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Night Stalker

Austin, TX, United States

Credit - Matt Needle

A dark and tasty sonic experience, ‘Night Stalker’ by 1st Base Runner is an EP that you won’t want to miss out on. Pulling at the conventions of dark synth, shoe gaze, 80s punk and cinematic synth, 1st Base Runner has distilled an imaginative and compelling aura within ‘Night Stalker’ that works to push the boundaries of its sound into the new world. The sounds on offer here clash in a great way. They blend synth pads with organic plucks of bass or winds. They mix and scrimmage, leaving only the necessary tones and textures alive in the chaotic darkness of the Neo-future that ‘Night Stalker’ presents for us. It is personal, expansive, just and poetic. A sound that 1st Base Runner should be proud to have produced.

The album begins typically and moves toward experimental as it goes, you drift from the norm and into the future. ‘In the Neighbourhood’ opens the album up, its rising falling synths feel unapologetically 80s and the sub-bass carries the weight of 1000 cyberpunks marching toward Night City. An organic pluck rises over the haze and carves out a melody in the neon rain. It bounces off the night, down railway tunnels and glass corridors, it hits you and rattles your bones, discordant and purposeful in its subtleties. When the vocals begin the instrumentals swallow them as if the voice comes from the synth. They break away and the plucks return, it's a cycle and its conclusion leads to the rest of the EP. A great atmospheric open.

‘Dark Drive Through the Canyon’ breathes slowly to life. A hollow tone rises toward the sky, it has a catch in it, alluding to a beat to come. Strings and other instruments collide in the clouds and swirl a melody. Bass joins in, foreboding, massive. It moves away. A grey cloud, crunching lightning and chewing thunder, looming overhead. Just as it is about to unleash its torrent, it thinks better of it and glides away. The static remains in the air as the song builds once more into an eclectic blend of stabs and clicks that make up a synth wave instrumental that hypnotises and inspires. A thought-provoking track that climbs to great heights, looking down over its train and exacting words from the future upon them. The words of, ‘Night Stalker’.

The title track is next and it's full of amazing instrumental frills, vocal talent and a melody that will stick to the walls of your room, reminding you of its catchy hook at every waking moment. I say waking but this song has the presence to score your dreams. Its pulsing beginning rises with a beating bass into the track and vocals. They are close, dark and conversational. They add so much texture to the track and it's a unique experience. Solemn and grey, ‘Night Stalker’ breathes lyrics into your ear with the aid of crunchy synth and clacking drums. A worthy title holder for the EP, a track so strong it could stand on its own as a single.

Following‘Night Stalker’ comes ‘The Serpent and Space’. Its pop roots show their teeth from the very start, vocals meld the melody and lead the instrumental. It hits low and slow, punk and dark synth rolled into one sonic experience. A noble and soothing end to an EP that sounds like no other. Usually in EP/Album reviews, I like to give names of other artists who come close to the sound on offer, either in tone or vibe. 1st Base Jumper has carved such a niche between genres that there is no mainstream counterpart. If you love the idea of atmospheric dark synth-wave tracks that take you away to dystopian worlds in 3 minutes or less, then ‘Night Stalker’ will be a smash hit for you as it was for me.


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