Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Myrone And His Guitars Of Distinction

I'm back and rockin on Synthetix.FM and returning with one of my favourite releases thus far of 2014. Myrone's debut EP has been one of my most hotly anticipated and he's delivered one hell of a rockin good time. This producer has already cemented his sound and aesthetic with brute force and astute technical proficiency in harnessing 80s elements and wrangling them into incredible new forms.

The combinations of new and old presented in this EP are most unlike anything else I've heard from producers channeling 80s sounds and emotions as the driving spirit. This is purely golden music that one feels as much as hears and with all but one bewildering exception, this EP is totally rockin to the max.

The bewildering moment I'm speaking of occurs in the opening track of the EP, which is a collaborative effort with Voyageur entitled 'Gorgeous'. I'll put it flatly that I don't get this track, or its context as an opening track. There's little in this piece that is revisited at any other time on this release bar the absolutely mind shredding solo that occurs towards the back end. I can't help but think this track would be better placed elsewhere in the track listing, but I respect Myrone for his inventiveness and diversity presented in 'Gorgeous', regardless of my own predilections.

The EP really takes flight with the second track 'Victory Theme' which was also the first track Myrone shared and the one that made me instantly fall in love with his sound. The parts of 'Victory Theme' can be isolated and explained as to why they work so incredibly well together, but this takes the impact away from such a perfect blend of 80s sounds and emotions. This is the purest montage music you'll hear outside of the 80s themselves and is thoroughly exciting and inspiring for its duration.

I always wondered where Myrone could 'go' from such a brazenly golden track and the answer came with the following piece 'The Pump Master'. Synths and guitars get a slick layer of sleaze drizzled over them as yearning melodies and sensual rhythms combine. The arrangements swagger in an unhurried manner to extract every single drop of pure rock essence with just enough modern tricks to keep you on the edge of your seat in exhilarating anticipation.

The 'anthem' is something that Myrone can create with absolute aplomb, something that each melody is drenched in. Guitar riffs that make you stand to attention and demand you to salute are part of the Myrone magic and 'Exclusive Coupe' will get all your flags waving with vigour and passion as the sleek melodies are caressed along neon coastlines. The power is immense, the elegance unparalleled and the rockin unstoppable.

Taking the EP into a wonderfully lush new pasture is '61' with Myrone moving into a bluesier mode that gives even more swell and power to his astoundingly kick arse guitar work. The mid point break down of this piece would do Vince DiCola proud and is a marvellous display of Myrone's songwriting talents. '61' has a richly developed narrative that builds and evolves before your very eyes as colours and passages of incredibly beautiful music rock you harder and harder.

'Are My Emotions Real?' finishes off the experience and does so in a manner that again shifts into a new direction that excites in electric new ways. Soulfully smooth guitars play off against some very inventive percussion that provides a marvellously entertaining contrast. Huge crescendos of sound crush like pounding waves on a remote beach as passions are taken beyond the point of no return as earthly pleasures become uncontrollable. The melody twinkles like starlight in a warm afterglow as Myrone bids us farewell, for now.

Myrone presents his self titled debut EP on his Bandcamp page here and I am elated that this release takes what I previously loved about Myrone's sound and then explores some exemplary new dimensions. The opening track I can take or leave, but the rest of this EP is absolutely some of the most kick arse guitar driven synth music I've heard, ever. Synthetix.FM very, very highly recommends this release and I hope Myrone keeps on rockin for the duration as I for one am definitely a lifetime fan.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Drift Through The Pages Of Jowie Schulner's Emotronic Diary

Jowie Schulner has finally released his album containing tracks going back numerous years that he's been waiting for right moment to share with the world. In Emotronic Diary Schulner has created a sixteen track tome of synthual pleasures that realises an individualised vision in each chapter. The scenes created in each track are intimated with great care and one feels the composer has really put himself 'into' the music.

Emotronic Diary as a title really captures the theme of the work as songs feel like cherished sketches of Jowie Schulner's first hand experiences, some of which I know first hand go back to 2011, some tracks possibly even further back. It is rare to find such emotional investment in a record and it is something the requires a great deal of understanding of one's self and how that can translate into a created representation. Like all true artists, Schulner does this with much skill and the constructions are a wonderful window into his muse.

'Sweet Lake's Lullaby' opens up the album in a fashion that is spectacular in scope and vision. The structures sweep through atmospheric hazes and enunciate themselves with airs of futurism and reflections on retro synth worlds coalescing into one. This continues delightfully into the refined beauty of 'Emotions' as stylised patterns are given organic warmth that reverberates within rising synthphonies as a pale reflection in limpid pools of reminiscence. The nostalgic aspect is given so much more presence via the delivery of the melodies in these opening pieces that one's sensitivities are laid bare and exposed to this eminently soulful music.

Jowie's mood turns wilder in track three's OutRun-esque 'Suspicious'. The momentum flows and doesn't become unbridled; instead it explores the nuances of the imploring lead melody which is apologetic and pleading for forgiveness. The melodrama plays into into darker aspect of human emotions titled 'Complexity'. Not darker in the sense of foreboding or menace, but in its inwardly focused tone that asks many questions of which there are no easy answers.

After this internal collapse we reside for a time in 'Sorrow' and the pleading synth melodies now cry out with pounding fears removing all solace and the loss's weight looms above, unbearably heavy and threatening to cancel out the skies of hope forever.

It doesn't take long for things to begin looking up though and the bright cheer instilled in 'Butterflies' rekindles love and faith with it's early 90s harmonies that flutter and bounce with verve and colour. The vintage sounds return with glorious vengeance in the follow up piece 'At The Heart' which serves as one of the most elevatory high points on the album. Synth Romance is the order of the day and the swelling, sustained melodies intimate electric passions and dizzying desires, utterly sumptuous in its luxurious presence and richly rewarding.

'Sunset Chase' is next and the well controlled pace allows for instruments to get supercharged and accelerate into the violets and oranges of the sunset. Melodies sweep left and right; over and under each other, in a duel of automotive elegance. Jowie throws a bit of a curveball next with the multifaceted 'I Arp You'. Layers of sound are arranged with superb nods vintage sounds while haunting refrains phase in and out audible dimensions. The sounds are captivating and work together with much harmonious gracefulness as the engine's roars fade into the night.

When I first heard 'Two Hearts', many moons ago now, it became very quickly one of my favourites pieces of music Schulner had created (the top spot always being reserved for his thus far unreleased masterpiece 'Friends Forever'). His spiralling melodic style is brought into sharp focus against energetic percussion in an epiphany of uplifting aural wonder. 'A New Day' follows 'Two Hearts' in a fast paced continuation and really rocks hard as a companion piece that free-falls into verdant synthelation and completes the experience.

Keeping the rhythms pumping hard and excitement on the edge of combustion is 'Bad Rain'. Channelling some darker forces this track does indeed feel like it's cut from a much more morose cloth as the free-fall turns into a downward spiral. Orchestral strings enforce the monstrous gravitas of the situation as a long fade out makes you wonder what is in store next. And right out of leftfield comes 'Spark' to add an entirely new dimension to the record. Early house structures are given a coat of ChipTune-esque colours and the synthscape takes on a CRT glow as scan lines divide thousands of colourful pixels into a fiery space joyride. The tone of this piece is marvellous as homage and modern aspects meld together into an all new experience.

To round out the album 'You Will Never Be Alone' becomes a jubilant anthem, buoyed by rising passages of synth magic that just continues to rise higher and farther into the heavens and beyond. The final piece, 'L.R.S' creates a montage like atmosphere of reflection upon all the Emotronic Diary has explored. Simplified elements recall past experiences and dreamlike elements make those memories feel like a wonderfully familiar fantasy.

Werkstatt Recordings presents Jowie Schulner's Emotronic Diary on their Bandcamp page here and this album is not just an important work for Jowie Schulner but also the scene in general. Jowie has created a magnificently structured experience in this record that incorporates wonderful new ideas while retaining an 80s glow that lights up the entire synthscape. This abum comes very, very highly recommended from Synthetix.FM and is a record that will take you on an emotional roller coaster ride of gorgeous synth magic.

Synthetix.FM will be taking a short vacation until I return to regularly scheduled programming on the 29th of April. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Synthetix Weekend Update

This will be the last Weekend Update for a couple of weeks as I'll be taking a little vacation over the Easter period and will be back and rockin April 29. There'll be one more review I'll cover this coming week before the break, however.

Another big week in the scene has elapsed and I've got a bunch of hot rockin tunes to share with you in this week's Weekend Update on Synthetix.FM. The first thing I definitely need to cover this week is the amazing anthology release compilation from Werkstatt Recordings released recently. The Werkstatt Chronicles is an incredible documentation of the history thus far of one of the scene's most prolific labels.

Spanning five years this compilation covers fifty six (yes, FIFTY SIX) tracks from a tonne of musical denominations but always with retro vibe. Lots of the scene's most loved and respected producers show up on this release, including the likes including Protector 101, Fantastisizer, Sam Haggblad and Gost along with a myriad of producer's Werkstatt has continuously promoted. This label is one of the central hubs of the 80s inspired synth scene and I'd like to take this moment to thank Kostas for all his work and determination in sharing so much wonderful music. Here's to the next five years, my good man.

You can pick up a copy of The Werkstatt Chronicles on Bandcamp here at a name-your-own-price point. Please support this release as this label is vastly important to the development of the scene.

Time to switch on your inflight entertainment console and blast off into the wide blue yonder with this week's AIRBORNE hits on Synthetix.FM!

Run Vaylor - Star Knight - Rockin a new six track EP straight out of France comes Run Vaylor with his Star Knight release. This producer's sounds combine great vintage progressions and melodies with a modern energy that makes them sound very club oriented. His work on this EP really hits some big high points with 'Saturn V' and 'Orbital Cocktail' really taking the Run Vaylor synthscapes into exciting new realms.

Dan Terminus - Rêverie - Resident synth antichrist Dan Terminus has eschewed his lusts for the aural violence he so wantonly creates and has instead gone for a much more positive aspect with his new diversion Rêverie. Distorted terrors are replaced with sweet, breezy melodies and are arranged with delightful care and nuance for the most part, but Terminus can't help himself and unleashes the beast in the final chapter, I guess he needed to add something darker to balance out the lovingly crafted synth serenade to Vincenzo Salvia which precedes it.

Spacious Sweep - Searing Chains - When it comes to Italo flavoured synth action there are few as prolific in the scene as Spacious Sweep/JEJE80 Home Production. This rocker has been one of my favourite creators of 80s synth that is written with a wonderfully fun aspect and oodles homage to the classic sounds. Searing Chains is a package of ten tracks from the last few months that really encapsulate the Spacious Sweep magic. Although the release is officially being hosted on DepostiFiles, please give him some love on his soundcloud page here and continue supporting his music.


The first of a few new rockers for Synthetix.FM this week is Daniel Deluxe and his latest work 'The Getaway'. Maximum levels of intrigue and intensity in the opening stages lead to full throttle excitement as OutRun styles are taken on a collision course with Michael Cassette-esque elements. The experience is rockin from beginning to end and is currently available for FREE download via the player.

Having been on a bit of a break for the last couple of months Cougar Synth have triumphantly returned with a sublimely beautiful new slice of warmth Synth Romance titled 'Denying Everything'. The mood is fragile and intimates undertones of need and emotional sensitivities ensconced in the glowing haze of that Cougar Synth magic we love so much. Currently available for FREE download.

The scene continues to go all wonderfully topsy turvy this week as a new chapter has arrived in the Garth Knight story. He's taken a trip off the funky well lit streets we're accustomed to finding him in and is instead now exploring darker alleys of festering decay and untold horrors. 'Nightmare City' gives the Garth Knight synthscape the Giallo Disco treatment and it rocks harder than a melonfarmer. Available for purchase via the player.

Someone who we all can rely on to bring things back to normality is Who Ha. His new album project has begun with his homage to the shapeliest of derrieres in 'Cutiest Petutiest Gluteus'. The album is going to be an ongoing work with songs added to  the Bandcamp page for Pop Goes The Who Ha  as he  sees fit. Expect radness, badness and madness in equal portions as Who Ha rocks the 80s all around the world once again.

MegaDrive's brand of high energy synth necromancy has returned with a great new track called 'Slum Lord'. The music is dark and bubbling over with maleficence while melodic details sharpen their wits in electrifying passages from which there is no escape. Be sure to check out a marvellously entertaining interview with MegaDrive in the latest episode of Beyond Synth if you'd like to learn more about this totally kick arse producer.

To celebrate the beginning of Spring in the northern hemisphere Sferro has been very public spirited in offering a phenomenal new track called 'Let's Take The Top Down' for FREE download. This is one of those amazing pieces of music that hooks you deep within seconds and never lets go. I absolutely love this track, and I'm sure you will too. Thanks, Sferro rocker! Happy Spring to you too!

A brand new producer just beginning to rock the scene has opened his account with a hugely impressive track. Shock Street's 'Andromeda' is being groomed to have a vocal track at some stage but this instrumental version was something I just couldn't pass up on covering. The way this track has been constructed is wildly engrossing. Synths soar and passages become uplifting in their presence throughout the narrative. This is currently available for FREE download via the player too.

Must be something about Spring that brings a lot of producers back into the fray as Vestron Vulture has also released a new track for the first time in quite a while but my word; it was well worth the wait. 'Dethboy' from its name and art work would appear to be a work of dark synth brutality but is instead a very positively constructed journey that is held together by a synthually wondrous refrain. This is available for FREE download currently too.

We haven't visited with Right Knider for a while now but this situation is definitely remedied with his epic new jame 'Cosmonot'. The ambiance and spatial quality of this track a joy to behold as mind altering synths take you into the galaxies above upon wings of pure retro synth magic. The passages of this track are crafted with a keen appreciation of narrative based soundtrack synth and the perilous journey becomes one we simply must see through to the end.

Block 35 has been on my radar for a while now and his new track certainly made me sit up and take notice. 'Splashing Waves' is an entrancing blend of Italo sounds that are bright and sparkling in a most alluring way. Details are sharp and full of joie de vivre and are thoroughly energising in their overt display of glorious 80s love. You can pick up a copy of this rockin track at a name-your-own-price point via the link to Bandcamp in the player.

One of my all-time favourite collaborative teams in the work STARFORCE and Dynatron produce; whenever they get together magic surely follows and with their latest track 'Cyborg Cyclops' we get to experience that rockin magic once again. An ever so slightly 70s prog element is present in the lead melody which adds even more impetus to their retro synthscapes. Arranged and engineered for seriously rockin good times this killer track is available for FREE download via the player.

Another hot new rocker for this week's Weekend Update, this time FlashROM with his beautiful new track 'Forever'. This passionate composition is like supercharged Synth Romance as the layers of synths and guitars meet in an electric embrace. There's a whole lot to love about this superb track, I can't wait to experience more of the FlashROM experience!

Thundering out of the starting grid and hitting top speed in nanoseconds is the thrill ride known as Tokyo Rose with his powerhouse new track 'Zender Overdrive'. Thumping OutRun percussion and swerving synth melodies accelerate past the competition and disappear over the horizon in a dazzling display of refined engineering and pure adrenalin. Totally kick arse.

Continuing the OutRun flavour let's scorch the asphalt into dangerous oblivion with Will Burn's death defying frenzy 'Wrong Wayz'. Everything on this track is turned up into the red zone and one's pulse is sure to be sky rocketing into the stratosphere as each chapter pushes harder than the last. This incendiary tracer bullet of synth energies is available for FREE download via the player.

Miami Beach Force are back with a killer follow up to 'Robotic Assassin' called 'Neon Ninja'. The eastern flavours are marvellously well woven into this action soundtrack oriented piece. The chapters are assembled seamlessly with a magically potent refrain tying the tension together into a bundle set to break its restraints and exact revenge upon all and sundry.

The final track for this week's Weekend Update just snuck in before the cut off point and I'm very happy it did. New 80s Stallone music is always cause for much excitement and his new track 'Bollinger' is as smooth and refreshing as the drink itself. The 80s Stallone blend of quality 80s craftsmanship within modern arrangements is always a joy to experience and this is totally rockin all the right ways.

Not one but two videos are to be featured as the final part of this week's Weekend Update. First up is a beautifully pieced together video for AloneWolf's track 'The Way Of The Wolf' as made by the original composer. The editing is cut perfectly to the track and adds a complimentary visual component to this great track.

AloneWolf: The Way Of The Wolf [Music video] from AloneWolf on Vimeo.

The second video is a totally rockin new teaser for Perturbator's next release: Dangerous Days. Employing the talents of Mykola Dosenko we're presented with a cityscape in a 16bit heat haze, burgeoning in glorious parallax with a soundtrack filled with wanton desire and fiery emotions. This is just short clip, but my lord does it leave one champing at the bit for more.

That does us for an XXXL Weekend Update on Synthetix.FM, as I stated earlier I've still got one more review I'll be posting during the week before taking a week and a half off over the Easter period.

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

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Professor Zonic Zynth's New York Vibes

The last time we visited with the good Professor was August last year with his totally rockin Nostalgic Fantasy EP and betwixt then and now Zonic has released three full albums. For some reason entirely unknown to me Zonic Zynth is a producer that never seems to get a lot of love; which he richly deserves. The last couple of releases came out at times that didn't fit with the Synthetix.FM schedule unfortunately, but it pleases me greatly to be able to give some quality time to his latest album New York Vibes which in my eyes is his most accomplished work yet.

I've previously mentioned how this producer in particular has a gift for creating true 80s spaces in music and as he's progressed over the last year or thereabouts, even more kick arse sounds have become part of the Zonic experience. Zonic Zynth is a producer's producer in that his craftsmanship and style seems to be appreciated by other producers, but doesn't seem to garner a similar excitement from the scene's fans. This is something that I hope changes with New York Vibes as it is a magical experience in 80s synth sounds.

The twelve tracks of this album are soundtrack oriented synth that get delicious new flavours with Zonic's wonderfully imaginative vision. The opening pieces are rife with tension and initiate the listener into the Zonic version of New York and its multicultural background. There are many, many bold moves taken in this album that I can but applaud as the Professor brings in a cacophony of varied instruments and makes them all work so beautifully well. The steel drums completing 'Eclipse' are merely a taster of things to come but certainly begin to open and unlock one's mind to rockin new possibilities.

Zonic's refined a lot of his techniques in this record but one area that this is hugely pronounced is in the percussion. He gambles and wins often rolling highly aggressive beats against serene melodies and firing machine gun rounds of fills into the mix with the precision of a veteran sniper. The album's tone retains much of the playfully authentic melodies Zonic is highly proficient in but now adds jazzier aspects that take the soundtrack's multicultural nature into account. The positively asiatic atmosphere of 'Summer Posse' stands out, with some progressions Yellow Magic Orchestra would be proud of. Energetic drums syncopate surreptitiously in the steamy back alleys of Chinatown, where gangs jostle for dominance and eastern mysticism permeates through the night.

One of the absolute stand out tracks on New York Vibes is 'Ferrari Lot'. The incredibly vibrant drums clash and rock with a golden swagger while synth melodies sweep in from behind; exuding expensive class and unattainable beauty. This track really feels like three or four people creating the music live and jamming along to the groove, making the different textures and tones presented in the instruments stunningly vivid.

A continental atmosphere is introduced in 'Cossack Queens' as an Italo vibe is given an Eastern European strength and force and the Russian Quarter of New York begins to rock and roll. Zonic's fascination with orchestral stabs has become one of the strongest weapons in his arsenal and in this track in particular he makes them work in an integral part of the piece's narrative and not just as an accented detail. Marvellous work.

The album has an over arching cop-movie storyline that crops up as set pieces between the albums more ethnically oriented parts. 'Cops By-The-Book' arrives on the scene at the record's midpoint with the melodrama of the crime wave hitting home and taking no prisoners. This track is followed by another one of the album's highlights: 'Manhattan Docks'. Things slow down as the investigations move into unfamiliar territory and pierce the shrouded moors with floodlights of synthual beauty. The plot becomes dangerous and foreboding with huge percussive cues signalling more sinister forces at play but one can not help but be utterly entranced by the resplendent synth refrain.

Edge of your seat thrills climax with velocity and explosiveness as the back end of the record brings the loose ends together and the pieces fall into place. The energetic inquiries surrounding 'Alley Of Fate' are set alight in the follow up 'Forbidden Formula MK-II'. Frenetic synths and drums meet with a definitively bluesy guitar track that echoes the dangers of this new street drug. The astronomical highs drop down to subterranean lows and Zonic's descriptive passages leave nothing to the imagination.

Some of my favourite aspects of Zonic's musical pastiche are his funkier bass-driven jams and in 'Out Tonight' he rides the groove right into the funkosphere and beyond. Cool and sophisticated horn sections bring a whole new level of refinement to the proceedings and the music takes off into outer space powered by its own celestial rhythms. The final chapter of the album takes a decidedly more restrained approach with smooth melodies lingering in the night air as the culmination of months of detective work brings the officers to the 'Moonlit Well' for a final discovery before the credits roll.

Professor Zonic Zynth presents the New York Vibes album on his Bandcamp page here and with no reservation what so ever this album is a Synthetix Reference Experience. The cohesiveness of the tracks given their huge variety of flavours is completely intoxicating. Zonic creates his own vision of New York and its diversity in a celebration of cultural differences that unite in superbly orchestrated synthphonies. This is easily one of the most complete soundtrack synth albums I've heard and you'd be doing yourself a monstrous disservice in not picking up a copy as soon as possible.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Dystopian Dreams From Machines

Contrary to my own preconceived belief, Ex-Machina has been around creating his own vision of 80s synth music for quite a long time. His releases on Bandcamp go back to mid 2012, and yet it disappoints me greatly that I've only recently been privy to his music. T'was but last Halloween and the Synthetix.FM Rhythm Vivisection Mixtape upon which I was courted by Ex-Machina with his totally radical 'Night Of The Rottweiler IV' track. This was my first introduction to this producer's sound and I must say, I relished it greatly.

Ex-Machina has now released his first full length album in Dystopian Dreams and it has surprised me greatly from track to track how much this producer has developed and allowed his musical ideas to take form. Over the nine tracks of this album we experience a great range atmospherically soundtrack oriented pieces that are structured exquisitely well. I was expecting a much darker aspect to this record but much of the Ex-Machina aesthetic exudes a cool beauty that is precision engineered and the darker side of the synth plays a much less pronounced role; adding a layer of sleekness and mystery rather than obliterating all and sundry in its path.

The Ex-Machina sound is introduced superbly via the opening discourse 'Pursuit Through The City'. Exhibiting an unrushed and suave disposition this piece builds with pin point accuracy into a sprawling epic of synthesized sounds that complement the melody with aplomb. Guitars slice through the echoing keyboards and bring the elements together in a tightly knit, high energy second act that unleashes OutRun passions in the dark of the night. Set pieces are unveiled in silken turns and contain an effortless elegance.

One of the aspects I really appreciate on this record is the length of the tracks. This may seem a tad supercilious of me but I for one really prefer tracks of this style in a format that pushes upwards of five minutes. The craftsmanship of writing more atmospheric sounds means allowing them time and space to evolve and set a scene, then tell the story within it. Often shorter pieces in this format find me wishing there was more time to drink in the atmosphere and revel in its presence. This is apparently an aesthetic shared by Ex-Machina and even on more synth pop oriented tracks like 'Come Get Me' there is a tangible ease to the pace and Dana Jean Phoenix is allowed to take on more of a role in the song that befits its aesthetic.

Track three takes this even further in the seven minutes mindblower 'The Man From The Company'. I can't get enough of the mystery aspect entwined into this huge track. The melodies tell volumes of narrative, describing exchanges with action and excitement which then cut into interludes of even more inquisitiveness. Extracting and examining elements, reassembling them then evolving them into reflective extensions of their previous forms; this track rivals the best of the best with it keenly orchestrated soundtrack magic.

This preponderance to take ideas into their most refined fruition is also explored in 'Chrysalis'. Delicately spun aural fibres mesh and form upon each other as transformations occur slowly beneath the surface in a hypnotising fashion. Breaking free of this quiescence the rockin returns in the follow up track 'Cyberpower'.  Airs of night dangers return via brash guitars and synths that crave action and pleasures of adrenalin. The midpoint breakdown of this piece explores even more lavish territory as Ex-Machina just keeps on rockin and rollin with all the forces of nature and science at his beck and call.

One of the real surprises on this record is 'Sophist' featuring a vocal track by SpekrFreks. The tone of this piece always catches me unawares whenever I hear it as it really takes the Ex-Machina aesthetic into a new dimension. The vocals are dramatic and ripe with disdain and just enough bitterness while musical structures contain wonderfully authentic 80s tones with a modernity that somehow makes the song sound genuinely futuristic. It's a very strong track, one of the strongest on the record and really expands Ex-Machina's horizons in exciting new ways.

'Sector-17 Blues' begins a new chapter of the story with a introspective introductory passages which then blooms into a wondrous synthscape of rainbow neon against a dark, night sky. The broken dystopian vision is contrasted by melodies full of life and positivity, rising from hushed whispers into jubilant swells of glorious synthuality. The action picks up and percussion gives energetic impetus to the surrounds, instilling excitement and even possible dangers before the lead refrains casts its astoundingly beautiful colours over the scene's final act.

The crossover between vintage and modern sounds is expertly balanced throughout this album as modern arrangements allow for higher impact payloads of explosive 80s sounds to be ignited. 'Bearclaw P.M.C' personifies this with violent samples rising and falling in time with the incendiary synths before chaos erupts into an all out attack on the senses. Ex-Machina always keeps things under control though and even when tensions threaten to obliterate all in their path the direction remains steady and true to the melody's vision.

Dystopian Dreams completes with a great deal of intimacy and humanity with the final track, simply titled 'Love Scene'. The bleakness of this dystopian vision is washed away with the rains and searing guitars release emotions and passions of an unstoppable force. There is mercy and tenderness in every note with imploring chords pleading for release beyond this mortal realm.

Future City Records presents Ex-Machina's Dystopian Dreams on their Bandcamp page here in digital form and you can also pick up a very limited edition on cassette via Ex-Machina directly here. As an album this release creates incredible amounts of atmosphere and paints fantastic visions through Ex-Machina's synthscapes. Each track is exceptionally well realised and genuinely sticks to an overriding theme that ties everything together, including the rockin pieces with vocal accompaniment. Synthetix.FM very, very highly recommends Ex-Machina's Dystopian Dreams album as it is truly a complete experience in 80s inspired synth music that crosses between light and dark and old and new brilliantly.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Synthetix Weekend Update

I'm back with another big Weekend Update to make your 80s neon glow that little bit brighter.

The first order of business on the agenda is the fantastic new compilation release from Retro Promenade, AKA Who Ha and his marvellous new multimedia edition of Class Action Volume 2. This not only has a spectacular range of the scene's most rockin producers but also the second issue of the Retro Promenade magazine. The magazine itself is full of kick arse interviews and reviews as well as panel discussion on 'The State of Synthwave' in which I was lucky enough to partake in. This comes as a FREE .pdf when you pick up the compilation or can be purchased as a physical edition too.

Your entertainment value with this package (that also has the compilation available on cassette!) is astronomical, so get on it and rock it hard.  Many kudos to Mike Who Ha for making this project happen. You can pick up a copy of the compilation/magazine/artwork/cassette in all manner of combinations via Retro Promenade's Bandcamp page here.

Let's put our seats into the take off position, buckle the seat belts tight and prepare to hurtle into the wide blue yonder with this week's Airborne releases!

Kalax - Outlands - Kalax's second EP finds the producer expanding on the soundscape created in his first EP, Journey, and constructing a wonderfully involving conceptual soundtrack theme. Outlands is a cautionary tale set in a dark future consisting of fast action-oriented cuts and also mellower pieces that allow for Kalax's melody's to soar beautifully. The structures are built solidly and make for expansive synthscapes and deliver a cohesive narrative, complete with vocals on two of the tracks performed by Dana Jean Phoenix and electrifying duet with Blokkmonsta that transcends genres, languages and decades.

Waveshaper - Sounds That Kill - Another concept EP, this time from Waveshaper and his super rockin new creation Sounds That Kill. In all honesty, one of the lines from the EP's description sums this up perfectly: "This is a story of a man whose only weapons are his synthesizers and a woman who fights by his side". The tracks are all beautifully written and create massive amounts of atmosphere and even contains a superb collaborative piece with Robert Parker. Waveshaper just keeps on continuing to impress and this EP sure does exactly that.

LA Dreams - Light Speed  - LA Dreams keeps on rockin like the 80s synth juggernaut we know and love in his new album Light Speed. Easily one of his most accomplished records yet, there is a marked improvement in his arrangements and his breadth of instrumentations. Each track is absolutely glowing with pure 80s love and is a genuine delight to experience. This will be LA Dreams last album for a while as he stated he is spending some time working on collaborations in the near future. I'm hugely looking forward to what this will entail, and will be sure to share these works on Synthetix.FM when they happen.


Phaserland's rockin some smoothly cool synth pop sounds with Nikki on his great new song 'Hot Stunner'. This is one of the great tracks on the new compilation from Wave Runner Records called Running All Night. This features a tonne of Synthetix.FM favourites and some rockin new pieces like this great track. You can pick up your copy of 'Hot Stunner' with a plethora of other synthwave gems on the Running All Night compilation available on Bandcamp here fore FREE.

A different kind of smooth next with the massively atmospheric soundtrack piece 'Border Control' by DATAstream. The depth of narrative in this track is absolutely immense and really creates a totally immersive synthscape. Many thanks to respected synthficionado Alexandre Lemoing for enlightening me to this producer.

Flash Arnold's riding atmospheric waves of soundtrack synth beauty too of late and with his hot new rocker 'Deserted Streets'. The build is huge and packed with excitement as synths from the bowels of the earth open up with caustic vigour and unquestionable power. This is currently available for FREE via the download button in the player.

An new EP is coming soon from Killstarr and 'Summer Drive' has been released as the promotional track for it. This sweetly orchestrated experience of soft pink Synth Romance is beautifully gentle with emotive progressions and sumptuous melodies. 'Summer Drive' is available for FREE download via the player too.

Short but sweet, any hot new track from Miami Nights 1984 is going to get your pulse racing and your appetite hungering for more. This snippet was shared recently and is rife with MN84 magic. I'm assuming I'm hoping 'Reflex Training' marks the start of a journey to a new album from this veteran of the scene.

Keeping things 'definitely Miami' is the hot new track from Miami Beach Force: 'Robotic Assassin'. The combination of rockin Italo vibe synth melodies and crushing guitar riffs makes for a very interesting combination of sounds that is rather captivating and almost hypnotic in its power.

Python Blue certainly knows how to rock with his new track 'Welcome To The Club'. Marching drums lead into rifftastic guitars and synths add the final layer of melodic brilliance. Though usually working on the more atmospheric side of soundtrack synth this track is full of raucous energy and beautiful 80s colours. Currently available for FREE download via the link in the player.

I simply can't stress enough how much I love guitars in 80s inspired synth music and with Sayak Striker's new track 'Hot Run' we get even more love for rockin guitars and synths duelling in a rhythmic ballet of high emotional excitement. Totally k-rad to the max.

One of the best names I've come across in the scene in recent times has to be Repomancer and his hot new soundtrack themed piece Midnight Special certainly makes you sit up and pay attention. The opening builds to an epic synth lead that is then taken in very cool new directions throughout the composition's chapters.

Riddlis shared two tracks over the last couple of weeks I really enjoyed but 'Clouds' is definitely something  special. The melodies in this remind me of classic early 80s synth experiences. The intentional distortion in the piece does take me, personally, out the experience a tad but the strength of the lead melody carries the magic on beautifully. You can also pick this up currently for FREE via the download button in the player. Also check out Riddlis' rockin 'Children' track which came out recently too here, and is also up for FREE download.

One of my favourite tracks of the last week is definitely Kid Quasar's 'Disco Radio Action'. The energy is absolutely kick arse and I love his modern take on the Electro Breakin' styles with  some very imaginative arrangements and superb sample work. Get on this ASAP as it's currently available for FREE download.

The new track from Batch Sound is another gem I just can't get enough of this week. 'The Cheesy Alternative' is another grand jam packed with hot synths and on point 80s percussive details. This is available as a single release on Bandcamp here with an edited version and also a piece they did for Beyond Synth. Totally rockin.

Dialling things back to a more contemplative ambience is the delightful new track from Pulse 80 entitled 'V I C E'. The atmosphere on this gets bigger and bigger as huge synth leads rise and fall with machine gun hip hop percussion igniting the combustible elements into a searing synth fireball. Currently available for FREE download also.

Trevor Something's moody and suave synth pop experiences keep evolving and achieving glorious new heights with each track. In 'SEGA Genesis' the airy synth melodies and haunting vocals are moulded into alluring new shapes and forms, using one of gaming's greatest consoles as the inspiration.

Pure Secks have been on my radar for a couple of months now and their odd mix of sounds and styles is something I've found very engaging. In 'Science Friction' the Pure Secks sound becomes are tad more crystallised as the sample laden synthscape gets tied together in a totally rockin piece of classic 80s eclecticism. Available currently for FREE download via the player also.

The final piece I'd like to share with you for this week's Weekend Update is something I found both totally rockin and very special. My love affair with Sternrekorder's wonderful music has been well documented on Synthetix.FM over the last couple of years but I have no real idea about him as a composer or producer outside of experiencing his music directly. Although I knew Sternrekorder has been a part of the scene since the early days in the late 2000's I had no idea how far back his music went. I've now found out a little bit more about his history courtesy a new track this week that is an unreleased track from 2002. This piece veritably comes alive with delightful 80s colours and it brings me much joy to discover Sternrekorder's definitely one of the modern synth artists that will be around for the duration.

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

Thursday, April 3, 2014

James Baker's Beautiful Rose

I've already mentioned in my recent review of MUSCLE's The Pump EP how the aspect of fun is so important to the 80s sound to me. That record was a great example of exactly that ideal. In a similar way the new James Baker EP does a similar thing with the wonderful 80s naïveté that so often captures my mind and heart with this music, a really honest and joyful aesthetic that I find hugely endearing but often seems to be misconstrued into cheese or chintz.

The whole concept of what I term 80s naïveté is the overt happiness that exudes through melodies and arrangements in a spectacularly prominent way. It's not dissimilar to how fun 80s music is, the power of this wonderful naïveté is not about its negative connotations of the dictionary definitions but more about the childlike wonder that is at the essence of much of original 80s synth music. Like an innocence or purity, the 80s naïveté is something very recognisable in the works of producers such as Plaisance, Sternrekorder, Alpha Boy, Smartech and, of course, James Baker.

My love affair with James Baker's music blossomed into a full crush with his amazing track Un Paradis Tropical, which is, to this day, still one of my absolute favourite pieces of music the 80s inspired synth scene has thus far produced. Now with James Baker's Rose EP we're treated to five gloriously sweet and light tracks of synth magic and his delicious, candy coloured music has become even more tantalising to the palette.

The slow moving romantic opening track, 'Papillons', sets an enchanting scene. Each instrument floats and dances in a purely shimmering spectacle of synth fantasy. The lead refrain is the essence of wonder with its part Never Ending Story and part Italo flavour that drips like honey into soda waterfalls in a pasture of lollypop grasses. The magic of the 80s is bottled and sealed in this track alone and a twist of the cap opens up waves of classic synth effervescence.

Things become even more intimate in the follow up 'Belle' which endeavours to fall head over heels into synth romance bliss. James Baker's understanding of 80s melodies combined with a superbly sound construction of his works make for just the right mix of classic sounds in new arrangements as the refrain crests and dives on waves of a pure azure waters bathed in warm, revitalising sunshine.

Next up is the James Baker anthem 'Summer of '83' which continues life on the warm sands of an idyllic coastal retreat. The slightly more disco ambience leads into some super rockin synth horns followed by a glorious homage to late 80s Eurobeat action. The seamless transition brings together different ages of electronic music flawlessly.

'Béton Rose' takes things into a more intimate direction with a new evening sultriness being draped seductively over the tropical aesthetic. Melodies whisper intimate narratives of love in an innocently delicate manner, poetic and carefree with the cool night breeze coming in off the sea. You place your sweater across her shoulders to keep warm and wish your arms were around her too.

James Baker takes a jazzier trip for the final track 'Femme Fatale' as an ever so slight hint of adult passions begin to colours the scene with vivid pinks and seductive reds. The lead refrain contains elements of smouldering longing while keeping things PG rated becomes a full time occupation. The rhythms become infectious and her cheek brushes past your lips in an electrifying sensation of an incredible new world we are but at the threshold of.

Future 80s Records presents James Baker's Rose EP on their Bandcamp page here and it is a release I have found to be wonderfully enchanting in so many aspects. The 80s naïveté is just so poignantly crafted into each of James Baker's compositions that I can't help but be transported into all new worlds, full of pastell and primary colours, gloss coated to a mirror reflection and completely delicious to taste. Synthetix.FM very, very highly recommends this release and I hope you too get to feel the magic that James Baker so eloquently composes into aural candy.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Judge Bitch On The Gridiron

Quite often I think of the 80s inspired synth scene as a multiverse unto itself. Countless dimensions of musical experiences that have branched off from our own current realities; existing only in the imagination of the producers through which we're allowed to see aural echoes, manifested as their musical creations. The inspirations and reimaginings are vast and varied and greatly insightful in communicating between the composer and the listener. Sometimes the link is direct and obvious, other times it can be obtuse and yet other times still it can be twisted, shattered and reverse engineered into a broken reflection of what has come before.

In Judge Bitch's synthscapes we experience this warped impression of music inspired by the past but existing in its own exotic dimension which crosses over into all manner of aesthetics. Circuit bent melodies and the intensity of industrially machined sounds merge with choked, haltering arrangements and are then laced with glorious 80s passions creating something all together quite different from the lion's share of producers in the scene. Much like his previous release, Viper (reviewed on Synthetix.FM here) we get to partake in both dreams and nightmares of Judge Bitch's orchestration and the journey is as rockin as it is intense

First down is 'Anaconda' and instantly we're presented with a raw, pulsating atmosphere that trudges into bleak new worlds with determination and grit. Leads synths carve out a lurching melody that feels it is already in the grip an anaconda's constrictions and as the coils flex tighter and tighter the melody begins to lose its consciousness entirely; ascending eventually into a noble release as the heart beat slows and life drains away entirely.

As in his previous works, the darker elements are often the driving forces in Judge Bitch's compostions, however this is kept in check in most cases to allow for spectacular interplay between light and dark elements. The second track, 'Twelve', is a futuristic synth anthem that is coarse and abrasive in it's presentation while keeping soaring, uplifting melodies riding high over these aural atrocities. The tonal quality of this piece gives it a raw, metallic edge that cuts like a blunt, rusty saw, yet still can not mar or corrupt the majestic guitar and synth magic.

Taking great inspiration from the highly underrated Demolition Man movie from the early 90s 'MDK' chugs to life with pummelling intensity and drops like a tonne of twisted metal. Orchestral stabs add even more ferocity to the pneumatically crushing synth melody that rocks rhythmically beneath the scythe-like guitar sweeps. Unrelenting in its intent and completely unstoppable this track is forged in Hell and cast like a megaton shadow.

The ambience continues down the road to oblivion in the opening stages of 'Hot Plates' until the musicality of the structures are separated and dissected into their own elements of dischordant energy. Much of Judge Bitch's sounds work as pure soundtrack pieces, and it must be said that 'Hot Plates' really distills the evolutionary narrative into something quite monstrous as each assembled substructure is absorbed and repurposed into a formidable behemoth of sound.

The segue that occurs betwixt 'Hot Plates' and 'Tropicool' provides some truly exceptional continuity as the ideas gain a more traditional aspect. Warm 80s glows beging to pour from the blackened surrounds, building with light into a glittering prize of faceted pink and cyan jewels. Judge Bitch gets awfully close to an Italo based melody and in this context it becomes even more triumphantly empowering as the story's chapters unfold.

Following 'Tropicool' comes the Synthetix.FM favourite 'Chimera' featuring Pertubator and his short shorts of distinction. The duo work their magic via the inspirational isometric adventure game's samples with ardently direct homage to video game music composer deity Rob Hubbard. 'Chimera' rocks super hard and continues to be one of my favourite collaborative tracks of recent times.

I find Judge Bitch's direct inspirations from vintage culture hugely entertaining and his track'Vice' takes his sample work into all new realms of radness. 1982's Vice Squad provides an almost complete vocal track to the off-screen brutality the synths intimate with wanton aggression. Seething with an undercurrent of rage, the melodies hypnotize and then obliterate with great power and an attitude of belligerent bloody mindedness. A brutal spectacle one simply can not look away from.

Gridiron finishes on one of the strongest experiences on the album entitled 'Wildcard'. Channelling distant echoes of Mr Vector's classic 'Electric Vice' this track moves into visionary new territory as atom melting synths become a fanciful delights of 80s brilliance. The elements come together into a chaotically beautiful work of delicate subtlety and raw goddamned power. A live electricity runs through this piece and gives it such vibrant life and wondrous colours.

Aphasia Records presents Judge Bitch's Gridiron album on their Bandcamp page here and as a complete record this vividly brings to life and all new incarnation of the Judge Bitch sound. The development of ideas is more diverse and complete and each track is a standalone monolith while still remaining deeply rooted in the universe in which Judge Bitch rules with an iron fist. The tone and presence of this album is intense and engrossing to experience and Synthetix.FM regards this work as very, very highly recommended listening.