Replicant 69 – Process S (2020)

“Process S” is the latest release by Asian synthwave producer Replicant 69. Clocking in at just a little over half an hour, “Process S” is a fun little album that does a lot in a short time.

On the cover we are treated to artwork by Heriberto Martinez (https://www.artstation.com/xensoldier) that depicts a girl cowering next to a wall. Behind her is a what looks like a group of homeless people gathered together around a fire. Behind them lies a huge neon-soaked city with bars, a ramen shop, skyscrapers, and a sign that reads “No Music, No Life.” It’s a really nice piece that depicts extreme wealth disparity between the haves and have-nots. I think it fits in well with the overall aesthetic of “Process S.”

Musically, “Process S” isn’t so much synthwave as it is an actual cyberpunk album. The album sounds sleek and clean, but there is also an organic element to what Replicant 69 is accomplishing here. This especially shines through with “Hearts of Darkness.” It’s satisfying to hear the forward mechanical momentum of a song written completely in a DAW being pulled apart at the seams by a stand-offish, humanized guitar lead. Replicant 69 creates balance through this type of conflict in their music a lot.

For Westerners, there was a time not too long ago where it felt like the end of the world was happening everywhere else. The truth of the matter is that it’s pretty apparent the end of the world is happening everywhere—all the time. There is a sad tension in the air nowadays that just begs to be articulated through art. Replicant 69 recognizes this, and it really comes through in their sound.

Replicant 69 makes heavy use of reverb, arpeggios, and pads to create great space in their music. This isn’t really music to dance to, but rather something to put on in the background while you chill out after a hard day at the office. Overall, I think that with a few tweaks this album could be soundtrack worthy. At times, I felt that the drums should’ve been a little more dry, and the guitar leads a little lower in volume, but these two things didn’t get in the way of me enjoying “Process S.” Listening to this album was a joy—sort of like taking a leisurely walk through a neon-lit dystopia where the sun has died.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Folks who like futuristic sounding music. People who want something to chill out to.

Stand-Out Tracks: “We Sell Hope,” “Day Dreams,” “Social Timing,” and “Hearts of Darkness” (favorite track)

Album Color Profile: #AD1457

You can find all things Replicant 69 at https://replicant69.bandcamp.com

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