Waveshaper Album Review: Soluna
Swedish synthwave producer Waveshaper (aka Anton Körberg) has been a mainstay of the underground electronic music scene for nearly a decade now. His music is frequently featured in synthwave compilations, and he’s released two well-received albums, Station Nova (2012) and Life in Bits (2014). Waveshaper’s third album, Soluna, marks his return after a three year hiatus. It’s a fine example of how the retro style can still evolve, as it demonstrates a more mature approach to songwriting while also experimenting with new production techniques.
The album opens with “Solaris,” an instrumental track that features ominous drones, pulsing basslines and distorted guitars. In fact, guitars are one of the most striking aspects of Soluna. As regular readers of this blog know, I’m not generally a fan of guitar-driven synthwave. The genre can easily succumb to easy clichés—the kind of hackneyed riffs you’d hear in the background of an 80s action flick—and so I was skeptical when I learned that Waveshaper had recorded guitar parts for this album. However, these
Dance music is a genre that has been around for many decades. It is constantly evolving and changing. If a musician wants to create a track or album that is different from the rest of the crowd, they will want to stand out.
So what makes an electronic album stand out? The answer is simple – it’s the production!
The production is the key to creating a dance track because it will allow the artist to showcase their creativity and talent.
If you are looking for an underground electronic album with great production, look no further than Waveshaper’s self-titled debut album.
This album has everything you would expect from an underground electronic producer: dark synths, heavy bass lines, and catchy melodies.
But what sets it apart from other similar albums is its unique sound design and production techniques.
The tracks on this album are full of rich textures, intricate rhythms, and lush atmospheres that give them an almost cinematic feel.
Waveshaper is in the early stages of making a name for himself in the underground electronic music scene. His debut album, Retrofuture, is a fantastic start to this young producer’s career. It exceeds expectations from a musician who has only been producing for a year and a half.
“Retrofuture”, released on July 25th, is the first full-length album by Waveshaper, whose real name is Max Cooper. The album begins with “Introspect,” which immediately sets the tone for the entire album: low-key and mysterious, but with hints at excitement and adventure to come. The song transitions into “Frozen By The Sun,” the first single off of the album. “Frozen By The Sun” has a slightly darker feel than most of the other songs on the album, but still features Waveshaper’s trademark synthesizer sounds and melodies that are simple enough to be catchy without being boring or overdone.
Waveshaper is the alias of a Swedish man named Daniel Johansson, and he creates music that sounds like it’s straight out of a Sci-Fi movie.
The majority of his tracks are instrumental and take on a “dark electro” sound, there’s an ’80s feel to most of the songs. But Waveshaper is not a one-trick pony. The entire album is diverse enough to keep it interesting, with some songs sounding like they could be in a video game while others could be in a ’80s action movie.
Waveshaper has two albums out right now, both released this year: Retro Future and Retro Future II. There are eight songs on each album (four tracks each), and you can listen to them for free on his Bandcamp page.
Fans of German synthpop band Mesh, who have been around for more than 20 years, will surely be delighted with the debut album from Waveshaper. The Swedish artist has created an album that is reminiscent of the classic synthwave sound of the early 80’s, with a modern twist.
“Scandinavian Nights” consists of 14 tracks. Highlights include the opening track “Endless Night”, and “City Lights”, which is reminscent of John Carpenter’s classic music. In general, the album gives off a similarly dark vibe to Carpenter’s soundtracks.
The first half of the album is a bit weak, with tracks like “New Horizon” and “Ataraxia” being a bit too mellow. But it picks up significantly in the second half with tracks like “Midnight Run”, and “Digital Delight”.
Waveshaper, the Swedish duo behind many a fantastic video game synthwave tribute album, are back with another great release. This time around they’re paying homage to two of their favorite classic arcade games: Donkey Kong and Mario Bros. The Donkey Kong EP has been out for a while, but I just discovered the Mario Bros EP a few days ago.
The Donkey Kong and Mario Bros EPs are available to stream on Spotify and Apple Music, but if you’re a vinyl lover like myself, there’s also a limited edition 12-inch record which comes out next month. If you’re interested in pre-ordering it, head over to the Waveshaper website.
The first thing you notice about the album is that it starts with a title track, “The Waveshaper.” This is not a common practice in electronic music. The next thing you notice is that this is not your average electronic song. This is music and sound at its most pure. It’s like pure liquid metal that has been forged into a skull and then melted again upon touch.
The second track, “Alive,” is also a title track of sorts. Here we are presented with an audio collage of ambient noise and loud, pulsating beats. This isn’t just any old noise; these are sounds that evoke memories of the past, sounds that remind you of being alive. The third track, “Resonate,” takes the idea and runs with it. The song features more ambient noise than the other tracks but this time it’s from an actual machine (the Roland TB-303) rather than a computer-generated sound library. Again, it’s very reminiscent of early electronic music but also something else entirely new.
The rest of the album continues in this vein: lots of ambient noise, lots of beats and bass, lots of old-school electronic music influences but all wrapped up in something fresh and exciting for today’s listener.