Saturday, March 29, 2014

Synthetix Weekend Update

Due to soundcloud refusing to participate properly, as of writing, this Weekend Update will focus exclusively on some of the rockin EP releases that have occurred over the last couple of weeks. I hope that next week's Weekend Update will be back to normal programming.

McGain - Artery

First rocker up is McGain with his latest EP, Artery. McGain's style mixes up a lot of vintage sounds and arrangements with melodies that are more modern, creating a mix of old and new that is very pleasing to listen to. The five tracks of Artery work a macabre aesthetic that gives a delightful air of horror to each track.

Opening with 'Reminisce' we get the blood pumping fast with exciting rhythms working feverishly beneath a slightly off kilter melodies. The music works as a dichotomy throughout the EP as the beauty and positivity of the sounds are accented by a deeper, darker element that always seems threatening to explode. My favourite track title on the EP has to be track two's 'Limb Vendor', heavy percussion and scattered melodies create inquisitive passages and writes a deep narrative to sew it all together.

The most surprising track on the EP is definitely the title track with its darkly delivered vocal track that crosses over brilliantly from the romantic to the grotesque. It's an ominously haunting work of vast entertainment. The transition into even darker synth continues with 'Bleed Air'. The synthscape is completely devoid of any positivity as glowering melodies and sweeping winds cast a spell of diabolical intent. Artery finishes with the high energy 'Dr Castle', which has been a Synthetix.FM favourite since its inclusion on the Halloween Rhythm Vivisection Mixtape. The ambience completes the EP very well indeed with atmospheres remaining tense and intimidating throughout.

Future80s Records presents McGain's Artery on their Bandcamp page here, this EP is highly recommended to those with a yearning for the darker side of 80s inspired synth music as it really captures that fearful element while keeping its tongue firmly in cheek.


The crossover of modern and vintage sounds really creates some incredibly fresh new soundscapes. The work of Klockhaus, Amazing Police, Robots With Rayguns, Starcadian, Navigateur and others manage to always capture my attention with their bending and repurposing of existing 80s ideas in a modern time. Swagbot is definitely another one of these artists that allow their imagination to explode in 80s neon rainbows in exciting and original ways.

Although arranged with a huge amount of modernity each track each of the tracks have 80s souls burning deep within them. 'Frozen In Time' opens the experience; detonating megatons of synth energies all at once and raucously pummelling each facet of sound into dangerously explosive new variations. The vocal refrain is perfect and each chapter to the experience is stunningly executed.

Opting for more house flavours, 'Sometimes' takes me back to the early 2000s with it's French Touch aesthetic, but this reasonably traditional track is then followed by the fractured and fantastic 'The Only One'. Densely compacted synth melodies jostle for space amid the mechanical percussion tracks with fervent vocal samples adding even more panic to the experience. 'Trying' takes another turn, with a thoroughly rockin electro breakin' atmosphere which is full of killer 80s moves and cut with a chemically sharpened blade of contemporary energies. The final track, 'Rocknrolla' offers up another dimension of sample driven 80s homages with a marching beat that is impossible to resist and arrangements positively burning up energetic intensity.

Swagbot presents the Frozen In Time EP on his Bandcamp page here and this release to totally rockin to the max. The music is so tightly packed and engineered for maximum power that it's invigorating to listen to and contains an aesthetic all its own in the bulk of the compositions.


KFDDA - Grime Time

'Grime Time' is the new EP from KFDDA and is a concept work greatly inspired by the likes of side scrolling beat-em-up video games and movies like The Warriors and 1990: The Bronx Warriors. The music couples together classic game soundtrack music with a 70s-synth-futurism and all manner of 80s inspirations in between that creates a totally rockin atmosphere painted with heavy strokes of nihilism and violence.

That isn't to say this record is dark synth though, the music can definitely get very bleak, but the instrumentations lend the synthscape more to a night soundtrack than pure out and out horror vibes. Opening salvos 'Can You Dig It' and 'The Culling Of Droids' create much tension and apprehension but also are exciting and inspiring in their make up. Dark streets are empty, but distant sounds of savagery beckon.

Opting for a much less dark atmosphere in 'Heroes Never Die'; KFDDA unleashes all a furious synth assault that would be at home on any boss level from a bullet hell shoot em up. The pace is break neck and the intensity completely unrelenting. This track leads into the OutRun styled 'She Gets Even' which takes to the streets with vengeance specific auras emanating all kinds of ill will.

The wonderfully titled 'Death By Download' brings in a decidedly early 80s European feel to the experience with EBM inspired passages illuminating all manner of nocturnal obeisance. The unforgiving percussion takes full control and and random patrols of the local constabulary can only try to contain the gang conflict that threatens to burn the city to the ground. The final track offers another energetic piece, with the melody veritably bursting at the seams before disappearing into the ravaged urban decay.

KFDDA presents the Grime Time EP on his Bandcamp here and is also currently available in limited amounts on rockin cassette format, complete with a poster of the artwork. This concept release is full of thrills and spills and creates the great deal of excitement and panic, often at the same time. Highly recommended to be your soundtrack next time you take to the streets with revenge on your mind.


Preqwal - Dimension (Side B)

I missed the first part of this release unfortunately, which was Dimension (Side A) released last December whilst Synthetix.FM was on vacation, but I'm pleased to be able cover the second half of Preqwal's 80s synth journey in Side B of this project. Both sides of the Dimension album mark Preqwal's first forays into 80s inspired synth sounds and the tracks contained on this record show much promise and understanding of 80s sounds and emotions.

As stated on his Bandcamp profile, this producer is highly influenced by 80s soundtrack sounds and in Dimension we hear and feel that beautiful 80s glow driving the experience. A decidedly Miami Vice-esque vibe opens up with 'Electric Streets' as slow, smooth melodies are given beautiful spaces to work in. Preqwal's arrangements are sumptuously created, allowing for elegant melodies to be fully explored and detailed. He takes things in a new direction in 'Palm Trees And Rollerskates' which although bright and positive in melody has numerous darker elements in the synthscape that keep your guessing.

'The Future Is Now' introduces a spacey futurism to the aesthetic with sparkling melodies dancing amid pulsing basslines and crisp percussion. The implementation of classic 80s news samples achieves a tad less success with their balance and placement seeming just a bit out of whack with music.  The next track 'At The Wheel' finds synth mirages forming in the heat haze of the road ahead but still keeping a restrained control over the music which is kept to a canter. The airy nature of Preqwal's synthscapes keep a wonderfully light nature to the passages.

This positive nature takes on a more dramatic tension in 'Infiltrater'. The progression are definitely cut from a darker cloth and delivered with a more pointed focus and the intensity ramps up very nicely indeed from the midpoint on. The album finishes with 'One Last Race' which definitely stands out from the pack with even more darker elements and a tone to the instruments which befits that threat of impending terror magnificently well. The structure and power of this piece definitely makes it the highlight of the release.

Preqwal presents the Dimension (Side B) on his Bandcamp page here but more importantly physical copies of Dimension featuring sides A and B available here in a both cassette and compact disc formats. I do hope Preqwal continues his musical journey in 80s inspired sounds as much of the music on this record displays a warmth and genuine appreciation of classic sounds that deserve to be given even more exploration and new life.


Alpha Boy - Daily News

The final item I'd like to include in this EP oriented Weekend Update is a single, but definitely needs to be given due appreciation. Alpha Boy's new track 'Daily News' is something I found very special indeed. The approach to the melody and sounds is a marked change from Alpha Boy's normal blueprint and the overall atmosphere is much more live and vital.  If I had heard this track without knowing previous that it was an Alpha Boy piece I'd be hard up to say who wrote it, such is the departure from his usual creative hallmarks.

The air of 80s naïveté is still beautifully employed but the ambience is more robust and full of insightful arrangements. It's jazzy and vibrant and full of 80s magic and totally rockin to the max.

At least the one Weekend Update tradition I can do this week is a hot new rockin video and courtesy of  scene auteur Neros77 we have a fantastic new video for Tommy's remix of Protector101's 'Fighting Spirit'. Complete with a spectacular ending sequence that is a true work of genius.

 I do apologise for not being able to make this a regularly formatted Weekend Update, but I hope you still found some rad new tunes to keep the 80s dream rockin. I'll be back during the week with more action from the 80s inspired synth scene. 'Til then, stay 80s and keep on rockin.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Astral Stereo Project In Disco Death Sleaze

Synthetix.FM last visited with Astral Stereo Project in September last year with the Anti Hero LP in which many wonders of vintage synth sounds were explored and detailed. Neil Holdsworth has now released the follow up album to Anti Hero with the wonderfully titled Disco Death Sleaze album and the Astral Stereo Project sound gets taken into some very rockin new dimensions.

The actual sound of Astral Stereo Project is most unlike a lot of the 'standard definitions' of 80s inspired synth music. In Disco Death Sleaze we're treated to an even broader horizon of synthscapes that results in some remarkable combinations of sounds and melodies. Obvious inspirations from artists like Pink Floyd and Bowie run through much of the vocal oriented tracks while classical styled pieces meld with the disco synth moods seamlessly. This is album is highly ambitious in each track and it's a true indication of Neil Holdsworth's talent in songwriting that makes this album so engaging.

One of the most alluring features of the Astral Stereo Project, and this album in particular, is that you're never quite sure where you stand, from track to track and even chapter to chapter of individual tracks. In the opening piece, 'Discotheque', we're greeted by screams of terror before beautifully uplifting melodies take us on an intergalactic voyage. The samples and vocals and precision arrangements create something I guarantee you've never quite heard before. It's bewitching and comforting while causing just a hint of uneasiness. A tone that puts you in good stead for the rest of the album.

The smooth melodies of Astral Stereo Project have definitely matured noticeably since Anti Hero and this brilliant, languid exploration of melodies is very pronounced in the second track 'Savage Narcissus'. The accents on the melody are sharp as a knife with crashing cymbals as high voltage guitars bringing and air of maliciousness to the calm tranquility of the lead refrain.

'DeSelle Intermezzo' introduces some highly refined and articulate classical embellishments to the synthscape. The high energy OutRun drums somehow manage to compliment the suite of strings and synths sing harmoniously working a magic all their own. This blending of classical and 80s sounds is absolutely one of my favourite new developments in the 80s inspired synth scene and Holdsworth conjures megatons of sweeping, emotional melodic structures that make two vintage sound forms all brand new.

The Astral Stereo Project's penchant for the dirtier side of disco melodies really shines in track four, 'Goin Boogyin'. The sleaze is positively dripping off the arrangements with grinding bodies administering all manner of funky frottage. The 70s sounds crossover beautifully with the 80s elements and the resulting mix is sure to get anyone hot and bothered in the best possible way.

Exploring more ambient pop moods becomes a new part of the Astral Stereo Project experience and in 'Skin Deep' we experience a new level of glowing pop magic. The arrangements are delectably delicate, gauzy with sentiment and reminiscence and the poetic vocal performance is earth shatteringly spectacular. 'Skin Deep' is pure vintage pop perfection and a real jewel in the crown for this record.

'Cruising (2AM)' takes things back onto the road with a rockin bassline ushering in dramatic percussion  returning to an OutRun motif. Melodies intimate a boiling beneath the austere surface which then takes on a new sense of being courtesy of the cool vocal track. The vocals add pathos and ask questions, leading to further ill intentions but this darker side is merely shadows flashing by, moments of weakness, moments you can't come back from, that lie down a path not taken.

The classical disco synth returns with delightful vengeance in track seven 'Death In Bavaria'. By enlisting glistening piano sounds the melodies are given refreshing contrast against the synth and strings backdrop. The second movement of this piece is exuberantly grandiose in the eloquently explored melodies. It's a beautiful piece of music that again mixes sounds of different past centuries into a timeless experience.

The final track of Disco Death Sleaze is possibly the complete opposite of all three title words as 'Lieben Suite' basks in the beauty created in ' Skin Deep' and adds a classy refinement to it that is absolutely glorious. The lyrics speak of moving on from the painful past romance while the feelings of days passed offer only a faint pain. Looking forward, to something more, to a better time without her. 'Lieben Suite''s lyrical refrain is painfully poignant and is uttered with reflective understanding. The soundscape provides a bittersweet melancholy which sums up the sentiment perfectly.

The Astral Stereo Project presents the Disco Death Sleaze album on Bandcamp here. I found this album brimming over with beautiful arrangements and visionary songwriting. The music and vocals work in perfect tandem with each other, complimenting nuances and giving massive gravitas and emotion to the experience. Synthetix.FM very, very highly recommends this album as wonderfully rich example of how styles of numerous decades and centuries can be combined into something far greater than the sum of its parts.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

MUSCLE Flexes The Pump

To think that more than a month ago the name MUSCLE was unknown in the 80s inspired synth scene and today has one of the best EPs of the year out on Future City Records shows how fast things can move in this day and age. The fact of the matter is that MUSCLE broke out with his very first track and captured hearts and imaginations instantaneously with huge experiences that demand one's attention.

I often think about 'the 80s sound' and what it means and feels for something to be so recognisable as being from the decade we love so much. One thing that I find is integral to the enjoyment of this kind music, the aspect that really gets me into is quite simple. Fun. Pure and simple fun. Music from the 80s is fun, it brings a level of joyfulness to the sounds, the fun is there in the melodies, in the lyrics and in the energy. It's what makes this music so vastly enjoyable to me personally a great deal of the time. One should never discount 'fun' as being shallow or trite. Having fun in your life is integral to genuine happiness, and being able to get this in music is something 80s inspired synth does for me oh so very often.

I'm sure if you listen to this music around people unfamiliar with it you'll experience a sneer, or some back handed comment about it being 'cheesy' or 'corny' music. For some people out there music has to be serious and meaningful beyond base emotions. I really think this is a shame. One need only look back to your childhood to songs you loved, songs you now think 'my god, that's so embarrassing'. As adults we're apparently supposed to find deeper meaning in everything, something just can't 'be' what it is.

We need to understand it and judge it based on our intellect and what we believe to be 'good' or even 'cool'. Where does fun come into this? It doesn't. I think this is a big problem a lot of people develop in their relationship with music over the years. That pure joy you felt as a kid hearing some bubblegum pop track suddenly makes you ashamed. Why is this? The same song should take you back to those days, the days when music was just fun and you didn't give a damn about what other people thought about it.

For probably a multitude of reasons, now it doesn't. Sometimes you'll let the joy show through the cracks when enough alcohol is consumed and you drop your guard or some other situation, but really, why can't we get that feeling any time? When music has so much wonderful power to effect us so quickly and so deeply, why do we not allow it do so as often as possible? These awful limitations we place on ourselves are something I hope the 80s inspired synth scene changes in people and brings them back to what music is all about.

Being able to experience fun in music is one my own personal favourite pleasures in life. I can feel that glow, smiling both inwardly and outwardly, with each chord and note resonating and rockin me to the core with it's magical essence. For me, personally, this is a great deal of the magic I experience in this music in particular and I'm sure many of reading this feel the same way, well, I hope you do! Which brings us to MUSCLE's debut EP The Pump.

Really spending some time over the last week listening to this EP has inspired much of what I've previously written in this review. MUSCLE gets the 80s. MUSCLE gets that fun vibe, he takes it to all manner of other dimensions in this EP too, but the overriding element that gives this release in particular  such a rad atmosphere is, pure and simply, that it is great fun to listen to.

Right from 'Feel The Steel' with it's brash bravado of dramatic synths we know this is going to be something special. The chords ring deep and triumphantly. Searing leads ooze sensuality and the energy of MUSCLE begins to pulse and flex with each beat. Melodies radiate 80s brilliance in shining, vibrant colours and the music takes over full control of our imaginations.

The whole gym/workout gimmick that MUSCLE works is thoroughly convincing and encompassing. We're not talking about a single track that's based on 80s workout music, no, no. We're talking about the ultimate soundtrack to every aspect of physical training crystallised into one sweaty fantasy of body worship. On the title track of the EP MUSCLE enlists some seriously sexy vocals that writhe in passion along wailing guitars and sensuous synths to create a perfect experience in everything that makes the 80s rock.

'Our Bodies In Heat' gets the heart rate moving even faster as bright, sparkling synths work the body's natural rhythms in time. The instruments explore all kinds of energetic routines and are held together with a bassline that refuses to give and pushes beyond the limit. This track is pure inspiration and builds to a climax that delivers some incredibly rockin satisfaction.

The rock aspect of MUSCLE's sounds are brought out into the open in the following track, which has the totally kick arse name of 'All My Ex's Died In Texas'. Electric guitars chug out huge riffs that create a new kind of heat in the MUSCLE soundscape. This time they aren't riding shotgun but are instead planted firmly in the driver's seat. The bluesy rock adds a whole new dimension to the sounds, charged with energy and telling a tale of love, double-crosses and emotions running high in the scorching noon sun.

The cool of night ushers in Italo Disco synth action and MUSCLE takes to the dancefloor in the laser filled 'IL Stallone'. Melodies are purely refined Italo magic, scintillatingly catchy and arranged with the sole intention of getting you hooked on their addictive, glossy lustre.  The middle section of this track winds things down beautifully for a break in the intensity and giving a close, personal interlude before returning to the laser lite dancefloor and tearing it up in an Italo frenzy.

The final chapter of The Pump is the salaciously rockin 'Sexin' In The Steamroom'. Arnold himself divulges all manner of personal intimacies about his real workout proclivities and making his own steam powered fun factory. The music is rife with alluring melodies that contain lush flavours of classic 80s Synth Erotica while the guitars straddle and gyrate with a sensual dexterity that is as arousing as it is hypnotising.

For all the rockin good times on this EP and all the different modus operandi that MUSCLE employs it is always the aspect of pure fun that courses through every track. You just know MUSCLE had a tonne of fun writing and creating this EP and it translates to listener directly. The fun is honest and upfront, it doesn't use pretence or masquerade as something else, the EP is just pure 80s fun and really that is what makes this so release so goddamned kick arse.

Future City Records presents MUSCLE's The Pump EP on their Bandcamp page here and these six tracks epitomise what the modern take on the 80s listening experience is all about. In his debut EP MUSCLE has instantly become one of my personal favourite producers in the scene. He just seems 'get' what this is all about. The Pump EP is the definition of a Synthetix Reference Experience and is one of the most rockin releases of 2014 thus far. Let MUSCLE personally train you in the magic of pure 80s fun.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Synthetix Weekend Update

Another massive week in the 80s inspired synth scene comes to an end and it's time to get caught up on  some of the highlights and recent happenings in the Synthetix Weekend Update!

Many readers have probably already heard this already, but I had the honour of being interviewed be Marko Maric on Synthwave Sundays last week. If you feel so inclined you can listen to the episode here and listen to me carry on about all manner of things related to the 80s inspired synth scene and a bit about the history of Synthetix.FM in general. I'll also be doing a weekly segment on Synthwave Sundays beginning next week too, which I hope adds to Marko's already stellar format. Many thanks to Marko and RPG for kickin it live and rockin the scene!

Big news from Telefuture Records this week as they've begun a new KickStarter campaign to secure more funding for some killer future projects, including more all important cassette releases! The campaign is all about taking Telefuture Records to the next-level and expanding in all kinds of exciting ways. The first of these is the spectacular new compilation Eternalist, which is available to listen to here on Bandcamp but donating to the Kickstarter project gives you a download of this wonderful compilation.  This killer release features new and exclusive tracks from Le Cassette, Vincenzo Salvia, Arcade High, Perturbator, Betamaxx, Protector101, Collins and many more Synthetix.FM favourites!

I'm very excited to be a part of this with the final tier reward being a customised 80s boombox designed by myself so you can rock all your killer Telefuture cassettes in the raddest way possible. There are a tonne of other rockin rewards listed on the page and I hope everyone in the scene digs deep and rocks this campaign harder than a melonfarmer!

Now it's time to take off to adventure with some of the scene's high flying superstars so pull back the throttle hard and get AIRBORNE!

Garth Knight - K.A.R.R. - Garth Knight has just unleashed the K.A.R.R. LP featuring lots of his classic tracks from the last year along with some new gems to keep them company. Many, many Synthetix.FM favourites are on this release and it continues Garth Knight's wonderfully vivid adventures in 80s funk synth as well as some fantastic other endeavours in retro sounds. This is your chance to pick up a whole bunch of great rockin action in one killer release.

WLDV (We Love Dolce Vita) - Night Blast  - WLDV are forging a heated love affair with Italo Synth sounds in the rockin new EP Night Blast. The homage to the classic 80s sounds is as diverse as Italo Synth itself with more 70s oriented disco tracks sitting suggestively well besides Space Disco sounds and emotionally driven atmospheric pieces. The four tracks presented on Night Blast are all rockin to the max and will be sure to get you feeling that warm, golden Italo synth magic.

Jordan F - Freefall - The return of Jordan F has finally arrived with the release of his new five track Freefall EP. I will be the first to admit I wasn't at all taken with the first single off this EP (Falling Like Diamonds) but the other tracks on this release have definitely kept Jordan F's 80s rockin as a driving force. 'The Void' and 'What We Believe' are absolutely kick arse tracks and the other chapters of the EP are full of revitalised 80s emotions with contemporary elements balanced throughout.

Das Mortal - Naissance d'un Zombie - Das Mortal is a new rocker to Synthetix.FM and he's definitely going to be well at home with his superb new soundtrack release for Naissance d'un Zombie. Although short in length, each piece conjures up much atmosphere and 'Exercise 1' and '2' really get things moving. This will be the soundtrack to the Nathaniel Pesant student film, of which I'm now champing at the bit to see. This great homage to the classic horror and sci-fi scores of the 80s contains some audible direct inspirations from modern producers too, I'm sure I heard a hint of Tommy in 'La Drogue'. This release can also be purchased via Bandcamp here.


Let's open things up with some some marvellous music from The Northern Lights and their new track 'Elevation'. Part New Order, part Cure but all rockin this epic piece is full of 80s emotions and resonates deeply with its echoing melodies and subtle details. The space created is both massive and intimate at the same time, magical music indeed.

There is something about the new Janxen track 'Flightexcite 1.0' transfixing. The melodies are pure late 70s space synth magic while the overlays of dischordant sounds and highly treated vocals give an other-worldly presence to the pice. Fascinating to listen to and currently available for FREE download.

Fantastisizer is back after a three month hiatus (from sharing music on soundcloud, at least) with a hot new rockin piece of retro synth called 'The Changeling'. Melodies are full of mystery and pronounced fear as the music weaves its way in and out of our world. Very ethereal in its structure but also engaging, it has been well worth the wait for hot new Fantastisizer action.

HOME- is back again on Synthetix.FM with another great new track called 'A New Speed Of Light'. Opting for a highly muted aural canvas to work from and a stuttering structure to the percussion the melodies are allowed to rise like wisps of smoke through a glowing fire. This track is currently available for FREE download.

Continuing this introspective mood is MoweLan and his delightful new piece of atmospheric synth music 'The Last Hour'. The narrative is luxuriously crafted with a spareness to the synthscape that allows each instrument to extract rich emotional depth. This track is only available for FREE download for the next two weeks so rock it while it's hot.

Robert Parker just keeps on rockin and upping the ante with every new piece he shares and on his latest track, 'Eight Hour Drive' we're taken into new territory as Robert brings vocals into the synthscape. The aesthetic is haunting and adds much to the intimate ambience of Robert Parker's usually instrumental tracks. I hope he continues this theme as his songwriting is some of the scene's finest and to branch into vocally oriented experiences is definitely and exciting progression.

Hugo Rancho is back and rockin the 80s seaside dreams with his smooth as silk shore break anthem 'Echo Beach'. The structure sound and feel very liquid in their natures, ebbing and flowing with grace and power while allowing fragile melodic nuances to ripple elegantly on the surface. Utterly entrancing.

One my most favourite rockers in the scene is back with another gem of solid 80s gold. Chaconne's style of 80s synth always has an edge of classy refinement to it, I'm not sure if this is due to his perfectly tuned instrumentations or the highly refined structures, or more than likely it's the combination of the two. Every Chaconne experience thus far is k-rad to the max and 'Beach Scene' continues this trend. This is track is available at a name-your-own-price point on his Bandcamp page here.

Moving from the beach to the strip mall we next have SuperVox's sexy new Italo excursion 'Video Shop'. The light and breezy nature of the melodies keep spirits high and colourful while the bassline bounces with an energising zest. SuperVox has rocked us yet again with this track and he's also made it available for FREE download.

Kruiser shared a very engaging track this week called 'Before Midnight' and it really captured my attention. The slow, deliberate pace ushers in all manner of unsettling yet uplifting passages. Instruments are used like weapons but still summon comforting and enlightening sections where the danger seems a million miles away. This is a highly entertaining construct that displays Kruiser has much songwriting talent.

On the subject of great songwriting talent we have the totally rockin new track from Compilerbau up next. This producer's really kicked into high gear of late with hot new tracks surfacing with alarming regularity. With 'Dead Planet' Compilerbau takes the darkness of alien worlds to new dimensions of terror as melodies tear and rip through the void with echoing presence. The atmosphere is dense and unrelenting with percussive details creating thunderclaps in the lightning storm engulfs the alien sky. You can pick up a copy of 'Dead Planet' via Compilerbau's Bandcamp page here.

Taking a somewhat experimental path this time around we find RF Extreme marching a road less travelled in his new track 'Go The Distance Reach The Top'. The energy in this track is fierce and incredibly vital with the music feeling completely alive. The narrative moves into calmer climes that echo deep into the synthscape before the final push for a glorious end sequence.

Foreign Blade has a highly entertaining dalliance with the world of high fashion in his new track 'The Photo Shoot'. The pace is frenetic and full of dynamism as flashes fire and beauty is capture, frame by sumptuous frame. Guitars shred and synths add smooth pastel colours to the vibrant synthscape. 'The Photo Shoot' is currently available for FREE download.

Our video feature for this week's Weekend Update comes from James Mann and his video for Modular 1981's track 'Solaris'. Using vision from the highly underrated 80s sci-fi western, Outland, this  provides the perfect accompaniment to the cosmic synth energies of 'Solaris'.

That does it for another Weekend Update on Synthetix.FM, I hope you've found some great new music to make your weekend rock those 80s colours just a little bit more.

I'll be back during the week with more exciting music from the 80s inspired synth scene, 'til then stay 80s and keep on rockin.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Tokyo Rose Gives Chase

The flow and evolution in the sounds created in the 80s inspired synth scene are always fascinating to me. Where the next inspiration comes from, where the next album takes their sound and what combinations of sounds they can make work together. It's funny that in 2014 where there is such diversity that a release like Tokyo Rose's Chases manages to stand out so much. Not for its new ideas or avant garde writing but instead for being unabashed, unbridled and unrepentant pure OutRun synth that feels absolutely fresh and exhilarating.

OutRun seems an inherent part of the 80s inspired synth nomenclature, but seldom does it seem to be well defined and instead is often an idea or a feeling and rarely does it seem understood. As a style of music OutRun is the epitome of the 'night driving' aesthetic with melodies basking in their own brash swagger, drums pounding with power and ferocity and each passage feeling like a high speed chase through neon lit city streets. The hallmarks of OutRun are perhaps deemed 'unoriginal' by some in 2014 but the fact of the matter is, as far as I am concerned, that OutRun's magic is its innate ability to put you right there, on the road, tearing it up at a ridiculously high speed with adrenalin pumping excitement instantly.

It pains me that videogame franchises such as Ridge Racer, Midnight Club, BurnOut and other great racing game series are not deemed viable in the current console market place as they'd all benefit, greatly, from an OutRun soundtrack. If the high speed, high action death defying racing game ever make a resurgence, I hope the developers see this music as the true soundtrack to it.

I digress, however and put my wishful thinking aside as we get rockin with the opening track: 'Cruis'n'. From whispered beginnings the melodies roar to life, revving with more and more intensity and breaking loose and accelerating into the horizon. Tokyo Rose works the melodies with a brightness and skill that hooks deeply, disassembling them and then modifying them with supercharged force before taking it back out on the road.

When it comes to the modern versus vintage sounds I think that OutRun is truly the bridging genre between worlds as we have to deep intensity of building modern configurations around melodies that emanate pure 80s gloss. '走り屋' or 'Street Racer' rumbles onto the grid with mechanised thundering and blasts into glory with a triumphantly brilliant melody that even sounds like the roar of an engine passing at high speed. Modern arrangements accentuate the raw power of the melody and paint a dramatic back drop to the thrilling action.

Tokyo Rose has a real gift for constructing these OutRun melodies. Each track has an aural element that feels driven by high octane forces and is charged with thousands of horsepower. In 'Heat' the melodies even feel like they're racing each other, handbrake turning through impossible corners and overtaking the competition only to be overtaken on the next corner. The duel is dangerously played out in a breakneck ballet of automotive artistry.

Somehow the intensity is pushed up even further on track four, 'Hot Pursuit' which brings in a rambunctious synth refrain the sweats radness and kicks caution squarely in the arse. The presence is undeniably macho and hot-blooded. This track's getting all the chicks and all we can do is sit back and wonder if the sirens are ever going to catch up to him. Unforgiving and raw in its base elements, this piece is exactly what makes OutRun rock so damned hard.

Chases finishes with 'The Getaway' and Tokyo Rose structures this pieces with a refrain erring on the side of caution as the sirens get closer. Deftly ducking through back streets and keeping a low profile the music finally surfaces with engines roaring and nitrous burning. An all out assault that doesn't go unnoticed and law enforcement is back our tail, this time though we've got a helicopter drops down from the heavens to keep us in close company. The ante had been well and truly upped. A wry grin flashes in the rear vision mirror and the ending credits appear, leaving a sequel opportunity just begging to be created to continue the story.

Tokyo Rose presents the Chases EP on his Bandcamp page here and what we get for $5 is five heart pumping, asphalt scorching OutRun thrill rides. There is such a visceral pleasure one experiences in such a pure form of this music and it's an experience very, very highly recommended by Synthetix.FM. However, Synthetix.FM takes no responsibility for the speeding tickets this music is bound to incur while driving. Use with caution on the open road.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

An Alien World For Python Blue

The soundtrack oriented genres of 80s inspired synth music always seem to be the most engaging and rewarding I find. These soundtracks to visuals that only exist in our imaginations captivate me as a listener, they tell me stories, they detail scenes, they convey emotion and explore concepts that are often left undiscovered in other genres. The soundtrack synth denominations take me back to a time when listening to instrumental albums and staring at their descriptive artwork for hours on end was one of my favourite past times. Being able to be transported to another time and place through music alone is truly one of its most magical powers.

Python Blue is a devotee of these soundtrack oriented synthscapes and over the last year we've been taken to all new worlds courtesy of his synthphonic structures and epic creations. His sound personality lends its self to the dramatic and foreboding more often that not but all his pieces have a real grace about them that echoes through each passage and ties the experience together with a grand elegance. On his latest EP, Alien World, Python Blue takes things back to their essence and draws vivid visions with an uncluttered synthscape that extracts the magic from each and every note.

Within the opening echoes of 'Arrival' a vast, desolate landscape greets us. Barren plains of unearthly tones, coarse winds and inhospitable atmospheres. Building like a behemoth, the introductory passage thrives on it's subtleties. The restrained sounds and dirge like percussion allude to all manner of foreign concepts and force us to realise the gravitas of the situation; the alien structures rise from their hidden world beneath the surface, opening up yawning chasms, ready to swallow us whole into a new adventure.

'Saucers' takes over and gives impetus and vibrancy to the synthscape. Carefully layered structures describe new visions, upbeat drums beat with a proud urgency and melodies intimate finer details. The depth of narrative in Python Blue's music is really what sets it apart, the way each musical paragraph chronicles each event, exploring it's surrounds while keeping the heart of the piece pulsing and feeling 'whole'; that is the magic of great soundtrack oriented music.

As I mentioned previously the distillation of Python Blue's sounds into the base ingredients has allowed for a greater amount of importance to be given to each part. This becomes rather evident in the third track, 'Radars' with the floor falling away entirely and slow, rising melodies raising us up higher and higher. The percussion is always militaristic throughout this record, unforgiving in it's forthrightness and this allows for much of nuances of the melodies to work within and above these belligerent beats. The patterns of 'Radars' are sumptuous with emotional synths verging on becoming string sections inside of arrangements created with deeply engraved beautifications.

The story moves more startling territory in track four, 'Xenophobia'. The initial uncertainty and anxiety breaks into abject terror with the comfort of melody becoming a weapon used against us, until subtly humanistic melodies give the perceived alien threat a decidedly more familiar aura. This meeting of species explores differences and similarities with musical inquisitiveness and in the end creates a deep solemnity with a realisation of an undeniable link between our hugely different worlds.

Alien World finishes with on high point of some of the most elegantly conceived synthual delights you'll have the pleasure of experiencing in 'Departure'. Our new found knowledge and new found friends spark an internal enlightenment. A growing light from within which binds us to our new alien brethren. The delicately plucked melodies are utterly entrancing, spilling over with triumphant hope and warmth that defies the void of space, an essence that is shared across aeons and galaxies, an unbreakable link between all lifeforms.

Future 80s Records presents Python Blue's Alien World EP on their Bandcamp page here and is an eloquently crafted suite of beautiful soundtrack synth music. The five chapters are comprehensively engineered with a great deal of attention and care. Each nuance is felt, every beat is resonant and every passage is profound. The experience is massively rewarding and is very, very highly recommended by Synthetix.FM.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Synthetix Weekend Update

Welcome to another rockin Weekend Update on Synthetix.FM. Firstly I'd like to apologise for the lack of updates during the week. I managed to develop an inner ear issue last week that made attentively listening to music incredibly frustrating to the point of distraction. It's nearly all cleared up now, thankfully, but for the last week I've had to rely on the Synthetix.FM Plug.DJ room to provide some background music to keep my sanity from disappearing entirely.

One other thing I'd like to get out in the open is that MPM/Multipac has officially disappeared again, possibly for good this time. The news of this started getting around in late January when his presence started disappearing from the internet. I normally wouldn't make a point of writing about this kind of thing on Synthetix.FM as I don't want to be one to start rumor mongering or sensationalising things but this is not the first time MPM has done this, but it might be the last. For many of us, MPM's music has been some of the most wondrous 80s homages ever made but he was always his own hardest critic and never seemed satisfied with anything he made.

Whatever the case, I wish MPM much happiness and fulfilment in his future endeavours, wherever and whatever they may be. The 80s inspired synth scene is richer and more beautiful thanks to his music and that legacy is something we can all respect. Keep on rockin, MPM.

Let's look to the skies now and get ready for take off with this week's AIRBORNE releases!


Cluster Buster - They Call Her One Eye - Cluster Buster knows how to rock the 80s with a hard edge of pulsating synth energies and his latest record focuses that energy and refines the Cluster Buster experience even further. Using the classic exploitation flick as direct inspiration the synthscapes are drawn from a rockin videogame-esque palette that makes the action blazingly intense. I can help but think of numerous bullet hell shooters and high speed futuristic racing games when listening to this record, which is no bad thing at all!

Jupiter 8 - Vice Squad - Jupiter 8 has been on the Synthetix.FM radar for a month or so and he's been releasing a number of EP's that have caught my interest but with his new Vice Squad (and don't forget Vice Squad Part II) he's taken his sounds to another level. The arrangements are vibrant and full of 80s colours and his melodies have taken on a lustre of neon 80s wonder too. These two soundtrack oriented releases are right on point for a night time stake out in sultry midsummer Miami.

AloneWolf - The Way Of The Wolf - AloneWolf has returned to the scene with a new sound and a new five track EP to mark his territory. The pieces on this record have a much more introspective nature to them as atmospheric synthscapes illustrate contemplative ideas; with a tendency towards the vast unknowns. Definitely a new phase for the AloneWolf experience and one that is very worthy of your attention.

Babylon 86 - Only At Night  - That latest EP from Babylon 86 entitled Only At Night boasts five tracks of 80s themed retro sounds. Cut from a similar cloth to early Futurecop! sounds there is distinct modern aspect to the tone of many of the pieces that are then lit by glorious 80s aural neon. The stand out track for me is definitely 'Vision' with Josie Malone providing a superb vocal performance.


No better place to start the Weekend Update than with rockin new track from Phaserland: 'Jack Burton's Way'. Big Trouble In Little China will always provide much inspiration for modern day producers and Phaserland has created a stellar homage to this classic exponent of 80s auteur cinema, complete with powerful piano passages and kick arse guitars rockin the scene in equal measure. This track is available on Phaserland's Bandcamp page here at a name-your-own-price point.

Waveshaper's new track is certainly knows how to build some serious intensity. 'Mission Failed' contain an ominous atmosphere that evolves into a fiery spectacular. The melodies are slow and elegant but are betrayed by the underlying panic just waiting to explode beneath the surface.

And speaking of synths on the verge of combustion we have a totally kick arse new high energy track from KFDDA up next. 'Chrome Beach' speeds along with a devil may care attitude that ignites in full OutRun glory. The lead melody is as catchy as it is streamlined for maximum performance.

What Compilerbau describes as an 'production test' I view as a work of wondrous beauty. With his new track 'Fabienne' we're treated to some exciting new sounds, particularly in the bass work that really ties the experience together  in a luxuriously 80s manner. Totally rockin and currently available for FREE download.

Street Justice is taking off to battle the robotic hordes with his latest piece 'Mechwarrior'. Synths sparkle and dazzle with melodies climbing and diving with fantastic dexterity and the percussion track provides   dangerous flurries of lead and lasers amidst the chaotic battlefield.

Robert Parker's synthscapes seem to have a refinement all their own as his melodic structures contain such delicate nuances while remaining so true to 80s emotions. In 'Jet Set' we take off to high adventure  in a spectacularly drawn out piece that is paced to perfection. Four minutes in heaven right here.

Taking the trip from heaven to hell is Dan Terminus's hot new slab of Slash Electro violence 'Restless Destroyer'. Intensifying melodies burn hot and without mercy while powerhouse percussion marches into oblivion. Dan Terminus keep just enough 80s moods in this piece to keep it from exploding entirely and there's even a decidedly 70s progressive influenced passage slotted in to add even more radness to the experience.

Mild Peril's rockin some fantastic inspirations on new three track EP 'Excalibur'. The space motif brings in cosmic synths of celestial powers that combine with  more earthly tones. The three tracks in the EP (available on Bandcamp here at a name-your-own-price point) are full of great ideas that travers vast amounts of time and space with 80s and 70s elements given extra dimensional powers from beings beyond our comprehension.

This week finds John Sparxx getting all romantic with his new glossy love theme aptly titled 'Love'. Slow and sensuous melodies intimate deep affection and rise and fall with deep breaths of passion. It's pure Synth Romance with a bright enthusiastic presence. You can pick up a copy of this track on John Sparxx Bandcamp page here at a name-your-own-price point.

Expanding even more on this theme is Timecop1983 with his beautiful new track 'Looking Back'. Swirling, passionate synths caress while the heart beat of the drums resonates deeply within. Timecop1983 really is one of the true artists in this genre of 80s inspired synth, he allows every nuance to be divulged and understood and makes music that is truly magical. This gorgeous track is available for FREE download currently too.

It's been said of late that vaporwave is dead, in a truly post-modernist manner some would say it died the day it had a name. All such theories aside, vaporwave continues to keep on rockin and has begun taking on new evolutionary forms. The new track from HOME- gives some vivid new colours to the vaporwave aesthetic which I find very engaging. If this kind of music piques your interest, perhaps a tranquility calibration is in order?

More stunning aural beauty from Manolis next up! For those out there wondering why Manolis hasn't been picked up by a label yet it's because he wants to remain independent and release his music for free for all to enjoy. This producer wins my hear for not only his incredibly moving music but also for his public spirited nature. 'Vintage Erotica' find Manolis moving into some salacious Synth Erotica zones and totally rockin it all the way. As with all Manolis's work, this available for FREE download.

Destroyah is channelling all manner of dark arts in his new track 'Dead Wrong'. A glacial juggernaut of melodies drifts into view amid some kick arse voice 'samples' of his own glorious creation. The soundtrack to the trailer to the movie of a nightmare yet to be experienced! You can pick this up for FREE download currently too.

A new one for Kille & Citizen next titled '((1985))'. The nostalgia is turned up to maximum in this track  which brings to mind many great experiences from the 2009/10 era of 80s inspired synth sounds. The modern elements are just rockin enough to keep the energy levels high but it's the dreamy 80s lead melodies that make all the magic happen.

The Pure Secks experience draws in many interesting and divergent themes (as it should!) and in Sins Of The Past we get to rock some of the most vital of these with much fervour and reward. Melodies pool and mix like colourful liquids and then charge up with incandescent glowing colours of both 80s and modern sounds. Beyond all definitions, this track just plain kick arse and is also available for FREE download currently.

Chrome Brulee's Kiss The Huss Volume 2 is almost upon us and they've released another amazing promo video to hype it up even further. Totally rockin to the max, these guys are the masters of making video teasers that hit all the right 80s notes. Head on over too and join the countdown to the launch of this most rad of releases.

That does it for another Weekend Update on Synthetix.FM, I hope you've found some great new music to make your weekend rock that 80s love just a little bit more. I'll be back during the week with more exciting music from the 80s inspired synth scene, 'til then stay 80s and keep on rockin.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Synthetix Weekend Update

Welcome back to another synthtastic Weekend Update on Synthetix.FM. Some news first up as Mike 'Who Ha' Mendoza is releasing a new issue of Retro Promenade on April 1st featuring among other interviews and reviews a very interesting panel style discussion I've taken part of. I'm sure Mike wants to keep it all under wraps until the launch, but please head on over to the Retro Promenade Facebook page and follow super rockin project. I'll hopefully be part of next week's episode of Synthwave Sundays with Marko Maric with any luck too, make sure you tune into this very rockin show every week for lots of hot tunes and great interviews with all the scene's raddest talent.

Now it's time take take off with this week's Weekend Update, so pull back the throttle and get AIRBORNE!


Foreign Blade - Foreign Blade EP - The first EP from Foreign Blade has been unleashed and this five track EP is full of tension and drama with refined soundtrack synth tunes breaking into high energy synth explosions. The canvas Foreign Blade creates on is expansive and full of beautiful melodies and futuristic aesthetics.

Jon Of The Shred - Circuit Board Lunacy - Rockin the retro action with guitar driven synth suites is the hot new release from Jon Of The Shred. This artist continues his path of 80s enlightenment over an eight track album that contains nods to many classic horror and sci fi soundtracks while his trademark riffs and solos slice and dice with rocktacular power. Jon's combination of synths strings and guitars is something not for the faint of heart and creates an atmosphere most unlike anything else.

Evanton - Feels Right - The Italo Electro stylings of Evanton are back with a vengeance in their latest release Feels Right. The structure are painted with neon pinks and magentas as vibrant break beats and disco melodies mix with a robotic futurism. The nine tracks cover some bolder new territory for the duo, especially on 'Penthouse Funk' and the electro breakin' rampage of 'In The Subway (Main Mix).

Cougar Synth - 2013 - My own love for Cougar Synth's magnificent Synth Romance sounds grows with every new track they release and this week they've released an album compiling all their work from 2013 into one package. There are so many favourites in here, it's a wonderful reflection on their musical journey thus far and should be in every 80s synth lover's music collection.


First rocker on the block for the Weekend Update this week is Worldwild with their totally kickin new song 'Runaway Street'. High drama courtesy of dangerous synth melodies and impassioned vocals set the tone for this great blend of old and new soundscapes. I think the levels are a little bit out of whack but the song is still hugely impressive. You can download this track FREE currently via the player on soundcloud.

Vector Hold is back for 2014 with killer new track entitled 'Dangerously Close'. The music is full of energy and slick melodies with a great classic video-game style bassline sound that totally rocks, currently this track is available for FREE download.  Be sure to pick up a copy Vector Hold's awesome Mechanized LP too which came out whilst Synthetix.FM was on holiday break, but is is a superb release in it's own right. Grab your copy of Mechanized via Aphasia Records Bandcamp page here.

Qback's digging deep into emotive melodic explorations in his wonderfully rich new track 'RetroRemember'. The refrain is light as air while exuding a powerful aural magic and the dancing complimentary leads create even more bewitching light forms. This delightfully intimate excursion is currently available for FREE download.

A new band for Synthetix.FM is Straktobeam and their new song 'Midnight Run'. The live drums and duelling synth leads create a highly involving ambience that combines 70s progressive and early 80s pop synth sounds spectacularly well. The experience is highly involving with vocals and samples working the dramatic passages exceptionally well. Also available now for FREE download.

It's always a rockin week when RF Extreme shares a new track and this week is no exception. 'Megaton' takes RF Extreme's style into dangerous situations and the narrative becomes a countdown to extinction. The pacing and structure on this piece as a perfect as it gets with every element feeling so natural and effortlessly created.

Nowtro's homage to the untold pleasures of human/robot sexual congress is certainly arousing in many aspects, not the least of which being the majestically soaring lead melody which radiates love drenched energies across its path in the sky.  'Lover Robot' is a great example of using more modern movie samples within the context of 80s themed music as well.

I have a bit of  an 'unwritten rule' with Weekend Updates where I endeavour to avoid posting the same producer more than two or three weeks in a row. That rule gets cast to the seven winds with much disdain when it comes to Manolis however. Every new track this artist releases is another high water mark for his music and 'You and I' continues this amazing trend. Manolis's talent seemingly knows no bounds as this track creates even more stupendously gorgeous 80s magic channeling just that right amount of Wham!'s 'All She Wants' mixed in with that rad Manolis magic. Like his other opuses it's available for FREE download too.

Time for some killer Italo for the Weekend Update and where better to get that glowing Italo Disco feeling than from Super Magic Records. 'Return To Reality' is full of classic Italo sounds and driven by an uplifting melody that hooks deep and never lets go. Beautifully vintage production finishes the experience perfectly.

Lets get some testosterone pumping and the sweat of passion flowing with the hot new track from Muscle; the searingly sexual 'Feel The Steel'. The bump and thrust of the rolling melodies create sensual energies that build and build to fever pitch over and over again. The drenched afterglow is the ultimate reward for effort by it's completion.

Some very engaging synthscapes up next from Shklovsky & Pale Blue dot with their new track 'Madonna'. The percussion is huge and powerful, with an undeniable presence but the slow moving melodic parts, especially the sax towards the end of the piece, add much contrast to the experience. This track is currently available for download via their Facebook page here also.

Ilya Santana is rockin some smooth vibes on his new track 'Disco Panorama' which is the A side of his new physical released available on gorgeous pink vinyl on Porn Wax Volume 7 here. Backed with cosmic disco synth of 'Magic Words' this sumptuous package of quality vintage sounds.

Stallone Jones is certainly expanding his musical horizons in his new track 'Burst Of Colour'. Raucous live drums power a synth layered engine room the has a distinctly progressive presence about it. The arrangements are engineered for great builds and explosive impacts. There are a great deal of interesting nuances throughout this track and as if this wasn't enough Stallone Jones also shared another track in 'Night Patrol' this week which is cut from a very different vintage, but no less engaging, cloth.

Although not technically as 80s as a lot of the music I share on Synthetix.FM a new Fear Of Tigers release is a rather auspicious occasion. This producer was rockin the early days of the first wave of 80s inspired synth and has returned with a great new track that is packed with Fear Of Tigers magic and is an instant throwback to those heady days of 2009-10. Lots of golden 80s sounds and energies are woven into this cacophonous orgy of high energy synthscapes. Currently available for FREE download we can only hope this is the first of many new tracks from Fear Of Tigers that was alluded to last year.

Lastly for this week's Weekend Update we have one the single most rocking promo trailers I'm yet to bear witness to. Coming soon is a new short film from the creative talents of the midnight laser warriors themselves NIGHTSATAN and writer/director CHRZU. Entitled NIGHTSATAN And The Loops Of Doom this is going to be one hell of a short film if this trailer is anything to go by. Many thanks to Dr Pecco for enlightening me to this stunning piece of auteur cinema.

That does it for another Weekend Update on Synthetix.FM, I hope you've found some great new music to make your weekend rock that 80s love just a little bit more.

I'll be back during the week with more exciting music from the 80s inspired synth scene, 'til then stay 80s and keep on rockin.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Tommy Broadcasting On FM

When it comes to Tommy, this producer has always been one of the true mainstays of the 80s inspired synth scene and here on Synthetix.FM. Upon listening to his new record, I went back, to see when I first covered Tommy on Synthetix. FM. It was in early February 2012, I quote "One of the real goals of Synthetix is to cover the up and coming artists making 80s inspired synth music, and hopefully expose their work to a wider audience. Tommy is one of these such artists." In 2014 it's hard to think of Tommy as an up and coming artist only two years ago but it's in this time that he has become such a revered talent and one whom is adulated by many.

With his new full length record, Frequency Modulations, we get to hear a new Tommy sound. We get to experience a plethora of new ideas and while the soul and essence of the music has that intrinsic Tommy-sound, it now has greater amount of depth and to it. In abandoning much of the production styles of his previous work Tommy has found something all together new. It's still Tommy and it still rocks damned hard but even more than that it shows a new kind of clarity that is bold and reaches new high water marks.

If you're expecting a direct sequel to 2013's High Fidelity you're going to be in for a surprise. The Tommy sound of last year may as well have been aeons ago. In terms of tone and texture the new synthscapes Tommy creates on Frequency Modulation may have the DNA of his previous works but now has evolved into a new lifeform. The first track of the album, 'The New Wave' is the perfect title as  Tommy takes his sounds both into the future and back to the past all at once. Moods of progressive 70s arrangements, combined with 80s emotion and 90s loops and are all then dimensionally warped into a futuresphere of timelessness. You can hear times and decades becoming entirely irrelevant as all manner of electronic sounds distill into a new and vital essence.

The sounds are so relaxed on this album. There is a defined groove and natural motion that Tommy works within beautifully. The second track 'Sonuvagun' in previous Tommy incarnations would still be a killer track, but the new refinement to sound has given the experience less crush and injected expansive crispness in it's place. Dana Jean Phoenix's vocals layered on top the mix is tantalising, while Tommy's music does the real talking.

'Lets Funk Tonight' is one of the true high points of the album and really takes Tommy out of any perceived comfort zones with jamming instruments giving breezy interludes before fireworks of utterly gorgeous synth melodies light up the night sky. Flashes of spectacular neon colours dance in rhythmic ecstasy and bring a serene, uplifting mood instantaneously. This piece in particular is so divergent from Tommy's previous work, yet still so Tommy like in it's personality, this dichotomy is absolutely exhilarating to experience.

Something Tommy has really been working on over the last couple of years is making his tracks as full as they need to be, in both time and space. His continuation of this development is evidenced on this album in numerous six-plus minute pieces and taken to all new realms in the epic 'Globetrotter'. Allowing the music to tell it's story and keep the narrative engaging is a skill that I find to be  a rarity in the scene but in this track in particular Tommy lets light years elapse while the adventure encounters exciting and beautiful new spectacles. Driven by some Italo bass lines and cruising outer space with a tranquil nonchalance the 'Globetrotter' just keeps on rockin.

Throughout Frequency Modulations this feeling of serenity emanates and raises our spirits in such beautiful ways. Tommy's own 'Vision Of The Future' gives us such cool blue worlds of glittering seas and melodic enchantments that it's impossible to resist this lucid positivity. The music unfolds visions of beguiling wonders, orbiting structures of impossible architecture and resonating with vast depth. Continuing the voyage into dimensional weightlessness and dreamlike visions is 'Nocturnal Wanderings' which allows the sun to set on this future world in a deeply relaxing interlude.

Returning back to more earthly visions with 'Night Of The Crime' and the Tommy synthscape rolls into an urban atmosphere that continues to inspire. The distant sirens don't instill fear or panic but instead add a familiar city ambiance to the piece. Slow motion electro rock percussion keep the heart beat of the city alive and the apparent hysteria; somewhere in the city seems light years away. From the top of this skyscraper Tommy conducts his own synthesized orchestra and his soundtrack to this night is the only thing that matters.

Tommy's newly developed pop sensibilities reach a new level of greatness in his track with Sally Shapiro, 'Why Did I Say Goodbye'. Smoothly delicate electronic disco complements the vocal melodies delightfully and the rhythms hypnotise in a manner that is sweetly delicious. Definitely the most modernly conceived and realised piece on the album this will no doubt crossover into other electronic music worlds and carry the Tommy magic to a whole new audience.

Slipping back into a mood that reminds me of Tommy's Outer Space Adventurer album, comes it's spiritual evolutionary sequel 'The World Is Gonna End Today'. Possibly the most old-skool Tommy track on the album the music is inspiring and beautifully crafted into a refrain that cries out in a universally understood exclamation. A culmination of all that history has acquired and the future promises, this epic eulogy is inspirational and praises the inevitability of everything rather than cower from it. Absolutely triumphant.

The album completes with another spatially vast piece that feels just a tad like a reflection on Tommy's Tuned Into The Future, as if it's melodic oscillations have now transferred to a new dimension and reinvented itself. Vibrant structures of synth brilliance cascade in a captivating natural wonder of electronic bedazzlement. The second chapter of this piece is definitely cut from a darker cloth however with the refrain becoming measured and remorseful, its once buoyant joyfulness now moving into a final requiem as the light fades slowly into the distant darkness.

Girlfriend Records presents Tommy's Frequency Modulations album on their Bandcamp page here and this record is a genuine high point, not just for Tommy, but what retro synth sounds are capable of achieving in the scene all together. The clarity of Tommy's vision is incredibly acute and utterly wonderful to experience. This is a Synthetix Reference Experience on every level appreciable and gives so much aural and spiritual happiness that I find it overwhelming in the most thrilling way music can be.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Dance With The Dead Into The Abyss

Dance With The Dead (DWTD) were one of the biggest surprises of 2013 in the world of 80s inspired synth music. This duo had toiled furiously throughout the year and released of the albums of the year in Out Of Body. The album was epic beyond description in it's presence and power with monstrous arrangements being engineered to nefarious ends. DWTD's sense of atmosphere and building intensity is what makes their synthscapes so remarkably compelling, now with their new release, Into The Abyss, we get to experience the next chapter in the DWTD experience.

Into The Abyss is definitely a different animal to Out Of Body. The production is much more natural sounding, adding a new layer of atmosphere to the music and the huge amount of guitars and electronic strings give an organic and orchestral element to the movements. The rockin intensity and visceral nature of the DWTD sound is still ever present only now it takes on even more base instincts as the six tracks pummel you into submission with one arm while caressing the side of your cheek gently with the other.

Setting the underwater scene with sonar beeps and a cacophony of otherworldly sounds the terror begins to take form in 'Battle'. Massive drama is punctuated by huge drum fills and screaming guitars as the behemoth wakes from it's sea bed slumber and begins to rise from it's sandy grave. Synths drive the melodies into new, uncharted waters with guitars mirroring their movements in a calm before the storm that explodes with huge, pounding waves of ferocity. This opener sets up the rest of the EP incredibly well, tight and action packed, yet drawing much beauty in the melodic refrains.

The second track, 'Moon Runner' finds DWTD taking a measured and richly detailed approach to a piece that is much less brutal than 'Battle'. Melodies are delicate, full of sparkling nuance, and the backing string section adds a grandiose and robust background to the canvas. The music glides in its own zero gravity ballet, graceful and bright with the guitars charging the atmosphere with electrifying voltage.

'Mask' continues this measured approach with OutRun coloured elements cruising into a scene that builds its intensity with deliberate and calculated arrangements. The new DWTD design keeps things very much under control however,  even as aural guitar thunderbolts are cast down from the heavens the ambience is controlled and the reigns are kept taut. Its an atmosphere that is like being in a bullet proof shield in the middle of a hellish crossfire, invoking a calm serenity amid chaotic brutality.

You can drink in these heady atmospheres even deeper in the follow up track 'Odyssey' as a hard rockin guitar swagger strolls in from the horizon. Unrushed, unflappable, and cool as absolute fuck. The saunter remains unchanged as melodies ascend and the landscape is set afire. The drama and intrigue create nail biting tension while the lone figure continues unabated. Singularly minded; a natural disaster waiting to happen.

Things take a new turn and go decidedly more pop oriented on track five 'Suede'. Huge hooks of catchy melodies sweep beautifully in and around the totally rad guitar tracks and introduce a (dare I say it) playfulness to the synthscape which is totally kick arse. The synths rock even harder than guitars but are soon quelled of their combustible energies before the track becomes an neon explosion.

The EP finishes with much greater introspection with the orchestrally crafted 'No Survivors'. Introductory passages of uplifting reverence lead us into purely soundtrack driven components which are allowed to rise and fall with a universal heart beat. Fading away, into the setting sun on the horizon, the giant glowing orb takes one last dip before the glow of pinks, blues and oranges are met with the darkness of the new night sky.

I believe Into The Abyss is a bridging release, between the Out Of Body, and the next full length album from DWTD, not just because of it's chronological position, but more because the ideas and synthscapes crafted in these tracks are still yet to be fully realised. Many, many new possibilities for new definitions of the DWTD experience are hinted at in every composition and I feel these experiments will take off to even greater dimensions come their next album. What Into The Abyss does is take us deeper, into expansive new territory but the aural beings are yet to make full contact with us, and instead shimmer in the depths, alluding to incredible new treasures, ones just out of arms reach... for now.

Dance With The Dead present the Into The Abyss EP on their Bandcamp page here and Synthetix.FM very, very highly recommends this release as a demo-reel of what this kick arse duo are capable of with their ever evolving sounds. The tracks contained on this EP are all superbly crafted and are hugely rewarding to experience. I can't help but think Dance With The Dead are merely pulling back the curtain to us, ever so briefly in preparation for their next full length adventure. For now, take that trip, Into The Abyss and experience the wonders of another world courtesy of these wonderfully talented producers.