Released back in January, Hyperspace is the debut album from the Pennsylvania based producer Knichael Might and is a real smörgåsbord of sound. What is meant by this is that each track feels different, like an entirely unique dish served among an electronic music buffet, so trust me when I say that you’re going to want a hefty sampling of each. In fact, chances are that, like me, you’ll only be left hungry for more! Let’s dig in.
We kick things off with “His Name is Kincade,” an upbeat track that one can’t help but overhear some subtle chiptune influences within and would even go so far as to suggest the song would’ve been excellent attract screen music for an arcade machine back in the day. “A.L.S.A.S. – Air, Land, Sea, and Space Theme Song” is an equally upbeat track and, much like it’s name, does indeed give you those feelings of traveling through all the various terrains mentioned; there are crescendo like highs, breakdown lows, and sweeping transitions in between.
“Nanotech Apocalypse” takes a bit of a darker and faster turn with a cyberpunk like edge that is, quite possibly, my favorite track on the album. There is an intense battle going on within the song itself between the aforementioned increased tempo and an occasional low-key and almost dreamlike breakdown that occurs; a battle for electronic music supremacy! “You Had Me At Abacab” joins the fight thereafter with laser guns blasting, which is to say that there are plenty of futuristic weaponry like sounds to be found among the impressive synth work like a Star Wars symphony; Knichael is one with the force!
“Herbie Wears Urban Pastels” is, what I can only assume, a reference to Herbie Hancock and his contributions to the electro-funk movement starting with his 1983 album, Future Shock, but more importantly his song “Rockit.” I could be way off base on that one, but regardless this track is exceptional in the fact that it could even make my brain bridge that gap due to it’s own electro-funk feel and overall sound. “The Montage” is, well, perfect montage music! Simple as that, really; it’s the kind of track that’ll help get you motivated in condensed time.
“Mission Determined” is, perhaps, that which you were training for in the previous track as this one bumps, grooves, and moves with a banging beat complete with a repeating high note that screams like a microprocessor under a heavy load; it can’t contain this much awesomeness! “The Negotiations” is almost glitchwave like in design, featuring some electro-scratching throughout the track, complete with steady beats that would work well in any club. “Miami Niiiice” continues those late night party vibes, the kind where the dress code requires nothing but a t-shirt under a suit jacket and the pants to match. It’s the kind of track that you listen to even after the party is over while cruising in your sports car along the coast, sun rising, and you need a little OutRun feel.
“Constable Ninja 2 – Hyperspace – End Credits – Bonus” ends the album and, while the name is certainly interesting, the track itself is even moreso with a synthpop flair to it that’ll tingle your eardrums as it fades out. As far as debut albums go, all of these songs are simply solid and I can only hope that Knichael Might will grace us with his musical presence once again sooner rather than later. He’s certainly got the range and the talent to take him far in this scene and I look forward to seeing where he goes from here; the future is bright for Might!
In order to learn more, and to answer a burning question of mine that was brought up in the review, we conducted an interview with Knichael Might:
Watermelon Banzai: Who is the man behind Knichael Might? What is your musical background? How did you come to be involved in synthwave?
Knichael Might: Well as for musical background, I’ve been playing in some capacity or another for over 25 years. I started playing bass in my grandfather’s oldies band and I’ve played just about every genre as a bass player. Rock, pop, country (yes, country!), polka, jazz, blues, etc. Like anything that had a paycheck attached, I would take the gig. No reservations.
So, after a long time of playing everything else that people wanted/needed me to play, I realized that I had never really been able to play what I wanted to play. I had some licks and stuff in my head and just wanted to get them out. Since it is hard to find people willing to join a B-52’s cover band, Synthwave and Chiptunes was the place that sounded most like what was in my head, and provided the best way to get them out.
Watermelon Banzai: Regarding the track “Herbie Wears Urban Pastels,” I was curious if this song was in anyway influenced by the works of Herbie Hancock? If not, perhaps my assumptions were off base, but if so do you consider him an influence? Furthermore, who are your influences?
Knichael Might: So, yes and no. I have a good friend, Scott Pugliese, who named this song for me. I didn’t specifically sit down and say “Hey, I’m going to write a Herbie Hancock influenced song” but. after Scott suggested the name, I thought it was perfect. The song is clearly influenced by “Just Around the Corner” by Herbie even if I didn’t do so intentionally.
Since you asked, I reached out to Scott and asked him to help me with this one. Here was his answer: “I immediately thought the song sounded very Herbie Handcock-esque. I also felt like someone should be wearing a pastel jacket walking street. Kind of like their theme song.”
As for my other influences, that’s a tough one to answer. I pretty much grew up listening to everything from 1920’s Jazz to Heavy Metal to Genesis to the B-52’s and literally everything in between. For a long time my prized childhood possession was a 45 copy of Snoopy Vs. The Red Barron. I guess if I was forced to pick some bands/artists right now it would probably be Genesis, Queen, and Mike Post.
Watermelon Banzai: What kind of equipment do you use to make your music? What is your setup like? Are you “in the box,” all physical, or bit of both? Anything you’ve got your eye on?
Knichael Might: Probably like everyone else I have a ton of equipment. I used a mixture of Hard and Soft synth’s for Hyperspace. For the better part of this year though I’ve been primarily in the box. I have 2 Alesis V61’s, 1 V25, and a Novation Launchpad. I use Reaper for my live shows, and a Mix of Reaper and FL studio for composing. My go to VST’s right now are the Jupiter 8va and Lush-101. The Jupiter puts me in the right mindset for some reason, and I really like Lush-101’s layering setup.
For my drums, I mainly use samples from the two Roland JD-800 sets that came with the unit. If they were good enough for Tony Banks and David Rosenthal, then I should be fine. As for what I have my eye on: I’d love an original Jupiter 8 as far as vintage equipment goes. I’d also like to get a Nektar Panorama P6 for my software based live rig. Maybe eventually move out of the box and do more creating and building in my live sets with hardware.
Watermelon Banzai: What is on your perfect pizza and inside your ideal burrito?
Knichael Might: Pizza … well I like pepperoni. But my all-time favorite is to ask for a side of ice cold shredded mozzarella that I sprinkle on while I’m eating the slice .. sooooo goooood.
Burrito … Refried beans, rice, ground beef, salsa, lettuce, tomato, cheese.
Watermelon Banzai: We’ve talked on Twitter before about your friendship with Greyskull, any plans for a collaboration? Would you be open for a collaboration with others? Anyone that you’d like to collaborate with in the future?
Knichael Might: I hope so. We’ve talked back and forth about it, but it really is more about timing than anything else. I’ve got a tune or two that could use his guitar solos for sure. Regarding other artists, of course! I’d be open to talking to anyone about it. As for who I would like to collaborate with, I got some ideas I’d like to run past Weird Al.
But more realistically, I think it would be cool do something with Vampire Step-Dad, he seems like a genuinely cool dude and makes some sweet tunes. DREDDD has been super supportive of my work and we’ve been going back and forth for awhile now. We’ve got different styles, but that’s not always a bad thing. I think something good would come of it.
Watermelon Banzai: In said prior discussions you regretted not being able to attend Human Music last year. With Human Music making a return next year, do you plan to go this time, and are there any plans for yourself to start performing live at some point?
Knichael Might: So yeah, I really wanted to go to Human Music this year. I was eager to see what some other acts are doing for their live shows and I really want to get out and be part of the scene and support it anyway I can. I think I have some good concepts for my stage show and was looking forward to comparing some notes. It just didn’t work out this year. I’m planning to go to the next one. I also really want to get down to the Echosynthetic Fest in November, even though it is a bit of a haul. As for playing synthwave live, I’ve already played a few shows and have some others in the works that I’m hoping to get sorted out over the next 6 months or so.
Watermelon Banzai: What’s next for you? Is there a follow up album in the works at the moment?
Knichael Might: I just wrapped up composing the songs for my next album a few weeks ago. It is currently titled The Interstellar Chronicles, but that may change as we get closer to the release date. We are shooting for early December. I’m getting more help and input on mixing and mastering this time around, and that eats up more time. Mainly because people have been gracious enough to help me out on the side which works out well as long as I am patient.
I’m also trying to focus more on my live set. You’ll notice my new logo has a kind of a helmet with a square screen on it. That is actually part of my stage gear. I end up wearing it for the later part of the live show and videos play on it.
It is going to be amazing!