Thursday, April 11, 2013

Seventh Element's Midnight In Equestria

When it comes to 80s inspired synth music the inspirations can be many and varied. The sheer amount of pop culture that became iconic from this decade is seemingly endless and when a producer takes a sidestep for his inspiration as broad as Seventh Element has for his new record it really 'removes the blinkers', for want of a better term.

We've all heard the inspirational cues from much of the classic movies and TV of the 80's the Terminators, Knight Riders and Top Guns are well travelled tracks in the 80s universe. I always try to be one to offer new creative inspirations outside the usual mainstreams of the time; and I am still finding new experiences from the 80s myself, but when I came across the Midnight In Equestria album my imagination was taken on a new ride into an all new dimension. Seventh Element's inspiration for this release is one I've previously been ignorant of, but after listening intently to this album I have a new appreciation for their passions.

Readers of Synthetix.FM, I present to you the first, and hopefully not last 80s inspired synth album inspired from and paying homage to the one, the only, My Little Pony.


When I initially found album my interest was piqued by the title, Midnight In Equestria. Being somewhat of a fan of made up words and words that expand my vocabulary I was taken by this word 'Equestria'. It sounded so epic, and fantastic, but I couldn't help but see the equine side of it and wondered to myself if it was, indeed, horse-related. Upon glancing at the track listing to this album my inquisitive expression turned to a wide smile. Sunrise In Fillydelphia, Sugar Cube Corner Brawl, Midnight In Manehatten and the classic Streets Of Canterlot all share a common theme that is based firmly, I learned, in the My Little Pony universe.

But this thematic is not all 'sunshine and lollypops', no. Seventh Elements vision of the 80s future of My Little Pony is an homage to much classic dark and soundtrack synth styles, flavoured with a passion for the greyer side of life on four legs. The twelve original tracks (plus one remix) span furlongs of synth sounds and moods. Darkly epic tracks like the opener and Ponyville 2055 provide for spatial drama and arrangements that display a genuine love of quality 80s sounds.

Initially I thought the entire release might be themed to the blacker end of the spectrum, but through the album there is a balance of other styles. Highly energetic OutRun style affairs go from a canter to a full gallop as melodies break free of their reins and are allowed to run wild and free across the soundscape. The underlying menace is never far away though, however it's never at the expense of the other elements and even through some adventures into synth pop sounds the shadows are ever present; but always adding a lot more than they subtract.

Each track feels natural and uncontrived, and it's very apparent that Seven Element is a true devotee of quality 80s synth sounds. There are some passages that do feel a little too familiar, but these aren't so distracting as the hamper the enjoyment of the album. Which is really my main contention. Midnight In Equestria is an absolutely splendid album experience from go to whoa. After listening to the album from start to finish four times in a row without even realising it I began to appreciate the level of craftsmanship that has gone into the experience as a whole. From the rich stable of inspirational material  combined with excellent use of samples and some stunning arrangements this album totally rocks.

I can but hope this is not a stand-alone release from Seventh Element and that they continue to follow their hearts through the glorious 80s synth sounds we all love. Midnight In Equestria is yet another glinting star in the sky above that's populated by the myriad of 80s inspired synth sounds. Right now, it's clear and visible to us in our current hemisphere. I hope I get to experience this starlight again soon, and I'll be watching the night skies for signs of it's return in the future, most assuredly.

Seventh Element's Midnight In Equestria album is presented on their Bandcamp page here and I highly encourage all fans of 80s inspired synth to give it the time it deserves and if you're a My Little Pony fan, needless to say, it's definitely a must-own experience.

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