Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Synthetix.FM Rhythm Vivisection Halloween Mixtape 2013

The soundtrack for all your Halloween festivities has arrived! The Synthetix.FM Rhythm Vivisection Halloween Mixtape is ready to rock you to hell and back with thirty one flesh ripping tracks from some of the finest practitioners in the darkened synth arts. The stuff off nightmares is explored in dripping details with a petulant passion for frenzied flagellations in an orgy of odious ordeals.

This two hour monster mix is going to be an annual event on Synthetix.FM thanks to the wonderful support this pilot project has received. As it's rare for me to include the darker ends of the synth spectrum in my regular Synthetix Mixtapes throughout the year, this mix will be an opportunity for me to share the more brutal side of 80s inspired synth in a jumbo sized format that will hopefully make the playlists of your Halloween social events and parties.

Many, many thanks to all the artists who shared their music to be a part of this inaugural Halloween special and I look forward to doing this all over again for Halloween 2014.

The cover art for this project is available in high res here, and a version formatted for your desktop is available here.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Absolute Nightmares

Absolute Valentine has traded in his rich and inspiring synth sounds for an excursion into the bowels of mortal torment with his latest EP American Nightmares. This composer's previous work has explored modern touches with more emotional melodies, on this new release we find the softer and more synth romance skewed ideals thrust into violent scenes of panic laden frenzies.

It's not all black shadows and flashing blades, however, as Absolute Valentine manages take select morsels these emotional elements and contrasts them with brazenly harsh slash electro layers that add an abrasive vitality to the compositions.

I'm finding, as I hear more of these darker/harder sounds that they provide such a wonderful divergence in the 80s inspired synth sounds. The builds and agressive nature of the serrated production balances with the softer synthscapes into realm of sensual belligerence.  The territories covered on Absolute Valentine's new EP as separated by some superbly rendered interludes that begin with the introductory passage 'Lost Paradise'. Each fully developed track is bookended by these temporal distortions of imagination and reality, giving much weight and purpose to the more fleshed out set pieces.

The first of these is the title track, 'American Nightmares'. Atomic holocaust warning samples are then exploded at ground zero with a composition that builds incrementally, but deliberately to a point surging melodic afterglow that peaks with much beauty before diving into a nuclear winter of black aftermaths. The opening refrain is revisited with a modern sensibility that allows for much intensity in the pieces final sequences.

'Heartland Romance' segues between the title track and the next track with an inquisitive and slightly twisted synthscape that alludes to numerous possibilities before crunching into the unrelenting 'Terrordrome'. The power of violent drama is apparent from the outset as the drum fills accent  a moribund and melancholic melody that roars with brutishness. Delicate details ring through the later passages, taking the tone into a surprisingly peaceful direction. This idea is continued in the absolutely stunning 'Goth A.M.' interlude. A more 70s progressive synth air emanates from swirling melodies and star crossed skies. It's wonderfully delicate and moves with much grace.

Absolute Valentine soars from these lofty heights and then dives head long into salaciously perverted sleaze in 'Razorblade Kisses'. Drama is tempered by an animalistic undercurrent of oozing pleasures and filth laden fantasies. It's a short journey, but it's well worth the price of admission as the fleeting visions are remembered and felt long after the kiss has ended. It feels like this track is a run up to the strongest track on the EP, 'Chainsaw Revenge', as the music lunges forward and takes the listener into a new adventure that is absolutely rockin to the max.

'Chainsaw Revenge' is a magical piece of music, it strikes with no pretence and fakes you out in one direction before coming at you from out of your blindspot, hurtling into your psyche with megaton impact. The story is so well realised and explored that it's ironic that this piece is easily the least modernly arranged track on the EP yet proves to be it's most visionary. Regardless, this track kicks so hard that it becomes a climax to the entire experience of the release, making for the ultimate high spot before coming down with the aptly chilling finishing piece 'Sweet Sweet Death'.

Absolute Valentine presents the American Nightmare EP on his Bandcamp page here. I'm not sure if this release is a seasonal experimental project or a full change in direction but either way this EP is a fantastic soundtrack to inspire terror and fear and even a bit of lust this Halloween. The brevity of some of the tracks makes me want more, in some respects. However the entire EP,  when listened to as one complete experience, is totally rockin and with the climax of 'Chainsaw Revenge' one definitely feels duly satisfied with contents. I can wholeheartedly recommend this EP to all lovers of the darker side of the synth, rock it after midnight and let Absolute Valentine become your favourite new nightmare.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Synthetix Weekend Update

Moving into our Halloween Week Weekend Update on Synthetix.FM we find lots of ghoulish gems from the 80s inspired synth scene rising from their cold tombs with an insatiable lust for blood.

The Synthetix.FM Rhythm Vivisection Halloween Mixtape will be unleashed on Wednesday the 30th of October (this is Australian time, mind, it'll be the 29th in the U.S and EU) in time to hopefully be used as part of your soundtracks at your Halloween events. This mixtape is going to be epic in length and diversity, so prepare yourself now for the ensuing brutality.

A new radio show has cropped up covering some of the 80s inspired synth producers going by the name of Radio Pure Gently. In the current episode they spend some time with Berndsen and Le Chat Et La Fille among other artists, get on their feed on Radio Pure Gently site here.

In other radio show related news I was honoured to be a guest on KFAI's Synth Waves show this past week. Myself and Noah 'BenniMushu' Kaufman had a marvellous time discussing music and the scene and playing some killer tunes. You can listen to this broadcast on the Synth Waves site here. I'm also very pleased to confirm that I'll be appearing on Synth Waves once a month with an ongoing segment called 'Rick's Picks' where I'll present three of my favourite tracks from recent releases as well as some gems from the distant and not so distant past. This should be lots of fun and I'd like to thank Noah for this kick arse opportunity.

The radio show action keeps on rockin with  Beyond Synth interviewing Dana Jean Phoenix this week. It's a great interview that gives us a much more detailled picture of Dana as an artist in her own right with her prolific work in many areas of vocal performance. Check out Andy Last's chat with Dana Jean Phoenix here.

Time to open the heavens and cast down the armageddon fury from beyond reality with the new Synthetix Weekend Update on Synthetix.FM!

Kicking things out into the stratosphere is the incredibly beautiful new track from RF Extreme. 'Lighter Than Air' is a gorgeous piece of wistfully engaging synth romance, that speaks volumes in soft tones that build to a victorious finale. RF Extreme's craftsmanship in building an experience is so poignantly displayed in every second of this piece, it's a truly rapturous journey.

Not wanting to leave the mood of 'Lighter Than Air', the next track continues the beauty with Time/Switch's 'Silent Running'. This is my first experience of the of Time/Switch synthscape and I must say it's a rockin on. Smooth melodies and a wonderfully well explored narrative make for a very alluring musical journey. This track is available to own at a 'name-your-own-price point too.

Cobra Copter keeps on rockin hard and his new track 'Vegas Nights' combines beauty and action with a funky streetwise lead melody that means business. The Cobra Copter experience is always an exciting one and 'Vegas Nights' definitely reinforces this from beginning to end.

Jupiter Gang have been one of my favourite electro funk producers for the last couple of years, but sometimes it's a long time in between drinks with their music so when a new track is released it's always a red letter day. With the Gang's new track, 'Nostalgy' we get tonnes of rockin funk action packaged in a jazzy 80s format that flows with infectious rhythms and sublime homages to vintage sounds. It does finish a tad abruptly, but as it's available to buy I'm assuming this was the artists intention.

I'd previously covered the spectacular Highway Superstar remix of Peter Robinson's 'Why'd You Go And Break My Heart' and now we have the pleasure of getting the original plus an array of other hot remixes in it's full release. The original mix is absolutely charming with the spectacular vocals performed by Cheryl James combining with Peter Robinsons authentic synth work. There is a winsome air about this original vision that feels very authentic and is then taken in new directions in the remixes.

And what a line up of remixes there are!! Such a rockin original definitely deserves this amount of reimaginings and we're left with very few possibilities unrealised. A total of eight remixes take this song into modern and vintage retellings via the talents of  Highway Superstar, Pelifics, Vincenzo Salvia, Dallas Campbell, Peter Ellis, Shint, Mental Minority and Evanton. Theres disco, funk, house, italo and some even harder edges of the musical spectrum explored. The fact that all of these remixes rock is a testament to how kick arse the original song is and makes this single a must-have purchase for every fan of quality 80s synth pop sounds.

More new blood for Synthetix.FM, this time a producer using the monicker Neon Rebel. From his soundcloud it looks like he's just beginning his 80s musical journey but his sounds are definitely rockin already. 'Renegade' is a darker piece that canters at a slowed down OutRun pace and brings equal portions of action and drama. The length of the track allows for full exploration of the ideas and is sure sign that Neon Rebel will have many more intriguing stories to tell in the future. Many thanks to Corey Benedict for enlightening me to this producer.

Russia's Pulse 80 has graced us with another shining gem of vintage synth love 'Cruise Along The Night Coast'. The mood is calm and relaxing with a languid nature to the synths that intimates the freshness of he coastal breeze and the slow rise and fall of the rolling currents. Beautiful work again from this producer, who has also allowed this track to be available for FREE download.

Another new act on the scene is a duo from Sweden calling themselves 'Miami Beach Force'. Their music definitely likes rock with high energy as their latest track 'Highway Chase' is unrelenting in it's speed and intensity. The drama is kept high and the synths refuse to give any quarter as the ultimate fate for the hunter and the prey explodes in an orgy of neon violence.


The new track from Foreign Blade certainly moves into darker reaches of government cover ups and all manner of covert operations in 'Cybernetic Implant Installation Procedure'.  Melodies are cool and aloof with a highly detailled percussive track sharpening the focus. The mood is restrained, yet the threat of forces beyond our control never seem far away throughout this track. This is currently available for FREE download too.

Next up is the hot new EP from NightStop succinctly titled Fuel. Across the three pieces on this release we get to experience NightStop's take on 80s sounds via 'L.A. Heat', 'Fuel' and 'Harrison Ford'. The sounds are a combination of OutRun and italo flavours with a penchant for the dramatic and a flair for the epic as each of the three compositions are separated into new visions and ideas. Each track rocks hard, and as an even more radical bonus you can purchase this release on my favourite format: cassette! Get your copy of this asap through the link in the player below.

More new blood is ready flow as the Synthetix Weekend Update ventures into more salaciously erotic territory with the new track from Charlez Bronson beautifully titled 'Future Tits'. I'm not pulling any punches when I say the visionary video they've created for this video is supplying much of the magic, but as a two pronged attack on the senses the visual and audio combines into a highly exciting mix of old and new. Be sure to follow these rockers on their soundcloud page here for more rad action.

Future Tits ( . )( . )( . ) from Charlez Bronson on Vimeo.

To finish of this week's Weekend Update is gives me great pleasure to be able to share the brand new Neros77 video for Lazerhawk's Skull + Shark track. The master editor has spliced together visions from Jaws and The Fog to create a new nightmare that is full of spine tingling moments and night terrors. The result is the perfect companion to the title track from Lazerhawk's new album. Keep all the lights on in this one, you never know whats hiding in the shadows.

That does us for this week's Weekend Update on Synthetix.FM. I'll be back during the week with lots more rockin action from the 80s inspired synth scene, providing more soundtracks to your darkest nightmares.

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

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Skull & Shark & Lazerhawk

It's Halloween Week on Synthetix.FM! Yes, that's right Halloween WEEK! Halloween is too big for just one day so it's going to be a week long festival of Halloween celebrations, beginning with the spectacular new album from Lazerhawk!

I mentioned in the recent weekend update how it's been a journey for Lazerhawk in 2013 with his soundtrack work for Dave Rapoza's Skull + Shark project. Now that the album has arrived the term 'journey' feels entirely inadequate. It's been more of a legendary quest than a mere journey and this record reflects this in every track.

The Skull + Shark web comic is still in development as I write this and one can't help but feel we're only getting half of the experience without the visual side to compliment the music. I feel this is massively important as the music has been written to the story, and listening the soundtrack my interested is piqued to fever pitch to experience the full onslaught of sound and vision. This isn't to say the record can't stand up on it's own, cause it certainly does in every respect, however the promise of 'greater things' lingers through each of the album's tracks.

This record is a massively important milestone in the scene, as to my knowledge this is the first time a producer in the field of 80s inspired synth has created an entire soundtrack to a visual medium. Working with visual artists and producers of films, comics, videogames, etc is one of the most obvious ways forward to expand their audience and gain further exposure to exciting new working experiences. I see the Skull + Shark project as the first of many collaborations between producers of evolved 80s music and those artists working in visual spheres. I'm not just talking about having existing music used on the soundtrack, I'm talking about the full creative process and the realising of an artistic vision, the sky's the limit and future looks very bright for future projects like this.

Which brings us back to Lazerhawk's new record. Throughout the creative process for this work this  particular producer's sounds and styles have been carved and hacked up for more brutality and then given deeper colours of onyx darkness. The depths on this album had been previously untapped in previous Lazerhawk records, the darkness is all but consuming and only tiny pinholes of light are allowed to survive in this thoroughly bleak aural adventure.

The first thing that hits you is the heaviness of the sound. Opening with the title track the percussion thuds with disdain and synth layer gain volume and weight as each second passes. Foreboding and forceful it digs deep into the black earth until weight of the pitch bears down with g-forces of power. The dirge like melodies are devoid of hope and the music pummels in with unrelenting might deep into the opening chapters. The album feels like it's tunnelling deeper and deeper down with each track, and just as our eyes begin to adjust to this new level of darkness we're plunged deeper into the unknown.

The magic of the writing in Skull + Shark is that it constantly threatens to fall over upon itself into a soul crushing black hole but regains it's composure and manages to eke out even more blackness without succumbing to the ever growing black hole that powers the music. The introduction of stringed instruments adds even more iniquity to proceedings casting wailing pleas of terror against an unforgiving juggernaut of marching synth darkness.

Lazerhawk's hallmark melodies and arrangements are now tempered in fires that have only allowed base elements to survive. These cries of anguish resonate in 'Lawless' and 'King Of The Streets' as veiled epitaphs of blackened OutRun are chained to immense statues of sound with leashes eternally held taut as they try to escape the shadows in a state of forlorn torture. Their existence adds grains of hope to the synthscape, regardless of it's futility in the face of such ominousness, but without these specks of light the album wouldn't be nearly as accomplished.

It's these shinier details that makes tracks like the brutal 'Massacre' appear to contain some brief glimpse of humanity, peering deep into the melodies the ghosts are there, riding the cold winds in a barren dimension, the last remnants of humanity. A nurturing of these frail fibres occurs in 'A Promise'. The strands are gathered and weaved from gossamer beginnings into a fabric of strength and triumph. The processes are long and fraught with seemingly insurmountable tests of will but it's the Lazerhawk magic that rises to an enigmatic crescendo of pulsating shadow play against the odds.

Through the middle acts, Skull + Shark materialises into more familiar hemispheres of aural anguish as Lazerhawk takes the terror to the dance floor in the visceral slash-electro, giallo-spiller, floor-filler, night-thriller 'Dangerous After Dark'. Vague shades of early Lazerhawk sounds are again taken to the wall and beaten within an inch of their existence before being forced to parade their grotesque new forms in front of audience hungry for blood and violence.

The instrument expansion continues into 'The Looks That Kill' which brings an army of crunching electric guitars in as standard bearers on the march through hell continues. This doom laden procession takes us to even more new destinations, resulting in a violent visit to 'China Town' where tortured eastern flourishes are needled and plucked with complete disdain. These two tracks especially provide huge amounts of diversity in a much more obvious manner which then leads into industrial cowbell brutality of 'Built To Kill'.

Lazerhawk has allowed himself to channel a vast array of devilish muses throughout this record and during 'Children Of The Night' I feel like a lot of classic horror soundtrack work has been his inspiration. Theremin-like melodies are engineered for much harsher savagery as ghastly embodiments of evil are unleashed into the synthscape.  'These Streets' and 'Fight To The Top' add a more anthemic nature to bleakness as thumping percussion is joined by possibly the most classically prepared Lazerhawk experiences on the album. The music steps briefly out of the pitch black night and into a dimension with just the faintest suggestion of neon. The rockin is taken to new heights and the monolithic precursors at the album's beginning feel like they happened light years ago. This displays just how vast this album really is.

It would be too easy to finish on the high notes of 'Fight To The Top' and in one last act of defiance the blackened claws rise up from the deepest shadows in 'Brothers'. The beauty of the melody is poignantly explored while threats of complete obliteration surround us. The intensity of the percussion just magnifies the melodic harmony and it's existence refuses to be snuffed out. The final chapter on album is 'Another Chance' which serves as an introspective credits-roll affair that recounts former glories and future promises as an air jubilation is counterpointed by the underlying charred remnants of the forces of darkness that shall not be vanquished forever.

To listen to this album is to share in Lazerhawk's year long journey. The fatigue of emotion, the exaltation of success and the energies the bind the ideas into such powerful music is tactile and by the last tracks fade out there is a definite element of exhaustion. Clocking in at nearly eighty minutes of unrelenting intensity Skull + Shark is definitely not for the faint of heart or weak of constitution. I find that no matter how hard I try to carve this album up into more easily digestible portions I simply can't deny myself the gorging pleasure of consuming this album in it's entirety, which is yet another testament to it's effectiveness as one complete experience.

Which brings us to the decaying elephant in the room: the visual side to this project. I can only imagine how much the intensity is going to ramp up with the accompanying comic art. I mean, look at this tiny sample and try and tell me the full experience is not going to rock harder than a melonfarmer:

The magical synergy between these two artists is going to make for hell of an explosive adventure and I'll ensure that no one misses out on this when it is released in future updates on Synthetix.FM. In the meantime keep up to date with Dave Rapoza's Skull + Shark on his blog here. For now, the soundtrack will have to suffice.

Skull + Shark is presented on Lazerhawk's Bandcamp page here, this is undoubtedly a Synthetix Reference Experience on every imaginable level as the music presented is as vast as it is powerful. Across entire adventure into darkness and horror Lazerhawk retains a crystalline vision and imparts the sounds of old and new in a way that is undeniably awe inspiring. As 2013 moves into it's final phases, Skull + Shark is definitely one of the most rockin experiences of the year and you do yourself a huge disservice by not prioritising this killer album any longer than absolutely you have to; the wait has been well worth it.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Synthetix Weekend Update

Only one week left to get in your submissions of the Synthetix.FM Rhythm Vivisection Halloween Mixtape! Be sure to get your darkest and most blood curdling synth jams to me over the next week, it's already looking fantastic with hot new tracks from Vincenzo Salvia, Denovomutans, MegaDrive, TSTR, Chaconne and Ilya Santana already in, amongst others. Drop me a line via the contact form if you've got something to add to terror!

Onto a new project now from Антон Лебедь and his studio Montana Games. Антон has begun to realise one of my dreams that I hoped someone would make real. His project is a new racing video game based on a graphics engine styled on gorgeous 80s wireframes. The video below conveys how beautiful this aesthetic is, and to have it as a playable game is going to rock even harder!

Антон is looking for producers willing to share their music for Glow Racing.  I'm sure you can imagine the absolutely sublime experience it will be for totally retro-futuristic immersion and Антон is hoping to release this on numerous formats and Synthetix.FM is getting behind it 1000%. If you can offer anything help aid him in making this a reality please contact him via email here.

I'm sure you'll agree, this is going to be an amazing interactive experience!!

Right on, time to get the new Synthetix Weekend Update rockin!

First up is a hot new jam from Fantastisizer. It's his first new track in a few months has certainly been worth the wait. 'Breaking Point' is darker piece that has some very interesting melodic structures and sounds, lending to it an otherworldly glow. Great to have Fantastisizer back and rockin the scene.

NFD Music's new track is a soundtrack synth composition which is going to be used as a accompaniment to a graphic novel he's also producing, which in itself is a very exciting premise. 'Jack Slade' has a moody build to it that rises like a storm. The adventure begins with this piece and I'm definitely looking forward to where NFD will take us. This track is currently available for FREE download.

A rip roaring new track from Future Holotape next. This synth pop experience is full of passion and fervour and absolutely stunning synth work. 'Cult Hallucinations' is dark in it's aspect but the synth melodies add gleaming lights and colours to the mix.

Something utterly epic now from the ever rad Photosynthesi. I wasn't sure where he was going with this new track's introductory passage but the build that follows leads into one of the most emotionally rich and rewarding pieces of lustrous synth romance of 2013. The echoing percussion and hypnotising melodies are overflowing with brilliantly realised sentiment in a narrative that is as vast as it is intimate. Stunningly beautiful.

Mitch Murder's video game soundtrack covers are always something special and he's really killed it on his latest FREE download track 'Mute City'. Yes, this is the soundtrack to the Mute City course from the classic SNES Mode7 racer F-Zero. The Mitch Murder magic is rockin all kinds of ways in this great re-imagining of a tune that is definitely one of my fondest video game racing tunes. Also be sure to pick up the new three track EP from Mitch Murder on his Bandcamp page here which contains his recent hits 'Killer Angels', 'Medley for Science' and new rocker 'Frame of Mind'.

Keeping the accelerator firmly planted is the new track from MoweLan 'Desert Drift'. There is a smooth elegance to this piece that is very engaging. The delicate nature of the melodies are underpinned by a powerful rhythm section. It's pace isn't high speed, but this is the ultimate slow motion replay accompaniment for any blazing fast motorsport.

The new track from Aysyne is dramatic OutRun styled affair titled 'New Action Hero'. The music geared for lots of dangerous action and thrilling scenes with killer orchestral stabs and catchy refrain that holds the narrative together. This is currently available for FREE download too.

One of the biggest journeys in 2013 has been Lazerhawk's Skull And Shark soundtrack for Dave Rapoza's new web comic. I've been ardently following it's progress and it excites me greatly to know that long wait is coming to an epic climax very, very soon. The new teaser Lazerhawk has shared may only be glimpses at the full experience, but I can guarantee it's going to be a monstrously vast release.

Going to the entire opposite end of the 80s inspired synth spectrum is the delightful new track from James Baker. 'When I See You' is brimming with glittering 80s synth naiveté that continues the feelings from the extremely awesome Un Paradis Tropical. I brings me great pleasure that James Baker has share these tracks, and seven more originals in his FREE album release available here. This is definitely something everyone should have in their 80s inspired synth music library.

Arne Ruudson is moving into the danger zone and high speed with his new rocker 'The Final Race'. Instruments are layered in with purpose and energies are focused to a pin point of searing synth power. I love the personality of this track as the sounds lend themselves to a videogame inspired tone that is full of retro charm.

80s Stallone is feeling the drama and passion in his new track 'Hold On'. I love 80s Stallone's dramatic pieces as they have such a triumphant spirit about them and this new track is no exception. The music is kept uncomplicated and has a great vocal track that fits in exceedingly well. This is available for download at a name-your-own-price point.

More action now, courtesy of Danger Mode and his new OutRun adventure 'Survivor'. Arrangements are engineered for huge excitement as modern and vintage flavours mix into one thrilling experience. The Danger Mode synthscape blooms into a spectacular new forms on this track and it's definitely one of my favourites from him.

One of the biggest songs of the week is definitely the new synth pop classic 'High School Love' by the combined talents of Sunglasses Kid and Miranda Carey. Once again Sunglasses Kid's understanding of how 80s pop music magic is created comes to delicious fruition as the scene's newest chanteuse rocks into glorious prominence. Totally rad and magical. Radgical? Yeah, that'll work.

The final part of this week's Weekend Update will be of no surprise to those who frequent the Synthetix Music Group on Facebook, where I originally shared this track as I couldn't contain my excitement upon initially experiencing it. This is a track by Adrien Aubrun & Thomas Trichet,  with the title of 'F40 1987'. Adrien contacted me with this and my mind was blown apart the instant I heard it. The emotional depth in the melodies as well as the dynamic production makes for some of the most wonderful music I've heard this year. I am floored by the beauty of this experience, and I've been informed that Adrien and Thomas are trying to do a full EP of 80s inspired synth music in the future.
For now, we have a true opus of what this music is all about, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

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

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

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Botnit Recreates And Explores Vivid Memories

Botnit has been a bit of a unknown quantity in 80s inspired synth worlds. His sounds have come across as experimental and adventurous, tapping into numerous old and new influences. In his EP from earlier in 2013 entitled No Winter (reviewed on Synthetix.FM here) the Botnit universe was found to still be chaotic formation with numerous styles colliding head on with each other in an explosive manner. The result was definitely exciting, but stuck to the harder edges of the spectrum with a visceral savagery that ran concurrently through the tracks.

On Vivid Memories we find a growth and transformation of his sounds, via his single releases, that allows for more contrast and a different kind of intensity. The sounds are still cut from many different cloths and stitched together in some non-traditional manners however the scope has been broadened to encompass a variety of new emotional contexts. The ten tracks on Vivid Memories seem to have softer edge to the sounds too, with a warmth that glows more than burns, with focuses shifting to a melodically geared emphasis.

Botnit has gone to the trouble of describing what each track is based on on the Bandcamp page for the Vivid Memories, so be sure to get the sharper pictures with his insights as you listen.  The compartmentalised nature of this release gives a great deal of strength to the individual ideas and it's fantastic to share a bit of the behind-the-scenes creative process.

With the opening track, 'Shoulda Brought Back Up' we are initiated into the Botnit take on progressive house sounds taken into 80s dramatics. Shades of the wonderful Michael Cassette echo throughout the synthscape with much beauty. The instruments are wonderfully warm and inviting in their presentation, almost comforting and the feeling of being transported into new worlds in absolute safety with Botnit's sounds being so soothing and invigorating. This is continued into 'Technoir' that takes Botnit's melodic structures into a bit more an Alpha Boy zone and works the stars into synthual alignments of bright colours and hypnotising structures.

The aptly titled 'Innovation' takes the Botnit sound back to it's more visceral tones with a violently brooding bassline that contrasts the glittering melodies. Interspersed samples about the new technology of the compact disc add a great feel and I can easily envisage visuals to complement this experience. The progressive flavours and dangerous bassline definitely make 'Innovation' rock hard. It's the bassline that keeps things rockin in the following piece 'Sensation'. The groove is kickin the 80s in all the right ways as the layers of synths bring in radical new energies.

One of the few musical relationships on the record goes from 'Sensation' to 'Hi-Score', similar ideas are taken in new directions and with a ramped up intensity. Again the use of samples is expertly implemented adding perfect context for the musical narrative that builds into a synth explosion towards the latter movements. As the subdued tones of 'Drive The Best' drift into view we're taken to a new part of the Botnit repertoire with airy synths and subtle details allowed to combine into a beautiful new space. The synthscape is vast in it's presentation while intimately describing every possibility.

The sounds are eased into a style I'd describe as slow motion OutRun on the piece 'City Montage'. Explorations of intensity but with a ghostly element about them provide for a marvellous dichotomy of sound that ebbs, flows and moves more like a bird weaving in and out towering skyscrapers with a natural ability mankind can barely relate to. 'Finish Line' is easily the most delicate piece on the album as gorgeous synths are intimated with reverence to classic 80s emotions but are delivered with a contemporary structure. The result is entrancing in its spatial realities and restrained beauty.

'A Robot Sings' is a visionary excursion where the Botnit experience is humanised through technology and emoted in a wonderful manner. The lead 'voice' is inquisitive and soulful with ideas and emotions transcending traditional language as the music jams along at a respectful canter in response. The final act of 'Vivid Memories' feels like the most emotionally invested track on the album as the narrative takes to the skies and wanders the clouds with swelling synths and syncopated percussion. The synthscape is kept to a bare minimum to keep aloft and the thermals provide dizzying heights as the heavens beckon to us to rise even further. This piece bookends the album with flashes of previous ideas and moods being explored ever so gently before the final fade into the azure vastness above.

The Vivid Memories Botnit has created on this album are places and ideas I want to revisit time and time again. The growth displayed in this artists aesthetic is undeniable as is his deeper emotional investment in his creations, which in turn makes the album incredibly rewarding and involving from the listener's perspective. Botnit's music has come of age in this album and I feel that this record was made looking more inward than outward, something that always makes for great listening experiences.

Botnit presents the Vivid Memories album on his Bandcamp page here and this album is a vividly lucid chapter in Botnit's musical journey. The personalities and ideas in each piece are tempered with equal parts of homage and creativity and Synthetix.FM very highly recommends this album to all fans of 80s synth sounds that know where they came from but also know where they're going.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I Am Mach Rider And I Am Here To Rock You

Being able to host an EP on my soundcloud as an exclusive place to be able to download these rockin tunes is an honour I'm very grateful to Mach Rider for bestowing on Synthetix.FM. His debut EP is out right now and the only place you can download it for free if via my page on soundcloud.

Mach Rider himself has gone from strength to strength in his sounds and the run up to his debut EP has allowed for a turbocharged odyssey into high speed thrills and electric synth action. The I Am Mach Rider EP consists of three original compositions and five remixes from some of the hottest rockers on the scene. KN1GHT, Zombie Hyperdrive, DJ Ten, A Space Love Adventure and Vincenzo Salvia have lent their skills to reimagining the Mach Rider experience, making for a dimensionally rich  journey into the violent future.

'Virtual Reality' sets the scene as the perfect introduction to Mach Riders aural vision as synths build and layer in before shockingly explosive drum track gives cause to the effect. Melodically leaning to darker consequences the instruments are given a crispness and energy that sparks out of the darkness, burning and yearning for the thrill of the chase.

Atmospheres are shattered and blown apart at an atomic level when 'The Law' enters the fray and the action kicks into the danger zone. Melodic threads weave in and out of oncoming traffic at breakneck speed and each hairpin turn breaks into a funky dimension of electro rockin combat as the lines between good and evil are blurred into a cacophony of energetic eruptions.

There can only be one victor in this battle, and that victor raises his hand in conquest and 'I Am Mach Rider' thunders into the horizon with roaring engines and screeching tires. The minimalist landscape accents the desolation of the heroes ride, with a heart beating for revenge and an insatiable need for justice.

The story is rich in details and structure that makes this three chapter narrative feel complete and like it was one piece, then cut into it's set pieces. As one continuous stream of consciousness it tells it's story succinctly and with much energy. However this story is then allowed branching avenues via the remixes and the new possibilities are then explored.

A Space Love Adventure takes the opening track into much more diverse environments and takes the original's intense tunnel-vision and expands it's horizons with new instruments and moods. DJ Ten's vision of 'Virtual Reality', takes the original's power and moulds into to a new take that rocks the DJ Ten brand of electro synth magic into truly funkified dimensions.

Possibly the most experimental revision on the EP goes to KN1GHT's version 'The Law'. It's heavily effected lead melody chokes under futuristic hazes and phases with an air of disharmonic biases, the result is intriguing to say the least. This is in direct contrast to Zombie Hyperdrive's  cop-laden exploitation piece that turns 'The Law' into a new formation that juxtaposes melodies and rhythms with deftness and creativity.

The final remix is from Italy's favourite son of the 80s inspired synth scene, Vincenzo Salvia and his raucous reimagining of 'I Am Mach Rider'. This definitely takes Salvia's styles into much darker and dramatic climes, devoid of his trademark Italo sounds and trading them in for searing guitars and combustible percussion.

Synthetix.FM is proud to present the 'I Am Mach Rider' EP for FREE download via my soundcloud page here and it gives me great pleasure to have an association with this totally rockin debut EP from Mach Rider. The entire package is highly recommended and you'll be sure to find more golden tunes from Mach Rider in the future on Synthetix.FM.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Synthetix Weekend Update

Aaand we're back!! Rockin the 80s with a modern flavour, Synthetix.FM is back on deck and ready to take off to the raddest dimensions with the magical sounds from the most tubular superstars in the galaxy!

Before we take off to adventure I've got some special plans for Halloween on Synthetix.FM. Starting today I'm taking submissions for the inaugural Synthetix.FM Rhythm Vivisection Halloween Ultra Mix! For the next two weeks, with the cut-off date being the 27th of October, I'll be looking forward to hearing your most horrifying synth creations and from this pool of bloody remnants, resurrecting them into a huge mix of nightmares and demons to provide you with the ultimate soundtrack for your Halloween festivities! The music should be 80s inspired synth of any denomination but of course the darker side is what I'm needing. Giallo Disco, Dark Synth, Slash Electro and even more ambient pieces are the order of the day, but being creative and adding your own flavour to the experience is what it's all about.

This is not a contest, nor is there a guarantee your track will make the cut but I'll certainly endeavour to include as many chapters of darkness as possible. The tracks submitted don't have to be new or exclusive but they must be your own work, that said, covers are also fine.  To submit your track simply use the Contact Form on the left hand column of this page. 

The Synthetix.FM Rhythm Vivisection Halloween Ultra Mix will go live on the 30th of October with a special edition of Synthetix.FM. The mix will be downloadable so that you can rock it all night long during your Halloween festivities. I'm looking forward to this project, as I hope you are also, and I hope we can make this one hell of a kick arse Halloween soundtrack!!

I'll be sure to post an update about this project in the next weekend. Now, lets get rockin with the new Super Jumbo Sized Weekend Update on Synthetix.FM!

First up is a hot new rocker on the scene going by the name of Trevorsomething. His latest song 'All Night' is a supremely moody homage to darker side of synth pop sounds. The vocal track is haunting with a story of substance abuse woven into a cautionary tale with a downward spiral being the only path to travel. Shades of Visage resonate throughout the music and really make for an incredibly kick arse ambience. Trevorsomething is someone I'll definitely be following ardently in the future.

Combining forces into a supernova of synth scintillations are STARFORCE and Tommy with their new epic, 'Interstellar'. The melodic beauty of both of these talented composers is allowed to bloom in to visions of vibrant colours and stunning synthscapes. The purity of this track is undeniable, it's essence is something unquestionable wondrous. Currently available for FREE download through the player.

More kick arse new music from Phaserland next. This producer's been releasing music for the last year on soundcloud but in recent months has found the love for 80s sounds and his new track rocks the retro sounds with much panache. 'Night Talk' is a slow burn that creates a salaciously steamy atmosphere full of hot sounds and tempting melodies. This piece of sultry synth erotica is best served with ice, on a warm night with the volume set to the most intimate of levels.

RF Extreme continues to hone his musical skills in each successive outing and for his latest track he's returned to luxuriant tones of Synth Romance in 'The Eyes Of Fantasy'. The melodic structure are light and hopeful with an air of longing about them. The driving rhythm section gives the experience a really purposeful direction, allowing for each passage to expand further on the story.

It's been a while since we had some honest to goodness Transformers inspired tracks on Synthetix.FM and it pleases me greatly to have Lazerpunk!'s 'Death Of A Hero' to right this injustice. Lazerpunk! has created an exceptionally atmospheric adventure that rocks on in a most satisfying manner with set pieces in all the right places while retaining a reverence throughout the leading melodic refrain.

Russia's Pulse 80 has been rockin the classic 80s sounds for quite a while now, but I've only become aware of his work recently. The sounds he creates are totally rockin the authentic 80s vibes and with his new track, 'Old-Skoolin' he's managed to recreate some kick arse electro funk breakin' beats. From the excessive hand claps to the hooky bassline this is pure killer. Be sure to grab a copy of his FREE Best of 2013 EP here for more beautifully authentic 80s inspired synth sounds.

One thing I really love about Mitch Murder's music is that you only need to hear about three or four seconds of it to know it's him. His individualised sounds are instantly recognisable, which is definitely a  rarity in the scene and is one of the reasons he's so respected and loved. With his latest piece we find Mitch Murder again creating synth magic strung from golden tones and magical melodies. 'Killer Angels' features a modicum of drama set amidst a flurry of exciting passages. The master does it yet it again.

I was all set to post Dr Pecco's awesome Denim Python and then the Doctor released something extraordinary yesterday that I just had to cover. 'October' featuring Jonah on vocals is a spectacular R&B groove that mixes old and new elements with stunning results. The vocal tracks is vastly impressive whilst the music keeps as soulful edge but also manages to get a bit dirty too. Dr Pecco just keeps on rockin.

Highway Superstar is back with an ambient atmospheric epic entitled 'The Road To Alpha Centauri'. The music is allowed to flow of it's own innate volition with glacially epic presence while the instrumentations are kept in a bright formations of celestial power with intimate details audible throughout the stars. Moving and invigorating throughout.

I previously reviewed Sam Haggblad's 'Never Say Never' in it's three track form on Synthetix.FM , and that release has now evolved into an eight track affair that provides even more kick arse Italo gold from this modern day master of the genre. The previously released three tracks are joined by three more originals and a cover of Queen's 'Back Chat'.  The combined talents of Haggblad and singer Johanna Liljegren make for the the most authentically rockin Italo experience this side of 1986 with arrangements, instrumentations and production engineered for complete 80s accuracy.

 This is a must-have release for all fans of 80s inspired synth that endeavours to genuinely recreate the classic sounds with a pure heart and total respect for the retro sounds. In this longer format Never Say Never is an explosive flash of why Italo sounds are so engagingly 80s from beginning to end.

Droid Bishop is back for the attack with his new experience in sci-fi synth entitled 'The Outlander'. I really enjoyed Droid Bishop's Electric Love EP and this new track continues his adventures into the future with powerful star flight into unknown regions of the cosmos. The drama never threatens to become over wrought with the melodies becoming more jubilant and uplifting as the story evolves.

Continuing through a similar channel in space-time but in another dimension is the hot new track from Dallas Campbell. 'Outrunners Theme' is the theme to the Outrunners online comic, available for your perusal here and is the second track I'm aware of being used in this production from the 80s inspired synth scene (NFD Music's 'Infiltration' also being part of the experience). Dallas Campbell has fabricated an anthemic space synth piece that is most definitely 80s in design and make up but also includes some more 70s inspired progressions. He certainly makes both worlds work exceedingly well together in this dramatic tale of love, hate and adventure.

Another new artist to Synthetix.FM is Falconhoof. This British producer's sounds are certainly kicking much arse and his new track 'Falconh Attitude' is set to bursting point with 80s love. The music feels like a mixture of Beverly Hills Cop era Faltermeyer combined with a healthy dose of Synth Romance, creating a heady experience in good times and great rock'n'roll. Falconhoof definitely has the love and the skills, I'll be looking forward to hearing more from him in the future.

Speaking of good times and great rock'n'roll the new Plaisance track is full of both. This high energy homage to the Dolphins greatest quarterback is full of intense synth action and lovingly crafted with that Plaisance magic we absolutely love on Synthetix.FM.  This track is available at a 'name your own price' point through Bandcamp, so get on it and rock it!

LA Dreams keeps on bringing in new elements and inspirations into his vast repertoire of 80s soundscapes and his most exciting of late is 'Battle Graffiti Kids'. The electro breakin' sounds are complemented by layers of percussive details and held together by a melody that is 1000% pure LA Dreams.  Totally rockin.

Introduced to me by the always radical Noah 'BenniMushu' Kaufman is another new act to Synthetix.FM, the glorious Flamingo Drive. Their track 'Flamingo Drive Theme' as absolutely enrapturing in it's glorious beauty. The synthscape is full of magical passages and lovingly crafted details and it's emotional investment is inspiringly deep. This is the world famous Satin Jackets' pure 80s side project and I for one can't wait for more music from them.

Noir Deco's sounds are coming thick and fast in 2013 as his return to the scene was heralded initially by a short YouTube teaser has now escalated into a juggernaut of high calibre synth firepower. His new track, 'Rasalom' inspires with it's gigantic atmosphere and  epic narrative that will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. The soundtrack flavoured pieces from Noir Deco have always been one of his strong points, on 'Rasalom' this theory is bolstered even further.

Clusterbuster from Norway is another new rocker on scene with a love for 80s sounds and penchant for more dramatic experiences. 'Welcome To Camp Crystal Lake' is Clusterbuster's homage to Friday The 13th and whilst it does contain darker elements it's more OutRun oriented than pure dark synth. The pace is as exciting as melodies and are arranged to keep excitement levels redlining in the danger zone.

A new act who's music really effected me is Shklovsky & Pale Blue Dot featuring Line with their song 'Sunset Eyes'. The 80s love courses through this ambient synth pop exposition and takes on ingenious new forms with the ghostly vocal track. The arrangements are avant garde in their construction which adds even more mystery to the haunting soundscape.

The final piece this this week's Weekend Update is a totally rockin new video by Dan Fisk, Heath Saunders and Dani Mueller. This is their submission of the ABC's of Death for the letter M. 'M Is For Mothers Against Drunk Driving' features two classic tracks from Carpenter Brut and turns a night of alcohol excess into a night of excessive violence. Great work from these guys!!

M is for Mothers Against Driving Drunk from Heath Saunders on Vimeo.

That does us for a huge Weekend Update on Synthetix.FM. Remember to contact me through the email contact form on the left hand side of this page with your submissions for the Synthetix.FM Rhythm Vivisection Halloween Ultra Mix.

I'll be back with regular updates through the week, 'til then stay 80s and keep on rockin!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

A Musical Quest Completed And Shared

I'm taking a week long vacation beginning today from Synthetix.FM. It's time for a bit of a break before the onslaught of Halloween and the end of year releases so if you only visit my site for hot new tracks I'll see you in a week's time when I'll return with the  October the 13th Weekend Update. For those of you who'd like to know a little bit more about my musical history, I have something special to cover in this parting post before my little vacation.

I often get asked how did I get into the music? Often, people are referring to the modern discovery of 80s inspired synth. For this post I thought I'd go back right to the beginning, and the album that got me into the original style of music from a very early age and lit a fire that has lasted a lifetime. When you look back at your life you'll find lots of magical musical moments, but there are always those incredibly special albums that redefine your connection to the music or open your mind to concepts inexperienced. For this post I wanted to share with you the album that has essentially made Synthetix.FM a reality.. many years down the road.

You'll have to forgive me for turning the sentimentality up to maximum for this post. I've been searching high and low for this 'holy grail' album for the better part of 15 years, and now I'm able to share it with you thanks to all the planets getting in alignment and to the internet finally divulging one of the last musical secrets I've quested for.

To set the scene, I need to go back to 1982. I was 10 in 1982 and had been very passionate about music for years previous. I have vivid memories of watching Countdown (Australia's premier pop music TV show in the 70s and 80s) in the late 70s and was enthralled by this apparent change that was occurring in music moving from traditional sounds to electronic ones that sounded like they were from the future. The changing from 1979 to 1980 seemed like a switch had turned on where the future was now and the 70s felt like aeons ago. It was an exciting time and to a kid with a whole decade of awesome music to experience ahead, I was tuned into radio and TV as often as possible to experience the sounds of tomorrow.

As is still the case these days, travelling to Bali (an island in Indonesia) for a family vacation was  the first experience for many young Australians beyond our country's shores. In the early 80s Bali was still relatively untouched by the Western world and was a huge departure from normal life in Australia. My family and I visited Bali for the first time in 1982 and the highlight of my holiday wasn't the hot weather, sandy beaches or ancient culture. No, for me, a fat little 10 year old cruising the streets of Kuta it was the cassette shops that seemed to exist on every corner. Stores of bootlegged tapes of every conceivable denomination of music, and all selling for about a dollar an album.

I spent as much time as my parents would let me listening to music in these little shops and purchasing as many tapes as they'd allow. I educated myself on everything from classic rock to the classics themselves but the real magic was the Top 20 chart sections in each store featuring all the latest new pop music from around the planet. Bali, even in 1982 was reasonably cosmopolitan as tourists from Europe and America found it a very attractive destination so the chart music reflected a worldwide mixture of popular sounds. I couldn't get enough of this, gorging on this vast array of music on a daily basis for a month was totally rockin to the max.

There was one cassette I bought, however, that became something that changed my life. I remember seeing this cassette and being attracted to the cover art. It was totally kick arse. Glowing futuristic hands  creating magic on a keyboard. The name of the album; The Best Of Synthesizer Art Rock. That name, it blew my mind. Art Rock. What the hell does Art Rock sound like? It was an epiphany to me. This one cassette with it's cryptic name and mind blowing cover art made me fall in love with it before I'd even heard it.

Upon inspecting the tracklisting on the back I saw a couple of familiar names, but a lot of completely unknown quantities. Vangelis I recognised instantly. Mike Oldfield next (my parents owned Tubular Bells), Rick Wakeman (again from my parents music collection) and then there was a whole bunch of other artists that I had no idea about but from their names and track titles I knew I had to hear and own this as soon as possible. Universal Energy. Giorgio Moroder. Yellow Magic Orchestra. Space (misnamed, it was Space Art), Nova, Future World Orchestra and League Unlimited Orchestra. All of these names and their tracks sounded like it had been magically time warped in from somewhere way off in the future and had come to enlighten me and tell me their story of the future, right now.

My family only had one cassette deck with us on holiday and as soon as I could I commandeered it and listened to my exciting new purchase. The sounds of the future began to emanate from the tinny mono speaker. The first track is 'The Force' by Droids. The introduction and melody actually delivered to me exactly every single bit of excitement I'd anticipated, and then more. It was the music of the future. But it was happening right now and my young mind was blown entirely.

This was but the first song, and even though it dates from 1978 it sounds just as futuristic today and is certainly one of the earliest forms of what would eventually become italo disco. The Art Rock continued into track two, the utterly beautiful synth piece from Nova entitled Sol. The hits just kept on rockin through side one with 'Chase' (listed as 'Midnight Express') from Giorgio Moroder and then into the epic 'I'm Not Afraid Of The Future' by Future World Orchestra. This is the only song on the compilation with a traditionally arranged vocal track and now I look back I see that this particular album is really what gave me the love for instrumentally driven music.

The psychedelic synth opera of Rick Wakeman's White Rock was next and this was then followed by the minimalistic brilliance of Francis Lai's 'Bilitis', the main theme from the movie of the same name. I always found this piece so beautiful and emotional and could never really explain why. It's an absolutely stunning piece of music that speaks directly to the soul through the heart.

Side A was completed with the totally rockin Equinox Part 5 by Jean Michel Jarre, one of his most energetic 70s pieces that I'm sure many readers will recognise. Side B opened up with the then brand new 'Chariot(s) Of Fire' by Vangelis. In 1982 this was the definition of sophistication with it's layered passages and electronic sounds many were hearing for the very first time. It's hard to picture music that is so entrenched in the public consciousness for decades as being brand new when it  released, but this is something I guess every generation of music listeners experiences but in 1982 it seemed even more visionary.

Universal Energy's self titled track was next up on Side B. This piece is dark and foreboding with dynamic details and sense of impending dread, as a kid this track scared me and was hauntingly morose. I'd often find myself fast-forwarding through this but it eventually became one of my favourite experiences once I allowed myself to understand it more fully in the years to come.

Continuing on Side B was another beautifully written track by Nova. 'Aurora' has such a jubilant and uplifting melody, full of beauty and positivity, providing the perfect foil to the previous track. The next track on this side was to become one of my all time favourites and really brought the future of tomorrow to today in every way conceivable. 'Computer Game' by Yellow Magic Orchestra with its game styled intro, huge build to the lead melody and the actual instrumentations created a work of art, well a work of Art Rock in fact.

Side B kept on rockin with a gem from Space Art (credited just as Space) in 'Onyx' which was another monumental experience in melodic exploration of the cosmos via synthesized sounds of the future. Mike Oldfield's 'Wonderful Land' followed next and to this day this piece of music is one of the single most inspirationally glorious compositions I've ever heard. It's utterly rousing and resonates deeply with me. Following on from this experience was something that ended up being incredibly pivotal to me as a music listener. The music is by The League Unlimited Orchestra and the track is 'Don't You Want Me'.

I was already a fan of the Human League and loved 'Don't You Want Me', but what was presented to me on this album wasn't what I knew. This version was an instrumental. The vocals were intimated by synths and the arrangements were structured in an incredibly new and exciting way. As a kid in 1982 I thought this was a cover of the single, I later learned (in the early 2000s, mind) this was off the Love and Dancing album by The League Unlimited Orchestra. The very first time producers had remixed a pop album to make it more dance floor friendly and essentially beginning the entire movement of 12inch mixes and remixes catering exclusively for the club market.

'Don't You Want Me Baby' was easily the most played song on this tape, I would rewind and re-listen to this three or four times before moving onto the next track. It was, and still is, one hell of a kick arse version of a classic song. The last track on Art Rock was listed as being 'Fogelsrei' by Eroc. This odd track reminded me of a futuristic western, with a hero riding his horse into the sunset with a solar system most unlike ours rising in the background. This track's actual title is 'Wolkenreise', which took me quite a while to work out.

You see, this record was a bootleg, and not only was it more than likely completely unauthorised by any of the artists but numerous mistakes were made in the track listing, unbeknownst to me at the time, of course. And this fact also made the quest to find this album again, even with all the resources of the internet, very difficult.

But the quest did have to begin, and the reason for this is because by 1985 I'd literally worn the tape out, and it unceremoniously snapped, never to be played again. From the time we'd come back from Bali to that fateful day in 1985 I'd listened to that album hundreds of times. I had a tiny Sony desktop cassette recorder (the flat mono ones) and a pair of cheap headphones that I'd religiously listen to all my cassettes on. In that 1982-85 period my favourite time with music was listening to this cassette in my darkened bedroom from start to finish, over and over, with those futuristic synth sounds transporting me
new galaxies and dimensions of musical entertainment.

Upon this tape passing away, I bid it farewell and embarked upon new musical journeys until in the late 90s I decided I needed to revisit that magical album. The quest to find this album came to completion this week, after 15+ years. Being a bootleg it was nigh on impossible to find any information about it, and for the last four or five years the quest was reduced to Google searches a few times a year, with no results and no clues to follow.

Until this week. My usual inspired search that has occurred over the last 15 years with clock-like regularity actually gave me all that I searched for. It was a blog entry in Indonesian about this bootleg (you can see the entry here) and it contained the most important thing I needed to partly complete the long journey: a photo of the back of the cassette to show the track listing. Although I remembered a few of the songs on the album, a lot I had entirely forgotten. This post now gave me the opportunity to remake this compilation and through much scouring of the internet over the last week that is exactly what I've done.

Ideally, I'd like to have the actual cassette in my collection again, and I did find a 'version' on eBay, although it's not got the same tracks. I have every hope that I'll eventually have this in it's original format in my collection but for now a digital reproduction will suffice. I've tagged and arranged the entire compilation in .MP3 format, along with the images, in a .ZIP file hosted here. I hope that you can enjoy this incredibly rockin compilation a fraction as much as I have. Looking back, I see so much of what I love about music today was cast in this album. The connection I have to instrumental synthesizer music has been in my heart for many years, and will be for many more to come.

I wanted to take this time to share this with you as I think it displays just how important music is to me, particularly the journey of 80s inspired synth music. I'll never make the music, or understand it's creation, but my deep love of it is eternally something I'm grateful of finding at such a young age. I've fallen in love with many other forms of music since, of course, but it's these sounds that are the nearest and dearest to me.

I'll be taking my leave of Synthetix.FM for the next week now, and I look forward to many more shared experiences with the newest evolution of these sounds with you in the future.

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

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Shio-Z Imparts The Science Of The Night

Shio-Z has been rather prolific in 2013 with his collaborative work with artists like Plaisance and Vincenzo Salvia. His style seems very muse-like in his ability to conjure new ideas and directions for others and with his new full length album he's allowed that muse to shine over ten original tracks. The Shio-Z experience has it's own personality and crosses many themes and styles in it's journey.

The ten tracks on Science Of The Night move from traditional synthscapes into hybrid atmospheres of tones and colours. There is no doubt this album is drenched in 80s love, and that shines through in every track, however the full Shio-Z sound incorporates many avant garde/cyber-tech elements that create a futuristic air to all his pieces. The familiar and alien blend into a melange of futurism and nostalgia which is a delight to be in the presence of.

The Science Of The Night opens with a haunting instrumental entitled 'Night Flight'. The scene is set for interplanetary contact as non terrestrial tones are form a blinking light pattern of that signals to life in a distant galaxy a message beyond humanity's comprehension. Melodies are built with clean and powerful strokes that are full of inquisitive instrumentations and gravity defying percussion. The mood of 'Night Flight' is completely adventurous and bold in presentation and this idea is continued in track two 'Goodbye On Night'.

This second chapter is a heady mix of cosmic italo and heavy dimensional elements mixed at a languid pace that rocks and rolls with the flow of the galaxies above. 'Goodbye On Night' is a classic example of the Shio-Z experience in all it's interplanetary glory with our earthly italo making creative combinations with sentient life from other worlds.

The Shio-Z experiences of late have been incorporating more vocals into the synthscapes and track three introduces the first of these with 'Italo Night'. There's a superb European machismo to Shio-Z's vocals, but there are elements of tortured, unrequited affection that seems to provide a great undercurrent to the lyrics. The music in 'Italo Night' compliments this style of vocal wonderfully well as  Shio-Z pleads his lust to the night on a cosmic dance floor orbiting a sun that can't warm a cold heart.

The sparkling italo gold continues into the next track, 'Night Dancing'. Melodically perfect, this takes traditional italo structures and breaks them down into baser forms that are then rebuilt by alien robots and formed into a universal energy of star powered beauty. It's on this track especially that the Shio-Z  production really begins to stand and define itself as different worlds join as one and rock the galactic disco through aeons of night.

When it comes to the other sides of Shio-Z one needs only look to 'Nightmare' to experience the darker forces at play in this composer's creative process. Dramatic arrangements are injected with panic and sinister forces but the action is held tightly within the Shio-Z synthscape and the sounds of distant alien life pulse within the distraught earthbound constraints of humanity. There is hope forged from this experience in the much brighter 'Starry Night' which takes the panic and replaces it with intense exploration of incredible new ideas. The absolutely pounding percussive track combined with the delicate background piano in this piece is enlightening on every level and adds fathomless depth to the narrative of the composition.

'Hero Of The Night' rocks into view next and this anthemic chug-a-thon is tempered by the fires of passion and vengeance. The melodies sweep and dive while the engine room powers along in unstoppable force of synthual brilliance. The layers of sound introduced in the final parts of this experience add even more interstellar flavour to the story and it's final refrain is full of juggernaut momentum. Definitely the most brutal track on the album it is then followed by the highly entertaining 'One Night In Romagna'. The twisted vocals and ultra catchy melodies highlight another side of Shio-Z that is wholly endearing and absolutely hilarious. It's great to see that Shio-Z knows he's a rockstar but he also knows having fun is just as important.

More nocturnal adventures are explored in 'Tears Of The Night' which is possibly the most 'traditionally' formed track on the album. Stunning synth melodies are nurtured with love and passion in arrangements  that feel devoid of the alien elements previously experienced. This track is full of humanity and emotion and it's position on the album adds even more weight to it's reflective and contemplative nature.

The grand finale of Science Of The Night is another space italo gem titled 'Space Night Girl'. The synthscape is clear and sparkling with refractive melodies that dance with crystalline clarity. Without a doubt its the thumping bassline that ties this experience together and in the process allows these delicate melodies to exist in fragile beauty that is entrancing and inspiring.

Shio-Z's musical journey continues into genuinely individualised worlds of his own creation on Science Of The Night.  His experimentation combined with his experiences working with others has made for a massively entertaining record and sound matures with each new release. The thematic vision of this record is what shines the brightest, however, and I think Shio-Z has a massively promising future in the universe of evolved 80s sounds.

Future City Records presents Shio-Z's Science Of The Night album on their Bandcamp page here and Synthetix.FM very highly recommends this album to all fans of 80s synth who look to the stars for inspiration and possibilities and yearn for the excitement of these hidden other worlds. Through Shio-Z's music you'll feel the power of the cosmos and it's inhabitants rockin hard every night to his italo flavoured space synth jams in planets and dimensions far beyond or earthly bonds.