I'm going at it solo again. Today I'm going to be taking a look at one of the more unique artists I've discovered via Protagonist Records and now actively follow on soundcloud. We showcased some of Vitz's work in SotW 19 and 19.5 (ironically he took down his original Deadman's Lullaby a few days after the post) and now I'll be taking a look at probably my favorite track of his thus far. The track is Waiting For The Sun (download directly here) and while it isn't on his soundcloud page any longer, it still exists on Protagonist Records. This is probably my favorite for a reason, and a big part of that would be the unique sounds and genre (it was labelled Neo Trance on soundcloud, a rather apt description in my opinion). Anyway, this one is definitely worth listening to, so here goes my writeup.
Some very refined sounds start the track off; a very precise synth sound plays 2 different notes twice, allowing us to enjoy the pristine aspects of the synth in the attack and decay. The sound of water provides excellent atmosphere as it slowly fades in at 0:09 and let's us enjoy the simplicity and nature of the sounds employed. This is one of the reasons I love this track, the sounds no matter how repetitive, always captivate me. The "Neo Trance" bass drum (which is just the four on the floor trance beat) enters at 0:30 with a new subtle synth that works off of the original atmosphere (which the first synth could probably be considered as more so than a bassline). The new synth is also excellently designed just like the original atmosphere and its melody (which is played twice before the track moves on) is somewhat mournful, yet very relaxing: it's the beauty of nature from the perspective of a troubled human. The bass drum drops out as a less subtle synth is briefly added to back up the original atmosphere at 1:02 and add some new tones to the mix: a subtle harmony which continues to be expanded upon despite the fact that this synth is definitely less refined sounding and more recognizable underneath the layers that will soon be built. A piano-esque sound enters now at 1:17 and plays more rapidly then most of the synths in this track, although it's appearance is brief and it adds more atmosphere than melody with it's "ditty". Something that you probably won't notice first time through without me pointing it out is the fade out of the water atmosphere at 1:26. I only noticed it because I'm going in depth here, and I must say that the atmosphere to this point is spectacular; Vitz manipulates each sound exactly the way he wants and it works to perfection. What will soon become the lead synth slowly emerges at 1:32 and as it develops it lets us hear the fantastic sound design that will soon be explored more openly. This synth plays the "melody" of the track for all intensive purposes and it expands fully after the song is put through a filter modulation and a cymbal coming into the new section at 1:48. This section features the lead synth with its intended role, however, a lot of the atmosphere was dropped here to make room for the pulsing "Neo Trance" bass (I typed New Trance three times before I realized that Neo sounds much cooler). The bass drum is also back, this time accompanied by a hi-hat that I never grow tired of (notice the rhythm). I enjoy the hi-hat so much that I almost forget about the very subtle "snare" drum that simply plays on the 2 and 4 beats. The sound that entered at 0:30 is also back this time in a sort of supporting harmony role. There's also some brief atmosphere at 1:56 that really adds a lot as it's briefly played throughout the rest of the track. Now we're beginning to hear a lot of the atmosphere that was abruptly dropped at 1:48 slowly reenter the picture. The sound from 1:02 reenters at 2:04 albeit with a decreased volume allowing for more of a fading feel. 2:19 also adds some more atmosphere that will briefly appear to support certain notes and give them more depth and width throughout the track. The piano-esque sound from 1:17 is also back at 2:24 with its original "ditty" (this is preceded by the bass drum dropping a few beats allowing for more anticipation). Vitz now employs his atmosphere at will along with the already present elements that serve to support the same repetitive lead synth. You'll notice the lead synth slides to different notes and its sound is very mournful it seems. This continues until 3:05 at which time the bass drum drops out with a cymbal (I'd rather say transition sound from now on, cymbal is a word that doesn't bring to mind things of a refined nature). The track continues as usual just without the bass drum until 3:20 when the lead synth finally departs from its original melody. I love the atmosphere with the new melody which progresses until we have a filter mod transition at 3:36. Now we have two synth leads under the original bass drum and sounds that were added back at 1:48. This new melody is less constrained by the time signature, but still within normal bounds. I love to just listen to these two same synths play the same melody on different octaves, the pulse feeling is incredible and it really adds a mournful but accepting feel to the track. The atmosphere adds so much, this is just a general statement, I'm not pointing out specific instances, but it really completes the track and brings out the awesomeness of the lead synth. There's a transition sound at 4:07 which is preceded by the bass drum briefly dropping out (a good anticipation tactic that I incorporated into my current WIP trance-esque track). The transition adds the piano-esque "ditty" sound that's been seen twice before in this track. Right now the track is at its finest, with all elements working together: atmosphere, bass, synths, everything. This dissipates at 4:38 leaving the piano-esque "ditty" without bass, lead or percussion. The rest of the track is fed by atmosphere and the piano-esque melody that leaves us hanging with a delay effect. Wow; good stuff.
Pros: Sound design... I don't think I've ever heard sound design this well done incorporated into an electronic track before. The original atmosphere at the beginning gives you an excellent feel for where the track is headed: mournful, refined, but determined and accepting. The overall atmosphere for this track is just spectacular and the idea of "Neo Trance" is conveyed perfectly (and I don't say perfectly lightly). The hi-hat is also another one of the extremely strong points and it's one of those things, along with the atmosphere, that makes listening to the same lead for a near 2 minutes straight very enjoyable. There's just so many refined and well placed atmospheric sounds in this track to pick apart; I absolutely love it.
Cons: Not much hear. Perhaps the transition at 1:48 is too abrupt, but I can't imagine any other way to do it.
Overall: Vitz has completely blown me away. I've never heard anything like this track before and I doubt I'll hear anything like it again coming from someone other than the man himself. Needless to say, I am very impressed. This track truly is "Waiting For The Sun".