Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Double Shot From Future City Records

With a great stable of artists that is continually growing, Future City Records have fast become one of my favourite labels over the years. The diversity of their talent is one of their stronger characteristics and with two brand new releases this past week, that diversity is certainly being expanded even further.

Peter Robinson - Midnight Prophet

First up is a beautiful new two track EP from the creative imagination of Peter Robinson. His previous EP Theme From Manta Ray (reviewed on Synthetix.FM here) displayed his talent for fabricating gentle and picturesque synth journeys. In his latest release those journeys continue, into new spaces and times.

The titular 'Midnight Prophet' begins the proceedings and the tender melodies begin in earnest, dancing and flickering in beautifully organic way. Sounds are light and breezy, the muted percussion complements these delicately orchestrated synthscapes which entrance and charm. It's this serenely cast palette of aural delight which really personifies the Peter Robinson sound.

The B side to Midnight Prophet is the equally divine 'Lost In A Dream'. Adding some more esoteric progressions and keeping the synths formed from aural gossamer itself allows for a story to be told that brings a vivid surrealism to the elements. I love the way the bassline holds the track together while synth melodies and details form their own imaginative realities, borne from a colourful subconscious and allowed to bend their own identities into fantastical new forms.

This is wonderfully crafted EP which deserves your attention and imagination, let Peter Robinson guide you through his dreams crafted as music soon and often.

PowercuT - Paradise

Even though the soundscape provides a huge differential between PowercuT and Peter Robinson there is a common tie that binds these two releases in that their both cut from the cloth of a hazy dream time, although from a very different place.

PowercuT is a producer whom works in the field of loops and reimaginings of vintage tracks, thereby adding new flavours and personalities to them. One of my favourite artists in the field is Laserdisc Visions, who's work I've been an ardent follower of over the years. The PowercuT style is a different brand of vaporwave however, and makes for a new and exciting listening experience.

The source material drawn from on Paradise is definitely 80s funk and R&B sounds, and it's this source material which makes the PowercuT experience so wondrous. The smooth melodies are taken into a cloud-like dimension where details are smeared into each other, only allowing for specific ideas to be realised whilst the soundscape bends and collapses in upon itself.

This allows for some absolutely mind blowing experiences, such as the incredibly lush 'Morning Swim'. The unintelligible vocal refrain is completely hypnotising in it's repetition and the music seems to coalesce into an innate hook that sparkles through the slow motion haziness. This is exactly the kind of piece I could happily have on repeat for tens of times to fully appreciate it's sublime brilliance.

'Paradise' is full of sax heavy pieces that continually arouse the listener's curiosity with their sensual tones that intimate to moments that are wistfully presented yet felt deeply. PowercuT uses some exceptionally long loops for the vaporwave style and keeps much of their soul intact, rarely erasing their original personality. In doing so all the pieces on Paradise have an immediacy to them which is then manipulated into dreamier states but always remaining true.

The PowercuT sound, and the vaporwave genre in general, may not be for everyone but this EP is a very good introduction to this genre, right down to his retelling of M-Town Vice's 'Fear Of 90s' track. There is something about this style that I really love, and if you're new to this kind of music you could do far worse than to take a trip to Paradise with PowercuT. His grasp of how to make his samples take on new life yet remain wholly relevant is a joy to listen to.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Synthetix Weekend Update

It's that time once again, the time to look back at the most rockin singles, previews and teasers released through the last seven days in the 80s inspired synth scene in another gargantuan Weekend Update on Synthetix.FM!

The Astral Stereo Project has been on my radar for quite a while now, in no small part to him being supported a great deal on Project Friday Radio. This latest track is a tad more dramatic than his pop style fare and as an instrumental works the melodies and ideas in a very engrossing way. 

A producer who continually impresses me with the growth within his music is Electric Disection. In 'Sweeping Airwaves' he really pushes the simplicity of sounds to magnify the melody's weight. The sounds are presented with very authentic personality that I greatly enjoy.

Project: Walker by Julian Anderson added a new experience to the thematic this week with a piece called 'City Runner'.  The project is a Blade Runner inspired story that is making chapters of music for each set piece. 'City Runner' is a slow synth burn which builds beautifully, the instruments are layered to perfection and I must give a special mention to the sublime bassline that holds the soundscape together. Currently available for FREE download.

A producers who's really nailing the disco/space synth/soundtrack/prog vibe is Achim Bloch with his killer new track 'Time In Space'. The sounds, progressions and production are all totally on point as this piece takes you in esoteric realms of dimensionless travel. A marvellously well orchestrated experience and also currently available for FREE download.

Time for some new rockers on the scene and the duo of The Boy & Sister Alma. Their latest track 'Lizard Eyes' is a beautifully lush synth pop serenade. Elements of 90s indie electronic lace the edges of the experience, but inside beats a heart full of 80s love. The chorus in this song is absolutely stunning and guitars introduced in the latter are truly inspirational, be sure to grab your copy while it's currently up for FREE download.

The eminently rockin Professor Zonic Zynth is back with another stellar piece of 80s inspired synth called 'Sonic Boom'. This apparently Top Gun inspired track is packed with action, drama and emotion with classic 80s soundtrack synth. There is so many stories in this track, so densely arranged that is positively overflowing with glorious 80s wonder.

Based on their previous history, I don't expect 'Drifter' to be around for long before Dance With The Dead take it off soundcloud, but for those lucky enough to read this while it's up (and hopefully it does stay up for longer than recent tracks they've shared) you're in for a stunningly emotive experience. Winding things back to a much sparser soundscape 'Drifter' finds this duo adding some incredibly beautifully vocal elements to their sound. 'Drifter' is both vastly epic and soulfully intimate at the same time.

PH Groove is back with a new homage to Alan Vega's seminal work with a new track 'The Calling'. Going under the genre of '80s Punk Dance' that's pretty much exactly how I'd describe it. The sounds are warped and modern in approach, but the 80s vibe rocks this track in totally rad way. Currently available for FREE download.

Alpha Boy is back with a new album to be released on the 3rd of June called 'Future Man'. This preview gives us a brief look at what's in store,  and definitely contains some new territory for this producer. Based on his last few singles and how he's pushed the Alpha Boy sound into new directions I'm going to be very interested to see where this full length takes us.

Delivering frenetic 80s energies in every conceivable way is Elsewhen with their slightly ChipTune edged high energy synth odysseys. This track entitled 'Zenith' would be well at home on the soundtrack release of any of the games from the Thunderforce series of shooters, who's soundtracks I hold in very high regard. Many thanks to Jon 'Grooveworthy' Mussell for introducing me to Elsewhen.

On a similarly 16Bit kick is Strange Aeons and his new work of b-grade inspired horror cinema 'I Was A Teenage Slime Sucker'. The personality of this track is rather quirky with it's instrumentations but the melodic work and stories alluded to in the arrangements are genuinely entertaining and the ending is fantastic. Currently available for FREE download.

80s synth scene icon LA Dreams shared a very interesting new experience during this past week which shows some new sides to his many facets. 'We're Not Human' is one of his most introspective and chilled tracks yet. The pace is slow and laboured with melodies that prove insightful and illuminating.
Incredibly beautiful work, with sublime key changes and perfect arrangements.

Transcend shared something rather beautiful this week in 'Hazel Eyes'. Tinged with classic 80s synth romance and flavoured with a bright and colourful soundscape this track is a joy to behold. The arrangements are much more modern, but one can't help but feel those smooth 80s sounds giving this experience all it's magic. Currently available for FREE download too.

Next up is a short teaser for the new MegaDrive record 'Hardwired'. Even though this teaser is almost a teaser of a teaser in it's brevity it does allude to exciting new soundscapes from MegaDrive. With a release date set for the 4th of June we don't have to wait long for more hot rockin action. 

It's been about a month since we last heard from Rain Sword with his exceptional track 'Drift Away' and he's now returned with totally rad new track 'Slick'. The music is full of Rain Sword 80s magic, but theres also some housey/nu disco even balearic vibes I'm getting which provides for some interesting soundscapes indeed. Definitely a rockin good time, and currently available for FREE download.

rf.extreme has really been perfecting his craft of late and his new track 'Topped 6th' takes him to even greater realms of synth possibilities. The music is very tightly controlled but still allowed to create a very tactile presence. The use of cleaner natural keyboard sounds add even more tonal qualities. The ending seems to meander a tad and the abrupt finish probably means it's in a currently unfinished state, but even still it rocks super hard.

Synthficionado Highway Superstar shared a totally rad new track going by the name of 'The Chase' this week that takes him back to the East in a ninja synth epic. Full of adventure and shadowed denizens of assassination this packs a punch you'll be feeling for weeks. The narrative is a web of deceit and betrayal, played against a moonlit backdrop of flashing blades. Superbly arranged from beginning to end.

Our final highlight for the week is new experience from the enigmatic Dr Pecco. I'm definitely a fan of his exploitation cinema fuelled synthscapes and with his new piece 'Our Hearts, The Stallions' we're finding the good doctor experimenting in some brighter and happier sounds. The music is very upbeat and full of colourful melodies. I'll be reviewing Dr Pecco's new 'Crystal Eyes, Diamond Tails' next week on Synthetix.FM, but make sure you grab this single for FREE download in the mean time.

That does us for another Weekend Update on Synthetix.FM. I hope you've found some rockin new tunes to  make your weekend glow in the most radical shades of neon and I look forward to sharing more new music with you next week. 'Til then stay 80s and keep on rockin.

Friday, May 24, 2013

OGRE's Calico Brawn

The inspirations of what drives many producers of 80s inspired synth music are as varied as they are plentiful, however there are numerous sources that are an eternal well. Miami Vice is one of these such eternal inspirations. This single TV show managed to encapsulate almost every single element of 80s-cool, more so than possibly any other TV series. It was a lifestyle show, depicting the diversity of 80s icons, from cop stars to pop stars and everything in between.

When you go back to Miami Vice and re-watch it you begin to notice a great deal more than sports cars and salmon blazers. The way this show was shot and edited, the diverse characters the sheer amount of action and excitement in each episode and the way all this was taken to 'the next level' by it's soundtrack make Miami Vice one of the penultimate exponents of what makes the 80s so wonderful.

I'm sure if you're reading this you're well aware of Jan Hammer's work in Miami Vice's soundtrack. His iconic theme and incidental music are still as visionary as they were originally. One just needs to see how many times Crockett's Theme has been covered in recent times to witness the power of Jan Hammer's music. It's the music that gave the show it's emotion, it's life and it's immortality. The combining of vision and sound had never been so intrinsically linked in a prime time TV show, nor since, and to this day the Miami Vice experience is unlike anything else of similar genre.

This brings us to the latest record from OGRE. Calico Brawn is one producer's take on the Miami Vice experience as a sum of it's elements as opposed to a single fragment. What's achieved across this record is a spectacular range of music that complements the Miami Vice aesthetic to perfection.

OGRE has presented many soundtrack experiences in recent times, often a vast nebulae of synths presented in an epic format. With Calico Brawn OGRE has taken his sound and formed it into the perfect accompaniment to the visuals of Miami Vice. I dare anyone to have an episode of Miami Vice playing, mute the volume, crank up Calico Brawn and deny this serendipitous experience. This is not OutRun flavoured Synthwave, this is soundtrack synth performed and composed with a sublime level of understanding and vision.

The parts of Calico Brawn are segmented ideas, vignettes of action, tension, love and excitement. There are moments when Jan Hammer feels like he's stepping in and taking the reigns, but OGRE wrestles them back with his own stylistic choices and progressions. The familiarity of the instruments used never feel like a cop out or a cheap imitation. All the synths contain a sincerity, or synthcerity as I shall call this from now on.

The fact hardware synths and VHS mastering techniques have been used for this record make the difference as the organic nature of the chords and notes feel true and full of depth. The layering in each piece is peerless as OGRE always makes the melodies speak eloquently, allowing them to be understood clearly, without distraction or feeling like that have to shout to be heard above the cacophony.

This is really what separates the experiences into genuine soundtrack pieces. The stories are so delightfully written and executed that every track is purposeful and self contained. Calico Brawn states it's business in every track openly. You instantly know what's happening visually and the music provides all the dialogue necessary. The heady moments of Miami Vice are presented for your aural pleasure in a most satisfying way from the opening 'Always Outnumbered, Never Outrun' to 'All's Well That Ends Well'.

As pieces can get very episodic in nature, their diversity adds even more intrigue. Hip hop style jams like 'Stay Tuned' and the tangibly David Lynchian 'OJO' keep things fresh and full of details that demand your attention as each act reaches it's climax and takes you onto the next chapter. Throughout the entire record my imagination is kept sharply focused on what's being presented, there are no lapses in OGRE's concentration or passages that exist without purpose.

Calico Brawn is a massive accomplishment for this producer and I believe OGRE has ventured into a territory that he feels very comfortable in that also affords him an opportunity to spread his creative wings ever further.

OGRE presents Calico Brawn on his Bandcamp page here and this release comes with a very, very high recommendation from Synthetix.FM. I love what this records presents and how it so consistently captures my attention and refuses to relinquish it. I encourage every fan of 80s inspired synth music to pick this up as soon as possible and add a slice of Miami Vice to your life in supremely rockin way.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Join Le Matos

There are few groups in the 80s inspired synth scene with as much excitement around them as Le Matos. For the last couple of years a new Le Matos single shared on soundcloud was a red-letter-day as their grasp of classically styled synth music with their modern nuances created and intoxicating combination. Fervent adoration followed each successive single release as their styles matured and formed and now with their first full length record we finally get to see the full Le Matos picture and also the chance to appreciate what these producers are capable of.

The sound of Le Matos is not what I'd describe as authentically written 80s synth, however it is most definitely a large aspect of the productions. It's hard to put my finger on but there is something very Chemical Brothers like in their craftsmanship. Along with influences from a plethora of electronic music eras and this gives the Le Matos experience a different energy that really combines many worlds into one new one.

The soundscape is very progressive with many nods to turn to late 90s techno sounds and more recent French house motifs but the recurrent 80s elements combine things into a spectacular new experience that is consistently of a very high quality.

Join Us is the name of the record and I wholeheartedly offer myself to the Le Matos movement.

As a full length experience this album works like a futuristic soundtrack that dabbles in many genres but always remains focussed. The opening chapters definitely lend themselves to the late 90s UK electronic sound with melodic layers of 80s synths to add a more emotional dimension. This is very prominent in tracks like 'Interceptor' which crosses decades of sounds with each step. As Le Matos are a genuine band there are obviously many minds and influences are work in their music and I believe this is what gives them such a multidimensional appeal.

The soundscapes are very diverse in their make ups and executions, experiences are rarely revisited and instead Le Matos choose to forge new paths, fuelled by the past but looking to the future. The modern house  soundscapes are windswept by swirling synths that provide a great deal of detail and give a delicate tonality to the often unsympathetic marching percussion. It's this percussion and the extra layers of drama conveyed through the crashing of cymbals and drums, evidenced wonderfully succinctly in 'Overdog', that annunciate Le Matos in a manner that is impossible to ignore.

Tracks in Join Us haven been arranged with touches of deft genius. The powerhouse smash '58 Minutes Pour Vivre', which I personally have played many, many times over the last year is now given it's place amongst the newer stories and it fits in with absolute perfection. In fact, this new album version of this track allows the narrative to achieve a far more expansive context with the compositions either side of it. This rings true throughout the album and familiar experiences are all of sudden brand new in their album form.

The Le Matos sound is often epic in nature, with rises and falls that speak volumes and intimate ideas the are singularly enrapturing but when placed into a longer experience take on a new dimension that means so much more. Some music lends itself more to singles and EPs, encapsulating ideas and keeping the focal point concentrated, this kind of experience in a long form can sometimes dilute that focus and invite unevenness to the soundscape. I now realise the Le Matos style was designed for this extended format as it feels like the album is one story of many chapters.

The instruments used keep the presentation so wondrously epigrammatic, imbibing pristine clarity to the ideas of each movement. One of the high spots is the collaborative piece with Electric Youth. 'Light Again' is hypnotising electronica that harkens to the dance floor and the highway with a haunting vocal accented by glowing details whose trails echo organically.

The album's darker pieces also excite with their powerful refrains and frenetic drum patterns. Even though tracks like 'The Stuff' and the totally rockin 'Sarah' are made of more shadowy parts there is always a lightness in the atmosphere that adds counterpoint and prevents chapters from falling entirely into a void.  The drama is always apparent when it needs to be but it never drowns out the hope of the yearning melodies.

By the albums end an air of contentment is palpable. The journey has been full of excitement and enlightenment, taking the lessons of the old and tempering it with the sounds of the new to make something spectacularly accessible but also vastly deep. Nothing on this record feels unexplored or unfinished, the completeness of Join Us is one of it's most wonderful features and even though it's not obviously advertised it does work as a concept album or soundtrack magnificently well.

Join Us is thus far one of the best crossover albums I'm yet to hear. I can hear, see and feel so many different ages of electronic music in it's parts yet the balance is always perfect with each composition taking it's ideal place and it's own cues from the present and the past. Much like the now classic Temporarity album from Michael Cassette this record feels timeless and an entity unto itself. I look forward to revisiting this album many, many times in the coming years and allowing Le Matos to take me into their wonderful world where time is irrelevant and music is eternal.

Girlfriend Records presents Le Matos's Join Us album on their Bandcamp page here. This record is definitely a Synthetix Reference Experience and I hope it's record that you add not only your library but also your life and that in years to come you come back to this album as something still as special and fresh as it is today.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

OMD Are English Electric

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark are one of the original 80s synth pop bands that are synonymous with classic 80s sounds. Their songs throughout the golden age of the 80s (1980-87) are bright points of light that trace moments and emotions with a poignancy that is still resolute today. Looking into the past music from OMD one witnesses the evolution of synth pop, music takes on new forms while staying true to it's emotional centre.

The OMD experience always came across to me as a more cerebral experience than the usual chart synth pop. Their songs of obtuse subject matter, telling stories from other ages while still remaining intimate with the listener is a something very few bands consistently created with the same kind of success. The way an OMD experience was crafted told a story through synthesised hooks and vocals full of honest emotion and I'm very pleased to say that their latest record, English Electric, keeps all these facets as prominent in 2013 as they were in 1983.

The opening introductory passage leads into 'Metroland' which brings electronic ages together in a manner that is full of reverence and delivered with a triumphant melodic fanfare. One of the greatest aspects of this record on the whole is the way OMD have incorporated  some more modern elements while remaining true to their original blueprint. The marching percussion of 'Metroland' underpins delectably vintage synth sounds while the vocals of Andy McCluskey sound as magnificently timeless as they did in the 80s.

Rarely has the combination of vocal and synthesizer been so instantly recognisable than it was in the first age of OMD. An instant recognition occurs with their sound and this is still the case. The music on this record could not have been made by anyone else. This becomes hugely apparent in 'Night Cafe', as the melodies wash over the setting as the golden McCluskey tones caress and welcome you back to another time; a time that the OMD magic creates in each song.

Interludes are placed throughout English Electric like blurred sign posts pointing in a direction different to our current trajectory. Travelling through pieces like 'The Future Will Be Silent', 'Decimal', 'Atomic Ranch' as well as the introduction are points of electronic music history that are presented as dalliances that contrast beautifully to the main songs. A recounting of a circular history traversing generations to come back to it's origins.

And it's when 'Helen Of Troy' begins that all concepts of time become irrelevant. OMD's penchant for giving personal stories to historical incidents and personalities in a modern context is ever so wonderfully realised once again. These concurrent thematics make the music even more authentic, a continuing thought which music is spun around to create an aural web of complete beauty.

The album takes on much more grand inspirations for 'Our System' which comes across like an evangelical call to unite. Percussion is jarring and dramatic while choirs take things skyward before a monumental collapse brings everything crashing back to earth. Throughout English Electric runs a theme of humanities intimate relationship with technology and it's recurring failure. 'Kissing The Machine' describes the lust and passion we can have for something incapable of reciprocating and succinctly packages this into a piece of poignantly perfect synth pop.

OMD work their magical melodies to even greater heights through the back end of record. Emotions are bared with a raw affinity in 'Stay With Me' as Paul Humphrey's vocals are utterances of powerlessness while melodies bring an incredibly uplifting feeling of hope against great odds. 'Dresden' is possibly my favourite experience on this record as the melodies feel completely unbridled and this is then reflected in the accompanying instruments as well. The energy is vibrant and colourful musically, with a much less positive but no less energetic story in the lyrics. It's OMD magic in it's most refined and essential form; beautiful, tragic but thoroughly invigorating.

English Electric completes with the aptly titled 'Final Song'. Delivered as a cautionary tale of reflection this eulogy is full of biting lyrics over a musical background of glorious slow motion bossa nova. This epitaph resonates beautifully with it's looped vocal details. This idea is taken even further into oblivion in the bonus track 'No Man's Land'.

One of the most wonderful things about this record is that it sounds and feels like a classic OMD record. This may sound simplistic, but when one considers the amount of 80s producers who follow modern trends at the expense of their 80s soul English Electric shines like beacon that is true and authentic. Every detail on this album works, the songwriting is superb and the story of each track is told in an honest and engaging way. I can but hope this leads the way for more classic 80s producers to go back to their roots and do what they do best.

OMD's English Electric is available on iTunes here and is very highly recommended album from Synthetix.FM. This record brings back so many wonderful memories while creating new ones simultaneously, it's 80s music done to perfection in 2013 by one of the original pioneers of classic synthpop.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Synthetix Weekend Update

Welcome to another Weekend Update on Synthetix.FM. You may notice there are two new additions the site's layout as I welcome a permanent link to Project Friday on the right column. Project Friday is a LIVE weekly radio show presented by Steve 'Silent Gloves' Gillson and delivers a totally kick arse show dedicated to 80s inspired synth and also includes other electronic genres as well as original 80s classics. This show is massively professional and encourages live participation through the Project Friday chatroom. Project Friday happens 9pm EST, U.S time every Friday night and I for one make sure I'm there to be part of the rockin radio action.

The other addition to the site is a new email form on the left hand side. As the scene grows and more and more music is released it's getting more and more difficult to keep on top of all the new releases. Through my searches and followings I get to find a lot of new music and the Synthetix.FM Facebook group is a truly marvellous source too but now I've added a way for you to contact me directly if you find or are a producer of 80s inspired synth music. Please feel free to contact me with any leads or your own tunes if you'd like them to be covered on Synthetix.FM.

Speaking of hot rockin tunes, we get to open this week's Weekend Update in a most radical of ways with another Synthetix.FM EXCLUSIVE from Plaisance!

'Kids' is the first track from Plaisance's upcoming full length album 'Children Of The 80s' and it promises to be full of Plaisance synth magic. This producer's authentic 80s production style is perfect for the youthful exuberance of the 80s. I'm really looking forward to this project as Plaisance's work in other thematics, particularly his seaside series, has been able to capture the moods and emotions of the subject eloquently and with great beauty. This track is full of vibrant melodies and has a very energetic and bouncy characteristic to it's story, and will be sure to brighten your weekend.

Cougar Synth has ventured into the realms of sensuality and intimacy with his new track 'Afterglow'. I love how the synthscape is so delightfully radiant and uncomplicated, allowing for each glance and touch to resonate with affection. Stunning work again from Cougar Synth and he's been so kind as to make this a FREE download too.

Garth Knight's also taking a road to romance with his latest 'Regardez Moi'. This has a much more, dare I say, Com Truise like personality to it with waves of synths being manipulated in pulsing nebulas forms that illuminate an aura of atmosphere warping romance. This is a totally rockin experience and gives Garth Knight yet another synth genre to draw from.

It's a return to the classic and wonderful Lost Years sound with his latest teaser 'The Other Side Of You' from this prolific producer. Listed as a 'studio session' this piece is full of Lost Years' marvellous OutRun energy, everything about it screams quality and the arrangements are already thrilling. In it's completed form this promises to be one hell of a ride.

New music next from Android Automatic with 'Neon Waves'. A fast paced melody leads into high level action OutRun with italo tinged melodies. This track leads into a sumptuous midpoint change that really adds a lot of perspective to the experience. The narrative is very impressive and really keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout. Currently available for FREE download.

Like Mowrey is back with an atmospheric new experience going by the name of 'Contact'. Smoothly undulating soundtrack elements are flavoured with a very introspective exploration of the melodies. The end result is hugely powerful, making the most of it's uncomplicated soundscape in a very engaging manner.

Vector Hold cites the classic 80s nuclear-thriller Def Con 4 as the major inspiration for his new track 'The Terminals'. Dark and mechanical in it's presentation the synths whisper foreboding prophecies and have a genuine desolation to them. The solitary aftermath is very prominent throughout and provides a very commanding atmosphere. Currently available for FREE download.

From what I can surmise this latest track from Vestron Vulture is a collaborative work with Cymphium, but I might be misunderstanding this. Most importantly this track 'One Word' is a totally rockin experience in action soundtrack synth with an orchestral layer driving the emotions. The combination works exceedingly well with massive action and thrills around every corner. Currently available for FREE download, also.

Alpha Boy continues his adventures in synth funk sounds with his latest release 'Roller Boogie'. I really enjoy the Alpha Boy style in this format, it seems to allow his melodies to mesh more with the rhythm sections and provide a very cohesive soundscape. Definitely a wonderful new direction for Alpha Boy to expand his repertoire in.

Speaking of journeying into new territories the latest Stellar Dreams composition sets a course for dark synth horror in 'Terror Street'. The synths are full of nightmarish qualities and story is rich with an ambiance of fright. This is a very strong track that builds and delivers a perfectly constructed experience in the dark synth dread.

Lightening the mood but keeping your pulse rate high is a new experience from Bobby Outro titled Giorgio Moroder. This piece takes many cues from Moroder's late 70s disco synth pieces and then adds  some more drama to mix with soundtrack inspired progressions. Many thanks to Aminova for enlightening me into this exciting producer.

Dance With The Dead unleashed a new track of their own horror OutRun persuasion with 'Came The Dawn'. This 'demo version' is absolutely rock hard with it's pounding drums and sublimely wondrous synth melodies. These guys have been hinting at a mid year release of their debut album and as that gets closer and closer my anticipation grow exponentially.

Poko Cox keeps rockin super hard ans his latest song takes his sounds to new levels of excitement. 'Paralyzed' is exemplary 80s inspired song writing with an incredible vocal track and the melodies are catchy as hell. Totally kick arse in all the right ways, Poko Cox always rocks.

Sunglasses Kid ramped up his already extreme work rate this week with no less than five new tracks on his soundcloud. Although these were predominantly new vocal mixes of existing tracks they're no less rockin or valuable as this really displays how much this producer wants to expand his horizons. This new version of 'My Destiny' featuring the always delightful vocal talents of Dana Jean Phoenix makes for a classic 80s synth pop experience par excellence. Be sure to check out the other new tracks on his soundcloud too.

New music new from Last Ride and his demo for the OutRun epic 'Streets of 2012'. Clocking in at more than seven minutes this piece really takes it's time to explore the melodies and soundscapes of it's creation. Even more surprising is that during this experience the music never loses it's direction or disengages the listener. By moving through numerous set pieces it really captures the imagination of the listener exceptionally well. Many thanks to Richard Kelly for enlightening me to this artist. 'Streets of 2012' currently available at a name-your-own-price point on Bandcamp currently too.

Robots With Rayguns brand of 80s drenched, vocal sample driven music is back with his slow and sensual ode to Selena Gomez titled 'Selena'. The music a steamy and licentious exploration of unrequited lust that becomes a dangerous obsession. RWR has been kind enough to allow this intimate experience to be available for FREE download, for our own personal fantasies.

After the masterful 'So Real' (featuring Patrick Baker) Silent Gloves has returned with a new magical synthscapade called 'We Live Forever'. This piece is more musical beauty incarnate as the lingering synth melodies intimate incredibly lustrous permutations, coloured with a vibrancy that glows with memories of the past and promises of the future. Pure majesty.

Chaconne is one of Synthetix.FM's favourite producers, I'm a massive fan of his soundscapes. Every piece of music he creates is so full of emotion and understanding of 80s sounds that each new release is like a religious experience. 'Dreamers' just solidifies this further with his gloriously rich instrumentations and dazzling arrangements. This is also currently a FREE download.

That does us for another big Weekend Update on Synthetix.FM. I hope you've enjoyed these tracks as much as I have. I'll be back next week with more good times and great rock'n'roll so 'til then, stay 80s and keep on rockin.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Space Tapes And Vice Of The Bourgeoisie

Last year Bourgeoisie released their first record, a self titled affair that was full of passion and 80s love but structured with an eye and ear for the modern. This first record (available here) was to be the last I'd hear of any news or new music from these Florida based brothers until now. Fourteen months on from their debut album they've now unleashed the ferociously energetic Space Tapes And Vice album.

The gap between releases has seen more developments of their sounds, but not at the expense of the disco OutRun Bourgeoisie made us fall in love with in 2012. Their music still has an agressive edge to it but the melodies and arrangements have progressed in a way that optimises their sounds. The breakdowns are longer and drama builds to greater peaks than before while instrumentations are much more developed. Sometimes the more modern arrangements take away a little from the flow of some individual tracks but as an all round package the record brings forth an exciting experience with a much more refined and defined sound than their first record. Taking a year to get their music to this point was a very wise choice.

Opening their account with 'Industrial Sector 3083' it becomes evident very quickly that the gritty and dramatic is where Bourgeoisie want to launch this record from. Rhythms and sounds build in a much more accomplished manner than their first record; a trend concurrent throughout the album and the explorations of each idea come across forthrightly. Looped melodies are layered and built with a machinelike power but it's the soaring lead synth that breaks the shackles and takes things in a new direction.

As the album continues into the much more disco themed 'In The Name' we get to experience a side of the group that shines like a diamond lit by neon. Their rock solid rhythm sections get augmented magnificently by synthscapes that go off in different moods but all return to the cranking disco rhythms. This piece does lose it's way just a little in the midsection and could afford to be a tightened up a bit to maximise the impact of the back end, but the story does remain strong and interesting which is an accomplishment in itself for a near eight minute disco odyssey.

The intriguingly titled 'The Story Of Larkin Taftt' takes the Bourgeoisie soundscape into more adventurous realms, beginning with some amazingly orchestrated melodies and then leading into smoother sailing until the final act's reprise. The experimenting in different sound personalities is impressively manipulated with every melody feeling lively and animated. This piece moves into the more atmospheric 'Crystal Brain' which displays a great dexterity in the range of instruments used to create flourishes of excitement and drama while a more soundtrack oriented engine room powers through.

Much of the charm of the Bourgeoisie sound comes from these details that often take the listener by surprise and feel almost improvised, this gives a very live sound to their pieces and it makes me think these guys would be totally rockin as a live performance. Even in pieces like 'De Tomaso', which is listed as an interlude, the ambience is peppered with exciting elements which engage and entertain.

The interlude leads into the highly dramatic 'Back Alley Showdown'. The bassline growls with power while a huge build crests then flows into a hypnotising refrain that gets layered with samples and details. It's this modern style arranging that Bourgeoisie do so very well and the tension throughout this composition is unrelenting. Drama is upped even further in 'Maracaibo' only this time the beautifully crafted accent melodies lift the mood to a positive realm. Although the shadows are inescapable this track offers delightful clarity and light.

'Home' brings the sound back to a much more straight up and down OutRun style, which is very refreshing. This piece feels more like their first album in it's personality, but this is by no means a negative. The more simplistic atmosphere makes every note and nuance count. Towards the third act of 'Home' a ripping synth melody launches things into a volatile state the keeps you on the edge of your seat til it's completion.

Even more surprises are in store with the next track 'Atlas'. Funkier moods are explored with the synths taking on more modern sounds and loops building with a new intensity. In what's probably the least 80s sounding track, musically, Bourgeoisie achieve a new tone to their sound that is very engaging, although I think this track could've benefited from being tightened up ever so slightly as it tends to wander a bit in the midsection.

The final track for the album is 'Deco Bop'. This piece really makes the most of the looping rhythms as their allowed to build and evolve perfectly. The lead melody is an invigorating tour de force that is full musical magic. The percussion in this track is some of Bourgeoisie's best with a massive gun shot snare that complements the melodies perfectly.  Of all the tracks on the album longer than five minutes in length, I think 'Deco Bop' is the most developed and entertaining, and definitely finishes the album on a high note.

Bourgeoisie's sounds are definitely based with their heart and soul in classic 80s sounds but their modern arrangements can sometimes allow their music to meander, ever so slightly. Over the course of this album I found every track had tonnes of things I loved, but sometimes the more repetitive sections in a couple of tracks found me disengaging, if only for a short time. The overall experience, however, is highly energised and full of exciting experiences and as full length release delivers stacks of rockin action from beginning to end.

Bourgeoisie present Space Tapes And Vice on their Bandcamp page here and this release comes as highly recommended album by Synthetix.FM. Those of you who enjoy the more modern style of 80s inspired synth music will gravitate towards it more than those who prefer the truly authentic styles but, in all honesty, Bourgeoisie put on a great show for any lover of quality synth sounds. This most certainly shows a great deal of development in this band's sounds and rocks hard and often.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Dynatron Brings The Flashbacks

After having been a fan of some of the more established acts in the 80s inspired synth scene for an extended period of time it warms my heart to witness the evolutionary changes in their sounds and the many stops on their musical journeys. I think back to original releases from many producers and then listen to their latest and often the kernel of an idea initially hinted at now blossoms into a vibrant aural pastiche. This is something I've witnessed, especially, in Dynatron and his latest EP really displays an understanding of what and who Dynatron is, continuing the adventure post 'Escape Velocity'.

There are some artists on the scene that make their styles very individualised, and this means they can be handicapped when trying to keep to their identity while investigating new territories, but we all know the true exploration and development of music is what leads to the most magical results. With Dynatron's new EP I believe he's cemented his place in the upper echelons of producers with his individual hallmarks, but also by his adventurous and exploratory techniques; all of which come together to make pure musical magic.

'Flashbacks' comes across to me as a turning point release, it's name implies looking back and the recalling of the past but it's in the intro that the subconscious dreamscape and the premonitions of the future are also at play. It's as if Dynatron is looking back at his conquests and forward to greater glories and 'Flashbacks' is that time of contemplation and a promise of even more golden times ahead.

It's when 'On The Edge Of Space' kicks in that you know exactly who you're listening to. The chugging guitar riffs, the epic swell of glacial synth melodies, the dramatic percussion, it all makes the Dynatron sound what it is and this opening piece is arranged to absolute perfection. The story is powerful when it needs to be and delicate in moments of fragility. The sounds blend in a manner that allows them to take on their own personalities without jarring while still making important statements. The Dynatron magic flows like a rock synth juggernaut, omnipotent and dazzling.

The second track takes things into more romantic territory and the emotional caress of 'Save The Moment' is utterly marvellous. Melodies are plucked from angelic harps and a daydream like state hazes the details into emotive memories. The synthscape casts a gauze veil over this romantic memory, awash with the scents and flavours of intimate reminiscence.

Romance is cast the seven winds when 'Cruiser' opens up the throttle and sets course for an intergalactic adventure on the highways of the stars. Dynatron's more energetic and action oriented pieces always have the perfect balance to their arrangements to ensure the feelings of speed and the weightlessness of space are delivered directly to the listener's imagination. It's the individual chapters of pieces like 'Cruiser' that make the experience so complete and involving.

The final track, 'Zero Gravity' encapsulates these feelings once again, albeit in a much greater harmonious delectation. Synth sounds are radiant, full of brightness and so airily graceful. They rise like neon smoke and disperse into a myriad of dimensions, ebbing and flowing with their own life force. The uncomplicated nature of 'Zero Gravity' allows for even more interpretations to be explored while the space around us is filled with the sounds of the universe.

Last year Dynatron impressed me immensely with his 'Escape Velocity' album (reviewed on Synthetix.FM here) which allowed him to fully realise a conceptual experience and deliver it in the ideal format. The 'Flashbacks' EP distills the Dynatron experience into a much more streamlined episode but retains the details, emotions and energies of the previous release and refines and builds on the many hallmarks in a progressively exciting way.

'Flashbacks' works brilliantly as a separate suite of spatial synth synergy that allows for a more instantly gratifying package. This, once again, shows the maturity of Dynatron's work as his ability to create both types of formats in such an exemplary manner is something to be greatly respected. Many producers can do EPs or LPs but few can do both with such aplomb.

The 'Flashbacks' EP is presented by Aphasia Records on their Bandcamp page here and comes very, very highly recommended by Synthetix.FM. For those whom are already fans of Dynatron's work this is, of course, a must-own experience and for those who've not yet partaken in the sumptuous synth pleasures of Dynatron, this EP serves as the perfect introduction.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Synthetix Weekend Update

Before we get to this week's Weekend Update on Synthetix.FM I first wanted to pay special attention to the incredible new compilation from Werkstatt Recordings: Synth City. This THIRTY track compilation is jam packed with 80s synth superstars and all the tracks are EXCLUSIVE to this release!

It's an amazing reflection of the diverse talent in the scene and when brought together in this format makes for an awe inspiring monolith of synth rhapsody. Garth Knight, 80s Stallone, Perturbator, LA Dreams, DJ Ten, Camille R, Vincenzo Salvia, Ace Attack, Protector 101 and Embryonik are just some of the producers included.

Synthetix.FM doesn't review compilations, but I always have a link to the most current and rockin one on the right hand side bar, so make sure you get this incredible, and FREE, compilation presented by the wonderful Werkstatt Recordings as soon as possible.

Now, lets ROCK with the Synthetix Weekend Update!

First up we have sort of reissue from Corvallis. 'Pantera' was originally released on an EP last year but Corvallis has seen fit to rerelease it as a single.  It's dark and dangerous and has an almost impossibly long lead in before it hits, but the anticipation built is absolutely rockin. The highly effect treated vocal adds a huge amount of haunting mysticism to the experience.

Ogre Sound has been on the Synthetix.FM radar for quite a while now, and his album 194 from last year provided some marvellous soundtrack synth flavoured experiences. His next release, 'Calico Brown' has been directly inspired by the ever inspirational TV series Miami Vice and from this sampler he's really rockin all the right ways. Greatly looking forward to the full release on the 20th of May.

SPF5Ø is back with his horror inspired dark synth mayhem once again with a new track delightfully titled 'Bitches Blood'. The soundscape is torn asunder with synth violence that borders on an industrial style, the layering towards the end becomes very intense. Available currently for FREE download.

Starion's brand of catchy disco synth has resurfaced with this marvellous slice of italo love called 'Theme From Ferranti'. It's the perfect blend of spatial atmospherics and catchy melodies and it's pace allows for the perfect ambiance.

Keeping the italo golden is Lost Year's new track 'Tear'. The Lost Years sound is one of my favourites in the scene and this piece really displays the genius of this producer's style. The arrangements are absolutely flawless with just the right emphasis on everything to create the perfect tonal balance. 'Tear' is up to Version 2 already, it's evolution should provide much entertainment.

Laurence McFunk has turned the drama up to dangerous levels with his epic new piece 'Turn In Your Badge'. This feels so authentic as a piece of high tension 80s soundtrack work that if I close my eyes I can visualise the scene instantly. Even as a short piece, this is right on point and also available for FREE download.

Nite Sprite is back with a vengeance with his rockin new track 'Strut'. The energy of this builds with pure magic and drops like a metric tonne of rad. The funky arrangements are contrasted with darker, menacing details but then evolve into a synthscape full of beauty and clarity. This track is available for purchase on iTunes here.

If you don't know who Visage are you need to stop reading this right now and go and educate yourself on their seminal music from dawn of the new romantic age. Their triumphant return is only weeks away and they're teasing the full album release with previews of each song leading up the album launch  on the 20th of May. Their understanding of new and classic sounds has resulted in a wonderfully 80s soundscape laced with just the right amount of modernity. 'Never Enough' is one of the songs I'm most looking forward to, but I'll be sure to give the record the full Synthetix.FM treatment upon it's release.

I'm finding Dr Pecco to be one of the most exciting new talents in the 80s inspired synth scene, he manages to instill a very vital and vibrant energy in his music and with this short teaser for his next EP it's sounding like he's refining his sound even further. Looking forward to this release immensely.

Electric Disection is exciting talent that keeps bringing the radness to the masses and his new piece 'Semblance Of A New World' is a delightfully introspective piece with smooth synth melodies that are uplifting and full of hope. The lead melodies provide and excellent counter argument with their pointed questioning, adding even more interesting layers. This is available for FREE download currently, also.

PH Groove is back and rockin hard with his new opus 'Witness This'. Rhythms as set to maximum excitement and the unrelenting pace builds to an explosion of 80s synth action. PH Groove also shared another excellent track this week in 'She Loves Dancing' and both are currently available as FREE downloads.

To mark his achievement of 6000 followers on soundcloud Mitch Murder has graciously shared a gorgeous new excursion called 'Mirage' as a FREE download. This track continues Mitch Murder's love affair with Pino Palladino styled basslines and winds things back to languid pace allowing for the subtlety of the soundscapes to have their magic and wonder fully appreciated.

A new producer of rockin 80s synth, introduced to me by the totally kick arse duo Stellar Dreams, is Kid Flash. His new track 'Nascar' uses lots of high energy synths and liberal samples from Days of Thunder to create a totally kick arse synth ride that's got equal doses of passion and action. This is another track available currently for FREE download.

After their very disappointing release (from my perspective) 1991, Tesla Boy have returned to form with the much more 80s sounding song 'M.C.H.T.E'. Once again they've shown why they're so good at rockin the 80s sounds and emotions with totally electrifying energy and superb lyrical themes.

Perturbator's rockin some massive sounds with the preview to his next EP 'Sexualizer'. This five track release is sounding very, very impressive from these preview tracks. The opening song featuring Adam 'Le Cassette' McNab on vocals is something I found jaw dropping and the other four experiences all hint at even more excitement courtesy of one of the scenes premier producers.

Sunglasses Kid is fast becoming one of my favourite composers of truly authentic 80s inspired synth music. Each new track he shares presents a boldly crystalline vision of true 80s sounds and emotions. His new track 'Miami Lover' distills this down to an even richer purity, the sax, synth and percussion are as harmonious as they are entrancing. A glorious example of total 80s nostalgia. This is available for purchase from his Bandcamp page here.

Mulperi's new track 'Friends' caught my attention with his somber tones and very intimate melodies. Although not strictly 80s in it's personality there is an 80s soul that colours the emotions and allows for some very beautiful soundscapes to emerge. Another track currently available for FREE download.

Bringing the 80s back in no uncertain terms is the new track from Betamaxx 'Redlining 6th'. This high energy OutRun adventure is going to be the opening intro to his next album release. The synths are on fire throughout this track and the break neck pace is thoroughly invigorating.

Although only forty six seconds in length this new teaser from Grooveworthy was something I just had to share. 'Information Breakdown' has one of the most powerful percussive tracks I'm yet to experience and builds to a point that for now shall remain a mystery. This track is going to be epic.

On the cusp of releasing their next odyssey, 'Bloodsport 2092', Arc Neon have re-released their Wet Dreams EP in a special edition format with seven extra tracks. This EP was already a totally rockin release (reviewed on Synthetix.FM here) and this expanded release is something everyone should support, especially at it's 'Name Your Own Price' price point.

And finally we have a preview for the debut EP from Lazerspek courtesy of Future City Records. This three track affair promises to be very interesting based on this producers previous sounds and his own brand of new and old sounds should make for riveting synthual experience.

That does us for another Weekend Update on Synthetix.FM. Next week will be another action packed one with a hot batch of 80s inspired synth releases to review and share with you so until then, stay 80s and keep on rockin.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Sferro Brings You The Future Of Technology

Sferro is BACK! For those unaware Sferro has been producing 80s inspired synth since the first golden age of 2009. My initiation to the world of Sferro was his track Turquoise Waters of the MOTU 2  V.1 compilation, a piece which launched his musical journey and began forming the template for the Sferro sound. His music has always been built on a backbone of strong and deeply emotive melodies, something that his classic track  'New Output' had in overflowing quantities.

But it's been quite a while between drinks, and often over the last couple of years I thought Sferro may have moved on to other interests and left his love for 80s synth sound behind him. Alas this was not the case as he has just released the brand new 'Wetware Computer' EP and has made a triumphant return to the scene that loves him.

In celebration of this EP Sferro has been so kind as to honour Synthetix.FM with an EXCLUSIVE track that completes the EP. 'Autonomous Robot Pt. II' is presented on my soundcloud page at the end of this review and I'd personally like to thank Sferro not only for this gift, but also for all the incredible music he's created over the years. Be sure to get this track and complete the 'Wetware Computer' experience.

Let's begin the 'Wetware Computer' journey. 'Autonomous Robot' starts proceedings and instantly the future of self aware technology is apparent. Rhythmic pulses with machinelike dexterity bring to mind every futuristic prediction of computer power exceeding it's master's. The music is foreboding, but not without a soul and the glory of Sferro's melodies is once again cast like a magic spell over the listener. This track breaks down to a very interesting back masked section which is jarring and startling, as I'm sure was the producer's intention,  creating a forward time/back time anomaly which leaves the track to finish on a very fascinating question mark.

The powers of the machines evolve to new levels in 'Intelligent Systems'. The melodic refrain becomes more cautionary and the crisp percussion marches to the beat of a new program. The muted sounds become contrasted by much more organic layers set to a humanistic logic. Building through it's own evolution the hybrid intelligence creates an air of balance, but it's obvious there is much more drama on the horizon.

The story continues into the title track and the emotionally charged electrical storm begins covering the synthscape in a sunless darkness. The slow motion melodies are the essence of remorse and the the sparks of lightning strike an unfeeling earth below. Building ever more powerful the dirge of the future becomes a memory of the past, the machines have taken control and the humans are now obsolete. But like a fire to the sky hope is sent to the heavens in an awe inspiring final act of defiance as the back masked refrain implies the story is not yet over.

Indeed, it takes the will and unrelenting human spirit to take a new tact against the machines. 'Hi Tech Low Life' tells the story of humanity's unground retreat, back to a neolithic time devoid of the machines they once controlled. The melody is dark, but has a hint of hope to it, making it very apparent the road back to human ascendency will be be long and arduous.

The final refrain to 'Autonomous Robot Pt. II' brings in a ray of sunshine to the bleakness of the future, it's melody is piercing with an uplifting and fortifying promise of hope. The music is pure, and full of positivity, rising to a crescendo of synth emotions. It allows the credits to roll on this story with humanity rising against the odds and continuing the fight for survival against insurmountable odds.

The EP also contains a bonus remix of 'Autonomous Robot' by the every magical Tommy. This more chaotic experience is full of new excitement, and serves as an excellent companion piece to the original, complete with it's back masked ending.

The 'Wetware Computer' EP is presented on Girlfriend Records Bandcamp page here. With its incredible story to tell and its vivid textures and moods this marks a glorious return to the scene for Sferro, Synthetix.FM highly recommends you add this wonderful EP to your music experience as soon as possible.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Midweek EP Double Shot

It's a smorgasbord of sumptuous synth releases this week and in a vain attempt to try and keep up with what's hot I present the Midweek EP Double Shot. Today I'm covering new releases from Alpha Boy and Droid Bishop so get ready to rock in the blast radius of ultra neon on Synthetix.FM


The debut EP from Droid Bishop has arrived and has thoroughly impressed me with it's depth of sounds and emotions. Across the lengths and breadth of the six tracks contained in Electric Love Droid Bishop presents his own vision of 80s synth with a sound that feels very developed and true.

The Droid Bishop experience walks a jagged line through soundtrack, synth wave and synth romance styles in his work, taking on new ideas and expanding upon them in the right manner to befit them. The opening track 'Color & Data' personifies this in it's stunning main melody that is arranged around a more ethereal soundscape and then coerced into format that evolves with modern predilections. With second chapter of 'Electric Love',  'Moon Runner', the atmosphere loses gravity and begins to float in to ambient refrains of dizzying synth melodies.

During these opening chapters it becomes very apparent that Droid Bishop genuinely understands how to create a beautifully high quality synthscape. Sounds are balanced and advance and withdraw with a perfect balance that is smooth as synth silk. As the third track, 'Nightland', moves into view the orbital distance undulates with an echoing of space synth pulses. The slower pace of this track, and 'Moonrunner', allows Droid Bishop to explore the melodies with great intricacy, questioning each note and detail with a profound intimacy.

The title track is listed as an interlude, but in all honesty this piece stands alone as more crisply refreshing sounds encircle the listener with sparkling synth melodies telling stories from the other sides of the universe in a language understood by all. This moves into 'Lost In System 7' which adds some new directions to the soundscape. This is by far the most modernly arranged piece on the EP with it's much more pronounced fades and builds but the instrumentation stays dutifully true to Droid Bishop's aesthetic.

'Electric Love' finishes with the very uplifting 'Into The Darkness'. Melodically epic in scope and arranged with a deep story in mind this is the perfect end to the EP. This producer really puts out a message in his music, it's full of affecting and inspirational melodies that are given a perfect context to come to life in.

The Electric Love EP is presented on Droid Bishop's Bandcamp page here and is fully the wonder and excitement of 80s inspired synth magic, for a first release this is very, very impressive and I'll be sure to give Droid Bishop more love on Synthetix.FM in the future.


I've noted before on here that I've noticed a great deal of growth and development in Alpha Boy's sounds over the last six months. Since his work with JF Conrad on the Simplicity Lab Alpha Boy has redefined his direction and allowed his imagination to expand in wonderful new directions. The Digital Dawn EP is a very aptly named release, it feels like a new day and a new phase for the Alpha Boy experience and each track opens new doors and possibilities for the future of this producer's art.

Beginning with the title track it becomes very clear that Alpha Boy has become a great deal more reflective and deep in his melodies. The resonance of 'Digital Dawn' is powerful and vibrant, drawn from a palette of classic Alpha Boy sounds but executed with new techniques. This piece is very inspirational and opens the EP exceptionally well.

The second track, 'Home Computer' is something of an epiphany I believe. This piece is quite honestly the ultimate story and context for Alpha Boys flourishing melodies. The dual sax and synth melodies are resplendent in their tones and the whole early days of emerging computer technology in the 80s is distilled into the perfect musical representation. The Bill Cosby sample from a Texas Instruments commercial is the cherry on top of the delightfully sweet synth sundae.

'MCP Funk' takes Alpha Boys dual melodies into funkier movements, while retaining his inquisitive melodies. The uncomplicated nature of Alpha Boy's music is often what makes it so refreshing and this piece with it's hooky bassline and myriad of echoing melodic flourishes takes on a wonderful new life like a digital birdsong in the 'Digital Dawn'.

The last track on 'Digital Dawn' finds Alpha Boy bringing in some beautifully soft and rounded 70s synth sounds in a single instrument piece which is thoroughly engaging. The warmth of the sound in 'Walk On Circuit Board' is absolutely invigorating really emphasising the Alpha Boy sound in a way I've never experienced before. By the end of this piece one can really feel the spirit of Alpha Boy in a very intimate way.

I see this EP as a new chapter in the Alpha Boy journey, and I can't wait to see where we'll be stopping at next time. The 'Digital Dawn' EP  is presented on Alpha Boy's Bandcamp here and I encourage everyone to take this first step into brave new worlds, designed and imagined by Alpha Boy.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tommy In High Fidelity

The big releases keep on rockin on Synthetix.FM and today we have one of the most rockin of all. Tommy's new EP; 'High Fidelity' has just been released and the wait since 'Outer Space Adventurer' from last year feels like both seconds and eons at the same time.

This new EP displays an incredible understanding of what makes Tommy's music Tommy's music. As an artist he has found his style and this five track EP is an ushering in of a new chapter in his musical journey. A chapter full of self awareness and understanding in his sounds, which makes listening to this record akin to a religious experience in how deep it touches the listener and continues to hold them in the palm of Tommy's benevolent hand.

'Tommy's Theme' opens up the doors of heaven in an exultant manner that speaks of grandiose architecture formed at the dawn of time with echoes that reverberate beyond our full comprehension. The music is masterfully engineered with seconds that extend into hours of cascading melodies, rolling over endless cloudscapes, underpinned by the slowly beating heart of gargantuan percussion. The experience is so overpowering details are barely audible in the presence of such immense power but they all resonate deeply on new levels of conscious enlightenment.

The enormity of the opening salvo fades behind the horizon and 'Test Drive' begins. Tommy's own brand of high octane OutRun begins to accelerate into the distance with the drive of millions of horsepower. The smoothness and clarity of Tommy's melodies are contrasted against stentorian percussion with a gliding weightlessness. Like a chariot in the sky drawn by a million terrestrially bound horses galloping at full speed across a rain lashed desert, the gods are at play with forces we humans can only imagine.

The mid point of 'High Fidelity' brings about one of the single most illuminating experiences I've ever had in my life listening to music. Fabricated from the essence of the purest melody Higher & Further (featuring Perturbator) is the innate definition of musical exhilaration and aural delight. Every single second of Higher & Further is of monumental importance. Every breath of wind, every fading note, every sustained chord is a divine experience in the awesome power of music. This composition is something that perches itself on the edge of infinity and reigns it's jubilation down upon us like a sun casts a shadow, effortlessly and with an unequivocally colossal presence. It touches deeply with an honesty and warmth of the highest calibre and I feel inexorably linked in spirit to it's harmonious soul.

After this soul drenching rapture Tommy returns the earthly realms of fast paced OutRun with the EP's title track. Drama takes a back seat this time around with the mood being full of positivity and promise. Perhaps it's due it's placement in the tracklisting but 'High Fidelity' feels like the  consequences of enlightenment from 'Higher & Further' have resulted in a high speed celebration of power and melody. It glows with a radiance of light and omnipotent strength, devoid of the darkness of the night, but instead travels at warp speed into glorious new dimensions.

'The City The Never Sleeps' completes this EP and brings in lengthening shadows across Tommy's newly discovered world. Hypnotising percussion is juxtaposed by melodies that struggle to hold their forms against the city's machinelike rhythms. Forgotten souls cry out amid the concrete behemoths, longing to feel the sun warm them from their grey urban prisons. There is a concept of hope laced through the experience, but it's a delicate hope that must be fostered to survive.

After fully taking in this EP I still find it hard to put into words how deeply some of the music here has effected me. I feel like I've known tracks like 'Higher & Further' my entire life but only now have I been allowed to experience them in full consciousness. In saying this I can't recommend this release from Tommy enough as it is so enriching and deep that I defy anyone to remain untouched by it's enormous presence and intimate brilliance. This is a Synthetix Reference Experience of the highest order.

Girlfriend Records presents Tommy's  High Fidelity EP on their Bandcamp page here and as far as this person is concerned you can't pick it up soon enough, every minute you have without this experience in your mind, heart and soul is another minute you remain unenlightened to the true magic of Tommy.

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Force Of Power Glove Unleashed

Australia's Power Glove are getting all sorts of rockin love in recent times with the soundtrack they've created for the Far Cry 3 - Blood Dragon video game. This soundtrack, for all intents and purposes makes the game and shows how much a great soundtrack can improve the immersion and excitement of the video game experience. The full twenty five track odyssey is available for purchase on iTunes here and is most assuredly something Synthetix.FM heartily recommends. Their work on Hobo With A Shotgun has been well documented too, which was thrilling to behold.

I thought with the new wave of interest in Power Glove it would be a great time to share some of their older but no less stellar music in celebration of this new soundtrack. Firstly though I'd like to clear up a little bit of confusion about Power Glove. There are two Power Gloves, well, technically there is a Power Glove and a Powerglove. They have some slight similarities in their inspirations and instrumentations but Powerglove  are a much more speed metal oriented band from the USA that do their own renditions of classic video game music.

Power Glove, on the other hand, from Melbourne are a duo of 80s inspired synth producers, who also use video games as an inspiration but in a far less direct way. They also use a lot of guitars but in a more 80s rock style. This confusion is something I wanted to get out of the way just so people are aware they are, indeed, two entirely different musical acts.

Getting back to the music of Power Glove, they just recently shared a group of tracks from roughly four years ago for the first time on Bandcamp and this EP is something of a blueprint which drove the inspirations for many producers since. The marriage of old and new styles began gaining momentum in 2008 and Power Glove were one of the original producers of 80s inspired synth music who's passion for classic sounds still ring true nearly five years later.

As I mentioned, this EP has provided huge amounts of inspiration since the tracks were initially published but still sound just as totally rockin as they did upon release. This is evidenced immediately in Streets of 2043, powerhouse melodies and layers of synth terror coalesce into a video game themed epic of ominous proportions. This piece brings the rawness of the Power Glove style out perfectly, each of their tracks have a gritty and harsh edge to it to them that feels so vital and visceral. Synths aren't polished to gleaming reflective perfection but are instead pulsing with an uncontrollable force that threatens destruction with every chord.

The sample work of Power Glove is something very individualised, too. The Dolph Lundgren samples used throughout Maximum Potential are low-fi and distorted with a rasping hiss that betrays the source material, but it's this that makes them so phenomenal and then takes the unevenness of the sounds into a tonal cataclysm of unrelenting power. This track stands up as one the ultimate classics of the 80s inspired synth scene and it's refreshingly raw timbre is as invigorating as it is exhilarating.

Night Force brings in the darkness of totally rockin dark synth moods with even more details layered en masse to provoke even greater frightening reactions. The Power Glove soundscape is almost always densely packed with a myriad of sounds that haunt with their indecipherable directions but always provide brilliant context to the melodies. This experience is still one of the best examples of dark synth done in a modern manner, while keeping true to the classic soul of 80s synth horror soundtracks.

A running theme throughout the Power Glove experience is the wholesale video game samples, entire refrains of back ground music, replete with sound effects, making for even more surprises from left field that add even more entertainment value. While the previous tracks stick somewhat of a similar thematic the last track is more of a departure as Fantastic Lover (Johnny Moog Remix) takes sleazily fuzzed up funk to the dirtiest of dimensions as the vocal intimates raucous smutty ribaldry. The music is always pushing deeper and deeper into the nether regions and ends up collapsing into an after glow of sweaty satisfaction.

Power Glove presents EP 1 on their Bandcamp page here and is a must-have piece of 80s inspired synth history. If you've not had the pleasure of these experiences previously I can't recommend it enough, and if you have had the pleasure before I recommend revisiting these tracks, for the first time available in uncompressed FLAC format, all over again. To keep on top of future Power Glove experiences be sure to follow them on soundcloud here and like the hell out of them on Facebook here.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Synthetix Weekend Update

It's another massive Weekend Update with a hot selection of my favourite tracks to make the scene this past week. I've become very aware that over the next few weeks there are a whole mess of releases and there isn't going to be any way for me to cover all of them how I'd like to. I like to post three to four reviews during the week as time allows, but I've got five already in my waiting list on top of what gets released during the week. I try to make Synthetix.FM the place you can find all the most rockin new sounds in the 80s inspired synth scene, but I fear some releases are already falling through the cracks.

If posting more often was the solution, I'd do just that, but it's not the case. I've noticed that when I've posted more often during the week the posts get very little exposure to you, the audience, and then get shuffled down the page. I pride myself in writing what I feel about music and how it effects me and this takes time and effort to put into words but I love doing it and it's always going to be one of the hallmarks of Synthetix.FM. This means there will be some EPs I miss writing in depth about unfortunately.

Instead I'll be doing more Midweek Triple EP Meltdowns as the need sees fit. These reviews aren't as deep as the stand alone reviews, but I think it's the best option while there is such an abundance of music around. Synthetix.FM always tries to find and support new producers of 80s inspired synth music as a priority and this is the consistent focus of the site. And speaking of which this Weekend Update it full of hot new tracks from emerging producers in the scene as well as the established rockers we're all already fans of so lets get rockin with the Synthetix Weekend Update!

Sunglasses Kid is really making a big splash of late, his absolutely stunning synth romance sounds are a joy to behold and Summer Break Up hammers this home form beginning to end. Emotive synths dance with passionate guitars in a spectacle of pure 80s brilliance.

Someone new to Synthetix.FM in Cinema next. This act is brand new to me and came into my awareness courtesy of my synth-brother-in-arms Thomas Rivette. Cinema have a sultry sound that drips with a sensual mystique which is only magnified by the French chanteuse intimating untold pleasures. Late night sounds with an eye for encounters of the carnal kind.

We have a trio of teasers in this Weekend Update and the first one is for the next Dynatron EP; Flashbacks. The tracks teased in this preview are all full of beauty and soundscapes of dynamic arrangements and the instrumentations seem to be of a huge diversity. This is definitely going to be an exciting release and is due out May 10th.

SPF5Ø is really making some big statements with his music. He reminds me of other avant garde producers like Klockhaus and Camille R in that his sounds are unmistakably 80s, but the delivery is something all together new.❐~❍~❏ is full of exciting sounds that move in and out reality on a crash course with a destiny that is entirely otherworldly. A magnificent experience from start to finish and available for FREE download currently.

After leaving Tesla Boy and embarking on his own solo career Poko Cox is now solidifying his personal soundscapes with super exciting results. 'The Greatest Fear' is a dramatic piece of synth pop with staccato rhythms and dream like melodies. It's a very strong song and I hope theres more Poko magic in the offing soon.

The enigmatic Dreamwave Dave rocked on with his majestic new composition this week called Stand By. This sound is full of refinement and uncomplicated arrangements that allow the music to speak for itself. Melodies intimate deeper knowledge while the percussion marches in time with crisp precision.

Turning up the pace and the heat is Grooveworthy and his killer track Information Superhighway. Moving at a breakneck speed this is exactly the kind of music I'd expect to hear over an 80s documentary explaining the internet. Full of excitement and promises of a bright future this track is available currently for FREE download.

RF Extreme's latest adventure is most certainly into the shadowy side of the synth spectrum. 'Enter Dark Paradise' is a moody dirge which speaks of hidden dangers but contrasts this with a brighter story of hope that rides the crests of the darker tones. Delightfully arranged and thoroughly engaging.

Lazerpsek's launched a rockin new preview for his next EP which is still to be announced, but this teaser is very exciting. This producer's sounds are very unpredictable and highly volatile and from even these short snippets it looks like we're in for a wild ride in the near future with Lazerspek.

It's always a great week when theres new Starforce music released and with Retrospheres Starforce certainly improved mine. This demo cut is a hugely powerful slab of heavy Starforce space synth rockin.  A powerhouse of synth sounds and earth shattering percussion complete the experience, I can only imagine the final form of this piece if this is only the demo.

Adding even more excitement to this past week was the publishing of brand new experience from Miami Nights 1984. 'Deep Blue' finds MN1984 diving deep into a slow motion explosion of fathomless emotions and touching melodies. This is a very intimately written piece that definitely speaks from the heart and soul of the producer.

Next up is the hot new track from Fantastisizer. 'The Chase' is an energetic adventure into the dangers of the night. Exciting percussion and crystalline synth melodies punctuate a dramatic soundscape making the tension burn hot. This track is so smooth and undulating that it really takes the listener on a roller coaster ride, sublimely written and arranged.

Bringing some funky and sexy synth sounds to your weekend is Time Trvlr with Electic Shoes [sic]. I really love this track, it reminds of some of my favourite Synth Erotica pieces with it's high energy drums and sensual sounds and it's thoroughly authentic personality. Definitely a piece to get your weekend rockin with a nudge and a wink and I'll say no more.

MegaDrive is bringing forth the radness in monstrously big doses with his new OutRun opus Dataline. Sounds are pure and clean with punchy percussion and synth melodies totally ripping shit up throughout. This track is ominously strong and overflowing with vibrant 80s energy.

Neon Flash Drive and Foreign Blade teamed up recently for some rockin good times and the result is Stalemate. Epic sounds of ninja synth tones emanate through the night drama with a restrained force that builds like a tidal wave of electricity. 'Stalemate' definitely brings the strengths of both producers to the fore and I hope they work together again in the future. This is currently available for FREE download too.

Dance With The Dead are pursuing the 80s horror synth sound with much fervour and passion. I think this style works exceptionally well with their production styles. 'They Only Come At Night' features much dark synth moods but the main melody refrain is pure jubilation and is wholly uplifting. Yet another superb track from the artists formerly known as Jaypeau and Toe Knee.

Alpha Boy's new EP is set to hit next week and his preview is sounding very promising. The last year has seen a great deal of development and growth in Alpha Boy's style and his music seems to be taking on all new feelings and directions. I greatly look forward to experiencing it in full.

And speaking of artists growing and developing I'm elated to share with you the latest work from the scenes resident videographer Neros77. His work has been raised to even loftier levels than before with his video for Starforce's Summer Of 2085. The sands of time and oceans of space become the planes of an eternal existence, forever entwined in a story that traverses galaxies by seasons. This is the visualisation of this track done to absolute perfection.

That brings us to the end of another week full of good times and great rock'n'roll in the 80s inspired synth scene. I'll be back throughout next week with more rockin music to keep you rockin the 80s all the right ways. 'Till then stay 80s and keep on rockin.