Steve Greene is the synth wizard in the progressive heavy synth rock band Voyag3r. Within Voyag3r Greene is one third of a power trio that mixes elements of John Carpenter scores, Goblin, Zombi, and even hints of progressive rock from the 70s. They world build on releases like Doom Fortress and Are You Synthetic. Within the world of synth, guitar, and drums(both acoustic and electronic) this Detroit band take horror and sci fi themes to new blistering heights. A smorgasbord of rock-inflected science fiction jams.
When Steve Greene isn’t one third of Voyag3r, he tends to take a darker tone in his songs. On his own, composing late at night in his home studio, Greene channels the darker aspects of Tangerine Dream, 80s television synth themes(think Knight Rider or Street Hawk), and most definitely Mr. Carpenter. Greene recently released his solo album debut titled Electronic Dreams for a Holographic Existence. It’s a menacing heavy synth album that follows themes of what we think we know in this universe and that great unknown that we unknowingly pull inspiration from. It’s an intense and beguiling record that pulls you into its electronic world.
When someone opens an album with a track like “Triad of the Dark” you know they mean business. It blows in like some ominous haze over you, looming synths buzz like the best horror themes. It has the intensity of a great Carpenter theme but Greene builds his own personal vibe here. He manages to stand with contemporaries like Slasher Film Festival Strategy, Antoni Maiovvi, and Umberto while adding a toughness here that makes it unique. There’s a street-level feel here, as if he’s scoring some neo-futuristic anti-hero’s story. It’s a heady musical trip. “Machines, Schemes, and Manipulations” has a real robo-strut to it. Once again capturing some early 80s magic. Something that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on some early 80s Roger Corman-produced dystopian B-flick. Greene even adds some organic soul here with some very tasteful saxophone. “Aerial Maneuvers” buzzes and beeps with analog life. Steve Greene is a hardware kind of player, using old school synths to make his musical magic. “Aerial Maneuvers” benefits greatly from the warmth of real synths. There’s a lot to be said for tactile instrumentation, and Greene weaves square waves and circuit-fed melodies expertly and effectively.
Electronic Dreams for a Holographic Existence never falters throughout its 37 minutes. It flows effortlessly from one track to the next. Though maybe not a concept album per say, Existence flows with a very distinct musical narrative that gives the impression of a story being told. Tracks like “Gravitationally Bound”, “The Hoax”, and “The Great Barrier” feel like electro micro movements that carry you from one theme to the next. At times they remind me of some of the great 8-bit themes you’d hear in old NES games. You never realized just how much of an impact those little themes had on you until years later when they were isolated and you could hear the intricacies and detailed melodies that went into what was in essence “background noise” to your RPG action.
Greene makes truly effective compositions here.
These middle tracks lead us to the hypnotic and noisy “Revel In Your Time”. Imagine Disasterpeace trying to capture the magic of Brad Fiedel’s Terminator score and you’ll have an idea of the power of this song. With slight jazz inflections courtesy of electric piano this song seems to just soar. “Expanding Symmetry” has an almost baroque quality to it. Chamber music for outer space, if you will. It’s a melancholy close to a heady space trip. Beautiful galactic gloom.
Steve Greene seems to excel at working in both a band and on his own. Electronic Dreams for a Holographic Existence feels decidedly personal. It pulls together 8 tracks that when played consecutively lay out this sci fi music journey. It’s a warm, buzzing piece of heavy synth work that begs repeated listens.