Staying up late and discovering music is nothing new. Sometimes you find decent stuff, and other times shit. Every once in a while though, you come across something that rattles you so intensely to the core that you can't even believe what you're hearing. That was the case this morning at approximately 5am. Youtube autoplayed an album from a channel by the name of NewRetroWave, maybe you've heard of it. While I'm a sucker for those classic synth vibes, most times it's just a quick fun listen then on to the next, but some slick artwork of a very retro setting sun caught my attention. Now I'm generally one to leave album reviews to my peers, but the second I pressed play I was beyond hooked, so here it goes.
While I have yet to learn more about Scottish born, San Fransisco dwelling producer Col Bennett, better known as FM-84, what I can say about him is his music is pure magic. My listening procedure consists of scrolling through a tune or mix to see what is going on, and if I like it, I go back and listen thoroughly. While I skimmed through the opening track 'Everything', it was the second track 'Running Through The Night' that blew me away. It was my childhood, condensed into four minutes and thirty seconds of pure bliss, and a complete departure from what I've been listening to and producing lately. Featuring a strong, yet ever so slightly feminine vocal from Ollie Wride, it's a timeless summer anthem in the truest sense.
It's rare you find an album that contains nothing but 100% quality. There is literally not a single track on here that isn't incredible. The description couldn't be any more fitting: "The album is the story of wonder, imagination, dreams, youth, innocence, love and heartbreak all captured under the golden light of a fading summer sun. It's a soaring cinematic journey to the sound of a summer long gone."
As I said, 'Running In The Night' is the track that grabbed me, and it's definitely my favorite, but one good chapter doesn't make a memorable book. As such, tracks like 'Tears', and 'Chasing Yesterday', which actually reminds me of Tycho's 'Awake', kept me completely in awe. Ollie Wride provides vocals for 'Wild Ones', and 'Don't Want To Change Your Mind', while Timecop1983 and Josh Dally provide Brian Adams-esque vocals for 'Let's Talk', and Clive Farrington is on duty for rightly titled, 'Goodbye'.
One thing that really separates a good album from the rest, is interlude tracks. They can be any length of time, and are generally purely instrumental. Most people would consider them throwaway tracks, but they actually show the artist putting effort into little details. As a producer, there are things I always listen for in music, the first being integrity. You can hear the effort and dedication Col put into this album. Even if a track isn't professionally mixed and mastered, you can almost always tell the effort people put into their craft. The next thing is engineering quality, and this album is incredibly well done. The mixdown is tight, yet each track is wide and lush. Listening in my studio headphones was nothing short of heavenly.
So, overall, how good is this album? Well, I've expressed my obsession with it, but so has Spotify's UK head of content programming and former head of BBC Radio 1, George Ergatoudis. Decent for a debut album I'd say. Another thing about this album is that it's not signed to a major label. Col is selling it from his Bandcamp page, which is an aspect of his artistry that I love. Purity and passion for the craft to the highest degree. We here at Magnetic keep it real, and we like to support artists who do the same. Trends come and go, and niche genres will always exist, but I'm calling it now: FM-84 is going to be a name to remember.
Support FM-84's debut album 'Atlas' here.