Bravo I say, bravo. Morgan Z stand up and take a bow. Coming at you with his new album, Elemental Themes via Stones Throw — this one-man-band, from the Valley (yes, the valley), is a powerhouse of fantastic creative waves of sound. I am not one to usually love, praise or seek indulgence in the roomy genre of electronica, but my mind has been changed. Going by the moniker of Chrome Canyon, his album Elemental Themes is a glaring exception.
From the poised technique, to the pinched steel rhythms, this album has a knack for sounding classic. The album has set itself apart from the generic and painfully hip electro-indie-pop (or whatever they call it) that has been mass produced by kale-eating trust-fund babies all over the U.S. of A. I hear its old spirit, underneath the fantastic zap of space instruments and warp pads. The analog is complimented by the booming battle of drums, organic and lofty.
Where most modern artists exaggerate and fantasize, Chrome Canyon stays grounded while staying imaginative. He manages to produce something altogether relevant to the current age of being. His compositional brilliance blows away that of his peers and truly captures the strange essence of life today. Songs such as “Chasing The Dead” take you on a synth march through another planet while fusing some lovely Spanish guitar to bring you back to reality.
The album reads like a musical odyssey, you can hear the story through the instruments, all which are driven home by brief storytelling spoken word. Menacing and spooky keys open track one, aptly titled “Beginnings.” A mere 30 seconds in and you’re swept away with winding and shining toy notes that bite the ear drum. My skin tingles and my brain buzzes with the moon-age daydreams of glam rock of days past. Think Flash Gordon, heavy drone synths that hint heavily at some impending space war.
Talking about highlights is difficult. I find the entirety of the album to be a personal musical highlight of my year. The third track titled, “Legends” is epic, in a World of Warcraft soundtrack kind-of-way ( I mean that in the best way). It’s brave and a bit light. Not the smashing, over-compensating electro your little sister and her friends are all blasting.
Contained and elegant, the sound evokes emotion — its bright starry eyed compensation is so charming. While not becoming frail or wishy-washy — it’s music, and good music at that. Never have I ever listened to electronic music and found myself relating to a sense of being that I could so clearly hear. When this one-man-band, Chrome Canyon — sat down to produce, perform and record this album he had something in his heart and I’m so happy to hear it translated with all the grace and maturity so often lacking in modern music.
This album is complete, and while he gives adult-electro, it is in no way lacking fun, or dance-able beats. The precise and pretty bits add up and give you a spine chilling deep space disco party sound-track. Like a well shot film, I can’t help but grow attached to the notes and joyful emotion ever-present in every song.
Words: Jasmine Richelle