Hungarian musician KENSHIRO+ says that there is light in all darkness. His recent Synthwave/Darkwave EP proves that to be the case.
Fair warning, this article contains opinion and is marked as such.
Vantablack Hearts is a recent release that I made the mistake of letting go unnoticed. At a short 14~ minutes, there’s certainly no lack of ideas or interesting moments on the project.
Fans of Carpenter Brut and Lazerhawk will likely walk away from this project satiated, as KENSHIRO+ does not seem shy about displaying these influences.
The Hungarian musician calls his sound “dark electronic,” which seems like an appropriate claim after listening to this EP. However, the project does not sound as moody as some of its peers. Instead, there’s a lot of soul on display here, and the synths sound especially longing on the opening song “Nora Fries.”
Track two, “Even a Devil,” makes the slight mistake of not displaying enough of the artist’s personality in the first minute and half. However, it splits into a very interesting refrain that quickly won me over, utilising the guitar work of what sounds like an indie folk song. This quickly combines with a genuinely haunting vocal snippet scratched to great atmospheric effect.
The project’s strong suit is its production, which is nothing short of immaculate. Listening at any volume, everything still sounds clean without compromising any of the personality that KENSHIRO+ is putting on display here.
I’m not sure if this incredible production is thanks to KENSHIRO+, or if the credit is owed elsewhere. He credits Jon Thomson (of Eternal Delusions) for mastering the project and Szabolcs Balog for providing mixing advice.
Nonetheless, the high level of production on this piece gives KENSHIRO+ the freedom to effectively explore different sounds. On the third song, “Ride Eternal,” the artist displays sensibilities that seem almost power pop-influenced. In doing so, he manages to create a bittersweet tone.
Finally, on the closing song “Urameshi,” KENSHIRO+ delivers the project’s most straightforward Synthwave instrumental. However, the song still draws sounds that are foreign to the genre and creates an interesting conclusion that left me wanting more.
According to KENSHIRO+, Vantablack Hearts is not about humanity’s “inherent darkness,” but rather our longing to find the light. With that in mind, I have no hesitation in saying that KENSHIRO+ succeeded at providing a four-track teaser that stays true to his intended sentiment.