Tonebox – Cloud Highway Review
After the runaway success of the sci fi epic "Nocturn," Wisconsin based synth wizard Tonebox became relatively quiet, only releasing some singles here or there. Now after nearly three years in the making, his astounding followup album "Cloud Highway" has finally hit the internet and
After the runaway success of the sci fi epic “Nocturn,” Wisconsin based synth wizard Tonebox became relatively quiet, only releasing some singles here or there. Now after nearly three years in the making, his astounding followup album “Cloud Highway” has finally hit the internet and wax!
“Nocturn” was known for it’s heavy and dark electro synth basslines and interesting textures, and I’m happy to report that the signature Tonebox sound has not fundamentally changed – but evolved for the better.
“Cloud Highway” begins much the way Tonebox left off – with intense bassy electro darksynth – but soon gradually grows into the something very profound. New layers of synth cascade in to create incredibly lush melodies and soundscapes that feel very substantial and refined. The tracks themselves meander out of the more bass heavy realm of “Run” and “Overload (feat. TOKYO ROSE) into incredibly danceable tracks like “Hydron (feat. SILVER) and “Space Disco.” Occasionally punctuated by those signature heavy basslines – the album grows even further into magnificent ethereal grooves with tracks like “Home Planet.”
This album features an amazing master, crisp, vibrant production, and the general arrangement of bass intersecting with spacey synth produces immensely satisfying resolutions. However, the defining factor with “Cloud Highway” is the complex use of melody and synthesis. Certain melancholic moments on this record reminded me vividly of Angelo Badalamenti’s Grammy Award winning “Twin Peaks Theme.” The entire album is absolutely gorgeous – and the counterpoint of Tonebox’s signature heavy electro elements is the perfect accent.
To hear this kind of depth inside of a bassy synthwave album is truly novel and profound. Innovation in the synth genres priceless, and this album is purely that.