The Synthwave Radioshow
'end game' EP
Best track: closer
click album cover to listen
'Knight Sabers' is a collaboration from Mizucat and Klasey Jones. I'll be honest I am way more familiar with Mizucat's work as an artist, as infamous for her occasional cover art for synthwave artists like 'Michael Oakley', 'Daniel Deluxe', 'OSC' and 'Batchelor of Hearts' as her pastel tone spraypaint refurbs of beloved 90's consoles and hand-helds. And it's Mizucat's distinctive anime-influenced strokes that adorn the remarkable new Knight Sabers EP End Game. Here we have 6 tracks (7 if you were one of the lucky ones who got their mitts on 1 of 100 limited edition cassettes) that give us a veritable spread of subgenres; synthpop, dreamwave, and dancefloor-ready retro EDM are all here.
This is a confident EP, more assured and dense than 2018's Mega Tokyo. For me the standout tracks are the moody but somewhat sensual opener 'Closer', and 'End Game' which makes this reviewer want to throw some serious shapes (but I generally resist the temptation as the rush hour Northern Line is quite unforgiving). 'Silent Night' is conversely best listened to late at night, as it inches just the right side of vaporwave pretension and becomes a real head-bobber. Those aren't even euphemisms. 'In The Dark' is a natty piece of outrun but again inflected with a cool Klasey production that in lesser hands would come off as...a teensy bit by 'numbers'.
'Victory', probably the weakest track on the release, has just been given a further Klasey Jones remix, featuring more bleeps, crackles and pop that takes the tone decidedly darker. This is a separate release but already available on your favourite streaming sites. It's Klasey's fizzling, almost hiphop-like, beats that dominate, and feel more tighly woven in this collab than in his solo work.
'Wasurenaide' is a spiky hypnotic track, which invokes a late night drive, and is probably my third favourite on the ep. And the whole thing ends with 'secret track' listed only as '?????'. A disembodied soulful voice croons that she has "found the angel in me", that feels like a 90s house tune has been put through the wringer and resurrected as digital code. i hope 'End Game' heralds a full long player in the near future, as far from telegraphing a finale, it feels like the next step in something that could easily fight for a 'top 5 of 2019' title. Speaking of the title, I guess it's not hurting the release to have the same name as the culmination of a certain cinematic universe. No spoilers here. 8/10 Rob Dyson.