Tokyo City Dream Survey Synthwave Escamentia When I first clicked on the link to Escamentia's Bandcamp page, I read a statement in the description of their album "Tokyo City Dream Survey" that states, "When I listen to music, it can transport me to another world." I had a feeling that I would click with this chill, synthwave project as soon as I laid my eyes on those words. Hoping not to be wrong, I clicked the play button and found myself enveloped in an American's love for Japanese culture. Described as "a journey to some alternate-reality Tokyo" that "only exists inside the city inhabitant's heads", "Tokyo City Dream Survey" is a wildly creative eleven track album featuring exotic yet peaceful electronic beats. There's a love for 80s culture brimming in "Tokyo City Dream Survey". The album begins with the sound of a cassette being injected into a tape player as lo-fi feedback provides a nostalgic background. Shortly after, soft drum pads and wavering synths join the fray; it's a perfect tune for driving at night with the wind running through your hair. 'Tokyo Dreams' opens up with a dreamy atmosphere and continues into chill out territory. My only complaint about this song is that at the two-minute and ten second mark, a synth line that lasts for around six seconds or becomes too high in pitch and makes me wince every time I pass it. Tokyo City Dream Survey by Escamentia'Sakura', like the previous two songs before it, begins with very lovely low synths. Around thirty seconds of this continues until a bombastic futuristic dance beat takes over. Fitting in with this retro-futuristic escapism, the beats do not sound out of place on the album; it just deviates from the formula and that's never a bad thing. I was at odds with 'Koi Pond' mainly due to some of the drum pads being so powerful that when they hit, they destroyed any equalization the song had. It became quite an earache on repeated listens and is a song I recommend you skip should you come across it. I can equivalate 'Water Garden' to 'Sakura' as being this weird, retro-futuristic dance tune with a focus on percussive bass beats. 'Night Drive' brought me back to the chill synths featured earlier on the album and had me imagining a highway built in the middle of space. The brighter synths on 'Language Barrier' and 8-bit sounding textures brought to life a new venture into retro-territory. 'Mossy Cobblestone' is a another brilliant chilling synth track that plays with volume levels, boasting up to higher levels only to bring them back down as if they're muffled next door. I felt as if the last three songs, 'Rainbow Paradise', 'Okinawa Sea Caves', and 'Kumiko', while well produced, had extended the use of Escamentia's sound palette on the album. I feel as if, even if these three songs were cut off, the first eight tracks could have sufficed as an album on their own. It's not to say that these songs are bad, but it's too say that they sound a little bit too similar to the previous tracks and I really couldn't find a way to explain them any further without repeating myself. Escamentia's journey is one of sheer imagination and creativity. While synthwave tropes as far as themes and inspirations are well worn (80s, cassettes, sci-fi, Tokyo, etc.), it's the diverse range of music that keeps the scene alive. Escamentia is a brand new producer in the genre who will be bringing a new life to the scene. Sure, there are some problems on the album. As stated, 'Koi Pond' has some powerful percussive kicks that kick too hard, and nullifies any other sound found on the track. Though it wasn't mentioned as to avoid repetition throughout the review, this problem does persist on various other songs though to a lesser degree. And, again, some of the later songs suffer from sound palette redundancy. However, what is non-negotiable is the sheer magic I experienced during those first eight or nine songs. So, sure, there are some flaws in the album, but what it does for me is what so few albums are able to: stick to its word. Was I transported to another world? Abso-fucking-lutely. And I enjoyed myself quite well on that world. For all that and more, I give this album a seven out of ten. This review was commissioned through our Ko-fi page. 450
Brutal Resonance

Escamentia - Tokyo City Dream Survey

7.0
"Good"
Released off label 2021
When I first clicked on the link to Escamentia's Bandcamp page, I read a statement in the description of their album "Tokyo City Dream Survey" that states, "When I listen to music, it can transport me to another world." I had a feeling that I would click with this chill, synthwave project as soon as I laid my eyes on those words. Hoping not to be wrong, I clicked the play button and found myself enveloped in an American's love for Japanese culture. Described as "a journey to some alternate-reality Tokyo" that "only exists inside the city inhabitant's heads", "Tokyo City Dream Survey" is a wildly creative eleven track album featuring exotic yet peaceful electronic beats. 

There's a love for 80s culture brimming in "Tokyo City Dream Survey". The album begins with the sound of a cassette being injected into a tape player as lo-fi feedback provides a nostalgic background. Shortly after, soft drum pads and wavering synths join the fray; it's a perfect tune for driving at night with the wind running through your hair. 'Tokyo Dreams' opens up with a dreamy atmosphere and continues into chill out territory. My only complaint about this song is that at the two-minute and ten second mark, a synth line that lasts for around six seconds or becomes too high in pitch and makes me wince every time I pass it. 



'Sakura', like the previous two songs before it, begins with very lovely low synths. Around thirty seconds of this continues until a bombastic futuristic dance beat takes over. Fitting in with this retro-futuristic escapism, the beats do not sound out of place on the album; it just deviates from the formula and that's never a bad thing. I was at odds with 'Koi Pond' mainly due to some of the drum pads being so powerful that when they hit, they destroyed any equalization the song had. It became quite an earache on repeated listens and is a song I recommend you skip should you come across it. 

I can equivalate 'Water Garden' to 'Sakura' as being this weird, retro-futuristic dance tune with a focus on percussive bass beats. 'Night Drive' brought me back to the chill synths featured earlier on the album and had me imagining a highway built in the middle of space. The brighter synths on 'Language Barrier' and 8-bit sounding textures brought to life a new venture into retro-territory. 'Mossy Cobblestone' is a another brilliant chilling synth track that plays with volume levels, boasting up to higher levels only to bring them back down as if they're muffled next door. 

I felt as if the last three songs, 'Rainbow Paradise', 'Okinawa Sea Caves', and 'Kumiko', while well produced, had extended the use of Escamentia's sound palette on the album. I feel as if, even if these three songs were cut off, the first eight tracks could have sufficed as an album on their own. It's not to say that these songs are bad, but it's too say that they sound a little bit too similar to the previous tracks and I really couldn't find a way to explain them any further without repeating myself. 

Escamentia's journey is one of sheer imagination and creativity. While synthwave tropes as far as themes and inspirations are well worn (80s, cassettes, sci-fi, Tokyo, etc.), it's the diverse range of music that keeps the scene alive. Escamentia is a brand new producer in the genre who will be bringing a new life to the scene. Sure, there are some problems on the album. As stated, 'Koi Pond' has some powerful percussive kicks that kick too hard, and nullifies any other sound found on the track. Though it wasn't mentioned as to avoid repetition throughout the review, this problem does persist on various other songs though to a lesser degree. And, again, some of the later songs suffer from sound palette redundancy. However, what is non-negotiable is the sheer magic I experienced during those first eight or nine songs. So, sure, there are some flaws in the album, but what it does for me is what so few albums are able to: stick to its word. Was I transported to another world? Abso-fucking-lutely. And I enjoyed myself quite well on that world. For all that and more, I give this album a seven out of ten. 

This review was commissioned through our Ko-fi page.
Aug 23 2021

Off label

Official release released by the artist themselves without the backing of a label.

Steven Gullotta

info@brutalresonance.com
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.

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Started in spring 2009, Brutal Resonance quickly grew from a Swedish based netzine into an established International zine of the highest standard.

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