A day in the life of a futuristic city dawns with the opening track First Light on Clifford White’s fourth volume to his Synergy album series Cityscape. A misty flute weaves it’s languid melody across a metropolitan city, as it awakens to a new day. Cool, sophisticated and streetwise, Sidewalk has an obvious 80’s influence with synthwave overtones, a pulsing bass and cool electric guitar overlaid with voices and keyboards. Very slick.
We literally lift off the ground with Skyway, a spacey track with entirely it’s own locomotion. Images of flying cars, trains and other forms of futuristic transportation are conjured up in the minds eye, of course along with the inevitable streams of commuters, almost as if we are witnessing a Grand Central Station in the sky. Firmly back on the ground, we take a visit Easy Street, a bouncy and effervescent track full of optimism and elation.
The celebrations are in full swing in Garden Party, an inspired and funky track with a smooth groove and some lovely jazzy synth riffs. You can almost hear the champagne corks popping as the beat grinds along with it’s twirling synth solos and boppy brass stabs. Clifford was obviously enjoying himself whilst writing this track!
Romance is on the cards in Lovers Lane, which sounds vaguely reminiscent of some 70’s Italian movie score with it’s bossa nova type beat, sleazy sax and twangy synth guitar melody. It’s fascinating how Clifford manages to blend the old and the new together, mixing nostalgia with contemporary sounds to achieve his own unique blends of emotive music.
We find ourselves back on track (literally) with Forward Motion, an obviously locomotive inspired piece, with chugging synthesizer sequences and a melody that sweeps along at breakneck speed. You can almost see the landscape rushing past the window in this frenetic track. This is followed by the rather soporific and psychedelic Fever Dream, which simmers and pulsates in rhythm with some intriguing science fiction style dialogue clips and a hypnotic beat. Returning to the theme of speed, Hot Pursuit can only be interpreted as some kind of chase sequence, as frenzied synthesizer arpeggios, powerful sweeps and crazed rhythm section suggest a futuristic battle of epic proportions.
The tone lightens somewhat with Outward Bound, a rather sprightly and jolly little synthesizer ditty that is vaguely reminiscent of Depeche Mode’s popular single New Life from the 1980’s. The light tone is short lived however, as The Darker Path is a mysterious and dramatic piece with Gregorian chanting and bombastic synthesizer sequences reminiscent of Jean-Michel Jarre‘s early works, and the Enigma album MCMXC a.D.
All of the darkness is dispelled in Elsewhere, which escapes the city confines for a languid stroll on some distant beach, with warm waves and the glitter of sunshine on the water. Ahhh…pure indulgence. The album, and indeed the entire four volume Synergy series itself reaches it’s final conclusion with the inspiring and expansive Cityscape track, which lifts the listener up and away on a journey across a skyscraper studded landscape, and into the rarefied skies above.