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Bit-Tuner - EXO [-ous - 2020]

Open, flowing, and engaging, Bit-Tuner's EXO shows the artist expanding and growing into a vast, cinematic soundscapes. Working with filmmaker Joerg Hurschler, Bit-Tuner will bring animated footage to his 2020 live shows, and it all starts with the material here on EXO. Futuristic and still somehow somewhat retro, Bit-Tuner's latest is synthy sumptuousness at its finest.

A nicely distributed eight tracks (4A, 4B), EXO opens up with "Slacken," a wide synth ride down a sunny, futuristic highway. Not to be swept into the futurewave/retrowave/whateverwave trappings, Bit-Tuner lets the synth lines play second fiddle to the layers unfolding. "Passage" takes a more somber tone, and the faux crying baby makes the follow up track a bit more grim. It's a tad much, though, and nearly takes away from the lovely swells that grow and breathe from below. While the opener had a fun, cinematic approach, the tones in "Passage" increase the score feel by quite a bit. This tone carries into "Valve," but the addition of crispy distortion on the notes introduces a new and intriguing texture to the composition. The fairly turbulent "Disbander" wraps up the A side of the album by doing a 180 on the open, cinematic layers of the previous tracks. Frantic and fairly grim, the claustrophobic nature of this one makes the openness of the first three even more apparent. "Byz" oscillates the second side of EXO into existence and is supplemented by deep, bassy, sustained pulses. The deep bass continues into the next song, "Averof," but is lifted up by ethereal tones and given a wider scope in which to play. Contemplative and sweeping, "Ghost Light" keeps the upward trend moving. An interesting mix of film score and Atari game, there's a certain aquatic quality to it that relaxes while the lower, buzzing layers do their best to quiet the comfort. Rounding out the album with "Gramm," Bit-Tuner allows the night sky to fall on the sunny highway that was started with "Slacken." A day in the life of a futuristic traveler, EXO is a lush journey through synthesized sound.

His seventh album, EXO is a wonderful soundtrack to a futuristic soundscape. Being coupled with the animation of  Joerg Hurschler, Bit-Tuner's sonic vision is allowed to grow to its fullest. Sight and sound, married together through artificial means, EXO is a treat for the senses.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Paul Casey
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