Today marks the meeting of one of my all time favorite synthwave artists and one of my all time favorite record labels. unTIL BEN and Lazerdiscs Records have combined forces to release Binaries Traveller, and the results have left me utterly floored. There are times as a writer that a release transcends the normal emotions you feel...an album that shakes you to the core and moves you not just physically but also emotionally. This is one of those rare and magical moments, and I'm so excited I get to share it with you.
First things first, if this is the first time you're hearing unTIL BEN, let me set the stage a bit. He's never been one to write "cookie cutter" synthwave, on the contrary, he uses the album like a canvas and wields the synths to create a landscape that is just as tangible as a real world painting. You're not going to experience everything on your first listen, on your second, or even third. Much like fine art, his albums are something you come back to over and over again to discover new things, little nuances that create a different experience each time. Very few artists, a small group that I could count with two hands, are in this rarified air, and unTIL BEN is one of them.
Now that we have introductions out of the way, as much as I have enjoyed and savored each previous unTIL BEN record, Binaries Traveller is his magnum opus. In Latin this means "great work." And this truly is that, a great work. It's a world with living and breathing tennants, going about their daily lives and struggles, completely unaware that they live within a created universe. unTIL BEN has opened up a window with this record to allow us a glimpse into this world, baring his soul in in the process. You don't create something as bold and ambitious as Binaries Traveller without leaving bits and pieces of yourself in it. It's a brave thing to unleash something like this without knowing how it will be accepted, but I can say for myself, I am so happy that he decided to do so.
I'm not going to mince words or ty to balance out what could happen in the music world over the course of 2019. Binaries Traveller is the crowning achievement of what I've heard so far this year and I honestly don't know who could top it. This isn't just an amazing synthwave record, it's a genre defining album that reminds us why we love it so much in the first place. unTIL BEN has worked long and hard to reach this point, and I hope he appreciates the pinnacle he's reached. The only way forward for him is creating new mountains to scale, but something tells me he's up for the challenge. In the meantime, you need to head over to Bandcamp and get this record in your collection as soon as possible.