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Vive la Révolution: The Uprising of Edictum’s Passage Back - Music Review

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Edictum - Passage Back

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“These days, caused by bad prospects on many levels, 80s pop culture offers a sanctuary for numerous people, who yearn for a positive future.

Passage Back takes a look back at the late 70s, when the genre emerged and the cold war's nuclear threat was contrasted by an optimistic feeling that culminated in an euphoric final in the early 90s.

The Album mirrors this concept by locating it inside a nuclear shelter, where a young pair has to deal with an ambivalent feeling between fear and cautious optimism. This is reflected in the album by a variety of moods.”


 

Edictum

The description above is the lens by which we view Edictum’s second release through. Passage Back is a mammoth of an album. It is beautiful. It is bold. It is true; there is an honesty in the emotion presented in these twelve tracks which makes this introduction, written by Edictum’s Simon Krauter, feel so relatable and alive. With this release, Edictum has just raised the stakes for everyone.

Passage Back is a true game changer for the synthwave scene. Let that statement soak in for a minute. It’s time to break out The Adicts and get down to it! The synthwave rising, thanks to this EPIC release, is now at hand.  Vive la révolution! 

"Music as dynamic as this causes REBELLIONS, my friends. The rise of the synths has begun!"


I listen to a lot of music and, with the synthwave fanbase growing, there are a number of producers out there that deserve to be heard and appreciated. Throw your money at them. Please. Few of them; however, expect to be hailed as a f#@#ing force of nature within the scene. We are, after all, one big synthwave family. Outrun, synthwave, horror synth, darkwave, vaporwave, whatever sound you create, there is room for all of us. This is true.

But, trust me, Edictum is the force of nature that will cause the commotion Madonna once preached about in “Who’s that Girl?”; this release is an exciting disruption of the status quo. With spiritually divine tracks blessed by the Heavens, this prophet of the synthwave scene doesn’t deserve fans; he warrants disciples. Get ready to bow.

If Ennio Morricone made electronic music I am certain it would sound EXACTLY like this. From the very beginning, as “The Outset” gathers itself from the clanging noise of metal and bells and then rocks our world (thanks to Powernerd’s guitars), this fiery project is bold, chock full of anthems, and mythical in its handling of synth-driven melodies. It is an album, with twelve hot tracks that will certainly get your ass moving and your spirit soaring, that is not to be taken lightly.

Edictum

Edictum keeps things interesting and wild; pushing sounds into an all-inclusive realm where jazz and electronic synthesizers, from four separate decades, can live in perfect harmony. And it tells a story of survival, as well. Skipping ahead here, one listen to the rise and pull of track eleven’s epic “Never Give Up” will tell you all you need to know about the majesty, influence, and RANGE of this release. The robotic vocal effect on this multi-layered joint, running both hard and soft, contains the focus on survival that we need so much of right now.

There is hope throughout this release. It is hidden, but it is there. Even in the darkness – as depicted by the cover – there is a palpable hope to be found in these songs. And, on this release, that hope is made stimulating through a constant combination of unlike things. This seems to be Edictum’s specialty.

That crossover appeal is kept alive as “Running Fast (feat. Phil O' Dendron)” kicks out its first steps and then hops into our ears with its jubilant synth-laden hooks, before the chugging guitar gets our heads nodding along with it. The pressure builds and builds, sold by the rising electronic levels that bounce about, and then everything explodes into a Phil Specter-like wall of sound and synthesized glee.

And then, without so much as a warning, “Smooth Transition” begins. It’s like Simon said to us, “hold my beer” as he jumped up from the deck chair and grabbed his saxophone to start playing. If you aren’t transported to a place like Twin Peaks, where ANYTHING is possible, upon hearing this number then I can’t save you. Take a listen. David Lynch is already nodding with approval.

In my opinion, this is the BEST number here as it is a PERFECT melding of ideas and creates something wholly original.

And then “Numb” hits and we are all transported back to the ethereal high of 1985 again. The sparkling keys, the driving bass, those haunting synths, and the drums. It’s OMD by way of Ultravox (sans vocals) and, yes, Molly Ringwald is present at the dance. She’s waiting for you alone. This song is full-on John Hughes material. That’s as shiny of praise I can get for a song that feels oh so very fresh and full of emotion. It damn near glitters.

The middle part of the album, stretching from “Pivot Point” to “Entering the Crypt” to “Passage Back” and then “The Missile”, focuses on the narrative included with the release (the italicized opening above) and brings us to focus on the situation between two souls living in the world that has collapsed around them thanks to Powernerd’s stellar guitar. The music through this bridge reflects the many moods of alienation and downright trepidation. The overall arc of these four songs is introspective, passionate, and infectious; there is no limit to the reach of these haunting electronic transmissions.

Edictum

On “Just Ask” we are ushered back into the electronic wash and haze of tribute as the past appears to be summoned with a subtle yearning for the future path to unfold. The poignant release in this song is an epic one, allowing the listeners to find the splendor in the breakdown. With rich atmosphere, this song spirals away from the neon and polyester sheen and goes deep into the very heart of the synthwave movement. The same ethos is established with “The Day Will Come” thanks to the vocals provided by Viki. Held alongside the cover artwork by Rolly Rocket, the song is a perfect description of the void facing the two people depicted. It is unknown, exciting, and a place, thanks to the inclusion of the Shakuhachi flute, where fear can only be faced.

Modern bass lines and 80s synth drums pave the way forward as the album reaches its clock-stopping conclusion. You’ve got the previously mentioned “Never Give Up” and the closer, “Back to the Surface”, where the album comes to its moving conclusion, as our two heroes return to the world above the shelter – not as it was, mind you, but as it is. This is a release that, thankfully, pushes boundaries already established by what has gone on before. Passage Back is not content to just BE without purpose; the sounds here are unconventional, outstanding, and completely CHARGED UP.

Music as dynamic as this causes REBELLIONS, my friends. The rise of the synths has begun!

 


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