When we last checked in with Milwaukee dark-synth project Black Challenger, 2020’s Vigilance was included in our favorite records of the year. “Go figure that one of our favorite Milwaukee records of 2020 sounds like the end of the world,” we said. “William Bush took some time away from his main gig in the excellent Milwaukee electro project Immortal Girlfriend (a group he co-fronts with his brother Kevin) to craft his own collection of sleek, dark, and ominous instrumentals under the moniker Black Challenger. Fans of John Carpenter, Stranger Things, and the retro-future apocalypse take note.”
And those fans should continue to take note, because the new Radiance is a fine continuation of Bush’s dark-synth universe. Opener “Hereafter” is a brooding and ethereal stage-setter; “Cosmic Power” kicks things properly into gear with a driving beat and glittering keys; the five-minute title track is pure soundscape, an entire Blade Runner-esque world to get lost in; closers “Ascension” and “The Struggler,” meanwhile, end things with a darker-than-usual flourish.
As mentioned before, Bush is also a member of Immortal Girlfriend. What has that synth project been up to? Hosting their own cooking show, of course! Check out the first episode below, in which brothers William and Kevin Bush make some fried chicken. Add a dash of Immortal Girlfriend or Black Challenger music to taste.
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• My First Band: William Bush (Immortal Girlfriend, Black Challenger)
• New Immortal Girlfriend video doesn’t feel pity or remorse or fear and it absolutely will not stop
• Immortal Girlfriend goes industrial with “post-synthwave headbanger,” “Others”