Sferro – Emotion Engine Review
Sferro is back in dramatic fashion with the release of "Emotion Engine!" Out now on Business Casual, "Emotion Engine" is a delightful blend of synthwave, future funk, nu disco, and vaporwave that plucks you from your chair and deposits you in early cyberspace. This exquisite blend of
Out now on Business Casual, “Emotion Engine” is a delightful blend of synthwave, future funk, nu disco, and vaporwave that plucks you from your chair and deposits you in early cyberspace. This exquisite blend of genres is pulled off perfectly – it’s really hard to understate just how immensely groovy these tracks are.
This album is the first full-length we’ve heard from Sferro, the Cleveland-based founder of Girlfriend Records, since 2018 – that is, unless you count “Interactive Sampler Disc” – an interesting release of 40 demo tracks that dropped in 2020. “Interactive Sampler Disc” is pretty sick itself, It’s an interesting concept I’ve only seen once before with HOME’s brilliant “Resting State.”
“Emotion Engine” features several singles Sferro has produced over the past few years, and loads of new material as well. The singles themselves were great, and I’m happy to see they’re finally gettting a physical release! The talented Mecha Maiko is also featured on ‘Modular Origami,’ lending some juicy-yet-meloncholic vocals to an already fantastic mix.
Perhaps the most interesting part of “Emotion Engine” is it’s aesthetic. Instead of focusing on 80s retro, it has an incredibly distinct early 90s sound. Listening to this album conjures images of REBOOT style early 3D animation – or the mesh of multicolored tubes from the Windows 95 screensaver working themselves through a CRT. Something about the vaporwave influence on tracks like ‘Okay Regain’ combines perfectly with squelching synths on tracks like ‘Almost Caught A Break’ to recreate that unique transitory period right before the internet became commonplace.
Sferro himself called it an “…anti retro neon grid testerossa aesthetic city nights palm beach wayfarer hoverboard type number…” So the 90’s take makes sense, and I think this is yet another perfect example of synthwave artists moving away from that 80s aesthetic as part of the natural evolution of the genre.
Whatever the route, “Emotion Engine” still arrives at that all-important nostalgia factor, making for some supremely phat tracks!