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 Original Synth

Ethereal Delusion - Gravis


Jon Anthony Thomas has done a very brave thing.  He let it all go.  Every single thing and this includes his spellbinding blips, bleeps, and glitches.  The Ethereal Delusions that once was, well, is currently no more.  Exhibit A is Gravis, this producer’s latest work, a beautifully heartfelt collection of tracks that, in my mind, recalls the glory of Beth Orton's "Central Reservation (Ben Watt's The Then Again Version)" from 1999, Central Reservation.  

"with this release, you have to listen to this space between the notes here; they are telling us of important things"

Challenging, emotional, and full of some of the most exciting sounds in the synthwave community, this five-track release has arrived, if you ask me, in the nick of time.  In fact, it might have saved me from my own bad choices.  As Orton sang, "today is whatever I want it to mean" and all that it is in that sentiment is reflected here in beautiful colors.

This emotionally-charged release begins with “OR-NM” and it sets us on a journey of introspection.  It is, after all, a flight that we are taking over some bumpy-looking clouds and it won’t soon be forgotten.  This poetic opening is an invitation of sorts to, as Thomas did in a moment of unexpected grief, voyage inward and lean in to yourself.  I mean, imagine if everything you knew was one big illusion?  His introduction to Gravis suggests that this album was the result of a very painful and very personal experience.  And, as a result, every track makes you FEEL something close to heartbreak and shock. 

The build-up to “Skyline”, with vocals by Marina DeHart, will stretch the fibers of your soul.  It is much like Beth Orton in last night’s red dress all over again and when she sings that it’s “hard to see what is really there”, you too will agree with what comes next.  Hard to be yourself, really.  And then the song blisters into an assembly of emotions, pulsating with rhythms and breakdowns, that will send your heart leaping from the plane ride straight INTO the hard ground below.  Heartbreak is a lot like this.Ethereal Delusion - Gravis

Things get sonically spacy with “Winter (Lullaby)”, a slow burn of a track that begins like a prayer, but ends as a solstice, ideal for enjoying a very short night.  There’s no denying this track’s power – feeling very Vangelis-like – as we spread across a desert landscape of decay.  Below us, expanding into the next day are trails to hike and paths to forge.  After all, today is whatever you want it to mean. {googleads}

The one thing I know is that, with this release, you have to listen to this space between the notes here; they are telling us of important things.  The truth of the moment in Thompson’s introspection feels like it arrives with this song.

With “Procession” next, the series of random clicks and electronic clashes that opens the track, eventually gives maps out a sequence where what feels like a little sun peaks through.  Through the chaos and the noise comes a purpose – another passionate plea for common sense to take root – and we, the listener, are guided to a place where understanding is accepted. Dreams do come true.  There is not more running in these grand halls of sound and vision - even if we are in last night's, as Orton sang, "red dress.

Here, there is only the echo of acceptance as it peels back our own skin and nestles into our heart. 

The final track on the release is the instrumental version of “Skyline” and, with no vocals offering a rhyme or a reason for the introspection, the track gives us an unheard beauty that is tucked within the fibers of the music.  This foundation is fluid and consistent in its artful elegance, offering listeners a brand-new way to experience electronic music.  It's like . . . living in the middle of the ocean.

Ethereal Delusion - Gravis

Everything feels wrong; that is one idea we get from this release.  We know that Thomas is working through powerful events and emotions with this release.  But, when the results are this strong, it is definitely hard to dismiss this release as anything but RIGHT.  Gravis is full of subaqueous sounds so intense, so forming, and so beautifully colored that – yeah, this time, this time, this time - is just as fine as it is. 

Above everything else, Gravis is real.

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