"Electrocinematic. To be honest, I can say I have never come across this term before. I mean, I can elicit an idea of what a song or an album tagged ‘electrocinematic’ would sound like, based on the idea that it would simultaneously incorporate elements of both electro music and the interplay between audio and visual found in the cinema. But, I do think that it is rather fitting that the only album tagged ‘electrocinematic’ on Bandcamp (as of today) is also the epitome of what is implied by the tag itself. Brandon Allen Bolmer, who goes by the moniker Maskarade, has found what may be the perfect word to describe his style.
Really, the sound of Light and Dark is almost exactly what you’d expect when you take a look at Maskarade’s list of influences: Hans Zimmer, Amon Tobin & Pink Floyd. The title track is simultaneously extraterrestrial, ethereal, and brooding, with a plethora of synths weighing in at different points on the spectrum of gravity. The track functions well as an introduction, building energy and anticipation, but there was something else here that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, at first. But the more I listened to the track and its swaying, creaking synths and the pulsing percussion, the more I envisioned a monstrous ship, reeling through the sea, waves crashing against its hulls as the crew aboard pondered their mortality. Perhaps my imagination is running a bit rampant today.
In contrast to the calm power of “Light and Dark”, “Time” is like an injection of high-intensity energy. Glitch and dubstep play into the structure of this track, steering it more towards electro than cinematic, but it works. The verses are atmospheric and form the meat of this track with their chords, there is a solid instrumental and emotional buildup through the bridge, and things finally resolve into a spirited chorus.
Within even this brief effort, Maskarade manages to jump around quite a bit, genre-wise. EDM and disco contribute to the initial sound of “Analysis Paralysis”, but the track evolves into pure electro-grunge, dark and fuzzy with a notably eastern feel. Portions of this album remind me of VAST’s earlier stuff — eastern influences, working heavily in ideas of instrumental and vocal contrasts, the fusion of grunge rock and synths. There is a power that can be expressed through these complex textures, and it is nice to see this sort of genre-blending back in action.
“Perception” and “Mysterious” continue in a similar vein, mixing together pieces of dubstep, grunge, rock, and classical into two potent tracks. Really, one of the highlights of the album is Maskarade’s vocal work, which is a bit surprising for an electro producer. Neil Denning gets a nod on the liner notes for vocal engineering, and for good reason — every part of Bolmer’s vocals, from the delicate harmonies to the wailing outros is clean and polished, a perfect match to the gritty nature of the instrumentation.
Light and Dark progresses from one end of the spectrum to the other as the album plays out. Honestly, it moves away from the sound of the title track a bit too quickly; Maskarade never really returned to the sound that captured me from the start, and though I enjoyed the rest of the album, I really wanted more of that cinematic sound. Something to look for in future efforts, let’s hope. For now, though, expect Maskarade to make quite a few friends with Light and Dark, which draws on tried-and-true methods of electro, but adds a cinematic twist that sets it apart from the mainstream."
-Sean Elliot (The Daily Album)