Syntax - The Space Tapes

via Rosso Corsa Records

via Rosso Corsa Records

Spooling up “The Space Tapes” feels like slapping the lever down and watching the stars blur into hyperdrive – instantly you are transported into another place, another time - another dimension.

Out now on Rossa Corsa Records, “The Space Tapes” is the third full-length album from the cosmic James Mann, AKA the San Diego-based producer Syntax. Mann is no stranger to music, having played various instruments from an early age. He made a name for himself through his previous releases “Transmissions” and “Island Universe” - both fantastic albums in their own right. Not one to remain stagnant, however, Mann has truly topped himself with “The Space Tapes.”

Listening to this album is akin to touching the Monolith at the end of 2001. It feels like a journey - taking you places far beyond normal reach. Each track on this monster of an album (19 tracks!) feels like it builds upon the last – almost as if the album in its entirety is a single piece of progressive synthwave. In addition to the progressive ambient tonalities, we also hear bits and pieces of chillwave and a hint of deep house which acts to wonderfully accent Mann’s usual sound.

It is always difficult to progress while remaining true to your sound, and here Mann has done just that. “The Space Tapes” manages to mature the signature Syntax blend of ambient, delayed and reverbed arpeggios, all while adding a range of additional influences. The result is an ethereal, masterful blend that pulls you away from what you’re doing - making it almost hard to think - as if it were the soundtrack to some supernal deity’s dream.

In spite of this range of influences, “The Space Tapes” is a cohesive feat – managing to simultaneously dig deep into sci-fi tropes without ever bordering on the cheesy feel to which so many synthwave acts fall prey.  “The Space Tapes” stands out among many other releases in this respect. In a genre saturated with artists nothing about this album feels even remotely familiar – like drifting through uncharted space.

This is Mann’s best work and almost breaks the definition of the Syntax sound, in the best way possible. A must-listen. Stand out Tracks: “Cerillion,” “Dresden,” “Bellatrix (feat. Droid Bishop),” “HA9,” and “Illuminants (feat. STARFORCE)”