Trevor Something - Soulless Computer Boy and the Eternal Render
For an artist with near-complete anonymity, Trevor Something is able to generate a substantial amount of hype. Between his recent internet activity leading up to the release of Soulless Computer Boy and the Eternal Render and the single "Girlfriend" dropping earlier this year, it was one of the most anticipated releases of the summer. All of his releases have been stellar, with 2014's Trevor Something Does Not Exist being obviously the best he had to offer. That was until 2016. This is without a doubt the best Trevor Something album
Trevor Something songs inherently possess dark and transgressive themes, but with a seductive air to it. His songs often highlight some of the darker aspects to love and relationships, but invite the listener to revel in the abyss of it. This was largely due to the subtle R&B influences, mostly found in his vocal delivery. This has been refined and pushed to the forefront of SCBatER, which is tremendously effective for two reasons. It helps make the already unique Trevor Something even more carved out as something unlike anything else in the scene, but it make just about every song on the album even catchier than it might have been otherwise. Apart from vocal delivery, Trevor Something manages to push his music into generally weirder territory sonically, as the opening of "Procreation" and "Lost and Found" each attests. The melodies are strong, but they're delivered using some truly strange synths, some of which even have vaporwave undertones.
Just as the album cover becomes gradually more abstract and ambient as you look from left to right, the album becomes a vast an open ended ambient experiment by the end of its run, with "Cloud of Thoughts" and "Beyond the Infinite" being the most Eno-esque and borderline transcendental listening experiences. Ordinarily this sort of plunge into radically experimentation would lead one to wonder why this bipolar album wasn't simply two EP's. The thing with this release is that it earns that dive into the ambient. Synthwave as a genre is heavily dependent upon atmosphere and mood, which is a trait it shares in common with ambient music, where those traits are the most important component. Trevor Something integrates ambient influence into every track on the album, even the R&B-flavored vocal songs. As the album approaches the midpoint, the ambience begins to overtake the more standard synthwave songs. "Lost and Found" is a real turning point in that regard. The vocals become more buried than before, the synths dreamier. The bass stays at home with synthwave, as do elements of the track's beat. "Pure", though a vocal track with less buried singing, still begins to hold firmer ground as an ambient track. By the time you get to "Digital Clense", the seventh track, the album has become completely ambient, with Trevor painting in moods rather than melodies.
The strength of these ambient tracks is found in their crescendos. Each song has a multitude of moments where it seems to climax in a swell of sound. Sometimes there is a less pad-like synth in the mix to hold onto, but oftentimes the entire song acts as a whirlwind around you, immersing you and pulling you. It's very difficult to disengage, and it is particularly difficult if you've already been hooked by the first half of the album. It's a strange album. There's just no way around that. Odds are everybody is going to love the first six songs, but most are going to find the entire thing enjoyable. This is an incredible release in one has truly been an incredible year of synthwave. The album is free, so there really isn't much of an excuse to not grab it, but it is well worth $10+ dollars for the strength and craft found within.