To The God Named Dream

To The God Named Dream

Nathan Micay’s music has always had a strong audiovisual element. His 2016 mixtape Capsule’s Pride, under his Bwana alias, was meant as a tribute to Akira, while 2019’s Blue Spring was a manga-inspired concept album that even came with its own comic book. After the showrunners of HBO’s Industry cut a screen test to Blue Spring’s title song, they ended up commissioning Micay to compose the series’ original soundtrack. To the God Named Dream is a virtual soundtrack of sorts: The Toronto-born, Copenhagen-based artist, a sci-fi obsessive, envisions the album as the accompaniment to a fantasy RPG. (The sleeve of the vinyl edition doubles as a multiplayer board game.) Even for listeners unacquainted with the specifics of Micay’s fantasy world, the imaginative scope of the music is self-apparent. Drawing from trance, techno, and drum ’n’ bass, as well as new age and synth pop, Micay spins vast, filmic atmospheres out of melancholy melodies and sweeping sound design. The results feel more in keeping with Oneohtrix Point Never or even M83 than the club styles that Micay is best known for, but the record isn’t without its bangers: “You Can’t Win but You Can Lose” is an armored-up trip-hop epic, while “Fangs” and “It’s Recess Everywhere” are both soaring breakbeat-trance anthems steeped in rave nostalgia. The beauty of To the God Named Dream is the way Micay continually toys with dance music’s tropes, setting up a big drop only to pull the rug out, or building to a shuddering climax and then dissolving everything into a dreamy ambient denouement. It’s a fitting twist, given his dice-rolling inspirations—a rave twist on Choose Your Own Adventure.

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