A little wavy, a little weird, a whole lot of cool; Austin’s experimental synth duo Neosho released their debut album Borderline on Nov. 10. The duo’s lush sax-infused beats trickle across trap, synth-pop and post-rock vibes. Vocalist Jackson Bennet and saxophonist Justin Bernard Williams lead us on a 10-track trip through fjords of noisescapes. The duo originally met on Solipsism, an online forum that connected introspective extroverted Ableton artists. To put the abstract concept of Neosho’s music in perspective, solipsism is a theory that all that can be known to exist is one’s self.
“Big G”, The lead single of Borderline captures the essence of the album. Williams’ soothing saxophone melts into the trap beat with ease while Bennet’s vocals rub against the electric-climate of the track, giving a smooth contrast. The nostalgic vibes make the track seem like it belongs in the soundtrack to your favorite 80s sci-fi/action movie.
The anthemic “Time Traveler” is a sequence heavy banger that highlights the production skills of the duo. The distorted vocals, cascading arpeggios and blaring bass form a symbiotic relationship similar to pop-radio hits. The track’s emphasis of percussive sounds and vocal sampling creates a signature sound that’s near-impossible to forget. Williams throws 8-bit sax madness against a wall of samples, creating the aural version of kaleidoscopes.
The jazz-infused and shadow-heavy “Darkhorse” is more traditional song in structure and form. Whisper-style vocals captivate while a trap-set and bass guitar drive the entire song. Williams’ saxophone is bolstered by an emphatic sequence of programmed basslines.
“Borderline” and “Get Wise” round out the top-streamed Spotify songs. The two tracks keep in line with the exotic structures already established. “Borderline” explores the use of calculated silence and all-in verses. The arsenal of noises is unleashed at once with a distorted bassline pushing the button. The melody-centric and Axel Foley approved “Get Wise” is a track of showmanship, with Bennet’s vocals jumping across the musical staff and skipping through various stylings. The easy-going track’s syncopated rhythms are a call to arms, pleading to every listener to stop what they’re doing and dance.
Neosho’s debut album is exotic in every fashion. The Avant Garde stylings draw from influences both new and old to create an album that is sonically robust. The full-force bangers and laid-back lullabies signal the beginning of Neosho’s ascension into the kingdom of synth-pop.
Written by: Sawyer Click
Photo by: Justin Williams