The synthesizer has been part of trans culture since the days of pioneers like Wendy Carlos, and now a new generation of artists like Richmond, Virginia’s Synthia Slimez–solo project of Kosmo Powers–carries the electronic torch. This pride month, they released Descent to Glacial Sphere, a slimy space capsule of an album packed with experimental goodness.
Before liftoff, it’s important to know the mission: Synthia Slimez seeks to portray the experiences of trans people in a violent, oppressive world, but with a futurist vision of trans liberation. In their own words, these are five tracks designed to “safeguard and telepoot the Trans people of earth sphere back to their TRANStopian glacial orb of Uranus.”
Powers’ expressive use of electronics makes the danger of that mission all too clear, stacking brutal lo-fi beats with blinding synth starbursts, blending intensity and electro-glam. Amid the harshness, there’s lots of fun to be had with tracks like “Uranian Teratoid,” which vents some of the record’s more sinister space opera spirit in a rush of cosmic rave rhythm.
Though it’s ringed with color and light, the album’s center of gravity is its militant edge. Tension builds into “Post Earth/Final Boss,” the nightmarish showdown between the bigoted powers that be and the Powers of the Glacial Sphere, featuring sounds straight out of a 2D platformer from hell, complete with an expertly-executed maniacal cackle.
As the track fades out, unresolved, that fight feels far from final, but hope remains for those intrepid Uranian voyagers. Here on Earth, you can do your part, so don’t space out on this album. Descent to Glacial Sphere is available as a digital download as well as a limited edition cassette, and all proceeds will benefit Health Brigade, an inclusive healthcare organization serving marginalized communities in Richmond.