Not one person is the same in on this Earth that we inhabit. Clearly, that is what makes the element of life so interesting and extraordinary. There are many different niches and roles that people play, some just have a knack for marketing their artistic endeavors better than others. An individual who creates major waves in an untapped realm of musical creation is Eli Raybon. Playing the mad scientist role, this man’s thematic theatrics coupled with refreshingly gifted soundscapes makes him someone to become aware of.

Eli bounced around to multiple states such as Mississippi, Ohio (birthplace) and Virginia throughout his lifetime. He spent the majority of his time growing up in Waynesboro, Virginia. His father’s musical actions and uninhibited ways encouraged him to try his hand at musical composition early on. He got the ball rolling by writing songs and directing movie scenes with a group called HI8 Tapes. From the jump, Eli grew weary of society’s tendency to mold children into the likenesses of their parents. Wholeheartedly, there was no doubt in his mind that he would eschew a traditional life trajectory. He is most definitely an individual who variates from the norm and strides comfortably in the space of the unknown. It is fair to say that he formed a nonconformist worldview from an early age.

Synthwave Auteur

Although in his twenties, Eli creates blissful takes of musical material that is cloaked in eighties flavor. With his distinctive retro aesthetic, Eli shows a blatant disregard for conventional compositions. Rather, he captures the groove and spirit of his electronic genre instead of relying on standard techniques. The ways that he creates sounds reminiscent of the eighties deals directly with the synthesizers and different instrumentation that he uses. For example he finds great success from using the Casio CZ-101 and the stylophone (unused since David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”) By making use of these wild analog synthesizers, scratchpadding and obscure digital polysynths Raybon combines a fluorescent nostalgia with a fascination for the future.

Without a doubt, this man’s non-traditional approach to musical endeavors stems from a myriad of influences. Primarily, he receives a great deal of inspiration from eighties music/film scores, the era of VHS tapes and retro culture in general. His music video for the song, “30 Cents” was directed by Markus Thorington which is a duo comprised of Jen Thorington and Samuel Markus who also operate as Raybon’s publicist. This retro spy thriller was shot in Idyllwild, CA (3:30 runtime) and was entered into multiple film festivals across the world. It went on to win a Gold California Film Award in 2017.

Faulty Brain Layers

Two days before getting ready to depart for Computer Studies courses in New York, he decided to take a gap year to record, “Me & My Machine.” This album documented his struggle against personal and societal expectations and displayed his familiarity with the id, ego and superego. Brilliantly, he implements different motifs and incorporates a maelstrom of emotions within his discographies.

Much of this artist’s appeal comes from being unapologetically authentic. With a zany zest for creativity he broadens the boundaries of his electronic genre with various warbles, bloops and squiggles. Doing so, his music is laced with iridescent shimmer and vaporwave stylings. In original fashion, he contributes a great balance between homage and innovation with experimentally cosmic creations. As a truly unique being, his music exemplifies evolution through the use of rhythmically amorphous hardware synthesizers. Something that is truly fantastic is the way he is able to blend timbres together to portray an eclectic sonic palette. Overall, his emerging sci-fi sound and its aura combined with imperfection develops highly relatable bodies of work.

An upcoming body of work set to be released by Raybon is called, “Supertoys” and will arrive on July 12. Making himself a character of fulfilling a role within the musical atmosphere is a major focal point of Eli’s efforts. Ultimately, he resourcefully curates music that confronts mortality with avid content and roleplay. By using music as a storytelling device, he fleshes out characters within a sci-fi universe with him existing within that realm as well. “Supertoys” the album draws influence from Brian Aldiss’ short story titled, “Supertoys Last All Summer Long.” It encompasses the idea that the world is overcrowded but many of us are lonely. These “Supertoys” help us fight the loneliness epidemic with analog sound circuitry that represents the intricacies of life. 

Interactive Convergence

Supertoys will demonstrate a great collaborative between Eli Raybon and Prozak Morris. Morris is an avant garde synth figure who made his way onto Raybon’s radar with his project, “Dystopia.” They illuminate each other’s strengths with great comradery, mutual instincts and shared desires. Together, these two crafted a surreal sci-fi concept with infectious grooves and hypnotic transitions. Also, they make their audience aware of how synthesizers are aural representations of trigonometry equations. The periodic vibrations of sine waves depict marvelous entendre within a cyberpunk environment. Subtly, they also include mathematical references like the use of binary digits and hexadecimals which fit well within the context of a sci-fi adventure story.

All in all, Eli Raybon’s musical offerings stoke the listener’s adrenaline with buoyant rhythms. His shows, such as the one at SXSW, present sci-fi music in a manner much akin to the magnificent group called Tangerine Dream. He most definitely marches to the beat of his own contemporary drum. As a funky retro composer, his groovy sounds ramp up momentum for anyone who decides to listen. Catch him on stage with his emerald green suit and goggles and neon attire and make sure you interact with this weird, mindful and cool artistry. 

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