It is said that the skeletal basis for Church Of Synth’s debut LP was fleshed out in a single evening, its creator using the long narratives of his patients he treated during the day — he is studying psychological therapy — as the inspiration for all six cuts. I’m not sure how those particular mind-probing sessions went during his day job, but what transpired at night feels cathartic, like finally confronting a host of drooling inner demons or scaling the final rung of an arduous 12-step ladder.
The electronic moguls shimmying up to the stars in the last decade or so factor somewhat into CoS’s sound, but to register its palpitations more specifically is to give oneself fully to the witch-house phenomenon, as leading lights like White Ring, Modern Witch, and Clams Casino hover like fellow ghosts, though Church leaves out the female coos and vocal suggestions that have become part of the genre’s framework.
What the listener inherits is six tracks, three on each vinyl side, that glide on their own time and exit the game before the multiple fouls and timeouts bog shit down (if you watch the NBA playoffs). Much like White Ring, the beats of Church of Synth are allowed to incubate until they’re ready to to burst like a piñata over a fluorescent dance floor. In this way, the record, while miles apart in many ways, summons the mechanical, searching soul of classic albums like Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts (which was all about drum machines; in fact, I would argue that M83 sunk into insolvency when they hired a live band).
Church of Synth will register as a good entry point for folks who have been witch-curious for awhile but unwilling to submit to the douche-ier aspects of the genre strain. It’s a smoothed-over patch of searing synths, bulbous beats, and aquatic build-up that engrosses the senses no matter which tack it’s taking. I’ve always wondered how fledgling artists manage to channel so much energy and grit into recordings that, early on, it seems no one will ever hear; Church Of Synth started as a gleam in SoundCloud’s eye, just another faceless project that would have been destined to be yet another web hieroglyphic had it not contained such promise and been sucked up by the right ears. Perhaps that’s the true power of the underground music structure of today: If you build it with love and offer it for free (at first), they will cum. And he did, and they continue to.