MASTERMYND’s production scheme is that of 80’s electro pop and synthwave; sometimes simple and intimate, and at other times, complex and massive. Currently there’s a myriad of retro-flavored electro producers out there, but MASTERMYND stands out from the pack with his nostalgia laced jams and his fresh songwriting that doesn’t rely too heavily on bass or redundant drops. Instead he leans on storytelling and vivid musical imagery, adding in some new wave urban musical touches into the scheme of things. Born in South Dakota, the artist moved to the UK for college purposes, where he continues exercising his passion for music. He claims he is able to write a song in 3 minutes and often freestyles his singing too.
The major selling point for his projects, is that each release is like a chapter of a bigger story. Each chapter comes with a short film to better understand the storyline as it progresses. MASTERMYND fully released his first trilogy “Chapter 1: The Let Go Trilogy”, while there are still 10 chapters to come. “Chapter 2: The Reckoning” was completed recently, and his new EP, “TECHNOTramance”, is chapter 3 of the storyline. The EP drops on January 7th, but we managed to get sneak preview of the tracks to be included in this release.
Right from the start on “NIIYOMA” (note: this is the order we listened to the tracks in, and not the official EP track order), MASTERMYND sounds like the coolest kid on the block. His melody and sound design is removed from the usual formulas. Once the synth kicks, the bass pounces and the rhythm bounces, without overcomplicating themselves. On top, MASTERMYND flows between singing hooks and rapping lines, which are given a trendy twist with the auto-tune type effects.
A lot of the magic of MASTERMYND is the box of freshness containing his songwriting tricks. “Dark Side of Your Light” runs between being a sentimental balled and a dark upbeat banger. It proves to be an illustration of how something influenced from back in the day can sound original in the nowadays’ culture. The listener has an immersive experience on their hands with this one, as MASTERMYND turns up both the emotional and the intensity dials.
The title track “TECHNO Tramance”, continues the immersive listening experience, as the synths build enveloping variants of sound. MASTERMYND’s echoey narrating vocals add another layer of mystery to this twisting sonic world, complementing the ongoing, mid-tempo aural head-rush. If you like your synthwave dark and ominous sounding, this track comes with all the predetermined darkwave-styled elements built-in, as the production transitions portentously throughout.
Notwithstanding the lyrics and the title, “Devil’s Motel” bounces along with a playful and pristine upbeat rhythm, eschewing all of the creepy and sinister tones I was expecting. Apart from a couple of slowed-down detours, the song maintains its illuminated pace and balance, with MASTERMYND having a field day behind the microphone spreading out his witty lyrics. Avoiding all the typical missteps of the genre, MASTERMYND takes a dynamic approach to his songwriting, infusing a number of contrasting elements.
All of which brings us to the wistful cinematic sounds of “This Love is Out of Time”, which MASTERMYND dresses up with a set of catchy melodic motifs, spirited percussion, and a sweetly harmonized voice. It is another prime example of how the artist is able to lighten-up deep and dark lyrical themes, with a well-defined focus on animated musical arrangements. Throughout the “TECHNOTramance” EP, MASTERMYND sits right at the cutting edge, injecting doses of darkness, intensity, rhythm and melody into a project that maps out the next phase of his musical journey.