Daily Hat Track: Roundup October 2019

First off before we get into the biggest Daily Hat Track summary of all time, I want to take a moment to make an announcement on scheduling in case you’re not looking at my Twitter. There is no longer a schedule. Now, that I’ve got myself a full-time job going on, there is absolutely no possible way I can keep up with one review a week, regardless of how motivated I am. And on top of that, the stress I’d receive from trying to review so much would get to me and make it impossible for me to enjoy reviewing. So, from now on, I’m going to be sending out reviews whenever I finish them in my free time. I’ll still be spending significant time reviewing. I’ll just have some longer breaks between longer reviews and maybe some shorter breaks when it comes to tiny reviews (One of the near future reviews is only 5 songs long so I can’t imagine I’ll spend excessively long on that one).

 

Not that anyone will notice but I’m also shutting down my Patreon. No one was really donating anyway, discouraging me from making any review previews and really just discouraging me from reviewing in general, because at this point in my life, it’s not looking to be really possible to just use this site as a launchpad into becoming a full-time creative. I’m already working on finding another route so we’ll see how that works in the future, but for now, this is going to be one of several hobbies that I’m simply doing for fun.

 

Anyways, it’s time for the October Hat Track Summary. Likely the longest Hat Track Summary I’ll ever do. September might not have existed, but I made October a double month to make up for it, even if it devolved into an early November onslaught of chaos at the end there. Let’s see what tracks got shared before that happened, and while that happened.

 

Daily Hat Track: October 1 track 1 (Danny Barranowsky – Mausoleum Mash)

 

One of the most iconic tracks from one of my favorite games thanks to it’s use in the opening cutscene and one of the game’s early levels. I honestly discovered the soundtrack before the game but I love both.

 

Daily Hat Track October 1 track 2 (Bliss – Blaze Up)

 

Bliss is one of the best psytrance artists in recent years, if not the best. He’s been on a roll for much of this decade. This release from last month, for example, is a lovely mixture of playfulness and badassery.

 

Daily Hat Track: October 2 track 1 (Seven Lions & Ciscandra Nostalgia – Serpents of Old)

 

This must be the oddest creepiest thing to come from Seven Lions as far as I know. And as someone who is quite a fan of the odd and creepy, I find this to be one of my favorites from him.

 

Daily Hat Track: October 2 track 2 (Saltillo – Following Evelyn)

 

Alright, let’s follow up the pleasantly ugly with the pleasantly gorgeous. I feel this song is my favorite from Saltillo, mostly thanks to the vocal samples about growth, change, and finding one’s place in the universe.

 

Daily Hat Track: October track 2 (Reliant K – The only Thing Worse than Beating a Dead Horse is Betting on One)

 

This is way outside my usual genre but can we just take a minute to appreciate how much Relient K was able to pack into a song that barely surpasses a minute?

 

Daily Hat Track: October 3 track 2 (Openwater & Matt Vice – No Regrets)

 

I guess today is a nonelectronic day as this one is more of an inspiring combination of orchestral, piano and a slight bit of rock. And it’s a worldview I really need to adapt if I’m going to move forward.

 

Daily Hat Track: October 4 track 1 (Sam Maher – New York)

 

I’ve really been getting into handpans as of recent and this is guy is my personal favorite handpan master. Here’s about six minutes of unique handpanning. Enjoy.

 

Daily Hat Track: October 4 track 2 (Shirobon – Regain Control)

 

I find Shirobon’s retro style quite interesting. This song about regaining control over one’s life (expectedly relevant to me) is a great example of Shirobon (Born Survivor is better but I shared that long ago).

 

Daily Hat Track: October 5 track 1 (Icon of Coil – Dead Enough For Life)

 

I haven’t posted a sufficiently existentially edgy song yet this month so this one goes out to the crippling depressive angst of getting stuck in a monotonous cycle with no eacape all while feeling dead inside.

 

Yay

 

Daily Hat Track October 5 track 2 (Rootkit & Anna Yvette – Against the Sun)

 

Probably favorite song from Rootkit, though I believe one influence of that could be that I believe Varien had a small hand in this as well. And considering Varien is one of my favorite artists of all time… Yup.

 

Daily Hat Track: October 6 track 1 (Assemblage 23 – The Noise Inside My Head)

 

The noise inside my head could possibly be a simple tune that turned out to be an earworm… Or is it the dark existential insomnia-inducing thoughts that appear so regularly that they’ve unfortunately become the norm?

 

Daily Hat Track: October 6 track 2 (Squarepusher – Mutilation Colony)

 

A beautifully ominous beginning eventually transforms into a distorted nightmare. An interesting unconventional journey.

 

Daily Hat Track: October 7 track 1 (Rotersand – Hey You)

 

I shared Rotersand’s Not Alone a long while back and I consider this to be its companion song. The music sounds quite a bit different and there’s a bit more dark was in there but the theming and structure are similar.

 

Daily Hat Track: October 7: track 2 (VNV Nation – Homeward)

 

Several of the recent hat tracks (as well as today’s review) have been focused more on a great personal meaning. That’s what happens when one is in a big transition in life. I just hope I can keep home in sight.

 

Daily Hat Track: October 8 track 1 (Aviators – The Path Home)

 

Remember when I’d reviewed Aviators’ Aeterno? Well, a couple weeks ago, the man released a remastered version of a few of the tracks off that album and many are a vast improvement. I think The Path Home benefited the most

 

Daily Hat Tracks: October 8 track 2 (Neilio – Captivating)

 

I don’t care much for the musical content of this Monstercat classic (hardstyle just isn’t my thing), but the lyrical content is a glorious illustration of my relationship with music so I quite enjoy the song otherwise.

 

Daily Hat Track: October 9 track 1 (Bruderschaft, Apoptygma Berzerk, Icon of Coil, VNV Nation, and Covenant – Forever)

 

What I love about Bruserschaft is that it’s four futurepop artists all collaborating all at once. And as a huge fan of futurepop I obviously enjoy that. And Ronan Harris from VNV Nation at the front is definitely a treat.

 

Daily Hat Track: October 9 track 2 (Lindsey Stirling – Shadows)

 

I’d originally discovered Lindsey when this song was featured in a video by Nerogeist called the guardian, which you should also definitely check out as I’d argue that it’s just as beautiful as this song.

 

Daily Hat Track October 10 track 1 (Beborn Beton – Another World)

 

This is way too catchy for it’s own good. Such a specific concept too with the singer being a spirit from the beyond the grave warning a loved one to leave his resting place alone, for he has found the afterlife.

 

Daily Hat Track: October 10 track 2 (Rameses B & Aloma Steele – Darkest Place)

 

This one used to be on my top ten Monstercat songs of all time though it admittedly has been slipping back a slight thanks to my attention being drawn elsewhere. My DnBias keeps me coming back to it though.

 

Daily Hat Track: October 11 track 1 (Neelix – Mosquito)

 

I’ve shared a remix of this song before quite a while ago, but I want to take a step back and admire the original version with its dramatic tension, danceable drive and distorted mosquito sampled synths.

 

Daily Hat Track: October 11 track 2 (Deltron 3030 & Del the Funky Homosapien – 3030)

 

I like to share a lot of songs depicting the future. Often they’re hopeful, bu this one is a bit bleaker. I never minded bleakness though long as it’s not too destructive, which this isn’t.

 

Daily Hat Track: October 12: track 1 (GUNSHIP – When You Grow Up, Your Heart Dies)

 

The title alone makes me a bit existential what with my dispassionate disposition towards the world of adulthood. But the song itself is a bit more uplifting than it might initially appear.

 

Also it has a sax so yes.

 

Daily Hat Track: October 12 Track 2 (Nana the Shrimp & DZA – Speedball)

 

Seeing as the song’s name is Speedball, it understandably fast paced despite not having an exceptionally high BPM. Though there is a switch up in the middle that allows for an interesting lightly accelerate tempo change

 

Daily Hat Track: October 13 track 1 (Nobody Beats the Drum – Natural Thing)

 

This song sounds more technological than natural so I’m not fully certain how well the title and vocals fit. But the song is a nice multileveled trip nonetheless.

 

Daily Hat Track: October 13 track 2 (Mahamudra – Shadows of Courage)

 

This song depicting a strangely ominous mixture of desperation and victory was hiding deep in the shadows of my musical memory.

 

It resurfaced recently.

 

And I’m so glad it did.

 

Daily Hat Track: October 14 track 1 (Le Matos – La Mer Des Possibilités)

 

Le Matos is one of many synthwave names I enjoy. I’ve chosen this song in particular to share due to its arpwork and the fact that the title translates to “The Sea of Possibilities.” A sea that I should look on with hope

 

Daily Hat Track: October 14 track 2 (Varien – Teva833)

 

I’ve established before that Varien is one of my favorite artists. The man has massive spectrum of moods that his song can adhere. And when it comes to the darker trippy stuff from him this song is certainly top notch.

 

Daily Hat Track: October 15 track 1 (Matduke – Shivers)

 

Another classic MC hard dance track (I shared Neilio’s Captivating earlier this month). But I prefer Matduke. And this is my favorite Matduke as it has the most satisfying variety of the early days of MC hard dance.

 

Daily Hat Track: October 15 track 2 (Rezonate & Ashley Apollodor – Rebirth)

 

My favorites from Rezonate are songs with a chill introspective perspective. This is the most uplifting of the bunch with extra focus on embracing positivity rather than letting go of negativity (there’s a difference).

 

Daily Hat Track: October 16 track 2 (Moby – Lift Me Up)

 

I heard Sesto Sento’s remix first (even though I was already familiar with Moby via Natural Blues and Why Does my Heart Feel So Bad).

 

This song is a much happier alternative to those two and it’s just as beautiful.

 

Daily Hat Track: October 17 track 1 (Tut Tut Child – Talking of Axes)

 

Talking of Axes is clearly appreciated by me as a song involving both rock elements and some good electronic basslines. And that’s not even mentioning the syncopation.

 

Daily Hat Track: October 17 track 2 (Juno Reactor – Pistolero)

 

Pretty obvious that the ever present guitar is the absolute star of the show in this one. Really sells the western vibe this song seems to aim for (everything else about the song is great too, but guitar is what I love).

 

Daily Hat Track: October 18 track 1 (INTERCOM – Truth and Malice)

 

My favorite nonInfected Mushroom song to make it on a MC Rocket League comp.

 

It transitions perfectly between beautiful stringed sections and groovy basslines sections seemlessly, likely thanks to the vocal chops.

 

Daily Hat Track: October 18 track 2 (Phaxe – Angels of Destruction (Neelix Remix)

 

I will likely eventually share every combination of Neelix and Caroline Harrison eventually as they sound so gorgeous together.

 

While this is no Makeup, it’s still up there among my favorites from the two.

 

Daily Hat Track: October 19 track 2 (Jilax & Durs – Conquer)

 

Continuing on a psytrance roll, I’m going to share a bit of a recently fresh psytrance track. There’s some nice dramatic near cinematic tension in places and whenever it’s building itself up, it does so nicely.

 

Daily Hat Track: October 20 track 1 (Grabbitz – Better with Time)

 

I’ll admit that I’ve lately felt stuck in that place where I’m seeing life as a boring movie, desperately hoping it all gets better with time.

 

Hence I enjoy this song.

 

Plus syncopation of course. That’s always loved.

 

Daily Hat Track: October 20 track 2 (Niteppl – Can’t Stop Now)

 

Seeing as I’d discovered  this song in my early Spotify days, this one feels like an inspirational classic to me. Sure the lyrics are a bit repetitive, but the funky vibe and piano bridge more than make up for it.

 

Daily Hat Track: October 21 track 1 (Absurd Minds – The Question)

 

Have I done a song yet on the nihilistic questioning of reality as we ponder the slow transition to dystopia that society is trending towards?

 

Well if not, here’s an example.

 

Daily Hat Track: October 21 track 2 (The Anix – Interferance)

 

A bit of an oddly creepy maybe edgily unhealthy love song from The Anix for this one.  Kind of like anything I’d expect off of FiXt. But there’s also just that hint of existential that keeps me coming back.

 

Daily Hat Track: October 22 track 1 (Altered Frequencies (Phutureprimitve edit))

 

I’ll be honest, I haven’t actually taken the time to listen to the original version of this one yet. But hey, I do know that Phutureprimitive’s edit has a great blend of sounds (including guitar) that hits the sweet spot

 

Daily Hat Track: October 22 track 2 (Daniel Deluxe – Darkness)

 

Darkness is unsurprisingly quite a dark song about eternal darkness. Go figure.

 

Thematically, I’d say it’s similar to Gunships’s Dark All Day, albeit this one doesn’t have a sax so it’s obviously the lesser of the two.

 

Daily Hat Track: October 23 track 1 (Neilio – Obsession)

 

Oh this song sounds nice and romantic at first…

 

At first…

 

Daily Hat Track: October 23 track 2 (Covox – Attack Vector)

 

I don’t know if I’ve ever really posted chiptune Hat Tracks that often. In the right hands some cool stuff can be made in the genre. Here’s one such song, albeit it’s the second half where the song really shines.

 

Daily Hat Track: October 24 track 1 (Lauren Bousfield – No Clocks No Mirrors (For Joey))

 

I’ve always loved Lauren’s fine line between the calm and the madness. And this song does a great job of bouncing back and forth in between the two extremes.

 

Daily Hat Track: October 24 track 2 (Tokyo Machine – TURBO)

 

This recent release is likely one of the only Tokyo Machine songs I truly enjoy. He just doesn’t fit my groove. I think I was in the right mood when first listened to this one as I was driving in the middle of the night.

 

Daily Hat Track: October 25 track 1 (Vexare – The Clockmaker)

 

I will admit that I prefer that calms and the moments of the ticking clock more than the main drop, but there is somewhat of a classic feel to this one. Not super dirty like some dubstep but it still hits nice and hard.

 

Daily Hat Track: October 25 track 2 (Carpenter Brut – Roller Mobster)

 

Been listening to an above average amount of Carpenter Brut as of late, likely one of the greatest artists of all of synthwave. Choosing one song to highlight is nigh impossible so I just grabbed one of his most popular.

 

Daily Hat Track: October 26 track 1 (Muzzy – Spectrum)

 

Easily one of my favorites from Muzzy. It has it all: beauty, intensity, meaningful lyrics. It’s just a lovely song that few, if any can top (maybe the Wrong remix but that doesn’t take the beauty cake)

 

Daily Hat Track: October 26 track 2 (Muzzy & Droptek – Warhead)

 

Long as I’m on the topic of Muzzy, here’s one of his most badass tracks. A collaboration with Droptek that feels as if it’s in the same vein as Endgame. And I love Endgame. So I love this.

 

Daily Hat Track: October 27 track 1 (Infected Mushroom – Cities of the Future (extended remix)

 

The best remixes have the ability to improve upon the original while still keeping the heart of what made the original so great. This is a great example of such a remix of a song I’ve already fully reviewed.

 

Daily Hat Track: October 27 track 2 (Ace Ventura – Hello?)

 

Imagine. You’re driving through the night listening to music, some new, some old. One of your favorite song ends with a good 5 seconds or so of near silence and then out of no where you hear it:

 

“Hello? Anybody here?”

 

Daily Hat Track: October 28 track 1 (Krama – Master of Elements)

 

This song served as my introduction to Krama, one of the best artists of Spintwist (other than Neelix of course)

 

Oh and this apparently has a quote from Doctor Strange in it. Didn’t notice at first but there it is.

 

Daily Hat Track: October 28 track 2 (SCNDL & Timmy Trumpet – Bleed)

 

Meme

 

Daily Hat Track: October 29 track 1 (Sesto Sento – Zoombai Warriors Surfing on a Small Chapati Sound in the East of Parvati (Megamix))

 

This insane mashup is made up of several songs by 9 different psytrance artists, including one of my very favorites, Bliss. Absolutely amazing piece of work right here.

 

Daily Hat Track October 29 track 2 (Savant – Change)

 

Multigenre songs with tempo changing switchups are some of my favorites. So what of this song? A full constant switchups multigenre cluster of fantasticality, constantly accelerating until the very end before breaking down.

 

Daily Hat Track: October 30 track 1 (Ehrling – Thokoloshi)

 

Ehrling is always a pleasure. Probably because saxophone is always a pleasure. And Ehrling nearly always has a saxophone present. Like many of his songs I love the bouncy sax vibes the song has to offer.

 

Daily Hat Track October 30: track 2 (Wisp X & Xomu – Lumina)

 

Now the reason I’m particularly enjoying this song isn’t because it’s breaks (though syncopation is still expectedly awesome, but it’s because it had some gorgeous piano melodies at the forefront.

 

Daily Hat Track: October 31 track 1 (Direct & Mr Fijiwiji – LA2016)

 

Direct and Fijiwiji are always a great combo, but I’m honestly just here.for the vocal chops.

 

Daily Hat Track: October 31 track 2 (Savlonic – Computer Guy)

 

Sir Weebl, the main man behind Savlonic may be responsible for memes, but this one is so incredibly catchy that I’ve gotta throw back to it. And it’s slightly more serious than his more well known stuff.

THYX – Headless (2016 album)

Bandcamp: n/a

Soundcloud: n/a

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/5CsKNGb1IuRTE8iXBZhi9Z?si=3D8pYciRQ4SzgdSbbkls-w

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_naqaMwB0OLmQoLJ9eFZYjVjWO54rksPQM

 

Introduction: With this album review, we’ll be very nearly caught up with the THYX discography. I may come back and pick up some singles later. And of course, I still have to go back over to the latest chapter in the Mind.in.a.box story, but I had to hold out for over a year after 5ynchr0ni7e so you all cn at least wait a month.

 

Anyways, this album is almost definitely the highest point of the THYX discography so far. If the quality continues to climb upwards… well… I’d like to see what Poiss will do to top this (Spoilers: this album is great).

 

 

 

THYX – Not My Deal (7.75): Poiss start this album off slowly with this song going at a relatively slower tempo compared to much of the upbeat trance I review. But slow does not mean still. The song begins with just the bassline and a kick and it easily expresses that this song will be able to pick up some good momentum despite its slow BPM. Some of this may relate to the variety of drums added in between the primary kick and snare, but I feel the bassline itself does provide the necessary groove to keep this song moving.

 

That being said, as far as the music goes, this song doesn’t really have all that much variety to it. For much of the song, it’s the same bassline and melody played over each other with only slight instrumental variations. But other than that, there is very little variety to be seen. Normally, I’d find that to be a bit of a problem, but I’m a bit forgiving in this case as that bassline is certainly worth listening to for five minutes and the melody is nonintrusive. The vocals and lyrics are the main focus anyway. At least that’s how I feel for many of the songs on this album (though the musical quality gets exceptional later on as well, so we’ll split it 50/50).

 

The main theme of this album is overcoming bland monotony in order to find one’s true identity. Uproot the prisonous system that holds you down and instead embrace one’s destiny.

 

But we’re not there yet.

 

First, we must establish the prison. Due to the technological theming that we automatically expect from Mind.in.a.box and THYX, it can be determined that the singer of this song isn’t fully human. The biggest piece of evidence is in the first verse where the singer mentions that he believes that he’s being rebooted by a mostly unseen entity. I have to say mostly unseen because while it’s vague who exactly “they” are, it sounds like they’re the ones giving commands to the singer always promising him that they’ll only ask one more task of him before promptly coming up with a new command, trapping the singer in an endless cycle of repetitive tasks and empty promise… an empty life.

 

And the song takes it a step beyond simple emptiness, for this singer isn’t only losing any sense of purpose, even his identity seems to be fading away (Totally haven’t seen that before in any of Poiss’ other works). He tries to take some time to analyze himself and try and sort out who he is, but he’s unsure of what thoughts are his and what thoughts have been falsified by those that appear to control him. As long as he’s in this prison there is no way for him to know any sort of truth.

 

He must escape.

 

THYX – Don’t Get Alive (7.5): Well, that’s a bit of a nihilistic looking song title if I’ve ever seen one. Must be a great song then! And I will agree with my initial assessment that this song does fare a little bit better than Not My Deal, at least musically. The song has much more variety, allowing for a better contrast between the verses and the chorus. There admittedly isn’t quite as strong of a beat backing the song up, but the contrasting melodies between the verses and the chorus more than make up for it.

 

Throughout, the song, there is a strong focus on the arp, regardless of whether or not it’s a verse or chorus. But when it comes to melodies, that’s where the music shows its true emotions. In the verses, there’s one simple melody rising and falling in the background, but you have to be looking for it in order to notice it as everything else, bassline, arp, and drumbeat, are a bit louder and have the ability to drown out the melody. It still sounds good and I believe the melody does have some subtle effect on the song, though not nearly as much as it does in the chorus, which brings a second melody into the mix along with some extra ambience, bringing the song to its emotional heights.

 

And that’s saying something, because the vocals in this track, don’t really sound too emotional. Oh, the lyrics are still meaningful, but when it comes to delivery, the vast majority of the song is distorted to sound like it comes from a robotic AI of some sort. All humanity is stripped away from these vocals, leaving nothing but the existential call to not get alive. To not exist. I’m not exactly sure how one doesn’t get alive, but I get the feeling I’ve already failed at that. Last I checked, I had a pulse, which is pretty standard for things that are alive, such as myself I think the song is directed at a group of unawakened programs created by the speaker of this song. For the world is meaningless. Nihilism.

 

And as if nihilism wasn’t enough, this song has touches of loneliness as well. The singer recalls a time when they dreamt of companionship, a friend to break its lonely solitary existence. It seems at first to appear to be a simple solution to an existential problem. Find a friend. Find meaning. End nihilism. But it’s a bit more complicated than that as the speaker of this song soon finds out. Nothing changed when they finally succeeded in creating some sort of connection, some sort of friendship. But one friendship doesn’t solve one’s existential quandary. And as the speaker realized this they slipped away further into their nihilistic worldview. And as they lost all hope, they shut the world out fully, They are dead to the world and refuse to come back to life.

 

Kind of a depressing message for this song to display. But it’s all the more important for the arc that serve’s as this album’s purpose.

 

 

THYX – Headless (9.75): Those first two tracks were just a warm-up. Headless, the titular track of the album is a turning point in album, because from here on out nearly all of these songs are Cream of the Crop for THYX (one song ruins the streak but still, this song is a huge step up from the ones surrounding it). And this song, despite receiving a very high 9.75 rating., is not even the best of what’s to come.

 

This song wastes no time, dropping a heavy half time drumbeat a solid bassline and a distant background melody, so subtle that it almost feels as if it’s not there. From there THYX continually adds new instruments. In the first verse, he adds some distorted guitar riffs, an equally powerful snare to add onto the existing drumbeat. In the second verse, some hats subtly fill in the empty spaces between the kicks and snares, and there’s a second melody in the background that slowly builds up to find itself rising above the initial softer melody but still suffocated by the harsher drumbeat and bassline. Most uniquely, there’s the calmer chorus that strips all of the gritty elements from the verse and provides a breath of fresh air with nothing but clean vocals and a piano. And for the finale… Actually, let’s hold off on that finale for the end of reviewing this particular song. I feel it deserves some special attention.

 

The lyrics fit well into what the album has displayed so far, depicting the societal system we have in place as a trap for the individual, suffocating their identity and ideals behind lies and untruths, destroying one’s authenticity and blighting potential futures that would lead to a more satisfying lifetime. And yet, despite the philosophical horrors of the whole ordeal (at least from my point of view), I find myself still looking for the next job to follow mindless (or headless) tasks simply for a paycheck.

 

Ok, that’s getting a bit personal, but there’s one last thing I wanted to mention about this song. I’d held off on the finale for a reason. It’s easily the best part of the song. The slow downtrodden half time beat has plagued this song long enough. Oh, it’s not horrendous or anything but it pales in comparison to this switch-up in which the song reaches its full potential. The tempo is doubled, the guitar riffs are accelerated, the stringed ambience grow more intense and the melody that had been stuck in the background this entire time finally brings itself to the forefront of the song as it serves as the highlight of this high-energy conclusion.

 

There may be some musical symbolism caught in there, but I think I’ve said enough for you to make the connections on your own.

 

THYX – Doomed (7.25): You want something groovier?  How about Doomed? Don’t mind the nihilistic title. Just focus on the upbeat groove. There is nothing depressing about this song at all, it’s just an illusion, my friend. Just an illusion…

 

But groove can only take a song so far. The bassline and drumbeat introduced at the song’s very beginning, do provide a very good groove, but that’s very nearly all this song has to offer on the musical side of things. There is very little change from there on out until he last chorus.

 

The lyrics are a slight bit odd as the lyrics in the second half seems to apply to a completely different person in the first half. I have a better handle on it now that I’ve listened to it a few times, but Poiss missed an opportunity to slightly alter the voice in the second half. I know he’s capable.

 

This song seems to be about the social status of the CEO of a company and those who work under him. The first verse and the chorus depict a supervisory character that gives commands from the office on the 300th floor. High above all the other workers, referred to as fools. There’s so much callus in these lyrics, taking pride in controlling the lesser and refusing to take any of the blame when anything in this little game of ruling the fools goes wrong. Not to mention the use of fools is incredibly demeaning. But then you hear the fools’ side of the story

 

This song, again, is more about being trapped in the societal cycle than escaping it. And it does admittedly take a nihilistic approach to the situation, thanks to the so-called fools declaring that they are doomed to remain in this game, following the rules of another, never ceasing for any sort of individuality, accepting that the paradise they desire is an unreachable illusion. If that’s not a nihilistic approach to one’s place in the world, then I don’t know what is.

 

Yeah, this is the track that feels a slight bit lesser than what’s to come. Makes that whole turning point thing I mentioned in the last track kind of moot. But the song’s still pretty good so it doesn’t really bring the whole album down all that much seeing as I can now say the rest of the album is truly Cream of the Crop.

 

THYX – Gravity (8.75): This song is perhaps the calmest song on the entire album. It begins with nothing but foreboding ambience and a simple piano melody, and for much of the first minute of this song, that’s all there is, but the simplicity here is quite beautiful in this case, and as an 8 minute song, it has plenty of time to allow the relaxation to seep in and soothe the soul (which I need all too often). The arp comes in with the beat and some strings not long into the song, but it’s all so slow paced and subtle that it doesn’t intrude on the relaxation in the slightest, which is really important for a long pathway to slumber like this one. Everything about it is subtle and even though the back half isn’t exceptionally eventful, it does have just enough development to make the song length worth its while.

 

There are some minimalistic lyrics to this minimalistic song as well as the calm development. Most of the song is dedicated to showing that this song is depicting a force other than gravity. Another true constant in the universe that keeps us grounded. On its own these lyrics are completely vague and seemingly existential with very little point. But thanks to the last song, we now know that there is a game that we must play in life, whether we want to or not: a game of forces. Once again, this one does seem to indicate that there’s no escaping this game. Comparable to the constant of gravity, society is merely another force that keeps us grounded.

 

And as the song concludes, the whispers of gravity and forces of nature, slowly fades out, distorting into something more robotic as it brings itself to a defeated conclusion…

 

THYX – A.I. (9.75): Headless may have been an extreme change in quality from its surrounding songs, but this is another turning point in the album. For there is an arc to this album. And while we’ve been dealing with a lot of nihilism up to this point, that’s about to end. And boy this song is the way to do it. I mean before even getting into the lyrics, the music probably gives me more chills than any other THYX song I’ve heard (prior). Even more than Forgotten from the last album (which has a sequel I’ll get to shortly).

 

But let’s get to A.I. first. This song is definitely among the best this album has to offer, and I’m having troubles figuring out whether or not it’s better than Headless. When I’d first listened to this song, I immediately was worried it would be tricky to figure out which song is the absolute best this album has to offer. Thankfully, a song later in the album made this choice much easier, but we’ll get to that in a little bit.

 

Like Gravity, this song is a mixture of simplicity and complexity. One of the only main consistent instruments is the arpeggiated synth introduced about a minute in. And I consider it to be the most iconic part of the song especially when it begins to wind down in tempo before throwing the song into double time right afterward (similar to the switchup in Headless). There’s plenty of ambience going on in the background, including some great strings that give the song some sort of victorious gravity for at the beginning. There’s also some good influences from the bass in the remainder of the song following the switchup (which is obviously one of my favorite part of the songs if you know my preferences)… though I think I actually prefer the slowing of the iconic arp a bit more. That stuff gives me chills.

 

I’m getting carried away a bit in a chaotic manner. The vocals are also intensely important to my enjoyment of the song and I’d argue that they’re some of the most intensely emotive vocals that Poiss has ever put out (but not necessarily the best) If the mood strikes me just right, the sheer emotion can bring tears to my eyes accentuated by the arp which is constantly giving me chills throughout much of the song beyond the first minute. Every moment of of Poiss’ undistorted vocals is sheer passion and paired with the lyrics, the song really cuts me deep.

 

This song is indeed a victory cry as indicated by the chilling passion that I feel throughout the experience. This is the moment, the moment, the breaking point in which one overthrows the constricting patterns that serve as the most existentially horrifying part of life (at least that’s how I feel about the constrictions; this song is very personal to my current situation). This song is about breaking free from the mold that can crush the spirit and embracing a new future of promise. I must break free of my limitations. I must find a way to escape the future of monotony. It is time for change.

 

THYX – Forgotten II (8): Forgotten is, unsurprisingly the sequel to Forgotten, my personal favorite from the last album, Super Vision. Like I’d said then, Forgotten should have definitely been the closer as the best song of the album. I love some good musical storytelling and really tend to gravitate towards enjoying those songs the most when looking at Poiss’ work. But on an album with so many exceptional songs that could make good finales in their own right. I don’t mind as much. Actually, this sequel gets overshadowed by a lot of the more positively emotional songs. This one, while fitting the narrative of the original Forgotten, is a slight bit more pessimistic.

 

Musically, this song has a lot of similarities with the original Forgotten. It still has a general upbeat vibe and continues to have the same main melody. The verses and bridge also share a lot of the same structure as the original, similar to how Mind.in.a.box’s Machine Run and Redefined had some lyrical similarities between the two songs. The mood has simply switched to something a bit darker (interestingly the opposite direction of the Machine Run/Redefined dichotomy).

 

Unfortunately, there is one section of the song, that completely transforms: the chorus. Now the new chorus is fine, it fits in with the vibe of the song. And I’ll admit that the original chorus’ tune might be a bit too dynamic and upbeat, for this song has a slightly more nihilistic mood. That is somewhat the problem with this song. While it makes sense as a sequel to Forgotten, it doesn’t really fit into the arc that this album has overall. I guess it’s supposed to serve as somewhat of an intermission between the fully nihilistic half of the album and the second half in which nihilism is pushed aside. Personally, I think that the second half has already somewhat started though so it still feels like an odd place to interrupt this ar. I’d rather have had it either before or after Gravity, but that’s just not the way the album is written.

 

Enough ranting about increasing nihilism, interrupted arcs, and track order. This song is about a narrative and I intend to take a look at what the next chapter of the Forgotten story has to offer. Last we’d left the main character of Forgotten, he’s been wandering the desert alone, sending out a signal, a message, hoping that someone out there would answer his call. Time has passed… so long that our character (which I’m almost certain is robotic at this point) has completely lost track of how long he’s been wandering (I guess, measuring temperature is more prioritized than measuring time). But even after all this time, there has been no answer to the message for one and all. No one has answered his call. There is no one else to be found on this forsaken and forgotten planet.

 

And so, he is defeated. The signal is disconnected. The battery is running low. There is no one here. It’s time to shut down.

 

Honestly, I can’t find myself accepting this as the conclusion to the Forgotten story. Even as bleak as things have become, something inside me yearns for a final installment in this desired trilogy. The story looks like it’s found its ending, but it still feels utterly incomplete. This is the most recent album of THYX as of now. I can still hope that the next album will feature a song that brings the story to a satisfying close.

 

THYX – The Phial (10): I wasn’t expecting give out a ten today. I do not throw that rating around lightly, but this song is not only easily the best on the album, it is an absolutely gorgeous piece of art. Like A.I. it reaches to the limit with the passion that Poiss puts into these vocals. But not only is the passion here stronger on a performance level, every single sound that this song produces works in unison, accentuating every surge of emotional connection, bringing me to tears by its end. But let’s start at the beginning.

 

The song follows a relatively simple feeling, with minimal instruments, slowly developing over time. However, I feel like this one is a much more emotional experience, taking everything A.I. had to offer and doing it better. The ambience here gives the song a much more chilling base. It has a shimmering feel to it as if the whispering tone is sent through an auditory kaleidoscope. This along with a very subtle pluck for a bassline serves as the main structure holding the track together.

 

It doesn’t take long for the vocals to come into play, as Poiss begins to bring out the lyrics with quite a dark tone, barely above a whisper. And the dark tone fits quite well with these first lyrics, depicting a dark silent world, decrepit, lifeless. There is a longing to find a light in the darkness, to hear something to break the silent shimmering plane of existence. But there is nothing but a silent starless sky. A suffocating silence that deceives those who are enveloped in it into a nihilistic mindset, disposed towards monotony. A silence that kills.

 

But from there, more and more elements are brought into the song in an attempt to fill the silence. It all starts with an incredibly subtly plucked bassline that gets slightly stronger over time. Whispers can be heard in the background as Poiss sings out the darkness of the soul.

 

And then comes the chorus. It’s here that the piano is first introduced, and it’s here that the tears begin to form in my eyes as this song infects my soul with deep emotions. The piano brings no complexity to the song, only enunciated the chord progression with a tone of beauty. But because of how starkly it stands out among the rest of the instruments, it resonates that much deeper. Though the song does also owe to Poiss’ vocals for some of its emotional impact, as they’ve risen to a higher somewhat more confident level. There are hints of a path out of the dark silence here.

 

For the world is a mysterious void, an unknowable enigma. But the unknowable is not necessarily out of despair. With consistent willpower to remain conscious of the world around you, you can begin to find beautiful lights in the darkness. They may shimmer. They may fade in and out. But there’s always some star hiding there, ready to shine if you’ll let it.

 

Let the star burn bright.

 

The second verse begins much like the first, though the piano has been temporarily removed. Instead more focus is given to letting other elements of the song grow in intensity. The ambience reaches new heights of glory. The bassline becomes slightly more prominent but certainly not overbearing. And the vocals have maintained their energy they’d gained in the chorus. No longer will the lyrics be spoken barely above a whisper, though there still is a truly whispering voice that echoes lyrics as it did in the first verse.

 

The journey continues on. The darkness and nihilistic thoughts don’t fade immediately. They will always threaten to creep back into prominence as the journey of life lengthens. We seek knowledge. We seek truth. We long to overcome the silence and look to the skies to finally find the pinpricks of light that represent the far-off stars of hope.

 

The piano returns as the second chorus begins, this time accompanied by a slower arp that easily matches the energy of the rest of the song. Poiss’ final lyrics of the song reach near the height of emotional conveyance as a final victorious chorus is sung out.

 

In order to find a new beginning and escape the shimmering cloud of silence that suffocates, we msut choose the path towards peace and light ourselves. It I then that our new sould and identity can be birthed. It is then, that we can open our mind to new visions that pierce through the darkness. It is then that we can create the stars in the sky that we long for so much.

 

The time has come.

 

An explosion of light erupts.

 

There are no more lyrics, for the vocals have now reached new heights of passion beyond words. I can feel the emotion resonating from within as the arp gets stronger and stronger and a drumbeat finally joins into the mix, cinematically building up for the next minute. But I think the best thing that gets this finale moving is the rolling bass. I’ve used the phrase, rolling bass, several times before, but I feel like there has never been a better time to use such a phrase as right now. This bassline is a paradoxical combination of a harsh scream smoothly easing its way through the rest of the song. At points it nearly overwhelms the rest of the song, but it never fully takes over. The light does not relent until the song reaches its close. And Poiss’ voice is there the entire while, crying out with passion. It’s a cry against the darkness that much of this album conveys. It’s a cry for victory, a cry for hope, a cry for peace.

 

This final minute is the absolute best minute in the entire album. There is no moment in the entire THYX discography that can match this moment. This is the best thing to come out of the THYX project. And I am unsure if it will ever be topped.

 

THYX – The Pain of Silence (8.5): Not to be confused with Mind.in.a.box – Silent Pain.

 

The last few songs have been great (especially The Phial), but the album has been feeling a little slow. The Pain of Silence changes that trend with an amazing synthwave rock song continuing on with the arc of escaping the mold. I guess, this song is breaking the mold of slow (though immersive) experiences. But I’d say it breaks the mold so far, that it doesn’t even sound like a THYX song anymore. Not saying that’s a problem. It’s not like THYX defines the epitome of quality music and anything that could possibly deviate is invalid. It’s just an unexpected genre switch. I’d try to come up with a good example of a synthrock artist to compare this song to, but I’m honestly drawing a blank, trying to find something that fits such a similar mood. I’ll admit that despite my enjoyment of the synthwave/pop/rock side of music, I’m not exceptionally experienced enough to confidently name a band or artist that perfectly exemplifies the genre switch.

 

But hey, maybe I could just dissect the song on its own to explain it. That’s how it’s always worked in the past. I think what makes this song stand out so starkly from the rest of Poiss’ material is that there are very few overly distorted unrecognizable instruments. There are definitely some distorted vocals (can’t escape those), but other than that, a lot of the song is made up of guitar riffs and solos played over a great varied drumbeat that switches up the mood consistently throughout the song. There’s also a few clean synths and what sounds to be the occasional choir serving for an extra little bit of melodic variety. Really, out of all of these, it’s the guitar that serves as the main draw to this song. The guitar is nearly always present throughout the entire song. In the introduction and bridge, it’s calmly picking at notes as the ambience and vocals sample take the spotlight. In the verses it spends much of its time on the downlow underneath the vocals but, it bursts out of hiding any time Poiss takes a breath. In the chorus, the guitar is allowed even more time in the forefront, allowing it to deliver high energy riffs for longer periods of time. And the outro of the song has some of the most upbeat riffs and a soaring solo on top of it all. All the while, the drumbeat is also changing energy consistently with the guitar that envelops it, finalizing the victorious drive of this song.

 

And victory fits, because the Pain of Silence is, again, about gaining victory over the monotonous chains that imprison us. This theme continues onward from the last song and will be present for the remainder of the album. This song is a bit more certain of the chance for victory. Yes, in the first verse it definitely focuses more on the flawed system that entraps us. It points out possible conspiracies of what’s going on in the background, what’s driving us to stay in this loop of monotony. This verse takes on the same nihilistic view of the front half of the album. However, when the second verse comes around, the focus changes from the resignation to the cycle to the struggle to escape it. And in typical Mind.in.a.box THYX fashion, it does so with a slight bit of representational lore depicting a group of people who have rebelled against the monotony, calling themselves The New Knights, a physical representation that it is indeed possible to escape the allegedly inescapable monotony.

 

But the meat of this song appears in the vocal sample, a speech about the modern world and how it is constantly changing. The crux of this song is that change must happen, whether we like it or not. The world is plagued with societal flaws, but when you boil all of the problems down to their source, it’s clear that the tainted hearts of mankind are to blame. No amount of money or resources could truly cure the world. You have to start by reaching out to the people, to encourage them to change the world around them individually, eventually changing the world on a global scale. This song’s message to one and all urges any who hear its call to become a part of this change. To be part of an overwhelming ocean of change that can hopefully improve the world into a better place for all.

 

The song is aiming a bit high. Songs hoping to reach for a utopia always seem to do so. To accomplish this goal widespread would not only be difficult but probably impossible to accomplish. I’m no sociologist or anything, but I can’t imagine that such a massive paradigm shift would go incredibly smoothly. But perhaps, it’s best to look at this song on a personal level. By trying to break our own personal cycle of monotony and embracing something greater, we can at least change our world for the better. And that’s certainly some measure of progress for now. Keep those greater aspirations in mind for the future, but for now, find out how exactly it is you want to live in the present and focus on achieving that. Honestly, this album is serving more as a pepe talk to myself more than anything else at this point.

 

THYX – No Place For Me (8.25): It’s clear from the last few songs, that this arc has exited the initial cyclical monotony that dominated the first half of the album, The Phial being the initial glorious breaking point and The Pain of Silence continuing to illustrate some of the resistance one will face during this escape (though not abandoning the hope that the escape is very much possible and worth it). Now that the mold has been established to be broken, one must wonder what’s next. Where does one go from here? Judging from the title of this song, that question isn’t too easily answered.

 

I think that of the many songs of this album, this one would probably have fit into the Mind.in.a.box story the best. I’m not just talking about the lyrics (though admittedly, Black’s initial plight after being freed from White’s control does somewhat relate to this song’s theming), but the musical style also feels a lot more similar to the general feeling of most Mind.in.a.box songs. Perhaps it just seems that way because this song finally has a groovy technological upbeat style in comparison to the last several, which were either fitting an immersive calm vibe or pushing the limit to what seems like an entirely different genre. This song, however, spends its entirety catering to the classic technologically arpeggiated synths and a few short melodies here and there.

 

As for the lyrics, this song homes in on the largest source of difficulty one might have when trying to move forward in life after escaping the cycle of monotony. Where does one go next? In this world so focused on making the next dollar, how does one truly escape without turning back to the monotonous nightmare that one can’t feel complete in. The singer in this song knows he mustn’t give in and return to the darkness from whence he came, repeatedly depicting it as a nightmare, but he has no idea where else he could possibly go.

 

One can escape the monotonous nightmare but that doesn’t necessarily make the life that follows an easy one.

 

THYX – Free (9.5): Fittingly, after an album full of struggling to escape, we conclude with a song titled Free: a beautiful fitting closer to this album (I would have also accepted The Phial as an ending, but that might just be because I love The Phial so much). Free returns to a relatively calmer feeling that was so prominent in the middle third of this album, From Gravity to the Phial. It still maintains a slight bit more of that technological feel similar to the last song, with a heavy focus on an echoing bassline, which over the chorus of the song, will evolve significantly throughout, growing stronger in sync with a few piano chords as it builds up towards a lightly funky beat in the second half. There are some other more technological elements developing here as well, most noticeably in the second half. Plus, the most distorted vocals on the album round out the technological side of Poiss’ work quite nicely.

 

But like I said, this song embraces some of the calmer elements of this album as well. Much of the calmer elements of this track work in the background behind the bassline drumbeat and incredibly distorted vocals. I’d already mentioned the piano that accompanies the drumbeat, and while piano may be a significant instrument, It’s not necessarily my favorite in this case. I may slightly prefer the stirngs introduced about 2 minutes in as they rise along with the vocals in preparation for the sl8ightly more upbeat second half of the song. It’s one of the more beautiful moments of this song.

 

Free concludes the arc this album had developed from the very beginning. Now that the mold has been broken and the fog has been cleared, there is nothing left to do but to figure out where to go next. No Place for Me somewhat brushed on this, though it admittedly didn’t have a very positive outlook on the future. Free takes a second glance at the situation and looks forward to the future in a more positive light, vowing to follow a new destiny without letting the past weigh down on the present. Combining all that we’ve heard before and reaching a satisfying ending to the vague narrative this album possessed, this song masterfully summarizes the transformation that this album desires to convey: You can escape the monotony. It won’t be easy, but the struggle is worth it. Life is worth it.

 

So, go and live.

 

Conclusion: This is currently the best album I’ve reviewed so far. Not only does it contain The Phial, one of the few songs that deserve the elusive 10/10, but there are several other songs that come ridiculously close (Headless, A.I. and perhaps Free). There aren’t really any tracks here that disappoint. Some perhaps a bit on the lower end in comparison to the rest of the album (see Doomed). Bit the arc that this album has throughout makes it one of the best albums I’ve ever heard.

 

I may possibly have some biases. I’m at a point in my life right now, where I’m really feeling the message of this song, suffocated by societal expectations and all. Really not sure if that’s anything worth complaining about or if it’s just better for me to suck it up and deal with what life gives me.

 

But someday, I shall be free.

 

Final Score (8.75/10)

Mind.in.a.box – Memories (2015 album)

Album Links:

 

Bandcamp: n/a

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/mindinabox/sets/memories-44

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/5A0Ko45IIZKgPgvZn84hFF?si=Cy_-2NnZTnO3VYMXYlxUgA

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_nq-wTovKWFVHcHeOu9kki0HCHgsJTVHbM

 

 

 

 

I̸̧̪̱̻̬̟̜̖̓́̍̃ṋ̵̨̬͓͔͚̣̞͖̘̒̇̓̓̈́̊̒̿̍̄̈̕͝͝ͅt̶͓̖̠̮̜̙̓r̵̨̞̹͕̝͎̜͓̥̩̤͔̈̑̑͒̔̀͐̈͊̈́̽̎ō̷̝͕̗͇̦̪̰̩̩͎̖̱̳̒͆͘d̵̢̑͌̋͋̏̐̔͗̽̽͒̑͒͜͠͝ụ̴͔͎̺̜̗͍̖͔̹̟̞̥͙̤̆̇̾̃̆̄̐̔͆̂͘͝͝ĉ̴̡̛̳̟̦͈̮͇͉̭̫͉̦͈̀̃̿͌͋͒̑̋̂̉͘̚̚t̵̢̧̛̯̟͕͙̖̪̻̩̗́̾͗̐̈͑̋͑͋͆̓̾̋̂ͅi̵̛̻͎̤̣̝̣̇̋̄͊̑͑̌͌͜͝͠ó̵̧̟͒͆̈̊̋̀̓̽͘͠͝ň̵̞̣̘̩̣͔̗̣̝̪͉̲̠̰͂̏̉͊̏̆͐͐̊̋̆͐͠: ……………………………………………………………………….

 

 

 

Last time on Mind.in.a.box: As Black’s journey continues, reality begins to unravel around him. In the beginning he was a simple man, living his life out as an Agent employed under White. Working for the Agency against a group of rebels known as the Sleepwalkers. The Sleepwalkers had eluded Black and the rest of the Stalkers for quite some time. Their leader, a man later known as “The Friend,” had killed himself as Black had closed in on him. And another member, a woman named Night, had escaped Black’s trail in a club full of hypnotic music that has been pulsing in Black’s brain ever since the incident.

 

It was then, that Black had first glimpsed the Dreamweb.

 

It was then that White began to lose control.

 

And so, The Sleepwalkers took the opportunity to rescue Black from White’s clutches, recruiting him for the resistance against the Agency Black had once worked for. Transitioning into a brand-new life, Black has understandably had a bit of an existential crisis. His past and his future no longer align. The path forward is more unknown than ever. Black must live with the mistakes of his past. He hopes to redeem himself. To find new meaning.

 

Cast all memories aside, now is the time for the future.

 

Mind.in.a.box – Travel Guide (8.75): As per usual, Mind.in.a.box starts out this album with a recap of past events, making my recap kind of redundant. But this song doesn’t just recap previous events. There is more information here, that’s been lurking in the background and many of them are quite world changing. I believe that this is probably the most narratively intense chapter in Black’s story so far. It’s debatable whether or not this or the one in Broken Legacies blows my mind more, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

 

No need to talk of Broken Legacies here. There’s plenty of material within this song. The very first line of the song metaphysically changes the way you might look at the entire discography. Mind.in.a.box is no longer just the name of Poiss’ narrative cyberpunk project. It’s now the name of a band that’s important to the narrative. They were the ones playing the music in Dead End that first exposed Black to the Dreamweb. They are the band that Black and The Agency have been searching for ever since that incident. It is their music that Black rediscovers at the end of the last album in the songs, Transition and Sanctuary. This adds entire new levels of meta and immersion into the Mind.in.a.box universe.

 

And that’s not all this song has to offer. This song exposes a lot of intel on the Dreamweb and how it works, even clarifying past events back in the first album when The Friend had supposedly killed himself. He’d cheated death by escaping into the Dreamweb, another world that the rebels had used to elude the Agency, keeping them at bay, always one step behind (you might want to take a peak back at Stalkers from Crossroads now). This song even clarifies past events back in the first album such as when The Friend had supposedly killed himself. Black has now discovered that he’d cheated death by escaping into the Dreamweb. Much to Black’s surprise, the Friend is still alive.

 

Now is the time for Night and The Friend to show him the hidden world the Dreamweb. A world intricately connected to the reality Black had once known, and yet so distant.

 

But they have a key.

 

The music of Mind.in.a.box

 

And what fantastic music it is. I mean this isn’t necessarily the most stellar of Mind.in.a.box, but I’d definitely consider it on the upper end of his work. This song has less of a technological vibe than most, focusing mostly on varied guitar work than arpeggiated synths, but it does a great job of energizing this reading of Black’s journal, provided by Night.

 

But his story isn’t finished. Now that he’s conquered his past under White’s control. Black is ready to enter a new chapter of his life.

 

It is time to join the Sleepwalkers.

 

Mind.in.a.box – I Knew (7.75): Now this sounds a bit more like the classic Mind.in.a.box I know. Heavy focus on an arpeggiated bassline paired with the synthetic female voice used from the very beginning of the discography in Light and Dark (though I can also hear Black’s voice echoing in the background so perhaps that’s something to note). Add in a bit of melody and some dramatic drums and you’ve got yourself a Mind.in.a.box song. I don’t have too much else to say about the music, but the real matter of importance here is the lyrical content anyway.

 

This song takes on the tendrils of the last album’s themes of retrospection on Black’s past. It only makes sense to explore his memories in an album titled Memories. However, I feel like this song does feel a bit more positive, focusing a lot more on the new clarity that Black is now experiencing and how he’s beginning to find the answers to the questions he’s been asking his entire life. There seems to be a brighter future ahead of Black…

 

For now…

 

Mind.in.a.box – Unforgiving World (8.75): Unforgiving World has a subtle beginning with a low arp that soloing softly at the beginning. The drumbeat does come in not long afterwards, but this low arp still works well as the song’s backbone. Its influence is never lost, even when it’s covered up with several melodies, especially in the choruses. The variation in the melodies in this song is what I’d consider to be its main selling point. All of the usual technological elements in the verses blend seamlessly with the more organic strings in the second verse. And the chorus features a healthy variety of melodies in its chorus, from the most melodic portion preceding each chorus, to the longer notes underlying the distorted chorus (the latter of which seems to get more intense as the song progresses, though I feel that the hats may have some influence on that.

 

As for the lyrics, Unforgiving World is surprisingly much more positive than you’d think. The unforgiving world that Black lives in does take up some focus on the song, urging Black to give up his hopes like the numerous people hiding in the shadows, accepting the darkness as part of their life.

 

But Black doesn’t relent. Instead, he defies the darkness. He defies this unforgiving world, rejecting in his fears and refusing to fallback into the blind life he’d once lived. Instead he holds on to hope. Hope that one day, he shall find peace within this world.

 

There is hope…

 

Mind.in.a.box – No Hope (7): There is no hope…

 

Seriously, the contrast between this song and the last one is quite odd, to say the least and it feels like it doesn’t belong in the story as the next on the album continues towards Black’s positive path. It just feels completely out of place in his arc. And I feel that the album as a whole would be slightly better without it.

 

There is an alternate solution. The song could very well be following a different Stalker, one still under White’s control. The song does seem to share a similar tone to Stalkers after all, focusing on robotically oriented vocals in the front, with the familiar undistorted vocals in the background, commonly associated with Black. And the Stalkers are quite important to this chapter as you’ll see later (I’m sorry for slight spoiler, but it’s relevant. I won’t go into detail until later).

 

Anyways, since the lyrics are so sparse and vague, I’m going to judge this song mostly on the music anyways. The drumbeat in this one is very solid whenever it’s present, not holding back at all as it’s paired with a great bassline in the introduction. It gives the song a slight bit of energetic edge over the rest of the album, which for the most part, is slower paced, focusing more on dramatic moments than energy. And so, with some great arpeggiated development, this song, while not the standout of the album is good enough to fit within.

 

Barely.

 

Mind.in.a.box – Synchronize (7.75): Synchronize stats off distorted, but quickly introduces a good simple melody and a solid drumbeat. The verses are decent, implementing the more computerized vocals, which makes sense considering that this song is especially heavy on the virtual themes of the Dreamweb. But before I get into how this song affects the narrative, I want to first remark on the chorus, or rather the introduction to the chorus specifically. It’s short, but the drum solo preceding the chorus is easily my favorite part of this song’s instrumentation, though the calmer bridge at about three and a half minutes in comes close.

 

But this is Mind.in.a.box. I can’t go exceptionally long without talking of the narrative. And this album is full of some of the most important developments yet, this song starting with Black’s journey into the Dreamweb, synchronizing with the musical frequencies of Mind.in.a.box and allowing his consciousness to become part of the machine.

 

You could say that he places is his mind…

 

In a box.

 

Mind.in.a.box – Bad Dreams (8.25): Like Unforgiving World, Bad Dreams is a more positive experience of a song, with a deceptively depressing title. Even the vocal tone is a bit deceptive. The odd near whisper in the verses feel especially uneasy. The soft metallic melody doesn’t really do a good job easing the tension, only making the song feel a slight bit more ominous. Not to mention the chorus whose vocals inspire a feeling of passionately loud desperation.

 

But like Unforgiving World, this song depicts Black’s escape from his bad dreams, from his never-ending nightmare under White’s control. But Bad Dreams takes this escape a step further, as Black has now synchronized with the Dreamweb, a reality that Night and The Friends have leading him to ever since Dead End (The music is the key) and Introspection (waking up underwater). Here, Black and the other Sleepwalkers are safe from White and the unfreed Stalkers. Even the Friend, who’d died back in Forever Gone from the first album, has found a way to escape death itself.

 

This nightmare is over. Black’s journey towards redemption is coming to an end…

 

Mind.in.a.box – Silent Pain (8.5): Silent Pain is, fittingly, one of the calmer songs on the album, focusing a lot on soft melodies set over an ambient bassline. It picks up a little bit more with a couple of other melodies and the essential Mind.in.a.box arp. Not to mention the emotional climax that builds as Black ends his journey of silent pain. It still remains to be quite a relaxing song with a great atmosphere to it, even though it doesn’t quite keep the calm it had in the beginning.

 

But that’s perfectly reasonable, quite fitting actually, because Silent Pain is about a journey. Black’s journey to acceptance specifically. Throughout Revelations, Black had struggled with the ramifications of escaping White’s control, but it’s here that I believe that Black has come to terms with is past. Or, at least, he’s fully committed to embracing the future ahead of him, setting the past behind him forever.

 

What matters now is the next step of his journey…

 

It won’t be an easy one…

 

Mind.in.a.box – Timelessness (9.25): Timelessness is easily the catchiest song in Mind.in.a.box’s discography. I’m not sure what it is about this song, but the chorus gets stuck in my head more often than any other song Poiss has made and is among the songs my mind regularly defaults to when it decides to fill the silence with mental music. Yes, I do indeed do this sometimes. My musical obsession is simultaneously a blessing and a curse.

 

Anyways, I’m quite certain that the simplicity of the chorus’ lyrics is what helps it stick in my mind. It’s not exceptionally quick paced and it only has two lines of lyrics (or four, if you want to divide it into an ABCB rhyme scheme rather than a single couplet). And despite being computerized, the chorus still has an emotional charge to it, depicting the experience of what it’s like to reside in the Dreamweb (again, talking of the lyrical content while analyzing the musical content is quite risky but hold on a second while I finish this off).

 

The verses, while not as catchy as the chorus, still have a grand effect on the song overall. The vocals may be the star of the show in the chorus, but here, it’s all about the bassline and melodies (and arps of course, always the arps). Everything here meshes quite well with the lyrics, and if it weren’t for the catchiness of the titular chorus of this song, I think I’d have preferred the verses. (Oh, and one last thing, the rising frequency at the end of this song makes for quite a great finale).

 

Anyways, seeing as this is likely the most story-heavy album of the Mind.in.a.box discography (the next five songs especially, I might not even mention the music in most of them), it would probably be a good idea to go into detail of what this song is about. Along with many of the past few songs of this album, this is about the experience that is the Dreamweb, which Black has finally fully entered, falling asleep in one world and waking up in another. Now in the Dreamweb, completely free of White’s influence, Black now has more clarity in his life than ever before. It is now that he feels at peace with the truth of the reality around him.

 

Surprisingly, he had to leave reality in order to discover that.

 

And then he came back…

 

Mind.in.a.box – Face It (8): Ok, this is probably the grittiest edgiest sounding track in the Mind.in.a.box discography. It has a very slow tempo with a heavy rock guitar serving as the main source of energy. And the namedrop of the song is much harsher than anything else in the Mind.in.a.box discography. But it also is a very important turning point in this album, not as artful as Redefined, but still a very important moment in Black’s life, transitioning into the most narratively driven stretch in the entire discography, five entire songs dedicated to Black rising up from his depressed slumber and actually standing up to White and the agency. It is time for him to face his past, to cut off who he was and to embrace the future.

 

This song is the perfect blend of Black’s past regrets of his time under White’s control and his desire to change the world. Mulling over his past has done nothing for him so far.

 

Now is the time for action.

 

Black exits the Dreamweb…

 

And makes his way to the Agency.

 

Mind.in.a.box – Up there (8.75): Enter Stalkers.

 

This is it. These next four songs will display the showdown between Black and White, concluding a major arc of the Mind.in.a.box story. Think of it as a finale of sorts (though not the final finale, there is more to come). Black has sought out White and found his way to the Agency’s headquarters. He and White stand on the rooftop of Black’s previous workplace (somewhat depicted on the album art, though there’s only one person there so I’m not certain), now in a stand-off between a rebellious Stalker and his previous employer. But Black is at a dead end. There is no way out for him. It’s all or nothing.

 

And then, the rest of the Stalkers show up, their face blank, with all of their emotions stripped away, fed to the machine.

 

White has an army under his control, an army that Black was once a part of. Before the Sleepwalkers had saved him. Recognizing their previous coworker, the Stalkers welcome him back to the Agency. They welcome him back to his “home” as a Stalker. There seems to be no way out for Black.

 

And then something happens. Something strange, mysterious and currently unexplainable as the Dreamweb is still so enigmatic, it’s quite impossible to tell the true limits of its power.

 

The Friend briefly appears, the musical arps taking over a more technological vibe to the song as he uses some sort of weapon to wound White, searing his skin. And just as quickly as he had appeared, The Friend departs, leaving Black alone with White and the Stalkers…

 

Mind.in.a.box – Pedro (7.5): Enter… Pedro?

 

This is the absolute hardest song to figure out how it fits in the narrative. Why? Well, there’s no lyrical analysis to be had. This song is all instrumental other than maybe a few vocals at the three-minute mark, but it’s practically impossible to figure out what they’re saying, if anything. That being said, the music in this song does stand out from the rest of the album, sounding more like something from THYX or off of the R.E.T.R.O. album. The song clearly needs more musical focus as opposed to the four surrounding it, which get away by having some exceptionally good additions to the narrative.

 

I’d describe the mood of this song as quite relaxing somehow. There are some more driving portions of the song near the end, but up until that point, it’s just a mysterious soundscape.

 

And then there’s the name Pedro. Where do I even begin? Seen only in the title of this song and nowhere else in the discography, I have to ask, who is Pedro? Whatever theory I come up with it will be impossible to determine whether or not it’s true unless the name shows up later in the discography with some more detail. But that hasn’t happened yet, and I have my doubts that it ever will.

 

My theory? Well, it is quite possible that Black has finally remembered his name. It’s ridiculous, I know, but it is a possibility, and you can’t tell me I’m wrong because he can’t remember his name as evidenced in Into the Night from Crossroads.

 

It makes sense narratively to have a song about Black between the Stalker’s beckoning him to rejoin the Agency and Black’s final stand against White. Speaking of which…

 

Mind.in.a.box – Shake-up (9): Enter Black.

 

Black is a Stalker no more. White no longer has control over him and he will never be loyal to the Agency again. Now is the time for ultimate redemption, the end of an arc as Black stands up to White and his legion of Stalkers, up on the roof of the building that had destroyed his memories. Black may have unknowingly been on the wrong side of the story as a Stalker in the first two chapters in this narrative, but over the last three (including this album), his life has changed completely, uprooted from what he once knew as truth and reality.

 

And now, standing before White, Black holds his ground steadfastly. He will not give up. He will not give in. His path in the future may not be perfect. His path to this moment wasn’t flawless either. But his actions have not damned him to failure. Just because he stumbles, that doesn’t mean he will fall. Until the end of his time, Black will stand up for the reality and truth that he has discovered with the Sleepwalkers in the Dreamweb. As the song concludes, Black gives on quiet speech before it all ends, now at peace with the past that had haunted him, the future that daunts him and the present in which he must fight for his memories

 

Now, he remembers.

 

Now, he knows the truth.

 

But the song comes to a strange end. Something that makes me uncertain of Black’s fate in this face-off. Despite the way this arc seems to end, Black seems to be absent in the next song, leaving White alone to… well, I’ll get into that in a bit. But it doesn’t quite make sense that Black would simply leave White alone after rising up to face him, dedicating his life to the future…

 

There’s one tone at the end that makes me worry…

 

A long tone that seems reminiscent of a flatline…

 

Black’s fate is uncertain…

 

Mind.in.a.box – 5ynchr0ni7e (9): Enter White.

 

With Black’s fate uncertain, it’s time for a shift in perspective. It’s time to take a closer look at the man who’s remained roughly enigmatic up to this point: White, Black’s employer, leader of the Agency, and controller of the Stalkers. So many questions have arisen about the Agency and their relationship to those that inhabit the Dreamweb. White has been chasing the Sleepwalkers for so long, but after losing control of Black, his search for a way into the Dreamweb grows ever more frantic.

 

It’s through this that we get a good look at White as a character. What kind of person runs the Agency and what thoughts must run in his head as he constantly takes the free will of others, turning them into Stalkers. He’s a man filled with regret and horror at what he has done. He is a man who fears that he will be found by the Sleepwalkers as much as he desires to find them. He is a man who is feared by all who work for him. He is a man who refuses to look at the face of a murderer, his own face. He is a man who dedicates everything he has to a cause. And right now that cause is unlocking the Dreamweb.

 

Thankfully, at the same time that he’d lost Black, the Agency was able to record and recreate the music that Black had heard in that club, the frequency of Mind.in.a.box. And so White has led a division of the Agency to conduct experiments on human test subjects to try and enter the Dreamweb.

 

It’s not working. Several lives have been lost already to this cause, but White cannot enter the Dreamweb. Not unless he knows the secret of synchr0n17ing with it…

 

Conclusion: There are several questions left unanswered at the end of this album. The fate of Black is still undetermined, though I believe his physically body has died, perhaps in a similar manner to how The Friend had killed himself back in the first album. But as we now know, the Friend is not dead. He’d survived death through the Dreamweb. And seeing as Black has entered the Dreamweb as well, it’s quite possible that he could do the same. The power of the Dreamweb is still relatively unknown.

 

But White desires that power. He vows to reach into it and destroy the Sleepwalkers who’d been evading him for so long.

 

It’s worth noting, that when I’d discovered Mind.in.a.box, this was the latest album. This was my cliffhanger, leaving me to wonder what was next in the struggle between the Agency and the Sleepwalkers. I had so many unanswered questions, some of which have been revealed since then.

 

But sometimes unanswered questions are good. It pushes me to dig deeper into the music. It pushes me to find as much information on this narrative as I can. And most of all, it makes me await somewhat patiently for the next chapter in this story.

 

You don’t have to wait though. Go ahead and listen to Broken Legacies right now! I won’t review it for a bit, but you can always listen ahead of me.

 

Final Score: (8.25/10)

Thyx – Super Vision (2014 album)

Album links

Bandcamp: n/a

Soundcloud: n/a

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/5aXV1Y6cXl16zqlvGD9NKd?si=Lg6MMEbrTOOX6VQM983xtA

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_n8CBSooWqwMoKIK6Pd68vAuNqtjHenCeo

 

 

Introduction: It’s Thyx again! This way I can maybe maintain an illusion of not overloading you entirely with Mind.in.a.box! Is it working? I even skipped the usual “Last Time on Thyx” Joke to try and disguise the density of my Mind.in.a.box reviews. Did you know I’m reviewing Mind.in.a.box a lot? Well worry not. I think I am about half caught up with Mind.in.a.box over all so eventually I may have to give the man a break from reviews (until there’s a new release). But for now, let’s bring out the magnifying glass and give a close inspection of Thyx’s third album, Super Vision.

 

 

 

Thyx – Intro (6): Ok, I shan’t be too long on this one. This intro, after all, only lasts a minute, and there’s really very little interesting standout content that differs from any other album intro I’ve ever heard. I mean, at least with the one other short intro I’ve reviewed (“Welcome to Scatland”), there were some words establishing the theme of the album. This, however, is just some slight cinematics with a common arp. Overall, there isn’t really too much for a reason for this song to exist. It’s only a minute long and the next song begins with the exact same arp. I guess this song could be argued to set the mood for the rest of the album, but it just feels a bit unnecessary. The rest of the album sets the mood for itself, and with some edgy vocals and lyrics from the later songs on the album, it doesn’t quite match this victorious cinematic intro.

 

It just doesn’t quite fit.

 

But perhaps I’m being a small bit unfair. Album context, while definitely worth noting, shouldn’t fully affect a song’s quality. And if you ignore the context, this song does sound quite good. There is a slight bit of suspense here and it does have a great build. It just doesn’t really have the time to go anywhere and really explore the thematic mood it begins to express here. Bit I guess that’s what the next song is for.

 

Also, fun fact, since I’d spent so much time talking about this short intro, longer than I’d expected, you could easily finish listening to it before you finish actually reading about it here. “Shan’t spent too long on this one” indeed.

 

Thyx – Will They Learn? (8): Like I said in the last song, our second song of the album (or first if you only want to count full length songs), begins quite similarly to the preceding intro. It has the exact same arp. It has a very similar melody with the only difference being the instrumentation. The similarities don’t last long though, as the cinematic drums are completely absent, replaced with that good ol’ syncopated drumbeat I know and love. Sorry, Intro, but Will They Learn? is an incredibly significant improvement.

 

And that’s not even mentioning all of the other interesting elements that make this song stand out significantly in comparison to the last. Instead of cinematic drums, there’s an eerie synths that explodes into existence only fifteen seconds in, creating a chilling atmosphere that’s present throughout the rest of the track. Now this is an intro to the rest of the album. One small difference completely changes the mood and it matches quite well with this song. Also, as with plenty of Mind.in.a.box songs, there’ some great distorted vocals, these ones providing more variety than usual. Nearly every voice of Poiss is accounted for. The verses with a slightly nihilistic view on the crumbling world exclusively feature the edgier gritty side of Poiss’ vocals, not completely guttural, but certainly not clean either. The verses of existential pondering and perhaps hope, however, feature a mixture of the highly distorted robotic voice and the cleaner victorious vocals that suit Poiss best. And it’s this variety that really immerses me in the song the most.

 

But it’s not just about how the vocals sound. It’s also about what these vocals talk about. I’ve givn a slight hint to this song’s lyrical content already. A mixture of a nihilistic outlook on the state of society while still trying to keep hope that one day, we’ll find a way to live in peace. Again, this is a common theme in many of the artists I obsess over, likely because I agree that society isn’t in the most fantastic place yet and something needs to be done about all this division. The verses focus on wanting no part in a broken society, hunkering down, knowing that the storm will always come. But the verses envision a society in which peace and some sort of agreement can be found. Sure, there will always be some form of disagreement, but if the ideal of peaceful disagreement can be found, we’d all be better off.

 

But for now, this is all a hope, a question of possibility. It might not happen any time soon, but we must have hope that it will happen in the future.

 

Only if we work for it.

 

Thyx – Robots Don’t Lie (8.5): Apparently robots are quite truthful and incredibly trustworthy. That’s what the title of this song implies. It also implies that humans are liars by default and I can definitely see where such an idea comes from. Everyone lies. Not robots though. Robots don’t lie.

 

Robots are all about those arps and distorted vocals (Oh wow, the song praising robots uses the robotic voice, who would have guessed?). Of course, you also have to have a bassline and some great melodies to finish the song off. Seriously, most of the song is rather simple in its variety, but those last few melodies really do feel quite refreshing and unique compared to the rest of the song. Nothing wrong with everything else, the mood the rest of the song creates is great, but the last bit is exceptional.

 

While the song may be titled “Robot’s Don’t Lie,” the lyrics themselves seem to focus more on the idea that humans do lie. And that’s perfectly acceptable in my book. Maybe even better as I can relate a bit more to being a human than to being a robot. Because that’s what I definitely am. I am definitely a human and in no way could I be anything else that would be suspicious in any way. I may lie sometimes (because I’m human), but I assure you that I’m not lying right now. That’s definitely for certain.

 

This song explores how we hide our true selves constantly, placing some sort of filter on ourselves depending on who we’re around, constantly shrouding bits and pieces of our identity in the darkness, invisible to the eyes of an outsider. Only in rare cases will the truth be revealed, if ever. At least, that’s how I view this common, yet clever deception. For all I know I could be the strange one, a strange human that is. I don’t want to create any confusion that might imply that I’m not human. Because I am human.

 

But this is a false inauthentic way of living, hiding constantly from the truth, sometimes deceiving our own selves to be something we’re not. And if enough lies are told, it can definitely become an unhealthy lifestyle in my opinion (or maybe I just despise inauthenticity). It’s only when you remove the shroud and bare the soul that feels so dead that you can truly revive yourself. Inauthenticty is poison. Don’t give in.

 

Because otherwise, if we continue to lie, we will fall and the robots will take over the world creating a society of constant truth and as someone who is definitely human and certainly not a robot or anything else, I have to say that I definitely am not a fan of the idea of humans going extinct in favor of robots. That doesn’t favor me in any way, nosiree.

 

Thyx – Für Immer (6.5): As horrifying as the impending fall of humanity would be, Robots Don’t Lie, doesn’t sound nearly as ominous as Für Immer, a song covered in foreboding ambiance and the grittiest foreign vocals, all of it depicting an inescapable cult. Für Immer means forever. And to be lsot forever within this enigmatic emotionless cult sounds to be a nightmare. If there’s a THYX universe that I don’t know of, this makes White and his Agency of Stalkers look like small potatoes.

 

Thanks to the bridge, it does sound like perhaps a revolution within the cult as the people stand up against those still loyal to the cult. Whether, this revolution is successful remains to be determined. Of course, this could just as easily be some sort of propaganda as the cult may tend to adopt those who feel betrayed and outcast by society. I’m going to go with the latter. After all, if this cult is forever inescapable, then a revolution sounds quite infeasible.

 

Cryptic inescapable cults working in the shadows aside, this song doesn’t do much beyond the intro to set the mood for this song. The ominous ambience combined with the foreign vocals that remain to be deciphered unless you speak German (or have convenient access to Google Translate). But after that, the song doesn’t really much go beyond the typical arpeggiated vibe that’s essential to Poiss’ projects. The drumbeat is a bit irregular, but other than that, it’s pretty nonexceptional. Good and creepy concept, but that’s about it.

 

Thyx – Waiting For You (7.5): The lyrics in this song are… vague… I don’t really mind them, but they feel quite like they’re trying to tell some sort of story of a man searching for someone during an apocalypse in which much of mankind has likely died off, soon to fade into history forever. And so, the singer scours the world looking for… someone. Probably another human. Though for all I know he might not be human himself (unlike me because I most definitely am human and there’s no reason to think otherwise). Regardless, the one he is waiting for is gone and may never come back. That’s pretty much the entire story. Pretty simple. Not all that though provoking (except maybe for the idea of mankind’s disappearance. That sounds fascinating. I want more)

 

Thankfully, the music in this more than makes up for the lack of lyrical content. The song really has a good old school trance vibe with a hard hitting well tempoed drumbeat driving the song forward as well as an arp to match. It develops quite well, becoming more intense over time as the arp becomes bassier and the technological influences of Poiss’ usual work begin to take over. However the intensity does take a couple of short breaks now and then with a quite calming section about three minutes in where the drumbeat drops out in favor of some more focus on the vocals and ambience (and then creating a build-up from nothing, haven’t mentioned one of those in quite a while). There’s very similar break at the end with one last utterance of the song’s title, ending the song on a note of longing.

 

Waiting.

 

Thyx – Don’t Let Yourself Go (7.75): Don’t Let Yourself Go is perhaps the most easygoing song on this album. Most of the song lends itself to a near bass solo with only some essentials like a drumbeat and some ambience accompanying it. Oh, and also a small few lines of vocals, but they don’t lend themselves to much discussion this time around, going no deeper than the song title. The title still displays a good message what with the importance of self-identity and all, but there are other songs in which I have gone more in depth into this topic and there will also be other songs in the future that allow me to explore this concept. For now, I’d rather focus on the slightly ominous introduction that this song begins with. Extra focus on the bassline, means there’s quite little room for any uplifting sounds to break through. Plus Poiss’ vocals here are barely above a whisper which only add to the implied threat of a tune most of this song displays…

 

Most of the song…

 

For in the last third, the song takes a much more uplifting approach, adding a couple of new melodies with a joyful cadence that contrast so well with the bleakness preceding their introduction. Most prominently, there’s a guitar playing the melody of this portion. It isn’t overzealously energetic. It simply plays a few notes during its tenure in the song while taking a short break every fourth measure for a piano to take over for a couple brief seconds. This last third is incredibly refreshing in comparison to the darker basslines overtaking the majority of the song and it really sends that simple motion of holding on to one’s self- identity close, even in the darkest moments.

 

Because there will be light.

 

Thyx – Loyalty (4.75): Not to be confused with Mind.in.a.box – Loyalty, though they are produced by the exact same person. I’ve already reviewed the one by Mind.in.a.box and this is completely different. First off, the Mind.in.a.box version of loyalty has a narrative attached to it. Thyx isn’t about that. More importantly, when Black’s loyalty is betrayed back in Dreamweb, he breaks it off, refusing to trust again. However, in this one, the betrayal takes a different. Even when betrayed, this singer’s loyalty remains unbroken despite his desires to let go. Now, I’m not exactly certain of the context of the relationship these two have, but it sounds to be quite a toxic situation to me. The singer here is defeated, trapped in a misery he can’t escape from. And frankly, that causes this song to lose a lot of points in my book.

 

Alternatively, there might very well be a third unseen party in this story. Perhaps we’re not speaking of betrayal this time, but the absence thereof. What if, instead of our singer refusing to break his loyalty to the one who betrayed him, he is instead refusing to break the loyalty to another despite the urges of another. He is instead steadfast to his true values, regardless of his temptations to abandon them.

 

And yet he’s still resigned towards misery… So not exactly inspiring… The song still suffers.

 

And unfortunately, the music isn’t really exceptional enough for me to give it any recovery from its subpar lyrical analysis. It’s fine but it feels like the bare minimum for a Mind.in.a.box/Thyx song. It’s got his vocals with some minor distortion. And a few matching synths with an equal amount of distortion. But arpwork? Absent. Any sort of energy or immersion? Absent. Any reason to return to this song? Absent.

 

So yeah, they can’t all be winners. Probably the worst Poiss song of all actually.

 

Thyx – Our Only Home (7.5): After the most depressing bleak song on the album, let’s take a look at something completely different! Our Only Home begins with cleanest most peaceful vibe ever. No grit, just calming piano backed up by the softest arp and drumbeat possible. And other than the whispers of the song’s title, there’s absolutely no sign of the unedited vocals that took up the brunt of Loyalty. It’s all the brightly distorted vocals describing the world we live in and how important it is to keep it alive. Yup this song is environmental. Not a problem with that. I too, am a fan of trying to make this world we live in last as long as possible. I’ve got some goals I’d lie to achieve in my lifetime, so I’d really appreciate it if we could make this place last another century or so. Humanity’s extinction would be really inconvenient for me, seeing as I’m human and all. Any other possibility would be a lie. And as we all know, I don’t lie. I mean I could because as a human, I’m definitely capable of lying but I don’t.

 

Human treehugging aside, I do very much enjoy the refreshment that this song has to offer in a mostly darker sounding album (and discography for that matter). And it does so without sacrificing the technological vibe that’s iconic to Poiss’ work. There’s still that underlying arp that structures the song nicely and a small bridge with a synth that provides a slight bit of MIAB spice without feeling too out of place.

 

This song is simply pure.

 

Thyx – Believe (8): Five songs ago, we had Robots Don’t Lie, a song about how authenticity is so uncommon and how a common weakness among all of mankind is hiding our true selves. Believe is the absolute antithesis to that, focusing on looking for authenticity within humanity. Digging deep into the layers of lies that deceive ourselves and others. We have to try and find the truth. Something to believe in. Let go of all deception and remain true to ourselves. Only then, can we truly succeed.

 

Overzealous passion for authenticity aside, this song, while more authentically sound, than Robots Don’t lie, just isn’t quite as musically interesting. Oh, I still quite enjoy this song and would place the music on its own well above the music from Loyalty (And when you compare lyrics, then there’s no contest). It’s just a bit too overly simple for my tastes. Same slow arpeggio over and over throughout the song. And there’s a good syncopated drumbeat that’s nice, but these two elements simply can’t carry the whole song. The lyrics thankfully save it, significantly improving my opinion of the song.

 

Thyx – Forgotten (9): The penultimate track of this album is absolutely fantastic and definitely my favorite Thyx song so far. It’s not even inspiring or anything. It’s just got that odd Mind.in.a.box narrative vibe that fascinates me so much. Either two options arise from this song’s existence. It could be a rejected storyline from the main Mind.in.a.box story following a different character than our main Man in Black. Or perhaps, I’ve been underestimating Thyx’s purpose. Could there be a separate narrative here that I don’t know of? Either way, the short story that this song is telling gives me chills. The singer this time around is likely a robot of some sort. Either that or their thermometer is extremely precise, let alone that the temperature, if Celsius, sounds insufferable hot. Then again, perhaps I’m spoiled by northern US temperature. I’m getting distracted by making a huge deal of this all too accurate. Of course, despite accurate temperature signifying a robot, I’ve never heard of a robot riding a bike either. Regardless, this character, be they mechanical or flesh and blood, seems to be wandering the desert all alone, desperately trying to find more of his kind. He sends out a worldwide broadcast, begging any who hears to answer. Whether or not an answer is received remains to be seen.

 

Thyx – Every Time (8.25): Listen, this is a good song and all, but I kind of wish the previous song was the finale. The way the song gives me chills with that final “Transfer Complete” would have been an amazing way to close the album on par with the two Mind.in.a.box albums I have yet to review (Really looking forward to 5ynchr0ni73 and Command: Decode. Those songs are on a level of chilling storytelling unparalleled by anything else other than the Machine Run/Redefined dichotomy and maybe Dead End).

 

Sorry about that, I guess I enjoyed Forgotten so much that it overflowed into the next song. Fittingly enough, Every Time is about unrealistic expectations, such as the unrealistic expectation that this could at all compare to Forgotten. It’s a good song and it does deserve its own praise as it does stand out as perhaps the grittiest edgiest song of the album (excluding the toxicity of Loyalty, which was less of a gritty experience and really just sad). Plus, every instrument stands out quite well here. There’s quite a variety of drumbeats in here, none of it following the typical driving 4 on 4 pattern and the chorus has some great guitar riffs that contrast well with the grittier verses. And that’s not even mentioning the arpwork in the second half of this song, which was strangely missing from a lot of THYX’s work this time around. This is probably one of the best songs musically on the album.

 

And the lyrics are quite relatable as well, exploring the overwhelming desire for the perfection demanded from every direction, authority, peers and even from within one’s self. Just like true authenticity, this confidence sabotage is another issue that I’ve found a bit overbearing sometimes. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed with trying to perfect certain aspects of yourself like living an efficient life and rising up to other’s expectations, regardless of whether or not these expectations are true to your authentic self (It all circles back).

 

Conclusion: This album does roughly match the quality of other THYX albums. All of them seem to be getting the same rating, though Headless remains to be seen. I end up enjoying it a bit less than typical Mind.in.a.box. This album in particular is a bit divided, with a few songs rated a bit lower than I’d typically desire for Poiss’ work. Especially Loyalty. That song was such a disappointment. Thankfully though, many of the other songs like Robots Don’t Lie and Forgotten made up for that mistake and proved this album worthy of checking out. But I could say that about both the Mind.in.a.box and Thyx discography

 

Final Score: (7.5/10)

Daily Hat Tracks: June and July 2019

Here’s a double Daily Hat Track wrap up for both June and July. Due to motivational issues, I had done a poor job of keeping up on these until last week. And because of that, I’ve decided to just slide the Hat Tracks from July over to June. So today you’re getting one large post reviewing about 5 dozen smaller posts I’ve Tweeted over the past 2 months. Let’s all agree (and by all, I mean just me. I’m the only one in control here) to never let things get out of hand again.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 1 (Yahel – Fear of The Dark (DNA Remix))

 

A psytrance remix of a breaks cover of an Iron Maiden song. Neat. Now all we need to do is mash it up with jazz or something like that.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 2 (Veorra – Run)

 

Veorra’s most popular track is about the never-ending run as we struggle to keep with society’s expectations. Surprisingly not my favorite but still well deserved.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 3 (Celldweller – End of an Empire)

 

I promised I wouldn’t overwhelm the blog with Celldweller again for a while but I can squeeze the occasional awesome societal existential track from the far future of my reviews. This is among the best Celldweller songs.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 4 (The Crüxshadows – Deception)

 

Honestly, I just love how this particular song from my extra edgy phase is held up by the violin. Lyrics aren’t too shabby, but it’s clear what the best part of the song is for me nowadays (hint: it’s the violin)

 

Daily Hat Track: June 5 (Forest Knot – Hendrix)

 

Is this Hat Track late because I am severely disorganized or is it early because this lovely chill sax song wasn’t released until the 7th?

 

Daily Hat Track: June 6 (Bassfactor – The Power Inside)

 

This recent breaks/psytrance combo got me out of breath when running to my recent dentist’s appointment. Bassfactor seems to be brand new to the scene but I’m definitely looking forward to future works.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 7 (Test Shot Starfish – In the Shadow of Giants)

 

Music from Space indeed. I’ve only just begun looking at Test Shot Starfish’s discography and I’m already enjoying this chill mood that sounds as if it’s descended to Earth from the cosmos.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 8 (Carface – Hitchin’ a Ride)

 

Definitely take a listen to the self-destructive 13 minute experience. That’s all I’m willing to say here, other than a warning that this may get a little strange.

 

C H E C K T H E T A P E

 

Daily Hat Track: June 9 (redo) (Globus – Europa)

 

That’s no typo. This two month old Hat Track was accidentally a repeat, so now I’m going to share the vocal version of Electric Romeo which depicts war over history

 

Daily Hat Track: June 10 (Rezonate – Canvas)

 

I’m not sure how, but outside of the “still 18” line, this song of existential pondering gets more and more relatable every summer.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 11 (Pegboard Nerds – Emergency)

 

Hard to believe that this came out over four years ago. Every once and a while I come back to these nostalgic Monstercat songs and find myself amazed at how well they hold up. This one was, is, and always will be a banger to me

 

Daily Hat Track: June 12 (Rogue – Night After Night)

 

Knights on Horseback ride in and are allowed in the distance by a chariot, basically a parade float of a giant Monstercat logo. They get off their horses and flank a crystal throne. The chariot makes its way in and a young man dre

 

Daily Hat Track: June 13 (Aphex Twin – Vordhosbn)

 

Release Radar screwed with me saying this was new, but it’s really a 2 decade old song placed on a compilation that was released recently. But that’s fine. Aphex Twin is always a treat.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 14 (Camo & Krooked – Black or White & Tasha Baxter (Kimyan Law remix)

 

Favorite remix of my favorite Camo & Krooked track. Why? It’s complex, it’s mysterious, it has an edge of unsettlement. And it still uses the lyrics of anti-division and the grey area in between opposing ideals.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 15 (Gunship, Tim Capello & Indiana – Dark All Day

 

Saxophone.

 

Also there’s that music video with vampire zombies and lots of hot people and it’s the best animated music video ever

 

But saxophone.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 16 (The Flashbulb – Undiscovered Colors)

 

A gorgeous trippy song, both fast and slow once the drums start. Piano, strings and a drumbeat full of mysterious energy. Each moment is both unique and fantastically similar at the same time. This song is the best kind of paradox

 

Daily Hat Track: June 17 (Gunship – When You Grow Up Your Heart Dies)

 

I know I posted Gunship not too long ago, but the song immediately following Dark All Day (while not as great cuz less sax) does have a message of trying to hold on to your identity as you grow up. I need this these days.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 18 (Haywyre – Sculpted)

 

Heading back in time today to an early Haywyre song exploring the existential questions of self identity, whether nature or nurture applies and exactly how much control we have over who we are. Also it’s hella funky.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 19 (Pegboard Nerds & lug00ber – Bring Me Joy

 

Probably my favorite modern Pegboard Nerds track. The second half is especially energetic with the best piano melodies and arps. Honestly, there’s nothing deep about this song. It’s just fun.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 20 (Bicep – Rain)

 

I’m reviewing my favorite arpeggiated artist right now, but I’ll honestly enjoy any song that had even the mildest arpeggiated feel. Recently I’ve discovered Bicep and the simple drive of a song called Rain.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 21 (Alex – Demons):

 

Hey, that’s my name right there. Some nice slow synthwave. Good relaxing vibe despite the ominous demonic title.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 22 (Rival Consoles – Amiga)

 

Arpeggiated madness in the second quarter, flawless tempo change in the third quarter. I mean, I love the beginning and end of the song as well, but that middle half is absolutely spectacular.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 23 (Rival Consoles – Guitari)

 

Can I share two Rival Consoles songs in a row? Because I also really like the funky vibe that Guitari gives me and I really want to share this one too. It’s got nothing on Amiga but it’s still great.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 24 (Joachim Pastor – Joda (Worakls remix)

 

Oh the strings and piano on this one are absolutely gorgeous. Yeah all of hungry music is great, but when the upper two thirds (sorry N’to) join forces I expect nothing less than a masterpiece. And they definitely delivered.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 25 (Koan – Coastline)

 

Someone rinsed me of Koan today so here I am sharing one of my favorite beautiful, relaxing, and immersive journeys from Loan. Enjoy.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 26 (Lange – Violins Revenge (Light Mix))

 

Violins revenge is quite simply a track that utilizing the violin masterfully. That’s all I’ve got to say for this one.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 27 (N’to – The Morning After)

 

I’ve always liked all of Hungry Music but I’ve considered N’to to often be one of the weaker links of the trio. However his most recent release is making me appreciate him a bit more.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 28 (Lange – Crossroads (Percussive Mix))

 

Not as good as the Mindinabox song titled Crossroads of course but still a great track about making choices that can change one’s life forever. Beautiful from Lange as always.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 29 (Infected Mushroom – Kebabies)

 

This New Infected Mushroom track released recently really has a BP Empire vibe to it.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 30 (Assemblage 23 – Drive)

 

The demons I’m driving from is procrastination fueled depression and depression fueled procrastination. I must change that.

 

Good song from Assemblage 23 though. A futurepop artist I have yet to introduce you all to, until now.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 1 (Dance With The Dead – Diabolic)

 

It’s 2 in the morning so I should be in the bed but here’s some late night synthwave for anyone who’s still up for some reason. Unless you’re British or something, then your wakefulness makes sense.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 2 (Koan – Uncloak (Ghost Rider remix))

 

I’ve shared a couple of Koan track’s but this right here was the moment of Koan discovery. Yes, it’s a Ghost Rider remix but that’s just what happens when you’re a psytrance maniac like myself. Beautiful track though.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 3 (Lauren Bousfield – Slow Slicing (Klonopin))

 

Really running behind on everything. Here’s a small step towards catching up with some trippy Lauren Bousfield combined with some wonderful strings.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 4 (Makeup & Vanity Set – Implant)

 

Makeup and Vanity Set had a good variety of synthwave, some upbeat and some slower. So here’s one for starters that I’ve listen to a few times recently due to its arps, simplistic melodies and occasional relaxing vibes.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 5 (Durs – Avalance)

 

I’m always up for loving some Spin Twist psytrance so seeing a whole new Durs album. Is quite enjoyable. Good use of that psychedelic pluck in both the calmer and driving portions of the song. Plus a few fun little vocal parts.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 6 (BT – Tokyo)

 

BT isn’t as consistent as Flashbulb but there’s still some good trippy chill in the BT discography

 

Daily Hat Track: July 7 (BT – Artifacture VI. Niente di Tutto Qualcosa)

 

Sometimes I wonder…

 

Daily Hat Track: July 8 (Chicane – Come Tommorrow)

 

Spiritually introspective or existential observations of society… Perhaps it’s both, perhaps it’s neither and I’m projecting. But the song captivates regardless.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 9 (In Uchronia – Growling Earth)

 

Guess I’m in some sort of orchestral cinematic mood as of late. I mean this has nothing in common with that Varien in album other than it being a bit cinematic with a slight bit of dubstep but both are still amazing

 

Daily Hat Track: July 10 (Haken – The Endless Knot)

 

Trying to expand slightly beyond my electronically dominated comfort zone, so here’s a bit of prog metal that I’d recently found. Of course the fact this song has a lot of focus on finding life’s meaning, I’m automatically into it

 

Daily Hat Track: July 11 (Zimmz – Sinematic)

 

For the most part this is just a track with a solid drive, but you know I love me some Hungry music. Not his is Hungry music. It just resembles hungry music. Also this one has an accelerating build-up, so you know, awesome.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 12 (Sokrates & Supersonic – Stardust)

 

I know that this is like every trance song but the message of our relationship to the universe in this one really gets to me, yaknow? Also there’s a fantastic syncopated breaks section in there so that’s always cool.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 13 (Noma – Brain Power)

 

I know this song is a meme of old, but it still bangs hard. Love the extra slow chaotic dubstep section that eventually transforms into DnB spoon after.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 14 (Bliss – La Resistance)

 

Lyrics are a bit more violent than the last psytrance song I Daily Hat Tracked, but I love Bliss’ psytrance style so much, I don’t even mind. Dude is one of my favorite psytrance artists behind Infected Mushroom and perhaps Neelix

 

Daily Hat Track: July 15 (Wolfgang Gartner – Illmerica)

 

Second attempt at sharing this song due to unreliable technology. I’m lazy and pissed so here’s a bullet point list of what I wanted to say

 

A: Good funky vibe

B: Nostalgia because dead community

C: Should listed to Wolfgang more

 

Daily Hat Track: July 16 (Arctic Moon – Cyberpunk)

 

Good trance song with a lovely title as I associate cyberpunks with fantastic because I love Mindinabox. It sounds nothing like Mindinabox but the distorted vocals and heartbeat are still cool.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 17 (Bionix – Genesis)

 

Lots of psytrance I know, but it is one of my favorite genres after all. you’re going to half to deal with it. Besides this one has inspirational speed he’s up to par with Bliss – Warriors and I love that one and this by extension

 

Daily Hat Track: July 18 (Rezz & The Rigs – Lonely)

 

I haven’t really delved into the rest of Rezz’s new EP yet as I’m usually more attracted to the more existential vocal tracks than the instrumentals, but this is the best Rezz since Melancholy so that’s pretty fantastic.

 

Daily Hat Tracks: July 19 (Aesthetic Perfection – The Ones)

 

Surprisingly, this isn’t the only song I know that discusses how difficult it is to fall asleep when you’re too bust fearing that someone is gonna come and steal your teeth. And the other one isn’t even by the same band.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 20 (Stephen Walking – Porkchop Express)

 

Here’s a fun doubly nostalgiac tune from Mr Walking. Not only does it.bring me back to 2015, but the song itself also vaguely reminds me of a video game from my childhood. That bouncy piano is just a pleasure to listen to.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 21 (Night Club – Survive)

 

Beautiful suspenseful paranoid existential music is how I survive.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 22 (Grabbitz – Way Too Deep)

 

The chorus of this song has been all too relatable lately. Definitely Grabbitz’s best along with Better With Time.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 23 (Malecka – Rhéa)

 

Another gorgeous progressive house song that reminds me of Hungry Music without actually being Hungry Music. I find myself enjoying these beauties often due to how calming they are.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 24 (In Uchronia – Asconoid Hyperdelicacy of Heroicalness)

 

The main reason I want to share this one is because the title implies that the album’s titular iron squid is eating heroes alive. The fact that the song itself, is a great fusion of rock, orchestral and dubstep is just a bonus.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 25 (Phaxe & Morten Granau – Lost)

 

Can’t keep me away from the existneital psytrance forever. This one is about feeling lost in the world, though I guess that one was pretty obvious from the title.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 26 (Notaker – The Storm)

 

One of the better Notaker songs. In fact, I say this is the only one that can measure up to his Monstercat debut, Infinite.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 27 (Crazy Astronaut – Sate)

 

I’ve already shared my favorite Crazy Astronaut track on here a while back but here’s number 2, the main synth holds a lot of energy even in the slower dubstep portion. Actually, especially in the slower dubstep portion.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 28 (Mystical Complex – Future Nation)

 

Here’s a psytrance song pondering the future. Original idea? Not exactly. But the music is quite impressive anyways and I can’t help but always be impressed by psytrance like this. It’s in my bones.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 29 (Francys – Arcenial)

 

Evenly driven, mysterious, slightly trippy, beautiful, soothingly calming. All things I hungrily enjoy.

 

This isn’t just a pun on Hungry Music . I legitimately need to eat. But I’m almost caught up.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 30 (Roman Messer & Cari – Serenity)

 

I’m not the biggest fan of breakup songs but Roman Messer had a good vibe anyways and this is recent so I’m sharing it and that’s that. Enjoy if you may.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 31 (Haken – The Architect)

 

And to finally finish up July, we have an incredibly long progressive rock journey through sound from Haken. 15 minutes may be long but the song itself easily makes it worthwhile with it’s variety.

 

As always you can check out all Daily Hat Tracks in the playlist below

 

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4CIZYAQAzctqYqFG89HIv2?si=vNZPS0uETkyobpBBDEAP_g

 

VNV Nation – Empires (1999 album)

Bandcamp: n/a

Soundcloud: n/a

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/7fSSsXxAJI1v9ClpIXGAGY?si=kUpWgZGYT8y4VJRdsQjjuQ

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9BCB4A0D16DA2D4E

 

Introduction: I’ve spent a significant amount of time as of late introducing new artists as of late, from the ever edgy Celldweller, to the oppositely optimistic Scatman John to the simpler cinematics of Varien. I mean, yes there was a Mind.in.a.box review thrown in there as well, but I review Mind.in.a.box and THYX so often that it’s hardly worth noting my return. However, when it comes to VNV Nation, this is only my second review, the first of which was overly reliant on using samples from old war movies and seemingly glorifying war, which I have some mixed feelings on. This album takes the whole idea of VNV Nation and twists it into an entirely different direction. Still focused on Victory Not Vengence, this album takes an internal looks on the struggles of trying to find order in such a chaotic world, which is definitely an idea I like exploring.

 

So I guess I’ll go ahead and explore it.

 

 

 

VNV Nation – Firstlight (5.25): Firstlight is a fairly average introduction song with very little to talk about. There’s really only a couple things to this song. First off, we have the trippy glitched out synth that sounds like a drum that’s been pitched up way too high for its own good. And secondly, we have a couple of layers of strengths providing some nice smooth ambience to this song, setting the mood for the rest of the album. And while the strings are always welcome (even if they’re a bit too simplistic), I’m not all that thrilled about those pitched up drums. They just don’t seem all that special or interesting to listen to. Not horrible. But not any good either.

 

Perhaps if this song took some time to develop more and added in some lyrics, I’d enjoy it a lot more.

 

Yeah, that’d be neat.

 

VNV Nation – Kingdom (6.75): Within the first few seconds, this song sounds quite similar to a lot of the war songs from the first album I reviewed of VNV Nation. A slight bit of strings followed by some samples of metal clashing as if some gate is being unlocked. But that’s all there is sampled. No communications or interrogations depicting the glorious horror that is war. Just a simple clashing accompanying some strings. And outside of a harsh snare here and there, this intro has no effect on the rest of the song, which is a bit more vocal than previous VNV Nation. Good. As VNV Nation progresses, the music only becomes more and more vocal and I enjoy it more and more each time as the message continually begins to match the mantra that Victory not Vengeance.

 

However, we’re not there quite yet, this simply synthed song still has a bit of an extra edge to it. Much of the song is spent depicting a world of chaos in which all values and ideals worth standing for are constantly thrown down and cast to the side, resigning those who live in this world to nihilism and hopeless ness. Repeatedly the song questions whether anyone can be saved from this chaos

 

But those are the verses. The chorus is a bit more hopeful, concentrating more on the dream of making a heaven within this world. A place where we can escape the chaos and find peace together. Think of this album as a compromise between the last few albums I’ve reviewed. It’s got a bit of the pessimism and edge that spread throughout Celldweller’s album. It does hint a little bit at a dream of a utopia which served as a main them in Scatman’s debut album. And like my recent chapter of Mind.in.a.box, there is hope of changing from the one negative view of the world to the more positive world from Scatman’s dreams

 

Overall, this compromise results in a bit of a more realistic worldview, one that still focuses more on victory as we must strive to take this kingdom for ourselves. We can rise above the chaos even when all seems impossible. Even when all seems lost…

 

VNV Nation – Rubicon (7): Now, most of the songs on this album don’t exactly stand out musically, so I’ll probably be spending a bit more time on the lyrical analysis rather than the music for most of the songs, but I do want to point out this song’s music for a brief second. This song’s melodies have such a good upbeat vibe that stands out a bit more than most of the other songs on the album. Yes, it still follows a lot of the VNV Nation tropes for the majority of the song: very little development, plenty of heavy emphasis on the drums, especially in some portions, but I feel the melody is a significant enough of a part of my enjoyment of this song that I felt it was worth mentioning.

 

However, the true focus for this and a good two thirds of the other songs on this album is the lyrical content. Rubicon, much like the famous Revolutionary War river of American History, is about crossing a point in one’s life that cannot be uncrossed, leaving behind a past that cannot be returned to, awakening to a world that cannot be unseen. It’s a half-song about despair, once again taking on the darker flipside of VNV Nation’s namesake, vengeance. There’s a resignation to the helpless wandering as the darkness seems quite impossible to escape, tearing the singer apart as he longs for an end to the suffering that has taken over his life. This song, does have a small bit of hope, begging for a light to be shown so that he can escape the darkness, but for now, he resigns to the fact that his end is approaching.

 

VNV Nation – Saviour (6): Well… Saviour doesn’t really have the twinges of pessimism that was hinted in the last couple of songs. It doesn’t have the optimism either. It’s an instrumental track again. However, I feel like, this one is significantly better than the intro. No overly harsh drums, no pitched-up drums, just a standard solid 4 on 4 drumbeat. Well, there’s some other instruments in there too, a simple melody, some occasional strings and an arpeggiated bassline that really serves as the main star of the show in my book, but unfortunately, there isn’t all that much variety to enjoy with these instruments. The song definitely has some good potential, but I never feel lit truly embraces it.

 

VNV Nation – Fragments (6.25): On the surface level, Fragments is the harshest song on the album. The drumbeat and the swelling bassline together to drown out all that is calm in this track, creating a loud blaring and violent drive synonymous with many of the war inspired songs from the last album. The snare is especially prominent and distorted scratching away at anything smooth that this song has to offer. It’s a bit of a shame as I quite enjoy some of the less harsh elements of this track. The arps have a decent range to them, sometimes a bit heavier than the average arp, but it’s still silky smooth in comparison to the lesser drumbeat and bassline. However, because of the harshness from the overwhelming bassline and snare, I end up being a bit disappointed by the music this song has to offer. There’s a small light influence from a choir that appears sparsely in the song, but it’s too minimal to truly change my opinion.

 

Yet, while the music is incredibly harsh, the message displayed by the song is surprisingly uplifting. Despite its rough exterior, this song houses a theme of a bright future. All great things that we fight for in the present will echo on forever into the future. And so, the great ideals of humanity will never truly die, even if they seem to be choked out by various societal flaws.

 

I’m just not sure why this song has to be so forceful about it.

 

VNV Nation – Distant (Rubicon II) (8.75): And now, for something much calmer and much more soothing in tone. Distant, the sequel to Rubicon (subtly hinted at with Rubicon II in parentheses), is almost entirely made of strings, with only Ronan’s voice breaking through. Like its predecessor, Distant focuses on life after the point of no return. The despair from the first of these two songs has bled over to its sequel. But this time, the slow somber strings bring in a strange sense of peace to the despair. Where the first Rubicon focused a heavy lot on struggling to find a way back to the past, Distant takes a breath and searches internally to the deepest depths of one who’s crossed the Rubicon. The broken soul that remains adrift in the vast sea of reality.

 

When you cross the Rubicon, you may not cross back. Distant focuses on that realization as the singer watches all that he has known fade away. And as he lets this new distant fate settle in, darker emotions arise from within. Vengeance is one of them. A deep sense of loneliness and rage take hold as one submits to the chaos. They become a near inescapable prison that tricks you into thinking that any sign of redemption or hope must be an illusion. It is a tragically toxic state of mind to find one’s self in. One that I find myself in from time to time, much as I try to deny it.

 

While I do typically enjoy VNV Nation for the more inspiring type of song. This one hits quite close to home, well illustrating the deepest darkest moments of loneliness, all with a beautiful somber tone.

 

VNV nation – Standing (8): Standing serves to be the most memorable song on this album, though that may be because, thanks to another album I’ll review later, there are two other versions of this song. Due to this, I’ve heard this set of lyrics thrice as many as most other VNV Nation songs while shuffling my all too large music library (Though Solitary from the last VNV Nation album I reviewed still has it beat with four different versions). The original Standing serves as an intermediate between the utterly calming Still mix and the harsher Motion mix that’s more akin to what you’d find off of Praise the Fallen. It has both a solid drive with more energy than Still, but also retains the sweeping chords that bring out the true beauty of the song.

 

But for now, it doesn’t matter what other versions of this song exist. All that matters is this version, which serves as one of my favorite songs off of Empires.

 

Like the two Rubicon songs in this album, Standing is about the awakening of a soul and gaining a brand-new perspective of the world. However, unlike the Rubicons, Standing’s stance on this life-changing moment is infinitely more positive. Rubicon and Distant, repeatedly mourned over the inability to retread their steps back towards the peace once known. Standing, however, cuts off the past and looks to the future. Instead of drowning in the sea of chaos, we now stand still in the waters, allowing a fuller view of the world around us.

 

This moment of clarity, when we take a breath and try and observe the world without drowning in it, is the focus of the song. The past doesn’t matter anymore, and for a brief while, the future is also irrelevant. You and the universe as it is this very moment are all that matters. It’s a vast world filled with unfamiliarity and confusion. It’s a world where, at times, victory seems implausible, though that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth fighting for. And as complicated and overwhelming as the world may become, it’s important to keep in mind what truly matters.

 

All that matters right now is that moment of peace.

 

VNV nation – Legion (8): But I can’t promise that peace will last. In fact, there’s an almost certainty that this moment of peace and clarity that we try to hold onto so dearly will slip from our fingers time and time again.

 

Legion, like Standing, has three different versions and so it has also appeared in the general VNV Nation shuffle more often than other songs (though Standing and its alternate versions did stand out a bit more to me by simply being a better song). This original version, once again, takes a medium route between the ever so calming Anachron version and the slightly more intense Janus Version. Though this time around, it’s leaning a bit more towards upbeat Janus. It’s just a slight bit harsher with its drumbeat and extra focus on the basslines, though it doesn’t come anywhere near the harsher songs seen in the first half of the album. The background choir is a nice touch that keeps the song well grounded in the calmer half of the album.

 

Lyrically, Legion sounds to be a continuation of Standing, though this one is less about breaking free from the turmoil of the far side of the Rubicon and more about the fear of returning to the chaos. After experiencing the clarity of Standing and desperately trying to hold onto that feeling, it only becomes more painful when the peace begins to fade away. And so, Legion is about desperately trying to cling onto that feeling. It’s about the fear of the unknown as you close your eyes and drift away from that point of clarity.

 

VNV Nation – Darkangel (6.5): There’s a calm sense of darkness to Darkangel (Darkangel is dark, who could have guessed?). It does have a slightly tumultuous drive compared to the rest of the latter half of Empires, which makes it stick out a bit sorely in comparison to the resto the stellar half of this album. Admittedly the darker drive in the song doesn’t match the first half of the album either but there still is a slightly more violent feeling here. Perhaps it has to do with the lyrical content. Thematically, there is some continuation of the fall alluded to in Legion, but this song has very little in common with Arclight, the next song on the album, making it a confusing penultimate song. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

 

What are these lyrics that take the turmoil of Legion and delve deeper into the struggle between peace and chaos? Well it’s apparent from the beginning, that peace is gone. There is no more peace in this moment and trying to hold onto it any longer will only result in suffering. Now, for the most part, this does work as a good message. True peace, in my experience, is never permanent. Sometimes, you have to move forward into the chaotic unknown in order to reach towards that peaceful future.

 

But this song doesn’t quite depict the best way to go about it. There’s no positive active drive to replace the sorrow. It’s just passive drifting through life, once again resigning to the chaos. There’s such a focus on scorn and a desire for war really implies that this song is leaning to a more vengeful solution. And the never-ending darkened skies envisioned in the future is a bit too nihilistic for my current tastes. There’s simply no hope to be found in this song.

 

Then again, perhaps this song is merely setting up a redemptive finale.

 

VNV Nation – Arclight (8.25): Arclight concludes this album with a callback to the beginning, the instrumental introduction that I didn’t quite care for very much with those pitch-crazy drums. And while instrumentally, the first half of this song is exactly the same. Thankfully, it does pick up after that midway point with a new solid drumbeat (with no unpleasant pitch shifts) and an arp.

 

And there are also lyrics.

 

This album has been a mixture of darkness and light, with the last song threatening to return to the deep depths of chaos and uncertainty. Arclight however brings us back to a hopeful state of mind. While certainty is almost certainly destined to elude us throughout our time on this Earth, there is still peace in the future if we strive for it. Leave behind all that chains you down in hopeless sorrow and embrace the future. And while you can’t be certain of everything in this world, you should at least be certain of yourself.

 

Peace is out there. And with it, contentment.

 

Conclusion: Empires is a massive improvement over the last VNV Nation album. It’s first half is a bit pessimistic, but the rest of the album more than makes up for it by once again finding peace in the chaos for a brief moment and looking towards the future, dedicating one’s life to rediscovering that peace. The instrumental songs do flop slightly and I could really do without Saviours especially, though I find that Firstlight is somewhat necessary to allow Arclight to have its full impact (even though I consider Firstlight to be the lesser of the two instrumentals).

 

Final Score: (7/10)

Mind.in.a.box – Revelations (2012 album)

Album links

Bandcamp: n/a

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/mindinabox/sets/revelations-12

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/0MKOj0fFRuue84xqbwVRcd?si=AWIBEhVURhSEG4o9hjU-iA

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLjIuADMrDKIYAWxu4bxbkhW37ohF1aqvv

 

 

I̸̧̪̱̻̬̟̜̖̓́̍̃ṋ̵̨̬͓͔͚̣̞͖̘̒̇̓̓̈́̊̒̿̍̄̈̕͝͝ͅt̶͓̖̠̮̜̙̓r̵̨̞̹͕̝͎̜͓̥̩̤͔̈̑̑͒̔̀͐̈͊̈́̽̎ō̷̝͕̗͇̦̪̰̩̩͎̖̱̳̒͆͘d̵̢̑͌̋͋̏̐̔͗̽̽͒̑͒͜͠͝ụ̴͔͎̺̜̗͍̖͔̹̟̞̥͙̤̆̇̾̃̆̄̐̔͆̂͘͝͝ĉ̴̡̛̳̟̦͈̮͇͉̭̫͉̦͈̀̃̿͌͋͒̑̋̂̉͘̚̚t̵̢̧̛̯̟͕͙̖̪̻̩̗́̾͗̐̈͑̋͑͋͆̓̾̋̂ͅi̵̛̻͎̤̣̝̣̇̋̄͊̑͑̌͌͜͝͠ó̵̧̟͒͆̈̊̋̀̓̽͘͠͝ň̵̞̣̘̩̣͔̗̣̝̪͉̲̠̰͂̏̉͊̏̆͐͐̊̋̆͐͠: ……………………………………………………………………….

 

 

 

Last time on Mind.in.a.box: Our story begins with an agent. We know him as Black. Employed by White, Black searches for the key to a reality beyond the physical world known as the Dreamweb: a virtual world that people known as the Sleepwalkers have escaped to, putting them out of White’s grasp. Black is a Stalker, a man put under White’s control to tail members of the Sleepwalkers in hopes of finding out how to access the Dreamweb. In particular he targets a man (now known as the Friend) and a woman (now known as Night).

 

But something goes wrong. As Black trails Night to a club, the music there overwhelms him, causing him to Black out and lose track of Night, but not before seeing a glimpse of the Dreamweb. His mind is broken by the experience, but through this he begins to discover that perhaps his mind wasn’t sound to begin with. Missing memories, nightmares of someone controlling him, feeling utterly lost in the world around him. In exposing him to the Dreamweb, the Sleepwalkers have freed Black’s mind from White’s control. He is no longer a Stalker. He has redefined his identity into something new. He has made a decision to depart from The Agency and follow the Sleepwalkers. But after such a life changing event, Black must first contemplate the events that have unfolded over the past several months. Several revelations may occur.

 

Now that his eyes have been opened, nothing will ever be the same.

 

Mind.in.a.box – Remember (8.5): Remember is quite the interesting introductory song for this album. The last two albums had explicit recaps of the events so far, but this one follows a slightly different method, focusing solely on Black’s current emotional state and his newly changed view on White and the Agency. Throughout its duration, this song develops from quiet ambience filled with whispers from the past to simple melodic verses depicting Black looking back to the conflict that has now arisen between him and White. His entire worldview has been shattered and he has found himself lost without direction.

 

From there, the song reaches its more energetic chorus, adding in some guitar riffs and much more violent introspection, focusing on Black’s regrets of his past actions. He never knew true reality until the moment the Sleepwalkers had freed him. He never knew the truth about his employer until he discovered the truth of the Agency and the Stalkers. And now that the truth has been revealed to him, he finds himself trapped in a state of turmoil as it all falls apart.

 

Outside of the obvious lyrics depicting Black’s current struggles, I found something incredibly interesting in the calmest sections of the song. There are some faint whispers that slipped past my ears a first, and even now they are so faint that it’s rather tricky to figure out exactly what’s being said. Though I believe I have noticed that the first line whispered, “Do you see the confusion,” comes from Certainty back on Dreamweb, even though the rest of the lines don’t quite match. So, if I were to guess, the rest of the whispers come from other pivotal songs in the past three albums. I don’t really have the time or energy right now to figure out what the rest are, but perhaps I’ll return later to decipher exactly what pieces of the story the Black is remembering at this moment.

 

But the past is behind him. The important decisions reside in the future.

 

Mind.in.a.box – Cause and Effect (7.25): So, we move onto Cause and Effect, which has a slight bit of a grittier vibe in comparison to our introduction. The bassline is probably the main reason for this as it takes a prominent role throughout much of the song. In fact, until 4-minutes in, it feels like the rest of the song is incredibly subdued in the background. With just the groovy bassline periodically coming in and out with a slightly syncopated drumbeat, though it’s more of an extra beat between the third and fourth rather than a delayed third beat, and the bassline seems to bounce back and forth between the groovy feeling and a slightly harsher tune intermittent throughout the track. And that’s pretty much the entirety of the song up until the 4-minute mark.

 

Okay, I’ve mentioned the 4-minute mark quite enough times. There is a game changer that occurs right here and it’s time to mention it. While the arps and the melodies do develop a small bit before this moment, it’s only here that they truly take the spotlight as they set the bassline into the background for once and let the arps take the spotlight along with some extra distorted vocals. Not quite the same as the gritty vocals that take up the majority of this track, but instead a more robotic voice that sings long notes. Thankfully, despite their distortion, I was able to parse these lyrics unlike all of the whispers in the last song. Speaking of lyrics…

 

This song further expands on Black’s regrets of the past. He was blind to reality, but instead had unquestioningly followed White. Now that the Sleepwalkers have freed him, Black sees the world for what it truly is. And he sees that White’s lies (not to be confused with white lies), have led him down a path that destroyed his identity in favor of trying to break into the Dreamweb, which upon retrospection, might not be the best thing for White to have access to. And so, now that his mind is free, he expresses his anger at the one who’d held him unwittingly in a mental prison for so long. For now, he blames White for his actions. But is his role in the Agency really that simple?

 

Mind.in.a.box – Transition (7.5): Now that we’ve reached the third song, it’s time to make up for lost time with the Mind.in.a.box arp, because it is much more prominent in this song than it was in Cause and Effect, taking the main stage for the majority of the song. In fact, other than the drums and vocals, the arps dominate this song so much that there is so little else to talk about, which gives me more time to go into the much more interesting lore.

 

In this song, Black returns to the club that he’d visited on that fateful day when he’d lost is trail on Night and first glimpsed into the Dreamweb (Check out Dead End from Dreamweb for the story on that). However, things have changed since he’d last visited the Dreamweb.

 

The club is empty. It had been teaming with the chaos of people and dancing when he’d first arrived at the club, but now the entire club has been abandoned. No music. No people. No sign of the Sleepwalkers. No answers to the questions that he’d hope to answer by finding the club once again. There is nothing left here.

 

Until he revisits the alley outside of the club. Here, he finally here’s the music.

 

It’s in his mind.

 

The time for action is at hand.

 

Mind.in.a.box – Doubt (9): Alright enough with the lore, let’s dive right back into Black’s mind and look further into the regrets that are arising as he gains freedom from White’s control. It is now that he feels doubt.

 

But first, before I get distracted by the inner turmoil Black is going through, can I just comment on the brilliant arpwork this song in particular has? I know. I’m repetitive. Mind.in.a.box is always fantastic when it comes to the arps. But this one does rise above the bar with several different layers to each and every arp, And it isn’t just the arps that are outstanding, there are some points where the arps go absent and what’s left is a simple rising chord progression and a good peaceful melody that highlights my favorite part of the song (though it’s actually my favorite part for lyrical reasons).

 

Doubt is a song of rising uncertainty. While under White’s control, he may have had some questions about his memories and where he precisely belonged, but none of these questions truly took form until the Sleepwalkers freed him. And now that he’s begun to redefine himself, he questions his past actions and whether they were truly the best ones he could have taken. He now dwells in the past when he should be living in the present, looking to the future. He dwells on what cannot be changed and throughout most of the song, falls into a deep depression, adapting a nihilistic view on his life, ruined by his past.

 

But thankfully this song takes a turn for the better. Despite being crushed by his past actions, Black eventually musters up the strength to live with it all the same. Yes, his past my be dotted with several failures, but that doesn’t mean he has to define his life by those failures. What matters is the present. What matters is that he redefined his life into something new, independent of White’s control. His doubt might not leave him completely, but he can thrive despite it.

 

Mind.in.a.box – Control (8.75): One of the main desires I have in life is to find a way to remain in control of it all. All too often, I find myself struggling to keep my head above the water. And so, to hear a this soothing relaxing track titled Control really washes over me. There’s a slower more introspective vibe created by the steady drumbeat and the simple bassline and underlying arp that set up the main structure of the song. And thanks to a few melodies, some fitting the calmer vibe and others with a more victorious feeling (the latter present in the chorus and the former being present pretty much everywhere else). This song really does have a solid feeling that matches its name.

 

Sound is deceptive. For this song describes the darkness Black feels after setting his life on autopilot. For so long he’d simply lived assignment to assignment, working under White’s command to fulfill the goals of the Agency, particularly uncovering the Dreamweb. He’d given up control to the whims of others and for a while he’d been content there.

 

But now that he’s freed, he feels lost. Yes, freedom from White’s control is definitely a victory for him and the Sleepwalkers, but now he feels lost in the chaos, tumbling down the void of the unknown, horrified by his past actions and vowing not to repeat them. But where does he belong now that he’s in control. Does he strive to make his own path. Does he blindly follow the Sleepwalkers instead? And how does he deal with White?

 

Chaos isn’t always easy to overcome, but Black has taken steps towards feeling in control. No more autopilot. No more mindless wandering under another’s guidance. Srive to escape the endless whole of darkness, not embrace it.

 

It’s time to take control.

 

Mind.in.a.box – Fragments (8): Alright, it’s time to dive a bit into the lore and maybe get a little bit meta. Musically, this song has just about nothing special to it. Good arp and that’s about all I have to say. Typical Mind.in.a.box stuff. But the lyrics. Oh, Black has many questions of the events of Dead End. Questions are eternal. Will they ever be answered?

 

Well, regardless of whether or not certainty will continue to escape Black’s grasp, he has found a place to look for answers, the club that had changed his life forever. He’d found it in Transition and now that he’s found the music playing in his head, he begins to piece together the events of that pivotal elusive night. The club has fallen apart, remaining in shambles, destroyed by something (or someone) referred to as a screamer, a currently unexplored concept, which raises more questions than it answers. The screamer could be involved in the music that allowed Black to glimpse into the Dreamweb, but that seems unlikely as the music, while initially harsh, doesn’t sound very destructive. More likely that music came from mind.in.a.box, a fictional band that had been playing at the club, likely one of the bands on the list mentioned on Into The Night from the last chapter in the story. And yes, I realize that mind.in.a.box being the name of the band within the story is incredibly meta and provides an entirely different layer of mystery to this story. Perhaps I’ll find time to conquer the ramifications of that another day.

 

But Black’s memory is starting to return. He remembers the music and the Dreaweb, the former seeming to be the key to the latter (a major development that will be important in the next chapter of Mind.in.a.box). He recalls the struggle between the Agency and the Sleepwalkers, and he recalls that he’d been rescued by two of those Sleepwalkers, Night and the Friend. But he knows so little about either group, despite both being intertwined with his life.

 

All that matters now is to fight against the Agency that had imprisoned him for so long and finally discover the true reality. To recall the memories that remain elusive and hidden.

 

But that’s a story for another day.

 

Mind.in.a.box – Unknown (7): Unknown, interestingly has a more controlled feeling than control. Simple smooth bassline that follows a more easily identified chord progression as well as a very subtle arp that follows it. There’s not really much of a melody. There’s the occasional one note in the verses that echoes before it leads to the next note, all of it continually following the chord progression. This song doesn’t really do a very good job of breaking bounds. It almost feels like filler. But when it comes to lyrical content and storytelling ramifications, there is no filler.

 

For quite a long time, Black has been pondering his life thus far, hoping to find answers to the Agency that plagued him and the Dreamweb that seems to loom in his future. Enter Night, the woman who’d eluded Black the most as he searched the club for answers. While the club was empty when Black had first investigated, I do believe that this song does depict Night reaching out to Black, beckoning him to join her and The Friend in the Dreamweb. Into the unknown.

 

The Dreamweb is unlike anything Black has seen before. His time in the Agency could not prepare him for such an experience. And neither can Night or the Friend, despite them visiting the Dreamweb themselves. All Black can do is blindly accept Night’s invitation into the Dreamweb. It’s acceptable that he can’t yet comprehend what the Dreamweb truly is. There will always be something unknown in his life.

 

For now, it’s the Dreamweb.

 

The music is the key…

 

Mind.in.a.box – Not Afraid (7): I really tried to find some parallels between this and Fear as I can’t help but feel that the two songs should be intertwined with development, much like the relationship between Machine Run and Redefined (though not quite as much because that matchup was flawlessly executed and can never be beaten). Unfortunately, other than them both relating to the concept of fear, these two songs have very little in common.

 

And yet, even without direct parallels, I do believe that the comparison between the two songs in significant as it does reveal a bit more about Black’s development. The best way to compare these two songs is to look at a specific element of the fear, not just on the personal level of Black, but also on the rest of society. Looking back to Fear, one of the lyrics in the song claims that everyone is afraid, but that’s no excuse. This song also explores the entirety of the people around Black, displaying them as empty shells, stuck in their darkest dream, living their lives in constant fear.

 

But there’s a major difference. Black is no longer afraid. He still lives his life as a dark dream, a never-ending nightmare of unknown reality, but he’s coming to find peace within that chaos. Peace with the unknown. This is likely the best relationship to have with the unknown. You can try to ignore it. You can cower in fear, letting it paralyze you, or you can stand up to the unknown and stride forward.

 

The only way to overcome the unknown is to face it without fear.

 

Mind.in.a.box – Second Reality (9): This song is incredibly deceptive in its tone. The overly distorted vocals emanate a feeling of darkness and confusion, but this song is actually one of the most uplifting songs of clarity in Mind.in.a.box so far. It’s not quite on the same level as Redefined, but I feel like continuing to compare future songs in this discography to Redefined will reflect the newer songs poorly. All will seem flawed next to perfection.

 

But before I get to the lyrics, I want to give a final quick look at the aforementioned grit. The darker tone of this song is created by the already mentioned distorted vocals as well as a slightly grittier bassline. There are a few more instruments in there, such as the occasional arp and piano melody, that prevent the song from becoming overly dark. And there is eventually a change in the vocals near the end, allowing the clearer and cleaner side of Poiss’ vocals to shine. Giving the song a powerful sense of victory. That is, after all, what this song is about: victory, particular over the past.

 

The past two chapters of Black’s story in the Mind.in.a.box discography have been incredibly life-changing. Everything that he’d known about White, the Agency, the Sleepwalkers, Night and The Friend, had been falsities made by the first two on that list. And now that he’s escaped White’s clutches, now that’s he’s found his freedom, the world around him has completely changed. An entirely new reality.

 

A reality in which in which all the barriers that once limited him have been torn down, allowing him to finally be free. A reality in which he can let go of his dark lie-filled past and find the truth in the future. A second reality.

 

Mind.in.a.box – Sanctuary (7.75): And so, Black once again returns to the club, enraptured by the music that had changed his fate. What was once a harsh overbearing melody as seen in Dead End, has now transformed into a song more gracefully orchestrated with calmly layered arps and discernable melodies that reflect the melodies created by the vocals. Oh yes there’s some more intense slightly bassier portions near the end, but that section has more a victorious feeling to it rather than the overwhelming chaos that throbbed in his head so long ago. This song overall is much more inviting now that Black is beginning to understand the Sleepwalkers and their Dreamweb. He now sees that music not as a distraction leading him away from his lead on Night, but now as what it truly is. Mind.in.a.box’s music is the key to the Dreamweb, a sanctuary where Black can truly find a life filled with meaning and hope, a life he can define and control. The music leads the way to Black’s second reality and the identity that was erased by White now begins to take shape once again.

 

Perhaps the memories shall fall into place as well.

 

Conclusion: This album has a slightly different feel to it, focused even more on introspection than usual. While Crossroads explored Black’s choice between the Agency and the Sleepwalkers, Revelations takes a look at the ramifications that choosing the latter has on Black’s life, focusing mostly on his shrouded past. I don’t believe that there’s quite as much worldbuilding in this chapter as it focuses more on Black reflecting on the events that have occurred so far as well as a nostalgic return to the club. That is, outside of the discovery that the music is the key to the Dreamweb. That’s a game changer that will define the next chapter of Black’s journey into the Dreamweb. But that’s a story for another day (I’ll review it sooner than I’d reviewed the last one. It’s been nearly 5 months since I’d reviewed Crossroads).

 

Final Score: (8/10)

 

Daily Hat Track Roundup: May 2019

As we transition into the months of summer and the whether finally starts to get nice where I live, it’s time to look back at all the songs I posted in May. I’ve already posted these all to Twitter, but it may be convenient to view this all in one place. So that’s what I’m doing right here.

 

 

Daily Hat Track: May 1 (Nigel Good & Illuminor – No Way Back Up): Second MC throwback of this Daily Hat Track catchup. I’d forgotten about Nigel until someone on MeWe reminded me. Now, I am basking in this song’s beauty. It’s a bit depressing too, but I like a tiny bit of depression now and then.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 2 (Killgrew – Hyakkimaru): Start out the day with some beautiful Killigrew. The piano in this one is the highlight, especially the chords. Though the Japanese trap vibe is interesting as well.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 3 (Karma Fields & Monarchy – Feint Echoes): Been listening to a lot of Karma Fields today and this one is certainly my favorite. Monarchy’s vocals make for a good tenor that I can stretch to my limits while singing along, and the drop is utter controlled madness. I love it.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 4 (Muzzy – Endgame): Very VERY bad idea to look at any replies to this one. I’m risking enough as it is just posting it, but the apocalyptic Endgame is one of Muzzy’s best so I must share it as Muzzy is another artist I’ve been listening to a lot lately

 

Daily Hat Track: May 5 (Kings of the City – Wrong (Muzzy Remix): Continuing with the Muzzy theme, here’s his best song, though Kings of The City’s lyrical content does influence my opinion. It’s a song about self doubt and existentialism and finding ones way in life. That’s what I like. Also DnB.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 6 (Wintergatan Valentine): Lovely driving bouncy Wintergatan track that I got enjoyed a slight bit excessively while on break at work. Just wish it was a little longer.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 7 (Covenant – I Close My Eyes): I don’t even care what the lyrics are (which is good because I’m currently too tired to decipher them). I just enjoy the relaxing futurepop vibes. Covenant is always do cryptic anyways.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 8 (Karma Fields – Who do You Want to Be (Part II): Who do I want to be? That question arises as I listen to this Skylinesque song from the most recent Karma Fields album. I’m not certain of the answer. It’s not my present self, but I believe I have the power to change that.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 9 (Thermostatic – Northern Ambulance): This very short and mysterious beauty ponders the beauty known as life and how it’s so mysterious and oh so very short.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 10 (Scatman John – Scatman (Game Over Jazz)): Great funky groove with scatsinging as always but this time there’s a saxophone. I love the saxophone.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 11 (Scatman John – Let it Go): Definitely my favorite from Scatman John. The second verse is especially a game changer in the search for self acceptance.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 12 (Vicetone – Home (Eminence remix)): Honestly not a huge fan of any of the involved artiste but this remix works quite well. Of course, self-reflective lyrics do help…

 

Daily Hat Track: May 13 (Veorra – Not Yet): Sometimes, you have to concentrate on the little things of today in order not to be overwhelmed by the mountainous plan that is the future.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 14 (DESERT STAR – Foreign Land): The latest volume of Monstercat Instinct was released today so I’ve been focusing my musical appetite on that mostly. Plenty of highlights. This one for example explores some of my favorite themes of the journey to find one’s self.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 15 (Hybrid – Falling Down): Was listening to some of Hybrid’s older stuff today and I found myself rediscovering this groovy tune (which of course has lyrics depicting the ceaseless chaos we get caught up in because I have some lyrical obsessions apparently).

 

Daily Hat Track: May 16 (Aviators & Lectro Dub – We are not Machines): Aviators and Lectro Dub go together like… I actually don’t feel like coming up with a comparison but they’re good I promise you. This is among the best of the collabs. Significant lyrical quality though Paralyzed is catchier.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 17 (Icon of Coil – Shelter): This song really takes me back to early 2016 when I had absolutely no clue where I belonged. I still don’t but things are better now I think.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 18 (Varien & Veela – Supercell): Varien recently has announced a new album sometime this year. I wonder if it’s possible for my favorite Varien song to be usurped.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 19 (Varien & Laura Brehm – Valkyrie): Long as I’m in a Varien mood, here’s another one of my favorites from way back. The beginning of a gorgeous trilogy.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 20 (Stonebank & Concept – Holding on to Sound): This song… I made a video focused on this song quite a while back. I’m not going to link it though. You have to find that for yourself.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 21 (Scattle – Pacemaker): The discovery I’ve been rocking to today would be Scattle’s Pacemaker. Good groove and plenty of hype within the track. You’ll need to get a pacemaker by the time this is over.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 22 (Celldweller – Switchback (Neuroticfish remix): I’ll be doing a full length review involving the original version of this song shortly, but for now, enjoy the absolute best transformative remix of this classic Celldweller tune.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 23 (Sakuzyo – AngelFalse): I’d discovered Sakuzyo yesterday, but that was after I’d posted that day’s hat track. So now I’m posting one of the songs I’d listened to yesterday today. Shoot, don’t have much room left to talk about the song. Um. Piano is good.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 24 (LukHash – Requiem for a Friend):  I know I’m a bit behind I’ll catch up over time but for now, here’s a cool cross between cinematic, chiptune and synthwave

 

Daily Hat Track: May 25 (Crazy Astronaut – Funky Shit 2014): This song with a slightly obscenely languaged title is just a plethora of nonstop energy. Just sitting here and listening to this song exhausts me in the best way. Then again I can’t exactly call it sitting here because I am boppin

 

Daily Hat Track: May 26 (Cello Fury – Tundra): Three cellists, one drummer. That’s all they needed to make this lovely track complete with a switch up near the middle that provides the song with a new energy right when it’s needed most.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 27 (Mr Fijiwiji & Openwater – Growing Up): One last beauty before sleep. Mr Fijiwiji paints some gorgeous melodies with that piano and I remember Openwater’s cries to escape loneliness resonating with 19 year old me. They still do.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 28 (Wintergatan – Marble Machine): Normally, I post a Spotify link as that’s the music listening platform I spend most of my time on, but this song resurfaced in my queue recently and it’s wrong not to post the music video for this masterpiece.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 29 (Stoneocean – Can’t Stand that Girl): I must share with you this catchy melody that I’ve had stuck in my head for the past 2 days. It’s good while listening to the song but it will not leave my head once it’s over. If I must suffer with this burden, then so should you.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 30 (Celldweller – Own Little World (Growling Machines remix): Going to be finishing up that Celldweller review I mentioned last week soon. So you can definitely expect that this Sunday. In the meantime, here’s an amazing psytrance remix of one of the best songs in the upcoming review.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 31 (Robert Delong & K.Flay – Favorite Color is Blue): I not only find this song ridiculously catchy, but I also find it to be a great vent for when regretful anger leads to depression. At least that’s the existential emotion I’m getting from this song. You know I read way too deep

 

Oh, and as always, you can check out all of the Daily Hat Tracks I’ve posted this year in the playlist below

 

https://open.spotify.com/user/beretbeats/playlist/4CIZYAQAzctqYqFG89HIv2?si=Mnl8CDT3TN2jxaJDZLCG7A

 

THYX – Below The City

Album links

Bandcamp: n/a

Soundcloud: n/a

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/7jwiiOaHaRDQsQCGhAEo9a?si=OIc15JgSSPa9T_cA8EfgPA

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_nGsYb4-1vHXJdUS5DVl-wjviN9Xva9GVU

 

Introduction: Let us continue with the Mind.in.a.box side project known as THYX.  In a Mind.in.a.box review, I’d skip the whole introduction thing and go straight for a summary, but THYX is different. As far as I can tell (I could always be missing something), the THYX discography has no overarching story of its own and it certainly isn’t connected to the Mind.in.a.box universe (at least not directly. Maybe there are some obscure connections I don’t realize). Narrative or no narrative, Poiss always delivers when it comes to great music, even on THYX albums such as this one.

 

THYX – Searching (8): First song on the album and we’re already off to a good start. Searching brings a good amount of energy to the table with its significant drive and significant focus on the basslines. Considering the fact, that Poiss is typically the master of arps, this song stands out a bit among much of the rest of the Mind.in.a.box and THYX discographies. Not saying it’s the best song (Redefined already took that spot with its 10/10), but it’s definitely different with its energetic approach to a variety of basslines.

 

Other than its focus on the bassline, Searching has several other elements to offer: a couple of simple melodies dot the track here and there. It’d nothing to write home about but it does add a slight bit of melodic flavor to an otherwise non-melodic song. There’s also some great variety near the end of the song as the song explores a new chord progression in comparison to the rest of the song (which was slightly growing repetitive at that point, so the variety is very much welcome). There’s also some grittily distorted vocals in there. Speaking of which…

 

The search that this song centers on is an introspective search for life’s meaning, an enigma that has drowned minds across humanity for endless generations. We spend so much tine digging down into the depths of our minds trying to conjure up some meaning as day after day leads us closer to our end. We search our past and expected future for any trace of an answer. We desire a safe place where we can feel complete. But such a place isn’t something one can just happen upon. I believe you must make such a place for yourself.

 

My personal introspections and worldviews aside, this song wouldn’t be that out of place thematically in Black’s cyberpunk noir journey, though I can see how Poiss decided it wouldn’t quite tell the story he wanted, which is why it likely got retooled to become a THYX song, and a very good one at that.

 

THYX – The Endless Journey (8.5): Taking a step back from the energy of Searching we have, the slightly slower- paced Endless Journey. Not that the song suffers from this decrease in tempo and intensity, it merely excels in a different flavor of Poiss’ expertise. I think I do prefer Searching as this song does’t have quite the same variety as the introductory song. There’s a bit more highlight on a slow arp and a decent guitar solo near the end, but the former isn’t exactly exceptional for Mind.in.a.box/THYX standards and the latter is quickly overpowered by the arp so it doesn’t truly get a chance to shine like it could have.

 

However, this song does have an overwhelming strength that Searching can never measure up to. What’s better than a song focusing on the search for life’s meaning? A song that actually attempts to decipher the significance of this endless journey we call life. Well, there is an end, but sometimes it’s easy (and preferable) to forget about that little complication we call death… Until then, let’s explore all the intricacies in Poiss’ emotionally driven lyrics of The Endless Journey

 

There is almost too much to go over when it comes to this song’s lyrics. That doesn’t hamper the song’s quality at all as I quite enjoy the rapid-fire variety of ideas thrown in my ears’ direction. It’s just difficult to write about all that in a review. So, let me just give a quick rundown of some of the many themes this song includes. There’s the balance of ignorance and bliss and how to receive the latter without relying on the former. There’s the struggle to upkeep the happiness and contentment that has a tendency to fade as we grow older. There’s mention of the constraints of general every day living that make it difficult to break free and follow one’s own individual goals. And then there’s a general fear of the future and the unknown and how we must overcome it. My short synopsis doesn’t do this song justice. Listen to it for yourself.

 

THYX – Network of Light (7.5): Network of Light is a fantastically interesting song. It’s a bit more cryptic in comparison to some of the other songs on the album but crypticism works quite well for the THYX style so there are no single complaints. This song masters that cryptic nature by beginning the song with an almost threateningly deep voice demanding you to survive. Yeah, I was planning on surviving and I think I’m still going to go through with that plan, but I could do without this particular flavor of reinforcement. Ah, who am I kidding, I love the creepier edgy side of music. Bring the darkness on!

 

And that’s the odd thing about this song. Despite having the world “Light” in the title, this song, at least tonally, is awfully dark. This is especially noticeable in the beginning with the threat of not dying and the distant smooth bass soon overwhelmed by the slightly harsher (and much more prominent) bassline that accompanies the threatening vocals I have been repeatedly mentioning. And while the rest of the song (excluding reprises of those specific vocals that I’ve been repeatedly mentioning) doesn’t really contribute much to the darkness, it doesn’t really do much to provide much light to the song either. The chorus does have some calmer pads, but these sections are only light in comparison to that vibe the song starts with.

 

Am I complaining that a song that falsely advertises itself as light? Oh no, not at all, I quite enjoy this song despite its darkness. In fact, I could argue that I enjoy the song because of its darkness. I’m not the most happy-go-lucky guy after all. A bit of edge is quite pleasing in my opinion. That’s what this song has for the musical portion of this review. The lyrical portion, however, is a bit more cryptic. It sounds as if this song is being sung by a personified network of light, an AI that’s attempting to reach out to an unknown person. If this were canon to the Mind.in.a.box story, I’d say it was Black due to mentions of erased memories, but even if there is no narrative connection (and I’m pretty sure there isn’t), this song is simply enjoyable to take in for its instrumentation alone.

 

THYX – The Street (7.25): Continuing on with the personification then, we have The Street. But I’m getting ahead of myself. We need to take a moment to appreciate the nonlyrical elements of this song too. This song has its strengths and weaknesses when it comes to its more instrumental sections. The weakness? Well it doesn’t really have as prominent of a mood as some of the other songs, especially the introductory energy of Searching and the surprisingly ominous mood of Network of Light. Tonally, it’s more on par with The Endless Journey which only got its high rating due to its lyrical content. Ok, perhaps it’s a bit better than that. After all, this song does have a few sections that allow it to stand above an instrumental version of The Endless Journey (not that that exists, just trying to take lyrics out of the equation for a brief minute).

 

First off, let’s take a look at two of the continuous elements that are prominent throughout the entirety of this song’s stay. First off, there’s the echoing pair of drums that are introduced at the very beginning of the song. This percussive duo gives the song a slightly cinematic flavor, allowing for the rest of the song to feel a bit more powerful than it would without. Secondly, there’s the bassline that plays funky pairs of notes underlying the rest of the track, giving the song a slight groove to compliment the cinematics of the drumbeat.

 

One other part of the song, I’d like to highlight is only there for a small section of the song leading into the second verse. It’s the piano. Really, the main reason the piano stands out is because you only get the occasional Poiss song with the piano so it comes in as a treat that differs a bit from the songs that are almost completely technological. This melody just does a great job of climbing up and down in pitch that makes it stand out even more prominently among even the other piano tracks.

 

As for the lyrics on this personified street… Well, I pretty much summed up a good overview of the lyrics right there, didn’t I? But can we go even more in depth to who this street is. Well it seems to be a very supportive personified roadway, which is good, because I’d hate for the street to collapse under my weight. That’d mighty inconvenient. It’s also worth noting that there’s a huge emphasis on how the target of this song (hey let’s just assume it’s Black again, why don’t we? I don’t care if its canon or not) finds themselves in a safe place on this street. Kind of interesting how this calls back to Searching. It seems that the safe place has been found. It’s out on this conscious street.

 

THYX – Hate (8.25): Hate is a strong word. At least that’s what I was always told as a child. Of course, now that my vocabulary has grown, I’ve learned that there are even stronger words than hate such as despise, loath and abhor. But there’s something about hate, that’s so simple and pure. Well, as pure as such a negative emotion can get. Because when you boil right down to it, hatred is hatred regardless of how strong.

 

I’m getting distracted. I love pulling apart the smallest things sometimes, but my opinion of this song isn’t going to be defined by the definition of hate. Instead, I think it would be best to judge the song based on the actual musical and lyrical content. Thankfully, for Hate, I quite enjoy a lot of what this song has to offer, and I consider it to be one of the best songs on the album. And I can’t just attribute my enjoyment to just the music or just the lyrics. This is a very well-rounded song in which everything contributes to its excellence.

 

The beginning of this song serves as an important introduction to the dark mood that emanates through much of its duration. Unlike Network of Light, the darkness actually fits this song’s title (again nothing wrong with Network of Light, THYX’s surprisingly common false advertising is forgivable at least 75% of the time). Not only does this song have a stronger thematic connection to darkness, but even if you take the music out of context form the lyrics and song title, the song sounds simultaneously vibrant and ominous. The bassline is the mastermind behind this all, underlying every moment of the song from the very beginning, especially in the beginning, as it’s nearly the only rumbling sound present for the first half a minute or so (some soft drums in there too, but not the song’s main drive).

 

The song’s main drive comes in around a minute in, allowing for the bassline to spread its flavor quickly through the track, transforming itself into both an arpeggiated bassline as well as some longer notes that give the bass a more clearly defined progression. And later in the song, there’s some harsher stabs from the bass as well, rounding out the variety of the bassline to create much of the atmosphere of this track. There are some other melodic instruments in there too that contribute greatly to the vibrance I’d mentioned earlier, but most of the attention is focused on the bass.

 

Except when it’s focused on the vocals. Hate has the best vocals on the album. They’re not the best lyrically (though the message still tickles my mind out of the box). However, as for how the lyrics are sung, there’s more passion here than anywhere else on the album. During the chorus it seems as if nothing else matters except Poiss being overcome with the titular emotion of the song as it took over his mind.

 

Yeah, this song’s bleakness in its musical tone does fit with the lyrics. According to these lyrics, hate wins. It overwhelms the soul and casts out all other emotions and any purity that somehow survived up to that point. That’s only if you let it win though. Take this song as a warning.

 

Don’t let hate win.

 

THYX – Survival Instinct (8.5): I feel like, out of all the songs on this album, this song feels closest to his mind.in.a.box work. I’m not sure exactly how to describe it, but I have noticed that a lot of THYX’s songs have a slightly different feel from the stuff off of the mind.in.a.box albums. I’m not exactly sure how to describe it, but there’s definitely a combination of arps basslines, melodies and vocals that many of the upbeat mind.in.a.box songs roughly follow. And this is the closest I’ve heard a THYX song to fit that rough outline. Can I put it into words? Unfortunately, I’m not sure I can, which really brings into question why I’m reviewing in the first place, but right now all I have to go off of is this odd feeling of familiarity despite this being the first time I’m delving into the THYX side of the discography.

 

Well, I’ll try and at least explain what this music makes me feel, maybe it will be clearer how to make the comparison between the to aliases if I take a step back and look at this song as a standalone. The introduction for this song is quite amazing. A lot of songs on this album focus on starting with a subtle rumbling bassline, but this song might just be the best at using it. It just gives the right sense of unease to contrast with the more relaxing midnight jazzy vibe the sax and piano bring to the table. And the heavy breathing that transitions into the drive capitalizes on this unease quite well. This song definitely puts its best foot forward, and while I may have complained about some songs doing this in the past, the difference is that there’s plenty of great stuff to follow.

 

First off, those jazzy vibes from the piano do return in the song quite often enough to keep the introductory mood alive. Yet, it doesn’t necessarily linger on this mood, but transforms it by using the piano in tandem with the arps that steal the show for the majority of the song. That’s probably the secret to how I can even more easily associate this song with Mind.in.a.box in comparison to other songs on the album. Outside of the storytelling, Mind.in.a.box’s greatest strength was always the arps and Poiss made absolutely certain to showcase that strength in this one. Even the melody in the chorus (which is fantastic by the way) sounds similar to his arps, which I feel is what pushes the song over the line to sounding like a full on Mind.in.a.box song.

 

The vocals in the verses are admittedly a slight bit different from the Mind.in.a.box norm, going for a grittier vibe, not computerized in any way, just a different gritty flavor. It works because the lyrical content of Survival Instinct is edgy to match. Society is crumbling around us. Life deteriorates into entropy. All things, good or bad, eventually disappear. It all boils down to a choice: Will you stand and fight against the darkness that suffocates us or hide from it, waiting it out until mortality takes you?

 

One of these choices is easier. The other one is right.

 

THYX – Alien Love (7.25):  And now for a calmer, more simplistic track. Everything else we’ve heard so far has been incredibly dense with lyrics either thought provoking in the existential sense or thought provoking in a way that makes me scratch my head at why we’re personifying a road. This song, though strangely titled, is about much simpler ideas. Therefore, it shouldn’t take as long to tear into… Right?

 

I mean, not only are the lyrics relatively simple (half of the lines in this song are “It came to me”), the music itself is quite laid out nice and simple. The song starts out by solidifying itself as one of the calmer tracks, using only a piano (and maybe a slight bit of ambience) for the first minute. Eventually, the song does begin to incorporate a few basslines into the song, as well as an acoustic guitar (which I didn’t here the first time I listened through, but now it’s my favorite part. Add a few drums and a few synths and the song begins to slowly intensify from its initial calming beauty to its eventual glorious majesty.

 

The vocals undergo a similar journey. They start out slow and somber, perhaps filled with sorrow. But by the end of the journey, the Poiss sings with an unrelenting passion, as he switches onto the second part of the lyrics. But perhaps I should analyze that first part of the lyrics before I move on to the second part. Sequential order is quite preferable in most cases, this being one of them.

 

Something came to him. He was all alone, blind to the world around him and then something came to him, surrounding him. What was it? An alien? That’s the song’s title, but I’m kind of partial to the idea that it’s a thought or an epiphany that came his way. Something about the way he says it reminds me of more of cognitive arrival rather than a physical arrival.

 

Perhaps the second half of the song can help decipher these thoughts. They speak of all he wanted, all he needed. And they talk of “you”: the person of interest this song is directed at. Taking a quick glance at these lyrics, I can figure out what’s going on here pretty quickly. The singer, out of a desire for emotional healing, fell in love. But because he’s held himself at a distance, the love was unrequited, an alien concept.

 

Huh, guess I did spend a decent chunk of time analyzing these lyrics after all.

 

Anyways, this is a beautiful song and all, but it just doesn’t truly capture me musically overall and the lyrics, while fun to analyze, aren’t my preference.

 

THYX – Roses (8.75): You may think that a song called Roses would be a love song. Roses are a quite romantic flower after all And Alien Love was most certainly a love song, so it would fit thematically in this area of the album. But nah, Alien Love was the odd one out. The only point where this song mentions Roses is one line in the outro that I’m having some slight difficulty deciphering. And I have no qualms about this switch from love song to existentialism. Likely because songs like this are a bit closer to my preference anyway. These themes are part of the reason THYX holds its own against Mind.in.a.box even without the narrative.

 

Plus, the music of THYX, while slightly different, is quite great too. This song goes all out for the funkiest Poiss tune I’ve ever heard. Usually the bassline is quite arp-focused though there are some exceptions. Usually those exceptions are longer distorted notes giving a sense of unease and tension. This exception is an exception to that pattern, for it instead goes for a groovy bassline that helps drive the song forward along with some syncopated drums (and I’ve established in previous reviews that I quite love me some syncopation).

 

And if that funky groove wasn’t enough to please my intrigued ear drums, there’s some great electric guitar for the last third of the song. Really brings the song to another new level as the funky bassline also switches up to a more dynamic level as the guitar moves from lengthy soaring notes to a quick melodic solo before the song fades out. I really love this combination and feel it wraps up the song nicely.

 

But not only is this song musically exceptional, there’s also some great lyrics here. Perhaps not as great as The Endless Journey, but it’s close enough in quality that the superior music is able to push this song over the edge to become the best on the album. Instead of going over every single aspect and question of life (man, the Endless Journey was dense), Roses focuses on a singular topic: the impossibility of perfection.

 

There is an overwhelming pressure and desire for perfection in modern society. Flaws are the enemy and just one mistake can ruin everything. And while a detrimental mistake could very well have a drastic effect on one’s life, most of the time, we worry about matters that can be a bit more trivial. Perfection is impossible, and yet, despite our worry of living an imperfect life, we’re still here, still standing, still living. Even when all plans seem to fail, that doesn’t mean its’s over. Get up, shake off the dust and rubble from the collapsing ideals and take on a new day.

 

If you base your happiness on perfection, then contentment will elude you forever.

 

THYX – Below the City (6.5): For our titular track, we start out with an acoustic guitar and a bassline. Typical relaxing intro for this album, though I do feel that the guitar does make this one stand out above the rest as it’s not just a bassline softly building up before the drive starts. The guitar plays its own melody providing a unique flavor to the song as the only other time an acoustic guitar is used is within Alien Love, and even then, that one was covered up by the piano with a singular melody. This guitar has a much more dynamic feel to it, not following any true pattern, but still naturally flowing with the rest of the song.  It’s especially noticeable in the beginning but it makes a few other appearances throughout the rest of the track as well.

 

That guitar is definitely the show stealer of the track. Everything else is kind of run of the mill regular for this album, maybe a bit below average (which is above average overall but still). The bassline is a bit subtler than usual, allowing for an insanely smooth feel compared to some of the harsher tracks of the album. Whether or not this is a good thing is debatable, as it does mean that the bassline blends a bit much with the higher pitched arps and any semblance of ambience the song has. The guitar still stands out thankfully, but that’s about it.

 

The lyrics of Below the City are probably the most cryptic yet. It seems to be said from the point of view of some sort of artificial intelligence that longs to have a more human experience. And that’s an interesting concept, but it doesn’t really do much with it. At least nothing that really gives me anything not talk about other than that quick summary. Unless there’s some kind of cryptic message behind obsolete ladders that would change everything that this song represents. But as it is, I have no idea what that line means, and the rest of the song is unchanged because of it.

 

Honestly, this song is just kind of bland compared to much of Poiss’ stuff. The guitar does help, but there is so little substance here that the titular track honestly is the worst lyrical song of the album.

 

THYX – Timeless (5.75): And then there’s this one. For our last track of the album, we have Timeless (not to be confused with Timelessness, a Mind.in.a.box song that shan’t be reviewed until at least 2 months from now, maybe more depending on if I change my priorities). Timeless, unlike the rest of the album, has no lyrics. Or at least I think it doesn’t. It has vocals, but I can’t make out a single word, so lyrical analysis will be absent from this particular section of the review. It’s all about the music this time.

 

And what does this song have to offer? Unfortunately, not much. There’s some decent arps introduced at the beginning, though they do get somewhat covered up by the repetitive bassline as the song progresses. The vocals do help save this song a bit as they add some much-needed variety and melodic influence, but other than that, this is a very bland ending to an otherwise great album.

 

Conclusion: Poiss definitely picked up some momentum on this sophomore album for the THYX alias (though he already has 4 other Mind.in.a.box albums under his belt, but we’re not focusing on those right now). There were several songs on this album. Half of the songs on this album received 8/10s and higher. I’m a bit surprised as I expected that the lack of narrative would cause this to be a little lesser tha the albums off the main alias, but the songs here are so intensely introspective that it doesn’t even matter that the conflict between the Sleepwalkers and the Agency is currently swept to the sidelines. I still thoroughly enjoy this album.

 

Unfortunately, the album does dip a little bit in quality towards the end, with a couple of songs that pale in comparison to everything previously, somewhat hampering my experience. It would have been a little better if the album ended at Roses, but I’m not going to let the ending ruin my enjoyment of the other 8 songs on the album.

 

Final Score: (7.5/10)

Daily Hat Track Roundup: April 2019

Alright, it’s been May for precisely a week, and I still haven’t posed a summary of all the Daily Hat Tracks for April. If you’re following me on Twitter, then this post will be kind of useless to you as I’ve already posed all of these songs and their descriptions on Twitter. I aim to do so daily, but every once and a while, I slack off and later post an obscenely large amount of them in one day. Anyways, here’s thirty songs I enjoyed listening to over the past month so perhaps you can enjoy them as well. Check out the playlist at the bottom to hear all of the Daily Hat Tracks of the year.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 1 (Combichrist – The Evil in Me): This is basically the edgiest I can go before the edge starts to be a detractor rather than a positive aspect. Has that nihilistic mood for the darker times, though it doesn’t cross any lines.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 2 (Bliss – Warriors): I’ve already shared the Guitar remix a month or so back. I was originally introduced to that one and find it a bit more addicting. This one has some cool parts too, but it’s not nearly as good as constant guitar solos.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 3 (Bring Me the Horizon & Grimes – nihilist blues): I’ve been listening to a lot of edgier music as of late. Should probably work on rebalancing my musical diet, but eh this dark vibe is where I’m at right now. There’s a nihilist knocking on my door… And he shares my face…

 

Daily Hat Track: April 4 (Shirobon – Born Survivor): Definitely a nostalgic inspirational tune from a few years back when things were a lot simpler (though still kinda complicated). Good chiptune mood in this one. Has a nice bounce to it.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 5 (H.U.V.A. Network – Something Heavens): It’s incredibly late and so I desire to end the day with some relaxation from the immersive heavenly experience that is H.U.V.A. Network. Good night to all. May your dreams be of something heavenly.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 6 (Seven Lions & Jason Ross – The Sirens: Oh yeah, I forgot about this psytrance/psystep wonder Seven Lions released last year. Looks like there’s a compilation with an extended version out now. Neat.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 7 (Douglas Holmquist & Susanna Lundgren – Something Beneath): The fact that this beautiful inspiring track comes from a Pinball game still astounds me. Then again, Pinout is a very interesting spin on Pinball, so it deserves it.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 8 (Nömak – Schrödinger’s Cat WLP Edit): Here’s a very strange trippy experimental track that breaks apart halfway through to return as something completely different. Such an odd song. I love it.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 9 (Lauren Bousfield – Two Swans Duct Taped to the Side of the Coke Machine): Long as we’re doing experimental madness, here’s a shorter fascinatingly enjoyable mess from Lauren Bousefield. The song title isn’t shorter though. Not short at all.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 10 (Varien – Born of Blood, Risen from Ash): This one’s only about a week old but the combination of 2012-2024 Varien and 2026 – 2018 Varien really works here. Really looking forward to everything else Varien has coming for us over the next year.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 11 (Freezepop – Phantoms): I have no idea what this song is about. Well I know it’s about a post mortem dance party but other than that I’m at a loss. Fun song though!

 

Daily Hat Track: April 12 (Stephen & IN-Q – Start a Fire): Not my usual genre to post but Stephen does occasionally dip very slightly into electronic with a synth here and there. This mostly acoustic intro to his album is among my favorites from him.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 13 (Joachim Pastor – Reykjavik): Been a while since I posted some Hungry Music. Joachim Pastor with a chill drive as always. Good funky grooves. Beautifully mysterious melodies. Odd outro for a hungry song but I don’t really mind.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 14 (Arkasia – Those From There): Not an Arkasia expert, so I can’t necessarily compare this to songs from the rest of his discography, but this one certainly is magically immersive. Love the subtle vocal flavors added here and there.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 15 (Andy Blueman – Sea Tides): Honestly kind of tired tonight so here’s the trance track that started this week’s Discover Weekly on Spotify. Don’t have all that much to say about it. My reviews are thousands of words long. Let me be lazy on occasion.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 16 (Inofaith – Dawn is Late): I’m up a bit late tonight though not as late as this song suggests. This comes from the same EP as Nocturne which I posted a while back. Inofaith has released only a handful of tracks but this one is among the best of them.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 17 (Ashbury Heights – Science): If I had made a list of the best songs of 2018, this would have been near the top. One of my favorite Ashbury Heights songs as well, though The Looking Glass Society has some better ones. Anyways, this song is about depression!

 

Daily Hat Track: April 18 (Space Buddha – Mental Hotline): Mostly sharing this because I find the voice at the beginning of the song to be an amusing asshat. The rest of the track bangs though. If you do need help with mental issues, call a hotline if need be. Just don’t call this one.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 19 (Hilight Tribe – Esperanza): I’m trying to maybe finish up my review by the end of the day so um here’s a groovy trance song with a guitar. Enjoy that for nine minutes why don’t ya?

 

Daily Hat Track: April 20 (Neuromonakh Feofan – Ядрёность): For the track that was supposed to be posted on my birthday, I would like to share this Russian DnB and dubstep. I always find this band to be incredibly interesting.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 21 (The Future Sound of London – Point of Departure): For the Easter Daily Hat Track, I give you the first immersive track off of this album I just discovered by this artist I just discovered. Gonna be listening to more of this as I wash the dishes.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 22 (Neuromonakh Feofan – Нейромонах Феофан): Another Neuromonakh Feofan song because why not, they’re addicting. This is their titular song. Titular as in named after that artist, not the album. One of their best.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 23 (Chris Keya – Totentanz): One of the many highlights of this week’s Discovery Weekly. Solid drumbeat. Plenty of great guitar rocking throughout. Plus a couple of good melodies to jam to.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 24 (OVERWERK & Nikon – Calling): OVERWERK and Nikon are a great combination that gets better with each iteration. The most recent iteration of yesteryear being this agnostically themed track with the best Arpwerk from I’ve even heard from OVERWERK

 

Daily Hat Track: April 25 (VNV Nation – Space & Time): One of my very first VNV Nation songs continues to also be one of my very favorites. Really captures the beauty of the chaos of this world. Spoke to me quite well when I’d discovered it 3 years ago and it still does.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 26 (Mazmoneth – Kali’s Day Off): As this day comes to a close, may I introduce some odd ambience to end your day. A few melodies too. Ok actually there’s a lot of interesting stuff in this song and it develops greatly over time so I’m gonna stop listing it all.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 27 (OVERWERK & Mars – Know): Another OVERWERK track today. This is the runner-up to Calling on the State album and the best non-Nikon song. There’s a bit more darkness and doubt in this one despite being called “Know.” Great groove in places too.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 28 (Stonebank & EMEL – Stronger): Stonebank released a new song recently and for some reason, as I was listening to it I really wanted there to be a surprise DnB drop added in there towards the end. It didn’t happen so I had to listen to my fav from him again.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 29 (Ace Ventura & Antimony – We Dream): We Dream. It’s who we are. Best psytrance if the past week. Some inspiring relatable vocals (I’m definitely dreamer) and a great mysterious sound that feels both familiar and unique at the same time.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 30 (Neelix & Caroline Harrison – Makeup): 4 months in and I still haven’t shared my favorite song of all time? This psytrance masterpiece has such an intricate hidden message that I just don’t have the room to fully analyze it in a tweet. I’ll have to review it someday.

 

 

 

Full Daily Hat Tracks 2019 playlist here:

 

https://open.spotify.com/user/beretbeats/playlist/4CIZYAQAzctqYqFG89HIv2?si=8wlLYj9RQmOw_1JrDn2TAw