Caspa's 15-track Alpha Omega LP is as ambitious as it is diverse. Easily doubling as an action movie soundtrack, this album’s influences should be no surprise: Caspa's recent résumé includes both Kick-Ass 2, and Halo 4, to name a few.
The eponymous first track, "Alpha Omega," is as lofty as the name implies, including almost every element in EDM from its beginning to its end. Channeling the start of a Michael Bay movie, this song could easily be played with quick visual cuts of an aircraft carrier, jets flying overhead, soldiers with camo facepaint – their legs dangling over the edge of a fast-moving helicopter swirling past lavish blue seas in the background, guns locked and loaded. Then, hints of dry, dubstep bass beats bubbling out of molten metal, transitioning to progressive house, then going back to its action movie soundtrack – guns locked and loaded.
The action continues through track 2: "Setting Sun." Here, Caspa’s soldiers have landed, and they’re charging towards their enemy. If "Alpha Omega" was all about adrenaline, this song’s violins and vocals peel back the intensity to replace the adrenaline with high emotion. Everything feels significant. This songs weaves trance through light dubstep, climbing with snare claps in a military rhythm.
Skipping over to "Sexy Beast," the bass beat is slow, meticulous, relentless. Percussive, drowning sounds transition to a quick fade-out into empty space.
"Techno Terry" comes out with a Tiesto vibe: light, bouncy, driving down into low bass with percussive synth melody driving the rhythm along. If the first tracks were a tribute to action movie soundtracks, then "Techno Terry" is an homage to late 90's EDM – but Caspa has managed to make it sound fresh and new again. I only wish it were longer, as we only get a small three-minute taste of this before we delve into the darker, post-apocalyptic sounds of "Ghost Town."
With some solid but forgettable tracks in-between, the album picks up again with Ayah Marar's powerful vocals in "One by One." This track makes it clear why Calvin Harris brings her on tour for live vocals – she nails this track. Caspa, smartly, does not try to shine in this song; he uses light synth and tight, subtle bass to supports her vocals rather than trying to compete with them. A smart track.
"Let the Rush Kick In" manages to sound laid back and adrenalizing all at the same time. It effortlessly strings together roots of 60s Jamaican dub to contemporary dubstep.
The last two tracks bring the LP full circle – back to Alpha Omega’s action movie theme – and they could easily be woven into the outro credits of a Jason Bourne movie. The superfast snare intensity of "Reach for the Sky" eventually relents to the slow wubs and soft synth of "Back for the First Time." This last track fulfills a similar function to Skrillex's "Summit" on his Bangarang EP – a nice, ethereal break from the intensities of the previous songs. A palate cleanser of an ending, giving you a nice moment of clarity to cap-off an ambitious sophomore effort of an LP.
Alpha Omega is a mosaic of an LP, with self-contained genres scattered throughout the album's overriding action themes. Although Alpha Omega can stray from its focus, more often than not it provides the listener with refreshing variety rather than filler.
When to listen: While playing an FPS, or, as an alternate soundtrack to some of your favourite action movies.
Definitely check out: "Alpha Omega," "Setting Sun," "Techno Terry," "One By One," and "Reach for the Sky."
By Grant Petersen