(New Album Review) M. Akers- Whitest Hunters, Blackest Hearts

Matthew Akers is a Portland-based experimental musician whose particular take on kosmische synth music is drawn out of vintage analog equipment and could best be described as soundtracks for imaginary 80’s films. His upcoming album on Suite 309, Whitest Hunters, Blackest Hearts, comes with a curious epigram from John Cale’s great live album Sabotage/Live: “Mercenaries are useless… disunited, unfaithful…they have nothing more to keep them in a battle other than a meager wage…which is just enough to make them want to kill for you… but not enough to make them wanna die for you.” Bearing this epigram and titles like “Sniper” and “Soldier of Fortune” in mind, the title of the album obviously has deeper sociological implications than a clever reference to a certain book and film that its author may have enjoyed.

Think of a sensibility like that of Tangerine Dream’s score for Thief and Vangelis’s for The Bounty describing a desolate landscape ruined by violence and you’ll have an idea of what this album holds in store. The album’s tone is mercurial and savage, with Akers’s vast array of synths and modules employed to create many jarring, over-the-top effects– however, like its influences, Whitest Hunters, Blackest Hearts has a waveringly beautiful melodic core. This balance between pyrotechnical effects and melody is very apparent on a track like “Last Patrol”. This visceral and compelling album comes highly recommended to fans of dark ambient and synth wizardry alike.

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