Dreamrider by Lazerhawk

Release date: January 18, 2017
Label: Rosso Corsa

I like to ride motorcycles. Statistics say that it will be the death of me, but I’d rather die doing something fun, and since girls find me creepy and annoying -> motorcycles.  It’s a magical thing to ride twisty mountain roads, made that much more magical with the right playlist. For me, that playlist has consisted almost exclusively of Lazerhawk.

Lazerhawk (AKA Garrett Hayes) is a one-man band who, along with his label mates at the Rosso Corsa collective, were partially responsible for a revival and update of Italodisco and retro themed synthwave in the early 2010’s. His first record, 2011’s Redline, was a fast-paced exotic car themed album that remains one of the standards of the genre. Dreamrider, his first release in four years represents a partial departure from the genre and his previous work in that it is slower and more pensive and delves further into dreamy space disco. It has all high-quality sonic breadth and clarity of previous works, but probably has more in common stylistically with Kavinski or M83. However, unlike Kavinski’s caustic emotional coldness Dreamrider is warm and human, becoming more so as the album progresses.

While there are no bad tracks on the record, there are some standouts. ‘Feel the Rush Tonight’ is the only track with vocals (featuring GUNSHIP), and is probably the best suited to be the club single here. However, for me the songs that most resonate are the slower moody ones that surprise listeners with unexpected harmonies and depth. ‘Dream within a Dream’ and ‘Oneric’ are my favorites. Both are simple, playful and happy without being annoying. Others like ‘Somnus’ and ‘Mirror Between Worlds’ stand out for straddling the listener between a haunting soundscape and a safe place.

Overall, while I don’t think this album will have the impact of Lazerhawk’s earlier work, it is a very listenable record, perfect for accompanying any endeavor where relaxation and the slow head bob is the objective. It will be a welcomed addition to my motorcycle playlist especially for cruising relaxing sunny days, enjoying a cool breeze, hypnotized by the curves of the asphalt.

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