Eternal electronic goodness…
Back in 2017, electronic musician and producer Kasson Crooker (Symbion Project, Freezepop) embarked on a new music project envisioned as a collaborative effort.
ELYXR featured different singers involved for each subsequent release, bringing an intriguing and fresh quality to Crooker’s electronic compositions. The subtle energies of ‘Engine’ kicked things off back in 2017, a release that was premiered here on The Electricity Club at the time. But subsequent releases covered a lot of different approaches and styles, including the unsettling ‘Godspeed’ and even an electronic cover of Billy Joel’s ‘Pressure’.
Eternal Life Eternal Youth sees the first album from ELYXR, which gathers some of these single releases alongside new tracks. The result is a dizzying collection of songs which bounce about from crunchy electronic workouts through to stylish lounge pop. The Electricity Club is also proud to feature the premiere of ‘Take Me There’ from the new album.
‘Take Me There’, which is billed as an “anti-love song”, is a stylish pop outing featuring smoky vocals from Casey Desmond of synth-pop outfit CMB. Although the easy rhythms of the song give it an engaging pop sensibility, there’s a darker aspect to the lyrics in which Desmond offers decidedly unromantic thoughts (“I don’t want to think about love/Every time I do it kills my buzz”).
‘Strange Stubborn Proud’, which originally came out in 2018, features a guest vocal from Kurt Harland Larson (Information Society). As we said in our original review of the song, this composition (which appears here in its extended version) channels classic synth-pop elements combined with a modern electronic production style to deliver a smooth synth outing. Larson’s vocals manage to convey both a vulnerability and an earnest tone, while a barrage of samples assault the listener at the same time.
Elsewhere, ‘Eye For An Eye’ pulls in regular collaborator Katrina Kope (Purr Gato) for a frenetic electronic workout whose angular angst has a curiously hypnotic effect. Kope also does a star turn on a cover of Blondie’s ‘Heart Of Glass’, which is here transformed into a breezy slice of lounge pop.
The pastel synth tones of ‘Planes’ sees ELYXR offer up a sultry synthwave outing featuring Elissa LeCoque’s (Kodacrome) mesmerising voice.
There’s more of a reflective touch on the piano-led moods of ‘Lakeside’. Here, Melissa R Kaplan handles vocal duties with a captivating range on a composition with a warm, organic feel to it.
‘The Last Day of Summer’ (see TEC review previously) offers a shimmering, sunny number with lyrics revolving around the revival of memories and the immutable passage of time. Color Theory’s Brian Hazard delivers a strange, otherworldly vocal that has a breathy quality fitting seamlessly into Crooker’s spectrum of synth sounds.
Returning to the themes of “anti-love songs”, the bucolic melodies of ‘A Love Song with Consequences’ is augmented by the airy voice of Sonja 3v3t3a (of synth outfit The Planets Won’t Let You Sleep Tonight). At times sounding like Electric Youth meets S U R V I V E, the song nonetheless has some sharper-edged percussive elements that kick in towards the end.
Meanwhile, ‘Such Letting Go Is Love’, which again features Melissa R Kaplan, offers a velvet synth experience oozing style.
It seems somehow fitting that ELYXR’s first single release ‘Engine’ should close the album out. With its subtle, layered electronic pop, combined with Elissa LeCoque’s soulful vocals, ‘Engine’ breathes with a certain sadness that manages to touch the heart.
Eternal Life Eternal Youth is a useful milestone for the ELYXR project, which enables those curious about the concept to experience a broad range of electropop. Although those styles dart around at speed, there’s a curious consistency at work through Kasson Crooker’s steady hand at crafting engaging electronic rhythms and melodies.
For those keen to also grab some of the other ELYXR outings, such as the politically-charged ‘Godspeed’, then the good news is that additional track are included on the Bandcamp release of the album as bonus tracks.
Eternal Life Eternal Youth is out now on Speed Of Dark.
Publications that have featured his contributions include Electronic Sound, Metro, Japan Update Weekly, J-Pop Go, Wavegirl and OMD Messages.