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!llmind – Synesthesia EP

!llmind – Synesthesia EP

illmind-synthesia!llmind – Synesthesia EP
Self-released: 2014

As cliche as it might be to compare albums to food, sometimes the beaten path bears the freshest fruits. !llmind’s Synesthesia EP is a small bag of Skittles candy, and in more ways than one. It’s colorful, bright, and tasty but also small, fleeting, and homogenous. It’s likely to give bursts of happiness and momentarily lift spirits, but it’s probably not going to change anyone’s life or leave a long-lasting impression. It might have an underwhelming number of candies tucked inside its plastic, but each piece tastes great. It serves its purpose as a quick musical snack from a rest stop vending machine, and is sure to please fans until they can stop at a more filling album restaurant. (Alright, I’ll admit I’m stretching this metaphor to its absolute limits.)

!llmind himself describes the four tracks of Synesthesia as “a collection of abstract musical textures” he felt the need to express. The EP explores the concept of color in music, usually through the vehicle of psychedelic synths and dreamy backdrops. The tracks all share a sonic aesthetic in the way they allow the brightest elements to coat a majority of the canvas. That isn’t to say these songs don’t have their differences, however; “Psycho” introduces the concept with a slow-moving jam, “Blinded” kicks things off by throwing heavy-hitting percussion into the mix, “A Common Space” cools off for a minute and relaxes in the haze, and “Neverland” finishes things off with triumphance. There’s just enough variety to last the short run time without boring the listener, but a few soundscapes come close to triggering Déjà Vu when synths start stepping into similar territory.

One disappointingly sour note of this otherwise sweet collection of cuts is its lack of truly ‘standout’ moments. Cramming the abundant energy of a great idea into such a small tracklist could have allowed !llmind to make each of Synesthesia’s songs phenomenal, but the project never manages to advance from ‘good’ to ‘great.’ The opener’s soaring components are initially impressive, but not so drop-dead gorgeous that they stick in the back of the mind like those of other psychedelic records. There’s a strong sense of experimentalism in the producer’s description of the EP, but the tracks themselves never introduce any concepts radically different from those found in the modern Cloud Rap or Synthpop scene.

Still, it’s hard to wring much criticism out of a such a short project, and it’s even harder to hate something that takes up so little time. It might not be the most moving or experimental piece of music out there, but Synesthesia is still a lean package with a lot of optimism and positive energy. !llmind is more than capable of whipping up a tasty treat, but my growling stomach would love to see what kind of full-course meals he is capable of preparing.

★★★☆☆
3 out of 5

You can purchase Synesthesia here.

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