Review // Sferro – Emotion Engine
Review // Sferro – Emotion Engine

Review // Sferro – Emotion Engine

Sferro Emotion Engine

Eric Sferro is a product of the 80s; born towards the end of that most distinctive decade, he has taken the ethos from that period and fired it through a neon collider to produce some of the finest synthwave, vaporwave, retro-electronica and futuresynth over the last 10 years or so. To find a unique sound amongst an overcrowded genre is no small trick and Sferro has managed to achieve this, producing distinctive 80s Italo-funk bangers packed full of bright-eyed optimism and glacial melodies.

Emotion Engine, his latest offering out now on the Business Casual imprint, pulls all these threads together and channels his years of experience into ten perfect, lush, and verdant tracks of deep and groove-laden electronic smashers. As the title suggests, emotion runs through each track allowing the listener to find their own emotional space and enjoy the often euphoric and heady trip into a cavalcade of huggable upbeat thumpers.

Four years in the making, Emotion Engine manages to conjure powerful feelings of longing, of a yearning to reach out and touch those long-gone days that seem to exist on the periphery of memory or replayed endlessly on YouTube clips in the ever-encroaching cyberspace.

Opening with the title track, Emotion Engine sets the scene; it’s a call-to-arms, a clarion call of propulsive, electronics that jackhammer their way down the highway, spinning us into Sferro’s world of cascading nostalgia. The synths are dreamy and lush, the bass full of chugging retro-disco groove, and the hooks surround us with an array of inviting melodies.

People Pleaser is all rubberized bass, step-up beats and lovely sinewy lead; Okay Regain begins with gossamer, vapor-like trails before emerging into clear, pristine hi-definition; Cherry Crush is a beautiful melodic journey while Almost Caught a Break, in contrast, is a chaotic melange of synths, beats, bass, and cascading sounds.

Sferro infuses every track with a cloak of French house and Italo disco, lending each track an upbeat, euphoric and danceable quality. Outpacing his contemporaries, Sferro continues to tweak and refine his sound, managing to avoid repetition while retaining his signature style and on Emotion Engine we feel every beat, every sweep of the glittering synths.

The addition of Mecha Maiko’s plaintive vocals on Modular Origami adds so much to Emotion Engine, giving us a change in texture and tone. There are moments of pure bliss, allowing us to sink into a nebula of the deepest melodic drift; it’s wholly intoxicating and dreamily seductive.

Stargazer is a phenomenal ride into deep, lush, hi-energy country with its achingly beautiful moments of quiet, and is certainly one of the finest things Sferro has written. Maji? takes us on a sweet and short diversion before the thumping Caprica, and the warm and sparkling Ghost Tours closes out an album full of bright-eyed optimism and trance-like diversions.

Emotion Engine is everything you could want from a collection of future-funk epics; it’s a journey into an optimistic world, where everything is still bursting with possibilities. The future has been retro-engineered and Sferro is pulling us along on his particle-lit trip of warm and dreamy synths.

Definitely an album-of-the-year contender, Emotion Engine is out now on Business Casual.

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