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!