Pacific Coliseum specializes in a particularly plush strain of electronic music, with synthesizers as pretty and orderly as Zen gardens. “Ridge Walk” and “Sunset,” which appeared on last year’s Blue Universe album, have the sweeping grandeur and tear-jerking allure of the some of the best synth-fueled Eighties movie scores, while “Hotel” plays like an unabashedly beautiful coda to Herb Alpert’s “Making Love in the Rain.”
Blue Universe isn’t just about serenity; Pacific Coliseum tempers all the prettiness with buzzing house cuts like “Cloud Jam.” His new single, “Turquoise,” splits the difference between these two poles, merging all that musical opulence with a strutting bass line, a steady drip of hand percussion, and a four-to-the-floor kick drum. The melody is ruthlessly effective, one searingly bright, wonderfully dopey riff that keeps looping over a keening synthesizer line, and the result sounds like a cheerful sequel to soft, funky, heavily sampled Kool & the Gang cuts from the early Seventies.
It’s not easy to make something sound so effortless and balmy. “Usually I tend to work pretty quickly, but the final mix of this track took me probably two years,” Pacific Coliseum explained in an email. “I had a pretty specific visual in my mind for this one: Watching a blue-pink-orange sunset from a beachside cafe, palm trees swaying, [and] trying to capture the feeling you get in the moment where a sunset is at its brightest and most colorful, right before it disappears. It feels a little cheesy, or, like, ‘postcard-y,’ but I feel like now, in this specific moment that we’re in, I find myself longing even more for that feeling.”
Pacific Coliseum’s third album, How’s Life, is due out May 15th.