“Cosmic Hero 2” by Earmake – Full Album Review
Strap in and ready yourselves for overdrive - Cosmic Hero 2 by Earmake was released October 2020 and is finally getting the spotlight it deserves. We’re delving into the 2nd chapter of Earmake’s Cosmic Hero, which was released back in 2017. What lies in wait
Strap in and ready yourselves for overdrive – Cosmic Hero 2 by Earmake was released October 2020 and is finally getting the spotlight it deserves. We’re delving into the 2nd chapter of Earmake’s Cosmic Hero, which was released back in 2017. What lies in wait after a four-year slumber? My friends, that is up to the perception and fantasy of the listener. I’ll be your guide throughout this galactic journey and usher in the confines of my own audio-visual experience through words of whimsy and wonder. Listen along as you read each entry, and allow the music to take you further away from all you hold dear.
Blasting us off on the top of the list is “Galaxy Fighter”. A cosmic crescendo carries us off into Earmake’s universe of dazzling kick-drums and the everlasting echo of synth-sational rhythms. This existential realm of reverberations and stellar chasms of quaking bass-lines has me bobbing my head to match the percussion. The experiential elements awaken as the climax draws nearer. The wailing synth serves its purpose as frisson takes over and creates a spine-tingling sensation. If this is beginning to sound more like an erotica than an album review – that’s because it’s a blurry veil between the two. The progression prolongs the after-effects of an eargasm on edge.
Arpeggios are the way to my heart, and “Endless Love” is filled with a variety that is proactively inviting me to move and sway with the beat. Earmake has a divine talent for merging melodies and immersive effects with his tracks. It’s to be suspected that the album further encompasses the theme of exploration as we too explore each sound, pitch, and surprise guitar solo. As the track continues, we return to a slowed-down tempo before picking up the pace with an elaborate ladder and the colliding of the chorus. The eagerness within me grows to continue forward on this adventure into the unknown!
This next vibe starts off simple enough with a steady climb, but the more you listen the more details come to the surface. Laser beams and sci-fi themes showcase “Biosynthesis” as a track that I could easily place in Destiny, No Man’s Sky, or Mass Effect. The gentle cymbals and building tension prepare the suspenseful succession of chords, and the temptation to keep listening never ceases. As the song comes to an end, the distortion gravitates to the aesthetic that flows through the album. Earmake builds a universe around us that we can only hear but manage to see via imagination and intrigue; the major drivers in any album concept.
This tag-team album title is a collaboration between Earmake and Arwelone. This spectacular result of musical genius is an entanglement between the expanse of ambient middle-tone frequencies and the environmental feedback from the outer limits. We’re interrupted by the punchy kick of the drum and bass as it compliments the synthesizer. The serenity of the chimes, bells, and the echo of a tambourine create a fantastic flow. This entire track embodies a resonance of discovery because you can hear each instrument in and out of sync. The guitar presents itself but doesn’t have full control of the direction of the song. It intensifies beautifully, and unapologetically without overshadowing the rest of the instrumentals.
The Stone Giant:
Next on the collaborative, we have Dynatron alongside Earmake, and from what we know of both artists, we’re in for a ride. The trumpets resound the start of something epic on its way, and the synth gently follows their lead. A unified march matches the melodic opening. Nostalgic details captivate me and instill suspense. The Impactful percussion beats amplify the intensity and the colorful loop of keys coordinates alongside the kick drum. Towards the ending, there is an ominous intrusion of descending chords and dismal drums. “The Stone Giant” enraptures the listener to feel a warm fusion with the music, and I’d be out of my mind to deny it.
The uplifting cascade of “Waves” is enthralling, to say the least. This duo between VHSToyko and Earmake is nothing short of a feel-good hit. If you need a track to listen to alongside your trip to Nirvana in space – here it is! I’m reminded of distant horizons as the synth serenades me into visualizations. I reminisce over glorious sunsets as a resident of Earth, however I find it easy to imagine scenes where the sun is coming up just behind an unknown planet. The whimsical bridge clashes dramatically with the drum, and my visualizations have evolved into floating along the vastness of space, admiring nebulae and red giants.
I know I’m not supposed to pick favorites, but I’m claiming it out loud anyway. “Interplanetary Overdrive” has everything a girl could want, speedy arpeggios, an aggressive kick, synthesized seduction, punchy beats, and these are all essential ingredients to a mind-blowing experience. We’re traveling at the speed of light, dodging asteroids, and what I could only describe as the “powering up” effect of the rise, has me tightening up internally as we go overdrive! I recommend listening to this on repeat. The celestial bodies across the expanse of time are merely blurs outside of the spacecraft as we’re traveling at light speed. The destination is unknown, but we’re landing in 3….2….1.
We’ve made our way to a strange planet, and from what we know, we’re chasing after “The Signal”. Our sense of uncertainty and curiosity stirs as the bass writhes itself awake and the sound of the synthesizer fills our ears. It’s only a matter of time before the kick changes course, and the element of the chase unravels into a melodic ascent. Earmake channels the 80’s in a number of ways, but none of which overcome the overwhelming allure of synth keys, mechanical feedback, and the atmospheric immersion.
Slightly similar to the latter track, “Starlight” serves to comfort the transition, while implementing more of that raw mechanical disarray. As the song progresses, the emotion escalates into an enigmatic arrangement. The chimes compliment the bells, the claps echo, and the body rolls with the beat. An eclipse of the ethereal chorus dislodges the sense of familiarity we had in the beginning, and it becomes an entity of its own. I’m loving how Earmake correlated the tracks as an extension of each other, complimenting this chaotic journey of imaginative space exploration.
A piano arrangement in the middle of so much action can be a shock to the system. Dreams Beat as the co-star of this rhythmic epilogue is a serendipitous touch to the ending of this chapter. I’m dazzled by the dimensional co-creation of “Crepuscular Rays” because it’s the perfect ending credits arrangement. Together, the piano and the synth make use of the theme as the space dust settles on our minds. The percussion picks it up a notch, and the orchestral descent slows our heart rate as we listen to the lullaby of the smooth landing.
Immersion to the Unknown:
Earmake’s bonus track reminds me of that final scene after the credits when you get too comfortable with the ending. Y’know the one, when you see the villain survived or there’s another threat to humanity that is hiding in plain sight. There’s an ominous tension surrounding this track, and the drum beats and resounding echoes of steel pipes can’t help but intrigue me. What is the cliffhanger of Cosmic Hero 2, and what lies beneath the barriers of this fantasy? As fans, we’re always left in the dark of whatever stories surround the true meaning behind the music we hear
Cosmic Hero 2 is an incredible album. It plays on the nostalgic themes of 80’s science fiction films, subtle vibes from interstellar shoot-em-ups, complimented by our modern views of the universe, and what resides beyond our imagination. Whether we’re aware or not of what the meaning, direct reference, or obvious inclusion is – there is a level of awareness while listening to this album that resonates deeply with what we’re uncertain of. This album has atmosphere, attitude, and less of the typical, predictable paradox of what synthwave dilutes – a modern class of character that thrives off of the old without drowning out the new.