Saturday, November 29, 2014

Synthetix Sundays

Marko Maric is still breathing in American oxygen at this time, BUT.... Larry Lang steps in once again to give you your Synthetix addiction another hit!

Tune in Sunday, 30th November, 2014 from 10am EST/3pm GMT/11pm Western Australian for 4 hours of amazing 80's inspired synth music! The best there is!!!

Joining Larry this week is Rick Shithouse with some extended quality time as will Paul "Dress 2 Kill" Daly with his regular "100 Followers or Less" showcase. If you want to get your synth on; this is the ONLY place to be!

Synthetix Sundays airs on Radio Pure Gently at 10am EST/3pm UK/GMT/12pm AEDST time which is one hour earlier than usual.

This will be Larry's final show before Marko returns from U.S odyssey, many thanks from all the Synthetix.FM rockers to Larry for stepping up and filling in! As usual the full show as well as the Quality Time With Shithouse free, purchasable and feature tracks will be added to this post on Monday.

Quality Time With Shithouse free, purchasable and feature tracks:

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Streetcleaner Brings On The Payback

By Jerry Herrera

Streetcleaner brings us Payback, the story of a lone cop in search of revenge. It seems that these themes surface a lot in our beloved genre, and so it’s tough to find producers who can tell the story without relying on clichés. Too many times tracks are put out there that are merely a jumble of grating basslines and ham fisted synth work, with some ominous retro imagery thrown in. Streetcleaner knows better than this and has never been in finer form. The storyline most definitely comes to life while listening to Payback, and there’s simply a ton of content and things to love on this album.

'Slade’s Sundown' is a melodic, dark electro cruise into the concrete heart of the city that seductively slips into technoir territory thanks to some soulful shredding by Jon of the Shred. Right off the bat we’re given a must-listen track.  It’s the perfect intro to an album a lot of us have high expectations for.

'Neon Horizon' sort of breaks the tone set by the previous track but that’s okay. It’s got a lighter, more danceable tone to it, and it’s something I’d expect to hear during the nightclub scenes in either Robocop or Terminator, except no one’s getting arrested or terminated.  Just good vibes and sexy synths.

'Nightlife' continues the theme of dark electro dance, but there are some bright elements at work here.  Personally I’m a little wary of all the grit and ominous tones that have become so popular. Sometimes it’s midnight in Los Angeles and all is right with the world. About two minutes in the track simply blossoms into a rocking keyboard solo that absolutely screams across skylines. Very beautiful work here.

The outrun continues, as the title suggests, with 'Dark Pursuit'. Here we see some of the darker tones start taking over a bit but what’s really great about Streetcleaner is that he’s aware of what works, or just falls in love with a certain sound, so there’s some sweet synth melodies in there too so that the darkness doesn’t overwhelm.

'After Hours Enterprise' is a short midtempo break from theme and at the halfway point of the album I’m seriously loving what Streetcleaner has done so far. I believe that it’s a tough balance between innovation and giving people what they want. With so many new fans and producers coming onto the synthwave scene, it’s easy to fixate on buzzwords without really coming up with anything new. Thankfully Streetcleaner manages to remind us all of the pure synth joy to be had.

'Outnumbered' introduces the danger to an otherwise fairly upbeat album. The pulsating basslines are there, as are the jagged synths and aggressive drum arrangements. It’s not a bad track and it ticks all the boxes, but it does lack the charm I had enjoyed in the previous tracks.

'Devil’s Due' starts off in such a majestic way that I automatically stopped writing and cranked up my headphones.  After an intro that put me in the hallways of the abandoned Church of Synth, I was dropped through a trap door into a spiral of pure sci-fi synth madness. A unique kick and snare, combined with unrelenting acid synth make this a standout track. This is a step beyond outrun.

'Grim Victory' begins in a similar fashion, with a chorus of synth angels singing of impending awesomeness.  This is a slower track but it contains amazing emotional content. Drama, danger, and mournful melodies tell the story of the antihero, who may have won but still feels lost. Cruising through the streets, he wonders if peace can truly be found anywhere in the city.

'Daybreak' finishes out the storyline of the album on the strongest possible note and recaptures the melodic, slightly dangerous, upbeat outrun of the first half of the album. The keyboard work here is exciting and beautiful and almost reminiscent of a ‘90s club banger without crossing the line. At the end of the album, our hero decides no peace can be found if he stays in the city, and so experiences the dawn of a new day as he speeds away from a crumbling skyline.

The last track on Payback is the Vip D34D remix of 'Devil’s Due' which amps up the intensity and throws some breakbeats in, just in case.

Streetcleaner is a wonderfully bright and creative musician who could probably explore a lot of different themes with insight and musical depth.  This is not to say I did not enjoy the synth story of a cop out for revenge, indeed, the themes of urban decay, revenge, danger and homicide make for great listening.  I just believe in the talents of Streetcleaner.

Streetcleaner presents the Payback album on his Bandcamp here in digital formats and it comes very, very highly recommended from Synthetix.FM. It is simply a must have for any fan, and while the number of producers continues to grow, Streetcleaner remains a master storyteller and poet laureate of the synth.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

OGRE's Adventure In 195

Synthetix.FM is honoured to have Andy Last of Beyond Synth fame as a guest reviewer for OGRE's totally rockin new record. Take it away Andy!

By Andy Last

It is my pleasure to review OGRE’s latest album 195, a soundtrack to a film that doesn’t exist but I really wish did. I should apologize in advance because my prose style is not as flowery and rich as one might expect from a Rick Shithouse review, but we all know there’s only one Rick Shithouse. As a nod to Rick, some of the review may go into flights of fancy as I say what I imagined while listening to a particular track.

Anyone who knows me knows my love for OGRE’s music. So much so that, with his blessing, I made his track 'Shore Thing' the theme song to the Beyond Synth podcast. To this day, the majority of the questions I get regarding the show are new listeners asking me who makes the theme music. Hopefully I’ve made Robin a few British pounds in the process.

OGRE a.k.a. Robin Ogden, was the first person I interviewed in the synth scene and to this day remains one of my favourites, with the track 'Shore Thing' being one of best songs I’ve ever heard regardless of genre.

195, like all of OGRE’s releases is beautifully mixed and mastered and sounds great on any system I play it on. All of his work has a full sound that always seems to sit perfectly in the sound spectrum. He really is one of the top producers in synthwave in terms of his production values and his use of actual field recorded samples gives the tracks a truly authentic feel. You’ll also hear some nods to classic 80s films like Terminator and Commando which was also a nice touch.

Since this whole album is awesome from start to finish, I have chosen to highlight my personal picks. What I like about Robin’s style is he creates a true soundtrack experience while still allowing the individual tracks to be enjoyed as standalone pieces of music. This is something that sets this release apart even from the movies and soundtracks he takes his inspiration from.

'Don’t Call me Hero' is definitely the title music of the album and sets the tone for an epic adventure. What impressed me first was the scale of this track. Starting out with a percussive heartbeat reminiscent of The Terminator, the pace quickens with synth brass and horns that blare the heroic main theme.  And if your mind was not already blown, the track gets even bigger during the theme reprise when the orchestra widens with deep staccato trombones and strings. This song is so awesome, listening to it would make watching videos of an old lady walking a dog into an epic event. 

In 'Dragon Breath' the hero sets his sights on his mission and begins his road trip through the abandoned highways of the post apocalyptic cityscape. After an emotional conversation with his lady partner, she decides to come with him on his adventure and maybe even get some revenge of her own. With her arms wrapped around his waist, they ride an armour plated motorcycle through a light sandstorm. The blue lights of the Robot city shine through the orange haze. 

With the track 'Interceptor' we hear some James Horner influence from Commando with the horns and steel drums. But what sets this apart from the actual Commando soundtrack is this is just a kick ass song to listen to. While I enjoy the Commando soundtrack in context, listening to it without the film isn’t quite as enjoyable experience. 'Interceptor' takes that vibe and distills it down to two and a half minutes of greatness. John Matrix would be proud. This is the sort of track that makes you want to eat green berets for breakfast.

What I love about “Fireside Remembrance” is the way the reverb of the solo horn sounds as though I am sitting in on a recording session as Robin is playing. There is something very present about the sound in this one giving it an almost live feel. For one brief moment on this journey we get a glimpse into the studio. The tune of the processed electric piano truly evokes the title. The hero tells his partner the story of how he came to be mixed up in all this. A story of love and loss. When the tale is done, his partner has fallen asleep. For now there is a brief peace before the danger ahead.

'Faces of War' is obviously inspired by The Terminator but unlike Power Glove who, in their Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon soundtrack, emulated The Terminator in an almost “sound-a-like” fashion, Robin takes the inspiration and elevates it into a full on epic sound with horns and stabs and makes it something greater. A slowly increasing tempo adds to the tension of this track with a series of ascending orchestra hits that lead to a reprise of the theme. A small victory for our Hero in a tumultuous battle.

'Negotiations Over' is probably the most “songy” track on the album with a consistent dance beat. Although the track 'Mission Complete' is labeled by Robin as the end credits, my personal interpretation is that this track would play at the start of the credits. For me, this parallels Vangelis’ dancey Blade Runner end titles. A reprieve from the twisting and turning of the rest of the tracks, 'Negotiations Over' let’s you breathe while still delivering the scale you’ve come to expect form the rest of the album. And while being slightly anachronistic to the rest of the album, I thought the glitch-hoppy moment in this track was really cool.

The bottom line is that Robin, as a musician keeps getter better and it’s been my pleasure to not only enjoy his music as a number 1 fan, but to count him as one of my first friends in the synthwave scene. While I chose to write about these particular tracks, I enjoyed 195 completely and simply didn’t have the time to write a novel detailing every track. I’m sure once you check it out you’ll have favourites of your own. 

195 brings a sense of scale which is not often heard in much of the synthwave scene. The high end production values along with the use of many interesting sounds and unique samples truly sets this apart in the synth soundtrack genre.

195 is presented on OGRE's Bandcamp here in digital formats as well as limited edition cassette. This record is a great achievement and comes very, very highly recommended from Synthetix.FM. Run to Bandcamp and pick up 195. It is awesome. The end.

Thursday, November 20, 2014


Hello Meteor - Respect Your Ghosts

By Matthew Neophytou

The diversity of the wave genre is one of the aspects that draw me towards it each time I hear a track. From heavy strobe beats to melodic synths on the cusp of the cosmos, without a doubt I am taken up, up and away, the latter is where we find ourselves with Hello Meteor's  EP Respect Your Ghosts, capturing my imagination like a Henson production circa 1980's.

'I Don’t Need You Any More'… throws you in into a space of wonder and reflection, the mid and high synths play together a story that leaves you asking who is the object of which the title is referring to?

Straight away the piano on 'Fantastic Violence' sets the tone on this almost noir track, slipping into a staggered beat that is cool and mysterious, speaking of noir 'Furious Pursuit (tech noir)' continues the feel of the previous track but ups the momentum.

'Dragon of the Black Pool' takes us on a chilled drive, mesmerising us with a feeling you’re comfortable with, having listened through the album, strings and beats float together along the stars with this one.

Hello Meteor presents Respect Your Ghosts available on digital download on Bandcamp over here, and gets a very highly recommended from Synthetix.FM, for a new wave journey that is stripped of all the excess but no less thematic in execution.

Isaac Galvez - Cleta Squad EP

By Jerry Herrera

Isaac Galvez’s Cleta Squad EP dubiously begins with stuttered, jangly synths that seem to last a bit too long and for a moment I’m left wondering when the track is going to begin, or if this is really what has been submitted to the listening public.  What I am not aware of is that Galvez is building up to something, carefully, quietly, in the background.  Out of nowhere, the title track explodes into warm synth, fat claps and snares that bang on the rings of Saturn.  It’s an ethereally broken track full of little wisps of madness and I was instantly drawn into Galvez’s sound.

It’s a somewhat recognizable sound.  Isaac Galvez wanders into territory claimed by Com Truise and M83.  It is a chill place, but where the aforementioned would rather float in a haze of sustained choruses or fuzzy repetition, Galvez brings a clearer vision.  Something more breezy, tropical if you will, and uniquely pleasing infects all four tracks of the Cleta Squad EP, like having a cocktail in a hammock on the shore of an alien beach.

I will say this is not typical retrowave so there’s really none of the expected themes at work here but where some may avoid this EP for this reason, I say that it is all the more reason to pay attention.  There is genuine creativity going on here and while I wouldn’t say there is risky experimentation in the EP, Galvez has an innovator’s heart and a strong sense of aural curiosity.  I’m saying it now, Isaac Galvez is a name we will be seeing a lot more in the future.

Pick up a copy of Cleta Squad on Isaac Galvez's Bandcamp page here.

The Kolour Kult - The Kolour Kult EP

By Rick Shithouse

The ages of 80s sounds are usually blurred with inspirations from numerous parts of the decade with most modern producers however this is definitely not the case with Kolour Kult's sound on their debut EP. There rockers know their late 80s electronic pop sounds better than you know the back of your hand and this five track release encapsulates a very specific era of 80s sounds superbly.

You can hear the influences of the original 80s fabricators of this music and envision them nodding their heads in complete approval at Kolour Kults kick arse homage. The late 80s sounds of Pet Shop Boys, Erasure, New Order and Bronski Beat mixed with positively late 80s vintage R&B sounds are brought back to sparkling life through out this EP; lead by a vocalist who really gives a spectacularly accurate performance through all the pieces.

The Kolour Kult may hail from  New York but their musical souls are wholly based in the UK and the energy and fervour of their reinvention of this period is something special indeed. The synthscape is absolutely 100% unmistakably accurate to this vintage from the percussion to the heavy orchestral stabs. The opening track is really a huge standout piece, 'Sentimentality Falls' is part Pet Shop Boys' cover of 'Always On My Mind' and and part dancefloor synthpop anthem with a range of elements that rocks to the max from beginning to end.

'Lose Control' gets more clubby and dubby with a groove made for dancing and synth hooks you'll get reeled in on and time and time again but it's on 'Hearts Like Ours' that the Kolour Kult bridge an impossible gap between Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Cameo. The amount of polish in the production gives even more authenticity to experience and the final tracks give themselves even more anthemic stature, rockin to the max on the hugely dramatic 'Hearts Like Ours'.

The Kolour Kult's self titled EP really brings in a new dimension to the established favourites of 80s inspired synth music and creates their own perfectly formed niche to develop these sounds further. Grab a copy of this great EP via their Bandcamp page here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Scythe: Mutant Devolution

by Jon of the Shred

Chapter 1: Paragon

Chaos raged through the Paragon laboratory and the city around it. Camp Terror was burning to the ground, warfare and bloodshed running rampant through the streets. Two rebellions had been sparked on this fateful night, the cause of all the chaos. Everything Paragon had built in the last 6 months was now burning to ash.

One group of rebels consisted of enraged citizens, who claimed Paragon was exploiting them. These people maintained the safety of the territory, they guarded all the walls, they did walks around the perimeter, usually performing all these tasks with little or no Paragon assistance. It was a group of citizens, not Paragon officials, who went out every two weeks on supply runs, risking their lives, sustaining heavy casualties. Meanwhile Paragon remained holed up in their giant laboratory and office facility, rationing the food off as they saw fit. They did little to support the community after getting it started 6 months ago.

In Paragon's mind these folks were ungrateful. These usurpers were all living under the umbrella of safety Paragon provided. Paragon made it possible to survive in the post-Apocalyptic Dawn wasteland comfortably, and none of these peasants appreciated their efforts. Everyone must do their part. Loyalty to industry brings stability to society.

The other uprising was a much more unexpected scenario....

In the wake of the apocalypse, Paragon refocused the efforts of their entire organization in launching their long hidden project – a militarized cyborg police force known as Meganet. And now the Meganet cybernetic system had gone online – without Paragon initiating the launch sequence. The cyborgs had gained a sentience of their own, and started lashing out violently against humanity. What were the odds, two rebellions in one night! An uprising of angry citizens and the awakening of the cybernetic sentience, nearly one year after the Apocalyptic Dawn, all the while the planet Scythe still plagued by the undead....the planets were not aligning for Paragon.

Camp Terror was, indeed a farce. It was a ploy to get citizens doing the bulk of the work to keep the Paragon research facility powered up, all so Paragon could finalize and launch the Meganet project. Paragon had started to the form a safe-zone just 6 months after the Apocalyptic Dawn. Their location was around the perimeter of their biggest research facility, located in Donovan City. This laboratory housed the bulk of their cybernetic technology, 70% of their chemical and biological weapons cache, and even the technology to travel space – all projects they kept hidden from the Scythian government and public. Which is exactly why they chose to start the safe-zone there. Now they could hide in plain sight, inviting survivors to help them retake Donovan City and develop it into a livable safe-zone, which in turn enabled them to continue research in a powered laboratory unimpeded by the Impaled. To Paragon it was a win-win situation – safety for labor. And having the citizens do the bulk of the work allowed them to procure the necessary resources needed to launch the Meganet system without putting their own employees and scientists at risk. The citizens of the safe-zone would unknowingly fuel the rest of their research. But the greatest irony of it all was the fact Paragon had caused the Impaled apocalypse themselves – with the 8X-13 gas.

Paragon's hidden project 8X-13 was just one of many botched experiments. They had been conducting years of research to invent a substance that could greatly extend the human lifespan. Many tests were run, and they all failed in their own ways. 8X-01, for example, caused the test subjects to vomit out their organs violently within a half hour of ingestion. 8X-02 caused the test subjects to bleed profusely out of their eyes, ears, and noses. 8X-03 caused almost immediate heart failure. Each new iteration of the project bore horrible consequences.

8X-13 was arguably the most dangerous gas of the bunch. 8X-13 caused the death of the test subject, followed later by reanimation. When reanimated, these mobile corpses were driven by pure motorized instinct to consume the flesh of the living. These creatures would pass their sickness on to anyone they scratched or bit. All 8X-13 test subjects were gunned down and burned, their ashes scattered to the wind. Yet Paragon were undeterred by all these heinous results, and continued making more and more chemicals unimpeded.

With each botched serum, Paragon would make shipments of the dangerous chemicals to their warehouse facility on the outskirts of Specter City. 8X-13 was the final shipment to Paragon's Specter City warehouse and was the cause of the apocalypse. Members of the extremist group Euphoric Damnation broke into the laboratory the day of the 8X-13 shipment, inadvertently releasing the gas whilst attacking the facility. 8X-13 quickly spread throughout Specter City, and within a week the undead outnumbered the humans 100 to 1. At the peak of the 8X-13 apocalypse, the Apocalyptic Dawn, the undead numbered 10,000 to every 1 human. 

Now, a year later, the walls of Donovan City, the infamous “Camp Terror,” had been breached. Swarms of the Impaled had begun to pour into the safe-zone, ironically returning to the birthplace of 8X-13, the very substance that allowed the existence of these vile creatures. The Impaled clawed at the fences surrounding the Paragon facility. Amidst the chaos, the remaining scientists and faculty of these facilities scrambled about, filling their convoy trucks with as much weaponry, resources, and research as possible. While the organization sustained hundreds of casualties, the majority were able to file into their trucks and crash through the fences just as the Meganet cyborgs emerged to attack. And now as the Impaled poured through the fences of, the human and cyborg rebels alike rained bullets throughout Donovan City. Paragon had been forced to donate their most important facility on the entire planet to the monsters they created....the cyborgs, the Impaled, and the impoverished.

Chapter 2: Over the Desert Plains of Zu-Rakeen

Decades before the apocalypse, the deserts of Zu-Rakeen were already a chaotic wasteland. Criminals, murderers, drug dealers...all the scum of society were banished to the desert to fend for themselves. The giant Wall of Rot blocked the deserts of Zu-Rakeen off from the free lands of Scythe. Paragon were also rumored to have been sending political dissenters into the deserts – anyone who publicly questioned the power and influence of the corporate giant seemed to disappear mysteriously. All conspiracy theorists who spread the rumor of the corporation puppeteering the Scythian government seemed to conveniently vanish.

The Paragon convoy was headed for the Wall of Rot, to travel into the deserts of Zu-Rakeen and escape the wrath of the Meganet Cyborgs and Camp Terror rebels. Many enemies of Paragon lurked in the deserts, criminals and innocents alike THEY had banished into the wasteland. Cannibal tribes roamed the sands, all the murderers and thieves and criminals now forced to feast on the flesh of the innocents. The convoy was well armed and prepared for conflict, knowing fell well they would likely be assaulted by enemies with personal vendettas. 

The convoy drove three days upon the one paved road of the desert – the Neon Highway that led to Death Canyon. Beyond the Canyon lied ports that would take Paragon to their one remaining outpost – the facilities and living stations located on the Islands of Dar-Keen. But before they could reach the Island of Dar-Keen, they would have to brave the most dangerous stretch of road on all of Scythe – the infamous Blood Run.

Chapter 3: Blood Run

The Blood Run was the final 15 mile stretch of the Neon Highway before it descended into the underground tunnel system that would lead to the ports of Dar-Keen. Despite the dangers of the desert and the dark history of the Blood Run, it was the most common trade route on the entire planet. Paragon used it frequently in times of both peace and war. They generally spent weeks planning these convoys to limit casualties and conflict. This time, however, there were no plans in place to ensure safe passage through the Deserts of Zu-Rakeen. There was no strategy to make it through the Blood Run whole. And they had the bulk of their biological and chemical weaponry loaded in these trucks. One truck even carried all 8X-14 through 8X-17....

Gunners atop the trucks stood poised, alert, and anxious. Any signs of life they would disintegrate with the plasma cannons and machine gun turrets. The cannibal tribes would need powerful weaponry and a brilliant strategy to successfully overtake the well-armed and heavily guarded convoy. Despite the odds being stacked, the crazy bastards would attack regardless of their weaponry disadvantage.

The convoy finally reached the foot of the canyon, the craggy peaks and rocks towered ahead, casting menacing shadows across the desert plains. Surprisingly they had dealt with no conflict in the three days it took to traverse the desert. The air still stood thick with electric tension. Not a single Paragon member spoke a word, the only sounds being the rumbling of engines, the humming of the Neon Highway, and the sounds of scant wildlife scattered throughout the desert.

The vehicles continued to barrel onwards as they entered Blood Run, picking up speed rather than slowing down. The sun set above in a vibrant display, the sky red as if with the blood of the countless deaths at Camp Terror. Or perhaps it was a premonition of things to come on the Blood Run....

A mile in, still no signs of danger. A few of the truck gunners saw it immediately though - a flare gun. The Cannibals began to pour in from the sides of the canyon on motorcycles and ATVs brandishing all the weapons they had managed to steal from other convoys in the past. Up ahead, the bulk of the Cannibals vehicles lied in wait. The chase had begun....

Chapter 4: The Chase Begins

The convoy barreled forwards, never hastening in speed. The cannibal's stolen trucks and cars up ahead all peeled out in unison. Bullets and plasma beams dotted the evening sky. The first two vehicles collided, neither the cannibal nor Paragon official attempting to avoid it. The explosion rocked the canyon. Shrapnel rained down, raining from the sky. One shard of metal found itself buried deep with the neck of a cannibal on a motorcycle. Another cut the arm off of an unlucky gunner.

Despite the size of the ambush, the Paragon convoy managed to break through the road block with ease, only two of their trucks being taken down in the process. The final 14 miles would now be a deadly chase. The Cannibals were picking up speed, many of the motorcycle, dirt bike, and ATV riders catching up to the last car. One of the cannibals chucked a spear at the gunner on the final truck of the convoy, and nailed a lucky shot. The gunner toppled over the side of the truck.

The cannibals on bikes and ATVs managed to surround the last track of the convoy. The gunner in the truck just ahead picked two of them off with well-aimed shots, but was quickly neutralized with a bullet to the skull. The cannibals trucks and cars were now catching up as well. After a well timed jump, a cannibal managed to smash his fist through the Paragon trucks window. His hand quickly found the driver, ripping the drivers throat out. The cannibal pulled the body through the window and dropped it to the gravel below, the corpse immediately rolling and twisting in sick ways. Seconds later a cannibal on a bike lands a bullet in the passenger of the trucks skull, and the cannibal atop the truck jumps in and takes control of the truck, swerving off to the side but coming out clean.

Now that the cannibals had grabbed a fresh Paragon truck, they had considerable more fire power. Another cannibal managed to jump aboard and man the plasma laser, and began firing rounds into the trucks ahead. The cannibal's goal is to steal these trucks and consume the flesh of those inside, not to destroy them. For this reason they take out the tires of the trucks, and manage to get three more in their possession.

The chase has spilled out of the canyon, onto the final mile and a half stretch before the Neon Highway descends into the tunnel system. The cannibals manage to take out the tires of one last truck, their fifth victory of the day, just before the convoy dips into the tunnel and the metallic gate slams shut behind them. A few of the cannibal's vehicles smash into the gate, the vehicles exploding in fireballs. Casualties were to be expected, and it only means more food.

5 trucks with loaded plasma turrets, with several human casualties to feast on...this was a decent victory for the cannibal army. But little did they know just how much weaponry and chemicals each of these trucks housed...

Chapter 5: Mutant Devolution

The cannibals never looked inside the trucks, instead they drove them immediately back through the 15 miles of the Blood Run, picking up  all salvageable corpses along the way. They were headed for the Rotting Keep, their base of operations. Their leader, simply known as Slasher, would decide what is to be done with the goods and provisions found within the trucks.

The giant makeshift gates opened to the Rotting Keep, and in poured the 5 stolen trucks. Slasher was already waiting by the gate. Speaking quickly with the commanding cannibal of the assault team, Slasher gives the order for the assualt team to take the haul to the cargo hold – each would get first pick on the new gear for procuring the goods. Unfortunately for the assault team, the very first truck they inspected happened to house 8X-14 – 8X-17...

Upon opening the trucks and seeing the barrels and canisters, the cannibals made the deadly mistake of thinking they contained Entity. In the deserts of Zu-Rakeen, the drug was a luxury – very rare and even more coveted than alcohol. They struck a deal immediately to take the Entity as their haul, and distribute it to the community without letting Slasher in on it. 

To celebrate their new business venture, the assault team immediately cracked open one of the barrels. They'd catch a quick high, then cart all the Entity back to their living quarters within the keep, hide it and secure it well, make sure it was under guarded watch at all times....only this wasn't Entity. The liquid inside had a sickly greenish hue, much darker than the drug. But the cannibals mistook this as a sign of greater potency, and immediately filled up several shot glasses to kick off their high.

What they had really opened was a batch of 8X-17. Within a minute of drinking the 8X-17, the first round of cannibals were vomiting violently. In yet another lapse of all remaining cannibals who hadn't ingested the 8X-17 immediately became even more curious, desperate to get high. Only two of the cannibals refrained from indulging, backing away from the group and questioning the decision to hastily ingest this substance. 

At the 3 minute mark, the first set of unwitting test subjects began to scream in agony. They fell to the floor, some curling up into the fetal position and others writhing about in their own vomit. They clasped at their faces and thrashed about. The two cannibals to refrain from trying the substance started to back away, heading slowly towards the alarm button at the back of the room.

Then with a sickening tearing sound, one of the cannibals chest ripped in half, a new fleshy appendage bursting through. His face twisted counter clockwise, the skin stretched in a sickly fashion, then started to melt. The other cannibals started reacting in similar fashion, all sorts of sickly mutations ravaging their bodies. The two cannibals at the back of the cargo hold quickly hit the alarm button and sprinted out of the room.

Chapter 6: Sieging the Wall of Rot

The 8X-17 had mutated the cannibals into sickly, grotesque monsters. Complete abominations. They lived in a state of constant agony, still semi-conscious but driven by the instinct to dull their pain by lashing out violently. Their horrific screams and wails were nearly constant, and sounded anything but human. The surviving cannibals rushed about the Rotting Keep, gathering as much supplies as they could. Their plan was to escape the Rotting Keep and the wrath of the mutants.

Slasher had decided it was time to scale the Wall of Rot, to attack Paragon and bring the organization down. They would feast on the flesh of the Paragon scientists, make them pay for their misdeeds and twisted scientific experiments, then roam the countryside – plenty of food for the lot of them. They could take back the cities from the Impaled, forge a new Rotting Keep in Donovan or Specter City.

The cannibals that escaped did not have time on their side, however. The mutated victims of 8X-17 began pouring out of the Rotting Keep, chasing the Cannibals as they headed towards the Wall of Rot. Slasher lead his convoy towards a tower that had been out of commission since the Apocalyptic Dawn. This would be the best place to scale the Wall of Rot – less resistance from Scythian guards.

The cannibals arrived at the wall and began preparing their equipment for the climb. They only had enough equipment to send a half dozen cannibals at a time, and the climb was a lengthy process. The cannibals had been malnourished and underfed since the start of the apocalypse. Even animals were scarce these days. It would take all of them some time to scale the giant fortification.

All the while, the mutants remained in hot pursuit. They were faster than the Impaled- they could sprint at decent speeds. But the day and a half drive to arrive at the Wall of Rot had put some distance between them and the cannibals. The mutants emerged on the skyline just as the first round of cannibals started climbing the wall.

Little by little, more cannibals reached the top of the Wall of Rot. Many began to take up sniping positions, picking off the distant mutants. Some of the mutants had begun to breach the line, quickly downed by the cannibals stolen weaponry, but so many more were approaching. Mutated animal life had begun to emerge as well...mutated wildcats, wolves, coyotes and more begun attacking the cannibals.

With the consistent wave of mutants bearing down on them, Slasher finally decided the only way to minimize casualties would be to blow up a section of the wall. The cannibals had found explosives within one of the trucks they had stolen. After the explosions were set, the four vehicles took off in opposite directions as pairs, driving along the side of the Wall. When they were each a mile out, Slasher detonated the explosives. The Wall of Rot had finally been breached. Perhaps the mutants were nothing more than a necessary agent to facilitate the cannibals return to the free lands of Scythe....

Chapter 7: Legacy

Just one year after the Apocalyptic Dawn, and Scythe was in even worse conditions. The Impaled set into motion a seemingly never-ending cycle of chaos and cataclysm. No problems were solved, and more seemed to arise every day. The innocents suffered and evil prevailed.

The Meganet Cyborgs gaining sentience and lashing out at humans, driving Paragon from their home base and the nomadic Frozen Soldiers out of their home in the North.

The mutant devolution of various creatures, both man and beast, ravaging the deserts of Zu-Rakeen.

The cannibals conquering the Wall of Rot, now once again roaming the free lands of Scythe they were banished from to feast on the flesh of the innocents. 
A war between the Wasterider gang and Euphoric Damnation extremist group.
Deadly chemicals exposed into the world – 8X-17 mutants, 8X-13 undead, and a weaponized form of Entity.

The armies of the Lone Musician and Maverick consolidating into one, the only formidable force of justice left on the planet.

But the one thing all of these groups had in common...was a hatred for Paragon. And it was more than deserved, as this Legacy of chaos and destruction throughout the planet...was all caused by Paragon.

Rock the full Mutation Devolution experience on Jon Of The Shred's Bandcamp here and be sure to check out all the other scintillating Scythe chapters right here on Synthetix.FM!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

LA Dreams Of Insomnia

By Rick Shithouse

The epic journey of LA Dreams into the synthual realms of emotionally driven 80s inspired synth music continues in 2014 with the release of his new album Insomnia. Can you believe this is LA Dreams eighth full length album for the year? Eight. That's something amazing right there in itself. But that this record is easily one of his best for the year, indeed ever thus far, is even more astounding.

LA Dreams seems to hit a new high point with every second album he releases and Insomnia continues that trend from the last album of his that really blew me away. I find it interesting how I approach each LA Dreams new album now, and it's certainly unlike how I approach any other producer's work. I always, without failure, start looking for differences. Different sounds, atmospheres, emotions, motifs as my fear of LA Dreams running out of ideas and recycling things is something I'm very scared of. Then the music begins, and again without failure, everything is all of sudden fresh, new and vibrant; removing all doubts in a flash of neon synth magic. The seemingly infinite well from which LA Dreams' muse springs from is hugely apparent throughout Insomnia.

I think the one main area that LA Dreams really delves deeper on every record is the emotional relationship he has to the music. It's always been there, it's always been front and centre to the experience, but on Insomnia I feel a new emotionally intimacy within the tracks. Like an understanding is achieved, a concept of true love and beauty is now explored deeply beyond the puppy-love attractions. That's not to say LA Dreams' previous records were shallow, not at all. What I'm saying is the depth to the pieces goes much, much deeper than before and the music resonates with new found understanding.

Because of the sheer volume of LA Dreams music I've been lucky enough to enjoy over the last couple of years I feel I've gotten to know the artist via his music and establish an understanding of what his music means and its place in his life as well as in mine. That's what makes his music so special to me I think, in some way I feel that with LA Dreams the same kind of kinship long-term fans have with bands/performers they've followed for decades.

The music speaks to them and it is part of their life; a constant that they use as the soundtrack to their lives through many different phases of their lives and lives of those creating the music. On a smaller scale I feel this with LA Dreams music. I feel that it speaks to me directly and gives me those magic feelings time and time again. With each new record it is a new journey into possibilities, familiarities and new anthems to my own life.

Across Insomnia LA Dreams explores all these things and more and creates lasting connections to the future, past and present along the way. The opening pieces really set an incredible scene as the production on this album seems to broaden its range and become even more lustrous. The first track, 'Insomnia' does this with a huge drum track and synths that stretch out into infinity before your very eyes as the drama of the epic refrain casts a timeless spell. The big sounds don't deny any intimacy of the melodies however as the subtle nuances are conveyed with lovingly crafted detail.

LA Dreams' flair for the dramatic gives way to jubilant 80s positivity on the second track 'Reaching For A Shooting Star'. The inspirational nature of this music is embodied in the lead melody and then goes into montage-madness overdrive throughout the successive chapters. You've just got to hand it to LA Dreams for really making 80s style melodies come to life in so many of his tracks, a life full of hope and dreams, a life that begins in the 80s and never ends.

The balance between the intimate and dramatic is done ever so well on Insomnia as the album swings from one extreme to the other with incredible dexterity. The OutRun breakneck drama of 'Feel The Burn' ensures that energy levels are peaking in the red zone from go to whoa. The pieces of this track assemble into an awesome gleaming chrome metal thunderbolt of 80s energies; striking with precision and force along a slick, black highway into the future.

There are a few really, really stand out tracks on Insomnia. By 'stand out' I mean stand out. Period. Not just on this album, not just in music by LA Dreams but stand out from all 80s inspired synth music. On 'Made A Wish' LA Dreams creates one of my favourite pieces of new 80s sounds thus far. The absolute simplicity of this track and its tremendous emotional context wash over me like an electric ocean of warm champagne. The music is felt as much as it is heard and LA Dreams mastery of the melodic structure gives the music a beautiful life of its own. Every time I listen to this record I need to experience this three to four times in a row before I can possibly move on to the next piece. If you have an 80s musical soul it will glow deeply within you throughout this genuinely enlightening piece of music.

'Taken Under' swerves out of the tenderness of the previous chapter and takes the LA Dreams sounds into funkier back alleys under the cover darkness. The flow of the energy is tidally immense and the lure of adventure in the streets of the city becomes something neither of us can resist. The joyride orchestrated by LA Dreams will take you into a night you'll never forget.

The scope of synthscapes are widened in LA Dreams' totally kick arse take on Ninja Synth with fragrantly inquisitive 'China Sundown'. The colours swelter amid a blurred horizon, instruments bring a cool clarity to the scene with the soothing beauty of the synth flutes luring you into an absolutely amazing  bass guitar driven break down. The groove is cut at the perfect angle to enhance the asiatic ambience while rockin to beat of western drum. East meets West and the the combination of sounds is blended to perfection.

One thing that I always love to muse over, with instrumental music in general, is how the title of the track relates to the music itself. Sometimes it's of a very obvious nature; sometimes it only seems that way. With 'The Weekend' LA Dreams creates in my mind the magical hour of late Friday afternoon when the promise of the weekend seems incalculable with possibilities. The anticipation of those next forty eight hours becomes so exciting and this track is like the ultimate soundtrack to making those totally rockin plans. Whether they happen or not is a different story; but right now none of that matters it's all about possibilities and so is this inspirational track.

LA Dreams is getting in the habit of finishing albums with flourishes of new ideas that break from the themes explored on the rest of the album and Insomnia is no exception. The synthscape is classed up to the max with luxurious piano details sparkling in seas of synthual auras. The bassline is certainly pushing the action towards the bedroom as a sensuality emerges and 'Things Get Lost'.
Let's hope they find them in the morning.

LA Dreams presents the Insomnia album on his Bandcamp page here in all popular digital formats. For me this is the tightest and most focused LA Dreams album this year. The emotional depth is explored with absolute honesty and clarity through every piece and the stories in every track feel keenly developed with the goal to maximise the intensity of every element; allowing nothing to be lost or any passage to become superfluous.

Insomnia is as good as LA Dreams has ever been and this album, be it from any artist, would be a huge achievement but given the clearly ridiculous work rate of LA Dreams it becomes even more amazing. Like I've said on Synthetix.FM many times before (and I hope many more times in the future) LA Dreams exemplifies so much of what I love about 80s inspired synth music and his Insomnia album is a definitive Synthetix Reference Experience in what this music is all about.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Synthetix Sundays

Just cause Marko's touring the U.S on a synthwave odyssey it doesn't mean there's no Synthetix Sundays! Filling in for Marko over the next few weeks will be RPG's own The Right Reverend Larry Lang, The Larry Lama (Lawrence Lang) rocking your world with 80s inspired synth magic.

Quality time with Rick Shithouse returns this week as well as Paul "Dress To Kill" Daly with his 100 Followers or Less segment as well as Larry's own aural delectations.

Synthetix Sundays airs on Radio Pure Gently at 10am EST/3pm UK/GMT/12pm AEDST time which is one hour earlier than usual.

Synthetix Sundays will be on every second Sunday while Marko's away and as usual the full show as well as the Quality Time With Shithouse free, purchasable and feature tracks will be added to this post on Monday.

Quality Time With Shithouse free, purchasable and feature tracks:

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Botnit To The Max

By James Mann

Imagine being propelled through a dimension full of light and promise, powering yourself into the unknown with a certainty that throws an uncontrolled grin on your face. This is the space. Nights when you fall asleep and are transported to the world you could never conceive of, at least not in your waking moments. Flashing lights, visions of the future and past, nostalgia at warp speed. Have you ever stopped to imagine what the soundtrack to your life could be? A blanket wrapping around and encompassing everything in this life that you found safety and joy in, everything you truly stood for. How could the melodies and work of an artist create this lush, complex world of wonder that makes everything feel so easy and simple? A machine driven entity known as Botnit has locked his coordinates on you, and anyone fortunate enough to cross paths with this synth wizard full of complexities and awe should consider themselves lucky.

To the Max is the latest release from Botnit, an artist whose work has garnered the adoration and respect from many a fan in the genre, from previous releases such as Vivid Memories and tracks such as 'Hi-Score'. This is an album spanning years of inspiration and influences guaranteed to satiate every synth lovers dream, transporting you through streams of radiance and luster without skipping a beat.

The detail and melodies in the tracks are stunning, with top notch production and clarity that allows the listener to hear every intricacy this machine puts into work. "I worked at a video arcade in the late 90's and that's where inspiration for tunes like Hi-Score and Safran come from. I love the history of arcades and the Golden Age of Video Games. That stuff is just so cool to me. GTA: Vice City was a monster influence, my personal resurgence in 80's music pretty much hasn't let up since then." muses the Botnit himself.

To the Max demonstrates a sophistication and an art of melodies, along with sampling unlike any artist I've heard before. As Botnit says, there is a "fine line" between tasteful and overused samples. This synth enchanter demonstrates an ability to effectively incorporate an astounding variety of samples (as well as progressions) that push the tracks into a direction with momentum and undivided interest, elevating portions of the songs to that next level, not an easy feat.

'Ex Cathedra' begins with a gorgeous, shimmering synth progression that gave me instant chills. Within seconds I closed my eyes and drifted off into the world known as Botnit. Switching gears seamlessly, the synth dictates and accelerates a driving baseline that steers the track into a world of wonder and astonishment, full of samples that put a huge smile on my face. The fast moving world of development and technology in the 80's races through my mind, commercials spitting images of VHS, Betamax, the Wall Street worker navigating through the daily grind in montage fashion, worrying about the latest numbers. Wow, this track really touched on all the sensibilities and memories I had growing up in the 1980's. As Botnit says, "It's important that emotions are still conveyed without the lyrics being there to tell you how to feel about a song. For me that means warm synths and inviting harmonies. I've tried making harder, darker stuff and Ex Cathedra is about as heavy as it gets." Well played, Botnit. Coordinates locked and loaded.

'Jupiter Style' is an exceptional track, and definitely a favorite on the album. It throws a somber, yet warm synth arrangement through your speakers, evoking a thoughtful and pensive mood immediately. Images flash through my mind. Through his spectacles, he stares through the rain soaked glass, wondering what happened to his life, and pondering where it will take him from here. The samples Botnit deploys run through a monologue of a man who reflects on all of this, layering a story, a well crafted journey that only this artist can tell. The bassline is energetic, the synths are nothing short of dynamic, I'm moved. What a masterpiece.

All systems set for go. Check. 'It's Supercharged!' blasts you to a dimension that showcases the finest of talents from the Botnit machine. Complex toms and arpeggiated synths drive this track into full gear with samples (intricate and mind blowing) that compliment the track perfectly and switch gears effortlessly. The search for that elusive melody is now over. My eyes flutter and I'm propelled to that world of wonder, full of smeared light with images of classic 80's commercials dancing through my head and coming from all directions, charging down the coastal highway with palm trees whizzing by as the Wayfarer's deflect wind down my face. A bit detailed? Sorry, but 'It'sSupercharged!' takes you there. I'm standing at attention with a new level of respect for the Botnit sound, as I haven't heard a track that filled my tank and topped it off with premium in quite some time. Without hesitation, I would say this is my favorite track on To the Max.

'Let's Do It' changes up the sounds in To the Max nicely, bringing a sleek, almost lounge like feel at the beginning with samples that give a huge flair of 80's and detail, reminiscent of the early Detroit/Chicago house sound. The beat, however is driving, and those signature arpeggiated synths power you through another Botnit work of art. I'm realizing this machine has a knack for layering and teasing your interests in the best way possible, only to unload (or unlock) new levels that will blow your mind. *Inserts another coin*

He adjusts the review mirror, taking one final glance at home. This was the world he always knew. It's really over. Spinning tires on the hot summer concrete, he headed towards the sun in hopes of feeling human again. How could the life he spent so much time building have been torn apart so quickly? Is it really over? 'Don't Look Back' is a stellar arrangement from Botnit that reinforces the idea that things are truly never over, there are just new beginnings.  Hellsir guests on this gem of a track and delivers a lasting message through a break beat/dance beat and mind blowing synths, to take control and don't look back. As Botnit says, you have one chance, one dream. You can feel the thought and energy put into 'Don't Look Back', and the results are spectacular. Who would have thought a machine could make me feel so inspired and motivated about life?

When I saw that Apollo Zapp was a guest on this next track, 'Own the Road', I have to admit my excitement was very real. I've been a huge Zapp fan for a while, and to see a collaboration with two of the best, well. Yeah. Botnit grabs you instantly with a beautiful progression, glassy synths dancing all over, (the lead synth is mesmerizing) and his signature driving rhythms emerge quickly. I'm loving this already. Appollo emerges with his trademark voice, giving me chills. Zapp's singing is more of a refrain, and this works flawlessly with the crafted reverb and delay. Wait, didn't Botnit say something about less is more? The restraint is so tasteful, when I close my eyes I'm transported to that dimension full of radiance and light. One of my favorite tracks on To the Max.

Full bodied synths and melodies reminiscent of a intricate NES/Dragon Warrior style theme develop nicely in 'Safran'. The memories flood me with a feeling of comfort and joy that take me back as a kid, circa 1989 playing the classic game with a box of fruit roll ups by my side. It's a thoughtful, yet somber journey weaving you through a lush soundscape of sadness.  After chatting with the Botnit I learned why. This track is a homage to Scott Safran, who set the Asteriods high score in 1982 at the height of the game's popularity. Nobody could locate him through the 90's, with news eventually surfacing in 2002. It was discovered that he was killed after falling from his apartment balcony while trying to rescue his cat, Samson. The shooting asteroid bleeps emerge behind this work of art, and the tribute seems fitting and complete. Stars making their way to a iconic figure in the retro scene looking down, firing off stars in the place of a fallen fellow gamer. Gorgeous track and one of my favorites on the album.

Frantically searching for that last quarter to throw in the machine, all I can think about is that +1up. 'Arcade Cowboy' is another master blaster from this unstoppable machine, throwing you into a time machine to your favorite arcade, at least for those who had the luxury of experiencing the sheer awesomeness of them. Ski Ball, Centipede, Contra, Galaga, Duck Hunt, Rygar and more classic games race through my mind in filmstrip fashion. In 'Arcade Cowboy', that signature Botnit breakbeat with floral synths build up into peak action with such grace. The lead is killer, and a lengthy (spliced up) sample tell a first person perspective of growing up in the 80's, creating laughs and smiles from the authenticity and detail. Where did he get that from? Some things are better off secrets, as Botnit will never divulge his source of samples. This guy knows 80's like no other synth artist. Bold statement? Tough. Botnit has earned it.

The bell rings. Droves of students flood the halls and filter out into the world. She's navigating through the bodies, looking for that personal space she knows will find her on the walk home. Questioning her sensibilities, was he really right for her? Looking up at the smear of red and orange leaves falling down around her, she knows with a certainty that he wasn't. Time to grow up and take care of yourself, she can't be 'Chasing Emotions' anymore. This beautiful track delves into another side of Botnit, one that shows the versatility and flexibility of this machine to set coordinates for slightly different sounds. Dreamy and endless, the variation and contrast from those glassy synths to the orchestral ones create such a dynamic composition that I can't stop listening. I forgot to mention that Botnit is a percussion whiz. Hi hats, bass drum, toms and snare all fill the expansive range with care and purpose. Top notch work.

'Some Dreams Never Die', once again featuring the effortless Hellsir, wraps up a journey for the ages. The smooth vocals compliment this track wonderfully. As Botnit told me, this track is about lamenting "the end of a relationship that lasted for a majority of the 1980's, and now that Jackie has grown up, she longs for that time and place where things allowed her to feel so alive and full of joy." Another epic track from Botnit, and a spectacular way to end a flawless production.

To The Max is a phenomenal release, blending a wide range of sounds that come together for an auditory feast, one that redefines boundaries in the genre. A stark contrast from the overused, formulaic sound produced by some artists that can beleaguer the synth trained ear. This is truly amazing work from someone who has extraordinary talent in production, melodies, percussion, layering, and dare I forget…sampling. Botnit keeps true to his sound, one that continues to progress as this machine pumps out new work. "Some of my favorite tunes are ones where I feel the hair on the back of my head stand up when I'm 10 seconds before a part in the tune that blows my mind, and you're just waiting for it to happen, that's what I strive for." Funny, Botnit pretty much nailed my sentiments on his work I journeyed through each track, hitting those hairs on the back of my neck as fine points of nostalgia and escape.

Future City Records presents Botnit's To the Max album on Bandcamp here. You would be remiss to not have this as part of your collection. There are so many moods and feelings with this stunning range of tracks, taking you on a full throttle ride to the world of Botnit and dropping you back home feeling satiated and complete. This man doesn't stop, and has some surprises for the near future. "I have actually wanted to experiment and put out a small 3-track EP of 90's sounding tunes, like "Ebenezer Goode" by The Shamen, then like a Ridge Racer type tune and maybe even a rotterdam techno tune." Sweet baby jesus, the diversity and respect I have for Botnit just keeps growing. This man knows music. He also has a collaboration that he's keeping on the hush, but he did tell me this. "I am working with one of my scene idols on a tune for their next release. I used to listen to this artist while I took the train into the city years ago, so when I was contacted for a collaboration I was in full fanboy mode."  

So about that soundtrack to your life. Your childhood, your dreams, everything that made you feel comfortable and safe. Botnit inserted that last quarter for your +1up, and it's been the best game you've played in your lifetime. In the world of Botnit, there is no game over.

To The Max comes very, very highly recommended from Synthetix.FM.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Kasia's Secret Diary

By Kasia

Wednesday, 21st August, 2013
LA Dreams - Dreamers

The world needs dreamers

As much as I need you
I close my eyes and I drift away to places found thanks to you
Your magical hidden world now belongs to me
I was looking for it for so long
And now I am finally here
I've found a person who dreams the same dream as I dream
Who makes me more "me" than anyone I've ever known
If you surround yourself with the right people everything is possible
The line between hopes and dreams is very thin
But don't be afraid to cross it
You may be surprised how beautiful world can be
I challenge you to be a dreamer...

Friday, 24th June, 2011

Pacific! - Unspoken (Anoraak Remix)

Was it love ?

Is it love ?
I used to think that I knew you
But with time i started to discover you again
I'm not sure whether I was changing or you were
But I started to feel you differently
With every single year of my life
You became closer and closer to me
You were always there for good and for bad
Trying to cheer me up when I was crying
And keep me company when I was happy
I made many mistakes but you never judged me
You were never jealous
You never wanted anything from me
And at the same time you were giving me the best of you
You taught me how to love life and how to love myself
Now I look at the world through your eyes
And I can see how amazing it is
Having you in my life is one of the greatest feelings ever
And the only thing I can say is that I love you...
I love you... my dear MUSIC

Thursday, 16th October, 2014

Carl Cassette - Generation

My generation...
Probably the best generation ever
80's, 90's
The way of thinking
The whole style of living
First computer
First cell phone
First minute on the Internet (!!!)
and now you...
A small piece of  good old times
You brought back my memories
Great priceless moments
Thank you!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Robots With Rayguns Gets Fresh

By Jerry Herrera

Even before I dove headlong into the oceans of synth and retrowave, I was aware of Robots with Rayguns.  Being a fan of EDM and electronic music in general since I was a teenager, I am always on the lookout for standout producers: people who have a distinct, inimitable voice and sound.  Robots With Rayguns is one of those guys I found just poking around YouTube, and what an insanely happy accident that was.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, Robots with Rayguns, whether with his original tracks or his many, many remixes, combines warm, fuzzy bass with ethereal strings, glitched, stuttered, cut up vocals, virtuoso keyboard work and pure sunshine to make happiness in the form of music.  That’s the best way I can describe it.  He has a distinct style and while this means his sound is unmistakable, this also means that his challenge is to keep his sound fresh.

Fresh As It Gets is his third full album release and upon first listen it’s very clear that he’s come a long way from cutting up old classics and repurposing them.  This album proves that RWR is a producer with genre range, technical talent, and the ability to produce original tracks that appeal to people outside our synth community.

Having said that, it’s hard to judge this album.  Sure, there are highs and lows, some tracks I wasn’t too crazy about and others that I’d want played at my funeral.  I also get a heavy Daft Punk vibe, from the way the album is structured to the titles of some of the tracks.  This is not a bad thing and I would compare this release to that magic Homework/Discovery era if I was to describe RWR to non synth loving people.

After a short intro, we get into 'One More Time' and 'Summer Dreams' ft. Keith Masters.  Both tracks are signature RWR style with cut up vocal samples over warm synths and a unique blend of hip hop and retrowave respectively.  To me this is RWR saying, “this is what I do, hope you like it.”  Things don’t really get going in my mind until 'Rhythm Tes't, which brings more complicated cuts and breakbeat stylings into the music.  'On the Groove' is the first track to really set the mood with a mid tempo, buzzing bass, glittering synth cruise love theme.  RWR is best when working real emotional content into his music while keeping the elements simple but effective.

'Get Over U' feat. She’s the Queen is another perfect example of RWR magic.  Full, beautiful vocals that he still pitch changes and cuts up without getting in the way of the vocalist’s power and solid synth work with a more reflective, powerful tempo.  Tracks five and six are must-listens.  However, with 'On the Groove' and the subsequent tracks RWR hits an amazing stride where everything seems to fall into place.  It’s as if the first few tracks were warm ups, or he's is getting the feel for what he wanted to do with Fresh as it Gets.

The back half of the album is full of everything that makes him a unique artist in the genre.  'Freestylin’' is a perfect example of the Robots with Rayguns dance magic, full of uptempo beats, rocking vocal cuts and excellent keyboard work.  The rest of the album is reminiscent of older RWR work but with a more mature sensibility, and it’s clear that he’s worked hard to develop his sound and not rely on what made him intially catchy and different.

Although part of me does want more 'Sugarbaby' and 'Bed Head' sounding music, I know that RWR has to grow and race against his own self to keep up.  This album is a huge step for him, both as an artist and producer.  It’s got the polish of a studio album while remaining very much a community based collaboration of love and synth.  That being said, I can’t say I absolutely loved the full vocal tracks on Fresh As It Gets, with the exception of She’s The Queen and the ALWAYS welcome Patrick Baker.  That’s really my only gripe and even then I understand that those tracks have their place on the album.

Either way I’m a die hard Robots with Rayguns fan and I have been from the second I heard his music.  I think he stands in a category all his own, with a grasp on both synth and dance as well as a third, unknown sound.  The sound of frenetic joy, sunshine and breeze.  Fresh As It Gets is another slice of happiness served up by a very hardworking artist.

Robots with Rayguns presents Fresh As It Gets on his Bandcamp here in digital formats (and also on CD in a limited edition of 100) and this album is very, very highly recommended by Synthetix.FM

Thursday, November 6, 2014


Darknous - Mephistopheles
By Matthew Neophytou

Take a dark voyage to the other side of the wave. UK based Darknous dips the soul in shadow with the EP Mephistopheles.

The opener 'Dripping Blood' will send electronic goosebumps along your spine with power notes thrashed by a thundering beat continuing almost seamlessly into 'Hellraiser', enthralling one with both wonder and dread into the haunting melody. Ending the ceremony is the Silent Hill-esque 'Fallen Angel' its hovering organ will surely stir something deep from within you.

Darknous presents Mephistopheles is a worthy chapter in the book of dark synth, no dilution of sound and crafted timing, makes it an EP which, if it were a horror would be more House of The Devil than Ouija. Very highly recommended from Synthetix.FM available in various digital downloads on the bandcamp site here. And I am fully into the fantastic album art by the way, too.

She's Not Real - Not Real Sounds EP
By Andrew B. White

After several tracks being posted on Soundcloud, Washington DC's She's Not Real release their first EP Not Real Sounds on 30th Floor Records. She's Not Real are the rather mysterious duo of Rebecca Jakob and William Hasselberger and their music is just as equally mysterious. Half of the four songs on the EP are instrumentals and the other half feature Rebecca's vocals. Opening track 'If You Leave Me One Day Silently' uses Rebecca's vocal more like a sample which is a nice idea and 'I Never Knew You (Like You Knew Me)' is sung in a more traditional way.

The music has a prominent 'chilled' vibe to it where the bpms lurge slowly; iit feels somewhat like listening to vaporwave which hasn't been purposely slowed down or manipulated. In that regard this creates less of a 'warped' sound and more tuneful results. The songs don't seem to have a regular structure, which is to say these don't have conventional verse/chorus/verse/chorus arrangements. Instead the songs flow from start to finish and tasty little highlights are added as things progress. There are a few signature sounds going on with She's Not Real that give them a cohesive sound. These include the use of subtle electric guitar, DX7 style keys which are 'back' in the mix, simple but effective drums and pulsing analog baselines.

Atmospherically She's Not Real remind me of some of The Blue Nile's more intimate moments where you can imagine late nights, empty streets and raindrops, grey days and train journeys; maybe evoking some kind of rendezvous or contemplation of past events. This is certainly music you can find your own space in, where you are left to think and discover and add it as a soundtrack to your own story. Highly recommended for those that appreciate looking past four-on-the-floor. As a side note, the cover for "Not Real Sounds" is excellent as is the band name itself. Coolness all around.

Pick up your copy of She's Not Real's EP on 30th Floor Records here.

Compilerbau - The Void
By Matthew Neophytou

The Void is an EP put together from previous LPs released by Compilerbau, the albums being; Talking Machines and Tachyon, which showcases their very 80’s horror darksynth to a skillfully produced tee.

The film 'They Live' infests my mind when listening to 'The Void', a menacing beat and stringy synths harkens back to the mystery and danger of yesteryear. 'Escape' brings the tension down by a millimeter but sliced with cool.  'Roadblock' brings on the rhythm to round up the EP.

Compilerbau's The Void EP is very highly recommended from Synthetix.FM and is available for digital format at their bandcamp site here. This provides a fantastic little pick-n-mix of the darker end of Compilerbau's sound and there's also an additional bonus of extended tracks for 'The Void' and 'Escape,' for those who want their auditory of terror prolonged.  

Profondo Delle Tenebre - Black Gloves EP
By Rick Shithouse

I do believe my favourite subgenre of the darker synth sounds is Giallo Disco. The 70s disco energy fused with foreboding atmospheres conjures up so many wonderful images and visceral pleasures. A man after my own heart of this denomination is the highly (read: very highly) Dario Argento influenced producer Profondo Delle Tenebre with his debut EP Black Gloves.

The giallo motif is always kept right up front and the use of soundtrack elements highly reminiscent of the g(l)ory days of Italian slasher movies is totally rockin. The harpsichord-like synth sounds playfully illuminate the violent visage over swirling synthual menaces beneath. Otherworldly elements leave their shrouds behind and manifest their unquenchable thirst for death in shrill, disturbing tones.

This three piece act are more than happy to break into completely ambient passages that shy away from the blood spilled in the discotheque and even their covering of the likes of Goblin's main theme from Tenebre comes off wonderfully well. Definite stand out tracks for me are the sublimely omnipotent 'Four Flies On Grey Velvet' and 'The Cold Eyes Of Fear' but theres much to love amid the five pieces included on the EP. Pick up your copy of the Black Gloves EP on Profondo Delle Tenebre's Bandcamp page here and rock that Halloween spirit just a little longer.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Beckett Begins The Search Of 34

By Rick Shithouse

Although I don't go into much of my personal interests on Synthetix.FM that are outside of the music it's opportunities to experience music like Beckett's new album that allows for a delightful crossover. When it comes to videogames the 16bit era was one of my favourites, I was in my late adolescence/early adulthood during this age and was heavily into the major systems of the time. It was at this point I began importing games and my purchase of a Super Famicom in early 1991 that brings forth many fond memories of classic gaming experiences; ones I love going back to relive over and over. My love of the music from this period has been forever in my heart as a piece of music from Super Castlevania IV is still my favourite piece of instrumental music of all time.

This classic generation of gaming is what drove Beckett's imagination to create Search Of 34; a soundtrack to a Super Nintendo game that doesn't exist outside of his own mind but one he brings to life through rousing synth anthems of refined pedigree. The synthscape employed by Beckett is a mix of 'real' instruments that are then accented with 16bit era details that create a blend of sounds which is wholly enticing. Much like Arcade High's implementation of 8bit and early arcade game sounds in symbiosis with more real world sounds Beckett does things in a similar manner using the next generation of sounds. The blend of both worlds is smooth and never jarring as much thought has been given to specific elements to make the combination as coherent as possible.

One just needs to take in the verdant synth vistas of the opening title track that rocks along like an anthem from the likes of F-Zero or Axelay as energetic, high speed action is coloured by totally kick arse passages of pure melodic 80s delight. The synths are drenched in a 16bit aura that then ignites into maelstrom of dramatic twists and turns and Beckett plays off some great percussive details against and an eternally ascending bassline.

The intensity of the opening title subsides into a more atmospheric tone with 'Navigator'. A lilting lead melody rises above the chattering intrigue that busies itself at ground level while a huge drum track marches on obliviously. There is underlying fears and questions being asked amid the synthscape's elements but this is only the beginning of the story and Beckett knows how to give the listener just enough details to keep them enthralled.

The quieter periods of the Search Of 34 let Beckett really shine in his creation of structures and story telling ability and like in 'Path Finder' often take us on a surprising journey. The soundtrack turns more adventure-based and deliberate in a mix stealthy surveillance and nocturnal secrets. The moon rises with new passion, moving into definite night time moods with the emotionally delicate 'Legacy' as Beckett displays some absolutely wondrous Synth Romance stylings.

'Turbo' takes things back out into the skies as a warmly rounded 16bit bassline powers into the stratosphere with much vigour. As a sequel to the opening piece this track delivers high speed thrills and non stop action, this time feeling a tad more HyperZone than F-Zero but definitely rockin to the max from beginning to end. Opting for a funkier punch Beckett brings on the guitars and works the bassline like a melonfarmer in 'Miami Dawn'. The synths sparkle and dance amid a gyrating bassline and guitar flourishes giving a very sweet Library ambience to the proceedings.

Drama comes back with the majestic, driving refrain of 'Lock Target'. The story is detailed with lovingly implemented subtleties in a way that never breaks the mood of the piece. Beckett does this time and time again on this album and his way of weaving the elements into a brightly coloured coherent piece of music that explores the subject matter with such clarity and never loses focus or his way amid the set pieces.

The passion for these soundtrack oriented atmospheric pieces is examined deeper in the ethereal 'Left To Rest' as finely reverent synths sing in pained unison to the heavens. Delicate and laid emotionally bare the sleight and weakened voices join as one triumphantly. As the scene fades to black in a final act of respect, then the engines roar back up into high gear and accelerate into the horizon with 'Run For Home'. A slightly eastern flavour adds an extra layer of zest to this track that gains momentum and positivity through every rockin passage.

'Fortune Favours' brings the experience to a close with another track steeped in emotional context as the time is taken to look back over the adventure we've had; reflecting on the losses and basking in the conquests. An air of melancholy permeates the positivity just enough to be felt and looking out across the vast wasteland once more, we wonder who's left and what kind of future there is for all of us.

Beckett presents the Search Of 34 album on his Bandcamp page here and it comes very, very highly recommended from Synthetix.FM. The way Beckett tells his story and invites you into his world is a truly wonderful experience. The delightful homage to the classic 16bit soundtracks that many of us remember fondly is the perfect accompaniment to structures Beckett details and illustrates throughout the Search Of 34. Now we just need someone to come along and make the actual game...

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Forgotten Illusions Composer Series - CS004

By Matthew Neophytou

If you were like this boy and your love for synthwave and electronic music was hitting the tween stage right around 2007 then Valerie Collective was a major older brother for you. Acts like Minitel Rose, Anoraak, College etc were like marshmallow melodies dipped in synaptic dreams, also out of the collective came The Outrunners which had just as an impact as the rest of the folks, not content with one moniker, one half of the ‘runners; Pierre De La Touche, unleashed the electrifying EP Crystal Contour and boy was it anything and everything.

Time leap to the present and we are given Composer Series - CS004 a 10 track album full of data streaming melodies of the varying kind. Beginning with 'Invisible Barriers' we are flung into a foray of beats and synths that are executed with fine electro precision that I almost did not recognise the cow bell in there, yeah cow bell! What follows is a diverse audio altercation of the senses in tracks such as 'Machine Girl' to 'Network Panic'.

Halfway through we are faced with the atmospheric 'Cold As Silence' that spreads the strings all over our nervous system but is kept grounded by the skip beat. As the album gets back to the basics, a feeling of something long past sweeps over with 'She’s Gone' a brief haunting piece that leaves you lost in the waves of synthetic nothingness (in a good way). Not to worry though the rest of the album continues on its course of computerised mastery.

Forgotten Illusions presents Composer Series - CS004 available in digital formats on his Bandcamp site here  and limited CD form over at the Valerie store here. A great album that’s full of the nostalgia for the old days yet not stagnant in the default sound so many others find themselves in. Very, very highly recommended from Synthetix.FM, Enjoy the epic.