I have been waiting for this day for quite some time! The monster collaboration from JJ.Christie and Ethereal Delusions is finally here, and I am happy to say that The Big Melt exceeds all of my expectations. I’ve heard bits and pieces of this over the course of its creation, but hearing the whole album put together as a complete unit is beyond satisfying. It’s a bit of an event really…how often do two of your favorite artists get together and write an album? Singles, sure! But whole albums? Not very often.
So, how exactly did this all fall into place? What better source than the artists themselves:
Ethereal Delusions: It’s was really fun. We really just became friends over chatting and sharing music. I forget when we decided to do an album together. I think it was after we made Global Dissolution. We both clicked so well. It was basically just us coming up with stuff and going back and forth with ideas. We became the real Trans-Pacific Partnership.
JJ.Christie: Working with Jon was something I had hoped for since I first heard his material. I was blown away by the style of Tropical Nights, it had me from the first notes, and still remains one of my favorite synthwave tracks ever. As you know I’m pretty active on social media, so it was only a matter of time before we started chatting. We were talking about the future of synthwave and the genre as a whole, and we both felt that rather than sticking to the set formula, a new progressive style was the key to growth for artists. I asked Jon to do some vocoder lines for a track I’d written with that in mind, and it just clicked (Global Dissolution). Then 1 song became 2 then we thought an EP, and then it turned into an album. It really was a total collaboration, from writing, through the production process, dueling solos, and even mastering (we are both mastering engineers). By the end of the album, I think we own shares in Dropbox with the amount of stems that have been doing world trips. We are both pretty prolific, so it really was a match made in heaven, and I’m pretty proud of the album.
So, now that you’ve got a bit of the backstory on The Big Melt, let’s take a look at what makes it so great? Let me count the ways:
- You Don’t Own Anything That Sounds Like This Record – Right out of the gate it’s quite obvious that these two weren’t interested in settling. This is music that pushes the envelope beyond the constraints of synthwave, past the constraints of synthpop, and treads where few dare. This is progressive music to the core, and it’s nothing short of magic.
- Jon Thomson and John James Christie are Top Shelf Songwriters – If you’ve been following the amazing paths that these two have taken separately then you’re probably already aware that they know their way around the studio. Both of their musical projects have been on the cutting edge of what has been on offer in the scene, but putting the two together developed a creative explosion.
- These Are Not The Droids You Are Looking For – If you’ve come here looking for another synthwave record to add to your collection, I will unapologetically tell you that you need to look elsewhere. The Big Melt is a challenge to the status quo that the scene has settled into and I’m proud of the record they put out because it’s good for everyone.
- Corner (noun) / def: A Place Where Nobody Puts Baby – Get ready to move, because The Big Melt is groove heavy. There is no time to hide in the corner…the hooks here demand body movement, and besides, you’ll look much cooler on the dance floor.
- It’s Dangerous To Go Alone, Take This – This is a legitimate deserted island record. The sounds explored here are so diverse and well produced that it’s going to take dozens of playthroughs before you stop noticing little nuances. If you can only take a few records, The Big Melt is a definite go to!
- We’re Going To Need a Bigger Boat – The Big Melt sounds so big! It’s an album that fills whatever space you’re in experiencing the record. My suggestion, put on some high end headphones, lie down someplace comfortable, and immerse yourself from start to finish.
- Music is the Modern Day Equivalent of Magic – My current situation as I’m writing is Orion flowing into my ears. I’m getting a little catch in my throat because I’m legitimately in awe of what I’m hearing. It’s nice to be surprised by music again. THIS is exactly why I got into writing about music in the first place. There’s magic to be uncovered, and when you find it the experience is like touching heaven.
- Stilz Has a Remix on the Album – Enough Said
All jokes aside, I meant every positive thing I’ve said about this record. JJ.Christie and Ethereal Delusions should be very proud of The Big Melt. It most certainly serves as a high watermark for progressive synth music this year. Want to know what impresses me that most? It’s hard to tell where one artist’s work begins and melds with the other. To me that’s the highest compliment I can give a collaboration like this. It’s a perfect fusion of their sounds that has become something wholly new…something better than the sum of its parts. You can find The Big Melt at Bandcamp and see what I’m fussing about! Seriously, you’re going to want this in you collection.