Tuesday, August 25, 2015


By Rick Shithouse

Sunset 23 - Chrome, Palm, Drive EP

I featured one of Sunset 23's tracks off his first EP on Quality Time With Shithouse a few weeks ago, but the rest of the EP is also something worth exploring too. This producer's first foray into 80s sounds does a great job of covering different themes and moods over the four tracks and doesn't become formulaic, which is often something I find in debut EP's.

Creating a moody night time atmosphere in 'It's OK' we get breezy synths that cool things down to a sultry tone. The leads are something that really had me with Sunset 23 and his leads on synths and guitars are a huge draw, adding much energy and colour. The highlight of the EP is still, definitely, the title track with its big hooks and heavily flaunted 80s love, but 'No Rush' still has a lot to say and moves into a laid back night mode that rings with disco guitars and sweetly tuned accents on the melody. The final track, '10,000 Hours' keeps things chill and brings in some more tropical elements that flicker in beach side torches amid the fruity and fresh seaside night.

It's great to hear a debut EP that experiments more with atmosphere than energy and Sunset 23 will be someone whom I'll be following closely along his 80 synth journey. Pick up a copy of Chrome, Palm, Drive on his Bandcamp page here.

Oedo - Panic

Oedo's new EP is great little exponent of creating music channelled by direct inspirations for the first two tracks and then taking on a more experimental approach for the last two pieces. The overriding theme of 'Panic' is very well represented as a driving theme through all of them however.

Opening with the Terminator inspired 'Killing Machines' Oedo's choice of sample is spectacularly implemented and refreshing as Michael Biehn's Kyle Reese gives Dr Silberman an earful of classic dialogue. It's such a great scene that it really surprises me it's never been used before in 80s inspired synth (to my knowledge). The energy of the music stays surprisingly under control though and doesn't get nearly as explosive as Biehn, but it's the mechanical, unstoppable and deliberate pace that captures the Terminator's spirit so well.

The second track is from another 80s favourite, this time going directly to Saturday Morning Cartoon magic with Jayce And The Wheeled Warriors. This series (which I'm currently enjoying) has a spectacular soundtrack and Oedo's done a very nice job indeed of capturing the wonder and adventure of the series in 'Monster Minds'. It evolves effortlessly and brings in some totally rockin bassline progressions that will definitely have you yearning for the Lightning League.

'Halo Funk' finds Oedo going on a journey into the the unknown across a near eight minute groove that stays ambient, although doesn't stay in an 80s galaxy and feels more 90s in flavour for much of it. Parts of it remind me of the 80s Twilight Zone series music too, but I found myself longing for more vintage sounds.  'Warehouse' treads a similar path as the off kilter melodies echo around a darkened spaces and have you peering into the shadows to make out the shapes. The tweaking to the bass melody definitely has a more 90s edge to it but there's a great vibe of early 90s budget sci fi movies which certainly appeals to me. Get a copy of Oedo's 'Panic' EP via his Bandcamp page here.

Deck Rickard - Nigth City Dreams EP

I thought the days of reversing the first letters or syllables of famous 80s names was over, which I was a bit disappointed in as there were so many great names that came out of the last few years (where's some new Rolly Mingwald music?), I was always hoping for more of these amusing combinations. Thankfully, Deck Rickard is here to save us as he goes replicant hunting all over the goddamned show with his debut EP Night City Dreams.

After greatly enjoying his 'Vector Skyline ' track on the latest Future City Records Compilation I was very interested to hear what he could come up with in his own release. The Deck Rickard sound has a definite atmosphere to it which he adheres to in all four chapters of the EP. The sound has a dreamlike ambiance to it and allows his melodies to really drift into each other and rarely become a driving focus for the music. The layering of his synths is what really shines and the balance he controls through all the scenarios is highly engaging. The gauzy feel he brings to the elements captures that Blade Runner climate where everything feels like it's shot through moisture of some description.

'NCPD Pursuit' brings a more focused culmination to the story as the drama is great cranked up and the melody becomes sharply honed and invigoratingly dangerous, while the final track 'Neon Highway' tells a hybrid story that has bright details yet recedes into hazy structures that give an inquisitive ambiguousness to the story in a beautifully satisfying manner. Deck Rickard's debut EP promises much, and delivers enough to tell you a very engaging story yet I still think the best is very much yet to come from this rockin new producer. Get a copy of Night City Dreams on Future City Records Bandcamp page here.

Thomas Barrandon - OST

Thomas Barrandon has been a Synthetix.FM favourite for many years now and his work has always been an exemplary display of 80s homage. Gravitating more towards the soundtrack ends of the spectrum Barrandon's recent outing is a five track accompaniment to the Ninja Eliminator 4: The French Connection project. Although I'm unsure as to whether all these tracks on OST are from this production I've not seen anything to say they aren't and I can't find the movie to watch anywhere to prove/disprove this (but you should check Le Matos rockin Ninja Eliminator I & II here to get an idea of what you're in for).

Back to this EP and Barrandon's created two monstrously epic and atmospheric opening pieces in 'Abri 17' and 'RAM'. The former sets a massive amount of foreboding that builds to fever pitch halfway through 'RAM' when the climax builds beyond its epicentre and into a lush dimension of 80s synth magic. This continues through the more acoustically textured 'Hero' as Barrandon explores deeper tones and more modern ideas during its evolution.

This brings us to the last two tracks, and these two tracks are absolutely stunning examples of Barrandon's 80s love and musical talents. Sprawling pieces that illustrate incredible dexterity and rock like you wouldn't believe. Simply put, 'Ninja Eliminator 4 - The French Connection' and 'Feed To Kill' are killer cuts that give you everything and 80s inspired synth fan craves. These two tracks alone warrant immediate purchase, classic Barrandon rockin harder than melonfarmer.

OST is presented on Thomas Barrandon's Bandcamp page here and not checking it out immediately is doing yourself a huge disservice.

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