Oakland synthwave artist S.C.R.A.M., the project of Pranjal Tiwari, releases new album The Inner City via Tumbril’s Wedge October 6. The album is a set of cinematic sci-fi soundscapes that merge Blade Runner noir atmosphere with elements of jazz fusion and Tangerine Dream-like ambience. It’s epic and haunted, pristine yet sinister, a soundtrack to a future at once fascinating and unsettling. And today, we’re streaming the album in its entirety before its release on Friday.
Tiwari released a statement about the album:
“This album is a labor of love that took me three or four years to complete. In writing the music I envisioned a story set in a retro future, Blade Runner type megacity, the lives of its inhabitants playing out in the dark, brooding atmosphere of rain, neon and shadow.
“It’s that atmosphere that I wanted to create through the music, a place where the stories could percolate and play out in the listener’s own imagination.
“I grew up in a giant city myself, and I used to love walking around with headphones on, often in the rain, taking everything in with a soundtrack in my ears. I’ve also loved listening to movie scores since I was a kid. I love how you can listen to a good movie soundtrack all the way through and conjure up your own images along the way. It flows like a story on its own, separate from any other media.
“There are specific ideas and images I had in mind when working on each track, you can read a bit about those in the track-by-track below. There are also common themes running through the album – the loneliness and alienation that one can feel in a city of millions, a gnawing feeling that the past never goes away no matter how much technology we try to bury it under, a realization that the grass might not always greener in our brave new world…
“But I believe that all these themes need to be experienced through the music rather than explained. So put on your headphones or turn up your speakers and come take a journey through The Inner City.“
Hear the full album below and read Tiwari’s track-by-track commentary as well.
Second Sun: The sun rises over a future mega city. It’s the dawn of a shining new era, same as all the others before it.
Welcome to New Damascus: An out of town ship docks at the megacity station. On board are the wide eyed new arrivals… and a mysterious stranger.
Quantum Rats: Even in the future, the rat race lives on. Every man has a routine. A subway chase ensues.
Abigail’s Dream: Fear and wonder, innocence and terror. Somewhere deep within the city, a robot has its first dream.
A Rooftop Funeral: A small group stands huddled in the rain, hastily reunited to pay their respects, surrounded by the shadows of neon towers.
Future Noir: Remember the beginning of that old Yaphet Kotto movie “Across 110 Street” when a black Cadillac is driving through the dystopia of 1970s New York City while that Bobby Womack song plays in the background? Imagine that but in the future.
Tomorrow Is Always Right Behind You: The footsteps are quickening. The future is gaining on you. Keep running.
The Inner City (Through A Screen Darkly): A hidden world revealed. There is another city behind this one and these are the spirits that live there. We are well and truly through the looking glass.
Slipstream Visions: You just made it out before the clock ran out. The craft reaches escape velocity. From up here it all looks so deceptively serene. You’ll always be haunted by the things you’ve seen.
Never Could Live Like That: We’ve been through the wringer. We’ve seen both beautiful and horrific things. We’re walking through the rain on the neon lit streets trying to figure out where it all went to shit. An epilogue. But not an ending.
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.