The greatest musical albums are comprised of songs that don't just sound good – they also sound the same.

Or, at least, they have the same tone, atmosphere and feeling, resulting in beautiful coherence. A release's tracks are different pieces of the same organism, exemplifying its overall life and character in different ways.

It's difficult enough for a solo artist to achieve coherence. For a group of musicians creating a compilation of their work, it's almost impossible.

Yet, Converge Vol. 1, the first release for electronic music label EMERCIVE, succeeds, crafting a dark and foreboding soundscape by integrating the sounds of five artists.

Sysdemes
Insight

The aptly named "Insight" introduces us to Converge Vol. 1's universe. A low hum gives us a glimpse of it, and it feels distant, like an approaching land we notice from afar. At first, we can only make out a rough outline of its features.

As echoing synths and layered ambient sounds creep in, a fuller picture emerges. It's a dark soundscape, haunted by booming kicks and bass licks.

And it feels like there's an underlying secret – Sysdemes instills mystery in the track's interlude with varying tempos, premonitory tones and entrancing Baba O'Riley-esque synths.

With a 5:46 runtime, this is the EP's shortest track, but ably outlines the backdrop of its world.

Bad Eye
Seven Sixty

To add to the mystery: the extraterrestrial "Seven Sixty." It opens with a scratchy squeal over pulsating ringing as high-pitched alien sounds interrupt, as if trying to make themselves heard over the static.

Soon, a real sense of life animates the sonic universe. We're thrust forward with a spikey, upbeat tempo, and the melody kicks in with a single synth plucking along. More high-pitched characters pop in and out, communicating with each other. And there are whooshes of air, like a human, or animal, deeply exhaling.

If "Insight" is the backdrop for Converge Vol. 1's world, then "Seven Sixty" is the introduction of life, informing us we aren't alone here.

D.O
CODA 794

"Coda 794," steady and unceasing, pulls us deeper still.

While "Seven Sixty" sounded foreign and alien, "Coda 794" is a distinctly manmade creation with its mechanical, industrial qualities. It unleashes sounds that are whirring and chopping and thudding, like robots motoring through a factory.

But listen carefully and the faintest sign of life can be heard. Beneath the mechanism is an undecipherable vocal sample, luring us closer.

Doorstep Rebellion
Cryptomnesia

Cryptomnesia, the track's namesake, refers to a person recalling a forgotten memory and mistaking it as an original thought.

The song itself is also an exercise of suppression and stimulation. Each of its four sections leading to the outro spend minutes building before exploding into jubilant climaxes. And, each time it feels like the track is going to sustain its energy and soar forward, it just slows and sinks instead, smothering all momentum.

An inescapable feeling of ensnarement pervades as we push forward.

Rhyot
Meld

"Meld" begins with a return to the EP's pitch-black, unilluminated core.

The eight-minute track spends its first half climbing. It begins with a steady kick, joined by a thick, ripping bass, an ominous wailing, and then finally calls a mau5ian synth with a gorgeous melody.

But then, similar to "Cryptomnesia," as the track is really settling into a groove of happy energy, it fades out, and darkness returns: at the six-minute mark there are crackling claps, low growls, and heartbeat-paced thuds.

In Converge Vol. 1's dark realm, a hopeful light can peek through a crack, but it will always be snuffed.