Melodic techno—a genre, that, for the past decade has made its way to the front of dance music’s collective consciousness. Purveyed by megastars of today like Tale of Us, Stephan Bodzin, and Boris Brejcha, the sound has become synonymous with sold out venues filled with people whose heads are bowed down in a trance. The draw? Its poignant melodies and general open-ended arrangement give listeners a vehicle to tap into their emotions, taking their own unique meaning and message away from each track.
A master of atmospherics himself, Colyn is a young artist making headway into dance music’s elite with his knack for pristine sound design and bewitching harmonies. He made his break on Tale of Us’ iconic Afterlife imprint, going on to earn heavy support from fellow greats like Solomun, Lane 8, Joris Voorn, Adriatique, and Damian Lazarus along the way. It wouldn’t take long for the Dutch talent to reach the ears of Grammy nominees RÜFÜS DU SOL, who became enamored with his style and promptly signed him as one of the first artists on their then-fledgling Rose Avenue. A year later he returns once more to the label for a glistening Bridges In The Sky, which carries subtle notes of hope and euphoria laced into its two compositions.
But Colyn is not a one trick pony; while melodic techno repertoire is indeed what put his name on the map, he’s already proven he’s not afraid to step outside the box sonically. Last year he reached a new milestone with “The Future Is The Past”—an off-kilter indie dance tune which became the second highest seller in its Beatport category for the year of 2020. He even formed a band with his brother and frequent collaborator Maurijts Colijn, testing his boundaries further with a focus on songwriting and live elements. Some of his outside experimentation can even be heard in the title track of ‘Bridges In The Sky,’ and it’s this chameleon-esque talent that will maintain his household status from years to come.
With the multifaceted nature of Colyn and the music he’s most known for in mind, he felt like a ripe candidate for a little test….a musical Rorshach, if you will. We handed the artist a series of abstract imagery, to which he interpreted via song. Read on for his results.
1. Plaid – Do Matter
To me this image is a combination of tension and maybe even fear, juxtaposed with a fascination of the raw power and energy that it holds.. ‘Do Matter’ is a musical work that expresses these emotions sonically. It is haunting and thrilling, yet very powerful.
2. Rival Consoles - Memory Arc
To me an extreme close-up of an eye represents a sense of intimacy, a look into someone’s soul. It can be exhilarating to have intense eye contact with someone. For me ‘Memory Arc’ by Rival Consoles perfectly captures that subtlety, that intimacy. There is a small sense of excitement, but for the most part you are just mesmerized and locked into a different world with each other.
3. Mike Golding – Boosenbender
The cold and rigid conditions of this image also spur a sense of rush inside of me. The rush to get home, to get out of the cold, to take shelter. ‘Boosenbender’ gives me that type of rush, the feeling that you’re on the way to a good place, however the road can be traitorous and tough.
4. Colyn – Bridges In The Sky
I feel like the more abstract pictures require less explanation, they just call upon certain feelings that I then link with a piece of music in my head. I feel like the abstraction fits really well with my new work Bridges In The Sky. As the lyrics are about as abstract as they get. The white in the image represents the clouds and the multicolored shape represents all the connections people have that are invisible to the human eye, something that I feel within the lyrics of Bridges In The Sky as well.
5. Ry X – The Water
This image just sends my mind straight towards The Water by Ry X. Seems like an obvious link as the title has water in it just as the majority of the image. However the haunting, serene vocals of Ry X fit the calmness and serenity of the image really well in my eyes.
6. Kev Sheridan – It’s Gonna Be Perfect
The first emotion that comes to mind when I see this is euphoria, with that comes a large dose of melancholy and longing, as the pandemic has taken away a lot of these moments in the last year. I feel ‘It’s Gonna Be Perfect’ by Kev Sheridan has the right mix of euphoria and melancholy. To me the positive, euphoric message wins from the melancholic sad message, which is how I feel about the imagery as well.
7. Darkside – Paper Trails
Somehow this image of a deserted countryside really draws my mind towards Paper Trails by Darkside. I guess my brain links the walking rhythm and the guitar licks to these empty arid fields. The haunting, whispering vocals by Nicolas Jaar are quite unique and they work so well with the rest of the atmosphere in the track.
8. Bon Iver – Jelmore
I am pretty sure that this is Chernobyl, which is in itself a haunting place. The image has something eerie and breathtaking to it. Jelmore by Bon Iver is a song that fits to this perfectly for me. The lyrics are about an impending disaster. I guess in retrospect Jelmore is almost prophetic as it was written way before the world came to a stand still.
9. Good Guy Mikesh, Filburt – Place Of Love (MP Edit)
One of those tunes that I’ve listened to a lot when it came out, but I never really stopped listening. All I see in this image, I can find in this song. Highs, lows, love, friendship and everything in between. Also a song I love to play every now and then on the right occasion, usually an extended set in a small setting.
10. Boards of Canada – All You Do Is A Balloon
This image has a variety of emotions to me. This is why my mind kind of hoovers towards Boards of Canada - All You Do Is A Balloon. It’s an emotional rollercoaster in the sense that it starts out quite timid and sad. However a little bit over the halfway the song starts to develop towards a more uplifting, comforting vibe. It never leaves the sadness behind, but it does offer comfort and perspective to the ones who want to see it.