Symphonie is the solo bedroom project for James Reynolds. Reynolds was in punk bands his whole life and wanted to take a stab at something different. The music while not displaying the production know-how and mastery of bands like The Postal Service and Dan Deacon has similar qualities. If you strip away some of the production you are left with pop songs.
Reynolds blends electronic drums, synths, guitars and sometimes more in his release Deaf Girls. He demonstrates some solid understanding of song structure and aesthetic unification. The very first song entitled “(Intro) This Rush of Blood” is the highlight, which showcases some potential. He combines deep yet simplistic and steady beat with clean guitars, warm vocal harmonies and a lead synth.
It doesn't take too long for him to show some inventiveness. Around the thirty-second mark the long delay vocal combined with the additional percussion proves to be one of Reynolds’ most inspired moments. The chorus which didn't completely work is a bit jarring but still enjoyable. Reynolds slowly takes down the BPM of the entire song towards the end - a cool yet almost unnecessary transition.
The second track “Myla” is like a pop/punk song except with synthesizers instead of guitars. Reynolds again demonstrates some talents as a producer but the best moments of the song were the overlapping vocal harmonies. “US Customs” could be a mainstream pop song.
The chorus has a California vibe that could be used on the next reality show for MTV. Although this song wasn’t my favorite it happens to display his best use of samples. The female vocal sample is well implemented. The closer “Cold Beds and Night Drives” contains more pop sensibility but also features some of his most striking production work towards the end.
Reynolds is a work in progress who will need to continue to hone his skills if he is hoping to compete with top producers who are flirting with the same formula. The good news is that he built a good foundation here even if the four songs seem a bit disparate. As far as I am concerned the most effective way to get to the next level is to dedicate and go through a whole lot of trial and error - something I’m assuming Reynolds is willing to do.
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