Thursday, January 31, 2013

Vincenzo Salvia & Peter Robinson Return To Mars

A new single, on most occassions is kept to the Weekend Update posts, but on the odd occassion a single release becomes deserving of it's own place in the weekday posts on Synthetix. This week saw the release of another collaboration this time between Vincenzo Salvia and Peter Robinson. Their combined efforts have resulted in the Return To The Red Planet single which provides some absolutely stunning off-world synth entertainment.

Both composers feel at home in their space travel to Mars, their styles seem to be completely complimentary throughout the journey. The sparkling synths have a beautifully weighted body to them in the zero gravity atmosphere, rising and falling on undulating waves through the starscape. Theres an atmosphere of complete epiphany in the production, triumphant arrangements are full of hope and devoid of any possible danger on the long journey to the red planet.

The nuances of the experience really come out upon multiple listens. The main melody is the focus on the first time through, but when enjoyed multiple times the huge amount of other details begin falling like stars, leaving glittering trails behind them as the soundscape seems to draw back and reveal even more of it's cosmic wonders. The end result is fascinating and wholly engaging in it's traversing the void of space and bringing to light a new hope for a new future on a new planet.

Future City Records presents the Return To Mars single release on their Bandcamp page here and I encourage everyone who looks to the heavens for guidance, hope or love to take home a copy today.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Cougar Synth Roars From The Mountain Tops

The scene keeps on growing like a colourful and wild garden and new producers of quality 80s inspired synth music keep cropping up bearing their delectable fruits with seasonal regularity. Courtesy of soundcloud compatrtiot B3nniMushu I'm pleased to share with you the synthscapes of Cougar Synth. This producer's has only been making his 80s dreams public on soundcloud for a few weeks but his repertoire is already home to a delightful range of quality tracks.

His newest release, Retrace, is purely golden synth romance in a similiar tone to LA Dreams and the legendary MPM. This piece is not just homage though, there is a sublime layer of minimalism to the sounds that allows the slightest inflection of the keyboards to be felt deeply. It's the touch of emotion that is felt throughout this journey, the slow synth lead that permeates throughout the experience is warm, genuine and like the touch of a loved it one lingers long after parting.

Another interesting piece on Cougar Synth's soundcloud is Anything Now. This composition is a very interesting mix of synth loops and emotive melodies which at first seem at odds with eachother, but somehow end up making sense during the course of the experience. The strong main melody feels like it's fighting against the loops, struggling to succeed, to let it's voice be heard above the automaton like regimentality of the looped sounds. This makes for a jubilant experience as the track battles within itself but it's truncated ending makes the experience just a bit incomplete.

It's very apparent in listening to Cougar Synth's music that he's just beginning his musical journey into the past but there's a great deal of promising sounds, ideas and emotions punctuated throughout the four tracks currently on his soundcloud. I encourage all fans of 80s inspired synth sounds to give him so love on his soundcloud here and lets all look forward to sharing more experiences from this totally rockin new talent.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Knights Of A Feather Fly Together

The latest in a wonderfully entertaining series of collaborations in the 80s inspired synth scene has found Garth Knight teaming up with Norman 'Alpha Boy' Knight for a three track expedition into the past from the future right now in the present.

The Nighthawk EP sports some new and some familiar sounds and ideas from these composers and as an ardent fan of both I found it very enthralling to hear the trademark elements of both talents work together and intertwine their sonic personalities.

The titular adventure begins the EP and it brings home the power and rockin good times of Garth Knight's recent endeavours which is then cut through like a laser beam with a classic Alpha Boy melody. The two parts combine to create a firestorm of dazzling sounds with an electric ambience that keeps on thumping along in an electro synth nirvana. The sounds of both producers are balanced to perfection and the piece evolves like a live synth jam on their combined world tours in front of thousands of screaming fans.

The second track, Red Dragon is a much more atmospheric piece with an asiatic theme that belies hazy eastern courtyards, glowing with red lanterns while shadowy figures are briefly silhouetted in front of a huge full moon. The timing in this piece is pure Alpha Boy, as is the groovetastic bassline but the nuances feel made to order by the Garth side of the two Knights. This track is my new favourite example of  80s ninja synth, which I'm sure ardent fans will be nodding in agreement with.

The Nighthawk EP keeps the mood nocturnal and poignant with the final track: Future City. This composition also feels eastern in nature, but takes things into the neo world with a futuristic bent as the neon kanji and hirogana characters light up the cityscape. This is definitely a more Alpha Boy sounding track flavoured with Norman Knight's inimitable melody timing echoing throughout the scene while evolving the experience around a dramatic percussive track.

This EP is a sterling example of quality collaborative work, a meeting of minds and imaginations that has resulted in three chapters of totally kick arse synth sounds. I can only hope this leads to more combined efforts from these two talented producers in the future.

Nighthawk comes highly recommended from Synthetix and you can take home your own copy of this dual knighted endeavour on Alpha Boy's Bandcamp here.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Phantom Vision Of Vision Fantom

When it comes to synth pop there are numerous deviations on the genre that transpired throughout the 80s. The early sounds of the golden age of synth pop began in the very early 80s with the likes of Depeche Mode, Ultravox, Visage, Tubeway Army and other bands creating their own brand of music with futuristic sounds and an air of great mystique. It's this early period of synth pop that provides some of the most visionary experiences, but in the 80s inspired synth scene it's still a road less travelled by many producers.

Enter France's Vision Fantom. This band are one of the most incredible new experiences I've had of late as their crafting of the beautiful early 80s synth pop sounds and emotions is thoroughly authentic and magical in wonderful new ways. Theres an intangible quality to very early synth pop, but it's this quality that unifies the sounds and experience, Vision Fantom have that quality and their two tracks currently available on soundcloud display an honesty and understanding of this genre's specifics beautifully.

This quality I speak of is an atmosphere of emotions that create an aura of mystery but also of refinement. "Ecrans Couleur" typifies this from the opening stanza and builds like a cathedral of sound at which point the vocal arrives and takes things from earthbound pleasures into heavenly joys that are transcendental in their brilliance. It's this overall melding, the coalescing of all of the ingredients that bring forth such an incredibly powerful soundscape.

The alchemy of Vision Fantom is most definitely in the more melancholy realms of emotions, but this is more of an auspicious unknowing than a miasma of the soul. The vocals are soulfully intimate, in perfect timbre with the minimalistically employed synths. This is another quality of the early 80s sounds, with only a few instruments needed to create emotionally complex vignettes and in so doing making every note count for it's weight in gold.

Their other song available on soundcloud is the equally magnificent "Mercenaries". This experience proves that Vision Fantom really do have their skills and understanding honed to delightfully sharp edge. The music is even more distilled in it's delivery, using a gloriously orchestrated vocal sample to bind the experience into even more drama and excitement. Stunning to behold and exhilerating to explore as the fine details are presented in a manner befitting the solemnity of musical story being told.

Vision Fantom are definitely one of the most exciting new acts in the 80s inspired synth scene. Their obvious love for the classic sounds and their gifted ability to recreate this time and space makes for an experience unlike any other. Both tracks are available for free download, so please give them some love on their soundcloud here and their Facebook page here.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Synthetix Weekend Update

After another exciting week in the 80s inspired synth scene we've arrived at another monstrous Weekend Update. It's a bumper crop of kick arse retro tunes, now with 25% extra rockin for even greater value! FDA approved and filling your daily dietary requirements of vitamins  R, A and D. Synthetix has been medically proven to increase the amount of 80s in your weekend by up to 100%, so don't hold back and pour another bowl of your favourite flavours with this week's Weekend Update on Synthetix!

First up is a bitchen new work of 80s drenched nu-disco with Syncroft's track Melbourne. This is glass-smooth experience of bouncing synth beauty with just enough jiggle to make it impossible to take your eyes off the prize. A little on the short side, but ever so sweet.

From the past comes the storms, as Sepultura once said, but in this case it's the Sky itself that has returned. In one of the more exciting things that happened this week Logan Sky announced his return to the 80s inspired synth scene with a preview of his Face The Flames album. Each track is full of promise and adventure, and I for one am really looking forward to the full experience.

Thomas Barrandon continues his musical journey with his wonderful new track Thast's All I See. This producer has alway been able to personalise his music and has proven his inventiveness and skill over the last few years in each of his tracks. His latest composition proves this theory even further.

Lost Years has embarked on a new odyssey with his latest demo: Breacher. The sounds on this track are exceptional, it's got such a bright and powerful energy. Even as a demo this track feels totally bitchen in how it tells it's own story and evolves into a rivetting example of aural action cinema.

The scene's latest synth superstar to gain household-level stardom has just released a stunning new interpretation of the theme Halloween. Perturbator's metoric rise is one he's certainly most deserving of and this latest experience is a prime example of his skill in creating expansive and terrifying dark synth magic. The second act of this piece is a flawless example of the raw power commanded by Perturbator.

Easing back into the light and safety of day time is Jordan F's latest remix. A classically 80s retelling of Yale's song Lost In The Crowd. I, personally, felt nothing for the original track, but Jordan F's managed to turn into something that feels quite authentic and really brings out the 80s soul in the song.

After one of the biggest years in his musical career thus far Alpha Boy has kicked off 2013 with a new solo track called Skyline. This track is beautifully crafted, I think displaying some new ideas and techniques from this composer. Alpha Boy has a collaborative release with Garth Knight surfacing in the near future too, which will surely be an exciting foray into some quality 80s sounds.

And hot off the presses is the latest release from Garth Knight himself! "You Just Came To Crash The Party" is an electro space jam with superb melodies and vocal perfection. Garth Knight's work in the electro synth funk styles just keeps on rockin harder and harder. Totally kick arse in every respect.

After premiering Pumping Body in last week's Weekend Update he's back with a sterling new track "Come On". The instant I heard this I fell in love with it. The sounds are beautifully authentic, but it's the arrangements and timing of the main melody that really shines throughout the track. Much like Plaisance's music, I find myself incredibly drawn to the sounds Pumping Body creates as the 80s authenticity seems to be innate in their creative process.

Future City Records are back with a two track EP from the latest addition to their stable with the Sidereal Race EP from Shio-Z. This two track release combines a lot of classic sounds and gives them a great deal of crossover to modern styles. It's something that doesn't fully gel with me on a personal level, perhaps it's the instrument sounds, but one can't deny the action and drama of Shio-Z's music as it definitely has a great deal of 80s energy coursing through it's veins.

To complete this week's weekend update we have a superb new video from the Neros77 for Le Matos' totally kick arse track from 2012: Sarah. The video magician has once again weaved a spell of perfect visual complementation to Le Matos music. Definitely one of Neros77's more spellbinding creations.

That does us for the Weekend Update on Synthetix this week. I'll be back to blast you into the future via the past next week, so keep on rockin and stay 80s!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Collins Explores His Primal Polarity

Collins' released the fantasticly dark Secret Admirer EP early last year, reviewed on Synthetix here, and I for one instantly became a fan of his dark minimalist synthpop sound. His use of vocals and guitars were sublime and made for a wonderfully menacing experience. With his new album released recently it's time to take a ride into the darker parts of the 80s inspired synth scene and as the blackness envelopes us we'll try to resist Collins' Animal Magnetism.

Animal Magnetism is an eight track diatribe of total conviction and condemnation of the principles of love. The record's tone is thoroughly enveloping as Collins' gift for adding darker emotions into minimalistically oriented soundscapes has developed even greater maleficence with a sting and bite that penetrates deeply, leaving scars that refuse to heal.

It's this tone that seethes and festers from the opening chapter, Heartbreaker, and spreads like a virus throughout the entire album. The real clincher for this is sample used in Heartbreaker which is warped just enough to make the words "I have this really huge crush on..." sound like the most diabolical threat possible. The pain of love in it's unrequited or broken form drives Animal Magnetism into a downward spiral that drags the listener into their own personal nightmare, but theres another force at play throughout this journey, am I the victim or the villain?

As the second piece whispers it's demonic intentions to you there begins to permeate an air of cat and mouse in Collins' new album. "Serenade" features a fantastic vocal track performed by Ana Gabriela Accioly that serves as a playful ying to Heartbreaker's yang with a femine touch that is haunting and enticing. This showing of both-sides-of-the-story, even if they are unrelated shows, a masterfully executed arrangement by the composer.

When the third chapter begins, it becomes clear that the opening stanzas were merely a taster of what was to come. "The Sacred" is one of the most tortured and terrifying experiences I've had in 80s inspired synth music. From the distorted and distended melodies to the conviction of the vocal track it all combines into a nightmarish vision of the power of the scorned and betrayed. Marvellous from beginning to end.

Something from way out of left field takes place in the fourth act of Animal Magnetism. It's entirely unexpected but an entirely perfect fit within the context of the record. "Fallen" is Collins' reworking and renvisioning of the classic Julee Cruise song Falling, made famous in the Twin Peaks TV series. The original of this track is haunting enough, but Collins' new spin takes the musical elements and paints them even darker. The guitar track on this is utterly entrancing and the bassline provides the perfect accompaniment. "Fallen" is outstanding in every respect and gives a very welcome insight into Collins' creative process.

Moving into the next chapter we're drawn into a spatial and smooth ambience sliced with the panic of passion and accented by more of Collin's esoteric guitars. "We Were The Ones" serves as a short interlude between tracks, but for me it makes for the perfect scene setting intro for the next experience; the brilliantly titled "Coping Mechanism". The sounds become a tad more buoyant in this piece, it's a faltering rise that breaks down into a complete tragedy, making the denial of opening emotion decay into a tear streamed act of fist pounding loathing. The story told is relatable and lamentable, it speaks to the listener in a knowing and understanding way, but there is no solace in the complexity of the tattered emotions on display.

Animal Magnetism's stand out song for me is definitely the second last track "If Looks Could Kill". Collins' takes you out to the disco in an italo tinged meeting of passion and violence. The hook of the main synth melody is totally irresistible, the vocal is absolutely perfect and percussion work is stunning. This song is well rooted in the classic late 70s disco with a nod to the classic "I Feel Love" colouring the atmosphere, but it's the Collins magic that takes this experience into a whole new plane of danger.

The final chapter of the album once again finds inspiration from Twin Peaks in "Walk With Me". Enlisting extra guitar work from Johnny Accioly adds another layer to this composition which is much more reflective than vengeful. Synths are kept to positive ends of the spectrum as the reprise coerces the listener rather than commands them. Moods are kept uncertain however, and the ending asks more questions than it answers but it leaves one satisfied in the fact they've survived the experience and lived to love another day.

This album shows how much Collins has developed as a musician over the last twelve months. His way of making the thematic work through different styles with each element completely complimentary to the others is a marvel to behold. It's a testament to the quality of this experience and a sure sign we're going to become more intimately acquainted with this producer in the future.

Animal Magnetism is presented by Telefuture Records on their Bandcamp page here available as a digital download and also available for purchase as a limited edition on cassettte, which pleases me greatly. This release comes highly recommended by Synthetix and I hope it takes you to the dark, uncomfortable but totally exciting places it took me.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Interface With Betamaxx

 Even though it's only the later part of January, I'm beginning to notice a trend in the batch of releases that have surfaced this year. In nearly everything I'm hearing from producers who debuted last year I can feel a development and maturing of sounds and ideas. One only has to look back to some of the early releases from last year to a producer's latest track to hear this, it's something that should happen of course, but it's something that is now becoming much more persistant.

The 80s inspired synth scene is a microcosm of a microcosm. The nature of genre specific music is that it carries the traits of the genre throughout, but it's these perceived traits that are now blossoming and growing into forms still defined by their source but also exploring new ideas, methods and formulations. Like all music there is going to be a natural evolution and the scene is currently populated with producers expanding beyond their safe zones and taking risks they weren't in 2012. The artist that attempts to mark their own individual sound is one that will flourish in 2013, whereas those that stick to the base specifics will, I believe, become lost amid the other soundalikes.

It's only when Lost Formats came out in October last year that I realised how firm Betamaxx's grip is on what makes 80s synth great. Lost Formats, reviewed on Synthetix here, cemented this producer's sound in my mind. Being able to listen to essentially a whole year of Betamaxx in one place displayed this to me this very succinctly. This release really made me start to pay a great deal more attention to Betamaxx and in his new album I feel my attention is well and truly rivetted to the Betamaxx experience.

Interface allows the listener to drink in beautiful neon atmospheres of spacious synth sounds and finely crafted melodies. The diversity represented on this album is stunning, so many different styles are explored but the quality of the experience remains very high throughout. As Lost Formats showed much dabbling in the classic 80s styles, Interface takes this smorgasboard of synth delicacies to even higher gourmet levels with delights that fill the senses and inspire the imagination.

The album never feels like a ragtag group of musical experiments though, no. It feels carefully planned and conceived with the goal to make the Betamaxx sound eminate throughout the eleven tracks with a resounding presence and energy all it's own. Almost every single sub-genre of 80s inspired synth is present in Interface. The romance of the 80s juxtaposed with drama and electro action, soulful soundtrack moods contrasted by energized italo funk. It's all in here, and it all feels right at home.

The instruments used on this record are some of Interface's most impressive features. Synth sounds are wonderfully developed with gorgeous tonal qualities, as one would expect, but the cast other sounds on the album are what makes the musical atmosphere really come into it's own. The depth of percussion is superb, powerful snares and crisp details fill the sound stage while the bass lines and choices for their sounds are astonishingly refreshing. These ingredients mix and combine in each track making for a tasty and exciting treat in every single morsel of every course.

As the album takes on the many flavours and dimensions of the 80s one begins to feel the Betamaxx soul in each track. Recurring nuances and arrangements that sound brand new, soundscapes that one initially feels familiar with become unrecognisable and invigorating in their freshness. The moods of each vignette never feel like false but instead have a clean sincerity in absolutely every second of Interface's duration. Some of these experiences, however, feel a little truncated with fade outs that seem to come all too soon when they initially promised so much more. Most of these are designated as interludes, but one can't help but think they to deserved as much presence as the other set pieces.

It's records like Interface that are going to raise the bar for every producer of 80s inspired synth music. The fear of genre-stagnation becomes a non sequitor as the creative forces in producer's such as Betamaxx are currently gathering tidal strength in making exciting, authentic and inspiring new musical experiences. I hope Interface is a shining example of what's to come in 2013, as the sky really seems the limit, but the stars feel like the destination.

Interface is available on Betamaxx's Bandcamp here and comes thoroughly recommended as a wonderfully engaging album of quality 80s synth experiences from Synthetix.

Monday, January 21, 2013

20/80s With Mitch Murder

To say I'm a fan of Mitch Murder is probably one of the biggest understatements I've ever made on Synthetix. Mitch Murder, like probably many of you reading this, was the first producer I found making totally authentic 80s synth music. When I first heard Burning Chrome in 2010 it was a pivotal moment for me as a music lover. After riding the 80s synth revival of 2009 with so many producers using 80s elements in their productions it was when I heard Burning Chrome that I realised that somewhere on planet earth people were making the fully authentic 80s music I so dearly longed for.

After playing the M.O.T.U.2 and Valeries & Friends releases to death it was Mitch Murder who took me to the next level of musical satisfaction. This is what I'd wanted to hear for the last twenty plus years and the experience delivered by this gentleman redefined what I thought was possible in the current musical climate.

It was then that I discovered an avalanche of beautiful new music in Rosso Corsa Records and the rest is history. Then it was my passion to find more artists making 80s music and that passion grew into Synthetix. To say without Mitch Murder there would be no Synthetix is a fairly accurate statement, at least as far the time and manner this blog came about. I see Mitch Murder as a true gateway artist for many fans who've found the love for quality 80s sounds. The love affair begins there and then spreads at an exponential rate. But it's this reason, that Mitch takes many of our 80s synth cherries, is what makes his music so special to us and when a new track is released from him it's more than just a current event.

Which brings us to Breeze. Mitch's new experience that at this stage has an unplanned future for release but is something beautifully eloquent and spectacularly crafted. Breeze is also very aptly named too, theres an airy lightness that permeates throughout this track which is as refreshing as it is uplifting. Mitch has excelled in his mid paced atmospheric pieces of late and this track shows even more development of this style in ways I don't think Mitch could've done a year ago.

The uncomplicated nature of Breeze is it's allure. Melodies cascade and flow, never being too overt but more importantly never feeling like they're being restrained. The music makes it's own space and rises and falls of it's own volition which peaks with scintillating synth solo that is seriously one of Mitch's best. The unfettered energy of it is dazzling as it sparks and ignites the ionosphere with multicolured brilliance. Breeze is the full package of what a Mitch Murder experience should be, it typifies this musician's work in a manner that feels warm and familiar and vibrant and fresh at the same time.

 It's with this marvellous new Mitch Murder experience I'm elated to share with you Mitch's 20/80s so lets rock on and learn some of this prolific artists 80s favourites.

And for those wondering whom this Duane may be, click here to become enlightened to the magic of Duane and allow him to become your new idol through his supreme godliness.

EDIT: Breeze is now available to buy on Mitch Murder's Bandcamp  here.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Synthetix Weekend Update

It's Weekend Update time again on Synthetix! Lots of rockin new music is ready to take your weekend to the next level so brace yourself and prepare for take off!

80s synthaficionado Garth Knight's new track 88 MPH is another sterling piece from this industrious producer. Garth's been dabbling in some more modern style of late, so I'll be very interested to see where 2013's musical journey takes him, but I have a feeling that his heart will always be in the 80s.

A producer new to me that I'd like to welcome into the Synthetix family is Pumping Body from Poland. This artist has lots tracks of different 80s denominations on his soundcloud and it looks like he's finding his true calling in these classic sounds. His latest release a marvellous experience in beautifully executed Synth Romance. Pumping Body is definitely a bright star ready to explode in the 80s synth scene.

Keeping in the Eastern European sphere the new track from Russia's Bluezz Vylez is remix of London Goodbye by Car-Man. This is a totally rockin remix that reminds me so much of mid 80s dark synth pop. The sounds are full of drama and the vocal track is stunning in it's delivery.

A new work-in-progress from the ever inspiring Aminova surfaced this week. Nightwatch is beautifully crafted piece of soundtrack synth work that even in it's current unfinished form is full of wonder. Truly entrancing music.

Time for some kick arse italo synth and Super Magic Records has really nailed the genre in their new release Secret Energy. So many classic sounds and progresssions make this experience feel 100% authentic, the orchestral stabs add an extra layer of gold to proceedings.

Another new producer who's walking the path of musical enlightenment is Nightdrive. This new producer is still finding his own sound but his new track, Far Away, is definitely taking him in an exciting direction. The atmosphere of this soundtrack synth styled track is very engaging and I'll be looking forward to hearing more from him in the future.

Plaisance fast became one of my favourite new producers towards the end of 2012. This French artisan of 80s synth dreams has created lots of magical experiences thus far and his new two track release, So Fresh, shows even more development in his sound. Totally k-rad in every respect.

80s Stallone keeps on rockin his senstational 80s sounds in his track Reflections. This is apparently an older demo that is still unfinished, but I think it's a wonderfully emotive track has a superb air of ethereal magic and full of quality 80s Stallone hallmarks.

From the new compilation by Glacis Records is a kick arse new track from Tiam Wills. This another one of those tracks that combines just the right amounts of classic and modern elements to create something special, especially with the samples used. The Friendly compilation from Glacis Records also has Lueur Verte's classic Beaute Glaciale as well as a new track from Awkoder amongst the many varied electronic music styles included. This compilation is available on Glacis' soundcloud here for FREE.

Hot on the heels of their recent EP reviewed earlier this week on Synthetix we have another magnificent new experience from Stellar Dreams. The Crusader has a perfect melody and the track progresses and evolves in spectacular fashion. I'm not 100% convinced the guitar sound is the best match for the track, but the other parts are absolutely exceptional.

To finish off this week's Weekend Update is a new audio visual experience from Synthetix favourite LA Dreams.  The music video experience of First To The Finish is a spectacular tour de force of thrilling cycling action and action packed synth work in LA Dreams' resplendent style.

First to the Finish line from Nivek on Vimeo.

That does us for another massive Weekend Update on Synthetix, I'll be back next week with more k-rad rockin action from all the hottest acts in the 80s inspired synth scene.

'Til then, stay 80s and keep on rockin!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

LA Dreams' Stereo Rewind

It's not a big secret that LA Dreams was my favourite discovery in 80s inspired synth for 2012.  This single producer has brought me so much musical joy over the last twelve months that I can barely comprehend it. From listening to his first release through to his latest album I've found that the LA Dreams sound is what I define as 80s inspired synth music, this mantle is held in my mind by numerous other producers also, but in 2012 it was LA Dreams that 'made' the year for me.

And mere weeks after his Belladonna and Disco Mannequin EPs LA Dreams had published  another full length album in Stereo Rewind. It's this, frankly, ridiculous work rate that blows my mind. I honestly find it hard to keep up and it's unfortunate that I find I can't cover everything he releases on Synthetix as I think this blog would soon just become a shrine to LA Dreams.. or more of a shrine some of you might say.

But it's this massive amount of music that makes me approach every new release with equal parts of fervour and trepidation. The excitement of experiencing new LA Dreams music is counterweighted by a thought that maybe this won't be as good as the last EP or album, which I'm usually still enjoying at the time. The idea that maybe LA Dreams has already peaked and is just turning music out for the sake of it. But these thoughts are always dashed within seconds of the opening stanzas of the first track, allowing my mind to enjoy the music and forget any negative thoughts I may have had.

Theres something else I've noticed that I'm developing with my love affair with LA Dreams. That thing is trust. Trust that this artist isn't going through a phase, trust that this artist isn't going to move away from making music and trust that I can lean back with my eyes closed and fall into an 80s dreamland with every new experience. This has to be one of the first times I've felt I'm in a truly trusting relationship with an artist. I'm usually of the mind that I should just enjoy what is released today with a great deal of 80s inspired synth producers as so many in the past have made me fall in love with their sounds to leave me standing at the altar while they drive off to new musical pastures.

I'm very aware this is my own fault for having such a deep emotional connection with this music but when passions are strong it becomes an almost uncontrollable force, and I am well versed in having my musical heart broken and have learned to take the thrills of the sounds today as just that, moments that can change space and time, if only briefly. The LA Dreams experience I have is beginning to feel permanent. It's beginning to feel like forever. Every new release just seems to etch deeper into the stone that LA Dreams is here to stay and his magic is set to be a mainstay of my life. It's this trust that feels so good and deepens the emotional attachment to his sounds even more.

Which brings us to Stereo Rewind. A twenty one track monolith of authentic 80s sounds and emotions that is in all honesty as strong as anything else this producer has released previously. It's heart and soul radiate the brilliance of this artist in every second of it's duration, creating galaxies of tangible feelings that are devoid of insincerity or triteness and full of complete wonder and exhileration.

In fact, Stereo Rewind is actually stronger than previous LA Dreams releases. With the sheer amount of music contained it might seem impossible but there is noticible development of many ideas that would previously not have been nearly as well explored. New instrumentation, new arrangements, new emotions, each track is surprising and fresh while retaining a sheen of LA Dream's gloss at all times. I'd say this is also the best LA Dreams has sounded with a production that has pushed the spatial dimensions of his sound out in all directions. The hi-hats seem crisper, the drums more detailed and the synths even more rich. Each sound has an extra layer of polish that makes them positively sparkle.

The hallmarks of what makes an LA Dreams track so magical are increasing at an exponential rate but the one trait every experience on Stereo Rewind contains is emotion. I often go on about how the 80s styles of  synth music are so emotive. This is something I feel in so many tracks, there's a power the music contains that can inspire, elevate and enlighten in ways nothing else can. I believe LA Dreams is a true master of creating and conveying emotions of every distinction in his music. Every note has a soul and a life all it's own, and each one talks directly to the listener's heart with a purity of absolute enchantment.

With such a stunning release to open up 2013 one could ask the question "Where does LA Dreams go from here?" I don't have an answer to that, but I know one thing, and that is I trust the next LA Dreams release is going to take us on even more 80s musical adventures as for every musical 'answer' on Stereo Rewind there are also new questions raised, new avenues to explore and glimpses of the future as yet unexperienced.

And what if there isn't any more LA Dreams music and Stereo Rewind is his last release? Well, although it would sadden me, it wouldn't break my heart as there is forever now a piece of it LA Dreams has conquered for eternity. Thank you LA Dreams for making so much wonderful music, I can't wait to rock even more with you in the years ahead.

Stereo Rewind is available one LA Dreams' Bandcamp page here  and comes with my highest recommendation as being a superlative Synthetix Reference Experience.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Stellar Dreams Are On Call

Quite a substantial amount of music in the 80s inspired synth scene walks a line betwixt the classic sounds and arrangements of old; striving for authenticity to the 80s sounds and the music that mixes in more modern elements. This provides sometimes interesting, sometimes jarring but also sometimes totally rockin results.

Stellar Dreams' new four track EP walks this lines like a 100 story tightrope act, keeping  the balance beautifully throughout the four episodes of On Call. In the case of this EP the sounds are reasonably strict in their adherence to the 80s, but the arrangements are coloured by a tinge of the new. In some cases this is barely discernable, but in others it's more pronounced. This mixture serves Stellar Dreams very well as the overall experience is one of those 'best of both worlds' type affairs.

On Call opens with the title track that brings on the high octane energy of classic OutRun styled synth melodies then explodes into a more staccato delivery that pushes the punctuation to the point of exclamation. The megaton drums accent every note with earthshattering power throughout the first stanza. The music then breaks down into a much more modern period of muted tones that promise and deliver the ubiquitous build up and drop of present day arrangements. This ends up working very impressively with the energies of the sounds really coalescing superbly.

A slower exposition entitled Emotion is track two. This dirge like exploration of more somber moods retains a modicum of modern elements, but these aren't in contrast to spatially produced ambience and instead add an extra layer of interesting details. This slower and more atmospheric style is usually done in a totally 80s soundtrack style manner but Stellar Dreams really added that little bit of today in there and did so very succinctly without sacrificing the intimate nature of the track.

The stand out track of the release, for this listener, is Rad Racer which is the third adventure in On Call. The upbeat beginning leads into some of the most bitchen synth melodies on the release. The main melody is absolutely stunning with bright high energy sounds delivered in layer upon layer of gleaming aural neon. The OutRun motif races throughout this track again, as would be expected from it's title, keeping excitement levels high and searing synths rockin on twelve cylinders.. until the final violent end.

To finish off the EP we have another high energy piece in Sunset Chaser. This is a journey that feels like a Tommy construction in many respects, which I say as compliment. The overall sound is a different shade of Tommy's own brand of magic, but the feelings are there and Stellar Dreams perform them in a true and honest manner. Sunset Chaser and Rad Racer are the most classicly styled pieces with only fleeting moments of current sounds being used. The end result simply works and makes for a soundscape that is quite individual and charaterised with aplomb.

The On Call EP is available for FREE from Stellar Dreams' site here and I'd encourage all fans of quality 80s sounds to grab this fine release and give the guys some love on their Facebook page here too.

Monday, January 14, 2013

20/80s With Lost Years

Lost Years is one of the most enigmatic producers of 80s inspired synth music and his way of releasing his creations ot the public is one of my favourites. For those following Lost Years on soundcloud you know the red-letter-day feeling when a new or update version of one of this producer's tracks pops up in your incoming music.

From these initial versions the tracks evolve and grow towards their full potential through their existence on soundcloud. They take on new colours and shapes and grow before our very ears. I remember the prelude to last year's  Nuclear EP, it was orchestrated to perfection as each track had it's own individual life and then was unleashed with megaton force in the full EP.

This brings us to Lost Years' full length release to round out 2012, the aurally stunning Black Waves. This feels like a year's worth of Lost Years magic all in one time capsule. Familiar and new tracks now get their place in the annals of music history and stand shoulder to shoulder in what could be best described as a monumentally huge experience. From the italo synth Lost Years incoporated into his sound mid year, to the total synth action drama that defines the Nuclear EP we get an expansive range of meticulously created musical journeys.

Releasing this album at the end of 2012 was a bit of a masterstroke also as it feels like I'm looking back and revisiting the 80s as experienced by Lost Years for that twelve month period. Theres's a reflective nature to the mellower pieces that tie the many moods of the year into a musical clipshow of where I was in 2012 and what was going on. For new fans of Lost Years you'll still find the magic even if you weren't following the progress of his music first hand as the album's narrative is clear, precise and wonderfully entertaining.

To celebrate this totally rockin release I've had to fortune to get Lost Years to give us his 20/80s as the first one for 2013. The Black Waves album is available through Rosso Corsa Records on their Bandcamp here and is most definitely a Synthetix Reference Experience.

So let us allow Lost Years to take us back to the glorious 80s with Black Waves and his 20/80s right now on Synthetix!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Weekend Update Blockbuster Part 2

Here we go with the second part of the Weekend Update Blockbuster! This will bring Synthetix reasonably up to date with the happenings in the 80s inspired synth scene over the holiday period, there are a few releases I've not yet explored on Synthetix that will be coming up over the next couple of weeks too.

Crank up the volume and set your energy levels to maximum rocking as we blast into the synthosphere!

First up is a spectacular new adventure from Betamaxx. Over the course of 2012 Betamxx released some superb music and as he rocks in to 2013 it looks like he's kicking things up a notch. This first cut of East Coast Summers is a thrill ride of high energy synth melodies and driving drums sure to send your soul yearning for summer days and neon nights.

Evanton's fast becoming a mainstay of Synthetix with every new release being an affair to remember. Their latest EP LA Story is even more beautifully conceived synth funk and comes highly recommeneded. The second track off LA Story, Run!, is yet more solid musical gold from Evanton.

Taking off into new galactic dimensions is Starforce's new composition Cosmic Voyage. I think this is the first time I've has a father and son made track on Synthetix and I hope it's not the last. This is beautifully written soundtrack space synth music that makes me long for the full length Starforce album. Omniversal Oscillations is due out soon on Aphasia Records and I'll be sure to give it deserving attention on Synthetix upon it's release.

Andy Fink's shared an exciting new preview track on his soundcloud called Dynasty. The bassline in this track is totally rockin and the piece has a bent/off kilter mood that is very engaging. As the track evolves I hope it keeps this personality and takes things even further into the unknown.

It's time for some quality space italo now with Spacious Sweeps new track, Black Ops. This has to be the most ambient italo I've ever heard. The melodies and arrangements are totally rockin the pure italo vibe, but in this context of being slowed down and given huge spatial qualities makes for a wonderful soundscape.

While we're sailing in the italo galaxy we should stop in Flashback Records new release from the aptly named Italove in Follow Me To Mexico. Due out on January 18 this is a monstrously authentic italo styled song of the 1987-88 vintage that is full of energy and passion. Even this short preview is totally kick arse, I'll be sure to follow up on this EP upon it's impending release.

Photosynthesi continues to make positive impressions  with each new track this Italian producer releases. The emotional depth of his track White is fathomless and the funk bass break down adds yet another dimension to an already rivetting experience. This track is featured on Side B of the latest  Synthetix Mixtape and is a true celebration of the wonder and magic of 80s inspired synth music.

To finish up this second half of the Weekend Update Blockbuster we have the powerful new track from Synthaesthete. The deliberate pace of this juggernaut of synthual energies is magnificent to behold. The drum track in this is exceptionally done, exhibiting raw power and a dynamic that is masterfully executed.

That does us for the two part Weekend Blockbuster on Synthetix, but I'll be returning tomorrow with a super hard rockin 20/80s and covering a some supremely high calibre releases throughout the week so stay 80s and keep on rockin!

Weekend Update Blockbuster Part 1

As there's been so much beautiful music released in my absence I'm doing a two part Weekend Update to get things to where they should be. Coming up next week is a bunch of great new sounds too and coming up to the beginning of February there'll be even more surprises on Synthetix.

Let's hit the turbos and go straight into high gear with part 1 of the blockbuster Weekend Update on Synthetix!

Saint Remy's new song Opportunity Makes Ur Future has a production unlike almost anything else, the spatial nature of the sounds is contrasted by chemically sharpened knife edge vocals and crisply bright percussion is very engaging. The chaotic nature of this experience and it's underlying messages make this a total powerhouse of sound.

Eschewing the agressiveness of Saint Remy we have a beautifully sedate new experience in soundtrack synth from Mulperi. His Hero (Instrumental) is a languidly relaxing piece of green and blue coloured atmosphere. Pan flutes bring in even more of a calming enviorn while the delicate synth leads are balanced delightfully with the emotive saxophone. Majestically arranged music that definitely works perfectly as an instrumental.

Arc Neon's new concept EP has been taking form with a couple of new pieces from the experience shared recentyl. The Le Porte Dell'Inferno EP is taking shape as a dark soundtrack synth excursion, there's a definite air of dread in both tracks currently available, but the final form of this nightmare is currently devoid of a release date. Let's hope the demons don't take Arc Neon before the work is completed!

A new track from Miles Prower really caught my attention recently. Although specified as Eletro House, and the first part of the experience is most certainly coloured with much modernity, there's a dominant 80s spirit the soars through the soundscape and takes on a truly retro vibe. It ends up being a very clean mix of old and new that is beautiful in execution and arrangement. I'm looking forward to hearing more from this twin-tailed devotee of quality synth sounds.

Another recent discovery is PowercuT. This rocker is creating some massively kick arse sounds on his soundcloud, I'm not sure sure how much is original work and how much is sample loops but to be honest I don't think it matters when the tunes are so rock hard. I'm reminded a little of Vektroid and Laserdisc Visions, with a bit of Camille R throughout his music, which is most definitely a good thing. Give PowercuT's other tracks a listen and feel the love.

Jowie Schulner's certainly going back to his love of 80s synth in his recent track, which will always bring rapturous applause from yours truly. His latest labour of love, Road To Happiness, is another magically woven structure of soaring synths and emotional melodies. This producer is building up a substantial amount of similarly themed tunes, so let hope a release is impending.

Although not set to be released any time soon, I really wanted to give some love to Kenj Run's latest track Midnight Kiss. I've loved the evolution of Kenji Run's sound over 2012 and this track is yet another step in the Kenji Run journey. A more modern arrangement belies beautfiully executed 80s synth sounds the feel like they're eminating from the heavens themselves. Even in this demo form it's well worth downloading, just in case we don't get another chance to visit Midnight Kiss in the future.

Denovomutans has unleashed some of the blackest dark synth I've had the terror of experiencing with his amazing new track Wasteland. Every sound feels like it's either on fire, or is a charred remnant recently extinguished but still able to burn with much ferocity. The Wasteland becomes almost industrialized as it takes on new forms, but beneath it's pounding black heart the soul of classic 80s synth terror remains it's driving force. Download it if you DARE!

Our final piece of part one of this Blockbuster Weekend Update is a teaser video for the new release from Collins. Due out on Telefuture Records in the coming weeks, Animal Magnetism promises to be another kick arse release from this dark electro synth pop producer. Synthetix is champing at the bit to explore the dark but sweetly perfumed back alley ways of Collins' musical world.

Collins "Animal Magnetism" Teaser from Telefuture on Vimeo.

I'll be back tomorrow with the second part of the Blockbuster Weekend Update, so keep on rockin and keep the 80s dream alive!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Synthetix Is Back! Let's Rock 2013!

Synthetix is back! After a luxuriously relaxing break I'm back in action with the 80s soundtrack to your modern life. Over the break the music did not stop a rockin with some big releases and kick arse singles to wind up 2012. I'll be covering a number of these over the next week, but as a bit of  kickstart to the heart for 2013 I've included much of the most inspiring tunes  in the first Synthetix Mixtape for 2013.

This mixtape contains gems from a whole mess of talented produers, both new and established, in the scene. We've got a selection from the phenomonal new Lost Years record in there as well as a few favourites I fell in love with towards the end of 2012 but wanted to give them some more love for good measure. There's totally kick arse new tunes from C-60, Photosynthesi, Box Of Wolves and the irrepressible Flash Arnold too. It's a mixtape to start your 2013 rockin in all the right directions, so without any further delay, get your mind tuned back to the greatest decade of all and drink in the sumptuous synthualised sounds as deeply as you dare.

Side A:

1, Miami Lights - Scream&Dive
2, Wreckage Of 2085 - Cosmic Sand
3, Ventura - Vestron Vulture
4, Union - Box Of Wolves
5, Wipeout - C-60
6, West Side Lane - Lost Years
7, Volcanic Machinery - Dynatron & Perturbator
8, Des Jeunes Dans Le Vent - Plaisance
9, Electro Clash - Lost Years
10, High Class - Rain Sword
11, This Is It - Flash Arnold
12, Latin For Volcano - Python Blue
13, Time Jump - Flash Arnold

Side B:

1, Black Road - Pyramid
2, This Last Dance - Chaconne
3, Beneath The Surface - Lost Years
4, Valerie - Vincenzo Salvia
5, White - Photosynthesi
6, The Funk - Lost Years
7, Lost In Nevada - Cosmic Sand
8, OutRun This! - Arcade High
9, Incognito - Vector Hold
10, One Way Test Drive - C-60
11, Flash Workout - Flash Arnold
12, This String Of Pearls - LA Dreams

Always remember, the Synthetix Mixtapes are only up for a few weeks before I replace them with new ones, so get em down and recorded to cassette asap!

Synthetix will be back with a double barrelled Weekend Update, the first shot goes off  tomorrow followed by part two the following  day. This will be a huge weekend full of totally k-rad new music so make sure you're rockin on Synthetix, the premier internet channel for kick arse 80s inspired synth music.