How many ways can you describe a synthesizer? Sure, there are those buzzing synthetic blasts that can be so dirty and vicious that signal could even hide its identity from the FBI. Then, there are those rich, textured synthetic leads, leads that might have vibrato, rotating like leslies, sending crystal clear sweeps and arpeggios into the stratosphere. Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of writing about music is accurately capturing which brand of synthetic worship a particular tape employs.
Grapefruit’s self-titled effort on the prolific Field Hymns label falls in the latter category of synthetic engagement. Over the span of two expansive sides, Charles Byron Salas-Humara opens an emporium of leads, pulses, arpeggios, and transcendent swells. Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the tape is that Salas-Humara never invades buzzing, washed out, or incomprehensible sonic territories. Rather, his compositions are clear, structured, and repetitive. Divided into nine shorter sequences, one gets the impression that these are exercises, or sketches.
Instead of droning on or building a repetitive sequence into the horizon, Salas-Humara favors densely-populated sequences that place rhythmic pulses against textured lead lines. On the second side, ascending and descending themes progress through each different song, and Salas-Humara allows his listener to focus on one particular set of themes. Aside from some minimal percussion, the bulk of the compositions build around synthetic arrangements, as Salas-Humara uses his tools to consistently build layers of ritual, ,meditative exercises that his listener can endlessly travel.