Sophomore's 'Ghost Rider' will have you on the edge of your seat

While most online content creators struggle to find copyright-friendly music to add to videos, Sophomore, almost in defiance of DRM algorithms, takes the opposite approach: he searches far and wide for obscure video, from Canada’s National Film Board archives to police dashcam footage, to augment his analogue synth dreamscapes.

In ‘Ghost Rider’, we ride shotgun for a high-speed car chase in gloriously vintage fashion that can’t help but call to mind the sounds of College and Cliff Martinez in Nicolas Winding Refn’s film Drive, or The Reds in Michael Mann’s Manhunter. Sophomore’s relaxed drum machine rhythms, blissed out arpeggios, and booming, cinematic pads would fit right at home with Italians Do It Better’s faux film score releases, but he does one better by setting the narrative scene himself with a car chase that looks like it could have happened right on the highway nearest to your own home. Despite leveraging an aesthetic sound palette that is no doubt familiar by now to us all, the cumulative effect is as entrancing as it is unique.

If you liked Ghost Rider, check out Sophomore’s other original compositions set to video on his YouTube channel or follow him on Soundcloud.

— review by autonomy

Beyond The Hill's 'Granular Life' will turn your life into film

The debut EP from Japan’s 丘を越えて (Beyond The Hill), out now on 16:9 Recordings, is the perfect first release for a label ostensibly focusing on cinematic styles of music. 16:9 is of course the standard aspect ratio for High Definition digital video, and the EP’s title of ‘Granular Life’ is certainly evocative of one of the most distinct qualities of film, namely grain. But the title also goes beyond visual qualities, and can be taken more literally: these tracks were produced using granular synthesis techniques.

The opening track, Flicker Wind, (listen above) is a timeless ambient opener that would do well to accompany any number of tasks in daily life. It is at once precise in tone, and also flexible to interpretation. Think Boards of Canada in their more cinematic mode. The rest of the tracks on this EP only strengthen this comparison, expanding the Granular Life cinematic world in all directions. It’s a shame that such a carefully constructed world clocks in at under 15 minutes, just when you start to feel at home in its warm embrace. Nevertheless, it’s a strong first release from 16:9, and we’ll have to keep an eye on the label to see what they conjure up next.

Stream “Flicker Wind” above, and find the whole EP on 16:9 Recordings’ Bandcamp.

- review by autonomy

Follow Beyond The Hill on Spotify

Keep up with 16:9 Recordings further releases on Soundcloud and Bandcamp.