Saturday, November 30, 2013

Synthetix Weekend Update

I must apologise for the lack of a second review on Thursday these past two weeks. Sometimes plans just don't work out how you expect them to. Coming into December we have a bunch of hot rockin new releases coming up, so things will be back to normal before Synthetix.FM finishes up for 2013.

One thing that is special, which has cropped up out of nowhere is a new release from Palm Highway Chase. This is not his next massive blockbuster but is instead a subsidiary exploration of some less structured ideas which he so aptly described to me as a 'sketch book'.

Fantasy Recordings is released through Beer On The Rug and if there's enough interest in the album it'll get a physical cassette release, which would rock in a spectacular fashion. The album is full of 80s love and experimental synthscape that are still refined with Palm Highway Chase's own brand of magic.

I highly recommend all Synthetix.FM readers get behind this album and give this legend of the scene the love he deserves! You can pick up a copy through the 'buy' button on the player, and also be aware that only seven of the seventeen pieces are playable through the site preview.

Hot off the digital music forges is the hot new track from Scream & Dive. These rockers from Serbia always manage to make massively enthralling and exciting music and 'Runnin Through The Vicious Streets' is no exception. The action and drama are redlining from beginning to end, which comes all too soon unfortunately. It's their first track in nearly a year, but we can only hope more tunes are on the horizon.

By vast comparison, Viks Lander managed to share no less than three compositions in the last couple of days, albeit after a seven month absence! I was hard pressed to choose my favourite of the three but Andromeda won my heart with it's Library inspired parts and a truly 80s naive aesthetic. Check out his other rockin tunes through his soundcloud page for more golden tones.

I've probably said it before, but it bears repeating; Cobra Copter is one producer I'd love to see an album release from as soon as possible. The synthscapes created by this artist are as wondrous as they are varied. So much 80s love is displayed through his singles that an album package would be totally rockin. In his new track, 'Skyline',  he explore more ambient and spacious sounds, punctuated with funky synths and delivered in a chilled glass for your complete satisfaction.

A new epic from Grooveworthy next which I believe has it's tongue firmly planted in cheek but still rocks in a most radical way. 'Hot Unicorn Forest' is a deep and rich tale of global warming set against the neon realms of 80s fantasy with a slight hint of equinophilia thrown in for extra bonus points. The synths are full of energy and unfettered exuberance while the percussion canters along at a seductively smooth pace.

Cranking the 'epic' off the scale is the incredibly beautiful new piece from Dynatron. Even the title 'Fluorescence Of The Cepheids' is vast but it's the music that reaches previously untapped inspirations from celestial bodies, light years from home. The deliberately restrained pace adds a heavy and purposeful atmosphere to the piece, loading up more and more G-Forces with every progression. A superb return track for Dynatron gives us a glimpse at whats to come on their second album.

A hot new rocker on the scene is Robert Parker, coming straight out of Sweden with his new kick arse tune 'Parket's Theme'. The synthscape is full of beautiful 80s emotions and sounds that layer and build with a smooth gracefulness. The vibe is laden with positivity and wonder as the joyous refrain transforms into a more dramatic second half. Many thanks to David Grant for enlightening me to the Robert Parker experience.

Pilotpriest is back with a spectacular new work of atmospheric soundtrack synth from his Darknet Original Soundtrack project. 'Wounded Bird' is a haunting work that builds with a sombre melody deeply rooted in late 70s space synth sounds. The piece is enthralling and divulges an intimate narrative with it's hypnotising refrains and immense presence.

I can't believe the Versus series on Werkstatt Recordings is already up to Volume 7! While I've not covered a lot of the more EBM oriented releases the 7th edition contains a thrilling bout between Right Nider and Beatbox Machinery that adds some more 80s vibrancy to the battle. Right Nider's track, 'Into The Voight' is exploratory and intense with layers of synths gathering on the horizon in a storm of electronic magic. The melodies are of a delicate nature but then contrasted by a brutal percussion and rhythm section that is sure to result in a knock out blow. Beatbox Machinery offers up a forthright offensive with 'Shining City Tank' that crunches bare steel against bare steel as it darts and weaves in and out of electronic realities, culminating with a huge swing from the rafters late in the second round.

A celestially divined collaboration between Femmepop and Timecop1983 has resulted in a totally kick arse experience in 80s fuelled Synth Pop called 'Timescapes'. Femmepop's sweetly delicate vocals are the perfect accompaniment to Timecop1983's undulating synthscape, the combined forces create warm and intimate moments while always retaining a glassy, polished ambiance.

An artist I sure don't give nearly enough love to on Synthetix.FM is Tokyo Rose. This Japanese producer's brand of high energy OutRun is always as riveting as it is powerful and his new track 'Zender Vision 3' redlines the rad levels throughout. The monstrous percussion and climbing melodies make for the perfect high speed thrill ride into the neon streets Tokyo Rose owns.

It definitely is the time of year for many artist's who've been hibernating away for the year, toiling away on their synths, to finally come out into the light with hot new tracks. We can add Daroc to this list as his new piece is the first we've heard from him in many months but it's certainly been worth the wait. 'Volute Club' is a languid exposition of dreamy synhscapes and magical possibilities told in a majestic narrative. This track is on the Le Burgundy Paris compilation available on iTunes here.

Spacious Sweep has graciously shared not only a kick arse new Italo Disco track in 'Double Edge' but also given us an early Christmas present with a free EP linked within the soundcloud track description. The EP contains many hits singles from Spacious Sweep shared throughout the year on soundcloud and is full of vibrant, 80s coloured experiences that are now available to you as a complete package in their final versions. Spacious Sweep also shared two new tracks in 'Call Of The Wild' and 'Storm Hammer'; both absolutely rockin the classic Italo sounds and well worthy of your attention. Check them out on his soundcloud page linked in the player.

Technomancer or Zone Tripper, perhaps, is another hot new rocker to Synthetix.FM and his latest track Zone Tripper is a high energy blast of late 80s Italo the shines brightly and burns with a searing brilliance. The late 80s/early 90s Italo Disco/Techno crossover is prevalent throughout this piece and it's something I hope Technomancer/Zone Tripper explores more in the future. This track is currently available for FREE download through the player. Many thanks to Werkstatt Recording for enlightening me to Technomancer.

Keeping the energy levels in the danger zone is the first track off the next Vector Hold experience aptly titled 'Supercharger'. The sheer grandiose nature of the instrumentations and the atomic weight of the melodies make for an experience that'll leave you breathless. Vector Hold is planning to release the new album in early January, so we can expect a few more teasers from it between now and then.

Hot new rockin action next from Supervo courtesy of Super Magic Records and the track 'Next Time'. This Italo piece is a tad more restrained than the usual Italo fare, but is no less brimming over with quality 80s sounds and incredibly hooky melodies. I'm still unsure as to whether this is actually new music or old music that Super Magic Records shares on soundcloud, as they recently shared this amazing track which is from 2011 by M@rgo. I guess it doesn't really matter one way or the other, the music is totally kick arse and rockin to the max and that's what matters.

As a special treat I've got two hot videos to finish of this week's Weekend Update with. The first being an absolutely rockin fake video trailer by Silvermania called 'Paperboy 3: The Hard Way' which features much action, violence and stellar oneliners and the music of Protector 101 to add a genuine 80s atmosphere to the wonderful visual exploitation.

The other video I'd like to share is a hot new music video of the combined talents of Countess M and Denovomutans for their brooding Dark Synth single 'Mother Night'. The unsettling tones and haunting melodies are complemented by a fantastic and visually hypnotising video that is well in keeping with the music's tone.

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

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Mega Drive Into The Dark Abyss And The Glorious Heavens

Mega Drive is one of those producers in the scene who goes about his business, makes little fuss, and releases his music in very matter of fact way. No pomp and circumstance, just a small notification and we as fans are allowed to assemble the pieces of work in manner we see fit. In his new EP release, Mega Drive has provided a six track affair that offers an extremely fierce and intense side that is balanced by some extremely beautiful and intimate suites of pure synth rapture.

Through his releases in 2013 we've witnessed much exploration in the Mega Drive experience and on this self titled EP it feels like this release ups the ante and pushing things to much greater extremes. There is a definite thematic running throughout this EP, the stories are strong and well realised, but we are not told everything and Mega Drive allows us to fabricate our own visions and meanings to the synthscapes.

I was caught a tad unawares by the opening track, 'Activate Your Steel'. The synthscape is voracious in appetite, punching violently into a frenzy of discordant atmospheres before galloping into an EBM styled lead melody. The power is on overload throughout the piece, onslaughts of machine gunned melodies strafe constantly and the places to run and hide soon run out. The instrumentations push the aggressive nature even further and the maelstrom of aural firepower does not relent until the final second.

Such an extreme opening track made me think for a second that perhaps Mega Drive is changing directions and losing his 80s passions but this was soon to be dispelled by the following piece that gave a more balanced approach to the ambiance, but was no less brutal in it's delivery. 'Convertor' is a slow motion OutRun dirge with climbing melodies cresting then falling into an abyss before rising once again. The arrangements usher in a welcome amount of 80s love and give some humanity and emotion to the experience, something that was machined-out of the opening salvo. The darkness of the synths are still very prominent all the way through, but an even balance through the track's passages offer some very entertaining contrasts.

'Digital Ghost' keeps the mood tense and fearful, layering in mesmerising leads the begin to take off and  soar into the sky with a newly revitalised energy. Brighter sounds add counter point and hope to the more sinister elements and also give a haunting presence, the threats and darkness seems to be on the verge of consuming all, but a balance is achieved.

Track four, 'Future Life' is one of the strongest tracks on the EP, and has become one of my favourite all-time Mega Drive tracks also. The mood is sombre and restrained but the emotional investment is mined deeply through a sublimely beautiful lead melody. The bassline holds the the elements together in an ethereal and magical envelope of electronic delight of musical perfection.

To quote Sepultura, 'From The Past, Comes The Storms' which is the most accurate way I can describe the transition from 'Future Life' into the juggernaut of unassailable doom in 'Judgement Day'. The forces of dire powers meet in sensory attack that takes things to even further extremes than 'Activate Your Steel'. Melodies are broken and twisted into disharmonic fusions, marching into a fiery oblivion with forces from other worlds and dimensions bringing an end to our own realities with crushing force.

Spectral beauty returns in an absolutely wondrous manner with the Blade Runner inspired 'Tears In The Rain'. I believe the way this EP has been arranged has made the brutal and beautiful ends of the spectrum magnified as this piece as stunningly beautiful in it's evocative and innate glory. The movements are glacial and are yet full of life and command an abundant dexterity in the finer details. It's thoroughly engrossing, one of those tracks I wish went for ten or twenty minutes, one that allows you to drink deeply from it's magic and is totally inspirational to behold.

Mega Drive presents his self titled EP on his Bandcamp page here, and this EP is another worthy journey in the Mega Drive experience. I feel like this EP is an experiment in taking things to greater extremes, with extreme beauty and extreme brutality trading blows from passage to passage. It's contrasts allow for some very intense moments and it's this intensity that makes this a highly recommended release. Perhaps not one for those faint of heart. but definitely for those with deep passions and strong hearts that thrive in the face of adversity.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Synthetix Weekend Update

The festive season is getting into full swing and the hot tunes just keep on rockin. No time for dillydallying this week, this Weekend Update is ready to explode with a monstrous amount of quality 80s flavoured synthsperiences rockin from a myriad of virtual locations around the galaxy directly into your hearts and minds.

First up on the starting grid is the irrepressible Danger Mode and his new smash hit 'Class Act'. Exploring some very refined Synth Romance sounds this is beautifully arranged track that channels Steve Winwood directly. Get rockin on this now as it's available for FREE download currently.

Shyguys are back from a six month hiatus with a totally rad new track that is full of 80s love and contains a truly beautiful uplifting aesthetic. The lead melody positively dances around the synthscape while the percussion is just as vibrant and energetic. Available for FREE download currently!

One thing I truly appreciate about modern producers is when they are inspired by 80s themes that are a tad less obvious than the usual standards. On Action Jackson's new track we are taken deep in the heart of Russia with 'Girl From USSR'. The world behind the Iron Curtain in the 80s was one of much speculation and fascination, especially from the West's point of view. Action Jackson captures these Eastern European elements succinctly and delivers them perfectly throughout this great piece. Make sure you check LA Nights, another track he shared this week, even in demo form it totally rocks.

More intimately tender Synth Romance, this time from MoweLan. 'Moonrays' is a majestically performed work of emotionally enriching beauty. The tempo and narrative are lithe and arched for maximum sensuality while the guitars provide sultry passages of electrifying excitement. Available for FREE download, make sure this makes all your 'late night' playlists.

Lueur Verte's triumphant return to the scene has been witnessed by his newly shared preview for the Crystallica EP,  which is due out December 1st. Drama, action, love and adventure are all teased throughout the five snippets available. It is not long to wait for the full release and I'll be sure to give this the full Synthetix.FM treatment upon it's release.

It's no secret to anyone that I rather enjoy making up names and terms regularly on Synthetix.FM and after hearing D/A/D's penchant for this kind of thing in his interview on Beyond Synth this week I've become even more inspired to do so. Sunglasses Kid's new track feels like the perfect place to introduce a new sub genre that I'm going to call After School Special Synth. It's a little bit Library and a little bit funky and it sure is rockin from beginning to end. You can purchase your own copy of 'The Last Dance' via the link in the player. Oh, and I love you too, Sunglasses Kid!

Every time I hear a new Evanton track I seem to think to myself 'this is definitely the best Evanton track' and then they release a new piece, and the same thought comes to mind. Such is the progression these rockers have made throughout 2013 and with 'Don't Stop' they've done it again. Definitely my favourite Evanton experience thus far with the perfect blend of Electro Breakin' and Italo Disco all packaged with a gleamingly slick production. You can pick up a copy of this which includes the U.S Remix and Radio Version through the link in the player.

Do you like to rock? Do you want to rock? If the answer to both of these questions is yes, then you'll certainly want to get the volume cranked up well past safe levels and rock the hell of the absolutely kick arse new track from Jon Of The Shred entitled '2029 A.D.'. This guitar drenched composition of dramatic synths and awe inspiring power is something to behold. I think this is one of Jon's first experiments in rock synth experiences, but I certainly hope is not his last as '2029 A.D.' is k-rad to the max.

How can you possibly follow something with such extreme rocking? With extreme funking, thats how!
Garth Knight is back to full form funk flights of fantasy with his brand new track 'Dance With Me'. I love how stripped back this piece feels, theres a real 'live' element to the synthscape that is totally engaging. It's great to see such strong return from Mr Knight, and you can purchase your own copy of 'Dance With Me' through the link in the player.

Niky Nine has proven to be one of the most exciting new producers coming out of the back end of 2013 and his new release 'Road' adds even more weight to this. The drama is kept in check with an absolutely stunning lead synth melody that flows like a neon liquid of saturating 80s wonder. The story is told splendidly well with each passage and refrain ushering in new levels of excitement. This superb experience is available to add to your collection at a name-your-own-price point through the link in the player.

Another hot rockin preview teaser next, this time from Palisded. I've got a weak spot for Palisded's brand of 80s inspired synth work as it's minimalist nature is punctuated by it's beautifully conceived melodies and combine for a hypnotising elevatory experience. This new album displays these traits in each of the teased tracks. It's not too long to wait for the full album however, as it's due out on the 19th of December.

KFDDA keeps on upping his game with each shared track and his latest is definitely one of his strongest thus far. 'New Sights' eases into itself  through it's introductory passage but quickly finds a path of marching intent and melodic adventures within. I really love the freeform nature of the production that makes it feel lik a live jam yet it still retains a strong narrative. Great work and is currently available for FREE download.

A new compilation from Violent Success Productions called Retro Future is due out on the 3rd of December but I couldn't contain my excitement for two tracks off it from Droid Bishop and Crozet. The compilation contains no less than nineteen tracks from a huge variety of artists both familiar and unfamiliar to myself, and I'm really looking forward to experiencing the full package. For now though, we must rock the amazing new track from Droid Bishop, 'Days Of The Running Man'. The structure to this experience is absolutely jaw dropping with emotive melodies combining with lushly detailed synthscapes that are bursting with vibrant colours and energies.

Another awesome track off this compilation is 'Hold My Weight' from Crozet. This is a high speed adventure into Synth Romance with pastel crushes of synths and percussion melding with a delicate vocal track. The pop sensibilities of Crozet are very apparent as this experience is perfectly arranged for the absolute maximum emotional impact. It's anthemic and full of beauty, wonderful music.

Keeping things in the Synth Pop realm is the new song from the Some Desperate Glory side project Pacific Deep entitled 'Upgradeable'. These guys have really nailed the new romantic synth sounds of the early 80s with a poignant vocal track and a super catchy chorus. These music is authentic and full of homage to the classics of the day while adding a new layer of freshness to the mix.

To finish of this Weekend Update we have something from Le Matos, this is an old promo video for their 'Coming Soon' album that came out in 2011, but I just came across this and had to share it. The video is wonderfully implemented modern take on the original music video for Kenny Loggins 'Footloose' and this combined with the always amazing Le Matos magic makes for a sublimely rad experience.

Le Matos "88mph" music video from Le Matos on Vimeo.

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

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

C-Jeff Rock The Big Steel Wheels

Sometimes a record comes along that changes a lot of the definitions one held true about certain genres and what they're capable of accomplishing. This has happened to what I call soundtrack synth in C-Jeff's album Big Steel Wheels. Soundtrack synth, by my prior reckoning was essentially the background style music that would be accompanied by some kind of visual. Some of the more visionary soundtrack synth of late (especially from the likes Ogre and Protector 101) has displayed that they don't need a visual cue that the music supports. Instead, the music stands alone. It paints the pictures in our imagination, not requiring any visuals whatsoever to carry it's emotions and messages.

This style of music is the complete definition of what I mean by narrative or story in a piece of music. The music describes a scene, it conveys the emotions, sparks our inspiration with visions of places and events un-filmed, but that we as the listener fully experiences. In the case of C-Jeff's Big Steel Wheel albums we're told an incredible story that rolls along in a vividly visionary manner. I've often said how I long for a visual accompaniment for some soundtrack synth music; in this album I realise that this is not the case at all and perhaps I've been traditionally misguided by this perceived ideal. In actual fact the audio does a fantastic job, if not better, of telling the story than an experience with a visual component as it leaves things up to our own imaginations.

One of my favourite musical experiences growing up was Jeff Wayne's War Of The Worlds. This was a rock opera retelling of the classic by Orson Welles from the late 70s, which I ardently listened to over, and over again on cassette. There were voice overs filling in the story, but the music and songs were what drove the entire adventure. In Big Steel Wheels I feel that spark of imagination lit in a similarly explosive manner.

I'm not going to go into a track-by-track review of this album, as I feel that would be depriving you the listener the sublime experience of allowing your own imagination to run wild with possibilities and the less you know about the story, going in, the more you will get out of the experience by it's end. The story is so spectacularly told through the emotions of the music that you'll thank me by it's end for a 'spoiler free' adventure.

A few things I would like to go into about the album, however, is the quality of the  homage and density of the production. There is a massive amount of homage to the legendary Vince DiCola of the Transformers: The Movie soundtrack fame throughout Big Steel Wheels and this rocks to the extreme. I personally view Transformers: The Movie's soundtracks as one of the absolute high water marks of 80s soundtrack synthscapes and likening this record by C-Jeff to it is a compliment that I give with utmost sincerity and respect.

The emotional context is vibrant, real and exhilarating in every single track on the album. Light and dark, action and introspection, love and hate and the myriad of variations in between amount to a monumentally powerful experience in it's complete form. The dexterity at which C-Jeff manages to switch gears effortlessly in each track is a testament to his skill and passion as a musician as well as his fascination with vintage synth soundtracks. The album is full of other inspirational nuances as well, videogame tinged ChipTune elements resonate within some suites in a searingly beautiful embrace with the synths while guitars intimate voices of their own, speaking an eloquent dialogue of pure elemental passion.

These instruments are what creates the density I previously mentioned. Big Steel Wheels is packed deep with densely populated passages full of vibrant details all jostling for your attention. Even the ambient pieces are layered with subtleties that make the fog like haze a tactile solid that can be felt and shaped. In the more furious moments of the album it is this outright brutal intensity that packs the biggest punch with guitars, synths and drums combining it's a tsunami of richly detailed aural spectacles.

Every instrument is engineered to a purpose through each piece, the personalities of the sounds are allowed to vocalise and intimate so much deep narrative that the sporadic samples used throughout then cut even deeper. The synthscape is rich and lush and produced magnificently well as perfectly tuned synths reverberate deeply when needed and then become delicate and fragile when required. It's an all embracing sound that envelopes the listener completely in a dense shroud of magical musical moments.

By the end of Big Steel Wheels you know you've experienced something special. Something that doesn't come along very often and something that will then be a point of reference in future musical adventures. Soundtrack synth as a fully fledged experience has reached an incredible new standard with this album and in the numerou times I've already listened to it I'm told new stories and variations on preconceived themes each time. Only time will tell if this album has the staying power I believe it has, but I know I'll be revisiting the wonders of Big Steel Wheels many times in the future as I re-explore favourite scenes and set pieces, as I would a well loved movie. The 80s magic is strong in this album, it's instantly recognisable and is impossible to deny it's power.

Big Steel Wheels is presented on C-Jeff's website here, this is definitely a Synthetix Reference Experience of the highest order and is also one of the most complete album experiences I've had the pleasure of listening to in 2013. Let C-Jeff take you on a wild ride into the turbulent world of the big rigs, where danger lurks around every corner and the link between man and machine becomes a destiny unto itself.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Synthetix Weekend Update

For those of you unaware, every month I make a new Synthetix.FM Mixtape that goes up on my soundcloud page. These mixes are my personal favourite songs of the previous month and often contain some music I don't get the chance to cover on here. I've just shared the final regular mixes for 2013 and wanted to make a point that these will be the last mixes I do in the Side A and Side B format. I've seen over the years that the Side A often gets double the listens as Side B, so as of 2014 the mixes will be one complete ninety minute experience, possibly with a gap or interlude in between the two mixes.

The final mix for the year will be the 2013 Synthetix.FM UltraMix which will feature all my favourite tracks from this year in one monstrous mega mix of scintillating synth sounds. This will be part of the second Synthetix.FM Year End Synthstravaganza, which will hopefully provide much excitement around the mid December mark before Synthetix.FM closes shop for the holiday break.

For now, I hope you enjoy the latest Synthetix.FM Mixtape and feel free to go back through my soundcloud for any others you may have missed throughout the year.

Lets get rockin with a bevy of beautiful music in the Synthetix Weekend Update!

First up is a hot new funky synth odyssey from Starion. This is absolutely rockin to the max with catchy melodies and a futuristic, spacey atmosphere. Special mention must go to the brilliantly implemented bassline that holds the entire experience together.

The introductory passages to the new Android Automatic track had my interest piqued; wondering what direction this was going to take. The story evolves slowly with a deliberate pace that introduces bewitching melodies and structures with great beauty.

A new rocker for Synthetix.FM is City Project, and his wonderful new track 'Dirty Workout'. The tone and production of this piece creates a gorgeous neon vista of endless night skies, full of both earthbound and cosmic dancing lights. Spectacular in every respect with an epic narrative driving the experience.

Run Vaylor is rockin hard on his new track 'First Contact'. The build is immense with a huge payoff in the way of dramatic melodies and driving percussion. The unrelenting nature of the experience makes for a very exciting journey, complete with otherworldly synth layers bringing the alien theme together perfectly. This track is currently available for FREE download through the player.

The Giallo Disco master himself, Vercetti Technicolor unleashed another odious soundtrack to the cannibalistic tropical nightmare in 'Ferox'. This excursion into the inhuman horrors hiding in the darkest jungle depths is explored spectacularly as haunting synths accent the tribal inspired percussion work.

KFDDA is rockin the dark side of the synth this week too, with his melancholy piece titled 'Dark Answers'. The synthscape is accented superbly by the morose guitar track that adds a wonderful depth to the atmosphere. This track is currently available for FREE download through the link in the player.

A collaboration that came out of nowhere this week and blew my mind is the new track from the beautiful minds of Cougar Synth and Palm Highway Chase with their appropriately named combined venture 'Cougars On The Highway'. This undulating synthscapade is absolutely righteous with it's myriad of synth layers all coalescing into one rockin experience. Even better, it's currently available for FREE download! Be sure to check out Palm Highway Chases other release this week, Vangelis Gravity for even avant garde synth gold.

The debut EP from Orax was just released by Future City Records and it is a glorious synth journey that is as rich in beauty as it is in craftsmanship. Orax's Dreaming EP is delicately started by the wonderfully entrancing piece entitled 'Life'. This is so beautifully arranged and explored that it touches the soul with it's incredibly intimate melodies.  It also introduces the Orax synthscape as one of emotionally driven journey's into the subconscious powers and needs within us all. This motif is continued on the title track which ebbs and flows with the pulse of the universe, contemplating it's existence through melodic excursions inward via the mind's eye.

Many dreams are unexplainable, based on our mind's relating to us that which we can't fully comprehend in waking hours. In 'Memories' is feels like Orax is presenting these kind of theory as upbeat elements are restrained by haunting ghost synths, twisted with a dream-like skew that creates it's own un-reality. The saxophone pieces take this into even more fascinating territory throughout the piece. The 'Unknown Man' adds even more of an air of mystery to our unconscious surrounds as the pulse begins to race through nocturnal obeisance with frenetic melodies guiding the adventure.

Dreaming concludes with the delicate frailty of 'Dawn And Friends' which rouses the spirit in a building, intimate exploration of time, space and our place in it. The final ticking moments signalling the time of dreams has ended, we must now rise to new challenges. Throughout this EP I was drawn into moments and thoughts that were truly uplifting, Orax's grasp on how 80s emotions exist and thrive in music is marvellous to behold.

Synthetix.FM very, very highly recommends The Dreaming EP from Orax. You can pick up a copy through Future Ciry Records' Bandcamp page here, which I hope you do as soon as possible.

Time to rock some quality Italo Disco courtesy of Supervox and his new track 'Nature Of Earth (Version 2)'. I love the energy of this piece, it's full of authentic sounds and is fabricated in a way that explores all possibilities of the melodic elements. I'm a little unsure as to whether this artist is calling himself Super Magic Records or Supervox, so please forgive me if I got this the wrong way around.

Even more golden Italo Disco surfaced in the latest track from Paris76, 'Sandy Dreams'. The combination of modern and vintage elements is kept balanced beautifully as synths are layered in, carefully building to a majestic crescendo or glimmering brilliance.

NFD Music has gone back to school with his latest excursion into the 80s, 'Science Project'. The story is full of teenage inadequacies and those glorious emotions that lead to the memories we'll have with us forever. I love the spoken word piece through the middle that is directly inspired by the John Hughes classics of the day. This is currently available for FREE download.

The new track from Mitch Murder take his trademark style into a softer, plush environment that is luxurious and tactile but driven by melodic intimacy. The structures are finely detailed and exhibit muted colours of 80s pastels against a night snow fall. It's a warming experience in seasonal synthphonies that Mitch Murder intimates most eloquently.

Cobra Copter has proven to be a genuine force to be reckoned with in the 80s inspired synth scene over the last three months. Each week theres a new synth epic shared and each time it's an awesome experience in quality 80s sounds and emotions. 'Rebel Heart' does the Cobra Copter style action synth style spectacularly well with vivid synths pulsing with drama and heroism.

Our final piece for this week's Weekend Update is a totally kick arse video from Maraud. Using a wonderful clutch of talent from the 80s inspired synth scene he's crafted a very 'Drive' inspired video to explore the possibilities of a new camera lens. I know,  the premise is not to be taken too seriously, but one can't deny the perfect marriage of visuals and sounds throughout this piece. I hope this leads to more movies from Maraud in the future featuring our favourite artists.

That does it for another rockin Weekend Update on Synthetix.FM, I'll be back during the week with more hot action from the 80s inspired synth scene. 'Til then, stay 80s and keep on rockin.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

LA Dreams Through Scan Lines

As I've mentioned previously on Synthetix.FM, it's impossible for me to cover all of LA Dreams' music on here, though I wish I could. In some respects LA Dreams is a scene unto himself. An island of musical industry that has the synth machines working day and night, forging base elements into magical aural delights, that are shunted out and then it's back the synth mines for Mr LA Dreams.

The work rate is high, but the quality also is. There is an innate gift in each LA Dreams track that I instantly bond with. I often say the 80s isn't a decade, it's an emotion. It's a state of mind and a feeling. LA Dreams distills that feeling into emotionally luscious three minute crushes, on a whim he can take your heart and make it soar to heavens of complete elation.

I've learned how to listen to LA Dreams over the course of 2013. I listen to his music differently than any other producers in the scene as it requires a different technique to be able to take it in and not get over saturated by the sugar rush. Each LA Dreams track, to me, is a singularity, it's not a densely packed fabrication of stories and ideas, no, it's a singular experience. I don't mean a 'listen to once' singularity, what I mean is each track is one single idea. One thread, one strand that is fully explored and taken to it's ultimate end. There is evolution, depth and investment, but it's portrayed in a succinct and uncluttered manner. This is the LA Dreams magic.

Opening up the record is 'Years In Retrospect', this feels like an introduction to the album, whether intentional or not, and does set the scene beautifully with a building LA Dreams classic melody explored over glittering details. We're treated to a more soundtrack oriented LA Dreams on 'Emerging Autumn'.  There isn't the immediacy of previous outings, instead we're drawn in and allowed to contemplate the music in a more sedate fashion and the sounds are relaxed and calming in their presence. 'Midway' most certainly caters to the more frenetic end of the spectrum, but it's controlled and it's melodies feel scaled down to accommodate intimacy instead of climbing towards the grandiose.

On 'Scan Lines' this is evidenced even more so as the more stripped back, minimalist synthscape is explored. Nothing unnecessary and each element bold and brilliant in it's purpose. This is massively noticeable in this track where sparkling piano and unadorned synths cast magical spells across the decades. Even in the more powerful 'Leather And Lace' the presence of the elements are crystalline in the clarity, giving the atmosphere a very authentic palette of primary and pastel colours.

The experimentation in other synth genres has also been apparent in recent LA Dreams releases, moves into soundscapes that reside outside of his synth romance oriented pastiche. The emotional investment in the melodies is something that is undeniable in each piece, however, the chord progressions and accents are just so tactile in their nature. Indeed the inherent drama of 'Sudden Moves' sways seductively with sentiment burning deep in it's soul.

I've got to say, my favourite of the new LA Dreams stylistic experiments is the electro rock breakin' of 'Battle Graffiti Kids'. The edge is never hard and coarse, there is that warm smoothness to the music, even when LA Dreams is getting street wise, but it comes off so naturally that one can't help but rock it. This motif is continued to funkier destinations on 'The Night Never Ends' which also explores some new LA Dreams colours that I hope are more vividly explored in future releases.

The stripped back nature of this release also allows pieces like 'Edge Of Heaven' to be allowed to dance across the moonlight, unfettered by earthly bonds or dimensional limitations. The glowing and pulsing singularity of it's emotional core is unbearably beautiful and contains a breathtaking purity.  Scan Lines completes with the after school library synth of 'We Danced' and the final piece is the totally kick arse track he did for Halloween entitled 'There's Something Here'.

This album marks, I think, a bit of a more introspective angle from LA Dreams. There appears to be more transitional flickers on this album that hint at different destinations in the future and I think Scan Lines will have echoes resonating in future releases through 2014. I for one, can't wait for more exciting stop offs on this delectable musical journey that LA Dreams takes us on and I'm sure there'll be many surprises in store from many as yet unknown inspirational dimensions.

LA Dreams presents the Scan Lines album on his Bandcamp page here. Unsurprisingly, to anyone who's a regular reader of Synthetix.FM, this a great record that I highly recommend. Especially if you've taken a break from LA Dreams in recent times, this is an album I'd prioritise in my listening schedule and let that LA Dreams magic wash over you in a neon glow of timeless beauty.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Lost Years Cranks Up The Amplifier

Coming into the back end of 2013 the big releases will keep on hitting with alarming regularity as the culmination of the year's work is allowed to plumpen into deliciously ripe fruit, bursting with vitality and ready to rock you into aural bliss. We've shared the journey in many of these cases, and in the case of Lost Years, we've been treated to many previews and teasers throughout the year as each piece takes form and is reshaped into it's final manifestation.

Much like an excellent professional wrestling match with it's ebbs and flows and well laid out set pieces, the climax of this adventure is at hand as Lost Years' Amplifier is now available for our delectation and inspiration. Just like a great conflict between the face and the heel, Lost Years has performed the swerve of the year and has released an album I wasn't quite prepared for. I'd been lead to believe through much of Lost Years' tracks shared this year that his 2013 love affair with Italo Disco was leading to a new album primarily focused on this genre. This was to be merely the tip of the iceberg.

In Amplifier, we not only get these killer Italo sounds but also a myriad of other, previously unexperienced, gems that are full of Lost Years synth magic and get travel many new (and familiar) universes with a divine craftsmanship present in every episode of Amplifier's cast. The Lost Years sound has taken great strides since 2012's Black Waves, as a composer and storyteller the musical depth of Amplifier is a step forward on every conceivable level.

In 2013 Lost Years appears to have developed a funkier sound. It would appear that Black Waves' 'Electro Clash' track became a bold new direction this producer as much of the more dramatic OutRun driven sounds are traded in for a richer melodic experience where funk elements are never far away. Lost Years has reinvented his sound by taking away the darker aspects and replacing them with delicate melodies and catchier hooks. One need only experience the opening title track to hear this change first hand. Melodic drama is eschewed and replaced with sweet melodies and dancing xylophone flourishes. The structure of the track also moves into different moods with delightful segues and uplifting refrains.

The second track, 'Convertor' is an incredibly engaging evolved-OutRun experience that is so catchy it's almost deadly with it's deep level infection. The pace is middling, not foot-to floor high speed chase, no, this piece moves with melodic inertia, swerving left and then easing right, gently accelerating through the inclines and coasting majestically with the pitch of the descending asphalt. Movement is effortless and natural, never panicked and utterly captivating.

These smoother, creamier sounds, full of flavoursome elements and robust nuances are hallmarks of the Amplifier experience. 'Park Avenue 1989' has evolved into a sultry bedroom anthem, rife with passions and fervent tristes, salacious and sweaty with echoes of lustful souls swirling in the heavy night air. It's pure synth erotica, intimately building to an earthshaking climax and into a lingering after glow of unbridled ecstasy.

More traditional Lost Years sounds lead us into 'Controlled Faith', however there is a temperance and control to the track, a refinement to the delivery of the music that elevates it into new realms. Small details create big reactions, and again the exquisite melodies sit beautifully astride powerful drum fills and marching rhythms. Lead after lead take us into new, exciting places and the dimensions traversed seem to multiply through every passage.

Much of the Lost Years experience is 'lead heavy' in that it's the massive synth leads that are allowed to tell the story and intimate the ideas. These leads are again driving into inexorable rapture in 'The Other Side Of You'. This tracks demands to be listened to numerous times to fully appreciate it's depth of narrative with sweeping synth caresses diving and soaring with incredibly detailed emotional depth, it's very nearly a Synth Romance experience, very nearly. But Lost Years always does a great job at making my job of defining his musical styles a very hard task indeed.

The combinations of synthscapes that Lost Years blends appears to be a focus of Amplifier. 'The Second' dances about with more funky synths and lighter than air melodies lend pastel colours to otherwise very street-wise sounds. It's engaging and balanced, coercing the listener into worlds where only Lost Years knows the rules.  The musical melange is continued in 'Breacher' with Italo Space Disco sounds given the treatment with rousing energies that tell triumphant stories of cosmic grandeur.

Although drama is not the driving force on Amplifier it is used in elemental manners that allow for more varied interpretations. Near panic is initiated in the opening passages of 'Red Horizon' as heart rates rise in time with rhythms, however we are soon guided into an oasis of idyllic melodies away from the maddening forces and even the marching beat seems to be comforting rather than threatening.

It brought me great pleasure to hear that Lost Years had included a stellar sequel to Black Waves' 'Electro Clash' in the absolutely kick arse 'Remedies'. This inspirational electro rockin jam is frenetic and unrelenting in it's delivery, a full force impact of synth funk breaks blasted over intricately sharpened percussion. An instant classic if there ever was one and one of the loftier high points on the album.

The final piece on Amplifier is the American Psycho homage 'I Am Simply Not There' and in this finale Lost Years takes things into his darker milieu as a synth miasma descends, enshrouding the ambiance in a malevolent aural haze. The meandering melodies take you into the the mindful shadows of our subconscious desires, a fitting end the bridges the many world's Lost Years has shown us throughout the album.

Rossa Corsa Records presents Lost Years' Amplifier album on their Bandcamp page here. On this record Lost Years has consistently raised the bar on his brand of 80s inspired synth music. Not only is the musicianship wonderfully engaging but also the overall production is covered in a glossy polish that makes every instrument sparkle with a brilliant chrome finish. Across the ten chapters of Amplifier we are treated to many varied synth experiences that are all crafted with care and emotional investment from the composer. Amplifier is a definitive Synthetix Reference Experience and is a stellar example of how powerful 80s emotions can be captured by modern musicians and retold with vision, homage and passion.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Synthetix Weekend Update

Halloween Epilogue

It should be no surprise to anyone that I didn't get to cover all the music I wanted to over the Halloween period. To make some slight amends to this I wanted to quickly mention a few releases you'd do well to pick up in the post-Halloween aftermath. It's getting hard to prioritise releases I want to review on Synthetix.FM at certain times, like now, when there's a huge influx. I figure if I can't write in depth about them then the least I can do is link to them from here for your own further investigations.

A release I wanted to cover but never got the chance is the great new concept record from Protector 101. His soundtrack to Black Friday 2: Blood Money (The Uncut Version) is marvellous example of this producer's creativity that gets set ablaze by small sparks and then roar into a spectacular inferno. Beautifully realised soundtrack synth that will capture your imagination.

Taking a trip into darkly experimental areas we find Make Up And Vanity Set's new EP Manifold. The synthscape is dark and twisted and challenging to fully take in in some places but the MAVS synth soul seems to always be there to take the music back into less threatening passages.  Many contrasting emotions are explored and detailed and the bleakness of the opening pieces is given hopeful differentiation towards the EP's end chapters.

More rockin soundtrack oriented synth from Python Blue came out recently. His Cyborg album displays much understanding of descriptive passages and how to detail superbly implemented narrative sequences once again. Drama and anger can reach incredible highs while his introspective pieces add even more weight to the experience. The emotional investment in each track is clearly audible, making for an inspiring journey.

Another release that I couldn't possibly live with myself for not sharing is the new Droid Bishop EP: The Irrelevance Of Space & Time. This five track affair is rocking to the max with a noticeable exploration of his melodies that pumps even more galactic energies into his pieces. The EP displays an evolution in the Droid Bishop sound and a step up in production too. It's a fantastic experience in quality 80s inspired synth sounds with that futuristic space-themed edge that Droid Bishop does so very well.

I also wanted to make sure no one misses out on Vector Hold's full length album that he's released on Bandcamp called Classics. This eighteen track behemoth is a compilation of all of his recent singles, many of which I've been covering on Synthetix.FM throughout the year, but in this huge format it becomes a force of renewed vigour and power. It's a diverse album that covers a tonne of genres, but Vector Hold rocks them all and the album serves as a wonderful document of Vector Hold's musical journeys in 2013.

Right on,  now let's get into the the nitty gritty of this week's Weekend Update on Synthetix.FM!

Bobby Outro's new track 'Smash Groove' is exactly what you'd expect of a track titled Smash Groove. The hook in this piece is totally kick arse and the excitement he extracts from it is purely brilliant. The percussion is full of classic presence while every synth elements is implemented for maximum pleasure.

Injecting dangerously high doses of funk into your weekend is Les Chic Voltage with his new track 'Club Malibu'. Theres a definite avant-gard angle to the synthscape but the music is solidly set in 80s moods. The progression of the track is jazzy and experimental in nature with a whole lot of funk rockin being the priority.

Cobra Copter keeps on matching his high work rate with high quality as this last week has again seen two tracks surface; both delivering rad 80s synth sounds. 'Eternia Knights' is a slow burning epic that builds with a marching reverence that introduces beautifully accented guitars through the adventure. Conversely on 'Murphy, It's You' we're treated to high energy electro breakin' boombox ammunition of a super high calibre.

Incorporating his recent Funk You EP Alpha Boy's just unleashed a new LP entitled For You. The familiar Alpha Boy sounds are taken into some interesting new contexts on For You as his playful Italo inspired melodies are allowed to take broader strides and intimate more varied narratives. Tracks like 'Superstar 911' and 'Flamingo' have instantly become some of my favourite Alpha Boy jams, be sure to check out the full release for the full experience of Alpha Boy's latest creation.

Something new from Riddlis now that I found very enlightening to listen to. 'Stories' is a very engaging track as it's melodies and arrangements are very interestingly put together. The combination of modern and vintage sounds are entrancing, with dancing melodies that layers like soft veils of electric light. It's a wonderfully positive vibe from beginning to end.

New from Bluezz Vylez is a hot rockin track called 'Craters And Lovers'. This piece marks a triumphant return for this producer after an absence of nearly four months and what a triumphant return it is. The quirky nature of this producer's music is evident once again as melodies are driven in exciting directions and the action is exciting through each of the track's passages.

Babylon 86 turned the rock levels up to maximum on his new track 'The Vice'. The Jan Hammer/Miami Vice inspiration is prevalent throughout as the action is densely packed in with guitars and synths trading blows in glorious vivid colours. This is a killer track, and is currently available for FREE download through the link in the player.

Nickee B has been one of my favourite proponents of quality synth funk for more than a year now, and whenever a new experience of his surfaces it's always a red letter day. In 'Can't Get Enough Of Your Love' the Nickee B synth funk machine is running hot classic 80s sounds arranged with an ear for more  modern styles but the story in this piece transcends all space and time, with a stunning final chapter that is completely spellbinding.

JEJE80 HomeProduction (or Spacious Sweep, to his close friends and admirers) just release a great new track called 'Defence Of The Ancients'. The drama is very apparent in the lead melodies and horrific samples that lace the atmosphere, while a driving bassline gives the experience a vital impetus.

In one of the dream team ups of 2013 we find Patrick Baker and Televisor joining neon forces to create a romping synth pop gem in 'Can't Get Enough'. The pure pop brilliance of both of these artists are apparent from the outset and the rockin just doesn't stop. 80s soul and a modern edge give this a magical aura that is unmistakably Televisor, add in Mr Baker's golden tones for bubblegum pop refined and re-engineered for a new age.

NightStop's been busy this week with two great tracks shared. It was a bit hard to choose between the two, but 'Aerobics' offers a majestic Winwood/Rain Sword-esque lead melody I simply couldn't resist. The music is light and energetic and full of 80s love, while his other piece 'Drive-By Stalking' takes his sounds into much darker moods with a penchant for nocturnal violence. Both tracks rock hard in wonderfully different ways.

A new rocker for Synthetix.FM! I'm very pleased to introduce KFDDA to everyone and his gorgeous new piece of melting synth romance 'Flammamor'. The intimate melodies are beautifully crafted with intimacy and longing, the entire piece is one protracted, warm embrace the emits golden allure throughout.

More arse kicking synth from Python Blue! He's just released 'Eclipse' as a FREE download track and it's a hot rockin affair full of pounding drums, electric synths and high tension. Python Blue's gift for arrangements is wonderfully realised in this piece as each element is introduced and evolved with  pin-point precision. Refined to perfection and performed for pure exhilaration.

Timecop1983 is back with new emotional piece entitled 'Childhood Memories'. The synthscape is mellow and sparse with each element phased in and out time and space, adding a hugely nostalgic flavour to the experience. It's haunting and uplifting at the same time and quickly becomes very easy to get lost in. Be sure to check Timecop1983's 'Space Jam' track which he also shared this week, which is also a FREE download.

Our final piece for this week's Weekend Update is a rockin track from another new artist on the scene: Le Roix. Fusing dramatic and powerful percussion with smoothly angelic melodies, 'Goodbye' is a wondrous adventure in synth romance. Many thanks to Sam Haggblad for enlightening me to Le Roix!

One final note before I finish of this Weekend Update, I've received a few emails regarding some music tracks being out of wack with my writing, or pointing to an entirely different song. If you see this occur, please let me know through the contact form with the details of what needs fixing and I'll get onto it. I need to know what needs fixing exactly though. I'm not sure if it's a browser issue or just my ineptitude, so please bear with me and let me know if somethings amiss. I do realise, when looking back through posts, that some tracks are no longer on soundcloud, I can't do much about that and I won't be going back and adjusting them all however, if a producer wishes to remove a track that is their prerogative.

That does us for another Weekend Update on Synthetix.FM, I'll be back during the week with more of the hottest action from the 80s inspired scene. 'Til then, stay 80s and keep on rockin.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Hemendex Offer Solutions To Reality

Eastern Europe seems to always be one of the hottest locations on the planet for 80s inspired synth music that aims for the authenticity of vintage sounds as a priority. Modern elements are often included as a complimentary bonus, more than the backbone of the music and in Hemendex's new record we're given a totally rockin mix of quality early 80s synth pop that has then been frosted with just enough modern details to give it a time and space. These rockers from Zagreb, Croatia have just released a new album, Solution To Reality, and it is something that I've found absolutely captivating.

The Hemendex soundscape is a mix of Cold War European electro synth, akin to Monuments' and Linear Movement's work, but give a glossy pink splash of Duran Duran's bassline driven synthpop. The combination of sounds works amazingly well with Hemendex being a three piece band allowing for a very live and electric feel to their music. It's not often I get to say on Synthetix.FM how I'd love to see modern producers of 80s inspired synth music perform live, but a Hemendex live show would be something I'd be in raptures over.

Theres a harder/80s indie edge to Hemendex's sound that is highly energetic. The vocals are delivered with cutting sarcasm and biting commentary and very little about Hemendex's sound falls into the traditional synth categories I usually cover on Synthetix.FM but there is no denying this music is fashioned from vibrant 80s colours, painted with strong strokes, from a hugely palette in a refreshing and bold manner.

In each song I hear new and old sounds combining in a way that honours them and re-envisages them. The opening song, 'Faith In War', I've previously covered in a Weekend Update on here, but it must reiterated how well Hemendex capture the New Order ambiance with the bass and guitars while adding their own flavours on top. The social commentary in the lyrics is also done in a very 80s-indie manner with glorious metaphors and a delightful air of cynicism the post-punk bands of the early 80s would be proud of.

With 'Pick Me Up' we get to experience a spectacular revision of Duran Duran's sounds taken out the back of Europe and toughened up into a streetwise anthem. The groove is solid and deep and the synths  dance with electronic precision while the vocals add the extra bite to the synthscape. 'Initial Ideas' takes the direction into purely synth driven pop drama with the vocals taking on indignant bitterness that does a beautiful job of conveying frustrations while keeping things super catchy as the final chapters become sublimely anthemic.

The album keeps the pace up and rockin hard with third chapter 'Song In A Minor' with pulsating synth melodies offering a frenetic companion to even more totally kick arse lyrics providing an eloquent dissertation on night club rendezvous betwixt DJ's and patrons. A bitterness flavours the entire episode and some carefully considered elements of self loathing creep in too. Very nicely done.

The short interlude of 'TV Zagreb' leads into the title track, and it's only really here that I find the album falters a little and the songwriting seems to switch to a more indie-90s flavour. It feels a bit lacking in passion, but that is then contrasted by the return to form in the next track 'Fall Together'. This is  the perfect nihilistic three and a half minute synth pop song with loads 80s love and another catchy chorus delivered while song evolves and builds with an action packed structure.

'Safe From Ghosts' comes up next, adding another little oddity to the album. I can hear elements of The Cure's more synth oriented music here, but at just over ninety seconds the experience is over before it begins. More indirect channeling of New Order can be felt in the second last song, 'Just Because' as Peter Hook style lines drive the chorus. The overall tone of the track is leaning towards modern sounds and styles, but Hemendex walk a line between both worlds spectacularly well, especially with a delightful homage to Duran Duran's Save A Prayer wending it's way through the background of the experience.

The final track on the album is one of the strongest as the chorus refrain is drilled in early as synths and bass join voice in unison for a quirky track that is full of 80s love. The simplistic nature of the song is what gives it so much charm and this uncomplicated story is allowed to hit with maximum impact. This could quite happily be a Missing Persons lost single from 1983, which is most righteous.

Hemendex's latest album is full of rockin ideas packaged and performed in a way that I find really captures the spirit of early 80s synth pop. The lyrics and melodies are crafted with great skill and although the modern touches can become a little to prominent on some tracks, for my tastes, the overall experience is absolutely engaging in an uncommon manner. There are few of the well worn 80s trappings in this album, nothing feels like it's trying to 'do' 80s sounds in a one dimensional way, instead Hemendex continue the magic and lineage from the early 80s synth pop movements with an unabashed honesty and their own individual vision.

Hemendex present the Solution To Reality album on their Bandcamp page, here at a name-your-own-price point. Synthetix.FM highly recommends this album to those of you wanting a more biting edge to your 80s inspired synthpop, with a minimum of bubblegum, but a whole lot of rockin. Be sure to follow Hemendex on their soundcloud page here and give these rockers some well deserved love and support.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Dance With The Dead Move You Out Of Your Body

Theres been a tonne of music released this Halloween, it was always going to be a struggle to cover it all but there were some releases that have been 'event releases' in their own right. The second massive blockbuster of this Halloween (after Lazerhawk's Skull + Shark) is the long awaited debut album by Dance With The Dead; Out Of Body.

I've been following this act since Jaypeau's first experiments with 80s inspired sounds earlier this year and it's been a wild ride to get to this point. Much like Lazerhawk's latest record has been an epic journey so to has this one. Throughout the year we've been teased with tracks, demos and previews, all pointing to this album release. I must say, I really enjoy this process, Lost Years (who has just released a new record too) follows this style as well. The interest is kept high throughout the year and the end result feels like a road the fan and artist have travelled together, making for a hugely celebratory finale to this particular adventure.

The styles of Messrs Dance With The Dead has evolved along this passage of time and throughout 2013 ardent fans have been privy to these evolutionary changes. Initially a much more traditionally OutRun sound was the modus operandi, this then took a turn to the more grandiose soundtrack style and structure and with the addition of ToeKnee to the line up the final incarnation saw the inclusion of guitars as well as sharpened slash electro edges to the experience. This has made Out Of Body a diverse yet well themed package and all the set pieces line up as if destiny had prepared them for such auspiciousness aeons ago.

One can't help but succumb to the darker elements Dance With The Dead allow to seep and sometimes flood into their music however the duo have ensured this remains only a segment of the actual experience. Tempering the fires of evil with poignant melodies and energetic flourishes when needed while still being able to pull back to more delicate elements and keep the focus on the staple ingredients of each track. After hearing many of these tracks previously, and now being able to hear them in their ultimate format, I find the familiarity allows me to dive deeper into the make up of each piece.

After the introductory scare-piece the rockin tones of 'Robeast' awaken with a monstrous surge of electric energy and thundering omnipotence. This track was one of their more recent teasers and as an opener is sets fire to the synthscape with volatile synths and dimension tearing guitars. It's like going from 0 to 1,000 in a nanosecond with G-Forces assailing your senses with an intensely bludgeoning melee. The aural ambiance is heavy, heavy like lead. Thick with anger and hell bent on obliteration.

The structures of the pieces is one of the strongest parts of Dance With The Dead's music. It's all well and good to deliver this point blank intensity, but without a purpose to it a numbness is sure to follow. Exploring the musical landscape and drawing stories and possibilities is what this duo do best. One needs only get one minute into the incredibly rad 'Fracture' to be whisked away on emotive synth melodies that give contrast to the artillery like percussion. The pulling away of the threads and exposing the inner workings of the music allow them to create completely entrancing set pieces that are microcosms of rich synth brilliance.

Much like many of the best producers in the scene Dance With The Dead balance the modern and vintage on a razors edge, often with the emotional context of the 80s being used as opposed to authentic passages. On tracks like 'Thrasher' one is taken into a much more traditionally 80s synthscape with massively dramatic changes and excitement that is as pure as it is intoxicating. The lead melody is dripping with reverence to 80s emotions and coupled with the arse kicking guitars and drums makes for something that is an epitome of modern and vintage combinations.

Dance With The Dead can reign things in, and they do this regularly throughout the album as pieces of more subtle context are slotted between the violent synth storms that punctuate the landscape. These aural oasis take on forms that strike with a velvet glove rather than a megaton hammer. Their intensity remains high, the title track of the album introduces ghostly spectres that haunt with peaceful intentions instead of violent ones. Thankfully these pieces are not of a perfunctory nature and are explored with as much detail as the more explosive tracks.

As the album moves into the middle tracks the stories and relevance of other previously experienced tracks are now given much more importance. 'The Deep' does a fantastic rendition of slow motion OutRun that is then taken to new, loftier heights courtesy of the soaring guitars and shooting stars. In fact, the mid section of the album is almost completely devoid of slash electro elements in favour of bolstering triumphant melodies with imaginative builds and ethereal constructs. 'Dancing On Air' makes the mood ever so slightly darker, but it's a much more introspective contemplation and once again capitalises on the beauty of the melodies driving the experience into wonderfully verdant synthscapes.

Ironically or,  more than likely, intentionally 'Only A Dream' shatters previous hypotheses with a roaring rhythmic engine of vast power being unleashed in a synth and guitar fury. I absolutely adore the guitars in this record, possibly the best implementation I've heard of guitars in 80s inspired synth music, and this track just rocks that idea all the way through with riffs and solos detonating non stop in an all out attack on the senses that is thoroughly righteous in the most rockin manner.

The emotional depth of some tracks is what gives them all their allure, though the intensity can be packed at an atomic level there is always the beauty of the melodies that Dance With The Dead allow to create their own magic around. 'Hell Ride' is full of spritely melodic passages that resonate deeply while the Devil's own bassline recites diabolical incantations in another dimension of musical space. Everything ties together though, and the stories are always clear and sharp, never trite or forced with the balance of good and evil always making for intensely entertaining chapters.

The back end of the album ramps things up considerably as incendiary elements combine in turbulent synth melodramas. 'Cobra' rocks into oblivion and back with break neck speed, hell bent on disaster or glory and taking no prisoners in the process while 'Mr Terror' adds a cinematic flair to the proceedings while retaining a force of unknown origin and intentions as orchestral passages combine with the shredding guitars and dancing synths in a sublime sonata of stygian surrounds.

On 'Zombie Night'  and  'Stitch' we find Dance With The Dead treading on much newer grounds with a much more modern aesthetic that dominates the soundscape. The vintage elements are limited almost exclusively to the melodies and much of the rhythm sections and percussion are devoid of their vintage details. This brings a different intensity that I feel just loses a little bit of the magic lustre present in the other tracks on the album. The combination of eras is something Dance With The Dead really do very well, but the compass guiding these two tracks just seems a little off the true direction. That said they're both still rockin tracks, full of energy and rockin thrills.

The final piece on the album is possibly my favourite track by Dance With The Dead thus far as a new intensity that slows things right down and focuses the melodies with diamond clarity. 'Sunset' has one of the most moving melodies I've heard in 2013, the combination of tear inducing grace and rolling thunder-like power is an awe inspiring combination. The drama of the piece is taken to incredibly vivid extremes as each rise and fall is detailled to absolute perfection. A fitting end to a totally rad album.

The journey for Dance With The Dead in 2013 has been on I've feel honoured I've been able to experience first hand. The trials and tribulations of their musical adventure has bore fruit that is full of new exciting flavours and transports the listener to new worlds of possibilities where new and vintage sounds exist in wonderful harmonies. Out Of Body represents a huge experience of so many fantastic chapters that are so insightfully played out that it's hard to fault in the slightest.

Dance With The Dead present the Out Of Body album on their Bandcamp page here, Synthetix.FM wholeheartedly recommends this album to all fans of 80s inspired synth, it is truly a Synthetix Reference Experience. The elemental alchemy that Dance With The Dead conjure in every track is brimming with emotional intimacy and unbridled and intense excitement. The combinations of new and vintage sounds are thoroughly explored and, most importantly, understood and implemented in a way I find completely entrancing. I hope you, too, get to Dance With The Dead and allow them to take you out of your body to beautifully realised synthscapes of stunning distinction.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Synthetix Weekend Update

The Halloween Festivities continue on Synthetix.FM into an unprecedented second week! Yes, theres just too much music for the season around to move on. When will it end? Well, I'd say the upcoming review of Dance With The Dead's debut album should bookend things nicely. 'Til then, we're still rockin the darkness with candy coursing through our veins and Jack-o'-lantern vestiges still glowing bright!

One of the true highlights of Halloween 2013 is the phenomenal compilation released by Playmaker. The Miami Cannibal Massacre is deep laceration after laceration of sharpened synth slashes, boasting a cast of serial superstars thirsting for blood and vengeance. It's a staggering display of talent from the scene on show here, with the devil's share of tracks being exclusively available in this compilation.

Even more rockin is the upcoming physical release of this on cassette with a poster of the cover art. Click through the player to the Bandcamp page for more information on this rockin limited edition.

Let's keep the volume turned all the way up to rad with the new Synthetix Weekend Update!

The Glow Racing project from Montana Games keeps on rockin as more musical talent signs on. Apollo Zapp is the latest addition to the stable and his new track 'Glow Racing Theme' adds a very smooth and sophisticated air to the proceedings. Not a fast paced, frenetic OutRun affair, but instead creating an undulating synthscape that flows effortlessly.

Evanton are celebrating their first year anniversary with a kickin new track available for FREE download. 'Living In The 80s' brings the Evanton sound out of it's Italo roots and into some different territory as the melodies are given a new personality, complete with synth strings filling in the background. It's not what I'd call their most 80s sounding track, but it certainly rocks!

Time to take the Halloween sounds into the realms of synth pop with the new track from Kid Indiglo titled 'Wolf At The Door'. The subject matter is dark, but the melodic structure provides much beauty with a fantastic narrative in both the lyrics and music. To celebrate Halloween this song is currently available for FREE download, so get on it and rock it.

Something new now from Timecop1983. This producer has been searching for his sound if his soundcloud is anything to go bu and I think he's found it in 'Into The Night'. Luxurious OutRun elements are brought together with much homage to the leaders of the scene. The flow is unmistakable, and hopefully this leads to Timecop1983 developing his craft further.

Someone who's spent most of 2013 developing their craft is the ever-rockin Foreign Blade. I've loved so much of this producer's music throughout the year and continue to be wowed by his work and '1 Kilo And 486 Miles' is no exception. You want rich, emotive melodies? You got 'em. You want an exciting narrative that will take you on an epic journey? That's here too. This track is spectacularly well crafted and as a wonderful bonus is currently available for FREE download.

Next up is the hot new debut EP from Polymatrix. This self-titled three track affair from this new Polish producer introduces us to his music with rockin results. Style wise the three tracks on offer are cut from the more epic fabrics of space and time and there are some superb nods to 70s prog synths sounds as well as 80s emotions.

The opening track serves as a great introduction as 'Nightrider' takes a really kick arse later 70s sounding melody and weaves it's story through ages and stages of evolutionary development that explodes in the final chapter with ferocious neon incandescence. 'Heart Of The City' is a tad more obtuse in it's delivery as the introduction builds from numerous directions into synth soundtrack themed piece. The sweeping synths layer in beauty over the chaos before the main synth melody rocks onto the scene and switches the entire piece into amazing new dimensions. The third track, '2087' is easily the most sci-fi feeling piece on the EP and shows once again that Polymatrix has a deft touch for developing his musical ideas into deeply rich stories.

This is a fantastic debut release from this artist and I'll be greatly looking forward to hearing more form Polymatrix in the future. For now you can pick up this great EP on his Bandcamp page here, at a name-your-own-price point.

Let's get back to some funkier stuff now with some hot new PH Groove. 'Rocket Power' is another adventure into the funkified future synth of PH Groove and continues his trend of making sure every avenue of a track is explored before it's finish. The six minute plus track length of PH Groove's more  releases are something I thoroughly applaud as it gives the listener the opportunity be fully ensconced in the music. 'Rocket Power' exemplifies this with it's totally kick arse synth melodies allowed to rock all over the universe; and you can let it rock all over yours too as it's currently available for FREE download!

Hot on the heels of his fantastic new album Scan Lines (which I endeavour to review on Synthetix.FM soon) is an unreleased track from LA Dreams entitled 'Am I Dreaming'. I find this piece most interesting as to me, as long time LA Dreams fan, it sounds like it was made a while back as it has a different air about it, production wise, although I wouldn't be surprised if I'm entirely wrong. Either way this is full of that gorgeous LA Dreams magic that is always so wonderful to experience.

A hot new collaboration from Stellar Dreams and Who Ha has surfaced and it's totally k-rad to the max.  A spooky synth  Halloween motif accented with Who Ha's inimitable comedic brilliance. The music is a great introduction to Stellar Dreams new dark experiments and I defy you to not have the 'Spooky Stellar, Spooky Who Ha' refrain looping in your head long after the song has ended. This is an absolute gem, so rock it hard and often.

And speaking of Stellar Dreams, the rockers themselves had a hot new EP out in time for the Halloween Season entitled Audiolove. This release marks a bit of a change in the Stellar Dreams soundscape, as evidenced above in their collaboration with Who Ha, which finds the duo digging into darker textures and ideas, abandoning much of their previous production styles in favour of a much more grisly slash electro flavour.

It should be no surprise to anyone that this works exceptionally well as the combination of their beautifully crafted melodies are now contrasted by a raw and violent energy. There are elements of the Carpenter Brut and Perturbator school of slash electro present throughout the EP and these darker energies are explosive and intense throughout,  however on  'Dance For Yesterday' Stellar Dreams allow their 80s soul to glow with much more loving colours but this is much more of a stop off than a destination on Audiolove.

It's provides for a very interesting synthscape, the balls-out synth violence of pieces like 'Haste' and 'Sound Of Blood' are riveting and full of instant gratification, whereas the final piece, 'The Vow' offers a combination of both peace and violence as the grand melodies are carved out with an aggressive instrumentation. The experiment comes off with much success and Audiolove shows that the Stellar Dreams experience is still going through developments to find it's true form.

Grab your copy of Audiolove on Stellar Dreams' Bandcamp page here, it's a wild ride into the darker creative energies of Stellar Dreams, tempered by their innate 80s love and most importantly it rocks from beginning to end.

2013 has certainly been a great year if your a fan of Cougar Synth. This duo has released some of the most lusciously luxurious 80s inspired synth adventures over the year and continue to impress with each new track. On their latest work, 'Visions' we find absolutely glorious synth melodies caressing a wonderful bass line in an embrace of rapturous passion. This is Cougar Synth doing what they do best, and it's totally magical to experience. You can add this to your music collection courtesy of the FREE download button in the player too.

This leads us perfectly into the new vision from Palm Highway Chase. Palm Highway Chase has been around since the beginning of the 80s inspired synth scene and his importance and relevance is explained to perfection in this new preview for his upcoming cassette release through Beer On The Rug. This track is the epitome of what emotive soundtrack synth is all about. The structure, the elements, the progressions, they're all perfectly moulded into an incredibly deep experience. To find out more about the mysterious producer known only as Palm Highway Chase to his many fans tune into KFAI's live stream today (Sunday) at 10AM CST for a live interview with him by scene icon Noah Kaufman as part of his Synth Waves show.

To finish off this week's Weekend Update we have the triumphant return of Project Friday to announce. The show's been on hiatus for the last few months, but Steve 'Silent Gloves' Gillson is back and ready to rock this Friday, the 8th of November. Get onto the Project Friday's website here and Facebook page here for more information!

As a final word for this week's Weekend Update I had the pleasure of joining Noah Kaufman, LA Dreams and RF Extreme on the Across The Board show on KFAI this past Friday. The live broadcast was a hell of a lof of fun and is something I'll be hopefully much more involved in in the future, you can listen to the stream or download the show here under the 11/01/2013 show under Recent Playlists.

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