See Thomas Howl / The Underground
Before I even get into the meat of this article, I'm going to just throw this out there and let it marinate. See Thomas Howl is one of the most interesting artists active on the scene today. I don't even really need to argue the point either. If you've been keeping track of what he's been up to then you know already. With every release I find See Thomas Howl pushing boundaries, exploring new sounds, and becoming more and more of a showcase of everything I love about synthesized music. The Underground further proves that he's not beholden to anything that you may consider to be the status quo.
With a deeply rich sound, The Underground fills the space with music you can almost reach out and feel in a tactile way. It manages to sound futuristic in a cutting edge way while keeping a seemingly effortless retro feel. I can tell you right now...it's not effortless. Carving out your own sound while keeping one foot in the 80's is a perilous and often unsuccessful journey. You run the risk of sounding generic, a ripoff of old tropes, or worst of all, lazy...relying on nostalgia to sell your music. See Thomas Howl falls into none of these traps and elevates every note to a level above that of those around him.
A prime example of taking risks is by including a cover song on your record. I've said it before, a well placed cover can add so much to a release, especially if it's done right. Unfortunately cover songs often end up worthy of a dumpster fire, ruining an original classic. You can probably think of countless covers that would fit into this category! Again, See Thomas Howl looked the challenge in the eye and laughed. Why? He had a secret weapon, and that secret weapon has a name. GlitterWølf. By combining their powers something truly special happened. They took the 1983 Billboard Hot 100 hit "Escalator of Life" by Robert Hazard and transcended the original in every single way. As far as I'm concerned, this is the new official version of the track that somehow Robert Hazard covered back in 1983. Wormhole, maybe?
All jokes aside, The Underground is everything that is good about synth music. It explores new territories while keeping you warm with sounds you know and love. See Thomas Howl is a name you need to be burning into your memories. He is one of the artists the maintains my hope that synth based music will never die and is doing so by inventing new trends in a genre that is decades old.