Los Angeles synthwave act Chronic Dream, aka David A Burgess, burst forth a moody dark vibe, usually meant for daydreams. His sophomore album, Systematic Toil, is chock full of cinematic atmosphere, with spooky elements of Gary Numan, X-Files composer Mark Snow, Kraftwerk, The Cure, Massive Attack, Angelo Badalamenti, and John Carpenter.
Burgess was inspired to return to his goth-rock roots after seeing Bauhaus’s live performance at the Cruel World Festival. Systematic Toil‘s retro-infused sound fuses darker melodies, driving electronic drums, and swirling, textural synthesizers. Tight yet atmospheric, each of the eleven electronic instrumental tracks on Systematic Toil showcase Burgess’s ability to craft smart, cinematic worlds of beat-driven sound; worlds that feel both contemporary and futuristic, as if a transmission from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop got intercepted by Dali’s Car era Peter Murphy, and Coil’s Peter Christopherson.
In Systematic Toil, the artist’s sound has evolved into a dark, propulsive, and magnetic force. The new album’s retro synths add a distinctive brightness to the mix, highlighted by the presence of more intricate electronic drumlines.
Listen to Systematic Toil below:
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The goth-rock veteran, David A Burgess, cut his teeth writing and playing keys and guitar for the Los Angeles band Scarlet. Burgess explains the history of his alter ego: “Scarlet had one album, played at the Troubadour, Roxy, and Whisky A-Go Go, as well as opening for Rozz Williams at the Variety Arts Center in LA. After Scarlet, our guitarist and my friend Kenton Holmes went on to play guitar on tour with 45 Grave and I went on to compose music for film students at Chapman University.”
Burgess founded Chronic Dream in 2020. Inspired by industrial, new wave, and post-punk elements, Burgess independently released Into the Night, featuring cover art by iconic punk photographer Edward Colver. All tracks are entirely composed, recorded, and produced by Burgess, often using little or no official recording equipment beyond his iPad Pro.
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