amber by polistirex (Album review) now on cassette
Today we’ll be looking at a Chillsynth / Chillwave album, amber by polistirex on Stratford Ct. Stratford Ct is best known for their chillsynth albums and my personal favorite compilation; Stratford Ct. | Sonus Auri.
Intro to the album
I like reading album descriptions before getting into an album. It puts me in the right mindset. Even before listening to the first track, I could tell Polistirex is a pretty grateful person. Starting off thanking their label, Stratford Ct, then his roland tr-606 and his cat, Lorraine (male btw). Following the release date the second description keeps the love going as they dedicate the album to their cat again, their dog, someone on reddit and a few more Roland synths.
So what can we take from this? well.. obviously the human has some pets but also this is going to be some kind of hardware synth album, the person has a bunch of Rolands. This is why I like album descriptions, we can feel so much from it.
Oh and did I mention the first track on the album is titled, “thank you“? Just the kind of music I wanted to listen to, the kind that reminds us of the importance of just being present and grateful.
So what kind of album did we get? Actually a very unique sounding hardware synth album. You can. feel the analog synths in everyone song. The life of real instrumentation and craft in fine tuning a unique sound from nobs and switches. This sounds sounds rich without DAW filters for expression. I don’t know these specific Roland synths for their sound but from listening, I kind of want to try some.
Just as expected, this is very much a chillsynth / synthwave album and one worth listening to. Each track follows a roughly same analog synth sound in the way that if someone was to make an entire album with a single guitar, you can get a sense of uniqueness from the instrument. It’s not limiting but empowers a constant them throughout the entire piece.
So, let’s cover 2 tracks that inspired me the most: os/2 warp & pomegranate.
The first track that really grabbed me was os/2 warp; An airy “in the distance” pad that is followed up by an upbeat percussion line. Don’t get me wrong, tracks like thank you, diskette and sata are wonderful chillsynth tracks, just os/2 warp gave me that “this could be the hit single feeling”.
Following os/2 warp, the track pomegranate was also very pleasing to my ears. It triggered a few memories from another life I once had. When I was in my early 20s and had the opportunity to travel to Poland for business. During these trips I too was getting into synths, I own a Korg Volca Keys. Oh did I bring that with me every where. It was my first synth, my father bought it for me and I thought I was going to become the next Tycho.
In this track, the synth alternates between two main parts. A soft pad that is more on the ambient pulsating expression. Then a second wave in a more organ in nature, higher pitched but still soft to the ear sound. The melody doesn’t stop there, around the 3:30 mark, the beat gets slower, lower and it allows for these almost house like stab to come in. Oh, everything about this song is perfect to my ears. Like my first trip abroad, I found this song most memorable.
Bonus: parking lot is a super satisfying song that reminds me so much of FTL: Faster than Light, a space battle game. It almost sounds like maybe that game might have used some of these Roland Synths for the sounds because it sounds so similar in instrumentation. …makes me want to play FTL again.
Did I mention the Cassette?
So now you’ve experienced my take on the album, but feel it for yourself and go grab yourself a copy of the cassette. Not only are you support a wonderful creator but you’ll be adding a relaxing synth album to your collection for only $8.99. Plus that transparent red with white text looks really solid, I just wish the album art wasn’t such pixelated in quality when the cassette looks so clean.
Limited to an edition of 50.
Note: I can confirm that polistirex does only use analog synths as seen on their personal Bandcamp: “i only record with physical, analog gear from the ’80s. no daws or vsts are used.”. How cool! Analog is a different art in making music, it’s almost a performance each time a song is recored. Craftmanship at its finest.
Update: I just got into dating this really cute girl and she is taking up a lot of my time. It’s making it difficult to focus on daily news like I used to. So until things calm down I’ll be doing random full album reviews instead of daily news. Enjoy~