Monday, September 29, 2014

The NEW Synthetix.FM Mixtape

The Synthetix.FM Mixtape for September is ready rock you with all the 80s synth love you can handle!
This month's featured EXCLUSIVE 80s style 12" mix is from Pure Secks (featuring Heather Sloane) with their amazing 'In The Spotlight' song. They've really brought out the essence of this track in this extended mix and I'm very proud to have it as this month's exclusive.

Full Tracklisting:

1,The Night - Sagittarius V
2, Summer 80 (Rocking Out) - Zerbinator
3, Return Of Ancestral Knowledge - Spacious Sweep
4, Odyssey - Raken
5, Back In Time - Mulperi
6, We Are The Sun - Pyramid Aeon
7, In Your Love - Droid Bishop
8, So Close - Jordan F
9, In My DeLorean - Droid Bishop
10, Dust Box - Station A3
11, California Knight - Mr.Vtage
12, In The Spotlight(Synthetix.FM Extended Mix) - Pure Secks (Featuring Heather Sloane)
13, Supervillain - VHS
14, Shanglin - Alpharisc
15, Los Canarreos - Digital Native Dance
16, Escape Without Control - Dana's Vision
17. Throttle Up - Dynatron
18, After Dark - Digital Native Dance
19, OMG wut? - Warrior III
20, Reflection - Pyramid Aeon
21, Dance Or Die - Starcadian
22, Neon Summer - Diamond Field (Featuring Nina Yasmineh)
23, The Pressure Is On - LA Dreams

We're now coming into October and I'm looking for tracks to go on the second annual Synthetix.FM Rhythm Vivisection Halloween Mixtape. The cut off date for track submissions is the 25th of October, so there's still lots of time to get some dark, horror 80s themed tracks together. They don't need to be brand new or exclusive but they do need to have been produced in 2014.

Feel free to contact me via the contact form on left hand side of the site for more info or for my contact email to send tracks through to.

Thursday, September 25, 2014


Riddlis - The Lost Days EP

By Matthew Neophytou

Taking a galaxy-spanning road trip inwards to the deepest crevices of your nostalgic mind-scape, is what comes to my consciousness, when absorbing The Lost Days; the new EP by Riddlis. There are distinct levels that occur in the four tracks, which is best drunk in one whole sitting.

The stand outs for me here has to be between the title track 'The Lost Days' and 'Remember Proxyon', as I tend to gravitate towards thematic piece’s in my love for synth these best represent that aspect. It's interesting that 'Remember Proxyon' is placed first as I would imagine it being the Prometheus to the Alien that is 'The Lost Days' in terms of progressive style for each track ie: the latter being stripped down to the former full on production. The other two tracks 'Ryu’s Fight' and 'Missile' inject the EP with concussive beats, which provide good breaks and level out the journey.

The Lost Days is another good release for Riddlis and as he hones his craft more I look forward to hearing where he takes us to next. As a last note, I would seriously suggest plugging your headphones on and lying down somewhere with your eyes closed and execute the title track, definitely a release to pick up for some solitary journeys into one's mind.

Femmepop - From A Girl Who Never Sleeps

By Jerry Herrera

The synth vocalist is a rare and beautiful creature, and rarer still is the vocalist who is also a producer.  Femmepop brings us From A Girl Who Never Sleeps, a charming and varied LP that collects a few singles but also includes a lot of new material, some of which are collaborations with other synth talents.

While the entirety of the record strays into synthwave, synthpop and dreamwave, Femmepop has managed to created a unique sound all her own with the foundations of nostalgia in mind.  Her sound will definitely have you caught up in memories of your youth.  I think most readers will gravitate toward her collaborations with some pretty recognizable names in the genre.  She teams up with Timecop1983 for 'Timescapes', which is a breezy tune perfect for cruising around town to.  Following that is 'Neon Nights' featuring LA Dreams, a slightly bigger and more OutRun styled song.  She slows things down on 'Not That Kind' with Robert Parker and another collaboration with Timecop1983 called 'Our Time' is easily my favorite track on the record.  Each producer she works with seems to understand her style and range, so while each track is theirs to a point, all of them are distinctly Femmepop.

Femmepop has an interesting vocal style that is emotive and powerful, but also sweet and simply pleasant to hear.  While I see big things happening for her in the future as a solo artist, it would be a great shame if more synthwave producers didn’t reach out to her for more collaborations, and vice versa.  She’s a refreshing new voice in a genre that prefers to let the synths do the talking.

Shiro Schwarz Separation Anxiety EP

Andrew B. White

Available for purchase on iTunes here

Separation Anxiety is a new EP from Mexican duo Shiro Schwarz. 2013 saw them release the album Exoplanet Love (digitally and on cassette) and the single 'Come Closer'. Formed in 2011 they describe themselves as an "audiovisual production and performance duo". Visual artist Pammela Rojas is on vocals and Rafael Marfil takes care of the music and also contributes vocals. Shiro Schwarzlike to use the term 'space yacht' to describe their sound and the term is apt, given the sound of 'yacht rock' with Shiro Schwarz adding in more synths to that breezy genre.

 Separation Anxiety consists of four songs which range from mid to up-tempo 80s, synth funk numbers. The funk is light (hence the yacht terminology) and also politely restrained but with no lack of groove. Rojas and Marfil share vocal duties on each track and sing in a kind of endearing, but disaffected, fragile way. These are mostly love songs for synth nerds who want to get a little of the funk on too. 'No Distance' is a duet with two lovers (under)stating their long distance love with a laid back bendy, synth-funk beat; 'Here To Stay' is a little more sexed-up lyrically and intensifies the pace; 'Separation Anxiety' with it's slower synth brass groove is the sound of being apart from your fellow geek love and needing a little circuit lovin'.

The last track 'Boogie Ghost' brings the funk up a notch with a Roger (Zapp) Troutman-style vocoder and a more sexy approach from Rojas where she comes acrosss more like 80s funk queens Appolonia or Cherrelle. Apparently Shiro Schwarz do some cool live A/V shows which would be cool to check out. In the meantime, if 80s funk crossed with melancholy synth pop is your thing, then hop right on board the Shiro Schwarz space yacht!

Protector 101 - Time Slap 003 Return Of The Killer Train 

By Matthew Neophytou

No stranger to synthwave soundtracks of 80’s movies not yet made, Protector 101 takes us through a terrifying ride of high tension and hair raising harmonies that could just about come out of a John Carpenter film. It is refreshing to see a producer such as Protector 101 who is able to do both “commercial” synths such as Fighting Spirit to downright full on Dolby Surround Sound atmospheric epics such as Black Friday 2: Blood Money (The UNCUT Version) (OST). As mentioned earlier this album would fall into the latters category, so if you want to dance your heart out to some sax Casio vibes, check out his other stuff.

Lets start at the very beginning a very good place to…. die!! Since the first note you know exactly where this film is headed yet you cannot turn your ears away from the menacing melodical madness you will be flung into. Scattered throughout the album like blood onto the walls are snippets of shall we say 1 minute or so “breathers” that allow us to catch our breath or hold it depending on your terror threshold. Speaking of threshold I would dare anyone to play this alone at home with the lights switched off, I would if I could but I would like to keep some semblance of sanity.

Like a film it is best to listen to this album from beginning to end but if you want to skip to some of the highlights they are are: 'It Came For Pleasantville' or as I like to call it 'The-Call-Is-Coming-From-Inside-The-House' The mixture of haunting strings and seriously scary piano which will make you wonder what exactly is that shadow over there?

'Video Game Junkie' offers a brief pause on the menace train, if only because by now you are wandering around the tracks blood soaked from 'Death Scene 1'. 'Prepare for Battle' has just the right beats we need to get up from our fetal positions and march onwards to face hell.

Proctor 101's Time Slap 003 Return of the Killer Train is available on Retro Promenade's Bandcamp in a Signed CD/Poster Combo as well as in digital formats. This is a great deal of fun and another feather in Protector 101's train driver's cap, and be sure to check out the great trailer for the project here to get you in the mood. Toot Toot!

Sandy H - Time Of My Life 

By James Mann

Beads of sunlight spill through the window and catch reflections in all directions as the wind catches your hair on a coastal drive. You slink through the club with the soundtrack of funk, suave, and intellect playing in the background. You finally recall what was written on the note you passed to the girl with piercing blue eyes all those years ago in science class. Respective memories to last a lifetime, all compliments of Sandy H.  This polished female synth and guitar artist from France blasts through the synth wave scene with her unforgettable album, Time of my Life from Future 80's Records. It's not every day you discover an artist that manages to weave such diversity in their music, evoking nostalgic, smooth moods that create such powerful imagery, as well as charged up synth/guitar arrangements you will be humming after Sandy H has dropped you off at your final destination.

The first few seconds of the opening track, 'Time of My Life' is well… powerful . With an arrangement of driven power chords and beautiful synth chord progressions, Sandy H has grabbed my attention and I can't wait to follow her lead. The track weaves its way through city streets at night, cruising with the best soundtrack possible. There are nuances in the percussion and rhythm you just can't ignore. Thoughtful and developed, Sandy H knows her stuff.

'The Girl of my Dreams' is a playful, catchy number with glassy synths that splash across the dance floor with a new wave beat. I see girls with teased hair and leggings, the guys with jean jackets all doing the Molly Ringwald. This is a good thing. Nostalgia 100%.

'A Night to Remember' and 'Bahia 82' bring an elegant funk with complex percussion, bass lines and detailed guitar work that are exceptional. Subtle piano work that blends seamlessly with claps evoke a lounge environment or a casual night stroll, where the melodies are calming, soothing and pensive.

'Pole Position' shows a darker, more driven side of Sandy H. I'm transported into a night drive with neon lights and seedy characters on the sidewalks whizzing by. (The acceleration and engine revving could be a large part of this), and the ride is thoroughly enjoyable.  It's amazing that through the arpeggiated synths and driving bass line and guitar, the tasteful, restrained and thoughtful approach of this able artist's music made me smile.

Time of My Life by Sandy H is a sophisticated, essential work for the current synth enthusiast. Sandy H takes you through her soundscapes and allows you to dream. Big. I am most impressed by her ability to vary the sounds, from those sleek lounge tunes to the ones that inspire you to turn the key in the ignition and just cruise. Closing my eyes while laying on the bed listening to her work transcended my memories growing up in the 80's, remembering all those meaningful and poignant moments that seem like yesterday. Sandy H takes you there, and into tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Droid Bishop Goes Beyond The Blue

By Rick Shithouse

Droid Bishop's eagerly anticipated debut full length record has arrived and the build up of excitement that has been finally unleashed. The Droid Bishop journey in 80s inspired sounds has always delivered a level of engagement and attachment to the music that is uncommon. His gift for creating spaces and conveying ideas and stories through his music has been some of my favourite and given the scope of what he's released thus far I, for one, was champing at the bit to see what he was going to come up with in his first full feature length record.

Looking back, one can see threads of ideas in previous releases now flourishing with sharp new vibrancy in Beyond The Blue. The energetic and emotive explorations of previous releases appear to have been turbocharged with energy and encompass even more new ideas over the course of the record. If there was one thing that really stands out the most, something that has been brought into razor sharp focus it is the contemporary crossover nature that swims deftly amongst the vintage 80s elements. In Beyond The Blue Droid Bishop has created an album that although being distinctly 80s in its soul wears bright modern elements proudly and gives them equal footing creating something that is going to appeal to a whole new audience.

The synthscape is constantly peppered with details of shiny new inventiveness against a background of lush and verdant 80s love and this combination only works so exceeding well due to the songwriting talent Droid Bishop has mastered over the course of Beyond The Blue's creation. 'Vanisher' enters stage left and proudly sings its vibrant, high energy refrains awash in the glow of the neon limelight. The first thing that hits you is the tightness of the production. Each facet is engineered with a gleaming, interlocking surface that slots into the production seamlessly. The overall presentation is grippingly fresh and this opening track lays out Droid Bishop's plan of attack with much colourful fanfare.

The songwriting, as I previously mentioned, is really where this album shines and for all the glitter and shine in the presentation it is the way each track is evolved and told that makes it such a stand out. Track two brings Droid Bishop into an 80s powered modern synth pop explosion as his brother Sam Sparro is brought into the fold for something very special. As a modern electronic pop track this has it all and smashes the vintage and contemporary worlds together with equal affection. 'Out Of My Mind' deserves to be a huge success; if the world is ready for it.

The title track for Beyond The Blue returns to the deeply emotive synthual pleasure Droid Bishop has become renowned for as he laces powerhouse melodies with ChipTune rooted nuances into a kaleidoscope of 80s colours. The presence and tone of the production makes the music sing in a rapturous refrain that soars with unmitigated elegance. An epilogue to 'Beyond The Blue', titled 'Letter To Earth' adds a somber completion to the idea, a short but sweet piece of poetic synth verse.

Droid Bishop's expansion into new realms of 80s sounds can be felt in nearly all the movements of Beyond The Blue and on tracks such as 'Moon Dancer' he allows himself to get floating along the groove and rock the undulating flow of the cool synth breezes. Guitars ride the night in a manner that is full of 80s homage while being engineered with a modern presence that defies any kind of pigeonholing. The structure of 'Moon Dancer' is rich and diverse, telling lucid stories and engaging the listener with all manner of fantastic tales.

The mood of 'Moon Dancer' is taken into the following track 'In My DeLorean' as Droid Bishop stays within the same universe and tells a new story. Dreamier elements drift into the synthscape but a focus is retained with highly charged elements combining into a supercharged fuel. Once again the interplay between the instruments and sounds feels thoroughly natural and is written in a way that maximises the excitement through every passage.

After the pure pop elation of 'Out Of My Mind' I couldn't believe my ears when I experienced 'In Your Love'. To prove that the magical musical forces conjured by Droid Bishop weren't a mere fluke he sets about creating a stunning synth pop soliloquy with his own voice doing all the talking. The emotive blend of vocal and melody is transfixing and infectious and the balance betwixt modern and vintage constructs is astounding. This is the kind of song that wins hearts, captivates imaginations and melts souls.

'The Infinite Dream' takes things back a few steps and allows the polish to cloud over ever so slightly as Droid Bishop embarks on an inward journey. Mirages sharpen and then blur into the background with melodic synth cues directing the languid course across the universe within. The placement of this track in the grand scheme of the album is perfect; giving the listener a contemplative opportunity to take in the grandeur of Droid Bishop's synthscape at a much less frenetic pace.

The sounds expand even further into cosmic spaces with the equally divine piece 'Born Of The Stars'. Superb percussive fills highlight the inquisitive melodic structures that resonate with their overt simplicity and alluring textures. There is comfort to be found in Droid Bishops music, a comfort that acts like a guiding hand through fantastic vistas.  'Through The Universe' continues this part of the journey as alien civilisations appear and sing their timeless songs through synthesized voices. Uplifting anthems soar and melodies evolve over aeons across multiple dimensions; tied together by essences of emotional force and innate beauty.

'Human' is a revelatory piece that completes this explorative journey into that which lies beyond the beyond and brings things back to a closeness felt through echoing heartbeats. The repeating refrain is contrasted by some of the most impressive uses of percussion on the album giving some kind of tribal earthiness to the majestic synth passages. The exploration is devoid of time and space and exists solely as a vision of Droid Bishop's creation.

The album trails off into a slow fade out with another short atmospheric piece, cut from the same cloth as 'Letter To Earth'. 'In The End' ties all the pieces together, grounding the myriad of ideas into a single focus. A dot of light that grows dimmer, but creates a warmth felt into the farthest reaches of our universal being.

80s Ladies Records presents Droid Bishop's Beyond The Blue album on their Bandcamp page here, and is currently offering a tonne of rockin packages of Beyond The Blue on cassette and compact disc as well as the official T-Shirt of Nikky Skorenzi's wonderful cover art. 2014 has seen some very big names in the 80s inspired synth scene release some incredible albums and it would now appear that it's time for Droid Bishop to join the uppermost echelons of true artists with this album.

Beyond The Blue feels like you're spending close, personal time with Droid Bishop. The music is heartfelt and is always created with a clear focus and retains this throughout each track. It is one of the most 'personal' albums I've had the pleasure of experiencing this year and the investment Droid Bishop has made in his music; every sacrifice of time, sleep, energy, sanity has become a personally handwritten piece of his soul that will stand as a testament to his inspired creativity. Beyond The Blue is the definition of a Synthetix Reference Experience and I hope this is a record that gets picked up by wider audience than the already devoted 80s inspired synth scene. Music this good needs to be given the opportunity to be heard and loved by everyone.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Synthetix Sundays

On a brisk, cool night the moon lights a sliver of open ground amid the swaying bamboo forest and the flashing blade of Marko Maric bursts from the shadows! The Synth Ninja himself explodes with fury in this week's episode of Synthetix Sundays! With arcane ninjitsu magicks in full force as he takes on the might of Neon Vice, the clandestine mirage that is Waveshaper and the beguiling but deadly charms of Femmepop.

The final battle for control of the ninja empire results in a shodown with the ninja master The Dust Collective and the robotic ninja assassin Droid Bishop; finally divulging the book of martial art secrets contained in the Beyond Blue album due out this Tuesday. Expect Marco to extract some choice cuts and slashes from this tome as Droid Bishop relinquishes his tight grasp over the coveted prize!

Joining Marco along this violent path of destiny is Paul 'Dress2Kill' Daly doing his best Sho Kosugi impression and Rick Shithouse in Quality Time With Shithouse, channelling the spirit of Richard Harrison for even more shuriken firing, katana shredding, kama wielding good times!

Synthetix Sundays is LIVE on Radio Pure Gently at this time wherever you are on planet Earth. And you can come back to the shadows on Monday for a fully downloadable digital copy of the live show as well as the Quality Time With Shithouse free and purchasable tracks.

Quality Time With Shithouse Free and Purchasable Tracks:

Friday, September 19, 2014

Flashback Friday

Killer Workout aka Aerobicide (1987)

Happy Friday Retronauts!  This week I've chosen a forgotten 80's slasher packed full of sizzling co-eds in leotards with leg-warmers bouncing and gyrating to exquisitely cheesy pop tracks that'll make you sweat!

1987's Killer Workout  also known as Aerobicide, written and directed by David A. Prior stars Marcia Karr as Rhonda Johnson, the owner of a small town health club that caters to young beautiful people.  When members of the gym start turning up dead, dim-witted police detective Lt. Morgan begins looking for clues that seem to point toward a member named Jimmy after he's caught stalking Rhonda by Chuck Dawson, a private investigator.  Chuck confronts Jimmy which results in Jimmy knocking Chuck out and escaping only to return later to hit Chuck with his car.  Lt. Morgan gets word of Rhonda's secret past as Valerie Johnson, a model who scarred 70% of her body in a terrible tanning bed accident and believes her jealousy may be a motive, but after Jimmy kills Chuck he's not sure who the real health gym murderer is!

The soundtrack is full of energy and the backing tracks are enjoyably suspenseful.  A great synthwave album to accommodate this film would be Arc Neon's Technicolor Workout which is perfectly attuned for a hot, steamy workout.

So if you've been looking to hit the gym and burn some of those extra calories but can't must the energy, or just need an excuse to watch gorgeous 80's ladies in leotards do aerobics then give this flick a watch!  Till next Friday Synthaholics, have fun and be safe!

-Magnum Crockett

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Jordan F In The Slipstream

By Jerry Herrera

The truly beautiful and rewarding thing about being a fan of Synthwave is that it’s very much like watching the birth of a universe:  planets clumping together, stars being born in the furnaces of heaven, clouds of pastel gasses unfurling across a twinkling abyss, and gravity pulling all of it into rhythm and form.  It’s so rewarding to see new producers pop up but at the same time there are those celestial structures that were there when the music gods first said “Let there be Synth.”

Jordan F is one of the first names I came to know when I first fell in love with the genre.  Over the past two years or so, he’s been diligently and consistently putting out singles, an EP and a handful of remixes all of which explore different avenues of synth but none missing the mark.  While other producers may have struggled early on to find their voice (so to speak), Jordan F just seemed to grasp the concept, the “feel” of synth.

Finally Jordan F gives us a full length album, Slipstream.  Fans will automatically recognize 'Abandoned Streets' which I feel is a seminal track and the video by Neros77 stands out as one of the genre’s best.  It’s a slow drive down the alleys of a futuristic nightmare, complete with acid rains and nuclear dust storms sweeping across the desolate wasteland.  If you’ve never heard of Jordan F, consider this his business card.

Making a sudden turn down a completely different avenue is 'Take Flight'.  This is easily my favorite track on the album because it’s just so damned cool.  An easy, pleasant bassline with those familiar power snares and some trance like guitar strings all come together to make perfect cruise music for this transition between summer and autumn.  'Into the Night' follows a somewhat similar formula but with a little more rock thrown in as there is some killer guitar shredding and some power chords in the background.  I should also note that Jordan F is one of the only guys who can make a synthwave drum arrangement and bassline worthy of the hip hop head nod.

'Space Romance' takes the ‘80s love theme and puts a sci fi/OutRun spin on it, with scintillating synth melodies and ever so soft, delayed guitars behind them.  The last minute and fifteen seconds is just pure, haunting bliss and the track creates a sense of travel, and an image of two people crossing oceans of stars to be together.  'Night Wave' is a return to more traditional sci fi synth with a little OutRun thrown in, and while I’ve named 'Take Flight' as my favorite track; I do have to recognize the gorgeous brilliance of 'Hologram Rose' which is another slow, chilled track that is both emotionally evocative and soothing to hear.  While Jordan F chooses to focus on the sci fi sound, it is evidenced by tracks like this that he also understands what makes a song draw out emotions and nostalgia.

Closing out Slipstream is one final race to the stars with 'So Close' before we return to the post apocalypse with 'Abandoned Streets (Part II)' which plays with some melodies and pads that may not have made it into the first version but retaining the grit and terror of the original.

Being one of the first shining stars of Synthwave doesn’t excuse anyone from slouching or putting forth a half-assed effort and it’s clear that Jordan F knows we expect great things from him.  Indeed, Slipstream takes us from the mutant infested streets of the dystopian future to cosmic heights populated with star crossed lovers, and then back down again with the earnest effort and natural talent of a guy that’s been around the block a few times.  Jordan F continues to be on point and his vision couldn’t be more clear.

Rosso Corsa Records presents Jordan F’s Slipstream on their Bandcamp page here. This album stands out from the crowd in its polish and the make up of the tracks, everything manages to sound so well thought out and constructed while remaining passionate and emotional. Slipstream comes very, very highly recommended from Synthetix.FM and has proven once again that patience in waiting for something great certainly pays off.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Scythian Chronicles: Infiltration

Synthetix.FM is honoured to host the epic new project from imagination of Jon Of The Shred as a regular biweekly feature. I hope everyone supports this kick arse idea as it takes the soundtrack aspect of 80s inspired synth music into whole new realm of possibilities and as the Synthetix community becomes involved who knows what wonders we'll experience. Over to you, Jon rocker! 

The concept behind Scythe is an idea I've had for years now. Conceptualized in 2009, the idea is an entire sub-genre of music that is connected through a cohesive narrative. Instead of a concept album from one band, why not have a concept UNIVERSE celebrated by a dozen artists? Upon discovering the genre Synthwave through this very site, Synthetix.FM, I found the perfect music genre and community to allow this project to reach it's full potential. It is with that I proudly present the launch of the SCYTHE universe available exclusively on Synthetix.FM and LuigiDonatello's Youtube channel!

The Scythian Chronicles: Infiltration

by Jon of the Shred

The city skyline stands dark and solemn against the night sky, almost invisible to the eye, blending almost seamlessly against the stars. This was the once great Specter City. Years before Specter City was a bustling metropolis filled with culture and wealth, arguably the grandest city on the entire planet of Scythe. Back then the skyscrapers would have been dotted with inviting lights, drenching the countryside in a neon hue so bright it would block out the stars. But all the life of the once prosperous metropolis had been drained away, and now it was just another massive graveyard; a charred, blackened gathering of twisted steel that housed nothing but death and the fading memories of a great civilization lost.

Specter City stood upon the edge of the country, sandwiched between the great Specter Sea and the Forest of the Impaled. At the edge of the Forest of the Impaled now stands the Lone Musician, one of the psychologically scarred survivors of the horrid Apocalyptic Dawn. His face is expressionless as he surveys the abandoned city, memories flooding into his minds eye, painful reminders of horrors from 6 months ago. He can't help but turn his thoughts to those days during the great panic, to how the world was turned upside down and a plague mercilessly cut through every city and town on the planet, rendering once great civilizations and cultures into figurative ashes of the past.

The Lone Musician continues forward, his trusty guitar on his back and a machete hanging off his belt. A steely, cold resolve pushes him forward despite his weakened state. He hasn't eaten in days – the Forest of the Impaled did not prove fruitful for foraging. Not only had no animals walked within the cross hairs of his crossbow during his journey through the forest, but no animals even made sounds within earshot of him. The forest was stiller than it had ever been before, eerily silent when it too used to be so full of life much like the life the city once housed. The Lone Musician's search for food in the forest had lasted 3 days with no results. It was with this string of bad luck and hunting misfortune that drove him to the edge of Specter City on this dark and unforgiving night.

Scoping the fence that surrounds the city, the Lone Musician looks for a weakness, and finally spots a hole in the chain links. Through the hole in the fence he goes, and he now stands in Specter City, likely the first living man to walk through it's streets since the Apocalyptic Dawn first brought the Scythian people to their knees.

The pungent aroma of death grows thicker with each step he takes. The alleyways are littered with corpses, thankfully none that are moving. Once majestic buildings tower overhead ominously, no longer dotted with the neon lights and flashy digital billboards of only 6 months prior. Now they only cast shadows of death and despair, across abandoned streets and alleys littered with the decay of a dead society.

The Lone Musician continues forward, making his way down an alleyway. He steps over corpses mindfully, making each step deliberately. Lurking undead would often spring back to life and bite a chunk of flesh from their victims legs, now lazy and inactive compared to their frenzied, calculated rage in the early days of the apocalypse. The Lone Musician continues forward, listening for signs of danger, always alert and ready to fight or flee should the need arise. As he reaches the end of the alley, his ears catch the sound of shuffling feet, of uncoordinated footsteps. He carefully peaks around the corner, hand ready on his machete, to survey the situation.

There it lumbers. The mechanized corpse of a former Specter City police officer aimlessly wanders the abandoned city streets. It's face is a twisted mix of hunger, instinct and death, with the slightest hint of sadness. Chunks of flesh hang off what used to be the corpses left arm, which appears to have been violently ripped off at the elbow. A large gash in it's stomach has caused the creatures innards to fall out. It's intestines were now being dragged across the concrete below, leaving a trail of blood behind, the corpse none the wiser. The Lone Musician notes the irony – these beasts are perpetually hungry, yet this one's intestines are being dragged behind it – the food serves no purpose. He'd seen other Impaled who feasted so much their stomachs had exploded. What a cruel irony, both for the creatures and the survivors. An endless hunger that only leads to more hunger. Perhaps the creatures hungered for death. In any case, it was time to end this one's hunger.

In a flash his machete was drawn and he was darting towards the Impaled. The creature turned towards him, but not fast enough, as the machete was sunk deep into it's head, draining the strange life right from it's undead eyes. The Lone Musician quickly withdraws the blade from the creatures skull, and the corpse sinks lifelessly to the concrete below. He looks around fast, not seeing any more of the Impaled, and darts to an abandoned corner store.

Looking into the window the Lone Musician sees the store is still full of supplies and opens the door cautiously, closing it softly behind him. Looking down each aisle he spots only a single corpse. He picks up a piece of broken glass on the floor and throws it down the aisle right at the corpse. The glass hits the ground and shatters, but the corpse does not stir. In a flash, he puts his customized survival guitar case to the ground, opening one of the large pockets and stuffing it with all the food within arms length. He rips open a bag of chips and starts eating passionately, satiating a hunger that had lasted far too long and returned far too frequently.

The Lone Musician moves on to the beverage section. The refrigeration systems had long been dormant and most of the goods contained within were spoiled. This does not deter the man, as he searches for water. He finds it and starts adding dozens of bottles to his haul, quickly filling his bag, not noticing the lifeless corpse from earlier had started to shuffle towards him. He opens one of the bottles and right as he's finished chugging it's contents, the corpse grabs him.

Dropping his machete and falling to the ground, the Impaled now lunges at his throat. The Lone Musician in a moment of desperation pulls out his pistol and fires a bullet right into the creatures brain. The gunshot echoes through the abandoned store. The Lone Musician tosses the corpse off of him and quickly scoops up his guitar case, holsters his pistol, and grabs his machete.

Now dashing for the door, the wail of Impaled moans is growing around him. They were already swarming towards the entrance. Lurking Impaled sprung to action, straining to gain footing and lumbering hungrily towards the convenience store entrance. The Lone Musician steps into the streets and scopes dozens of Impaled closing in from every direction. The gunshot had served as a dinner bell, and these corpses were hungry. An Impaled gets too close for comfort and the Lone Musician plunges his machete through the creatures right eye and out the back of it's skull. The corpse doesn't even hit the ground before the Lone Musician has broken into a sprint towards the alleyway he'd entered the city through.

Two Impaled block the entrance of the alleyway, and the Lone Musician quickly sinks his machete into one of the creatures skulls while simultaneously drawing his pistol and firing a round into the others skull. He immediately withdraws his blade from the rotten flesh and holsters his pistol, breaking into a run down the alleyway with purpose. Finally he reaches the breech in the fence, dodging three more Impaled and scrambling through. He has escaped Specter City in one piece, but the night is still young and he has to move fast to outrun the legions of Scythian undead now slowly stumbling towards him in hopes of consuming his flesh.

As he finally reaches the edge of the forest, he turns around and takes one last glance at Specter City. In a strange way it was satisfying seeing the city full of life again. For just a moment he pretends the figures dotting the landscape and now pushing at the fences were living Scythians. He pretended the dark presence of death has been lifted and the city was once again full of life and prosperity. But these thoughts fade quick as more Impaled emerge from the forest. Quickly downing three of these creatures to the grass with his machete, he darts into the forest with a case full of food and an entire undead city at his heels.

The Scythian Chronicles will have a new instalment published on Synthetix.FM every two weeks and you can pick up a copy of 'Infiltration' on Jon Of The Shred's Bandcamp here

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sagittarius V Is The Renegade

By Rick Shithouse

One of the many things that interests me about modern producers of 80s inspired synth music is how they become entranced in the sounds and then how their inner muse takes this direction further. From other electronic genres, to the ever present Drive movie, through to all manner of metal and rock related places and spaces we find new producers of 80s inspired sounds appearing with startling frequency.

Sagittarius V is one of the most recent devotees to the classic synth sounds and through his recent interview on Synthetix Sundays (available for your predilection here) I learned much about his background and how he got to the point of making the Renegade EP. With such a wide variety of influences it is no surprise that Sagittarius V's take on retro synth sounds comes from a rather different place and adds some very intriguing elements into the mix.

There's much variation in Sagittarius V's sounds, from track to track and as an experiment, Renegade marks a great debut into sounds from the past that opens many paths for this producer to adventure upon. A stronger opening track you'll be hard up finding as Sagittarius V's powerhouse OutRun track 'Lucidator' begins things in earnest. The lead melody is haunting and hits hard, a melancholic aura rides on top of the huge engine room and brings in darker shades of synth alchemy. The depth of the piece, however, is where the real reward is, as is the case with much of this EP; tracks consistently delve well below the surface and are explored with much passion.

This takes on different shades in the second piece, the title track: 'Renegade'. The darker moods from 'Lucidator' move into different pastures of sounds with a harder, late 80s Italo bassline mixing with a combination of early 90s EBM/Industrial sounds. Sagittarius V cites Nine Inch Nails as a major influence and this is felt directly in the musical parts of 'Renegade' as well as in the heavily Reznor-esque vocal phrasing. The combinations of sounds work, and the way the track is arranged is far less traditional than initial impressions give.

Sagittarius V's experiments pay off, and with the third movement, simply titled 'The Night'. We're presented with a vast and involving synthscape that is hugely emotionally driven while keeping a cold austerity to complementary elements. Feelings of isolation and longing filter in throughout but a hope is present within the melodies that is frail and delicate, holding things together; if only just.

Romantic sounds begin to flow into the palette with the gorgeous follow up piece 'Sunrise'. The musical elements as so muted and sensitively arranged that a closeness can be felt within the sounds and the quieter passages. Guitars and very ethereal vocals add an even greater intimacy which then melts into a truly uplifting final passage. One of the brightest highlights on the EP, 'Sunrise' is a vision of synthual pleasures.

The atmospheres of 'Sunrise' are warm, welcoming and a resounding contrast to the opening tracks and the heat continues to rise in another scene-setting piece titled 'Tokyo Mind E-Racer'. This is the most soundtrack oriented piece on the EP and the journey is as unpredictable as it is intriguing. The tensions become greater and more intense through each passage with Sagittarius V employing some very kick arse slowing down and speeding up gimmicks that really capture the imagination, painting an energetic picture of free flowing synth magic. 'Tokyo Mind E-Racer' is, structurally, the most epic and inventive experience on Renegade and shines bright from beginning to end.

Renegade completes with 'Standby...Me', ushering in an introspective synthscape underneath the garbled crosstalk of space program communique samples. The contrast of the samples with the absolutely breathtaking melodic excursions creates a sense of total wonder, contemplative and uplifting; giving the listener a sense of hope against the backdrop of an unforgiving yet beautiful celestial void.

Future 80s Records presents Sagittarius V's Renegade EP on their Bandcamp page here. There is a lot to love and explore amid the six tracks contained and it all sounds fresh, vital and full of future possibilities. Sagittarius V has a wonderful gift of instilling deep emotional conversations into his music and conveys the messages with great clarity. Synthetix.FM very highly recommends this release for both its inventiveness and the emotional investment and also for the incredibly robust arrangements within the tracks the tell each story so beautifully.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Synthetix Sundays

Are you feeling lost? Confused? Unable to find music that speaks to you made by people you can relate to? People who share your interests and passions. People who you just can't seem to find..

It's a troubled time for teens and teens at heart and this Sunday's after-school-special from Marko Maric is here to give you hope, guidance and direction. No need to wander aimlessly amongst the darker corners of the internet, hoping to find what you're looking for, Synthetix Sundays is a shining beacon of hope for you to tune into to make everything all rockin.

Getting to the root of these modern issues with deep and meaningful conversations with DATAstream, Jowie Schulner and an enlightening exchange with Sagittarius V as well as uplifting words with The Northern Lights Music.

A special guest appearance from Paul Dress2Kill Daly is sure to give hope and fulfilment while Quality Time With Shithouse will make all those fears and inhibitions melt away.

Keep an eye out for exclusive tracks from  Killstarr, Mathusalem and The Dust Collective to make that positive glow burn even brighter.

This public service announcement from Synthetix Sundays is LIVE on Radio Pure Gently at this time wherever you are on planet Earth. You can come back on Monday for a fully downloadable digital copy of the live show for further study as well as the Quality Time With Shithouse free and purchasable tracks.

Tune in and make that change in your life you've been looking for, take that first step and let the 80s be your guiding light to a happiness and level of contentment you thought could only be a fantasy.

Quality Time With Shithouse free and purchasable tracks:

(Available September 19)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Flashback Friday

Hard Ticket to Hawaii (1987)

Happy Friday once again my fellow Retroholics.  This week I've chosen an awesomely cheesy, over-the-top action adventure gem packed full of absurd action sequences, hilariously bad acting, titillating blonde bombshells, and laughable props all backed by a very enjoyable score.

1987's Hard Ticket to Hawaii, directed by Andy Sidaris stars the sexy Dona Speir and Hope-Marie Carlton as Donna and Taryn, two buxom blonde undercover agents for The Agency on a mission delivering a snake to a nearby island who stumble upon two containers of stolen diamonds sent by kingpin Mr. Chang intended for local drug dealer Seth Romano.  The snake delivered to the island gets loose during a scuffle when Donna and Taryn are ambushed by Romano's thugs looking to get the diamonds back but the ladies are let go because one container is missing and the thugs warn them to find the second container.

Donna and Taryn contact other Agency operatives, the suave Rowdy Abilene and his pony-tailed partner Jade who plan on aiding the ladies.  Meanwhile, the loose snake attacks and kills two beach-goers. Later, Romano kidnaps Jade's girlfriend Edy and intends to kill her if Donna and Taryn don't return the second case of diamonds.  It turns into an all out war on the island, but can the four Secret Agents overcome Romano's thugs, get Edy back safe and take down Mr. Chang?

The to this film score is great, featuring upbeat and suspenseful synths with a great 80's island vibe.  A good accommodating synthwave album would be Plaisance's Thunder in Paradise, which certainly oozes sultry tropical sounds.

So, if you're looking for an over-the-top action-packed, sex-drenched 80's B-movie gem then this is definitely going to raise your temperature and get your pulse racing!  Till next week my awesome rockin' colleagues, have fun and be safe!

Magnum Crockett

Thursday, September 11, 2014


Mathusalem - Profondo Rosso

By Jazzi Marzcat

The moon is full, casting shadows everywhere. Something is lurking in the dark, and in the next moment, deep red blood flows out to the ground. Music that can create such vivid images like that, can all be found on the 3rd, and latest release by Mathusalem, his EP Profondo Rosso. Mathieu "Mathusalem" Thomas, a synthwave producer from Paris, France who has been on the scene for quite some time now, has stated about his music that, "I love to change the world and atmosphere in it, (and) to produce many different styles." Mathusalem succeeds with this EP in doing exaclty that. Inspired by horror, and film soundtracks of the Italian Giallo age, this EP takes a detour from his previous work that is more upbeat in style, and instead takes a listener on a darker journey, with killer dance beats, and gorgeously layered synth melodies. Each track tells it's own story, and with Mathusalem's genius production, vividly so!

Starting with the first track, you should get your silver bullets ready, because 'Wolf' is going to smack you right in the face on play's first impact with the sounds of wolves howling. Just before you can take cover, BOOM! The synths kick in, and with an infectous bass line, and a groovy beat, these wolves are going to go all "Were" on you in the most funkiest of ways!! This song seriously does for werewolves, what Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' did for zombies. From beginning to end, there are so many delicious twists and turns in this song, it will get you begging for more! I guarantee, this is going to be a favorite to be played at Halloween parties!

If 'Wolf' was too seductive to pull away from the allure of animal yearnings, 'The Slayer' is going to whip you in to shape! This track is very unique, as it mixes a heavy rock'n'roll edge with sexy disco beats. It starts off with harsh synth chords, followed by a heavy lead guitar, but then brings in a heart pounding cool beat that will keep you on your slayer toes. I literally could not sit still listening to this song!! It will get you to not only bang your head, but boogie down as well. Just a really awesome track that satisfies all needs!

However if you're not careful with your dance moves, red blood will begin to flow in the next track, a cover of 'Profondo Rosso'. This is well known by horror fans as one of the most delectable tracks created by the legendary progressive band Goblin, for the film of the same name directed by the master of horror himself Dario Argento, in the mid 1970s. Mathusalem takes on the title track of the Argento's film Profondo Rosso with integrity and grooviness! Right from the start is the familiar melody of 'Profondo Rosso', and I'm in love!  I can't get enough of this mix of innocence and creepiness to a melody. It is slightly slowed down from the original, but it helps to savor each note. A little disappointment is the toning down of the bass line from the original track, but the the mix of synth effects and the cool dance beat make up for this. With the melody carefully preserved, it's an excellent way to bring more horror and screams to the dance floor!  (Just make sure to clean up all the blood afterwards).

Rounding out this really awesome EP is the remix to Justice's song 'Phantom Part 1.5'. Originally more of a EDM track, with a sample of Vangelis' 'Aquatic Dance', Mathusalem brings an Italian Giallo vibe to it, making it fit perfectly with the other songs.  Although the beat is a little slower than a dance beat, and more methodical, the harsh synth chords that create a lot of tension, and the delicate, yet chilling melody, are fast enough to land this track into outrun territory. A really rocking track!!

This EP is so excellent, you may be able to outrun the werewolves, the slayer, and the thirst for blood, but will you will not be able to outrun the addiction of listening to this EP on repeat!! I know I haven't!! Plus with the Halloween season approaching,  and for any, and all fans of horror, this EP is just too good to pass up!!! Check it out now from 30th Floor Records, available for download at "Name your own price" for a limited time here.  

Mulperi - Unicorn Express

By Jerry Herrera

Mulperi’s Unicorn Express EP is an impressive collection of synthwave bliss.  While there may not be anything particularly game changing, it’s clear that Mulperi is a talented artist that is worth keeping an eye on.  There are some really gorgeous melodies and progressions working in every track and some thoughtful instrumentation that effectively create visions of far off landscapes and undiscovered worlds in the mind’s eye.

Pay particular attention to the title track.  It’s a slow paced journey through the clouds of an alien world, both comforting and simultaneously creating a sense of wonder.  Following that is Fading Memories which is a beautiful musical meditation that is reminiscent of Vangelis’ film compositions.  My favorite track would have to be The Power of One for its outrun flavors and haunting vocoded snippets.  I think Mulperi is on track to be a solid and consistent producer who has a good instinct for spaced out sci fi outrun.

Mulperi's Unicorn Express EP is available here for FREE download on soundcloud and it is highly recommended listening.

Digital Native Dance - Los Canarreos

By Rick Shithouse

Digital Native Dance is back with a brand new tropically themed EP which is channelling new strata of the 80s for this well loved artist. In Los Canarreos DND sets moods to chill and the temperature to sweltering with four tracks of pineapple dappled, sunset fresh synth magic.

An entirely new soundscape greets the listener at 'Sunrise' with a live spatial atmosphere full of analogue sounds. Bass and guitars move glacially in and out of focus through the heat haze, setting a launching pad for the opening title track. In what came as quite a shock DND brings to life some amazingly authentic Duran Duran sounding ensembles; complete with John Taylor styled rocktastic basslines and the synths and guitars working magic amid the tropical percussion. This track could easily be an extra instrumental piece off Rio, a greater compliment I can't give.

Opting for even sultrier, laid back qualities DND gets some more guitar driven moods sweating and gyrating in 'Ocean Drive Through'. If the vibe were any chiller you'd need a jacket, scarf and mittens. Party time kicks in with the funky brass and groovy rhythms of 'After Dark' as DND finds love amongst the flickering torches at the beachside soiree. Superbly written and full of instrumental nuance this track is rife with DND's alluring songwriting hallmarks that make the moon sparkle off the ocean in a completely entrancing manner.

DND's Los Canarreos EP is available on iTunes here and is the perfect companion piece to those warm summer days and nights, and if the weather isn't as fair as you'd like; Digital Native Dance is sure to raise the temperatures with these four sizzling tracks.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Off The Grid With OGRE & Protector101

Welcome to a new irregular segment on Synthetix.FM! Off The Grid is a producer on producer style interview that goes into the deeper intricacies of the creative musical process. Many, many thanks to Robin OGRE Ogden for coming up with this fantastic idea and creating this superb first edition, over to you, Mr OGRE!


I recently sat down for a chat with Jake Freeman, perhaps better known by his moniker Protector 101, producer of retro-electronic soundtracks, for a retrospective chat about his stellar album The Wastelands, the music production process and synthesisers. This is the first instalment of what will hopefully evolve into a new series of artist on artist interviews for SynthetixFM. Incidently, if you’re a producer interested in contributing to this new series, either as an interviewer or interviewee or somewhere in between, or perhaps want to share your great reciprocal relationship with another synth-pal, do get in touch with either myself or Rick Shithouse.

For more information on Protector 101:

For more information on OGRE:

Off The Grid with Ogre and Protector101

Robin (OGRE)
: So Jake, how are you? What's going on with P101?

Jake (Protector 101): I'm doing well, Robin. Thanks for having me on board here. Been quite busy lately! Just finished up writing a soundtrack to a faux movie, working on two other tracks for two other projects and possibly about to take on another full length movie score in the very near future... So yeah, busy.

Robin: That's action packed! When you say faux movie, are we talking another soundtrack to a film that doesn't exist?

Jake: Yes, correct. Well, it's kind of different in this case. Usually I would come up with a movie plot or whatever myself but in this case it was a group thought, I'm part of this project called Time Slap where we take suggested fake movie titles from others and make a plot around it. At the end we use that audio discussion and make an audio trailer out of it and put music to it. In this particular episode I wanted to do the audio for the trailer, needed about 3-4 minutes worth of material and ended up with 30+ minutes instead making it a full soundtrack for this movie that doesn't exist. [EDIT: In fact, it’s just been released]

Robin: I'm right in thinking that's the project you do with Mike (The WhoHa/Retro Promenade) and Andy (Beyond Synth Podcast)?

Jake: Yeah, and another guy CG. In this paticular episode we had a special guest, Newt Wallen of Midnight Show.

Robin: Brilliant ! It's great when projects spawn other projects. Collaboration's awesome. I also wanted to ask you the differences you find between working on personal projects like The Wasteland and working on actual scores, as I know you've been involved with a few movies over the past few years! I actually find it a lot easier to work with directors, producers and deadlines. I think it's because there's less time to second guess myself and spend months on a track or mix...

Jake: Well there's definitely pro's and con's with both. Working on personal projects you have the free will to do whatever you want, and you only have yourself to worry about. It's a great feeling but it's hard to come up with all the ideas, you know. Especially when it's "soundtrack" related. I'm a very visual guy so working on a project with just myself I look to other movies, images, stories, etc for that motivation and inspiration.
Now working with others in a movie based project can be very stressful situation. You're adding audio to someone’s film that they spent so much time on, days, months, years, editing, rewriting, legal issues, so there's this constant feeling to not fuck it up [laughs]. But, the upside to that is you have all the visual cues right in front of you so it's super easy to get that inspiration.

Robin: Yeah, I definitely respond to visual stimuli a lot too. I often find myself whacking on a movie on silent and just writing to the images if I get stuck [laughs].

Jake: It's such an awesome feeling when things just click and everyone comes together to help and this little project becomes so much bigger!

Robin: But as you say, there's a lot more pressure with film.

Jake: Deadlines can be nice to work with! It really motivates you to just get it done! When I had done the soundtrack work on COLLAR I only had a months time to get 70+ minutes worth of music done! It was stressful but it was a great rush.

Robin: Man, that's a crazy amount of music in such a short time frame! I think on average with work I produce a solid 2 minutes a day. You must've been really inspired! I've heard crazy stories of people producing mega amounts of music in no time at all though. I think I'm correct in saying that a load of John Carpenter scores were done in a day?

Jake: Exactly! We had this conversation before about John Carpenter on how rushed things were, especially within the soundtrack piece of the film! Just get it done and slap it together. But even with all that rushing around John and Alan have some of the best melodies and score pieces that came out of the 80's. I think I was just lucky though with COLLAR. Although it's P101 music it's different... a lot of synth drones and on the verge of noise at moments, so that definitely helped with progressing at a decent pace.

Robin: So, let's talk about The Wasteland. Stunning release, and a strong contender for my favourite P101 album to date. There are so many things I love about it, and I find it hard to pick a favourite track. It's a really cohesive album, and a great soundtrack. So I guess the first thing I wanted to ask you was where did the concept for it come from?

Jake: Honestly it starts back from my previous release, Hunter's Journey, in particular the track "Back Alleys". You see, “Back Alleys” was going to be on Hunter's Journey but it just didn't seem to fit with the whole futuristic vibe I was trying to go for, so I held onto the track for awhile and ended up releasing it as a single on Bandcamp. A couple of months went by and I still felt that this track had something still going for it. I ended up making “The Vipers” afterwards, then “The Nuclear Brawlers”, it eventually started to paint a picture in front of me, a story

Robin: That's really interesting that you'd mention “Back Alleys” and “The Vipers”! They were literally the next thing I wanted to talk to you about [laughs].

Jake: One track after another I envisioned a post apocalyptic setting with two people trying to survive and what ends up happening to them and these gangs that they would run into had their own "theme" song. It just all worked out quite well.

Robin: That's awesome man. It definitely comes through with the framed narrative parts, “Radio Wasteland” and the “Epilogue”. It's evident that an awful lot of thought went into this release, from the concept to the awesome cassette packaging to the whole gap-less playthrough thing. Any movies or games that helped maintaining apocalyptic mode in the writing process? I get a sense of the 1975 movie A Boy and His Dog when I listen through, if you're familiar with it. It's got a very young Don Johnson in it [laughs].

Jake: Yeah, those narratives really bring it all together and really makes it seem all real. We used my buddy Matt's first take for "Radio Wasteland". He just said these words and it was perfect and this was before he had even heard the album! And being that he's from Australia and has that accent just brought the whole Mad Max vibe into play! He was kind enough to find another wonderful voice actor, Natalie, for the Epilogue. And it was great to have them come back later and do voice work for the stand alone track "Fog" as well.

Robin: It's really great, it brings a whole other narrative dimension to the album and as you say, it brings it all together.

Jake: Five movies stood out for me for inspiration. A Boy and His Dog, Mad Max II, The Road, Hardware and The Warriors. I'm a big post-apocalyptic fan anyways so that definitely helped in the process. [Laughter] Oh man, Don Johnson was so young in that movie

Robin: I loved The Road, though I only recently watched it. The others are all firm favourites.

Jake: I just loved how bleak and grey The Road is. Like there's no hope at all. Just like in Wastelands. She loses her partner amongst this battle against some gang that's been terrorizing them and even though she survives she's completely turned into what she's been trying to fight against, meaning she's actually enjoying it. And that whole question if she's devolving or evolving around her environment really hits home to me.

Robin: It's pretty harrowing! But then I guess all post-apocalyptic futures are and should be [laughs]! So with “Back Alleys” and “The Vipers”, I wouldn't have thought they'd been written non-chronologically as they flow so well. I find when I'm writing albums, especially soundtracks to films that don't exist, I largely stay within chronological order of the tracks being written, if that makes sense. Probably because themes and things seem to progress naturally in that way, for me anyway.

Jake: Oh I totally get that and I usually work in that flow. This situation was different I guess being that I had this track to work from. I kind of worked backwards from “Back Alleys” and then forwards, [laughs]. It actually worked quite well too within the story because in the video short that my friends made The Vipers were bikers and here I had this track that I wrote months and months earlier that starts off with motorcycle engines revving up. It was actually quite an amazing moment when everything just clicked before my eyes [laughter].

Robin: The short really added to the 'event' of the album, if that makes sense! I think Master Control Program's art really ties in nicely too.

Jake: I was lucky to have so many people take the time to help me with this project. I truly feel grateful to have so many awesome people around me. And yes! He has an eye for this type of thing and after working with him on Hunter’s Journey I just knew I had to have him help me again on Wastelands. You can just tell he puts a lot of heart and soul into his work which then seeps into the music. Without that right visual this release wouldn't have been the same.

Robin: Yeah, the whole design of the cassette was brilliant too! I loved the VHS style library box. It brought a whole other element to it.

Jake: Telefuture made that dream come to life. I wanted to this release to be in a VHS Clam Shell type casing so bad. I honestly couldn't see it any other way and TF were awesome about it and just made it happen! Slap on the MCP artwork for the front and the back, use the video short for screen shots on the back, everything just matched up perfectly.

Robin: Let's talk synths! I think I'm right in saying Synth1 is a P101 staple? Were there any cool new production bits you learnt or used making The Wastelands, or any new kit/bits used in the production of the album?

Jake:  99% of Wastelands was completed using Synth1. Absolutely love that vst! As far as new production techniques I'd say probably the more ambient tracks within the album, layering the synth drones just right, not too loud or soft, trying to make a synth sound organic so to speak. Also just playing improved tracks like "Stalked Across the Badlands" and just accepting whatever notes come next. I'd also like to mention The Mutants as that was a pretty cool track to work on. This one used quite a bit of samples that were slowed way down and plus it gave me a chance to do mutant moaning noises [laughs].

Robin: Do I detect a hint of paulstretch or similar?

Jake: [Laughter] I knew you'd find that one out, Robin!

Robin: I'm a big fan. I used it on 194 a few times, and I've returned to it for a track on 195.I think paulstretch could be its own genre [laughs].

Jake:... maybe paulstretch and Vaporwave should be combined one day

Robin: I can see it happening! It's a great bit of software, and it's got a megatonne of different features haha. Vaporwave seems to be all about re-pitching and stretching samples anyway. I enjoyed your little track the other day!

Jake: Oh, [laughs]... thanks! I don't know if I'll ever make another Vaporwave track but I think you're the same way in that you like to try different things within music. By doing so you learn new things and plus you're doing something different and not the same thing over and over again.

Robin: I actually had a stab at it months ago too...but didn't know quite what I was doing. Maybe I'll post some up...
Jake: Do it! I wanna hear your track!

Robin: Anyway, it's amazing the mileage you get out of Synth1. I've never actually used it. I'm going to download it now and have a play. I've heard lots of great things about it. What other kit are you rocking at the moment? Are you a hardware aficionado, or pretty much working in the box?

Jake: Pretty much working in the box. I have some hardware, a couple of Korg DSS-1's and the Volca Series and little things like that but I've only used those for fiddling around with. I love them and I'm glad I have them I just haven't found that right time to use them yet for some reason. But I guess when you have something like 10,000 sample banks in Synth1 it's kind of hard to come out of the box.

Robin: Yeah, we are spoiled for choice with modern DAWs and VSTs. I've tried to cut back on hardware synths, as they're an addiction for me. I do love them though, but can sink hours into menu diving. I find they're great spring boards for inspiration though, and one preset can sometimes jump start a track. And I haven't checked out the Volcas but they look like a lot of fun! I really like Korg's stuff.

Jake: Bottom line, nothing beats the original, meaning the hardware synths. I have an addictive personality with certain things and I just know that hardware synths would be one of them if I started to collect. Korg’s stuff is amazing. Simple, works and most importantly fun to use.

Robin: I actually pretty much just used an Electribe when I was first learning about sequencing and production. I found it so hard to get into DAWs. That's when the bug bit me. The biggest problem is hardware takes up a lot of space.  It's why I've gotten into racks.
Jake: [Laughter]  I love seeing peoples pictures with synths all over the place. It makes me really jealous but then I think, I don't even have enough room for my junk in the first place.

Robin: Dallas [Campbell,] puts us all to shame. He has such an amazing looking workspace!

Jake: Man, that guy has so much hardware it's insane! I think he needs to share his collection with others!

Robin:  I know! Or let us make a pilgrimage over to his house! Anyway, thanks a mill for chatting with me man, it’s been a pleasure!

Jake: Of course, Robin! It was totally my pleasure and thank you for staying up ultra late to talk with me!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Raken Takes You To A Sunset Place

By Rick Shithouse

The evolution of music is something that happens at different rates in different places and sometimes one only recognises these changes long after they've occurred. In 80s inspired synth music I'm already noticing a lot of branching out and experimenting for many producers, and new producers making sounds that take on interesting new developments right out of the gate. The vaporwave movement of late has crossed over directly into the 80s inspired synth scene in a way that is totally rockin to the max with inspirations being shared between the genre definitions in very exciting new ways.

Another way sounds are evolving and redefining is in other uses of samples outside of vaporwave. I've recently become enamoured with the new sounds surfacing that take the template of 2009 era nu-disco and implement samples from 80s instead of the 70s. We've also had the likes of Space Camp Beats mixing up hip hop and break beats with 80s samples; who knows what else is going on on the planet elsewhere that's taking the 80s soul of the music we love and breathing new life into it in ways previously unheard of.

This brings us to Raken and his album Sunset Place, where he explores his sounds and feelings across ten compositions. Sunset Place isn't a 'game changer' or some other hyperbolic descriptor, but what it does do is open some doors, some only a smidgen, to new worlds and ideas beckoning from the outer reaches of 80s inspirations.

The album begins with  'Bahama Space', a piece that blew me away in short time with its sampling of Morrissey's This Charming Man in a way that is full of graceful homage while adding in massive beats and synths that dance like a steel drum orchestra. The light is bright, but shortly lived as the track runs it's course inside of two and half minutes, but the way Raken has taken and repurposed and 80s vocal into this piece has me champing at the bit to hear more of this in the future.

Raken's textures and structures are reminiscent of numerous producers I fondly adore. Tones of Navigateur, Klockhaus and Amazing Police are blended on a palette that is coloured with many of Jowie Schulner's and Tommy's brushstrokes and then infused with Raken's own magic. 'Brother's Gate' charges the atmosphere with uplifting neutrons of synth sweetness, rising in each stanza while some killer hip hop oriented percussion blends worlds together. It is the melodies in Raken's sounds that are always so bountiful in 80s soul, full of impassioned passages that implore and inspire.

These mixtures of sounds continue into the pulsating power of 'Night Light Forest'. Big sounds get bigger and rear up with a life of their own, forming into shadowy beings whose intentions are unclear, but surely have a beautifully divine melodic life blood pounding through their veins.

Raken takes things out onto the anti-gravity raceways of the future in 'Number 37' with basslines pumping through tight chicanes and revving melodies accelerating into dangerous battles at hundreds of miles per hour. Amid all this chaos a searing lead melody cuts like a knife through the competition in a vastly dramatic manner.

One of the absolute high points of this album, that reaches the heavens and beyond is the aptly titled 'Odyssey'. The galloping melodies are accented with spatial synth motifs and conjured into a reprise that makes the spirit soar. The music is constructed with beauty and nuance and though clocking in at under three minutes it feels immensely greater than its measurement in time.

'Raken's Theme' brings to mind a more futuristic, dystopian feeling that resonates with drama. The synthscape is bold in the face of the less than idyllic circumstances and the theme builds and builds with  the strength of many. In some respects some of the shorter pieces like 'Raken's Theme' and the following track 'Secret Book' feel like they're more chapters of an over-arching idea than completely separate entities, but this is not to say the tracks are not disparate where it matters. The hope barely hinted at in 'Raken's Theme' takes further flight in 'Secret Book' as positivity drenches the melodic score.

Moving into 'Slo' the Raken aesthetic becomes slightly more disco oriented and then introduces some totally rockin guitars to sing the songs glories. Inventive percussion and a deep exploration of melodies makes for a new, dance-ier atmosphere although the epic nature of Raken's structures can not be limited to the dancefloor exclusively.

'Sunset Place', the title track, capitalises once again on Raken's yearning lead synths that are both delicately light and heavy with emotion. The sounds swell and ebb amid punchy beats that contrasts the dreamlike rhythm section; reflecting in the haze a bright, pinpoint sharp melody of the purest light.

The album finishes with 'Vhaku', a moodier setting is described initially and then energised with electronic rhythms. Dramatic points explode along the journey, incandescent in their power; leaving ghosted images in our vision as they fade away. A fitting ending to an album full of highly involving passages of synthual delights.

For what I believe is a debut album, Raken opens his account in 80s inspired synth sounds with a very strong release. Some of the ideas contained within these tracks are beautifully inspired and there is mood and tone he creates and imparts that is truly inspirational and cut from a similar cloth from the aforementioned Tommy and Jowie Schulner. His inclusion of different sounds, particularly in the percussion and his totally rockin opening piece that samples 80s vocals directly really shines a light on new paths that 80s inspired synth may wander down more often from this point on, who knows where the music will take us next?

Raken presents the Sunset Place album on his Bandcamp page here. This album comes very highly recommended from Synthetix.FM as an inspirational work of inventiveness in equal parts of emotional investment from a producer whom, I for one, will definitely be following ardently in the future.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Synthetix Sundays

After a week off training in the harshest climates on Earth, Marko Maric is back! Like a caged animal, he's ready to pounce and unleash a barrage of pummelling synth madness with a five and a half hour marathon of mayhem tonight on Synthetix Sundays!! Feature bouts begin with a one on one slugfest with crowd darling Paul For You followed by verbal assault with Mike from 30th Floor Records. The steel cage is lowered for even more interview carnage as Marko locks up with Stallone Jones and Mathusalem and then puts his ground and pound skills to the test with Arcade High stepping into the ring as the final opponent of annihilation.

Marko's corner is champing at the bit for the bloodlust of battle with Paul Dress2Kill/Fight2Live Daly providing boisterous support and Rampaging Rick Shithouse pushing Marko beyond the limits of human endurance. Exclusive guest Protector 101 adds a final blow with a brand new exclusive track for this night of synth slammin' action!

The opening round bell rings LIVE on Radio Pure Gently at this time wherever you are on planet Earth. You can come back on Monday for a fully downloadable digital copy of the live show with all the blow by blow, slow motion action replays you can handle and land your own copies of all the Quality Time With Shithouse free and purchasable tracks.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Flashback Friday

America 3000 (1986)

Happy Friday Synthetix fans!  It's time for another trip to our favorite decade, and this week I'm bringing you the ultimate battle of the sexes.  Filled with exquisitely bad, yet humorous acting and an entertaining backing score, this post-apocalyptic cult classic is just the cheese we're lookin' for.

1986's America 3000, directed by David Engelbach is set in a 900 year future Colorado where mankind has been reduced to primitive tribes, terrorized and enslaved by female warriors they call Frauls led by their leader the Tiara, Rhea.  Men are referred to as Plugarts by the females who force them into manual labor as Macho's or become Seeder's for mating.  Gruss and Korvis are two Plugarts who escape the Frauls during a riot and later discover a book which they use to educate themselves and form their own tribe and create Camp Reagan.  When Rhea is killed in a battle between a primitive Plugart tribe, her daughter Vena is selected as Tiara leaving her sister Lakella full of jealousy, while the Frauls vow to kill all Plugarts.

Gruss and Korvis liberate some enslaved men and rally them to overthrow the Frauls, but Korvis is shot with an arrow by Lakella and tumbles through an opening between rocks.  He survives the arrow thanks to the book but discovers a secret bunker filled with pinball and arcade cabinets along with contamination suits, weapons and a video response to the president explaining the events that took place 900 years ago.  Korvis plans to use the contamination suit to disguise himself and convince Vena he is "the spirit of The Prezzydent" to force a meeting with her.  Vena agrees to meet with him despite disagreement from the other Frauls.  Korvis shows Vena the bunker and shows his identity to her, meanwhile the Frauls betray Vena and attack the Plugarts.

After explaining to Vena that he is a man the two have an intimate moment then part ways. Upon his arrival back to Camp Reagan, Korvis discovers his battered and beaten men.  He curses Vena and races to the Frauls village to confront her but she admits they were tricked and vows it will never happen again while surrendering her weapons.  With both leaders now face to face and their armies backing them, can they come to terms with reality to create peace, and understand the meaning of love?

If you're looking for a fun over-the-top cheesefest then look no further! This is film so terribly bad, it's humorously entertaining.  Definitely a train-wreck you won't want to miss!  So, till next week Retroholics... have fun and be safe!

Magnum Crockett