Just in time for the October season, Proto Droids(aka Correlations’ Neil Hale) has dropped the 10-track wobbly synth album Sequential Dreams. An album of dreamy, glitchy electronic music to score some late night walkabouts or to just lose yourself for a bit.
If you’re familiar with Hale’s Proto Droids project, then you know he’s no stranger to electro-funk and greasy robo grooves(check out his Spun Out Of Control LP Cybernetic World for further proof.) But on Sequential Dreams the greasy grooves take a backseat to more Tangerine Dream and John Carpenter vibes, with a side of Alan Parsons for good measure.
This album is heavy on the dreamy feel. As a Halloween-centric set of tunes these are definitely more in the hazy, ethereal side of things, as opposed to synth stabs and Gothic tones. Honestly, that’s quite refreshing. I mean, don’t we have enough of that stuff? I could definitely hear something like “Trophy Hunter” playing in some lost early 80s creeper flick. Some steadi-cam shot going down a sidewalk in some non-descript neighborhood with some tension just under the surface. There’s a real 80s feel here, bringing to mind Tangerine Dream’s Risky Business score.
“Digits Dancing I” is absolutely gorgeous. It’s the kind of track you just get lost in. There’s moments where it sounds like the tape is slacking in the tape player, giving the proceedings the feeling of age. Or as Proto Droids puts it, “distressed and degraded”. It’s like a vintage slab of synth found in the glove box of a 1982 Chrysler after nearly 40 years of vehicular hibernation. Simply stunning. “A Sequence of Events” rolls in like a slow fog, wobbly and effervescent. I can almost see rows of trees ablaze in reds, oranges, and browns as the sun sets in the distance.
There are moments of tension, like in the propulsive “The Search” which brings to mind Steve Moore’s classic The Guest score. “Dark & Light” tows the line between menace and melancholy. There’s even touches of electro pop in tracks like “You Got The Blood” and “Vital Organs”. The album closes on “Digits Dancing II” a reprise of a theme we heard earlier. It’s a perfect bookend to a flawless album of synth beauty and hazy intentions.
I’m obsessed with Proto Droids’ Sequential Dreams. It’s the soundtrack to the alternate reality my brain has been craving. An album to get lost to as the leaves fall from twisted oaks, straining to the sky for one last shot of light. The gauzy musical companion to a burnt-orange horizon, chilled air, and a darkness not quite ominous. Just indifferent.
8.8 out of 10
‘Sequential Dreams’ is out now. Buy it here.