Saturday, December 15, 2012

Synthetix Year End Synthstravaganza!

2012 has been a great year for 80s inspired synth. Possibly the best year since the 80s. There have been so many incredible new producers arise and mainstays of the scene have perfected their craft even further. It was suggested to me a couple of months back by the always engaging Jordan F to do something different for the Best of 2012. Jordan's suggestion was to do a Top Ten for all the different 80s inspired synth genres.

I loved this suggestion, but thought I might be getting in over my head. Going through all my favourite tunes of 2012 I kept trying to separate tracks into genres. This took a lot of time and patience to work out, for a start I had to settle on genres. This became a bit of an obsession for me as I really wanted to so this right and make it a bit of a platform for how this music groups into set thematics.

One of the things that really vexed me for years in this scene is that there was no real genres that made much sense. The only one that made sense to me was OutRun, which is a hallmark of the Rosso Corsa stable. OutRun has it's own personality, the high energy night driving chase music that is instantly recognisable. But what about Dream Wave? Synth Wave? And the myriad of other variations. It became harder and harder to even relate these styles to the genres, often really just having the 80s as their sound inspiration, but the form this music was taking was constantly changing it's flavours; adding new ones, and bringing in more ingredients.

I'd like to state I'm no musician. I have no musical talent whatsoever. I don't understand how music is written and to me the whole making of music is a magical process beyond my comprehension. I do, however, have great passion for music. The 80s sounds I grew up with are now being revisited and reinvented by modern day magicians who make the past the future and are able to freeze time in individual moments. I don't want to know how music is made, I don't want to see what's behind the curtain and have it explained to me in bunches of numbers and formulas. Keeping music a magical and wondrous experience is what inspires me and gives me great pleasure.

So as I went through the genres I was making up, or adapting and grouping tracks accordingly, it rarely was about the nuts and bolts that make up the tune and more about the feelings it inspired in me. The mood it created and the ambience it exuded. This was all based on emotional response and it took much mulling over and deep contemplation about how to make these genres work. I don't expect these genres to be any kind of blueprint or standard for the scene, that's not my intention at all. This is more about how I as a reviewer and sharer of music can convey an idea or a response to what I personally have felt in the music.

It was rather serendipitous that without trying to I settled on eight genres of 80s inspired synth. These are: Soundtrack Synth, OutRun Synth, Synth Pop, Synth Romance, Dark Synth, Electro Funk Synth, Synth Wave and Italo Disco Synth. All of these have elements that can crossover into others and it's not like there are any strict rules, but for the sake of my sanity these seemed to work for any track I could listen to. This is not something I'm going go into any detail to explain, I let the music do the work there.

What this means for the year end Best Of 2012 top tens on Synthetix is that I have eight individual top tens covering my favourite music in all these genres resulting in 80 of my favourite musical experiences for 2012. I hope theres lots of familiar, and maybe some new experiences for you. There are a few tracks one might think are glaring omissions too, but I placed a couple caveats on what music was eligible. The first of these is that they have to have been released in 2012 and the second is that they must have been officially released. There were many tracks that have been shared on soundcloud but either not released or been downloadable. I made the decision of making these tracks exempt from the top tens as I wanted anyone to be able to enjoy these tracks, and that the artist was happy with them as their final evolutions. Unfortunately there are few tracks in these charts that have been removed or met their download limits since they were posted, but I hope this is only in a couple of instances and you might be able to get them still through contacting the artist.

The top tens themselves aren't based on anything by my own personal feelings and opinions about the music. Theres no set rules as to where the tracks are and they're by no means based on anyone else's opinion but my own, so please keep this in mind if you're not in agreeance.

Before we get to the charts themselves I have bonus gift for everyone in the Synthetix Ultimix 2012. This is a monster two hour mix containing  the top four tracks from each genre's chart. I hope you enjoy this mix as we blast off with the first of many Year End Top Tens on Synthetix!

Top 10 Soundtrack Synth

1, A Glowing Light, A Promise - Makeup And Vanity Set
2, Serve The Public Trust - Protector 101
3, Retrofutures - Starforce & Perturbator
4, Propulsion Overdrive - Dynatron
5, Silver Streak - LA Dreams
6, The Hour Has Come To Fight - Tommy
7, Golden '85 - Starforce
8, A Hero's Anthem - Flash Arnold
9, Rumblefish - Pilotpriest
10, 80s Muscle - Quasars

Top 10 Electro Funk Synth

1, Interface - Garth Knight
Cut Glass Accent - Aminova
3, Quantum Leap - 80s Stallone
4, Sleepover (Up All Night) - Rolly Mingwald
5, Streets Of Metropolis - Flash Arnold
6, Cardboard Kings - Rain Sword
7, Shadow Of Haumea - Bluezz Vylez
8, Mecha Cop - Kenji Run
9, Clockwise - SaiR
10, Funky Times - Evanton

Top 10 OutRun Synth

1, Overdrive - Tommy
2, Bal Harbour Shakedown - DigitalNativeDance
3, Vision Runner - LA Dreams
4, In Full Action - Flash Arnold
5, High Beams - Miami Nights 1984
6, Paralell Lines - Photosynthesi
7, Sunset Highway - Seipa
8, Highway Heat - Tommy
9, LA Dream - LA Dreams
10, Midnight Drive - DJ Ten

Top 10 Dark Synth

1, Run To Survive - Perturbator & Protector 101
2, Prey For Your Life - Arc Neon
3, L'incubo Senza Fine (Reprise) - Vercetti Technicolor
4, Welcome To Nocturne City - Perturbator
5, Crime In Fourth Sector - Jordan F
6, Mania - Phalanxes of Fingers & Congenital Pride
7, Electric Getaway - Mega Drive
8, Shadow Runner - Flash Arnold
9, Thunderground - Judge Bitch
10, Dark City - Neonflashdrive

Top 10 Italo Disco Synth

1, Disco Venus - Modular 1981
2, Beyond Saturn - Italo Robo
3, Powerline - Lost Years
4, Midnight Breeze - Vincenzo Salvia
5, Profondo Nero - Salta & Roma
6, Discobody Synthklash - The Klash
7, Alfa - Malibu B
8, Electric Midnight - The Dante
9, Everytime (Instrumental mix) - Quixotic
10, Scaglietti - Franz Tormer

Top 10 Synth Romance

1, Perfect Summer - LA Dreams
2, Summer Breeze - Rain Sword
3, The Secret Letter - Crystal Bridge
4, After Chasing Sunsets - LA Dreams
5, Departure - Mr Nissness
6, Dream Of Me - Arcade High
7, Bikini Girls - Jordan F
8, Make Love - Tommy
9, This Last Dance - Chaconne
10, Restless - Betamaxx

Top 10 Synth Wave

1, Star Hustler - Lazerhawk
2, Rockin Summer - Lueur Verte
3, Flash Workout - Flash Arnold
4, Breakpoint - Garth Knight
5, Daybreak - Cut Slack
6, Valles Marineris Pursuit - Mitch Murder
7, Rafales - Plaisance
8, Pittsburgh Nights - Betamaxx
9, Miami Lights - Scream & Dive
10, Running Man Fever - Hot Hot Hawk

Top 10 Synth Pop

1, Get 2 Know U - Patrick Baker
2, Romeo - Tempogeist (feat. Lisa Dank)
3, Modern Love - Kristine
4, It's OK - Bastian's Happy Flight
5, Takeover - Mirror Kisses
6, Dark Ride - Mirana
7, You Are You Are - Le Cassette
8, Fight - Tyson
9, Electric Touch - Hot Hot Hawk & Patrick Baker
10, Never Let You Down - Cut Slack

As a bonus Top Ten for 2012 here are my favourite top ten electronic tracks that came out this year that aren't specifically 80s, or are hybrids of numerous styles. These tracks were just too good not to give some love to for all the joy they've brought me in 2012.

Top 10 Electronica

1, Brainchild - Klockhaus
2, We Need A Beat - Navigateur
3, Icarus - Madeon
4, Pinup - Televisor
5, Analog Ending - Action Jackson
6, Psychic Feelings - Occult You
7, Walk With Me - Oliver
8, Luckystar - Paul For You
9, Spoken Word - Lancelot
10, Getting High (Final DJs Remix) - Lifelike & Popular Computer

This completes our musical journeys and adventures on Synthetix for 2012. It's been a great first year for this blog and the 80s inspired synth scene feels like it's really establishing self with a magnificent range of artists who are finding the love for the 80s sounds their true calling. I'd like to thank all the members of the scene and the Synthetix Facebook group who make all of this happen.

I hope you have had a rockin  good time on here this year and I hope you have a most radical festive season. I look forward to having more good times and great rock'n'roll with you in 2013.

Til then, stay 80s and keep on rockin.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Ghosthouse Take The Money And Run

As 2012 draws to a close on Synthetix we've still got some rockin' good action for you. This will be the last weekday post on Synthetix for 2012. We'll be back to regular programming early January, but before I finish up I'll be doing a year end best of 2012 spectacular this weekend in lieu of the regular Weekend Update. I'm hoping for this to be a super exciting way to finish off a super exciting year in 80s inspired synth and to compliment this auspicious occassion there'll be 2012 Synthetix Ultimix to keep you rockin into 2013 in the most luxurious of styles.

For our last week day post on Synthetix I've got something special. There are many underrated bands and producers in the 80s inspired synth scene, but one that most certainly deserves a lot more kudos than they get is Ghosthouse. My first experience with Ghosthouse were the Stop Drop And Roll remixes released a few months ago (particularly the wonderful MiamiNights1984 one). However the real Ghosthouse sound is most evident in their superb self-titled album from 2011, available here.

Although I feel late to the Ghosthouse party, their absolutely stunning track Flat Line, has been one of my favourite songs this year. As it was released last year, it's exempt from the Best Of 2012 I'm doing this weekend but that doesn't mean we can't give it some love right now, so be sure to give this totally k-rad to the max song some love right now here. Please come back once you've enjoyed it's myriad of vintage pleasures.

Moving back up to the present Ghosthouse have just shared a new track on their soundcloud that is technically more rock than synth, but it's soul glows with such vibrant 80s colours that I thought it would be a real highnote to finish up the new music posts with.  Get ready to rock like it's 1985 and tear the place apart as Ghosthouse get totally tubular with their new song: Money!

The 80s feeling is so perfect in this song. The vocal delivery in Ghosthouse's sound is utterly perfect, combine this with some of the best 80s style lyrics written since 1989 and you have a recipe for lots of good times and great rock'n'roll. Doing a truly 80s rock sound is difficult to achieve once you start including all the elements Ghosthouse use, but Money shows their proficiency for authentic sounds and arrangements like no other.

I've been saying all year that the 80s inspired synth producers that gravitate towards using more varied instruments, like guitars and sax, and that also do vocal tracks will elevate the experience of their sounds into previously unimagined territory. Ghosthouse are doing this right now, and are doing it with a natural ease that oozes quality on every conceivable level.

Everything about Money rocks, it works in a completely authentic way that makes me scream for more. I can only hope Ghosthouse are planning to unleash a new record in 2013 and that they continue developing their styles into even more 80s inspired magic. For now, this serves as the perfect song to finish up 2012 with, so rock it hard and rock it often.

I look forward to seeing you on the weekend for all the Top Tens of 2012 in the 80s inspired synth scene on your internet channel that's all 80s all the time: Synthetix.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Chaconne Saves This Last Dance

Chaconne's been making tsunami sized waves in the 80s inspired synth scene recently. His previous two tracks have been thoroughly impressive and his brand new adventure into the synth zone is another work of supremely authentic 80s love.

This new track is in a much more synth romance feel, compared to the epic soundtrack nature of his last track, Fighting Is Finished. It's also a vastly different aesthetic to his superlative synth wave classic Romance And Revolution. This new experience is full of emotionally raw melodies and warm orchestrations that show a more tender side to Chaconne's musical creations.

The main melody of This Last Dance is transparently distilled purity of synth emotions. Each note is a heartfelt plunge into limpid pools of sentiment that have boundless depth and presence beyond description. The truest hallmark of authentic synth romance is the key change, mastery of melody means the key change becomes an existentially exciting experience. The change ups in This Last Dance take me to  mirages of glittering stars, pink clouds and a feeling of wonder that washes over my imagination like neon waves of energy that resonate through to my very core.

It's the perfect mix of emotions and sounds, arranged with a pristine clarity and allowed to expand and grow like a genuine living entity. This music feels alive. It makes me feel alive; and it's a fathomless joy every listen. This track is synth perfection incarnate, this is exactly the reason why I do this blog, for it would be criminal for such a beautifully crafted piece of music to go by unnoticed.

This Last Dance is the textbook definition of a Synthetix Reference Experience and the fact it's available to add to our music collections right now (and for free) makes this gentleman feel like Christmas has indeed come early. Thank you, Chaconne and keep on rockin.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

This Is It For Flash Arnold

Flash Arnold has certainly been a prolific producer of rivetting and engaging synth experiences in 2012. The artist's penchant for truly rockin 80s synth masterpieces is most apparent on his new EP, This Is It. Four chapters of gloriously written and arranged synth gold await us and the experience goes a long way to showing how this producer's prowess for the classic 80s sounds is the dictionary definition of top-shelf.


The title track opens up with a methodically arranged aesthetic that feels almost workmanlike in it's delivery, but it draws the listener deeper with every bar of chrome-smooth synth work. The real highlight of this track in particular is the lead guitar. The amount this adds to the energy and ambience of the track is absolutely monstrous. The solos wail over ethereally swirling synth melodies and the crushing rockumental riff that completes the track is thoroughly energising.

The Flash Arnold sound is fast becoming iconicised by the electric lead guitars that provide the perfect harmonic contrast to the melodious synths. This is taken to the next level in track two, The Final Chase. What would normally be considered a hypnotising and calming excursion in keyboards becomes a volatile crescendo of rockin raucousness thanks to the sublimely implemented guitars. Flash Arnolds has proven that high action soundtrack synth is even more engaging with the six stringed axe swining wildly for the fences.

The authenticity of the production enhances the rhythms and melodies even more with every instrument feeling correct, and never appearing jarring or out of place. This in itself is a magical achievement for any producer wanting to get the 80s sound down perfectly. The New Wave melodies Flash Arnold channels from the heavens themselves makes things feel even more wonderfully retro.

It's these authentic melodies that can be experienced the most succinctly on the EP in Flash Workout. Shades of Devo eminate through the bassline, but the orchestral stabs, bright synths and ripping guitars take things to a whole new level. The timing and arrangements are utterly flawless, each element is finely balanced and the end result is textbook 80s magic. This has instantly become my favourite Flash Arnold experience thus far, totally radical and rockin to the max.

This Is It rounds out it's quadrilogy of quality soundquakes with the menacing Shadow Runner, a much darker and nihilistic piece of sountrack synth that beats with panic and steps in time with danger. The music is allowed much more ambience to evolve without the pressure of hooks and riffs, keeping itself in a state of encapsulated darkness that allows the listener's imagination to be captured and enslaved through a Siren's call of melodic malice.

Flash Arnold's latest EP feels delightfully concise and complete throughout all it's chapters, each soundscape bears it's own complete identity and it shifts moods like high end sportscar shifts gears, often resulting in just as much of an adrenaline rush to the listener.

This Is It is presented by Aphasia Records on their Bandcamp page here and is definitely a Synthetix Reference Experience, all lovers of classic 80s sounds should pick up as soon as possible and enjoy it as often as possible.

Monday, December 10, 2012

20/80s With Arcade High

When I think about what I was listening to this time last year, and looking at all the incredible new music I've had the pleasure of enjoying in 2012 it continually astounds me how many producers are kicking the classic 80s sounds with such fervour and passion. One of the standout new kids on the block for 2012 was Arcade High and the music he's released throughout the year has been some of my favourite.

Arcade High has a wonderfully individual sound that combines a lot of quality synth romance and outrun with elements of 80s arcade game sountracks and sound effects. There is a heavy, heavy distinction between Arcade High's music and ChipTune music though, his sounds have a much more expansive air about them and are devoid of the mechanically inclinded tendencies of traditional ChipTune music. It's his use of those wonderfully vintage bleeps and bloops in his synthually rich set pieces that provide much contrast and identity.

One of the tracks that really show the depth of this producer and provides a showcase for the Arcade High experience is Coin-Slot Hero. This bridges the sounds of the past to perfection with a beautiful ambience that's never shrill or grating but instead is warm and inviting. Using 'samples' of any description in an experience that intends to be 80s is a treacherous affair and takes a great amount of skill to make it authentic, but somehow Arcade High manages to get this right time and time again.

The Beauty Queen EP from Arcade High (reviewed on Synthetix here) displayed even more musical development from this talented gentleman, and was one of the best put together thematic experiences I heard this year. With all the music Arcade High released in 2012 I believe 2013 will be a very big year for him and I can't wait to share more of it with you on Synthetix.

So lets rock some Coin-Slot Hero action and take a walk back through the best decade ever with Arcade High's 20/80s!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Synthetix Weekend Update

Welcome to the final regular Weekend Update for 2012 on Synthetix. Next weekend will be something special for the year's end on Synthetix with a countdown of the most rockin tracks of the year in the Synthetix Top Tens of 2012 extravaganza! It's been a stunning year of 80s inspired synth music and I can't wait to share my favourite experiences from the past twelve months with you next week.

First up we have a new Two Worlds EP release from Nathan Swiss. This EP is a combination of new and old sounds, as it's name would suggest, and the 80s inpired track New Wave is a really lovely example of this producer's penchant for 80s sounds. The EP contains four originals and a quality Final DJs remix of the titles track. Pick up this rockin EP on iTunes here right now.

Evanton keeps on rockin and bringing back killer vintage experiences in electro italo. Their latest track Hot Leather is yet another piece of high energy disco with an eletro soul working beautifully throughout. Evanton keep on brining the hits and it's a pleasure to enjoy such consistently rockin tunes.

With our energy levels set to dangerous levels already it's time to tempt fate and raise them even higher with the electrifying new track from Garth Knight: Flux Capacitor. Garth Knight's been one of my favourite new artists on the scene this year and his music continues to inspire and deliver thrills and spills and disco chills.

Dialling things down a few notches, Noir Deco's recent work has been going down a beautifully ambient and atmospheric path. His soundtrack style pieces really developing a magnificent maleficence with deeply emotive arrangements. The Dark Passenger personifies this perfectly.

Lightening the mood with some sensually sexy funk synth gold is the new SaiR track Mornings. An absolutely gorgeous vista of 80s sounds and arrangements beckon and entrance the listener with a varied instrumentations and precision arrangements. Totally rockin.

Someone who's just entered the Synthetix community is an artist currently working under the name C-60. This producer is by no means new to the 80s revival however as his ambient and soundtrack styled synth works under other pseudonyms (much of which can be found here). With his C-60 identity he's now upping the 80s ante even further and this new track, Night Cruiser, is a stellar re-genesis for this producer's sound and an absoloutly beautifully arranged experience.

Lost Years keeps on rockin hard and the first version of his new adventure is a more brillance from this always impressive producer. Converter has some of his best ever perscussive flourishes combined with a massively hooky melody. As with most Lost Years tracks I'll be looking forward to the evolution of Converter as Lost Years expands upon this already marvellous tune.

My hands-down favourite producer of 2012 has been LA Dreams. EVERYthing this artists creates has a soul of pure 80s majesty. He has a new release in the offing called Belladonna and the first track from it is String Of Pearls. This is yet another piece stunning synth romance from the modern day master of the genre.

And speaking of modern day masters of 80s inspired synth music we have a fantastic new release from Mitch Murder out now on Bandcamp which serves as a 2012 Yearbook for this producers smaller, but no less significant works released throughout this past year plus a bunch of other gems and rockin remixes. "Selection One" allows us to add many of his previously unreleased killer cuts from 2012 to our music libraries, this is available now for 'name your own price' on Mitch's Bandcamp  here. As an extra rockin bonus to this release Mitch has reenvisaged the classic theme to the original Terminator which results a totally kick arse experience.

Returning back to the synth in glorious fashion is Rain Sword with his ultra magical new track High Class. I adore this artist's melodies, they always sound and feel so authentic and High Class is testament to the radness of Rain Sword's muse. Rock it hard and loud!

Our final piece of regular Weekend Update programming for 2012 is a spectacular cover of Rocking And Loving from the always entrancing Kristine. This seems like the perfect festive holiday tune to keep the cold and bay and the warmth in everlasting 80s glow.

I hope the weekend is full of good times and great rock'n'roll for you and that this Weekend Update has added some 80s magic to it. I'll be back with more hot rockin action next week on Synthetix, till then keep on rockin and stay 80s!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Midweek Triple EP Meltdown!

To mark the release of such a killer bunch of EPs this week I bring you the first (and probably not the last!) Midweek Meltdown. An overdose of totally rad music to blast your hump-day woes into oblivion and keep the energy rockin copious amounts of 80s love.

Strap yourself in and get ready for adventure!

Greetings Program - Self Titled EP

First up is the debut self-titled EP from the ever rockin Greetings Program. This American producer has been honing and refining his sounds over this past year and has seen fit to release this year's accomplishments in one five track EP. I've been a fan of his covers and original work as it's been released over the 2012 but to get these tunes arranged in this format makes everything all brand new and well worthy of your attention.

Greetings Program's sounds skip between numerous synth genres, dabbling in synth romance, electro sounds and some emotive soundtracks style works, but they always come across as comepletely authentic. His studying of classic 80s TV show themes and understanding of classic arrangements shines through on every track of this EP. The elements have a great minimalist nature to them, even with lots of layers going on, the sounds remain bright and uncomplicated, which is another great hallmark of 80s production homage.

Each part of the EP feels like a complete chapter in it's delivery and content. The seeds of the ideas are sewn and then are allowed to grow, and eventually bloom as individuals. For a new producer, I feel his grasp on all the classic genres is strong and passionate, the depth of this can be felt in his track MX16923. This is a glorious piece of existential soundtrack work that sparkles with an ambient beauty that evolves before our very eyes.

These more dramatic emotions are continued through Reindeer Flotilla which is a powerhouse of action, containing an amazing refrain that continues to dazzle throughout the piece. Working through the track are sumptuous layers of synth sounds that elevate this main melody even further resulting in a stunningly triumphant experience. Sea Of Simulation finishes the EP out in a smooth style that brings to mind glittering mediterranean coastlines, awash with luxury yachts, flowing champagne and all the other enticing accoutrements that let one's imagination drift into an 80s haze.

This excellent EP is packed with beautiful 80s synth sounds and is available now for FREE download on Greetings Program's soundcloud through the player above.

Vincenzo Salvia​ - ​Nostalgia EP

The new leader of the 80s inspired synth scene in Italy has released a brand new three track EP appropriately entitled Nostalgia. Vincenzo Salvia goes from strength to strength with each new release and his latest EP explores new destinations for this exciting producer and expands his musical horizons a great deal.

Opening up with As The Raindrops Fall it becomes apparent that Vincenzo has foregone his usual italo disco inspired affairs and ventured into a new realm of deeper and more dramatic climes. Sounds are multidimensional, but remaining wistful and delicate. The emotions are melodically caressed with a gentle touch that runs very deep. There's a hint of melancholy throughout this piece, but there is also a reverance and reflective brilliance to each part. Beautiful, moving music is the end result.

Detouring even further from his comfort zone is Night Signs. This direction is even more exciting as off time percussion emphasises the jubilant synth melodies. The overall sounds takes on a wonderful new colour that bounces and rises with determination and an air of magical victory. As Night Signs completes it's winning ways the final track rises like a new moon in the night sky.

Eyes In The Mirror feels like the final part of this, experience, almost as it this EP was written as one track and then divided by the hand of the composer. This track recounts and revisits the moods of the previous two chapters absolutely flawlessly. It's like the final movement of a classical suite that completes the intended story with a veritable conclusion. The music soars through previous elements while adding it's own flavour to the proceedings and is the perfect finish to a wonderfully entertaining EP.

The Nostalgia EP is presented by Future City Records on their Bandcamp site here for the bargain basement price of $2.99.

Plaisance - Optimist EP

To complete the trio of EP's in this inaugral Midweek Meltdown we have another stellar excursion from Plaisance with his Optimist EP. This is the final part of his oceanic themed releases and he uses these three tracks to take the listener out into the deep blue one last time.

I must say, I'm a really big fan of the Plaisance sound. It's something that I instantly fell in love with and the Optimist EP continues this. The italo disco naivete of early releases returns in earnest with an unbridled positivity. The beats pound away to light and uplifting melodies that virtually burst into fireworks of incandescent beauty. The opening track, Opti, personifies the Plaisance attitude and sound perfectly, making the listener smile instantly and feel the warmth of the sun with the seabreeze throughout every second.

Things wind down to a slow cruise in the second piece: Mist. The golden tones of saxophonic sultriness wash over the scene with a languidly graceful gait, instantly taking our night boat ride through the sea mists, where the smooth swell of the waves beneath us cause our minds and emotions to sway like aquatic entities in the star lit bay. This is definitely Plaisance's sexiest experience yet, and is a style I hope he revisits in his upcoming musical adventures . The final piece of Optimist is Des Jeunes Dans Le Vent, which takes us back out into the ocean on a bright sun filled day in our pleasure cruiser with action and romance on our minds once again. The energy is somewhat restrained but is no less invigorating with a dancing xylophone melody and the always welcome return of Plaisance's rockin saxophone.

With the oceanic adventures now completed I can but wonder where Plaisance will take us next, but it's sure to be exciting and I'll be fondly remembering our times we've had out in the seas of excitement and tranquility in 2012. The Optimist EP is available for free download on Plaisance's Bandcamp page here and be sure to pick up his other nautically themed releases while you're there if you haven't already.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Ruminate On Room8

Something spectacular is happening. Something special is going to occur in 2013 and I for one can't wait for it. This event is the release of Room8's full length album Transduction. I've been saying for years that new synth producers should be touring around doing live shows with the original 80s bands that are still rocking the scene, but Room8 has taken this one step further and combined the talents of old and new into a superproject that has my appetite well and truly whetted for more.

Their press release reads like a wishlist that couldn't possibly happen in reality, but it isn't a dream, it's an actuality that is something everyone should be getting massively excited about:

"ROOM8 "Transduction" is a crossroads on the electronic highway. An audio film that takes place in a musical past, present, and future. The brain child of Ezra Reich and Nic Johns, "Transduction" features Electric Youth (from the neon noir hit "Drive"), Martha Davis (leader of classic New Wave icons, The Motels), the sax work of Ian Young from M83, guitar work from Giorgio Moroder arranger and guitar player and famed producer, Richie Zito, mixed with Gavin Mackillop (Human League, General Public, Heaven 17) and Mastered at Little Red Book in LA. With artwork by the legendary art collective, The Zonders. Step into the world of ROOM8's "Transduction"."

This combination of creative minds has already beared fruit in these tracks. The classic sounds and arrangements we love, breathed new life into, taking them to a new dimension that transgresses time and becomes a timeless entity unto itself. The soul of the 80s is burning strong and true in these musical experiences which sets the bar for the album to a very high standard from the outset.

Room8 is something Synthetix is getting behind 1000% and I will be ardently awaiting the release of Transduction in 2013. Till then, enjoy the appetizers on their soundcloud here and give them lots of love and support on their Facebook page here.

Monday, December 3, 2012

20/80s With Alpha Boy

It's been a massive year for Alpha Boy. The Follow Me EP from February opened up 2012 and through the next ten months released three (yes THREE) full length albums. April's Blockbuster album was followed by Heroes On Tape in September and then followed up by The Streets Are Hot in October. With all this product it's ironic that 2012 finishes with a single release from Alpha Boy that is by far the most earth shattering.

Alpha Boy realised one of his dreams as an 80s inspired synth composer by making a collaboration happen between himself and one of his 80s synth idols. This composer, Jan-Friedrich Conrad, was responsible from much of the music in the european versions of TV shows and movies like Knight Rider, Airwolf, Nightmare On Elm St and The A Team. The two producers began work on a collaborative track entitled Obsidian. Over Obsidian's near six and a half minutes we are exposed to a combining of two great talents resulting in experience unlike anything else.

The 80s feelings and emotions are strong throughout this beautiful piece of music and it's a testament to both producers' creative spirits to distill both their synth-esssences into a marvellously vivid experience.

To celebrate this landmark work this week's 20/80s has been provided by Alpha Boy himself and we can only hope for more rockin' good times with him in 2013.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Synthetix Weekend Update

It's Weekend Update Time on Synthetix! This will be the second last traditional Weekend Update for 2012 but the Weekend Update that would normally be posted the week after next will be replaced with the Synthetix Best Of 2012. This will be the last post on here for 2012 and will be my personal Top Tens in all the 80s inspired synth genres. 2012 continues to be the best year thus far for the 80s revival in synth music, so without any further delay lets get rockin Weekend Update style!

We've had some excellent homages over the last month or so to classic 80s cartoons and 1985 continues the love with his fantasy creation inspired by Silverhawks. Super catchy with lots of great samples this is absolutely tons of fun.

80s Stallone has continued his monstrously high work rate through 2012 and released yet another killer piece of atmospheric synth pop. Expanding upon the vocal work in his recent full length album, Hotline, Ducati is sublime in it's mood and delivery. The minimalistic soundscape is beautifully engineered for maximum emotion.

A new experience in the magic of Pilotpriest came out this week under the dangerous title Switchblade. The style of this artist continues to evolve, Switchblade provides a more haunting, but less ambient adventure that takes his sounds into exciting new directions.

Smoothing the surface to a glassy chrome reflection is Mitch Murder's new track Nocturne. Taking a much more languid and relaxed energy Nocturne is beautiful to behold. This has a vast spatial quality and is hypnoticly arranged. This style is a side to Mitch Murder I most definitely enjoy immensely.

Kenji Run! continues to be one of my favourite new producers of 2012. His sounds always seem to try and push new directions and expand his horizons. Submarine does this beautifully with a supremely catchy melody combined with an even catchier vocal refrain. Totally killer work throughout.

Box Of Wolves are back with their great mix of modern and classic sounds in the song No Kisses. The staccato arrangement throughout this piece is full of swirling synth energy, creating an atmosphere all it's own. No Kisses is a massively engaging track that grabs you and never lets go.

A great new piece of high energy action soundtrack synth was unleashed by Python Blue this week that totally rocks. 'What Is Love?' is full of pounding beats, mesmerizing synths and drama that balances on the blade of a knife. Superbly arranged for maximum tension and extended car chase scenes.

Someone doing thrilling new experiences in the world of 80s inspired synth is Chaconne.  His track from a few months back (Romance and Revolution) is absolutely stunning and his new work Fighting is Finished is another digital feather in his neon cap. Moody and epic combining many classic sounds and showing Chaconne is definitely an artist Synthetix will be paying very close attention to in the future. 

I hope you've enjoyed this week's Weekend Update on Synthetix and I look forward to sharing more experiences from the 80s synth zone next week. Till then, stay 80s and keep on rockin!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Escape Velocity With Dynatron

Dynatron's Fireburner EP was released a few months ago and, to this listener at least, it felt like it was  a prelude to something much greater. With the release of Dynatron's debut LP I feel that the ideas and inspirations presented on the Fireburner EP have come to their complete fruition in Escape Velocity. This record is a vastly atmospheric work of space soundtrack synth which, like space itself, is timeless, vast and awe inspiring.

The album opens with a space disco energy through the opening chapters. Dynatron's sounds always seemed like the lighter and more energetic disco sound was more of a divergence than a calling. The opening Space Operators and a reprise of Fireburner provide the high energy rocket fuel needed to escape the gravitational pull of the planet, but once free of earthly shackles the mood changes. These introductory pieces are beautifully done, Space Operators is an optimisticly performed piece with great sample use and a build that does everythint but provide a countdown to launch. The aptly titled Fireburner is exactly that; a compustible and volatile mixture of space synth and disco that provides ample amount of energy to take our hopes and dreams into the star filled heavens above.

Once our journey enters the universe the disco sounds that got us to this point begin burning in a new way with different colours and powers at the helm. Propulsion Overdrive is much more spatial in it's sound, the tight enegy now spreads through nebulae around us and the energy of the beat is contrasted with much more atmospheric melodies. The stars of this track are absolutely the guitars, meteoric riffs of maximum rock'n'roll crunch through the ambience in a stunningly stellar way. This vignette serves as a transitional piece for the record as by it's end the atmosphere of space is reduced a sparking lone synth which becomes a guiding light through the odyssey ahead.

Aurora Nights marks the beginning of comtemplating brand new atmospheres, alien worlds that exist in dimensions most unlike our home planet. The mood of this piece has a slightly reflective but also has jubilant air, traversing a melody full passion and power. These sounds feel like Dynatron's real calling and the music feels completely unfettered, almost liquid in it's presence. Washing over the listener like waves in a cosmic ocean. This epic takes on even more movements of grandeur towards it's end, serving as a perfect segue to the next passage, the foreboding Vox Magnetismi.

As the hollow sounds of desolation echo throughout space it becomes very apparent that we are now light years form whence we came. The somber tones seems to look introspectively at what has passed. Eons, forgotten civilisations, an unknown history that will never be told. But we can feel it's presence, we can hear it's voice, the sounds of the past return with a haunting memory and a story we must heed.

The dark atmospheric synth continues into the next chapter: The Pulsating Nebula. The drum track provides at deliberate pace through space mirages of soulful synth melodies. This complements the much darker Vox Magnetismi with flourishes of hope that spark in the inky black depths of space. It's a controlled optimism, very restrained, but still bright and shining. Melodies lift like a gravitational force, searching ever upward and coalescing with the heartbeat of the universe.

Just as the hope begins to rise it becomes clear that there is more pain to bear. Bleeding Andromeda is a morose synth dirge, a funeral march that is deep with loss and grief on a cosmic scale. It's once again that Dynatrom brings pure and raw emotions in a minimalist synth track, massively charged with a passionate discourse into the machinations of the death of an entire galaxy. The empty space left behind is reflected in the melodies within.

Upon Bleeding Andromeda's completion a presentation of determination appears. The fight within the human condition, the power of one and the force of galaxies build with an unstoppable pace. The focus is intense, the need for this becomes clear as the exposition to the final chapter feels almost unattainable. But as each stanza of Pulse Power completes and as the instruments meld and combine their forces to one, an air of triumph becomes a tangible possibility. A chorus of uplifting space synth beauty spreads like a sunrise on the cosmic horizon, warming in it's glow and invigorating in it's presence.

But a paradigm shift occurs, what was a promise of new hope and new life becomes a Wormhole. A gateway to another universe, a beginning of a new journey fraught with more peril and danger. The excitement for new discovery is echoed through the synth melodies as new challenges await the listener. The music decays into a cosmic timepiece, ticking through light years of time and space with metronomic precision. Echoing through the endless dimensions, reinforcing the theory that the destination is not nearly as important as the journey itself. Taking flight to what lies beyond the Wormhole is now the only option.

As the last seconds of Dynatron's Escape Velocity fragment into nothingness it becomes a time of reflection. I don't think I've ever had such an unpredictable experience with this kind of album. It's contrasting tones and complete absence of coming to a definite conclusion make it thoroughly engaging but even more so you're left wanting more. I want to know what spatial dimensions Dynatron wants to enlighten us to, but I know that I'm not ready for this and the contemplation of Escape Velocity is really the satisfying reward. I'd actually liken the experience of this album as something akin to the classic Kubrick masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey. The feeling that I'm only taking in a fraction of what is actually occurring and understanding that not understanding and just experiencing is where the magnificence really lies.

There isn't any other album that comes to mind that is like Escape Velocity as a whole package and this fact alone makes this records a bona fide Synthetix Reference Experience. An experience that gets deeper with each repeated listen and rewrds the listener with beautiful vistas of the stellar frontiers beyond the safety of Earth. Stunning.

Escape Velocity is presented by Aphasia Records on iTunes here and on their Bandcamp here, I encourage all lovers of fine space synth music to experience this album as soon, and as often, as humanly possibly.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

FlashBoy Tells Us Love Stories

Hot on the six inch patent leather red heels of his track Eclipse comes FlashBoy's excellent new two track EP called Love Stories.  This producer has always had an uncanny knack of perfectly balancing classic and modern sounds in a similar manner to Tommy or MiamiNights1984. The soul of the vintage sounds is a fickle mistress to work properly with modern attenuations, it's a tightrope act to keep the balance. Too far one way and the 80s magic gets lost, and too far the other way and vintage sounds become twee and out of place.

Few producers get this right consistently and FlashBoy is definitely one of them. This two track release is a love stricken testament to this with a good heaping helping of synth romance in for good measure. Both tracks have their own personality, but they have a consistent thematic that rings true throughout.

Side A contains Princess of the Night. FlashBoy's talent for working this hooky main melody is instantly engaging and the passion builds with each new layer of synth wonder. The simplicity of this piece is a great part of it's magic, everything counts and everything totally works. The main reprise is positively joyful and the bright orchestractions enhance the mood even further. By the midpoint the track takes it's last evolutionary step, breaking free of it's disco chrysalis in a winged explosion of colourful sounds and deep emotions, majestically rising into the sky with the sunlight glinting of every facet of aural loveliness.

The aptly titled Romance takes up on Side B. This set piece is more dramatic in delivery, keeping a labouring pace that weaves a vortex of swelling emotion. The music lures the listener hypnotically into a swaying colourwave of swirling colours and lights. FlashBoy allows this piece to roll along unfettered by complications, and allows the music to take it's own course across the sea of love. The rudderless vessel meanders beautifully over the cresting waves of emotion, taking us on a voyage that is haunting and totally engrossing until it gently fades out into the magenta horizon.

Both these tracks are currently available for free download on FlashBoy's soundcloud in the player above. I highly encourage all readers of Synthetix to add these gems to their music collections and give FlashBoy some love of your own on his soundcloud and his Facebook page here while you're at it.

Monday, November 26, 2012

20/80s With LA Dreams

Of all the new artists in the 80s inspired synth scene I've had the pleasure of listening to this year, LA Dreams is my definite favourite. This producer came out of nowhere and has released tens of absolutely stunning synth tracks. LA Dreams is text book synth romance in style. His melodies and arrangements are so emotionally intimate they are the embodiment of 80s teen romance, unrequited love, the passionate affair and the first summer kiss. Every track just exudes an awareness of true 80s authenticity and with each new track I experience I hear even more refining of this man's marvellous craft.

The celebrate the releases of Coast Vol.1 and Coast Nightfall Vol.2 I've asked the maker of the dreams himself for his 20/80s. As I look back at 2012, for me personally, LA Dreams has made this year musically special. Much like the time I first heard Mitch Murder, or MPM/Mulitpac it's been a time of total musical enlightenment as all of sudden I feel like I'm experiencing new music for the very first time. Something I find that happens more and more infrequently the older I become, something I'm eternally grateful for.

Please support LA Dreams and pick up both volumes of Coast on his Bandcamp page here and then sit back and take in the sunset over the ocean while we spend some quality time with LA Dreams' 20/80s on Synthetix.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Synthetix Weekend Update

We're into the Festive Season now, and 80s synth music is always the best soundtrack to this time year. Whether you're watching the snow fall or beachside in the sunshine let's rock those feelings of the Season with this week's Weekend Update on Synthetix.

First up is a beautiful tribute to everyone's favourite Power Ranger, Kimberly's Theme. The synths are smooth and energetic and the mood is pure synth romance. A sterling effort from NeonFlashDrive, and it's greatly appreciated this is currently available for FREE download.

Something darker now, but with no less passsion. Nightcrawler's new song featuring SIMØNE is titled Metropolis, and even though the name inspires thoughts of vastness and space the song presents a much more intimate experience. The melancholic vocal track is wonderfully haunting and the music inspires even more depth of emotion.

Kid Machine's released an excellent cover of Garrasco's Love Sex For Sale. The original is seminal italo disco synth from 86 and Kid Machine's version is a great homage. Theres is a more deliberately paced feel to Kid Machines revision, losing some of the lightness and bringing in some more drama.

Another killler track from Betamaxx surfaced this week in Only In Movies. The Betamaxx style is one of my favourites as he manages to always get the energies of the melody and percussion perfectly matched. This track is testament to that as the excitement level is set to fever pitch throughout.

Someone new on the scene is one N C Holdsworth. His sounds lean towards the atmospheric/soundtrack synth styles but incorporating some beautiful progressive touches too. This piece entitled Orsus is full of promise as it swells with musical emotion. The vocals and guitars in the last act are truly beautiful to behold.

Staying with this mood lets move on to Jaypeau's new piece They're Here. This is apparently to be used as an album intro, which I hope means theres a full length release in the offing from this producer. If this intro is anything to go buy we're certainly in for a majestic experience indeed.

Another cover to enjoy now, this time from the always enigmatic Lost Years. His newest venture this week is an excellent cover of Sferro's New Output. This track has been one of my 'All Time' favourites from the new generation of synth producers and Lost Year's has taken this track and made it his own. I must say I still prefer the original, but this is a stellar piece of work that breathes new life into New Output.

New talent from Russia now with Ezavskih's new experience The Navigator. This is a very spactial excursion in cosmic sountrack synth that has a wonderful ethereal quality to it. The lead synths are exceptionally crafted and full of presence. I'm definitely looking forward to hearing more from Ezavskih in the future.

Our last adventure into the dimensions of 80s inspired synth is a special new experience from the inimitable Mitch Murder. Entitled Medley For Science this track is Mitch's homage to the leaders of the scientific community. The sample work is wholly authentic to the 80s and the heavily accented Mitch Murder style blends magically with the chrome dipped synth melodies. This track works as the perfect companion piece to In The News from the Current Events album.

As the final refrains of Medley For Science fade out I'll bid you all adieu until the next time we get together for some good times and great rock'n'roll on Synthetix next week.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Interface With Garth Knight

Garth Knight is one hell of an exciting producer of quality retro synth sounds. His gift for this has been noted on previous episodes of Synthetix and I do hope I'll be writing even more about him in the future. His new work, Interface, takes his skills and sounds to the a sumptuous new level with some of the funkiest electro synth I've heard since the 80s themselves.

In the beginning I'm taken right back to early Newcleus or Jonzun Crew in an instant, the funk is laid so thick that it positively thwacks with sensual energy. The languid bass line and swelling synths make for an erotic duo of gyrating rhythmic acoustics. All the sounds feel delectably authentic and the overall production is some of Garth Knight's finest thus far with a pinpoint balance to every instrument and a glossy polish of dripping neon chrome.

Funk synth sounds are so evocative, the blend of animal, natural instincts with the electronic flair that technology affords really creates a very specialised genre. The infectious nature of the hooks and visceral pounding of the rhythm section make this particular funktacular adventure an explosively carnal one. If instrumental music could ever be defined as 'rude' the text book would put Garth Knight's Interface right up front. It's a pouty, raunchy rudeness that brings vivid visions of such earthly delights to my mind that I best keep my imagination on a tight leash to remain under control.

Then again, why not lose control and give into the insatiable funk synth urges and let the Interface unleash the animal within and howl into the night must excuse me while I 'Interface' a while.

Interface is available to buy now on Garth Knight's Bandcamp here, just make sure you get your safewords sorted out before you crank it up in the presence of others.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Like Rockin? LikeVipers!

I was introduced to LikeVipers this week and I instantly fell in love with this EP. It was unfortunate that from this EP I only enjoyed the first half and found tracks three and four less interesting from the Synthetix viewpoint. This has me torn as the first two tracks of the Dangerous EP are so goddamned rockin that I it's taken me a couple of days to decide whether to cover this release or not.

As you can probably guess though, I've decided to review it, but I'm only going to cover the first two tracks. It's up to you, the listener, to give the second half of the EP your time. From my point of view this is an awesome two track EP from a stunning new talent, and boy howdy does this rock hard!

Acceletator is the first track, and this grabbed me from the outset. The arrangements are most certainly coloured with much modernity, but the sounds are totally 80s. It's the sum of it's parts that makes Accelerator something spectacular, theres megatons of energy coursing through every second of the piece and every instrument is brought to an explosive climax on every level. The intrumentation is a galaxy of 80s sounds in itself.

The synths and guitars rock in total harmony and the drum track has so much firepower it bursts into magnesium trails of sheer delight throughout the piece. For all it's modern arrangements, theres a delightfully 2009 personality to this track to complement all the 80s parts. Accelerator is a fastbreak, crash course into electro oblivion with neon lightning striking like a supernova of cataclysmic brilliance.

Our second Dangerous experience is the title track which has a mellower and more atmospheric personality than the first piece but still keeps the energy flowing in all the right directions. The drum programming dances and gallops through glistening neon pastures and the melodies caress like clouds in an azure sky. Once again guitars are incorporated perfectly, rousing spirits screaming with defiance and exuberance.

Even the modern elements are dappled with an 80s lustre and the production is an awe inspiring soundscape that rises and plunges with esoteric fervour through a melange of musical dimensions. Dangerous is a bit of a misnomor, I find, as it brings a comfort and familiar atmosphere that is warm and sparkling with wonder. By the track's end you'll be basking in a glow of pastel 80s colour, invigorated by this excellent piece of rocksynth electro.

LikeVipers' Dangerou EP is presented on Beatport by Bonerizing Records here, I'd encourage you to definitely pick up the first half of this EP, and you can make your own mind up about the last two tracks. Please give LikeVipers some love on his Facebook page here and we can but hope he keeps rockin' the 80s sounds as he really does do it exceptionally well.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

In Modern Love With Kristine

Greece's favourite daughter of 80s inspired music is without a doubt the inimitable Kristine. The latest work from this artist is a  six track EP with three originals and three remixes. The Modern Love EP is a sublime mix of magical 80s sounds that are charged with poweful emotions and delivered like a number one with a bullet: straight to the heart.

If there's one word I could use to describe Kristine's sound it would be presence. There is a presence this producer radiates in all her music and this is brought to bear even more in Modern Love. The prescence is an intimacy, an emotion and an understanding. It's the presence of Kristine that eminates and resounds throughout every piece of music her glowing touch brushes against.

The EP opens up with the title track. Saturated in desperation and desire, the music symbiotically rises with the vocal performance; from a whisper to a roar, and the build is pure majesty. The instrumentation is the absolute perfect blend of classic sounds, with rhythm guitars accenting the emotive synths and the drums pounding like an intense heart beat. Kristine's singing is easily, in this fan's opinion, the absolute epitomy of the 80s sound and this opener gives her the chance to really bring the listener into an intimate setting that hints at that passion within, before soaring into a chorus of blazing triumph. This song grabs you tight and never lets go as you soar into the summer of Kristine's imagination.

After the first chapter completes and composure is regained the crisply clean delivery of Summer Long Gone begins. It's like the passage of time between tracks has been eons, not seconds, making for passionate memories of a time of innocence and first love discoveries. This song speaks of danger and love in the same breath, cast with a a shadow of yearning wishfulness of a time now irretrievable. The music feels as tortured as Kristine vocal delivery, giving hope little chance and causing the memories to scar even deeper. As the music abruptly ends it becomes clear that the pain of the past will be something that will haunt us, but we must take pleasure from positives of the experience, even if the hurt is almost too much to recount.

Soulful reminising gives way to energised electricity in The Danger as it is now time to rock, harder than ever before. Kristine's always been one to make the guitars work perfectly in her music, and this is definitely the high water mark thus far. The riffs crash with rocktacular resplendence while the drums drive the rhythms hard and the synths cascade in dimensions of keyboard emotions. This artist's gift for arranging songs like feature events is once again made very obvious. A smooth build unleashes an uncompromisingly explosion of musical energies that thunder down from the heavens like a vengegful deity. The Danger is another passionately written adventure with the excitement and precariousness of young love taken on a high speed chase through the night and into a new morning with the sun breaking over the horizon. Looking back into our lover's eyes makes any risk worth it.

The presence of Kristine is felt through every second of these three songs. The whispers of the past constrast with the promise of a future, but it's the intimacy that Kristine maintains through the orchestrations and vocalisations that reallly elevate these pieces into the stratosphere. I can't think of another artist on the planet capable of delivering such a true and passionate modern take on classical 80s sounds in such a complete package and for this reason alone this EP is a Synthetix Reference Experience and a must-have release for any afficionado of authentic 80s music.

The EP is completed with three remixes, Barretso and Power Glove remix Modern Love while the always engaging Mitch Murder takes his hand to The Danger. Each of these remixes works in their own way and stand on their own as brand new experiences in the Kristine universe. Barretso's work has moved away from the traditional 80s sounds and into a more modern personality, his remix takes Modern Love kicking and screaming in 2012 electro house, which actually works on a different level than the original entirely. The music takes on new tones and dimensions while still retaining the Kristine mystique.

Mitch Murder's sounds always seem to combine so wonderfully with Kristine's and this is another case where both artists shine and bask in eachother glows as the rock is reduced but the synths are cranked to the heavens. Perhaps the most interesting remix is the Power Glove remix, a return to the scene for this seminal 80s synth warrior. His take on Modern Love is a dark and furious piece of raw emotion that is really something exceptional to behold. It's like an alternate ending to your favourite movie, adding something familar but twisted into a new meaning; and that meaning in this case is frightening as hell.

Kristine's Modern Love EP is very special release, the three originals are stupendous examples of how to do 80s poprock synth absoloutely perfectly. You will hear many 80s artists in Modern Love's chapters but the overall presence of Kristine is thoroughly overpowering. And it's this presence that is something I can't wait to revisit and feel time and time again.

The Modern Love EP is presented by Tuffem Up! Records on iTunes here and I encourage everyone to indulge in Kristine's wondrous presence as quickly as time allows.

Monday, November 19, 2012

20/80s With Perturbator

When it comes to the black arts of dark 80s synth music there a few producers in the scene of the calibre of Perturbator. His Terror 404 album and Nocturne City EP  were two of my favourite releases in the dark synth genre this past year and his collaborative work with other artists has also been exemplary. With so much killer music in his repertoire already the future is most certainly very promising for the future.

Perturbator's newest track is a magnificent re-envisioning of the Clockwork Theme from the seminal Castlevania III videogame. Castlevania is renowned for consistently having some of the most engaging music to ever grace a videogame, in fact my own favourite piece of music of all time is from the Super Castlevania 4 soundtrack on SNES/Super Famicom. The soundtracks to this game series are definitely worth looking into if you've not already had the pleasure.

But I digresss, this new release from Perturbator is sterling work and it's something I'd personally like to see more of; modern synth artists covering videogame soundtracks is a very attractive combination.

Let's get rockin' as only Perturbator knows how and get down to some symphonic synth sounds with this week's 20/80s on Synthetix.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Synthetix Weekend Update

It's time for another monster Weekend Update on Synthetix, so lets get rockin' with zero delay!

First up is a sneak peek album teaser from the enigmatic Betamaxx. This two minute snippet of absolutely stunning synth romance bodes very well for his next release. Such beautifully constructed melodies and sounds make this something I'm champing at the bit for.

Photosynthesi got chilled and stirred with his new track Winter Nights. Photosynthesi is yet to release a piece of music I don't love, Winter Nights continues this trend with sheer, uplifiting melodies perched astride perfectly measured percussion.

Continuing down the steamy side of synth soundscapes is the new gem from Prof. Zonic Zynth. His new track Turning Point is highly atmospheric, forgoing his usual funk odysseys in favour of a midnight rendezvous where danger and lust walk hand in hand beneath a starlight sky.

Malbu B's upcoming releases have been teased with a fourway preview. The moods are introspective and coloured with autumnal shades but still enriched by much of the Malibu B magic we know and love. I'm greatly looking forward to experiencing each of this tracks in their fullest capacity.

Keeping that introspective and comtemplative mood rockin on we got a killer new track from FlashBoy this week in Eclipse. This is another rousing work that builds into soaring magnificence. It's been a quite time for FlashBoy, musically,  of late, I'm hoping this is a triumphant return with more FlashBoy experiences in the pipeline.

Brand new music from Arcade High next! City Lights brings a sparkling and energetic experience with a dash of the classic Arcade High 80s video game soundtrack personality for that zesty taste sensation we all love. This is available for FREE download so get on it right now!

I have so many favourite tracks by LA Dreams I've begun to lose count, but his new experience entitled Highschool DreamGirl is instantly in my Top 5. This positively glowing work of exemplary synth romance is masterfully constructed and purely uplifting to experience. Truly amazing.

Adding a dash of disco to the proceedings this week is a new track from Box Of Wolves called Swim. Lots of swelling 80s sounds accompany a dramatic beat while melodies cascade through through a sun drenched seascape. This is also available for FREE download to fully enhance your weekend experience.

The final installment of rockin 80s synth action comes to us in the form a totally killer new preview video for Vincenzo Salvia's Nostalgia EP. Due out on Decemeber 4th this promises more emotive and enlightening experiences in quality synth music from one of Synthetix favourite new producers.

That does us for another week on Synthetix, I hope you've enjoyed all the wonderful music on here this week as much as I have and I look forward to even more rockin new experiences next week!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Prisoner of Python Blue's Mind

Something I'm hoping this blog does, in some small way, is to make producers of electronic music aware of the audience and love many people have for these niche genres. It's common to browse someone's back catalogue on Bandcamp or soundcloud and find a couple of 80s style pieces amongst a plethora of other styles, but this was something they 'moved on from' as opposed to it being their true love.

When I come across an artist like Python Blue and I look back through his many releases I become very aware that although his new album is totally rockin the 80s vibe; it would be something he may not continue doing for the long term as the yearning for a wider audience, and expanding one's musical horizons is a lure of much temptation. I look back through some of my favourite singles from 2009-10 and find so many wonderful 80s experiences by artists who've since abandoned the vintage styles in favour of different musical rewards.

I'm a firm believer that alot of this musical meandering is that these people just didn't think they had an audience listening and the thought of toiling entirely in obscurity wasn't a pleasant one. Synthetix is here to encourage, nurture and applaude all producers that feel the 80s love and recreate it with modern day tools (or vintage ones!) in their own vision. This is my main hope and drive to keep writing on here, to expose these artists to an audience who will embrace them with open arms and encourage them to continue to create beautiful music.

Which brings us back to Python Blue's totally rockin Prison of the Mind LP. A super high quality synth soundtrack affair glazed with glossy 80s sounds and moods. This is not Python Blue's first soundtrack style album, not by a long shot, and his previous experience doing this genre shines through in each track making it feel like a destination from his previous soundtrack journeys and a place we hope he decides to stay a while.

True soundtrack synth is a difficult genre to master, much like the electro synth stylings we've previously visited with Bluezz Vylez this week, it's often used as an interlude in many EPs and LPs, sort of like a punctuation mark or a period between set pieces. With Prison Of The Mind we're presented with track after track of soundtrack synth and each is a set piece unto itself. What Python Blue has done is take all the different moods, colours and experiences of what constitutes 80s soundtrack music and condensed each flavour into a different track then weaved a cohesive experience as a complete album.

Darkened streets, laced with danger and excitement are countered with triumphant and soul warming upbeat pieces. High action vignettes with explosive conclusions make their stand after the ubiquitous 80s love scene, when tortured hearts lay it on the line every second of the way. The passages these pieces all occupy are instantly engaging and meticulously constructed, conveying vivid images without a need for any on-screen action.

The tracks move in and out of eachother, keeping a theme, and then extending into the next part of the aural storyboard. Energies are coloured with the many facets of human emotions and segue between each stage in a marvellously complimentary manner. The experience of the album from start to finish is a work of majesty in itself as the length and breadth of what is covered musically far exceeds what could possibly be used in a traditional soundtrack.

The care in even the track positions creates perfect narrative for which the imagination can conjour it's own visual spaces, we're never left wondering what is happening in each track as the music speaks clearer than any possible dialogue could and does so in a language we all feel and understand. Keeping this sustained for the albums duration is not to be discounted and is, once again, a testament to Python Blue's talent as not just a producer of music but a creator of worlds.

The final chapters of the Prison Of The Mind contains some bonus content in Python Blue's covers of Gary Numan's Red Sky and The Sisters Of Mercy's Never Land, this is a rather impressive renvisioning of both tracks as they do fit in beautifully to the over aesthetic of Prison Of The Mind in much the same way many other previously released songs work in motion picture soundtracks. The haunting Never Land provides the perfect finisher as the credits roll by.

The Prison Of The Mind LP is a marvellously written and produced work of refined 80s soundtrack synth, taking the listener on a journey deep with dimension and charged with emotion. This is one of the text-book examples of making this style work in it's ideal format and is a bonafide Synthetix Approved Experience. You can take home your own copy to own of Prison Of The Mind on Python Blue's Bandcamp here. I encourage everyone with a love for quality 80s sounds to pick this up and hopefully some day soon Python Blue will take us on another fantastic voyage through his beautiful world of 80s soundtrack synth music.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Bluezz Vylez Takes After Nebula

Russia's always been one of the most enlightened regions to the classic 80s synth sounds, every artist I hear from these parts always seems to have an edge to their sound that feels right. Maybe it's a production style or certain local influences but whatever it is it results in some totally rockin 80s inspired synth music.

The latest EP from Bluezz Vylez pushes this point even further. After Nebula contains some of the pureset electro synth rock I've had the pleasure of experiencing. Across the the seven tracks this producer ushers in a new dawn of classicly themed sounds and packages them in one super tight and combustible bundle of explosive synths, machinegun drums and chemically sharpened hooks.

The breakbeat electro synth style is usually only flirted with on occassion by the majority of modern synth producers. It provides a nice departure to the sounds without deviating entirely from a them, it's rare for a modern producer to take the electro synth style deep into a fully fledged release while staying true to it's roots.

From track one this is music is totally poppin' and lockin' with a boombox curbside and a carboard mat down for good measure. The edginess and vitality of the sound is undeniable, basslines thrust and pivot with alarming dexterity and the drums and percussion are peppered throughout with pinpoint precision. The contrasting smooth synth melodies create the final dimension to ensure maximum energy.

Through the opening set pieces, and into the albums midsection, theres an unrelenting fervour to each track. There is no refuge from the infectious melodies and blasting rhythms. Bluezz Vylez doesn't mess about with a lot of stage setting introductions or immersive set pieces to create a mood, each experience dives straight onto the concrete, making every second count and giving each track a fierceness which is delivered like a flurry of bodyshots in lighning fast succession.

On rare moments, such a Ocean Console there is a slowing down in the barrages of beats but the fury is replaced with the synths, just for a change in his weapon of choice. The track Run In A Rainy Dream lures the listener into a feeling of smooth and glassy security, but as tempers build and the percussion ramps up with the melodies it becomes intense in a new way. The raw emotions of the first half of the EP move into a less brutal but equally intense mode and by the end of this movment the rhythm section begins unleashing it's syncopated swings to the listener's now exposed vulnerabilities.

It's at this point that the battle kicks into high gear for the last two tracks as limbs gyrate into blurs of electro fuelled breakin' bluster. Foresters Never Die and Aldebaran In Your Coffee-Cup finish the encounter in a blaze of glory as the final backspin and pose bring the cheers of victory to a hard fought and well contested fight for street supremacy.

Bluezz Vylez's After Nebula EP is a high energy, in your face, take no prisoners experience in quality electro synth music. The sounds of classic producers like Afrika Bambaataa, Ollie and Jerry and Paul Hardcastle are unmistakable throughout, but this producer brings his own individual style to the sounds making After Nebula totally rockin extravaganza that is throughout a Synthetix Approved Experience.

You can pick this EP on Bluezz Vylez's Bandcamp page here and be sure to follow him on his soundcloud here.

Monday, November 12, 2012

20/80s With Le Cassette

The UK's Le Cassette have been firing on all cylinders of late and with their incredible Arms Of Mine song still in our hearts and minds (reviewed on Synthetix here) they've lent their considerable vocal talent to Jordan F for a reenvisioning of his Under The Sun track.

The combined magic presents an entirely new experience, making for a wonderful new atmosphere and elevating the original incarnation even further. Once again the authenticity of the Le Cassette vocal sound melds with delight around Jordan F's beautiful synth work. The early 80s synthpop sound is typified by the vocal delivery, rousing and verbose, but morose and introspective too.

The end result is a triumphant Visage/Ultravox flavoured vision that strips away the brightly light sunshine of the original's Australian heritage and layers in the wintry tones of wishful thinking for sunnier times in a dismal London landscape. It's full of longing, unrequited possibilities and wishes for better days ahead. This is a patnership I hope we get to share in again in the future, most definitely.

Although the vocals have been provided on Under The Sun by one third of Le Cassette line up, all three members have shared the duties in creating this week's 20/80s. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall while these all important answers were being decided upon. Alas, the inner machinations of what makes Le Cassette work is to be left to another time, and for now we'll have to suffice with sharing their 20/80s this week on Synthetix!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Synthetix Weekend Update

As we move closer towards the end of the 2012 I'm beginning to try to forumulate my Top 10 of 2012. There has been a lot of truly beautiful music this year to draw from, but with each progressive week the list keeps getting longer. As evidenced in this week's Weekend Update: the music just doesn't stop rockin!

First up is the always inspiring 80s Stallone. His new single Page Me is a killer italo adventure, full of hi energy percussion and bounding synths. Yet another track where the hi-hats absolutely make the experience.

Spacious Sweep is back with a stunning new track Pankala. This is a most certainly spacious piece with much lightness and brightness. The slowly evolving melodies are a beautiful to behold, moving with a freeform airiness that is full of wonder.

The highlight from LA Dreams this week comes in the form of Masters Of Skylight. Taking his sounds in a slightly new direction that feels a tad more soundtrack oriented than his hallmark synth romance style. The guitars are a perfect accompaniment to the sweet synths, a trend I hope he continues with.

Kenji Run! blasted back onto the scene this week with no less than three new tracks, my favourite of which is a demo of I Regret. This giallo disco themed affair is dark and brooding but full of synth energy with a driving drum track that gives the atmosphere an air of panic. A fortuitous return for Kenji Run! indeed.

Sgreyes is becoming a force to be reckoned with, I believe this was originally planned to be a side project from Quasars, but is now becoming very prolific and establishing his own sound. The promo cut of Miami Heat is smoother than silk and hotter than Mercury, a steaming erotisynth slice of forbidden heaven.

A new artist discovered through the Synthetix community this week was Cosmic Sand. His track Wreckage of 2085 of his EP Route 375 is a delectable portion of synthesized 80s love. The EP is definitely worth spending some time with. A producer I'll be definitely keeping tabs on.

A new impending release from the Electronic Rumors stable has been another gem this week. Let Em Riot's The Revenant from this SlashWave EP is full of 80s love with some modern elements included for good measure. There's a lovely air of despondance in this song, which is laced throughout the EP that I find quite endearing.

Garth Knight continues his Transformer's inspired work with his War For Cybertron track. This is another gem, full of massive melodies and precision arrangments. One can't help be feel a bit of the classic Rocky IV soundtrack through this piece, which is always something I enjoy greatly.

Rain Sword staged a huge return to the scene this week with two killer tracks in Sarah's Quest and Cardboard Kings. I do love Sarah's Quest but the electro rock synth gold of Cardboard Kings pipped it at the post to make the Weekend Update. Sublime energy and a beautiful simplicity to this track make it thoroughly rockin.

The final musical adventure in this week's Weekend Update is a totally killer new song from Hot Hot Hawk and featuring the dulcet tones of none other than the teenage dreamboat himself: Patrick Baker. I can't help but think of Tesla Boy when I hear this, and that's one of the biggest compliments I can give any maker of 80s inspired synth music. Truly k-rad to the max.

I hope this week's Weekend Update added some neon colour and uplifting atmosphere to your weekend and I look forward to sharing more moving experiences with over the next week.
Till then stay 80s and keep on rockin!