Way back in 2019 musician Cory Kilduff dropped one of my favorite albums of that year in When It All Gets To Be Too Much, a sprawling, engaging, and emotionally connective record of dense and melodic synth. Pulling from 80s John Hughes films and those moments where things are as heart-heavy as they get, Kilduff made songs that pulled from those emotional climaxes. The songs were built around synth structures and no drums or percussion, which gave Kilduff’s synth compositions more presence and connected to something visceral in all of us.
Cory Kilduff returns to Burning Witches Records for his sophomore release called You Will Be Safe. You Will Be Safe is equally engaging with bright melodies and a sense of emotional gravitas, but it differs from its predecessor in that rhythm and drums are king here. The 11 tracks that fill up this double album beg for movement from the listener; these tracks are for contemplation as well as letting yourself go on the dance floor.
Leaving the contemplative, slow-moving compositions of classic Tangerine Dream scores behind, Cory Kilduff locks into his love of late 90s IDM. You Will Be Safe wants you to move, while also being emotionally engaged. Squarepusher, Aphex Twin, as well as contemporaries like Rival Consoles, Tycho, and OPN feel present in Kilduff’s new LP. These tracks don’t feel like a reaction to the beat-less world of Kilduff’s debut. They feel like another aspect of the composer’s musical world. A continued thought, with brighter corners and urgent movement.
“It’s A Feature” opens the record, and at first you get the feeling of melancholy and contemplation in those first few notes. Modular introspection. But soon enough the beat drops and the song has an almost retro-futuristic feel. It’s urgent and all-encompassing. “The Worst Miscalculations” locks into late 90s Warp Records vibes; dance music with bite. It relishes the clean percussive snaps and the dreamy synth structures. “The Brighter Side Of Giving Up” starts slow and methodical but halfway thru flowers into a glorious dance track filled with light and life.
There are still moments of contemplation. “We All Break Eventually” sits in the heavy heartedness and darkness of late night thoughts. “Restraint In Four Parts” feels lost in thought, even when the rhythm locks in. While “Night Night” crackles with a playfulness and dare I say, hopefulness.
You Will Be Safe is an album filled with big emotional hooks, ear-grabbing melodies, and rhythmic urgency. It feels like the next day after a dark night of the soul. The moment when it’s time to meet a brand new day face to face and move on, regardless of how much it hurts or how scary it may be. After the last two years, we’re all due for our next day. Cory Kilduff has given us a starting point.