The new album from Madison electronic project Syneva, Limbo Victorian, is basically an ambient record but it covers a lot of territory in a short amount of time. Its 20-year-old creator, Hendrix Gullixson, uses software and a couple of MIDI controllers to explore eerily gritty soundscapes (opening track “Storm Presents Itself Wise” and “Soaring Together”), piano-driven melodies (“Remember That Time In Limbo”), and pulsing, minimal synth patterns (“Color To Match You”). What holds the release together is its relative concision and a stately, austere approach to melody.
Gullixson says the album reflects a desire to explore the more abrasive side of electronic music, though it also has its gentle moments. He’s only been making his own tracks for a few years, though he began experimenting with DJing in his early teens. Gullixson and his friend Aedric Donovan also tried for about a year to start up their own label, Vesten Records. They recently decided to shut it down, partly for financial reasons and partly because they simply wanted more time to focus on their own projects. The label had a short run, but did seem to be developing a certain elegant and gloomy aesthetic, and worked with artists including Madison indie-rock band Dash Hounds and Chicago ambient project Velleitie.
Gullixson and I spoke recently about how he approached making his new album, the experience of trying to run a label, and his strong opinions about Soundcloud and Spotify.