A little about Watch Out For Snakes:
Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, Watch Out For Snakes (Matt Baum) creates powerful synthwave tinged with an 8-bit chiptune sound. WOFS' first album was released in May, 2018 entitled "Upgrade". A staple of the Atlanta synthwave scene, he's played with artists all over the US such as Gregorio Franco, Glitch Black, Vampire Step-Dad, Protector 101, PSYK, Frisky Monkey, Acid Gambit, NINA, Parallels, Glitbiter, and many more. In fact, at the time this latest album "Scars" dropped, he was finishing up the "Dark Future" tour with Gregorio and Glitch in Atlanta at the massive two day event "Echosynthetic Fest", featuring a veritable who's who of synth artists.
Let's check out the latest album "Scars":
Released November 9th, 2019, "Scars" contains 8 songs featuring WOFS' signature darksynth with hints of 8-bit fun. There are two collaborations featuring one with the siren of synth Megan McDuffee, and another with the monster of darksynth Gregorio Franco. Most of the tracks were written and produced by Matt himself (with the exceptions of the two collabs mentioned) and they are all fully fleshed out bangers.
Without further ado, here are the tracks from this slick album:
"Set Up Us The Bomb" - Placed perfectly at the beginning of the album, this song starts of with crazy electric effects before dropping into a driving beat with low bass tones and of course, a slight 8-bit melody. All kinds of beautiful notes abound throughout the track, with the driving low tones lending power to great catchy melodies on every level. Towards the end you get a slightly piercing synth with subtle pitch bends driving home a great song.
"This Ain't No Cutscene" - I love the way this tune starts. The low tones and claps kick it off into an arpeggiated bass which is then layered over with the WOFS chiptune sounds. I can see this as the tune behind an action level in a video game.
"Scars (featuring Megan McDuffee)" - The title track off the album starts of with slight 8-bit sounds and then drops into a beautiful beat, with Megan McDuffee's beautiful voice singing in perfect harmony to the WOFS synths. This track is addictive and memorable.
"Airlock" - Synthy bass that is slightly ominous leads into a slowly haunting melody with faint percussion in the background. Short and sweet, Airlock embraces the chippy sounds while staying deep and rich.
"Rip 'Em Up! (featuring Gregorio Franco" - The BPM skyrockets here. Compared to the other tracks on the album, this melody is pulsing and driving. That has to be the GF influence. You want to head bang rapidly while throwing up the devil's horns fingers as the beat drives forth. WOFS' synths play an amazing ditty as the song progresses. Half way through, shit gets real during the breakdown with climactic synths and chords, leading into a euphoric high octave synth replete with reverbs. This is my favourite track on the album. GF and WOFS together creating something that could be in an epic movie.
"Stranded" - Arp'd mids start us off into a beautiful chiptune that then introduces drums with perfect echoes and reverb applied. Out of all the tunes on the album, this one makes me wish I could see WOFS live. It is so ambient and evocative.
"Arms Race" - Here we start with something truly 8-bit (or less?), leading into amazing slow chords layered with, of course, perfect chiptunes. Play this loud, because the drums and deep tones really hit home. When the chords come in, the blend of high 8-bit notes over the rest truly is an auditory experience.
"Starlight" - More typical synth notes begin leading into incredible arpeggiated chiptune, followed by a beautiful high melody. The track starts mellow, leading into a slow driving beat with percussion starting about one third of the way in. Layer by layer is added, until midway through, you have a veritable "orchestra" of synths and chippy sounds. The perfect song to wrap up the album. It ends off with a slightly triumphant note into silence.
From start to finish, I feel like I'm listening to one of the best soundtracks to a video game never made. This music belongs in the next Castlevania reboot. WOFS knows how to produce, and his phrasing and masterful use of 8-bit sounds to lend that "retro" feel to his music is so satisfying. This is all blended with a great mix of synthwave and darksynth tones to elevate his music from simple chiptune to what I can only describe as "darkchip". I'm thrilled to have this album in my collection, and lucky for all of us, the album can be found on all our favourite platforms.
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