Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Betamaxx Creates Sophisticated Technology

I do believe that it needs to be categorically stated that Betamaxx doesn't get enough love/respect/recognition/honour/accolades/virgin sacrifices/etc. This producer has released some wonderfully crafted 80s inspired synth over the last twelve months, beginning with his rockin debut EP Legacy which then lead into his totally kick arse first album Lost Formats. In turn, this lead to his next full length record, Interface, which came out in January this year.

All three of these previous releases are true vestiges of classic 80s synth love, and it became apparent that Betamaxx's multi faceted style was something that lent itself exceptionally well to the full length format. And like a bolt of lightning, Betamaxx has unleashed a brand new album experience entitled Sophisticated Technology seemingly out of nowhere.

The Betamaxx soundscape has elevated into spectacular new levels with this new album, its diversity and quality is something very special and through all the chapters contained on this album runs an energy signature that I now recognise as being pure Betamaxx.

The opening track of Sophisticated Technology is 'Breakthrough' (featuring the ever awesome Tommy). The music is instantly uplifting and full of the promises of a better future through technology and it's in this opening piece we get to feel the Betamaxx magic begin to grow and take over our imaginations. It's like Tommy opens the door and takes a bow as Betamaxx roars in, with engines pouring smoke and lights that blind and dazzle.

When the smoke clears the ambiance begins to groove and move with new purpose and electro funk of 'Dolby Dance' turns the heat up exponentially. This is really what I'm talking about with Betamaxx. This piece is classically 80s in it's gorgeous melodies and nuances but the modern lacquer that Betamaxx manages to liberally coat the soundscape with makes it sound fresh and brand new. The music rocks, innately, with a glowing 80s soul but always with a gleaming layer of 'now' in the mix.

Taking things into poppier modes we find 'Zenith', which brings back the superb guitars from the 'Dolby Dance' and constructs synth stratum around them. The mood is smooth as glass and twice as cool and every instrument keeps positivity the focus throughout. More romantic moods are opted for in the kick arse third track 'Maxximum' which adds synth romance and some more dramatic elements and then out of nowhere italo styled details begin to break the surface really invigorate.

Betamaxx has managed to keep his ideas simple and make them count in 'Sophisticated Technology'. Each track forms an idea and tells it's story in a refreshingly distinct way. As 'Maxximum' fades out and the frenetically fast paced 'Redlining 6th' kicks in you really begin to get sucked into the instant attraction and immediate gratification of what is on offer. 'Redlining 6th' is so beautifully constructed and executed that it blows my mind each time I hear it. The arrangements and melodies are just flawless and when your excitement gets to the point of no return you find the fade out's going to save you. Like Frankie said, Relax. Theres plenty more excitement to come.

Through the interlude of 'Expensive Taste' Betamaxx teases some more ambiant ideas, but just can't resist the urge to rock it and keep the energy blazing with vigour. This alluring piece is then succeeded by the much more, initially, restrained 'Inside Information' which forms an intriguing counter point to the previous tracks. The melodies are pointed and quizzical, but the midpoint change into a sombre piano based suite is something most certainly out of left field that had me mesmerised for it's duration.

Moonwalking into the next chapter we find Mike McG collaborating with Betamaxx on the totally kick arse synthscapade 'Reel To Real'. The sounds and structures are chrome polished in this track and it evolves at a wonderfully paced canter to allow all avenues to be explored and exploited. The Betamaxx brand of electro funk is fast becoming one of my favourites, and is right up there with the best from Garth Knight and 80s Stallone.

Betamaxx takes on some more experimental tones in his 'Chrominance' track which is chapter nine on the album. The melodies are far more ethereal are allowed to ride the fast paced percussion with their own wistful presence. They loop, fade in, fade out, collapse back on themselves and then unite sometimes all at once, but the powerhouse rhythm section ensures there is always a forward momentum and doesn't allow the feelings to dissolve into the ether. I found this track very surprising, and equally engaging and this is in no small part due to it's perfect placement in the track order.

But darker passages of acute madness are fostered and allowed to create their own diabolical constructs in the next track, 'La Cabane Noir'. To usher the shadows in with maximum fear is, of course, the one and only Perturbator whom Betamaxx has enlisted to perform the more depraved elements. The combination of talents provides for a superbly ominous track that still retains the Betamaxx charms and prefers to teeter on the edge of Hell as opposed to diving in head first.

The energies turn positively neon in the rockin the max, italo flavoured 'Memorex Discotheque'. Sounds move salaciously and dance with carnal opulence upon a dance floor that is fuelled by pure Betamaxx alchemy. The rising build and constant free flowing melodies are absolutely rockin to the max in this piece and it's uncomplicated and forthright delivery gives it a full force punch that is felt deeply.

The second last piece on the album, 'New Horizons' feels like a segue between dimensions for Betamaxx. The oddly timed, almost Asiatic, melodies intimate something timeless and majestic but there is also a frailty to them. They hang in the air like gossamer threads, our understanding is fleeting but the beauty is undeniable. This piece leads into the final chapter of Sophisticated Technology, the poignant and delicate 'Remembrance'. As an epitaph to the album it speaks solemnly but with much love and tenderness. Credits roll on this action packed epic, and our introspection and contentment is only broken by the sound of applause.

Sophisticated Technology is so full of totally rockin music that it takes a good half dozen listens to it in it's entirety to get the full picture. More than anything else, this record shines as an unbroken experience. Not that this is a concept album who's narrative requires a start-to-finish listen but instead every track is given a place a time to shine on Sophisticated Technology in a way that demands your attention and keeps you hanging out for the next track. The arranging of these chapters and craftsmanship in the overall writing is Betamaxx's real forte and throughout the record his creations inspire and enlighten the listener constantly.

Telefuture Records presents Betamaxx's Sophisticated Technology album on their Bandcamp page here. This album is most deserving of your love and attention, as is Betamaxx himself, as he displays through every second of this record his passion and understanding of what makes 80s synth rock. Synthetix.FM very highly recommends this album and hopes that Betamaxx is no longer the Rodney Dangerfield of 80s inspired synth producers and gets the respect he thoroughly deserves.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Synthetix Weekend Update

I'm currently fighting through a harsh cold and my concentration span is borderline delusional, but I'm going to attempt to get through an abbreviated Weekend Update to make sure I don't get too far behind in all the rockin tunes that have come out this past week.

First up is another great new track from Alpha Boy. So soon after his spectacular Home EP Alpha Boy has now shared a new experience titled 'New York'. In this track we find a new ambiance for the producer's sound, with a clean and spatial soundscape that tells a wonderfully rich story.

New rockers on the scene Le Chat Et La Fille entered my world this week and this duo of feline and female have my interest piqued. 'Jean Paul (ne pars pas)' is a minimalist electro pop synth track has a classically authentic 80s sound and a delightful european refinement. Their previous EP sounds much more experimental, but I hope they've found their sound direction with this new track, which is available for FREE download through the player.

One of the finest purveyors of quality giallo disco is back with a fantastic new three track EP of dark soundtrack horror disco. Vercetti Technicolor was one of the originators of this new form of classic 70s and 80s horror synth and his new release, Arps Of Mythology is a trilogy of expansive suites that are constructed for maximum terror. Each track is full of presence and embedded with a supreme malevolence that is irresistibly brutal. Another quality release from this marvellous producer.

Let us stay well ensconced in the shadows and take in another new Noir Deco track from his forthcoming self-titled album. 'Maeror' is another deeply dark and pulsating opus with some absolutely beautiful passages of crystal clear calmness in the middle stages. Noir Deco's style distills even more in this track and all the elements seem to come together in an effortless manner.

It must be the time of the month for everyone's darker sides to come out as even Dallas Campbell has gone to the dark side of the synths with his new track 'Return To Earth'. The melodies form and then quickly dissipate as the cosmic winds take the music into dimensions unknown. The freeform nature of this track is highly engaging and Mr Campbell manages to always keep a finely tuned balance between light and dark elements. Currently available for FREE download.

MurderOne is taking things into his own hands with another totally rockin dark synth track with his new adventure 'Heartbeat 2009'. Spiked with sample upon sample and laced with a diabolical cocktail of sinister synths this is one really takes you into the darker places most of us fear to tread.

Moving ever so slowly into lighter territory we find Fantastisizer this week in 'Red Space'. This poignantly written soundtrack synth piece is full of haunting beauty and delicate details. The music has a deep narrative that shares it's secrets in slow motion before the listener's very eyes and the subtleties of the synthscape provides even more engagement.

Python Blue's own brand of soundtrack synth work always seems to make for an epic experience and his track 'Engineers' adds a slightly mechanical/industrial futuristic edge to the atmosphere. The drama is deliberately employed with a hint of danger and the otherworldly details allow for many twists and turns in the story.

The Electric Dissection modus operandi took on a very interesting new direction this past week with a sublime new track going by the name of 'Lonely Nights'.  The music is Library-esque in tone but tells a very intricately formed story that packs massive amounts of rockin into four minutes and nine seconds. The music really takes on a life of it's own and feels very natural and honest, be sure to add this to your collection through the FREE download link in the player.

Time to rock some hot Italo action and the great new track from Bobby Outro does this in spades. 'Italo X (Farewell)' is fully of classic sounds and arrangements that hook hard and bite deep with infection grooves and melodic transmissions.  I love how this track evolves and forms it's own destiny throughout the five plus minute duration, definitely lending a live-jam feel to it that is wonderfully energising.

A new rocker from the UK with an ear for vintage synth sounds is Mooginizer and his new track 'Getting Hot' finds him experimenting in some very interesting soundscapes. There is a great deal of modern elements and arrangements throughout this track but I can definitely feel an 80s soul burning brightly in it's inner core. However the track simply rocks, and thats what matters.

And speaking of rockin, the new Neon Vandal track, 'Furiosa' takes some hardcore synth rockin to the streets and blasts through the danger zone along the way. This pounding ride into hell is absolutely kick arse as the synth guitars trade riffs, blow for blow, over a turbo charged drum track. I'm surprised this kind of thing doesn't crop up more often in the scene, but I'm sure glad Neon Vandal went into six string oblivion for this piece, and was able to return and tell the tale.

That does us for this abbreviated Weekend Update on Synthetix.FM. I'll be back next week with new reviews as soon as this cold takes it's leave of me, which can't happen soon enough.

'Till then, as always, stay 80s and keep on rockin.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Road, The Radio And Vincenzo Salvia

There is a bit of an inside joke in the 80s inspired music scene which goes something like 'The 80s only ever happened in Miami'. This is a bit of a dig a the sheer amount of 80s inspirations taken from Miami Vice and other media and idealised concepts about the 80s in general. Indeed, most people take the epitome of the 80s to usually be based around one of the larger cities in the U.S, such as a New York or L.A., or the much venerated Miami but when looking wider, more globally, this is not the case.

The 80s happened worldwide, which should be no surprise, but different parts of the globe had their own love affair with the 80s that became part of their history and to the next generation that is the place they draw inspiration from. Which brings us to Vincenzo Salvia's new creation that is innately intertwined with Italy's 80s history and culture in a manner that is original, entertaining and beautifully envisioned from start to finish.

It still surprises me to this day how few people are unaware of how incredibly important the italo disco scene was in the mid 80s. Most people identify with the late 80s Stock, Aitken and Waterman derived music that took the classic italo sounds into different directions but the complete ignorance to much of the public to the pure gold mine of brilliant music that came out of Italy in the 1984-88 period baffles me to this day.

I can, however, guarantee this is not the case for those who were in Italy during this time of hit after hit of italo disco rockin. Thanks to Vincenzo Salvia & Co. we now have a slice of glorious italo drenched synth constructed in a hugely entertaining format that is like a time capsule of the period and an aural window to the past.

Auto Radio is a conceptualised vision of the marriage between car and radio contextualised into 80s synth brilliance. The manner in which this record is arranged is a work of art as it proves to be one continual experience that takes the listener into a world of Vincenzo Salvia's creation. As if recorded from the most fashionable italian radio station in Italy in 1986 the album traverses mile after mile of coastal cruising and musical splendour. Musically, the soundscape takes on pastel shades of vivid 80s textures and besets them with jewels that sparkle on the coastline while the hum of the perfectly tuned engine underpins a true sense of speed and grace.

The radio DJ elements that tie this experience together are outstandingly well produced and really lift this album into entirely new realms of authenticity. Courtesy of the vocal talents of Parick 'Shio-Z' Rizzi the segments between tracks are set up and cued with brilliant dexterity. The choice of keeping strictly italian language for this is a master stroke, adding tonnes local colour that creates the perfect atmosphere. I must admit, I have no italian language understanding beyond picking up a few ideas here and there, but supplied with the album is a translation of the DJ's dialogue. In my opinion, I'd avoid reading/consulting this as it takes a bit of the magic away and the suspension of belief.

I read the dialogue before I listened to the record, and then waited a week before I listened again to really clear my memory of it. Not fully understanding the language word for word adds a huge amount of continental flair to the experience. I've found myself during listens to actually believe I'm listening to an authentic recording off 80s radio, only for moments mind, but the connection and feelings put me right there. In fact, I plan on making a seamless playlist for this album, and recording it to cassette for even more authenticity.

My real contention here is that this experience, from a westerner's point of view at least, is that the beautifully constructed DJ sections speak a language everyone will understand. The introductions, station ID's, competition segment and even the call-in are scripted to perfection and this in turn adds vast amount of context to the music. Not that Vincenzo Salvia's own brand of italo flavoured synth music ever needed anything more than music itself to get it's point across, but in Auto Radio Salvia has managed to find a complementary medium that creates something spectacular.

Each track on Auto Radio is intrinsically linked in my mind to it's position on the Auto Radio playlist and this instantly captures my imagination on every successive listen. The music has been obviously crafted to capture specific moods and styles and the inimitable Vincenzo Salvia melodies soar with new vigour and intensity. Each track manages to tell a new story and separate itself from the previous and proceeding track which gives a great distinction between them. It's a testament to the musicianship that the composer can create an album with such diversity, yet tie it all together in a way that gels so solidly.

The highlights are far too many to name on Auto Radio, and I find myself listening to this album from start to finish every single time and rarely can I be satisfied with only one listen. If you've heard a couple of tracks already off Auto Radio via a couple of the more recent compilations, you'll find yourself instantly enamoured with them in the context of this full length record.

That said there is always a resoundingly uplifting positivity to all of Vincenzo Salvia's music and in Auto Radio we hear a refinement and polish to the synthscapes that appear to be just that little bit more lushly fabricated. The stories are colourful and full of energetic arrangements that shine and dazzle, always providing delightfully engaging melodies and sweetly manipulated instrumentations that pride themselves on vintage authenticity.

To say this album is special is a gross understatement. It does something new, entertaining and absolutely rockin with classic 80s sounds that comes off in spectacular fashion. Auto Radio combines so much 80s love into it's presentation and execution in such an original way that it's impossible to resist it's charms and not be transported back in time for the duration of the experience.

Vincenzo Salvia's debut full length album is something that I'd normally expect from a producer on their third or fourth full length outing, especially to achieve this level of quality in the conceptual thematic, but it's an obvious testament to this artists gift of musical talent and understanding that has allowed Auto Radio to be the endearing and engaging experience it is.

Future City Records presents Vincenzo Salvia's Auto Radio LP on their Bandcamp page here and this is most definitely a Synthetix Reference Experience. The amount of love, devotion and authenticity to classic 80s sounds and emotions realised throughout this record is overwhelmingly beautiful and the manner in which the album has been put together sets a new high water mark for 80s inspired concept albums.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Synthetix Weekend Update

Time to get rockin and add some aural 80s neon to your weekend with the latest batch of hot releases from the scene with the new Synthetix Weekend Update!

First up is a hot new track from Spanish duo Cougar Synth. This pair have made some superb synth experiences this year, full of emotive melodies and a genuine authenticity to their sounds. On 'Wild Inside' the duo channels the classic movie Cat People for some poignantly crafted synth romance with purrfect results. Currently available for FREE download through the link in the player.

Gina Calabrese is back with a new track that intimates darker tones and mystery and broods along with a suspicious saunter. 'Missing Hours' is definitely on the darker side of spectrum but it retains a austerity that intimates on a cerebral level more so than tearing our flesh asunder. It's this subtlety that gives the piece the space and time to fully intimate all it's melodic details.

One of the highlights this past week was the totally rockin new track from PWNDTIAC. This producer has been plying his remixing craft through lots of different electronic genres over the last six months but he's returned to some classic 80s sounds and moods in his all new original track  'Can't Stop Now'. The cranking bassline and hypnotic melodies are right on point, heres hoping for more new original PWNDTIAC tracks in the future. This is currently available for FREE download too.

Lost Years is up to Version 2 of his hot new track 'Remedies' and it's already rockin to the max. Fast paced melodies and frenetic percussion highlight the magical Lost Years synthscapes. Even in this short preview format the sheer amount of energy compressed into this two minute teaser is breathtaking.

Out now on Werkstatt Recordings is the new two track EP from Jet & Danger entitled Silent Strike, consisting of the original mix of the track plus a Kung Fu Grip Vip Mix on the B side. The music is dramatic and full of rockin synth energy but the star of the show is definitely the vocal track. This is one of the best male vocal tracks since Den Haan's Gods From Outer Space album for pure 80s masculine intensity that takes no prisoners and demands your attention. This is a totally kick arse double shot of testosterone dripping synth shock rock and is available for FREE download so rock it like a hurricane ASAP.

Pumping Body is back with another stellar synthscapade in 'Mature Guy'. The synth romance is fervently applied in layer upon layer of lasciviously lovely melodic passages. The percussion is rockin in all the right ways with nifty handclaps peppered throughout. I'm assuming this is a work-in-progress due to it finishing all too abruptly, but hopefully this will be remedied in the future.

Keeping the romance level sugary sweet and set to maximum crush is the wonderful new track from NFD Music entitled 'Pop Mannequin'. Everything about this piece is just fluffy pink neon, first kiss of summer, holding hands in homeroom brilliance. The melodies and arrangements are instantly entrancing and the gentle grip holds you close throughout. Marvellous track.

Moving into night time adventures and a definitely more OutRun flavour is one hell of rockin new track from Nightstop called 'Harrison Ford'. The build on this piece is spectacular as a narrative is played out with passage after passage of exciting synths sounds. The drama is keep to tantalising dangerous levels through the hugely powerful final acts of the experience. Many thanks to to Halyein for enlightening me to this artist. Be sure to pick up your own FREE copy of 'Harrison Ford' and rock it hard.

Mr Maen is back with a killer new synth funk jam that is full of classic sounds and arranged with much beauty. I'm not sure if this is written as a sequel or an alternate envisioning to the classic 80s funk track 'Walkin In The Rain' by Oran Juice Jones, but this by no means a cover. The emotionally pointed vocals intimate delightfully with the fragile melodies creating a superb ambiance. Pick up your own copy of this track through the link in the player.

There is something magical about the new Ezavskih track that I can't get enough of. 'End Credits' is a partially ChipTune oriented soundscape but the melodies are deeply emotive 80s designs with sweeping accents and thoroughly magical key changes. The overall mood is light and jubilant with a hint of introspection, exactly what you'd expect a track titled 'End Credits' to realise. Be sure to grab your FREE while you can.

Let us stay on the more epic end of the synth spectrum with composer new to Synthetix.FM going by the name of Haüer and his incredibly moving new experience 'Homefires'. The build through this adventure is incredible with richly developed passages leading into wondrous new vistas. There is just so much packed into this track, it's a masterfully crafted piece from beginning to end. Many thanks to Protector 101 for introducing me to this great talent.

Lightening the mood and turning the brightness up is Pulse 80 and their new track 'Solar Summer'. This is a very interesting track as it seems to be a slower and more deliberate form of classic italo disco. The melodies are crisply detailled, and the percussion adds distinctly to the soundscape but there is a constant air of restrain to the music. It's a very interesting combination to say the least. Be sure to grab your own FREE copy of this track while you can.

One of the biggest hits of this past week was the preview minimix for the next Mitch Murder EP release  entitled The Touch. This  tour de force of Mitch Murder's individualised synthscapes finds us moving through smoothly orchestrated movements, into high energy guitar laced drama and library oriented pieces all with that glossy Mitch Murder Magic injected into every element. We don't have long to wait to full release, thankfully, as it's out on July 25th and I'll be sure to give it the full Synthetix.FM treatment next week.

Finally on this weeks Weekend Update we have a double shot from one of the new masters of high energy dark synth, Carpenter Brut. First up is his totally rockin track 'Chew BubbleGum And Kick Ass'. This is sample laced juggernaut of synth crunching brutality is absolutely killing it non-stop. I must say Carpenter Brut is one of the few composers in the scene who can manage to keep 80s elements well pronounced in his music without descending too far into chaos, as is evidenced throughout this track. This provides stunning contrast from beginning to end.

The second part of this Carpenter Brut double shot is the spectacular new video teaser for his next EP.
This is easily the most exciting preview I've ever seen to a new release. This captures so much of the Carpenter Brut aesthetic visually and takes things even further. The editing throughout this is superb and makes the music even more visceral. I've watched this dozens of times and still get shivers. EP II will be out in September on Black Bvs records and I can personally guarantee it'll be worth the wait.

For now, rock this:

CARPENTER BRUT - TEASER EP II from Deka Brothers on Vimeo.

I hope you haven't passed out from the insane levels of excitement created by that preview!

That does it for another rockin Weekend Update on Synthetix.FM, I hope you've had as much fun as I've had and I'll look forward to sharing more good times and great rock'n'roll from the 80s inspired synth scene next week. 'Till then, stay 80s and keep on rockin!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

D/A/D Creates The Construct

I'm going to go back in time, just a little, before I get on to the great new record from D/A/D. Back to 2009, which is pretty much the year that the 80s inspired synth scene began to bloom from it's formative stages in 2008. It was during this time that many incredible producers came into my life. Producers like Futurecop!, Sferro, Palm Highway Chase, Miami Horror, Yan 'Mr Vector' Larsen, The OutRunners, Symbolone, Maethelvin, Anoraak and many other rockin producers featured on the MOTU2 and Valerie compilations. During this time there was quite a bit of nu-disco and house crossover with 80s sounds, as there still is today, but some producers pushed harder and harder into traditionally authentic 80s synth sounds and arrangements.

D/A/D, or Day After Discovery, was one of the first generation of revival artists on the scene in 2009 and when I discovered his Super Motives release (still available for FREE, here) the bar was raised exponentially for me. It was not until the releases of 2010 from Mitch Murder, Lazerhawk and Miami Nights 1984; among others, would I get to hear such wonderful music as what was contained on Super Motives. Upon release of The Construct I went back and revisited this now four year old release and my heart was warmed as to how relevant it still is.

It was a genuine epiphany to me that this music doesn't date. It's so intrinsically linked to a period of time already that the passages of time since the 80s become irrelevant. Super Motives was always one of my fondest early memories of that time when I finally got to hear the music I really wanted to enjoy, as most everything else newly released in this period felt decidedly like it wasn't in any way shape or form for me to enjoy. The D/A/D magic was so beautiful and emotive, it was just what I needed.

Bringing the time forward a little, to the beginning of last yet when I was in the planning stages for Synthetix. I began going through some of the earlier 80s inspired synth releases and an idea began to germinate in my mind 'Wouldn't it be totally rad to be able to review new albums from those original producers on my own site?' The thought of sharing new music from the likes of Palm Highway Chase, Maethelvin, D/A/D et al was one of my driving forces for getting this site going. Being able to share this hugely under appreciated music with like minded fans, old and new, this was what Synthetix was always about.

Which takes us up to today and this week, after years of drip feeding tracks sporadically D/A/D has released his second album: 'The Construct', and the prolonged wait has just made it all the more special.

I'm often one to go on about the 'magic' I feel in 80s inspired synth music, as that's the best way I can describe the combinations of sounds and melodies that intimate the true 80s musical emotions. These are the hallmarks of 80s synth music, the ability to conjure and present feelings and visions in spectacularly colourful ways and these are the foundations on which 'The Construct' has been built upon.

Formed like a ten chapter soundtrack, the album is richly detailed with strong passages, and ephemeral vignettes. Opening with introductory piece 'Farthest Reaches' it becomes very apparent that this is going to be an adventure of epic proportions and fathomless dimensions. In this unadorned foreword the melodic magic of D/A/D begins to sparkle like a distant star, and its delicate light begins to descend.

The sheer contrast of 'Backbone Of The Night' marches in quickly and begins a dramatic procession of layered synths that verily dance like beings of pure electric energy. The lead melody is an absolute epiphany, framed by brilliant nuances and set to a jubilant pace. The soundscape is just so thoroughly uplifting that it's impossible to not be carried away upon waves of fantasy for the track's entire duration.

The third chapter finds D/A/D experimenting with a much more traditional pop synth milieu and has enlisted the talents of USA Gold and Sharaya Mikael to add even more lustre to 'Love Will Make You Stay'. Languidly paced and full of authentic 80s pop sensibilities this song is a marked departure from previous D/A/D experiences, but is no less thrilling. 'Innersphere Lasergames' marks the recall of drama and tension to the synthscape as layers of Italo tinged synths meld into things of pure electronic beauty. D/A/D is still one of the most gifted creators of 80s melodies on the planet and this is a classic example of just that.

The metaphysically enlightening 'The Terminal' serves as mid point lapse in consciousness for the album. Dreamy cognition fades in and out of reality, while Japanese announcements make us very aware we are not in our own minds but are instead drifting through planes of another existence. Time to  get off the dream train and embark on a new chapter, this time to 'Orion Beach'. Taking synth romance cues throughout this track, D/A/D creates a lushly coloured teenage crush that is sparkling with excitable synth melodies and powerfully passionate guitars. This track, in particular, is arranged to absolute perfection as each passage opens new doors to new ideas in expanding upon the thematic.

'Titan' begins with a new and alien introduction that creates an ambiance of the unknown and hints at possible dangers. Otherworldly sounds are accented by strata of synth layers that take you deeper into an unfamiliar world. Staccato basslines delve into spaces of intrigue and just as the darkness begins to take over purely angelic synth chords cast new and vibrant light on the atmosphere creating an illuminatingly beautiful contrast.

Returning the brightness and wonder is 'Sky High' which displays some of the most fantastical moments on the album. Each element sounds crafted of pure light and contains magical properties that rise to the stratosphere and beyond. D/A/D's melodies shine with brilliance throughout this adventure with a warmness that dazzles and enthralls.

Drama of the night returns in the following and title track. 'The Construct' takes one hell of a powerhouse lead melody and builds equal amounts of excitement and danger around it's dynamic. This track is once again full of heart stopping moments of pure exhilaration amid the deeply rich narrative. The Construct is completed with the perfect book-end to the experience in 'Star Echoes'. Melodies coursing with vibrant synthcerity ascend heavenward and each crash of the percussion echoes throughout the ages. A cosmic voyage of the heart and mind into realms of fantasy, completely unlimited in scope. By the time the incredibly rockin guitar lead starts shredding a feeling of complete illumination begins to wash over the listener and an understanding of what 'The Construct' has shown us ushers in a new level of contemplation and contentment.

Without a doubt this album is one of the finest experiences I've ever hard in 80s inspired synth music. The musicianship is superb in every track but more importantly there is an innate honesty in every single second of the The Construct's duration. An honesty that is emotionally embracing, offering thoughtfully arranged fantasies and possibilities that I've found impossible to resist. After four years absence D/A/D has released an album that will stand up for years to come and is without a doubt one of the most invigorating releases in the 80s inspired synth scene in 2013.

Rosso Corsa Records presents D/A/D's The Construct on their Bandcamp page here and I can't encourage every fan of 80s sounds and moods enough to pick this up. This is the definition of a Synthetix Reference Experience and is a high water mark for authentic 80s synth music that has a heart and soul driving it's passion.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Miami System: A Space And Time Created By Action Jackson

Action Jackson is back with a kick arse new five track EP, Miami System. I've always been a big Action Jackson fan as he's a producer that manages to create very individualised soundscapes that take unexpected turns and bend reality with a finely skewed perspective. One of my favourite Action Jackson tracks is the stupendous 'Analog Ending' which speaks volumes about this producer's genre defying soundscapes and makes for one of my favourite re-envisioning of classic 80s sounds with all new directions and flavours.

There is something about Action Jackson's sound that is definitively 80s, but the the motifs and hallmarks of the Action Jackson experience are like an alternate-reality to the 80s. A vision that is full of colour and geometry, but also off kilter and unbalanced, like a permanent heat haze through a negative reality. The Action Jackson experience is a glimpse at the 80s through alien eyes, tuned to new frequencies and dimensions, one of which is the Miami System.

There are usually comparisons drawn between Com Truise and Action Jackson based on the way sounds are bent in a vaporwave manner, but there are huge differences between the two producers that extends into nearly all facets of their styles. Action Jackson's approach to songwriting is much more narratively based and true to the 80s synth styles, whereas Com Truise uses synth sounds in a more modernised architecture, both creating very different aesthetics.

This becomes very obvious from the opening track, entitled 'Start', which instantly climbs with pulsating arpeggios and glimmering synth melodies. The magic in Action Jackson sounds is that he can twist and distort melodies without making them abrasive or crushed out of recognition. 'Start' has a lead melody that is warm and inviting, it moves sideways through dimensional limitations and takes the listener into unfamiliar territory but never in a threatening way. Stepping into the Action Jackson synthscape like like easing into a pool of unstable time.

Much needs to be said about the constructions Action Jackson weaves around his melodies, though built from apparently unstable elements they manage to bind and intersect with each other beautifully without degenerating or losing their forms. 'Coke, Palms And Money' divulges a strong rhythm section with synths free forming in bright layers over the top. The pace is a slow canter, adding to the intoxicating haze the melodies bestow, while still being deliberate and keeping things under control.

Once 'Beach Casino' kicks in it becomes obvious that tones and times have changed and brightly luminescent synths speak of more wholesome sun drenched past times. Shades of synth romance can be felt through the lead melody and the narrative goes from day to night and all the excitement the evening affords. This piece is a superb mix of truly classic 80s visions which have been altered by a magic that alters times and places into new manifestations.

Moving into the fourth act, 'FM Rack 2000' takes a diversion into high energy electro. There is much less mind altering alchemy used in this track, but there is an undeniable Action Jackson hallmark running throughout it's short duration. I wish this piece was expanded into a longer one as at just under two minutes in length it feels like a tease. Perhaps this is the intention, though. To allow only fleeting glimpses at possibilities, like a shooting star illuminating the night sky briefly but being captured by our imaginations for eternity.

The title track, 'Miami System' complete the EP and it's back to some of the most rockin and complex arrangements Action Jackson has conjured up. Staccato basslines phase in and out of reality with synths  creating shimmering mirages of melodies, intimating their intentions before disappearing again behind magical aural veils. There is a very live-jam feel to this track that is hugely engaging and makes for the perfect finisher to the experience.

Once again Action Jackson has delivered something special and original that takes the constructs of 80s inspired synth music and turned them into a creation that is polished and new, but full of vintage influences. It's the alien familiarity of Action Jackson's sounds that are so much of the attraction and Miami System takes this to delightfully rich new levels.

Aphasia Records present Action Jackson's Miami System EP on their Bandcamp page here and Synthetix.FM very highly recommends this release. If you want to take a trip into the Twilight Zone of 80s inspired synth music, let Action Jackson take you there and alter your views and ideas with a musical reality of his own creation.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Synthetix Weekend Update

There is an old adage that's used often in regards to things we enjoy that 'less is more'. This is a very pertinent ideal when it comes to music. To make music important and engaging it needs a time and space to be enjoyed and experienced in. Music is a part of my everyday life, there are maybe only five hours in the day where I don't have music with me, even when I sleep. But music seen as a consumable item is a dangerous and precarious way to view something that should be seen as art.

When I changed the format of Synthetix.FM a few weeks ago, I wasn't sure if I was doing the right thing. I really wanted to cover as much new music as possible but I have found encouraging production rates in the scene does no one any favours. An album, EP or song that I fall in love with needs to be enjoyed over time; days, weeks. Not minutes. Allowing music to be digested and absorbed with patience and attention is what I want to encourage. The new format of having cut the Weekend Updates down by about a third and keeping the posts during the week to one or two have given people that chance (I hope) to take their own time with the releases that, I believe, are especially rockin.

The main reason I'm writing this is for you to look at how you listen to music. How much attention you give it, how much you connect to the music and stare deeply into it's magical creation. Music can be as peripheral or integral to your existence as you want it to be and the art form itself, especially in more popular electronic genres, has devolved into a soulless production line. I've always been of the mind that the 80s genres of electronic music have a much greater emotional context, not just from my own sentimentality, but the overall presence and wonder the vintage styles can achieve. Music that is meant to be felt, and made part of your life; something you look back upon over years, and go back to revisit time and time again.

I like to think of all 80s synth producers as artists. Passionate artists, with a deep love and reverence for classic 80s sounds. When I listen to this music I want to feel that connection and experience the vision their muse has driven them to create. Which brings me to the real point of all this, which is the new Alpha Boy EP entitled Home.

Alpha Boy has released a lot of music over the last year or so. He's one of the most prolific producers in the scene, although his work rate pales in comparison to the likes of LA Dreams, Alpha Boy makes a lot of music. I have 80+ Alpha Boy tracks in my music library, and my collection by no means contains all his music. That's a lot of music and in all honesty I thought I'd already heard the best that Alpha Boy had to offer and found myself tuning out to some of his recent work just a little. With his new EP I've found that this was certainly not the case.

The Home EP distills the Alpha Boy experience down into three pieces of music. All very different in their personalities, but each one is a refinement of Alpha Boy's music styles with his trademark melodies seeming to be of much vaster and greater consequence than ever before. The opening track, 'Come In' is definitely the most beautiful and absolutely inspirational piece of music I've ever heard from Alpha Boy. These three minutes and twenty seconds of minimalist synth sounds and deeply emotive melodies is the pinnacle of what the Alpha Boy sound is all about. I feel like the hundred plus pieces of music he has written before this piece was all a lead up to what 'Come In' realises. I could go on and on about this track but I want you, the listener, to enjoy this yourself with your own perspective.

The EP contains two other tracks in 'Purple' and 'Laser Dance', both of which refine Alpha Boys italo flavoured disco and synth wave soundscapes to all new levels of clarity and personality. The sounds are fresh and engaging and there is a new and lustrous energy about each passage of both tracks.

If you think you've already heard everything Alpha Boy has to offer you are in for a massive surprise with this EP as this producer has, for me, ascended to a new level of understanding and creativity of what his art is about. This is an inspirational release, and one that I encourage everyone to welcome into their hearts and minds.

I'm not passing comment on any producer's work rates, especially the likes of someone such as LA Dreams whom consistently dazzles me with his constant stream of amazing releases. But sometimes less is more and that is something to be considered and regarded in how we as individuals relate to the music in our lives.

Now, let's get rockin' with this week's Weekend Update!

Nowtro is back again this week with a hot new track called 'Neon Triathlon'. This new track has a stunning build the really ramps up exponentially with dramatic chords and thumping percussion. Lead synth melodies soar with beautiful resonance and haunting memories. This is a superbly written and arranged track, easily one of Nowtro's finest thus far.

Keeping the mood rockin is Foreign Blade's new work, 'Relax'. Synth melodies usher in sparkling energies and rise skyward before transitioning into sweeping action packed passages. The narrative told through this track is truly epic as we're taken on a journey full of excitement. This is currently available for FREE download currently.

Daxyl are a duo from Germany who's latest track is something very special. 'Travail A L'Usine' takes a slow wander into the cosmos with space synth sounds and dramatic percussion guiding the navigation. The soundscape captures the empty feelings of the cosmos while delicate melodies ponder deeper questions. Many thanks to Lothar Poeller for enlightening me to the wonders of Daxyl.

With the epic brutality of Blood Sport 2092 behind them, Arc Neon are now looking to brighter, dare I say sexier, climes with their new track 'Work It Out'. Synth romance is the order of the day with bright and colourful melodies glistening like jewels in the sun. Theres a glorious naivety to the instrumentations that is thoroughly endearing and totally rockin to the max. This is currently available for FREE download, so get on it!

Python Blue's new work in progress, 'Electric Dreams' takes the producer on a new journey away from his more dramatic soundtrack work into a more action oriented territory. The soundscape is full of classic elements that work together beautifully and create and inspirational synthscape that should make it's way into everyone's training montage mixtapes this week so download it now for FREE.

New music from 80s Stallone next! 'Break' takes the 80s Stallone italo flavoured disco into hyper overdrive with rockin basslines and exorbitant cowbell layered into sweetly written melodies. The recurrent vocal refrains add huge amounts of personality to proceedings while the lasers cut through the smoky haze of the dancefloor before ricochetting off the spinning mirror balls.

Making sure the excitement keeps on rockin is the new track from Seipa. 'Stossel' is a superb homage to the notorious ABC reporter who waged war against Nintendo in the late 80s. The music is kept frenetic and engaging while the samples from Stossel's 20/20 'report' as used sparingly throughout. The synthscape is peppered with some very nicely executed ChipTune sounds, adding even more to the narrative.

Steering a course for danger and terror,  we let the Vestron Vulture take control of the wheel and careen headlong into the synth horror of 'Blood Lust'. Panic and distress take hold and right at the epicentre of the brutality saxophones of doom illicit an alluring Siren's song that is inescapable. The track seems to finish a tad sooner than expected, but perhaps this is an intentional truncation.

Spoiling us with yet another totally kick arse tune this week is Palm Highway Chase. The exhaustingly titled  'Bertone Salt Lake 1980 Studio Channel' is yet another work of magic from this 80s synth scene legend. Melodically exciting and full of authentic instrumentations the music is stunning with a presence all it's own. Passages are deep and full of wonder with swirling synths and rockin percussion.

Time to rock some synth pop with the new Diana Kay song 'Platonic Bride'. The 80s soul glows brightly within this vocally driven track that pays homage to early and late 80s euro synth pop while retaining a rockin original sound. The vocal performance really stands out and adds massive amounts of drama through the chorus and verses. Many thanks to the always k-rad rock Denovomutans for introducing me to Diana Kay. Pick this up for FREE download through the button in the player.

Another great synthpop track out this week is Yannis Rianta's new smoothly sensual song 'Wicked Words'. The minimalist soundscape really lets the vocals intimate beautifully, providing great contrast to the Naomi Campbell samples peppered throughout the track. The flavours are cool and austere, full of 80s love and delivered in a very Tesla Boy-like manner. Currently available for FREE download.

The Energizer Bunny of the 80s inspired synth scene, LA Dreams, released two totally k-rad tracks this week. 'Age Of Innocence' is a absolutely stellar piece of trademark LA Dreams synth romance that is completely entrancing from beginning to end with it's glorious melodies and production. His other track released this week, 'Boys And Girls' is something new for this producer as he dives head first into a pool of cool and refreshing italo disco. LA Dreams knows his 80s and pulls this off with aplomb. Check out 'Boys And Girls' here.

Theres been much love for RF Extreme on Synthetix.FM of late and his latest track is going into full on crush mode as this producer tries his hand at synth romance and totally rocks it. 'Fury Of The Flame' is coursing with emotional melodies and delicate details. The instrumentations are enrapturing to behold with slow moving synths punctuated by the heart beat percussion. The restrain in this piece and overall aesthetic is masterfully done. Be sure to buy your own copy of this track through the link in the player.

A final note for this week's Weekend Update, Palisded has released her VHS Dreams EP (which I reviewed in the June 15 Weekend Update here) on iTunes this week. Click here to pick up a copy of this totally killer EP.

That does us for another hot rockin Weekend Update on Synthetix.FM. I hope you've found some great new tunes from the 80s inspired synth scene here and I look forward to sharing more with you during the week. 'Til then, stay 80s and keep on rockin!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Video Home System Brings The Cinema Into Your Living Room

As time goes on it's really interesting to find what hallmarks of yesteryear are remembered so fondly decades later. One of these little niche things that crops up frequently in the 80s inspired synth scene is the fond remembrance of VHS as a format that, in recent times, has gained an air of resolute sentimentalism. In the age of digital high definition video being commonplace in most parts of the world now, on nearly any device with a screen, I find it endearing that the VHS format, and it's shortcomings, has become and icon of the 80s that is now revered and emulated.

The days of tracking errors and chroma shift are long gone, but what they stood for in the grander scheme of things lives on. Indeed, it was VHS as a technology that changed the way consumers could watch media, but the industry it inspired, particularly the home video market, was yet another past time that is fading into obscurity. Video Home System has created an homage to the phenomenon of
this truly 80s technology delivered via a self titled seven track EP, bringing together the worlds of low resolution analogue color and thoughtfully constructed synth music.

From the classic home video studio ideas, to high synth drama and a myriad of other passages that harken back to classic Library and soundtrack synth pieces, Video Home System has made an enduring monument to the glory of VHS and its place in history.

The EP opens up strong and brilliant. Dazzling synths sparkle and soar with firework bursts of aural colour. 'And Now For Our Featured Presentation' is instantly recognisable as a classic studio ID from your favourite home video company complete with mirrored chrome and high action animation. Within seconds you're 'there' and you know theres going to be much more excitement to come.

Track two works some heavy duty synth funk into proceedings with delightfully chintzy synth melodies riding a somehow sleazy yet wholesome bassline. The authenticity of the instrumentation begins to shine in this track, the sparse soundscape allows for an uncomplicated live sound which comes across beautifully. The music really takes on a life of it's own as 'Chrominance' rocks on.

'Chase (Freeze, Sucka)' allows Video Home System to fabricate a new preview for the summers biggest action cop blockbuster. This track reminds me a great deal of Wang Chung's soundtrack work in To Live And Die In LA, which is assuredly meant as a compliment. The pounding drums and undulating synth rhythms are accented by dramatic leads and pointed police radio samples. As the sirens begin to close in the music fades out for the final stand off between justice and a mad man.

Rockin into track four, the beautifully bouncy bassline leads us into a synthscapade full of classic Library passages. 'Master Control Program' intimates sci-fi themed futurism with technology becoming humanity's enemy and a hero must rise to stop this monstrous threat. The melodies are action packed with an anthem like quality that is full of hope. It's a wild ride into the future that might spell doom for us all, like all great previews it always leaves us wanting more.

'Pulse Code Manipulation' finds Video Home System travelling into more metaphysical realms of aural enlightenment, melodic refrains ask questions and beg for further introspection as their paths are laid out before us in patterns and modulations. It's the uncomplicated nature of the production that adds so much refinement to this piece, the layers are crafted majestically and usher in all manner of imaginative possibilities.

Something from far left field arrives in the next chapter 'Head Cleaner'. Synthesised reggae vibes echo and with extended delay and jam along to the warbling melodies. It surprises me how little of this genre is explored in the modern take on 80s synth as reggae was hugely popular throughout the 80s, and synth interpretations of it were certainly not uncommon. This track feels like the perfect soundtrack to an 80s wine cooler commercial, with luscious bikini babes and playful surfer dudes showing how ideal their lifestyle is, and yours can be. Cheers!

The final piece on the EP is 'Five Keys'. I found this track very engaging as it takes the live sounding production to new levels with it's freeform structure. The bass and guitar tracks are absolutely rockin a classic Jan Hammer styled soundtrack piece that would be very at home on any episode of Miami Vice. The languid nature of the track really puts you in that Miami frame of mind, the sun sets and the night comes alive with the dangers and thrills of the shadowy underworld.

Video Home System has captured the spirit and times when VHS really was something very special, this EP is full of great nuances and details that tell a new story in every piece while keeping the authenticity of the soundscape a priority. All the elements come together and create an experience that focuses the wonder and promise this new technological experience could afford.

Video Home System presents this self titled EP on their Bandcamp page here for digital download and also as a limited edition hand signed CD. I encourage all fans of 80s synth music to give this a close and attentive listen, the stories within are exciting and engaging and full of 80s magic. I'm unsure as to whether this is a one-off project or an ongoing concern for the producer, so I can only hope for more rockin good times with Video Home System in the future.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Synthetix Weekend Update

The Synthetix.FM Experience keeps on evolving and rockin and the latest addition to the great ways you can enjoy 80s inspired synth music is a bran new soundcloud group! The Synthetix.FM official soundcloud group is now available for further adventures in retro synth goodness in the link box on the right hand side of this page permanently, or by clicking here.

I'm always ready to encourage and evaluate new and useful ways for people to find and be informed of the music we love, so if you have any suggestions for this I'm very receptive to new ideas. There will eventually be a Synthetix.FM Twitter feed, but as I'm not a user of Twitter this will take some time to get rockin.

Let's get down to the hot rockin business of all the kick arse tunes from this past week in the scene with the Synthetix Weekend Update!

We're getting dangerously close to the promised full length album release from Dance With The Dead (formerly Jaypeau and Toe Knee). I do believe a July/August release is in the offing, meaning our long wait is nearly over. These two rockers have made some absolutely stunning experiences in epic synth suites that cross over numerous genres but always have a deeply emotive and polished presence about them. Their latest track, which is a demo of 'Sunset', personifies the Dance With The Dead sound in every way. I, personally, am expecting this full length album to be a spectacle of dazzling proportions as the longer format seems like the perfect option for their vast soundscapes.

There's definitely an interesting trend going on at the moment in the scene with numerous producers delving more into the Library goldmine of 80s music for inspiration. Thought to be 'too cheesy' for many I think the classic Library music is one of the purest forms of the 80s synth experience and I applaud all the current producers taking inspiration from it. The latest is a killer piece of hard rockin good times from  Vector Hold.  'Last Day Of School' is triumphant and joyous in it's personality with the warm days of freedom and summer beckoning. Beautifully orchestrated and hugely uplifting.

Synthetix.FM favourite Chaconne is back with a delicately delightful new track 'Interqualude'. Taking a departure from his usual high drama synthscapes, this introspective piece smoothly dances in soft resonance, intimating melodic refrains with nimble dexterity. Definitely full of that rockin Chaconne magic, and currently available for FREE download.

Rocking into the future at breakneck speed is the latest EP from Neo Neo. The Last Dance EP is presented by Future City Records and consists of the title track plus two remixes. The title track is an explosion of OutRun synth set to dangerously high speeds. The way this track is arranged with a more modern flavour adds even more acceleration and drama, reaching life threatening top speeds. The two remixes are provided by Tero and MegaDrive, who both take to the tarmac in a race against the clock. I quite enjoyed MegaDrive's darker take on 'Last Dance', but I think Tero's loses a bit too much of the 80s soul in his version. You can buy your own copy of this rockin release by clicking the 'Buy' button on the player below.

Nowtro is definitely evolving and fine tuning his sounds and his new track is definitely one that grabbed my attention and didn't let go. 'Space Race' has a marvellous slow-burn build that then ignites into a synthscape of sparkling wonder. This track feels like it's arranged with a view to a vocal mix as the structures are very song-like in their delivery. As an instrumental the music shines brightly and the narrative is wonderful, the synth solo towards the back end being a real highlight.

Miles Prower's new EP is due for release soon and his latest video teaser for the song 'Outatime' is sure to build much excitement. This darker, EBM styled affair makes the drama level high while a superb vocal track performed by Colleen Quinn adds heavy doses of emotional discord. Another, this time instrumental track from the EP is up on Miles' soundcloud page here which is totally kick arse as well.

More promises of exciting things to come, this time from MoweLan and his unnamed teaser for his full length album due out towards the end of northern hemisphere's summer. Initially this didn't grab me, but the build leads to a totally rad final segment that is sounding very encouraging. Alas just as the rockin kicks in the, the fade out does too, leaving us hanging. I hope MoweLan shares some more of these teasers soon.

A producer going by the name of Hawker introduced himself to me this week and enlightened me to his own work and latest release. Dark Lines is a sumptuously created six track EP of beautiful synth soundtrack work coloured with a pronounced 80s palette. Opening salvos are epic in wonder and massively orchestrated with stunning melodies. Tracks vary greatly in their emotive qualities, often with rich stories and deep passages that have been fabricated with much care. Other more frenetic energies are explored on tracks like 'Siege' but all six chapters feel like the parts of one complete narrative. If you're a fan of soundtrack synth experiences I encourage you to take in the Dark Lines adventure in it's entirety in your own time for the full effect.

It warms my heart when the pioneers of the early days of the 80s inspired synth movement release new tracks, and even more so when they're of such incredible quality. Palm Highway Chase is one of these such producers, his Escape From New York album from 2009 is one of the early high points in the resurgence of 80s synths. His new track 'Shoreline OutRun' ushers in new soundscapes and very interesting details while still glowing with classic Palm Highway Chase melodies. I adore the evolution of this track, it's riveting and totally k-rad to the max in every respect.

Alpha Boy is definitely one of the most prolific producers in the 80s inspired synth scene and his work since his collaborative album with JF Conrad last year has definitely found his music take on new and exciting dimensions.  This short preview for his next EP (due out tomorrow!) gives a hint and some very interesting new Alpha Boy soundscapes. The opening track, 'Come In' is something that instantly made me fall in love with it. Over it's scant twenty seconds of preview this piece alone has me champing at the bit for the 'Home' EP. I'll be sure to give it an attentive listen as soon as it's released.

Another rockin new act that contacted me this week was the Cassual Leopards, their latest EP entitled Close Encounters provides a rich mix of disco and 80s synths with leanings to modern arrangements, while still retaining much vintage love. The five tracks are very individual in their presentation and bring to mind much of the crossover nu-disco/french house music that was so vital a few years ago. The balancing act of old and new elements is very well performed, with some interesting twists. 'Fractal Love' for example walks a very traditional 80s synth path with dramatic melodies and minimalistic synthscape. Conversely the out and out disco rockin 'Don't Stop' provides a funkified counter point with it's catch loops and much more modern story.  The Close Encounters EP is full of good times and kick arse music, it really traverses a lot of ground but retains a warm honesty and love of quality 80s sounds throughout. The EP is available for FREE download of the individual tracks through the player below.

I always look forward to hearing new music from Farfletched. His individualised brand of 80s inspired electronic music always manages to include varied elements and his writing is always delightfully eclectic. 'Karate Follow' is by his own definition 'arcade synth pop' and it's a wonderful track full of incredibly rad melodies and entertaining details. The music bounces verily with ChipTune elements going hand in hand with some Steve Winwood-esque synth work. This is definitely the Synthetix.FM feel good tune of the week.

Our final excursion in the the electric world of 80s synth for this week's Weekend Update comes courtesy of the totally tubular Professor Zonic Zynth. His latest work, 'Sensation' finds the Professor experimenting in some kick arse Library sounds and working on a 'sports event' thematic that conjures up a great deal of exciting possibilities. Once again this producers melodies shine like beacons amidst the camera flashes and roars of the crowd while the athletes take to the field in a battle for glory and a place in history's pages. Totally epic and totally k-rad to the max.

That does us for this week's Weekend Update on Synthetix.FM, I'll be back during the week with more hot rockin 80s inspired synth music and I hope I get to see you again then.

'Till then, stay 80s and keep on rockin.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Plaisance Salutes The Kids Of The 80s

Plaisance has been producing his own brand of heavily influenced 80s synth music for nearly a year now and his releases have always made me sit up a listen. His unabashed love of authentic sounds and melodies make for some exquisite soundscapes that are often tied to perfection with an overriding thematic. His 'ocean' series of works, such as Boat People and Regatta tell beautifully detailled stories that encapsulate the 80s mythos in vivid and imaginative ways.

With his latest album Plaisance has channelled a new muse for his process and gone back to the youth of the 80s to inspire his new record. This subject matter is relatively untapped in the scene, which is surprising as the kids of the 80s were definitely the focus of the decade. Music, TV and movies seemed to be much more focused on capturing the imaginations of kids. The bright colours, simple geometry and an appreciation of fun is felt throughout this decade and this echoes throughout Plaisance's new record. Children Of The 80s is an homage to a decade when it was cool to be a kid and growing up was an option best avoided, a time when the summers lasted forever and each day promised new surprises and experiences. Let Plaisance take you by the hand and open your imagination to a new perspective.

The Plaisance sound has taken on many new influences and personalities through this album. The italo driven synths of his earlier works have been replaced with more traditionally Library oriented characteristics. I, for one, am a huge fan of Library music from the 80s and it's modern reinterpretations and Plaisance has, possibly inadvertently, made some totally rockin Library music that in many cases would be well at hope as an intro theme to a kids after school TV show or backing a hyperactive toy commercial. From the outset, with '1980' Plaisance makes it very clear this is not going to be tied to traditional reinterpretations of 80s synth, from the dancing xylophones to the synthesised sax the soundscape rises like a refreshing breeze, cool and wistful with boundless energy.

As the album continues into tracks like 'Kids' and 'One Happy Family' a candy coloured idealism takes the tone into the perfect dreams that really never come true, but still provide masses of optimism. The melodies are full of glorious chintz and are sweetened to dangerous levels but the soundscape is so vibrant and oozing in positivity that the whole experience blends with an honesty that is pure Plaisance.

'Rock Slide' ushers in some very imaginative sounds and arrangements that sparkle with a frenetic energy that bounces happily in an out colourful dimensions and layered with a constant stream of aural details that add even more action. This feels like the ultimate kids science TV show theme song; I can see many visuals of kids being astounded by rudimentary science experiments all cut in fast time with the pace of the music, accompanied by bouncing question marks and science related symbology.

The time for making learning fun has ended as play time begins with Plaisance's great little homage to classic video game soundtracks: 'Continue?'. Fighting game samples and more energetic melodies bring to life virtual battle that takes place on TV and arcade machine screens, and still does today. The action moves into moonlit bedrooms, well past our bed times, with the throughly awesome 'Pyjamaninja'. Plaisance's take on ninja synth is delightfully executed with eastern melodies backlighting the onslaught of home made cardboard shurikens and broom-katanas. The always engaging naivety of Plaisance's sound adds so much playfulness to this track; it genuinely captures the atmosphere of childlike wonder over the magic of the ninja.

'First Kiss' takes the innocence of childhood and crystallises the moments we remember forever. Melodies are bright and illicit those feelings of walking on air and the glimpses of maybe growing up just a little. The bassline of this track really carries the moods beautifully and take you back to the time when a kiss was just a kiss, and that was more than exciting enough. It's a superbly written piece that really tells a story full of new emotions and possibilities. Conversely, 'Dreams And Nightmares' delves into more of a solitary space, where one is left to one's own subconscious and logic isn't a necessary part of the experience. The soundscape grows dark with shadows as fears are visualised with synths creating eerie and haunting melodies.

As time passes and we begin to grow up just that little bit more and the changes we go through to becoming adults begins, and that 'First Kiss' starts you down a path to more 'earthly delights'. In 'Basinger, Wilde And Me' Plaisance takes us down that path to more night time fun, that doesn't involve us dressing us ninjas this time and is instead much more about being transfixed on that late night music video show.. with the volume turned down as low as possible. Scantily clad melodies entice and jiggle before us while our mind and pulse race with each pounding, lascivious beat.

The end of the decade and the end of a period of our lives is signified by '1990'. The soundscape reflects this with a decidedly late 80s piano refrain looped over those familiar early techno rhythms. The lights of the night usher in a new age as childhood is left behind and the new promise of a decade full of new adventures and experiences beckons.

Our childhood thusly completes, as Plaisance has told it, and the stories told within are equally magical and familiar in their ability to conjure such memories. I found this album completely relatable to my own childhood in the 80s, and the record provides a wonderful window to look back through to past times and experiences. The music hits all the right notes at the right times and it's chronological chapters make for a perfect experience of recounting a childhood that no doubt many had shared in a similar manner.

Plaisance presents the Children Of The 80s album on his Bandcamp page here. Unlike many albums in the 80s inspired synth scene that go over all to familiar territory this record presents something new and engaging that captures emotions and spirits with a new context. I think there are very few producers in the scene who could have created this kind of album with such honesty and authenticity, and I'm very pleased that Plaisance did and did it so well. Children Of The 80s is a story many of us will share in, but all of those that listen and let it into their hearts will experience the 80s just that little bit more vicariously through the magic of the music and the magic of Plaisance.

Synthetix.FM very highly recommends this album to all fans of 80s inspired synth and applauds Plaisance for such wonderful creativity in making this concept album so totally rockin to the max.