Artist: Synthesist

Having reviewed “Dream Slate,” the previous release by Synthesist, I was looking forward to this latest album entitled “Light.” I enjoyed the first one very much and was certainly not disappointed by its successor. Chris Pearre, who records under the name Synthesist is a veteran electronic musician who has been playing keyboards since 1979. This is a genre that is near and dear to my heart, and as someone who plays synthesizers, I am always interested to hear what creations other players coax out of the circuitry.


There are many forms and sub-genres of electronic music and the music of Synthesist falls into a particular niche. We’ve all heard the phrase “back to the future,” but perhaps “forward to the past” would be an appropriate description of this category. There is a strong retro vibe that harkens back to the classic electronic music of the 70’s and 80’s with artists like Vangelis, Jan Hammer, Tangerine Dream, and others, as well as influences of progressive rock groups like King Crimson and Genesis. Among the key elements of this kind of music are vintage analog synthesizers, which have a particular sonic signature and warmth that distinguishes them from newer digital synthesizers, although some of the current models do a good job of emulating those classic tones. But that sound is in Chris’ DNA and it shows in his music. Its also been interesting to see how many younger players these days are being drawn back to those instruments, perhaps “in search of a lost chord.”


Chris is a deeply spiritual and metaphysically minded person and this aspect of his being enters into his creative process. His study and research into areas such as sound healing, chakras, Kundalini energy, and Solfeggio frequencies weaves its’ way into the music, all of which has been intentionally created. He sees music as a vehicle for helping to raise vibrations on a personal as well as a planetary level.



The album gets off to an energizing start with “Waves of Light,” which features a driving electronic beat, swirling synthesizer textures, elements of progressive rock, and a quasi-Eastern vibe in parts. Slowing down and going from yang to yin on track two, the music inhabits a more meditative space with an emphasis on ambient textures rather than melody. With a celestial as well as an aquatic ambience, this piece recalls the timeless Hearts of Space sound. The mellow mood continues on the third song, which is the title track. A low drone sets the stage, as twinkling stardust sounds seem to fall from the sky in this spacious composition. The next few songs pick up the rhythm again with mid-tempo beats, sometimes placed low in the mix, allowing the synth and string sounds to shine in grand fashion with shades of the aforementioned prog-rock influence. Track 6, “Pareidolia” had such an intriguing title, that I had to look it up to see what it meant. According to the dictionary, it is “the imagined perception of a pattern or meaning where it does not actually exist, as in considering the moon to have human features.” Very interesting.


This is followed by the ethereal “Tibetan Bells” on track 7, with a pulsing bass line that morphs, appears, and disappears, adding to the overall air of mystery that characterizes this piece. On “Sacred Place,” one of the most melodic songs, a sequencer groove propels the song into territory that suggests the slightest hint of pop influence. The album closes with a track that was included as a bonus, although not necessarily cut from quite the same cloth as the rest of the songs. Opening with an electronic sound that reminded me of something from Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon, complete with snippets of spoken dialog, the piece evolves into a densely and intensely layered techno rocker with driving bass and high velocity synth guitar leads, creating a fireworks-like finale to the CD.


In reflecting on the title of the album and to whom it is dedicated, Chris shares: “Light is energy, information, transformation, and creation. In my journey I have encountered many souls who have shined Light into my life, helping me to become something more. This CD is dedicated to those who influence, inspire, and love me.” It is his sincere wish that others, in turn, will be inspired by his luminous musical soundscapes.