Sunday, September 29, 2013

Synthetix Weekend Update

This week's been exceptionally productive in the 80s inspired synth scene, it would seem that with the most 80s of holidays only a month away that producers are preparing for an onslaught of hot rockin tunes. Halloween on Synethix.FM will definitely be one to remember, but more on that in future posts.

Right now we have a huge amount of quality tunes to rock into, so lets take a trip into the past via the future with the new Synthetix Weekend Update!!

Aysyne's fast becoming a force to be reckoned with as each new track he shares expands his musical palette. On 'Ascend' we get to experience a stunningly beautiful lead melody that is given more weight with the dreamy synth accents. It's a joy to experience and is definitely one of Aysyne's strongest tracks.

Next up is a breezy new jam from Danger Mode, appropriately titled 'Timeless'.  Melodic exploration of passionate themes is the order of the day as synths are allowed to ebb and flow with subtlety and delight. This track is currently available for FREE download, many thanks to Vincenzo Salvia for sharing the hype on this one.

Grooveworthy is planning the launch of his Information Age EP in November and has shared a preview of the release. This should be a super exciting release as Grooveworthy's constantly pushing his own creativity and refining his sounds. The music featured includes the absolutely epic 'Information Superhighway' and is keeping the theme of 'emerging' internet technology as the theme. To get to know a bit more about Grooveworthy be sure to check out this week's episode of Beyond Synth that features an very entertaining interview with him here.

It was very interesting this week that two tracks found me that are very similar yet very different. Both are themed around the initial arcade game craze of the early 80s and are laced with samples and driving melodies. The first of these is 'VideoGameCraze', the first track to be shared publicly by Grand National. The soundscape is kept tight and on the minimalist end of the spectrum as news and game samples rock with the delightfully twee lead melody.

 Botnit's new track, 'Hi-Score' expands upon the theme further as the high energy OutRun music creates a great tension to the atmosphere. The sample usage also pushes towards these ends as the dark sides of the industry and addiction creep into the frame.  Both these tracks are kick arse in the own rights and make for a great double play experience.

Foreign Blade has graced us with a hot track this week that packs in the drama going by the name of 'Calling Mr. Big Shot'. Keeping things dark and brooding the music alludes to higher powers and glimmers of humanity amid the corporate back biting and hunger for power. This track is currently available for FREE download, so get it rockin as soon as possible.

Future City Records released a hot new three track EP by the rock hard Thunderclaw this week and it's definitely an experience in heavy handed radness. This Miami Vice themed experience combines high energy electro rockin action in strong doses. 'Recoleta' opens things up with smoothly ambient synths that are then blasted into sunset by high voltage electro passages. The combination typifies the contrasting nature of the Thunderclaw experience.

Moods shift darker and become more singularly minded with track two 'Castillo'. Haunting melodies fuelled with night time dangers and begin to choke with intensity. The Thunderclaw soundscape seems to be often pushed to breaking point to enhance the visceral nature of the narratives containing. The third chapter, 'Abel' is a fine example of this style of modern presentation with vintage music to allow for the contrast of beauty and brutality to co-exist in a timeless dimension.

You can pick up the B.A. EP from Thunderclaw through the link in the player below and I'd definitely encourage you to take a three part ride down the dark side of the Florida Key's with Thunderclaw at the helm.

Lets keep in the shadows of the night with the rockin new track from Professor Zonic Zynth and his latest work 'Doomsday MK-1'. The darker path is seldom travelled by the Professor but in this track he allows his synth funk to take on a nocturnal obeisance that is riveting and full of the dangers of the night.

When I go one about the stories and narratives in 80s inspired synth music this is a reflection on how the music evolves, draws you in and then takes you to new places and allows the experience to go beyond the more uniform structures of some electronic music. In RF Extreme's new track, 'Present Daze' we have a textbook example of the use of this kind of structure in an 80s presentation. The opening passages leads to a dramatic middle section before the enlightenment of the final climax. An incredibly beautiful example of quality craftsmanship in the synthient arts. Also be sure to check out a rockin interview RF Extreme has done this past week on Synth Waves here.

Lost Years is back and rockin the italo synth tones on his new gem 'The Kick'. Still in it's early stages of development this is certainly already hitting all the right notes for totally kick arse italo sounds. The pace is kept to a middling canter which allows for the huge percussive flourishes to really resonate for maximum effect.

Dance With The Dead are still yet to settle on the full track line up for their impending album due out this Halloween and with the quality of all the demo's they've been sharing of late it's going to be a hard job to select only one album's worth. Their new track 'Neon' takes on a far less dramatic tone than much of their previous outings, and has a touch of Arcade High about the lead melody that works beautifully well with Dance With The Dead's power house production.

PH Groove is heading for the gym with his new tune 'Legwarmers', and working up a sweat with hooky melodies and energetic arrangements. The PH Groove synth funk sounds are engineered for a more forthright disco flavour this time around and ventures into exciting new territories over it's epic near seven minutes. This track is currently available for FREE download, so make it a part of your work out as soon as you can.

Something a bit of out left field now with the stunning new song from Pistol Shrimp. 'This Moment' features AaronKnute and creates and incredibly beautiful vista of chill/dream wave synthscapes that swells with 80s love. The production is engineered for the perfect presence of each element and the vocal refrain is captured with much poignancy. This reminds me in parts of My Bloody Valentine and the Cocteau Twins, but with a more cinematic flair. It's definitely powered by energies I find much more engaging that a lot of the more sparsely arranged chill/dream wave songs I've heard and it's this huge wall of sound that is so totally enrapturing.

Hot on the heels of her VHS Dreams EP, Palisded has released a killer new synth experience this week called 'Lovestruck'. The bouncing bassline and minimalist melodies are complemented by a marching drum track that ties the experience together. The spatial nature of the synthscape is very engaging and the exploration of the melodies is wonderfully intimated. This track is currently available for FREE download, so get it while you can.

To finish of this week's Weekend Update we have something from the complete opposite end of the synth spectrum with a totally killer new tropical synth piece from James Baker titled 'Un Paradis Tropical'. I just can't get enough of this tune, it's gorgeous 80s naiveté and crisp synthscape is utterly joyous to behold. You can not help yourself but smile all the way through this track and thats one of the truly magical things about 80s inspired synth music. Totally k-rad to the max.

As James Baker's brilliance fades into the sunset it's time to say a bientot on Synthetix.FM for another week of rockin tunes and cosmic jams. I'll be back during the week ahead with more action from finest producers in 80s inspired synth music.

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

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Astral Stereo Project Scores The Anti Hero

Neil C Holdsworth's monicker, The Astral Stereo Project, is much more than a name plucked from a selection of retro associated idioms but instead is a descriptor and blueprint for his soundscapes. With Holdsworth's latest release The Astral Stereo Project has become a vision of cosmic sound waves with views to the past, present and future available to all those willing to take the flight into discovery.

The album is titled Anti Hero and it's varied chapters are tied together by spatial energies bound to earthly emotions. Instrumental tracks are picturesque and flow with much beauty while the songs on the album acquire a greater intimacy that feels genuine and honest. The overall story is richly told as the soundtrack describes the action and relationships of the titular Anti Hero.

The opening track, 'She Dances At The Metropolis' sets the perfect stage for Anti Hero's synthual repast. All the tracks on this record seem to contain otherworldly elements that either drive the experience or allude to other dimensional realities more subtly. This first chapter is full of emotive strings and swooshing stars that are propelled by a bassline of restrained elegance. The moods move from 80s passions into 70s disco synthscapades which are then allowed to fully mature in the second chapter 'L.A. Ripper'.

This second outing is definitely one of the most vintage sounding experiences on the record with a hugely 70s progressive synth atmosphere accented by a galloping rhythm section. It's a jazzy affair that allows for the lead the synths to take flight and soar in sumptuous cosmic vistas of crisp night air. This track is beautifully explored and realised, leading perfectly into the first song on the album 'Midnight Dancers'.

It's in this piece that The Astral Stereo Project begins to show it's hand and expose it's genius in a divine manner. Theres something about the vocal that reminds me of some of Peter Gabriels work, which is no bad thing, and the music is produced in a lingering intimacy of timeless beauty. The synths are met with    a beautifully complementary guitar track and combine with the vocals to make a spectacular pop synth experience that draws from many decades but is married to none.

The intimate moods continue in the next song entitled 'High Tension'. The atmosphere of earlier pieces is revisited and is given new directions and tales to explore as the smooth vocals are set betwixt smoothly undulating melodies and flickering stars cast an inviting light. The tension suggested in this track is given much more weight in the following piece 'Downtown Patrol' which ramps up the drama and exponentially.

Shades of John Carpenter-esque melodies give the track an Assault On Precinct 13/Escape From New York kind of flavour and the synths are fashioned in the perfect manner to describe finely crafted details while the robust and forceful percussion drives home the melodrama. 'Luna's Theme' finds The Astral Stereo Project delving into more 70s soundscapes with the mirrorball spinning on a cosmic axis across an dance floor planetoid. The music is so smoothly constructed with such a languid pace that it relaxes you down to your soul and caresses you with is velvet textures and soft lighting.

As if to shock you back from the romantic dreamscapes into reality arrives 'Fire With Fire' on the scene which I think works as the 'next chapter' to 'Downtown Patrol' after the affectionate interlude of 'Luna's Theme'. This instrumental sets the sky on fire with it's incendiary lead synths supported by shimmering falling stars and robotic rhythms. Holdsworth once again traverses decades in minutes while retaining the timelessness of space within the music's beating heart.

The next track on Anti Hero is definitely one of the most frenetic as a build more than half the length of the actual song leads into rocket fuelled synth delights as the 'Marina Freeway Pursuit' serves as a precursor to the final chapter, the action packed and explosive title track. Drama is thick with tension and quests for redemption amid flashes of light, fire and passion in the darkest hours before the dawn.

The Anti Hero experience is a complete soundtrack in it's formulation and the stories of love and baser human desires. It's told in a way that I find enduring as a whole but also the pieces as separate entities on their own intimate singular moments of emotional rewards and action packed excitement.

The Astral Stereo Project presents the Anti Hero album on Bandcamp here at a name-your-own-price point. The music on this record is full of rewarding experiences that feel both from distant worlds and from closer moments. Holdsworth has a weaved a pastiche of musical flavours from many decades into a focused and concise tale that is a joy to experience. Synthetix.FM highly recommends Anti Hero as a soundtrack/synth pop experience unlike any other and one that bodes well for future sounds from The Astral Stereo Project's creative machinations.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Carpenter Brut Explodes In EP II

Every so often, and leaning more to the side of infrequency in recent times, a release comes along that changes perspectives, definitions and possibilities. In more modern times I've found this to happen more with singles than full album or EP releases. The track that all of a sudden turns clouded ideas into a sharply defined image. The song that does everything perfectly and it's brilliance, often in it's simplicity, is allowed to shine. These kind of experiences are what raises the bar and explodes previously conceived ideas. This has already happened for me, personally, this year with Silent Gloves and Patrick Baker's song So Real and it happened last year with Klockhaus's amazing Brainchild track.

These moments that are so deeply inspiring musically are often few and far between and often rarely form so beautifully in one track; let alone in a full EP release. Carpenter Brut has achieved this, however, across the entirety of his new EP ominously titled EP II.  I've had the pleasure of spending an extended period of time with this EP before it's release and it's given me the chance to really take in this monstrously epic musical armageddon of transcendental brilliance and allow it's many dimensions and emotions to be fully appreciated.

EP II transcends genres, ideas and perceived limitations of genre specific music and forms it's own vision that is as fresh as it is visceral. The amount of creativity in each of the six tracks goes above, beyond and inside out the mere definitions of genre titles. There is panic, violence, beauty, anger, love, brutality, clarity, fear and hope entwined throughout each and every chapter of every experience. Singularly faceted narratives are not the Carpenter Brut manifest but rich and densely layered monuments of granite hard rock and billion volt electro are and they crafted and summoned with a level of arcane knowledge and understanding of great rarity.

The sheer ferocity of this release becomes abundantly clear with the opening blast of slasher electro violence in 'Roller Mobster'. Musically this a repeated bludgeon attack at high velocity with no where to run or hide. The soundscape is a endless barrage of violent synths blasting with high impact knock out blows, completely unrelenting in their viciousness. This alone would be fatiguing for an extended period but, as happens so often on this EP, the Carpenter Brut magic tempers the violence with far more delicate harmonies and details that add new colours and layers while keeping the brutality in check and trading off neither in the process. These contrasting elements are used throughout EP II and it makes the assault on the senses cut even deeper and intensely than one would have previously believed possible.

The antithesis to 'Roller Mobster' is, ironically or possibly intentionally, track two 'Meet Matt Stryker'. We're lulled into a dimension of dangerous intentions but the moods are hopeful and full of driving passion. There is humanity in the music that one can feel and this is taken to even more powerful emotions with the supremely rockin guitars. The build is explosive and visceral as marching rhythms of mechanical precision lead to mellower passages where the guitars soar with great beauty above the chaos. The final act brings the power drive to maximum levels with a culmination of melodic energies perfectly in sync with each other.

The more ambient sides of Carpenter Brut are often his most alluring throughout this EP and the reason for this is the context he uses them in. The slow burn of 'Obituary' with it's haunting vocal and otherworldly elements create intimately close scenes of distilled ideas given complete clarity. There is absolutely no denying the horror lurking beneath the surface can only be contained for short periods and once it's unleashed the intensity seems to magnify to the power of ten for every successive second of the experience until it seems unbearably severe,.. but the hunger for more lingers.

I can, without any shadow of a doubt, say that 'Looking For Tracy Tzu' is one of the single most awe inspiring musical experiences I've had in 2013. The structure of this track is astonishingly tactile and packed with so many elements from 80s styles and beyond that it's four minutes and seventeen seconds feels like decades of lush mellifluous euphoria. The melodic refrain in this piece is absolute perfection while the story told around it is stunningly jaw dropping from beginning to end as danger, hope, violence and reverence become a phenomenal spectacle of pure panache.

Considering vast amount of genres covered in EP II, from passage to passage and song to song I find it interesting that track five, 'SexKiller On The Loose' is possibly the least diverse. This is by no means saying it's a lesser track than the others contained, but due to it's forthrightness and un-complex nature of arrangements it becomes something that has a slight edge to it's refinement. In the context of this release it arrives as a raging exposition in disco violence that knows to limit to it's appetites and it's this singular desire that garners such intensity and vigour from first kiss to last heart beat.

Completing EP II is grand finale, the fait accompli of the Carpenter Brut experience: 'Hang Em All'. Melodically delicate in it's introductions it fast becomes as full force frenzy of focused fidelity before stripping things back to an intimation of vulnerability. The animal instincts and ferocious killing power are all consuming, however, and a final blaze of glory is exploded into the night sky as the wreckage from a fabulous disaster rains down upon the scarred earth. The narrative tells a story of exhausting triumph that rises in the face of adversity, gaining power and momentum until the final victorious climax.

I still find it very hard to believe this EP clocks in at under twenty five minutes in it's entirety as it feels so incredibly involving and entertaining that you're certain more than an hour has passed. EP II is a time machine of musical dark matter that defies all previous conceived ideas and theories on how music is experienced. Repeated listenings drive this home even further and just like a favourite movie you want to revisit those favourite scenes of action, sin and violence over and over again.

Carpenter Brut presents EP II on his Bandcamp page here, and you can also pick up a physical CD copy (+ digital download) through Black Bvs Records' store here. This record has achieved a new high point for the many styles contained and explored throughout the six tracks. From the emotional soundtrack oriented melodic pieces to visceral giallo disco and into fiercely intense electro the music in it's purist sense beyond simple definitions. EP II goes above and beyond the limitations prescribed by people like myself and instead makes it's own world and dares us to enter it at our own mortal risk.

Although it's still September and there are many more releases to come in 2013, Carpenter Brut's EP II is THE record of 2013 thus far. There is no record I've heard this year that comes close to the intensity, intimacy and pure exhilaration of the music contained within it.

This most certainly makes Carpenter Brut's EP II a Synthetix Reference Experience of the highest calibre. I've no doubt this record will stand as a testament to exactly what true artists are capable of producing in the field of 80s inspired synth music when creativity and passion are given the purpose and vision to fabricate truly extraordinary music.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Synthetix Weekend Update

Things are getting hot and heavy in the worlds of evolved 80s sounds as big releases keep on dropping like synth laden H-Bombs. There is also a great new compilation available for your listening pleasure, brought to you by the creative visionary Mike 'Who Ha' Mendoza. Flying under the banner of Retro Promenade, Vox Populi is a compilation devoted to some of the most rockin pop synth available.


This is spans the length and breadth of classically styled 80s sounds that are vocally oriented and many of the most rockin artists in the scene are present and accounted for. I'm a huge champion for the use of vocals in 80s inspired synth music and when such a fantastic selection of songs is presented in one place it makes for a vastly entertaining package.

In Who Ha's infinite wisdom he's also included links to all the respective artist's soundcloud and Facebook pages, so make sure you follow and like all your favourite artists.

Now, let's get down to business with all the most rockin action this past week in the new Weekend Update on Synthetix.FM.

First up is a totally kick arse new track from Garth Knight that contains much avant garde experimentalism. The chopped up presentation overrides some very funky 80s groove and theres
even a bit of classic hip hop thrown into the mix too. I love this track, it just plain rocks.

The new song from Vestron Vulture this week was another sparkling gem. 'Together' features delightfully effected vocals and a richly emotive instrumental track. The timing of the lyrics and the music is absolutely entrancing and makes for an experience that is definitely one of my favourites from Vestron Vulture.

Niky Nine introduced me to a hot new italo flavoured venture going by the name Absolute Valentine and his new track 'Disco Lover'. Definitely arranged with a modern character but also with much of the character around the melodies drawn from late 70s-early 80s disco synth. The result is definitely rockin to the max.

Dance With The Dead just can't contain their high velocity firepower as this week saw the duo unleash two killer new tracks. 'Robeast' is the dictionary definition of what the Dance With The Dead experience is all about: vastly epic melodies, energised smashing drama and the terror of the night lurking in every passage. The guitar tracks in this experience are absolutely exemplary and bring out great details in the narrative. Be sure to check out the other Dance With The Dead track shared this week called 'Battle' here.

Palm Highway Chase share some very experimental pieces this week, each of which provided some insight into this artists creative process. The most complete ideas of these was definitely the totally rad
'Palm Dreams'. I'm assuming this has been given a heavily filtered treatment by the title but the overall presentation is lucid and vital beneath it's imaginatively distorted visage.

Another artist working through some experiments is the always rockin Paul For You. He released a dearth of 'Final Demo' tracks that I'm hoping will go into a fully fledged release sometimes soon. 'Chuka' finds the immensely catchy Paul For You aesthetic taken to jazzier climes while retaining his trademark hooks. Be sure to check out the rest of his releases this week on his soundcloud here.

LA Dreams was back in sterling form this week with his amazing new experience 'Cocktails In The Lounge'. This artist once again proves why he's one the brightest stars in the 80s synth galaxy with this glittering gem of synth funk brilliance. The LA Dreams experience just keeps on rockin and I for one am eternally grateful for each track he shares.

The synth brothers going by the name of Bourgeoisie are back with a vengeance with a killer new single 'The Carcinus Project'. Drama levels are set to huge levels of intensity as the melodies introduce layers of hope and humanity to the desolate dystopian vision. The narrative is deep and vibrant, ushering in a spectacular return to the scene for Bourgeoisie.

The new record from 80s synth scene mainstays Casio Social Club is definitely sounding totally kick arse. The Life In 3D album is set to launch worldwide on the 7th of October and contains some of their familiar classics and a whole mess of new electro funk breakin gold. This will be one to watch for, but you can check it out in it's entirety in the soundcloud player.

A new cosmic interlude from Aysyne next with his new interstellar experience 'Sparkle'. The melodies are haunting and full of presence with a percussive track that is full of spatial energies and cosmic propulsion. The breakdown and rebuild in 'Sparkle' is totally epic and makes the story richly detailled.

Clusterbuster is an artist new to Synthetix.FM and I can him getting a lot more love on here in the future. This producer is aiming to the darker side of OutRun with some soundtrack elements and arrangements along with a preponderance for classic movie samples. His latest track 'Crime Is The Disease And I Am The Cure' is a high speed chase at night that is full of twists and turns and moments of violence.

Fantastisizer took a night drive into more introspective spheres of creativity with his haunting new track 'The Exchange'. The presentation is subdued and laid back with melodies allowed to create their own paths amid the pulsing bassline. The length of this track allows for full and concise appreciation of it's beauty. This is a side of Fantastisizer I hope I get to see more often.

One of the most rockin surprises this week was the totally k-rad to the max new track from Diana Gitallog called 'The Quest' and featuring Dark Energy Discoveries. This is a magnificently authentic slice of dramatic pop synth with some nods to italo in the finer details. I love the dark ambiance of this song and the vocals and structure add megatons of presence to it. Stunning from beginning to end.

Another collaborative effort up next with Denovomutans and NFD Music combining their talents to create one of the moodiest pieces of the week in 'Femme Fatale'. The minimalist nature of the experience leads to much exploration of the echoing melodies and leads to powerful final act. This awesome exponent of classic 80s soundtrack synth is also available for FREE download in the player.

Lightening the mood now with some kick arse new pop synth from Miranda Carey and her debut song 'Piece Of Paper'. This is a pitch perfect piece of quality 80s bubblegum pop that really kills with its catchy hooks and a chorus that rocks with total synth magic. Miranda Carey's Fast Forward EP is due out soon and I'll be greatly looking forward to rocking these gorgeous synth pop sensations on Synthetix.FM in the future. Many thanks to Sunglasses Kid for enlightening me to this very promising new artists in the scene.

Finally this week we have the kick arse new video from scene legend Neros77 and his visualisation of Stratos (Mitch Murder) Zero's track Rush. Once again Neros77 captures the magic of the music with clips from The Running Man and Deathsport combined to make a deliciously deadly roller coaster ride into games of courage, stamina, glory and vengeance!

That does us for another jam packed Weekend Update on Synthetix.FM. I'll be back during the week with more gems from the 80s inspired synth scene, 'til then stay 80s and keep on rockin.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Unpredictable Genius Of Sunglasses Kid

When it comes to the upper echelon of producers in the field of evolved 80s sounds there is one that's not only rushing to the top but also, and most importantly, taking others along with him for the ride. Sunglasses Kid appeared on the scene earlier in 2013 and set about recreating the 80s pop magic with romantic and funky tracks that have progressively formed into his own stylistic vision. The Sunglasses Kid ideology has always been about the true and authentic emotional moods of the 80s with a modicum or modernity added for a more dynamic experience.

To get this dynamism Sunglasses Kid set about forming relationships with other artists and recognising the magic they could bring to his aesthetic. I've long championed the idea of producers working with other musicians and vocalist to not only expand their own horizons but to get that creative flow of like minded individuals rockin. Sunglasses Kid has been one of the single best exponents and examples of how working with others with the same passions can make for something as stunningly magical and full of promises and opportunities in the future.

The EP is entitled 'Unpredictable' and this is definitely true to the soundscapes presented by the Kid in the five singles contained herein. From energetic party anthems, to sultry night moods, to driving rock synths and into the pastel pinks of an eternal teenage crush there are scant 80s action and romance stones left unturned as Sunglasses Kid and friends explore passions, perils and parties.

The opening track is 'Summer Nights' featuring the talents of Leon Monroe and Highway Superstar. This sets the pitch perfect scene as heavily DeBarge inspired funk pop begins to rock the party from sunset to sunup. Moods are light with a breezy crispness to the instruments that feels positively tropical. It's this instant moment that Sunglasses Kid puts you in that creates much of the magic of his music and his vision for making his music so tactile is something especially wonderful.

Following up 'Summer Nights' is the moody desperation of 'Come Back To Me' in which the Kid has enlisted The Boy And Sister Alma for starring roles. The cries of tortured passion and heart wrenched submission take a turn for the dark corners of the night where shadows as the only company and tears the only solace. Lyrics are cast like a shroud of crumpled sheets with a longing and anguish that are whispered in vain to unhearing ears and unfeeling hearts. The music reflects the racing heartbeats and hope but also despair in their own tortured folly. A magnificent work that is part Pat Benatar and part Don Henley but all Sunglasses Kid.

A trend I'm absolutely adoring this year is the amount of times I've had the pleasure of hearing Kristine's beautiful voice and yet again I'm set a quiver with her intimated confessions of passion in 'Time In Time'. Taking inspiration from later 80s sounds this song is driven by a totally rockin rhythm section and stabs that go soul deep. The story is full of intimate moments however never becomes too salacious but it's easy to see the more illicit passions writhing suggestively underneath the radio friendly pop exterior.

'See You Next Saturday' rocks on next and this piece is definitely one of the more adrenalin fuelled journey's into the past. The music sits just this side of OutRun frenzy but balances the soundscape with some supremely kick arse guitars courtesy of the supremely kick arse D/A/D. The smoothness of this track is what gives it a wistfully lighter than air aesthetic while also containing thousands of horsepower under the hood. The excitement is beautifully described as the magical forces of synths and guitars combine to rock you into a new dimension of exciting possibilities.

The final track on Unpredictable is the hugely inspirational 'Class Notes'. For this piece Sunglasses Kid has brought the saxophone talents of Bret Grace into the fold of evolved 80s experiences and the product of this is totally k-rad to the max. Not to discount the use of any synth sax in the scene (and even on other tracks on this release) but the vibrancy and tone of the real instrument being played by one of it's devotees surpasses and digital version immeasurably. The music funks and grooves with great dexterity but it's the gorgeous sax played throughout that elevates this experience into a whole new world. There is just a touch of Library music in this piece and it could easily be the main theme to the latest 80s steamy private eye series from the typewriter of Stephen J Cannell.

'Class Notes' completes the EP and it does so in a way most befitting of such a rockin release and thats on a deliciously high note. The 'Unpredictable' EP is an aural gold mine of 80s goodness that keeps the experiences at fever pitch from beginning to end. It's a testament to Sunglasses Kid's creative process and if I was doing the report card for this semester's work from the Kid it would certainly end with an 'A+, works well with others'.

Unpredictable is presented on Sunglasses Kid's Bandcamp page here and I can't possibly recommend this highly enough. This is most definitely a Synthetix Reference Experience as the five synthual suites on this EP are each as stunning and as sumptuous as each other. Given the scope and sheer amount of territory covered between these creative ideas, let alone the variety of other talent involved, we are presented with an astoundingly beautiful experience in what makes the new vision of 80s music just so goddamned rockin.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Experience Deja Vu With FM Attack

FM Attack is a name synonymous with 80s inspired synth sounds and has a track record of releasing some the most inspiring and visionary records since the early days in 2009. I vividly remember hearing FM Attack's Dreamatic EP and falling in love with the reinventions of 80s sounds and emotions with modern arrangements and dance floor ethics. FM Attack was on the cutting edge of the revival movement in 2009 and this continued in 2010's classic Astrowave EP. The magic was still vibrant and powerful as the FM Attack experience evolved with deeper purpose and focus. When this EP was released it renewed my faith in hopes of more of the original first wave of 80s inspired synth producers would continue this path and explore more classic sounds.

Shooting forward a few years we finally have a new record from FM Attack and again the evolution of this artist bears fruit of delightful flavours, rich colours and refreshing textures. The soundscape is still deeply rooted in the 80s and the poppier sensibilities of previous release are still present but they also allow for a much wider palette of sounds to be used.

The FM Attack sound is genuinely multidimensional. Going back to Dreamatic, this is a consistent ideal that FM Attack adheres to. Upon my first listen of Dreamatic I initially thought it was a compilation, so varied were the soundscapes and this is true today with this new record. Few producers can successfully sit astride so many varied genres while retaining their own individual magic and this is exactly what makes FM Attack so special.

Opening with 'With You Tonight' we're immersed into a classically written 80s pop gem. The music is OMD like in it's tone with synths basking in mysterious night time airs that Visage or Ultravox would be proud of. FM Attack is gifted in his way of creating simplistic lyrics that have an honesty about them that resonates with total honesty; thus completing the perfectly balanced pop synth magic of the 80s with a  modern vigour.

To find track two with Kristine doing the vocals is a warm embrace on a beach at sunset as the bite of the sea breeze begins to usher in the night, but the softness of her voice creates a new kind of warmth that lingers as the sun fades, long into the small hours of darkness. Aural 'Magic' wends it's way through this song, making the embrace even stronger, tying bonds of emotions that are eternal, rhythms move in time with the shore break and the moment is complete.

The chapters of Deja Vu focus tightly and make freeze frame moments of light and vision that hold the music together. Each song contains new versions of old emotions and tell a story just as timeless. Track three, 'Corazon', continues into new paths of unrequited romance that loses it's colour and fades to a monochrome palette of mechanised passages that haunt a memory and refuse to leave. Melodies create the accents to the lyrics and form a downbeat disco dirge that remain clearly hooked in a deep groove.

Rockin into the italo disco synth energies and finding a newly reinvigorated passion is track four 'Activate'.  The simple vocal refrain and spectacularly arranged percussion and rhythm section allow the melodies to build and reinforce the lyrics profoundly. The music is a mantra to the universe, a robotic call that will echo throughout ages and dimensions. Activate my heart, activate my love - for you, an italo anthem that will be remembered and revisited for many years to come.

The subtleties of FM Attack's growth are most pronounced in the more ambitious pop tracks on the record and this is most evident in 'Fade Away'.  A guitar track heavily influenced by The Pretenders is joined by cascading synth melodies; sparkling like liquid jewels with a rhythmic undertow bassline rolling with immense grandeur. The arrangements and implementations of these elements create a vista of incredible depth and infinite textures that are once again augmented to wondrous new heights by the vocal performance.

FM Attack is spoiling us on this release with not one but two songs featuring the glorious Kristine. The second track is full of Kristine's gorgeous breathy intimacy but also adds just a little bit of desperation and danger. Musically, this is again an exercise in multi faceted pop alchemy that melds into a catchy and ultimately energising vision of late 80s pop coloured by just enough modern elements to retain that perfect balance of now and then.

Raising the energy up even higher is the fast paced 'Tears Don't Lie'. Although the percussion marches to a very frenetic pace the vocal remains dutifully focused and allows for a slower intimation of the lyrics. The juxtaposition of these elements creates a duality of comfort and reassurance contrasted by the a heart that beats with passionate fervour. The journey is safe and dangerous at exactly the same time like the delicate grip of a loved ones hand being the only thing keeping you from a chaotic downward spiral, the touch so light and yet so deep.

Deja Vu's final chapter is comes in the form of 'Lost Angeles'. A slight departure from the other journeys on the album this is  much more introspectively layered piece that keeps itself afloat with a deftly funky bassline. Melodies are smooth as glass and cut with a precision that accents the mirrored textures with reflective brilliance and vast beauty. The pace is languorous and is in no rush to get to it's destination, but by the time we get there it feels like it's time to do it all again from the beginning.

It was a true stroke of genius to title this album Deja Vu. The feelings of the familiar are constantly at a peripheral distance throughout the wonderfully constructed compositions that make up this album. This is by no means a negative quality as it's this familiarity that then takes us to new places and guides us into vivid new dimensions of the FM Attack experience.

FM Attack presents Deja Vu on his Bandcamp page here and in this release has crystallised the beauty and emotions of classically 80s sounds that are reborn and revived to exist in a modern relevancy that somehow makes them even more timeless. This album is by definition a Synthetix Reference Experience of the highest calibre, FM Attack is still one of the true leaders of the 80s revival scene and it brings me immense pleasure to be taken on yet another beautifully crafted adventure from this talented artisan of synthualised majesty.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Synthetix Weekend Update

It's that time of the week once again, time for your weekly overdose of synth fuelled radness as the Synthetix Weekend Update injects your heart and imagination with aural luminescent 80s love. Crank your volume up to dangerous levels and rock it to the max!

First up is the epic new adventure in slow moving soundtrack synth from Lambda. 'Replenish' is deep with emotional gravity and contemplative introspection, the narrative gets heavier and heavier as the feelings transgress into new dimensions. Currently available for FREE download.

In his latest track Bobby Outro becomes a times travelling producer with 'RetroClash'. The tone of this piece is totally rockin as it crosses about three decades in it's sounds and emotions. Elements of early 90s techno, 80s italo and 70s progressive are all present and the Bobby Outro magic combines them into one sumptuous feast of electronic energy.

The previews for hot new releases in the near future are coming thick and fast and one of the most exciting is the new album from one of Synthetix.FM's favourite avant garde engineers of synthual majesty: Navigateur. Each of the teasers in this preview are spectacular in their presence and ambiance. A universe of scenes and emotions are sure to be explored in the full release which will occur sometime this season.

Steel Sky's back this week with two tracks, my favourite of which is 'Rebirth'. A richly detailled story drives this powerhouse track with a ferocity that is unrelenting. The contrasting lead synths are evocative and much more intimate but it's the kick arse bass line and drum tracks that give it such awesome momentum. Be sure to check out Steel Sky's other track shared this week here.

A hot new track from RF Extreme this past week displays a slightly more ambiant side to his musical personality. 'Future Highway' is both dramatic and poignant with a vast soundscape that gives the listener a solitary atmosphere. Out on a dark road, all alone with the sounds of the future echoing a synth fuelled sirens call.

Next up is a wonderful new homage track from Alpha Boy. I do have a soft spot for Alpha Boy's tracks that he writes with direct inspiration and dedication, something very personal and wonderful occurs. In 'Carl Sagan' we hear a more spatially oriented and minimalist Alpha Boy synthscape which is complemented perfectly by one of Carl Sagan's classically insightful sound bites.

Spain's most rockingest synth exports, Cougar Synth, are certainly on of my favourites acts of 2013. With their new track we hear a more laboured and wound down piece that uses emotionally contrasted melodies to create a wonderful new synthscape. 'Future Shock' rocks with an almost tortured rhythm that is teased into life with delicate lead melody that is a delight to behold. Currently available for FREE download.

I feel a bit of a fool for doubting the new Anoraak would be rockin, but one can get a bit jaded with the amount producers who were making 80s inspired music a few years ago and have now changed direction entirely. It brings me immense joy that the new Anoraak song 'Morning Light' from his forthcoming album retains much of the 80s soul of his earlier work. Shades of Tesla Boy can be experienced in the presentation too, which is always kick arse.

A hot new track from Quasars certainly gets the energy flowing and 'Gym' is positively coursing with vibrant 80s neon power. The synth romance moods are wonderfully explored as synth flourishes and cow bell accents drive the adventure into the red zone. Currently available for FREE download, be sure to get it in your next work out mixtape.

Next up is a hot new rocker in the evolved 80s scene going by the name of Kn1ght. The music is full of  scintillating passion and climbing melodies that ascend to the heavens at a blistering speed. Sounds are razor sharp and arranged for maximum drama as the blend of horror synth and OutRun make for an explosively combustible experience. Be sure to check out the totally rad official music video to 'Last Moon' here as well. Many thanks to Saadettin 'Sady K' Kahriman  and Recep Ünel for enlightening me to this hot new talent.

The rockin just keeps getting hotter as LA Dreams takes us on another trip into the neon nights with 'Outside Insiders'. Heady melodies are ignited with passionate lead solos that sweep and groove in magnificently authentic fashion courtesy of one of the scenes brightest stars. The LA Dreams magic flows strong and bright from beginning to end.

Stellar Dreams are releasing a killer new EP called Audiolove at the end of October and they've just shared a three part teaser for it. Three distinctly styled pieces are present and all of them are sounding very exciting indeed. It's still a while off, but I'll endeavour to make sure this doesn't get lost in the Halloween Rush.

Vector Hold is taking to sun drenched and romantic places with his new track 'Venice Beach'. The air of salty synth romance is warm and welcoming as smoothly flowing melodies sparkle across the inviting blue waters. Sumptuous and full of quality 80s emotions this track is currently available for FREE download.

The Skull And Shark project that has been under construction for the best part of 2013 is building to a impending unleashing of the combined talents of Dave Rapoza and Lazerhawk. The latest teaser alludes to more announcements around Halloween but the music contained in this short clip is enough to get anyone foaming at the mouth in rabid anticipation of this mixed medium experience.

Retro Culture is an Australian band that channel a plethora of 80s styles and emotions and package them into a format that's smooth, funky and totally rockin to the max. 'Hypnotized' is their latest song and it's a tour de force of funk synth, disco guitars and pop vocals. The music is upbeat and resplendent in 80s pop magic.  Be sure to grab a FREE copy of this song through the link in the player.

It's personal policy of mine not to cover remixes on Synthetix.FM. I believe there are many other places online that cover remixes and I would much rather support original creative projects but on a very rare occasion I find myself unable to enforce this policy. This is the case with the absolutely incredible remix by Highway Superstar of Peter Robinson's 'Why'd You Go And Break My Heart'. Highway Superstar has recognised the 80s soul in the vocal performance and engineered an amazing new vision for it that is simply 80s pop perfection. You can pick up a copy of the EP including the remix on Beatport here.

That finishes up another blockbuster Weekend Update on Synthetix.FM, I hope you've had as much fun as I have and found a bunch of new favourite tunes from the 80s inspired synth scene.

I'll be back with more rockin action over the coming week.
'Til then, stay 80s and keep on rockin.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Maintain The Rage, Support The Scene

The crossover that occurs between 80s inspired synth and visual and interactive mediums is something happening much more often. As film producers begin to look back to the 80s and 70s synth soundtracks that inspired so many a classic scene we find a great deal of producers of 80s inspired synth music gravitating towards this work.

This is something Synthetix.FM highly encourages and is behind 100%. I firmly believe this is going to happen much more often in the future and the opportunities afforded to the scene's producers will expand as their audiences grow and their music garners higher and higher demand in the film TV and video game industry. The momentum is already apparent as every other producer seems to have non-disclosure agreements in effect for their current projects, raising excitement levels even further.

Which brings us to the Rage project. Ryan 'Arcade High' Boosel is embarking and ambitious film project and is looking for support to make it a reality. This short film is in need of funds, specifically for effects shots, and have started an Indiegogo page in hope of raising the $5000 needed. To aid this endeavour, through the co-operation of  Telefuture Records, the soundtrack to Rage has gone on sale at the bargain price of $10 with the proceeds going to the Indiegogo project.


The soundtrack is loaded with a full magazine of 80s inspired synth firepower featuring the likes of Perturbator, Betamaxx, Tommy, DJ Ten, Highway Superstar, Protector 101, Silenx, Carpenter Brut, Final DJs, Swagbot, Monomer and of cours Arcade High offering explosive cuts that will be featured in the film. Such an outpouring of pure rockin goodness is sure to set screens afire, but if you need more convincing check out the video below for even more kick arse action.

Rage Indiegogo Campaign from Chris Cichra on Vimeo.

Theres also a test scene to display the feel and visceral nature of Rage's intentions, which is certainly a promising window into the thrills and chills in store for us in the full experience.

If ever there was something that spoke to me directly, as a part of this community this is it. The chance to see Ryan Boosel and Ben Boyle's vision come to life when it's so obviously coming from a passionately creative place and being able to help this come to life in such a direct manner is something I encourage all Synthetix.FM readers to support.

I can imagine this being the first of many such projects to happen in the scene in the future and with the accessibility of the crowdfunding model combined with unlimited talent in the 80s inspired synth scene there could be all manner of projects like this one that we as fans can support and bring into glorious reality. The sky, nay the stars are the limit.

Please head on over to Rage's Indiegogo page here for more information and be sure to pick up your copy of this totally kick arse soundtrack on Telefuture Records page here.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Waveshaper Rides Tracks Of The Future

Rocketing onto the scene with a twelve track album is Waveshaper with Tracks To The Future. Musically blending decades and genres this record is hugely alluring and captivates the soul and imagination with sublimely executed arrangements and diamond cut melodies.

The monicker of Waveshaper is really the perfect description of this producers sounds. Melodies are sculpted and coerced into new forms and engineered for maximum extraction of their musical essence. In this respect much of the tracks on this record are arranged in a very modern electronic style. Implementations of house based structures are tempered by 80s melodies that add spectrums of magical brilliance to the synthscape. The balance between new and old are explored throughout this album and it makes for a genuinely engaging experience that comes together with great coherence. 

I'm usually not that fond of the inclusion of too much modernity in my 80s synth music as there gets to a point where it loses it's 80s-soul and becomes indiscriminate and the focus is lost. Keeping the sounds of now and the spirit of the 80s is something that if done right can really make for incredibly beautiful sounds. The likes of Tommy, Miami Nights 1984, Lazerhawk, Make Up & Vanity Set and numerous other producers manage to do this consistently with synthscapes full of lush neon tones but arranged with a penchant for more danceable energies.

Waveshaper is obviously a producer who understands both the modern formulas as well as the 80s mysticisms and his music makes for one hell of a rockin crossover experience. In respect to the classic vintage sounds Waveshaper creates tapestries of sound that contain threads reminiscent of the likes of  John Carpenter's soundtrack synth pieces and lean towards the epic and dramatic. Melodies are forged and cast in molten form and then worked through layers of finely tuned percussive details while keeping the overall palette clean and focused.

The opening chapters set the scene and invite you into Waveshaper's world with soulful mechanics and and futuristic space synth melodies. The atmospheres of sounds make for a tangible vastness as epic cosmic vistas are created and explored while pumping beats provide ample propulsion through the universe. Visions of a future that are being explored through the lenses of the past make the journeys feel fresh and exciting and rarely directionless. Tracks like 'Infracity' and 'Running Girl' provide the most clear vision of Waveshapers intentions as they distill the ideas into crystalline forms that are polished with precision and passion.

Musical divergences are in abundance towards the middle section of Tracks To The Future as some more symphonic and powerful piece give impetus and presence to the more frenetic pieces. 'Cybertronic Battle' with it's spectacular narrative that basks in spatial auras and explore it's triumphant refrain to absolute perfection is a shining example of Waveshaper's more dramatic tendencies.

The last acts of the album are possibly the most avant garde as much more experimental elements are combined into the synthscapes. The results of this seem a little out of place in tracks like 'Retrospecious' but can work to their advantage such as the heavily compressed elements of 'Population 102'. The tracks all feel like they belong together, however, and nothing jars one out of Waveshaper's fabricated universe of sounds. By the final act's conclusion, with the carefully introspective 'Visitors' we become fully aware that births of new universes and ideas yet explored are going be brought to life by way of Waveshaper's creative manifestations at a further junction in time and space.

Lunar Boogie productions presents Waveshaper's Tracks To The Future on their Junodownload page through the link in the player or through iTunes here. This album is captivating and engaging with a personality that smoulders beneath the surface and creates energies and visions that are full of passion and delightful nuances. Synthetix.FM highly recommends this album and looks forward to more journeys into future dimensions with Waveshaper at the helm.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Synthetix Weekend Update

All the planets must be in alignment this past week as a whole ensemble of 80s synth heavy hitters have shared brand new music in an onslaught of pink neon explosiveness. September is going to be a big month for EP and album releases, so keep your internet dial tuned to Synthetix.FM for all the radness a rocker can bear.

One of the great things currently happening in the 80s inspired synth scene is people stepping up and doing their thing to spread the word. As I mentioned in the Protector 101post I did this week Andy Synth is doing a fantastic new shows called Beyond Synth. Andy's already done interviews with Who Ha, Ogre Sound and Vincenzo Salvia, as well as the aforementioned session with Protector 101. The interviews as informal and relaxed and make for very entertaining listening.

Also stepping up is 80s synth scene mainstay BenniMushu and his new show on KFAI radio, Synth Waves. Anyone who's been active in the scene over the last few years will recognise BenniMushu as one of the most ardent and loyal fans of 80s inspired synth music on soundcloud. Now that he has his own radio show he's doing interviews and playing the hottest rockin tunes.

These two rockers will hopefully fill the void for quality interviews with all the great producers in the scene. I had intended for Synthetix.FM to do more interviews, as I've done in the past, but the workload on here has meant I've not been able to devote nearly enough time to doing them to a standard I'm happy with. I always hoped that other rockers would stand up and take on that role and now with at least two sites doing podcast style interviews this should provide a huge amount of good times and great rock'n'roll for those fans, like myself, who want to know more about the scene's raddest talent.

Let's get down to business with some solid gold tunes that are sure to make your days brighter and your nights hotter with the new Weekend Update on Synthetix.FM!

First up is another great track from Pumping Body with 'Young Untouchable'. This Polish producer is really weaving some great 80s magic in his music and this latest track is no exception. Upbeat melodies and punchy percussion set moods to exciting, with a chance of romance. Currently available for FREE download too.

Even though Dance With The Dead pushed their full length album release back to sometime this month they're still making sure we know what we're going to be in for and that, most importantly, it'll be well worth the wait. In their latest demo, 'Xenon', the duo once again combine the danceability of high energy OutRun with the darker sides of Giallo Disco. As always the arrangements create an incredibly deep narrative that thrills and chills it's way into your soul.

It's always going to be a red letter day when theres new Photosynthesi music around and this new track certainly reinforces this. 'Out Of The Blue' is full of cascading melodies and azure vistas full of cresting waves and breezy synths; you'll need to put your sunglasses on for maximum effect. This track is also and exclusive to the new episode KFAI's Synth Waves show.

It's great to see Les Chic Voltage is back and rockin the scene more frequently of late. His latest work is a slow burning synth adventure  called 'Fresh Dub 82'. Containing some massive drums and dub elements he ties it all together with some totally tubular 80s melodies that make the entire experience a magical affair. Currently available for FREE download too.

80s Stallone dropped not one but two super cool tracks this week. Both are inspiring and full of 80s love and passion and I found myself in quite a quandary as to which one I enjoyed the most. I think 'Heavyweight' has a slightly richer story but 'Comeback' has a charm that is undeniable. The solution? Heres 'Heavyweight' and heres 'Comeback' so rock em both loud and proud!

Moustache Machine unleashed the spectacular 'Mission Control' this week ans I'm still feeling the aftershocks. The build on this track is totally kick arse and the nods to OutRun and Italo sounds throughout the adventure is as rockin as it is riveting. Also available currently for FREE download.

In what promises to be one hell of a synthscapade through many dimensions is the new full length record form Shio-Z. The preview he has posted covers a massive amount of territory and each track definitely piques my interest and makes me hunger for more. We don't have to wait long for this album's release though as it's released date is only a few days away on the 10th of September, but you can start getting excited right now!

The big hits just keep on coming and they don't get much bigger than STARFORCE's new single. 'Alpine Glow Part II' is a sequel to one of the most popular tracks off their last album Ominiversal Oscillations and it continues the ideas and emotions forged in the original to wondrous new evolutions.
It's an awe inspiring experience with a grandeur and class that is irrepressible. This epic is currently available for FREE download too, so get it rockin ASAP!

I honestly find it hard to put into words just how much I love Sternrekorder's music. Every time I get to post a new track by this amazing producer I seem to find it that little bit harder to convey just how hard his music rocks. In his latest track 'Duesenjaeger' we have yet another glorious ride into a fanciful wonderland of shimmering brilliance and beautiful synthscapes. Magnificent!

Funk synth rockers Jupiter Gang are back with a kickin new tune called 'The Escape'. I find this act one of the most exciting in this field of 80s synth as there seems to be a completely lucid understanding of the genre in their music. I can just see Morris Day & The Time marching up and down the stage to this with synths in hand and bad intentions on their minds. Also available for FREE download!

Another massive release in the offing is a new album from scene legend FM Attack. This exciting new  release promises a huge amount of glowing 80s love done with that touch of modernity. There are currently five preview tracks available for your early indulgence on FM Attack's soundcloud here but I couldn't resist sharing 'Magic' featuring the inimitable premier chanteuse of the 80s inspired synth scene Kristine on vocals. We don't have wait too long for the album as De Ja Vu is due to be released next week on the 12th of September.

Next up is the brand new track from Dr Pecco which blew me the first time I heard it. In 'Scubamask' Dr Pecco creates just the right level of drama and intrigue while lacing the synthscape with a wonderfully catchy lead melody. This instantly became one of my favourite tracks by the good Doctor, plus it's also available for FREE download currently!

Something that's becoming a fantastic new trend in the scene is the amount of producers getting work doing soundtracks for movies, games and digital comics. These avenues are the perfect way to broaden the audience and fan base that is possible. Foreign Blade has become the most recent producer to explore these new pastures with his new track 'Wiped Out' which will feature in the online comic OutRunners. It's a great track with a darkened mood and a thirst for danger and I hope this leads to more work for Foreign Blade on this production. 'Wiped Out' is available for FREE download too.

Continuing down the dramatic path of intrigue is the new track from Cobra Copter. 'The Plan' is at it's core a funky piece that is bound by a super catchy lead melody but this has been chopped up and almost glitched about in a very entertaining manner. The simplicity of the synthscape allows for much greater explorations of this melody and creates a very engaging experience.

A wonderful new track came my way this week from the delightfully named Zombie Hyperdrive. This piece called 'Citadel' is vastly majestic and rich in melodic harmonies and it's absolutely jubilant in it's stunning chorus refrain. The story is as epic and full of enrapturing details that are completely spellbinding. Definitely one of my favourites in this week's crop of rockin tunes.

To finish off with we have a new high energy roller coaster ride from the alway rockin LA Dreams.
'The Taste Of Glory' is jam packed with twisting turns and high speed straights and the shredding guitars take the experience to all new levels of adrenalin fuelled excitement. Totally rockin.

That does us for another big Weekend Update on Synthetix.FM. I'll be back during the week with more  rockin good times from the 80s inspired synth scene.

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

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Compilerbau Starts Talking Machines

Its seldom you find such a diverse mix of sounds and themes that are contained in the debut album from Compilerbau. This is a hugely ambitious album covers the gamut of 80s synthscapes and packages them in a twelve act epic. There are a hell of a lot more hits than misses in this release and the Compilerbau vision of the 80s is absolutely rockin in all the right ways.

I wouldn't say this is a concept record, well not to my knowledge or interpretation, but there are running themes that tie much of the music together. A cold vision of the future run by even colder machines and a sense of loss for humanity. Some tracks serve as dramatically constructed cautionary tales but there are also some non-thematic tracks thrown into milieu to add contrast and colour.

It doesn't take much convincing of how kick arse this album is going to be once the opening title track begins. Through the robochopped samples the vocal begins and the nightmarish story of machines taking control over humanity takes off. The music is massively dramatic with superbly implemented machine gun drum fills and synth leads going to war with much gusto. The vocal track really deserves a special mention as the lyrics and delivery is spectacularly authentic, I can see the vocalist performing this amid lasers and fog machines, emphasising the drama of the words with clenched fist and a macho swagger. The aesthetic is truly complete and during the final parts of this track when the piano layer provides even more drama it becomes patently obvious this record is rockin in radness.

The album is populated by numerous instrumental tracks that are accented by vocal samples for some extra colour and action. The first of these is track two, 'The Android'. Using some great samples of Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation the music is allowed to pulse with ominousness and create an undulating presence. At only just over two minutes this serves as more of interlude between set pieces, but this instrumental works particularly well. In fact this track sets up the next piece for even more impact as 'Evil Flying' proves to raise the bar much higher.

'Evil Flying' contains a huge introductory passage that then leads into an absolutely stunning lead melody, reminiscent of the more epic Tommy leads. The mood is kept dark and morose through with helicopter samples and raw drum fills which keeps the story moving along at a brisk pace and further seguing to the next song 'Didn't You Know'. This is technically the second song on the record and the vocals are once again delivered with much golden 80s authenticity. There is something about a thick european accent on 80s synth music that just fits so perfectly. Interestingly the music in this track lends itself to a bit more of a 70s prog synth vibe, but the combination of elements combine into something that definitely rocks hard.

There is little reprieve from the drama and darkness as the track four begins. 'From Beyond' is definitely one of the true highlights in the instrumentals  on this record as the introductory stage setting build leads into a fantastic middle sequence. The music is kept minimalist to ensure the samples carry weight but it's the overall delivery of the arrangements that are the most engaging. As this track fades out it sets the scene for 'Between'. This is another instrumental that is held together by a beautifully accented bassline but the entire piece takes on an incredible metamorphosis towards the back half that must be experienced first hand to fully appreciate. This track really kills it and although feeling a tad out of place in the overall theme, it is one of the single most kick arse experiences on the album

If this were a cassette or vinyl release 'Between' would be the ultimate track to end side one on before moving onto side two. I'm not sure if that was the intention from the producer, but it definitely feels that way when listening. This would find side two beginning with the powerhouse synth rocker 'Dark Forces' and the drama is once again tuned to dangerously high levels. In one of the more ambitious moves on the album this track includes a very gothic styled vocal track. The music also lends itself to much more horrific scenery and overwrought delivery of the vocals accentuates this even further. Its  definitely not of the same thematic as the other future apocalyptic pieces, but being cut from the same darker cloth it doesn't jar the atmosphere.

Moving into the eighth act of the record shades of glitch modernism creep into the hellishly dark storm of evil samples which are complemented by one of the raddest lead melodies on the album. This montage-worthy lead synth is monstrously huge and the way it's orchestrated throughout 'Gone Bad' is one of the album's real highlights. An amazing experience from beginning to end.

In the face of this epic, the next track 'Power Train' loses just a little of ferocity and feels like a bit of a misstep. It's not that the track is inherently flawed, it's more that that piece meanders without much consequence and may have proven to work more effectively in another chapter of the album. Its definitely full of the same passions of the other instrumental pieces, but this one just didn't gel with me as much as the others.

One of the reasons 'Power Train feels a little lost is possibly due to the follow up song which is a huge departure from the darker soundtrack synth tracks on the album. 'Police City' is a remarkable experiment in synth pop thats seasoned with liberal doses of reggae, in both the vocal style and music. Compilerbau pull this off with complete aplomb and manage to make something very special from the ingredients chosen. The songwriting is definitely some of the strongest in 'Police City' making it one of the album's brightest points.

In a surprising move the second last song is a very entertaining and comical homage to Switzerland entitled 'Swiss Made'. The lyrics in this song are an absolute riot and displays that Compilerbau has a very healthy sense of humour. Well, I hope this was intentional and I'm not misinterpreting things, but including  a line about 'Ferrero Rocher' in the lyrics is a bit of a give away. Either way, this song rocks even though it seems lose it's way a bit towards the end it certainly adds a welcome amount of levity to this otherwise predominantly dark record.

The final act of Talking Machines is the instrumental soundtrack oriented epic 'Masterforce'. Taking some cues from the Terminator 2 theme and then evolving the idea into a more progressive synth adventure the music keeps tensions high and senses keenly peeled. Via a hugely rewarding build 'Masterforce' takes a step into much brighter tones for it's middle chapters. An italo tinged melody and vibrant synth accents form a positively uplifting midsection before the horrors of the past and future meet in a demoralising finish that goes back to the depths of Compilerbau's darkest ideas. Its a magnificent piece, possibly the strongest instrumental on the album as the structure is so perfectly orchestrated and executed.

This completes the Talking Machines experience and it certainly is one wild ride through many great ideas and synthscapades. The ambition shown and mostly delivered on this album is massively impressive with a diversity that keeps the listener engaged and piquing one's interest through each of the tracks contained. There are most certainly some pieces that feel vastly distanced from others, but I'm not going to be too critical in this regard as for a debut record especially I feel that the majority of music works exceptionally well.

Compilerbau presents Talking Machines on Bandcamp here. Although not specifically noted, Rudolf Koller is Compilerbau and the vocals of Michael Reithmeier appear on the record as well as Koller's, although I'm unsure as to how this breaks down in the tracks. Either way I hope these two artists continue to work together in the future as the vocals and music are completely complementary. This album is very highly recommended by Synthetix.FM and I for one give full support to the Compilerbau experience and hope you do too.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Protector 101 Story So Far, In Glorious Neoncholy

Protector 101 is a true dark horse of the 80s inspired synth scene. The Protector 101 experience is predominantly soundtrack synth oriented but simple definitions do a disservice to the diverse amount of musical tapestries woven from dark and light elements that he releases. In Neoncholy we are presented with an EP that details the music Protector 101 has been releasing in recent times by way of a mixture of demos, rarities and previously unreleased tracks.

The original vision for what was to become of the Neoncholy experience has changed from the artists initial plans with the main reason cited for this being Protector 101's own evolution in style and tone. As mentioned on the liner notes his original sounds were much more dance oriented 80s synth sounds and over the past year he has moved into much more soundtrack themed ventures. So the parts that make up Neoncholy are not the thematic masterpiece originally envisioned but instead a point form syllabus in Protector 101.

 This EP traverses many ideas and themes as each track forms a different piece of the puzzle but more than anything else this release shows the personalised soundscape that I now recognise as being Protector 101. The structures are built on similar foundations, even with the many varieties of styles explored certain hallmarks become instantly recognisable as Protector 101. It this point alone that makes this release an important one in this artist's journey.

The darker sides of 80s synth seem to be moving into more chaotic and turbulent territory with the likes of Perturbator, Gost and Carpenter Brut really taking this style into much more visceral forms. But the Protector 101 version of dark synth is much more soundtrack oriented and these slowly building, heavily shrouded and deeply black pieces inspire a hugely different response and context. Making each element count and allowing it's weight to be felt is one the Protector 101 hallmarks that I find totally engaging. His more minimalist compositions are like an ominous lead fog that are barely tangible yet have a presence far greater than their volume.

Keeping this kind of music focussed and the narrative strong is another area he has developed through the tracks in Neoncholy. A feeling of something greater happening in the music, intimating events of cataclysmic consequences and being at the mercy of powers far darker than our imaginations allow us to contemplate. These are the ingredients of the of this synthual experience and throughout this compilation we get to feel the terror of the unknown and the malevolent nature of Protector 101's creations through countless dimensions of dark synth horror.

 The music is not all darkness though, it's full of contrasting elements that add layers of hope and humanity to the sounds. Keeping this balance is done with great dexterity and it's a testament to the composers exploration of narrative and instrumentations that keep the listener transfixed by the possibilities of what may happen next. This soundtrack synth needs to no visual representation to conjure up those darker feelings and imagery and the writing displays this beautifully.

 For what happens next in the Protector 101 story, we'll have to wait and see, but there are definitely new projects afoot that I'm sure will take this exciting producer into all new territories. With such a firm grasp on the classic 80s soundtrack and horror soundtrack already in his armoury I'm sure that new adventures will certainly be most kicking of arse and terrifying of mind.

 Protector 101's Neoncholy is presented on his Bandcamp page here and is must have release for fans of 80s influenced synth soundtrack music that moves to the darker edge of the spectrum.

Be sure to also check out a fantastic interview with Protector 101 by Andy Synth on his Beyond Synth site to learn even more about this wonderful talent in the 80s inspired synth scene.