The musical world of Yves Malone is a dark and slinky one. Heavy synth music with touches of Giallo, 80s slasher scores, and dystopian electronic that brings to mind late night viewings and 80s tube TV video game adventures. If you grew up on NES, USA Up All Night, and caffeinated Friday nights with video rentals and frozen pizza, then Yves Malone will give you all the feels.
On his latest release, Immortal Death, Malone locks into the blips and beeps of anxiety-ridden synthesizer scores. He hits familiar sonic territory, but does it in a way that never feels derivative. It’s an album that goes for broke in the tension department, but isn’t afraid to get a little weird when needed.
I don’t know what it is about album opener “Under The Lake, Between The Sky” that reminds me of 80s and 90s network cops shows like Law and Order, but it does. There’s a comfort to that sound, too. I can remember watching Law and Order, Hill Street Blues, and NYPD Blue with my dad. It was his house, so we watched what he wanted to watch. Those Mike Post theme songs were built on 80s synthesizers and this track brings those feelings to the surface. But then you go to something like “Carrie Strut” and we go in a different direction. Malone teeters between wobbly horror synth score and oddball synth pop. The vibe has darkness, but it’s also kind of quirky and surreal, too. It’s the kind of music that if you heard it in some late night flick you’d remember the music more than the film.
“Crack’d the Spines and Spires Alike” puts me in mind of 8-bit video game music. Castlevania, Ghosts n Goblins, Kid Icarus,… those sonic touches are alive and well in this track. “Trucker’s Got Your Back” has Giallo vibes all over it. RPG meets D&D meets Goblin. “Hooded Dawn” locks into reflective contemplation courtesy of some tasteful electric piano and quiet dread just under the surface. It’s like 8-bit chamber music. It’s quite haunting.
What’s great about Yves Malone’s work, both here and throughout his discography, is that it doesn’t rely on the typical imagined horror soundtrack tropes. In the immortal words of Phil Collins, Malone does “keep it dark”, but he also goes for some John Harrison vibes. The lighter moments on this album have a real Day of the Dead feel. And there’s even some Mike Oldfield moodiness in “Fixed To The Horizon, The Gales Await” before going for some Zombi electro strut.
Yves Malone describes Immortal Death as “a soundtrack to a breakdown”. If this is what a breakdown sounds like, I could think of worse things to hear as I slip into hysteria. Immortal Death covers a lot of ground over its eight songs, and every inch of that ground worth that long, dark walk.
7.9 out of 10
Buy ‘Immortal Death’ and other Yves Malone album here.