Time Traveler, Mythical Vigilante’s dark, synthwave sci-fi EP, has been on my listening rotation at least once a week for the past month.
The Seattle-based artist’s EP only comes in at four songs, but its 17-minute existence is a hyperactive, intricate affair of cascading synthesizers, big drums and bold ideas.
It begins with “Receiving Psychic Messages,” a mid-tempo Carpenteresque cut that crunches its way through the listener’s psyche like a good opener should. In this song, we’re assured that where Vigilante is taking us is going to be fun, even if it’s an urban dystopia straight out of the mind of CYBEREALITYライフ.
The title cut has shades of Vangelis paired with the brooding, hi-tech gallop of Brad Fiedel’s soundtrack to The Terminator. The catchy monosynth lead is straight out of Vangelis’ Blade Runner work, and the dark and frenetic themes could easily help push the T-800 along on its mission. The big, gated drums established as an essential instrument in the first song carry on throughout this one, punctuating every twist and turn in this insane mission we’re on. Over all of that is an explosive guitar solo that is so hot it melts metal.
The next song is Vigilante’s remix of the Argon Cowboy song, “Many Rainbows.” He takes the original, which is organic, slow, and crystalline, and rinses it ten times in the personality of Time Traveler to make it as spacey and dark as the other three songs on the EP. Its catchy, evocative arrangements make it the best song on the collection.
EP closer, “Crime Ridden Wasteland,” kicks off with fat bass and a pretty arpeggiated synth part that sounds almost like Andean pipes. Drums fly around the mix in a bath of cavernous, but tasteful, reverb. The pace of the EP kicks it up several notches by the time “Wasteland” hits, making for an almost danceable number. We might be somewhere unpleasant, but there’s a hell of a lot of hope for this place.
After it’s done, Vigilante’s EP leaves me with two thoughts.
First, he needs to collaborate more. Even though “Rainbows” was a remix and not a formal pairing, it underscored how much richer his songs would be with the complementary style of another artist. It doesn’t have to be a synthwaver, which Argon Cowboy is not.
Second, Vigilante needs to do a full-length album. The synthwave scene has its share of dark souls, but he keeps it grim and gritty without diving head-first into darkwave, and a full-length album like from him could give synthwavers a healthy record of what it’s like to be in the demilitarized zone between the two waves.