Some genres have just reached a saturation point, right? There’s nothing more to be done with them. It’s not anyone’s fault, it’s just a fact that we have to accept and move on, right? Wrong. It’s safe to say that no genre on this planet has inherently nothing more to say. The culture might not know how to utilize it in new ways, musicians within the genre have grown complacent or tired, but the genre itself is still an almost-infinite things with dozens of new configuration and sounds left to explore. Take djent and, even more specifically. “nu-prog”. It seems these spaces are incredibly played out and that there’s nothing more really left to do with the sounds. Every artist sounds the same and the tropes are so well established that they seem inescapable.
Enter Syncatto, a one man project from Fresno. On his latest release, Coloratura, he takes tried and true tones from djent and nu-prog, hinting at artists like Animals as Leaders and Plini as influences, and merges them with Latin music sensibilities, time-signatures, ideas, and sounds. This creates a completely new type of sound, utilizing the staccato rhythms at the base of djent riffs to great and refreshing effect. The acoustic guitar, so prominent in Iberian and Latin styles like flamenco or samba, works incredibly well with this percussive sound. This at once creates a more “open” and organic sound while still maintaining the heaviness and crispness of the core djent sound.
Closing track “Spicy”, an aptly named track if there ever was one, is a great example. Listen as the acoustic tones compliment the heavier electronic chugs of the riffs and converses with the leads after the middle of the track. Accompanied by some tasteful piano additions and the overall complex yet wholly danceable time signature of the track, these passages just work wonders on creating a sense of adventure, energy, and groove in the track. The new tones and ideas here are more than just gimmick: they transport this album and, indeed, Syncatto’s earlier work into a fun, fresh, and original on a genre that’s been anything but those things in the last few years. This just goes to show that making original music is possible within all frameworks; you just need to have the daring and guts to think in different and interesting directions, as Syncatto has here.