Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Midweek Triple EP Meltdown

All the planets got into an alignment for maximum rockin this week which has resulted in three superb EP releases set off in a chain reaction of explosive action. New music from Vincenzo Salvia, Splash Wave and Steinbeck will all make your Wednesday as rad as humanly possible.

Light the fuse and run for cover as the Midweek Meltdown goes thermonuclear!!

Vincenzo Salvia​ - ​Traffic E​​P
Vincenzo Salvia is back with a three track exploration of dramatic synth moods in his Traffic EP. This EP demonstrates a great deal of new sounds and spaces for this producer, it seems every new release distills the essence of his music even further while his own personality continues to grow.

Taking on a very obvious 80s drug dealing motif from the Scarface inspired artwork and track titles the music does have the hallmarks of danger and action pulsing throughout its three movements. Opening up with Vengeance the scene is set with energetic melodies and electrifying sounds. Elements of many styles merge in this track and as a thematic scene-setting piece it delivers great portions of tension and luxury in even doses. "Vengeance" really shines in it's arrangements, with each section beautifully thought out and executed, something that Vincenzo Salvia has taken huge strides in.

The next track, Exchange, pushes this producers skill even further. As a standalone piece this runs the gamut of action and emotion with pounding rhythms and melodies that resonate throughout the music. This pieces midpoint change is absolutely stunning and hugely unexpected. It's this change with slow uplifting synth layers and and an engine powered by pure italo that makes this experience totally reference and easily my favourite Vincenzo Salvia track thus far. Truly magical.

Stray Bullers completes the EP with more action centered on lives living on the edge, constantly in the face of danger. It begins with a much more simplistic approach that sets the scene for the main melody which is then made all the more impressive when it hits. Once again, this is arranged brilliantly with three suites continuing the story and bringing the atmosphere to life with broad strokes of colour and action.

The Traffic EP is presented on Future City Records Bandcamp page here and is most certainly worth the price of admission for this tale of peril and vice in the 80s underworld.

Le Podium #2 : Splash Wave

The second edition of the Le Podium series contains some exceptional music from the marvellous Splash Wave. This series is intended to showcase new French talent in a range of musical styles and for their second volume they've chosen the 80s sounds of Splash Wave for a four track release made up of two originals and two remixes.

For those unaware, Splash Wave was a title of one of the background music tracks on the classic SEGA arcade game OutRun. Another track off this seminal title was also Passing Breeze, which provides some glorious homage to the classic SEGA title that has inspired an entire musical genre. Keeping the video game thematic going the other track on this release, Bad'n'Rad, was a title of Gameboy skateboarding game by Konami, a sequel to the NES's Skate Or Die. But classic videogame fanservice aside, it's time to get into the music of Splash Wave.

Opening with Passing Breeze we're presented with slightly melancholic synth pop that is firmly rooted in 80s sounds. The vocal track on Passing Breeze by Anna Jean provides an extra layer of moodiness and it's flat, dead pan delivery is implemented beautifully for maximum effect. The music does add interesting drum tracks to the experience which remind me of the marvellous Klockhaus. No bad thing at all! Passing Breeze is also on this EP as an Extended Instrumental Mix, which is also very engaging. I find it hard to choose between the two, and I seem to gravitate to either depending on my mood as the instrumental has just a touch less melancholy.

Bad'n'Rad continues the Splash Wave adventure with a perfect mix of old and new. Once again I'm reminded of Klockhaus in the use of the drum tracks, which in this track, push the action even harder and makes for even more rockin good times. The heavily effect treated vocal adds even more to the soundscape and it's non-traditional arrangements work like a charm throughout. I really enjoy this song on many levels, it just plain rocks.

The Publicist remix of Bad'n'Rad takes the music into a spacy-house direction that gives the experience an entirely new complexion. I'm not particularly sold on this remix, massively due to my liking of the original so much, but it does put a very interesting spin on the vocal track by making it the complete focus of the experience. I do believe the minimalist approach to the music betrays the originals soul however.

This release is presented on Splash Wave's Bandcamp here as a digital download and also as a luxurious 10" pink vinyl pressing, which is limited to 300 copies.  These may be getting thin on the ground though as mine is number 260, so jump on it quick if you're after the record.

Steinbeck - The First Tear EP

A new Australian producer has launched himself into the 80s inspired synth scene under the name of Steinbeck with his debut EP The First Tear. First EP or not, The First Tear showcases a very talented and passionate producer who's obviously in the grip of a long standing love affair with classic 80s sounds.

Steinbeck's sounds are totally on point with an early to mid 80s synth pop soundscape positively glowing with classic 80s songwriting details and nuances. The opening song, Heart, demonstrates his ability to craft emotions into music with synths that are written to go with the lyrical track perfectly. I know this might sound obvious, but there are very few producers around who write music with vocal track in mind and often the vocal feels like it's been added as an afterthought rather than something that shares equal importance.

Right from the opening this song is constructed in a way that feels totally authentic. The synth build and the vocal works with the layering of sounds magnificently. So many classic 80s synth pop bands are brought to mind throughout Heart, but it doesn't feel like a twee homage. Steinbeck's passion and conviction is palpable in every note and word and it's this intimation that he manages to get across so beautifully.

Steinbeck's voice moves in and out of different sounds throughout the EP. It does feel like he's yet to find the right sound for his music as it changes markedly, sometimes in the same song. He is obviously working very hard on finding the one that really works for him and this is something he should be massively commended for. In the second track  we visit slowed down synth pop romance with nods to early Duran Duran ballads. It's in The First Tear's chorus that I find a Steinbeck vocal sound I instantly fell in love with. Just enough suaveness and honesty to really make the lyrics go straight to the heart.

The EP completes with another balladesque piece entitled Your Eyes. Steinbeck knows his 80s and his 'whole package' of synths, guitars and vocals really shines even brighter in this song. The synth energies are smooth and transparent, guitars are whispered nuances and the vocal is once again intimated with perfect honesty.

This EP is a very, very promising start for Steinbeck. I really hope this artist sticks to his guns with his sounds as he has all the pieces of the puzzle already, he just needs to make them fit perfectly. I'll be covering Steinbeck's future with great interest on Synthetix.FM, that's for sure.

The First Tear EP is presented on Steinbeck's Bandcamp here and I hope everyone supports this great new talent in the 80s inspired synth scene.

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