I’ve stated in various features that this year’s retro-influenced sound is the next wave in dance music evolution.
At the beginning of this year, Envotion opened with an LP that was heavily influenced by the 1980’s New Wave sound. Following this trend, Synergy Sound’s LP was released later in the year and also featured synthesizers with a specific retro flair. Last week, Golden Features unleashed his debut LP dubbed Sect on Warner Brothers and continues this trend beautifully.
For some basics regarding the album, let us begin by stating that you won’t find long-duration tracks here – the longest tracks chime in at four minutes and fifty-three seconds. Despite shorter tracks, Golden Features rock their sonic wave-forms and each track offers a proper journey. The album lacks a large number of tracks, only ten in total, but stands firmly in the territory of “thoughtfully developed” and meets the requirements of “long-play.”
If you are ready for the merging of retro synths and a slight indie rock influence, stream Golden Features debut album Sect right now. This impressive LP makes clear that electronic music today is accelerating towards a significant shift towards retro sounds, read on for my take on this new wave.
Let’s explore how Sect solidifies that retro is a new wave in EDM.
The album’s first two tracks, “Always” and “Medicate” set a precedence early on for strong retro influences found throughout the LP. “Always” rocks a certain French duo’s sound from an album called Discovery, while “Medicate” reminds this listener of Highly Sedated’s “Last Call” mixed with mid-2000’s house. The use of lyrics in “Medicate” is tactful, fitting the tone of the track beautifully while still remaining hauntingly dark with the synth choices used in the production.
“Runner” is right out of the Giorgio Moroder realm, calling back his work on “Racer” in 2013. It hearkens the darkness of a good cinematic score — infectious and haunting. “Falling Out” rewrites expectations by merging indie rock vibes with a touch of electro house. Lyrical styling merges over another infectious bass line, and the simplicity of the bass line screams throwback.
“Woodcut” brings the pop-sensible vocals and the deep vibes in the lower end of the frequency spectrum but keeps the tempo slow.
There’s a dreamy core to the track that hypnotizes the mind into focusing into this track. In contrast, “Pyre” has stab synthesizers, cinematic builds, and a broad array of elements that convey tension without release. The palette stunningly weaves the tapestry and conveys a sense of the past while capitalizing on the current. “Renewal” picks up from where “Pyre” left us but brings back the big beats of mid-1990’s House. I hear this track and instantly grab something from Felix da Housecat and mash it into the vibes of Matador’s Rukus album.
“Worship” leaves the depths and instead brings beach or mellow pool party vibes out, but it also disrupts with lyrics that seem at odds with the connotations that the word worship brings. However, the verse in the last break does convey the sense of what worship is: “When I’m done / Let them take me / Lift me up / Soon they’ll erase me // When I’m done / Let them take me / When I’m gone / You’ll replace me.” Years go by in those words!
Rounding out the album we have “Everything” and “1991”.
The gritty cut-up intro to “Everything” calls out The Chemical Brothers, and when the beat kicks in it is straight fire from the mid-2000’s breaks movement — standard kicks & snares overpowered by a booming synth bass stab. The ending on the track is a head-trip too. Speaking of throwback break-beats, “1991” closes the album illustrating the construct I set out to discuss wonderfully – everything old is again new.
If it has not yet been made clear yet – Golden Features gave us a gem in Sect!
Sect beautifully represents the trend for the exploration of modern styles with a true retro influence. Whether it was The Chemical Brothers, Felix da Housecat, Daft Punk, or contemporary sounds like Giorgio Moroder’s 2013 works, Matador, or Highly Sedated, the artist trend sets with retro-inspired moods and methodologies while remaining steadfast in his application of his own identity. If you are looking for a similar style and artist, I’d suggest also checking out Grabbitz. Here’s to another grand album offering in 2018 that hands us back a few ticks on the clock!