The world of possibility is endless on Topia; expanding landscapes are digital playgrounds for dreams becoming reality and that reality living forever. Bastian Void’s Joe Bastardo has often explored these sonic universes where the future materializes into skyward visages laden with glassine shimmer. He knows how to weave a hook into crystal waves, all held up by entrancing beats with simple, beguiling foundations, and Topia is his opus.
Deep grooves hop through silver streets on “Marsh Ave,” avoiding the oncoming rush of fear-fueled mayhem that zips like resonant arrows through the air. Soft pads hover, a cloud of unknowing kindness shrouding the shifting pursuit from prying eyes above. Bastardo blends hints of paranoia in with the lilting bliss to create something memorable. A similar feeling floats through the early parts of “Topia 2.” Electronic debris crackles in the synthetic jungles creating a rolling bed of aural disarray bound together by the progressive beat. Transportive leads break the whole thing open, though, ascending through golden minefields aloft in the glittering night. It may be a beautiful dream, but I’ll soak it in for as long as my eyes stay closed.
Bastardo finds airy moments, too. Songs like “Heart’s Location” and “Friendship 101” and “slither through the diamond sea rejoicing in the cool water and aqueous bounce. Each successive run through becomes a new beacon, crunching rhythms giving way to searing light beams cutting through the timbral fog. The short, reflective tones of “Echo Lake” slow Topia down for a brief moment, just enough time to catch our breath before “Poly’s Hallway” melts the sunrise.
The ebb and flow of Topia makes the whole album feel like a fully-realized manuscript, played out in detail across neon expanses filled with emotive glances and mountains of whimsy. Bastian Void has always choreographed these beautiful moments, but Topia comes together in perfect rhythm and harmony. As I zone out to “Lilac Mask” for the dozenth time, the gentle arpeggios sweep away any lingering doubts that ascendancy looms ahead for those who hang on. Mirror-lined corridors will lead the way, our reflections disappearing into infinity to become at one with the cosmic flow. Topia is waiting.