term Vangelis never thought would be cliche but cosmically has) who continues to blur the line between drifting ambiance and a sense of through composition. “Sea Balm”, a track from his new Tranquility Tapes release Wind Rider, veers towards the meditative side of things, though the sustained drone is broken up by a seemingly wordless vocoder track. When a faint arpeggio drops near the end it’s just icing on the cake, and you hardly realize that the entire thing has essentially hovered motionless over a single chord. It’s also worth looking into Norm’s other releases this year, particularly the Omni Center CD-R which is an absolutely crystal clear recording that I might share with benevolent visiting Aliens if they asked what this synthesizer shit was all about.