WaveTV writer/reviewer and prolific music maker Patrick Keller (AKA Red Comet 3) got an exclusive listen to FourFox’s newest album, ScubaWave — now available on BandCamp and iTunes.

Strangely this album feels somehow both unassuming, if perhaps a little insubstantial, and simultaneously militant in it’s use of the types of syncopated chord stabs that would have been unacceptable 10 years ago. It never quite “gets there”, or rather I feel that it never really gets around to making it’s point clear to us as we listen. That being said this album does have a few things on it’s side, namely it’s quite musical, the hooks are hooky, and the engineering is flawless, if inoffensive.

Overall it’s very clean, crystalline and sparkly. There are a few interesting things, that I for one am glad someone is trying, for instance the tempo changes of Fox One are neat, and there’s some interesting squelchy bits on Big Fish, that actually threaten to be visceral, but never quite make it there, probably for the better. The album has a hip hop flair to it, reminding one of JJ circa 2010. It plays itself off with a cool self assurance, but unfortunately it’s tied it’s fate to an aesthetic long since past the tipping point of oversaturation. Thankfully the most overt nods to synthwave are rendered originally and sparingly.

I can’t think of anyone else making music like this, in that it has a since of realness about it that puts the vast majority of VST rockers to shame. I think all synthwave producers would do well to give this one a listen and sit quietly for awhile and think about what they’ve done.

FourFox definitely points in the right direction, modern EDM connotations and all. To be sure, FourFox could position himself to be at the forefront of a new kind of synthwave music, one more concerned with interesting bits of synthesis and a more eclectic take on rhythm, melodic structuring and production style. This brief batch of songs, however, is not the signpost type of album that signals that there’s a new sheriff in town, but perhaps it doesn’t want to be that album in the first place.

The album flies by, and indeed all of the songs do individually, never taking too long to establish their own themes, before subverting our expectations and going through a few variations. But this may be the most significant weak point of this album, it implies more than it says, almost as if it can’t be bothered to follow it’s own advice. It implies a larger

world just around corner, but doesn’t take you there before it’s short run time expires.

While there’s definitely something to be said about getting in and getting out, I for one wish that almost every song were longer, Daffy’s Luck for instance seems as if it comes and goes after having only just taken off it’s shoes and asked to exist for awhile. It has a great groove, which could stand on a big EDM stage, with it’s electro-swing posturing in the bass and ultra cool guy polysynth lines, but I feel like it doesn’t entirely mine the rich soil it creates.For those would be synthwavers out there, listen to this album instead of whatever other lukewarm, plastic detritus is littering soundcloud these days. Take note of the care and precision with which FourFox has structured his melodic anchors. Take note also, of his use of rhythm, and how he twists and molds it to his liking. Listen to the various waveshapes he’s fucking with and know that there are more sounds out there than whatever free plugin pack you torrented and aren’t tweaking. Minimalistic, certainly groovy, with a bunch of reverb properly deployed in all the right places, but also a bit of a lightweight when it comes to taking advantage of the mostly very strong musical ideas it puts forth.

I like this music, but for me personally it doesn’t draw me in to it’s world, but maybe my expectations are just slightly above where FourFox was ever intending to go with these songs, they do come off with a certain vaporwave-eqsue throwaway quality that can be quite charming, but I’d rather hear the extended cuts, even if they went too far, atleast I would know how far this extremely capable and smart arranger and producer was willing to go.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s