Monday, 11 July 2011

Tryezz - Solar Winds

It's pretty evident to say that music sales are less and less involved with physical retail. iTunes, Spotify, Bandcamp... hell, a few years ago, pop stars were being discovered via MySpace accounts. However, the presence of artists who distribute their work entirely online is still rather scattered. Internet trends and memes can give the occasional (maybe undeserving?) artist a spotlight, as Rebecca Black could verify; but others aren't so lucky. At best they can share their music with a smaller like-minded community, but not being able to reach a wider audience can be a damn shame.

I heard about Tryezz from an online friend, who like me is a fan of instrumental hip-hop; and unlike me has the skills to produce beats in his own time. I was told that Tryezz was all about producing synth-heavy grooves branded as 'Electro-Funk', and a visit to his YouTube account would convince me. I had no idea where my friend had heard about this guy, but the music on offer was very encouraging.

The YouTube account also had a preview for Tryezz's latest album, Solar Winds. While I was only treated to 30-second samples of each track, I knew I had to track down a download link. Electronica - especially synthesiser-based music - has runs the risk of sounding samey, so the way that the preview sounded well-blended, and yet comprised of very distinct tracks was impressive; the hooks just small enough where you want to hear more of the song.

The album opens with a Track 0 - 'The Take Off'. The album sticks to a theme of space travel, and the sound of this intro track really sets the mood. Slow pacing, coupled with a careful distort on the main melody. The track is short, but leads perfectly into the title track, 'Solar Winds'. The feeling of the album trying to mimic a 'soundscape album' starts to shine through - but instead of whale song, or jungle noises, I'm getting images of drifting alongside space stations - and they seem to be throwing a disco inside.

I decided to take the album for a test drive, pushing it onto my iPod and going for a stroll. As I opened the front door, the intro for 'Fadertron 787' began with the sound effect of a heavy airlock door opening, and I smiled inside. Then it followed up with a surprisingly aggressive bass solo, notable grittier than the last two tracks, and I smiled even harder. 'Static' does its part in adding some technical variation by having the drumline consist entirely of white noise. It's fortunately non-intrusive, and is a clever concept, but otherwise, the track seems to lack the catchy melodies its peers have, until near its end, by which point it doesn't feel quite enough.

'Saturn Rings' is where all thrusters start firing. With a steady and sticky bassline leading, an equally relaxed melody eases way in, heralded by twinkling bells. I was starstruck, halting in my stroll about town. Someone walking behind me had to walk around, and gave me a funny look.

But where 'Saturn Rings' made me hesitate, 'Supernova' made me full-out crash. It starts innocently enough with some quiet chord stabs and the sound wind, but then there's a pause -- followed by a gigantic punch of a main melody with all the works, loud and bright with carefully placed distorts on the longer notes, and a wicked solo performed by what could only be a Jazz musician/astronaut. So caught up in this glorious combination, I failed to pay attention  to where I was going and walked straight into the man who passed me earlier. I met his glare with the biggest smile, and widest, star-struck eyes as 'Supernova' went into its second solo. I think I've scarred him for life.

*Ahem*, moving on; 'Galatiscape' has the misfortune to follow the album's highlight, but it still does a great job at giving a more fast-paced upbeat track, with a backing synth that tactically cuts in and out in time to the drums. 'Visions' starts off very discordant, and a little unpleasant, but after a brief pause, it sorts out its jumbled instruments to form a more conventional funky groove. It feels a bit like a punchy remix of 'Saturn Rings'; and although that puts it in good stead, it does come across as too familiar.

Solar Winds finishes on 'First Orbit', dropping the pace a bit, and going back to the more sedate, soundscape concept of the album's leading tracks. It's a smooth way to finish up, and stands as another one of my favourites after 'Supernova'.

Solar Winds came out of nowhere, but Electro-Funk has turned out to be a catchy and accessible genre, and it drove me to check out more of Tryezz's stuff; I entirely recommend you do the same. If nothing else, so the world of internet-based music producers gets some more recognition.

Solar Winds can be purchased on iTunes, Amazon MP3, and through Tryezz's own website. However, the purchase system on his site is somewhat unintuitive - every track is an individual purchase, with no option to buy an album as a whole.

If you like this, you'll also like Vikter Duplaix, Joshua Morse, Nicolay.

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