Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Sebastian Gampl's The Winner

By Rick Shithouse

I made absolutely no bones about Sebastian Gampl being my favourite new talent of 2014. His City Hunter record is still one of the genuine highlights of the 80s inspired synth scene and created such a lofty position for a debut record I wondered what would be next for him.

With all his previous training and experience in other musical genres I had always kept in the back of my mind that maybe City Hunter was a one-off and he'd move on to other styles. That may still happen in the future but it sure isn't close to happening yet with his totally kick arse new EP: Winner.

The Gampl sound is such a clean and authentic production and there's such a sublime polish given to every instrument on every track that you're instantly bathed in a glow of cyan and pink 80s reverence that is refined to the nth degree. It's impossible to isolate what makes the Gampl Experience so pure, as more than any other producer I can name the music sounds whole in its essence and performance.

The fullness of the synthscape and care given to every single sound is uncommon and the songwriting is right there in step with it to make the magic trick completely convincing. Opening with the title track the atmosphere of uncluttered and warmly nuanced sounds leads into a smooth vocal that matches the music 1000%. The strength of the song is in how relaxed and naturally flowing all the parts groove together; with pacing and emotion given equal importance. You just can't resist the energy of 'Winner', it's like musical silk you can drink that warms your soul.

Racing up the inside straight comes track two with its driving energy just rockin like a melonfarmer from the first nanosecond. Every beat is a quickening pulse that yearns and longs for that powerful 80s love. 'Without You' launches into hyperdrive and is the musical soundtrack to the ultimate uncontrollable spiral into love like a ten megaton G force crush. The effortless vocals of Tommy Reeve once again deliver velvet lined lyrical machine gun fire straight to the heart. The music is unbelievably tight yet again feels natural and full of wonder that is as enriching as it is exciting.

Track three brings in one of my favourite vocal talents in recent times as Miranda Carey brings her wonderful vocal talents into the Gampl universe. Landing somewhere between mid and late 80s pop and R&B Carey's voice hits all the the sweetest notes against a hugely dramatic synthscape. Possibly Gampl's most ambitious track musically, this suites that make up 'Save You' crossover some massive amounts of territory yet coalesce into one seamless work of nostalgic brilliance.

Making a reappearance from Gampl's City Hunter record on this release is 'Under Control', which is such a strong track (only second to 'One On One' in this devotees eyes/ears/heart) that is deserves to be revisited and celebrated. In the context of this four track release it does create a sense of completion to the EP's narrative and proves the perfect partner in crime to 'Save You'. It's just pure Gampl magic.

To say I loved this EP is a huge understatement and of course the best part is that this being a Rad Rush Records release it also purchaseable on glorious vinyl. Rad Rush Records are really doing a stellar job in giving the scene's most iconic producers the perfect venue to showcase their work. With Waveshaper, Dynatron, LA Dreams and now Sebastian Gampl in their back catalogue, who can guess who'll be next? Either way, this is such a great part of being in the 80s inspired synth scene in 2015 and I encourage everyone to support Rad Rush Records' efforts. Pick up a copy of Sebastian Gampl's phenomenal 'Winner' EP on their Bandcamp page here and get this record rockin like it should.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Synthetix Sundays

Synthetix Sundays is back with another killer show this week on Radio Pure Gently! You just can't stop the hot rockin action as Marko interviews Mach Rider, Floydshavious, Dynatron and Phaserland and Matt Kwid from TEK!

Regular segments from Paul Dress2Kill Daly, Synthetix Spotlight with Dallas and Quality Time With Shithouse are all set to maximum entertainment levels as well!

Marko's got a bunch of free downloads to give away too, but you'll need to tune in LIVE for the details!

Tune in to Synthetix Sundays LIVE on Radio Pure Gently here, at the later time  this week of 12am Perth, Australia time. Please click here to find out when this is in your part of the world. As always the fully downloadable show will be posted here on Monday along with the featured tracks from Quality Time With Shithouse.

Quality Time With Shithouse Featured Tracks:

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Aeternus Dynatron

By James Mann

Sonic. Powerful. Mesmerizing. These are qualities any artist carving their path would strive to achieve. Unlocking the passage way to another audio dimension and in the process stunning anyone fortunate enough to listen is not particularly easy. In a world brimming with musicians and producers, discovering the best sounds can put you through quite the journey. You really have to keep listening until those discoveries are reached. Searching for that elusive path full of melodies, arrangements, and percussion commanding every sense and offering a such a refreshing take into the world of synthesizer based music, traversing through a range of moods and in the process genuinely creating a unique sound is no longer hidden.

Aeternus, the latest full length album from Dynatron is here. A truly incredible release, giving us the signature sound you may have been familiar and accustomed with his earlier work, but now returning with innumerable triumphant touches. This is next level, defining a new high and achievement in music making. The epic arrangement takes you into a beautiful world of melancholy melodies, offering a perfect and sensible balance of hope and progress. It really is a journey, one with careful and meticulous crafting, track placement, and production. There's such power, momentum, and thought behind each track, this is truly a stunning piece of work. Evoking strong imagery of space, exploration, and perseverance, Aeternus delivers some of the most gorgeous work to come from the Dynatron project. Without reservation a contender for release of the year.

'Hyperion Sunrise' emerges with a pulsing wall of sound, a strong blend of Dynatron sounds that set the scene perfectly for a beautiful and lengthy journey. An emotional progression builds, as we hear the warmth and fullness culminating in a sense of isolation and beauty. It's quite a hard balance to achieve, but the note placement and building blocks of the Dynatron sound allow you to feel both. A fitting opener, and sets the energy so nicely for the rest of Aeternus.

'Aeternus Theme' is a stunning track, immediately firing off a powerful blend of synth work indicative of Dynatron's finest. A slow, driving beat behind a blend of warm and almost Kyoto like synths yields to a pulsating arrangement. A thoughtful synth lead dots the landscape and evokes visions of space and a journey far away from home. The sensibilities and production value of Dynatron are incredible, almost effortless sounding and yet so rich and detailed. The crafting continues with a guitar adding to the orchestral arrangement. I can already tell this is in fact some of Dynatron's finest, and he's already on that new level.

'The Outer Rims of Traversed Space' is a cinematic masterpiece. An elegant blend of darkness and beauty combines for a memorable track that could situated in the background of a science fiction or action movie. There is a sophistication in the dynamics of Dynatron, builds and riffs that gain momentum to culminate in a track pulsing with emotion and care. I'm overcome with a sense of sadness and wonder, as this spacious and paced out work allows you to ride the waves of space and beyond. That elusive trail and astral audio dimension is here, and the results couldn't be more sublime.

'Towards the Island Universe' is another powerful arrangement, combining a driving darker melody, almost horror influenced with sweet, roomy synths making for a thoroughly enjoyable track. The percussion and toms are strong, and a sample emerges mid song which only adds to a dimension of space, evoking strong imagery of the lone astronaut with black void surrounding, and nothing but a radio transmission from light years away. The track regroups, and with some tasteful guitar work the room and speakers are filled with a wondrous and beauteous sound. That wall of Dynatron encapsulates me in emotion and thought. A particularly strong track, and one of my favorites on the album.

'Fluorescence of the Cepheids' delivers a carefully crafted intro full of darkness and wonder, building into a mesmerizing arrangement with a driving beat and superb synth touches. An orchestral choir of synths add to the blend, and arpeggiated lines scatter over the rich sound, creating a soundscape of mystery and uncertainty. Dynatron has an effortless way of tapering down rhythms and melodies, only to rejoin and build in such a creative and fascinating way. This allows you to keep undivided attention, as the master of all things synthesizer knows exactly how to approach arrangement. Executed flawlessly and one of the best on Aeternus.

'Out There' is a haunting arrangement, one that instantly sent chills up my spine. Dynatron taps into a deep feeling of sadness and beauty, using simple yet effective layering to tell a story of heartache and loss. These are the melodies that embody everything you need and want from an emotional piece. Unraveling layers of feelings through wonderful side chaining of synthesizers creates such a roomy, spacious feel. One of my favorites, I only wanted this arrangement to last longer. It really is a stunning piece.

'Descend' is a lush, detailed track creating visions of galaxies, space and time. The arpeggiated melodies and progressions are highly emotional, sending the listener into a place of amazement and fascination. Detailed crafting and synth choices fit for the perfect match and blend of instrumentation. The track breaks down just under two minutes and delivers some of the most beautiful work I've ever heard from Dynatron. Almost tear inducing, the melodies are so deep and personal it's hard to imagine an artist could tap into such feelings. Perhaps I am being too partial since I've been a fan for quite a while, yet I must say this is primo Dynatron and would sell any synth lover as a fan as well. The music that accompanies the most powerful moments in life with a soundtrack of this in the background. Without any doubt my favorite track on the album.

'Travelling the Wastelands' is an epic journey through the spacious and open sounds of Dynatron. Layered, rich work builds for a monumental synthscape reminding me of a peaceful and serene place. Wind textures and somber notes take me away for a ride that's other worldly, then again the machine known as Dynatron can't possibly be from ours. That signature beat reminiscent of 'Stars of the Night' kicks in and the Dynatron machine is speeding towards infinity. This monster of a track collapses into one of the sweetest mood evoking arrangements imaginable. I feel finally at peace, encompassed by elements of love and the unknown. The wonderful thing about his music is mastering your own interpretation of the sounds, which have an ability to put you into thoughtful and pensive moods, but conversely moods of elation and also sadness. Genius. Top track.

'Not of This World' is one of the darkest tracks on Aeternus, and blends almost a metal edge against a balanced synth based track. This particular song propels the listener into the darker side of Dynatron, as driving and unapologetic synth bass transport you to an ominous place, while a grungy guitar reinforces the mood. I really enjoy this one, as it demonstrates an ability for this artist to slip outside any notion of a "signature sound". Clever and deep, this is definitely a strong track.

'Escape' is a stunning track, certainly one of the strongest on the release and one I feel showcases the finest talents of the Dynatron machine. Beautiful melodies carry an incredible mood, one of positivity and happiness throughout the composition. Melodic synths dance over a rich backdrop of lushness and percussion for intuitive buildups that make this one of the most enjoyable works on Aeternus. The synth lead is almost angelic, I feel wonderful when hearing those notes. Perfect placement and an incredible arrangement. I can feel the love and craft behind this.

'Hypersonic' is a journey far away from home. Isolating melodies and feelings of remoteness cover this beautiful piece. It has the depth and layers that allow you to get completely lost in the sounds. Powerful and superbly produced drums and synth work combine for a tour de force in audio achievement. I could imagine leaving the universe and having this play, allowing for a sense of comfort and confidence…..not fear. There's is something to be said for melodies that allow you to face fear with out reservation, but only determination. Perhaps one of the only artists I have ever encountered in the scene who can compose such work. Although you may be alone in Hypersonic, you don't have to rely on anyone else but yourself. It's a beautiful thing. Top contender for best track and a strong second place.

'A Beacon From Home' is such a sweet return from Aeternus, marking the end of a long and powerful journey through space and time. A combination of eerie, analog like effects with triumphant brass oriented synths create a fitting and proper resolution. Powerful and strong, Dynatron manages to land you with care and consideration. Gorgeous and comforting, I couldn't imagine a more appropriate finale.

Aeternus is an album for the ages, and one of the most powerful and lasting albums I've heard in a long time. Rich, beautiful and deep, the textures and songs covered demonstrate a deep proficiency in sound from the genius known as Dynatron. He manages to steer you through a universe of love and sadness, facing uncertainty as the explorer at points and always delivering the confidence you need to pull through on his space journey of sound. I am blown away with the crafting and care he puts into the tracks, and creating a signature sound so unique he has almost created his own genre of cinematic space synth. He has a remarkable ability to deliver such sophistication in his music, that any synth lover would be well served to take a listen and elevate yourself and your tastes to the next level of music making with Aeternus.

The album is released through Aphasia Records and is available in the usual array of digitally downloadable formats on Bandcamp here. Aeternus is a Synthetix Reference Experience from beginning to end, setting a new benchmark for deeply engrossing and involving soundtrack oriented synth music that pays beautiful homage to vintage synth sounds while adding a polish and attitude that is wholly contemporary.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

TEK: Volume One

By Rick Shithouse

Trusting your instincts, with any kind of art, is something that always pays off. When I heard of the TEK project many months ago I felt an instant karmic epiphany. The forces of Phaserland, Pengus and Matt Kwid joining and creating music in a classic 80s library vein with their own personal visions weaved throughout was akin to all the planets aligning for a galaxy wide moment of pure clarity.

I often wonder what 80s inspirations drive producers, and what it is they are particularly inspired by, but this trio of producers had been supping from the everlasting cup of 80s Library sounds deeply and the TEK project always felt like it was coming from the right place. The perfect level of homage and innovation, and with the talents/gifts/skills of these combined producers I would expect nothing less.

The Japanese aesthetic that permeates through the album does the perfect job of tying together the three creative minds. It's not just Heather Hermann's rockin cover art that does it though. The classic 80s Library sounds of Japan, laced with jazzy moods the blended the technology of the age with cool moods and uplifting, positive atmospheres.

Pengus opens up Volume One with a cool ride by bullet train 'First Class To Tokyo'. The first thing you will probably drink in is the timing structures that lend themselves far more to jazz than anything usually deemed Synthwave. The energy is bright, bouncy and bursting with radiance. The groove of the bassline snakes between the free fall percussion with synths drawing you into this fantastic new world of high contrast and vividly saturated colours.

The Asiatic motif that accompanies many of the melodies on Volume One is another one of those aspects that sits skilfully and delicately amid the synthscapes. It never feels forced or twee but instead comes across as soulful and deep. The second track, 'Let's Meet Up' adds the Eastern flavours in delicate nuance that resonates from the bright verses, into the soaring leads and beyond. The choices made with the instruments used on this album is another very identifying feature that keeps things in the correct aesthetic so convincingly. Acoustic, live drums and a spatial nature given to the production gives room for the leads to exist in freedom and verve.

The airily light magic of 'Obsessing Much' invites you into cool night breezes on a Tokyo high rise, above the humidity of the city while the melodies dance in staccato frames, holding poses ever so briefly before moving in another direction. The quirky structures are endearing and give interesting, new textures to experience; refreshing combinations of flavours that you'd never think would work together combine into something spectacular.

The grooves of gorgeously engineered FM bass light up the scene for 'Sideways' as Phaserland embraces the warmth and magic of classic Japanese sounds with equal nods to Library and arcade game music of the late 80s. The tones are warm and the details are full of tiny little bright spots of cutely drawn imagery. Directions change regularly during the record, to always keep you entertained and the guitar driven 'Strolling Around' gives a melodic reward that is absolutely entrancing. The vibe is geared to joyful strains of guitars and synths rockin as one as lead after sumptuous lead guides you by the hand into fantastic new worlds.

Easily, the optimism of the music in general is what gives the entire record such a strong presence. The bouncy brilliance of 'Aijou Jazz' rides the crest of a funky bassline and keys that sparkle in smooth waves of clear blue energy.  The optimism of the 80s, the thought of being on the verge of great things, that possibilities are endless and dreams can be reality is a massively dominant thematic in much 80s music, especially Library sounds. That feeling of things being new, fresh and being able to change our lives is something TEK really channel in their pieces. In 'Fast Runnin'' the air of sophisticated cool and technology synonymous with fashion meld together in a story that is equally effortless as it is exhilarating.

Making slight departures in the sounds to fill in other parts of the story adds a delightful element of contrast to the album, as Matt Kwid's 'Bon Voyage' illustrates a soulful naivete through the melodies with a tropical, smouldering guitar dancing in beautiful time with bongos and congos. Another fantastic aspect that rocks hard through Volume One is the dual melodies that complement each other in the most intriguing ways. On 'Jackpot' the Synth Romance styled lead melody becomes thrust into an entirely new aesthetic that courses with vibrant energy and punchy percussion. The combination is riveting, and creates a wholly energising mood.

Smooth moods return with 'Seaside Again' and the feeling of cruising the seaside via slow motion shots of Japanese sports cars becomes the transport mode of choice. It's possibly just my own memories, but so much jazz oriented Library music summons visions of Pioneer and Hitachi demo discs that came out with the advent of LaserDisc players. Well into the 90s, this style music was always the most prominent and 'Seaside Again' gives me those visions of crystal clear high end sports cars in tropical settings. Easing the mood to even cooler climes 'High Contrast' comes into view with a definite view to supple night time encounters. The black satin against white skin creating an enticing contrast of colours and sounds as the guitars exude a sensuality of passionate yearning and delicate touch.

'Transport Beauty' brings together guitars and synths again this time with a edge of the new built into the melodies. Fresh and sharp, the music slices with precision and deft touch but not mechanised to a point of sterility, instead it harness and releases with natural and verdant flow. The final piece on the record ties up the experience exceptionally well as 'Shiny Morning' finishes the previous night's adventures and starts afresh with the new day. The lights streams in and the optimistic promise of what awaits us brings a smile to our face. The warmth is real and the music creates it just as much as the sun.

In Volume One all three producers have shared their creativity an collaborated together in a way that is absolutely outstanding. I've been harping on for years now about how collaborative works always bring out the best in producers and TEK have reinforced this theory billion-fold. The album is not only cohesive but individual nuances of all three producers are evident and celebrated throughout the tracks. Put simply, TEK's Volume One gets everything right. From the instruments to the arrangements to the themes and stories explored. It's fresh and enthusiastic and bursting with 80s love and positivity.

Telefuture Records presents TEK's Volume One on their Bandcamp page here in the usual array of digitally downloadable formats and also limited edition CD and cassette. This album has delivered everything it promised; and then some. It's a stand out release in the 80s inspired synth scene in 2015 and is the definition of a Synthetix Reference Experience.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

September's Edition Of Soiree 80s

Join Rick Shithouse, Jazzi Marzcat, Marko Maric, DJ Spaz and Micky Dodds for our seventh Soiree 80's broadcast, this Saturday, September 19th, 2015 from 9pm UK time, playing the BEST in 80's music! Tune into the show LIVE on here, and get more rockin RPG goodness on their site here.

And if you missed it live, you can listen to the replay now! 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Synthetix Sundays

Marko's rockin up a big batch of the favourite flavours we all love with another sweet, fresh out of the oven episode of Synthetix Sundays!

This week Marko's interviewing Secret Destroyers, Ben Businovski as well as getting into the nitty gritty with 20SIX Hundred about his spectacular new record.

Regular courses with Paul Dress2Kill Daly, Quality Time With Shithouse and Synthetix Spotlight will be on hand to sate your appetites too.

Marko's also got a entire repast of download codes to give away from Future City Records, 20SIX Hundred and Droid Sector Decay.

There'll also be an exclusive premier of a brand new Secret Destroyers track so make sure you reserve a seat at the table in advance!

Tune in to Synthetix Sundays LIVE on Radio Pure Gently here, at 10pm Perth, Australia time. Please click here to find out when this is in your part of the world. As always the fully downloadable show will be posted here on Monday along with the featured tracks from Quality Time With Shithouse.

Quality Time With Shithouse Feature Tracks:

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

20SIX Hundred's Cold Rise From Sleep

By Rick Shithouse

Easily one of my personal favourite features of the 80s inspired synth scene is the 'impossible mix'. Mixes of sounds from different eras of the decade (and previous,.. and post!) that combine into something utterly new and completely impossible to have occurred in our normal timeline.

Canada's 20SIX Hundred has managed to combine a whole damn mess of synthscapes in his new record: The Cold Rise From Sleep. Moving away from his normal milieu of arcade inspired OutRun and Synthwave moods he takes on the forces of darkness and manages to make a heady brew of evil that is full or malicious intent and retro reverence.

Although the mixtures of sounds are many, an overarching giallo thematic ties much of the music together. Fans of Italian horror soundtrack works from the likes of Tangerine Dream, Goblin, Ennio Morricone and Fabio Frizzi will find much to love as the saturated colours of sound summon all kinds of supernatural visions and powers.

The way 20SIX Hundred uses these thematics amid his other influences is where the real magic happens though. The tracks are multi faceted with different instruments and nuances that bring to mind the 20SIX Hundred experience we've shared through The Next Level  and Player One but the context used throughout The Cold Rise From Sleep is entirely different in aesthetic, motive and execution.

Once again the use of guitars creates a starring role that shines amongst the other players in the cast with the soulful wailing giving much character and voice to the scenarios. The solos are just pure magic with so much emotional depth given to music's force. Not just containing himself to the trappings of his own guitar work that we're familiar with, 20SIX Hundred pushes things into a superbly orchestrated progressive atmosphere right from the outset. Especially through the opening chapters and most obviously in 'The Witching' a decidedly Pink Floyd inspired ambience is attained amid the haunting synths and aural demons.

A feeling of not really knowing what's going to be next adds so much to this as a full album experience. Will we be chased through mist filled, grey forests? Is there an apparition taunting us from just outside our peripheral vision? Or, in the case of 'Dead Of Night' is there going be someone pulling on their black leather gloves and wringing their wanton grip round the nape of an unsuspecting nubile's throat. The scenes are so beautifully illustrated and actualised in the music that you just can't help but see the still framed visions of horror before your mind's eye.

Beauty is also high on the agenda for 20SIX Hundred as numerous delicately formed, gauzy passages are set to drift in the night time breeze and just barely hint at the ensuing danger. They light passions,  both nocturnal and forbidden. One just can't look away from the beauty soon to be endangered on 'After Hours' as the throes of lust betray an ever growing dissonance that is set to explode in fiery, supernatural rage.

'On The Verge' brings the evil into razor sharp focus with an immense beat providing a hellish drive for occult powers to take their hold and extinguish the life that they crave. Right on point, the music delivers drama when it needs to while introducing all manner of disturbing imagery in the backgrounds. You get flashes of the demon, single frames, incredibly brief moments; but you feel its awesome presence resonating through the fibres of every instrument.

Using single devices to move a track through its different stages is a wonderful skill used in some of the most emotive and hypnotising soundtrack experiences. In 'Fall Of The Cyanide Grid' the stealthily bouncing bass line hooks you into an atmospheric layering of chanting devilry and startling visions. Your focus tries to keep on that bassline for dear life, but the gnashing teeth and unearthly powers are sent to avert your gaze to another dimension, one from which there is no escape.

The delightfully titled 'Death Perception' continues the story on a different path. Through the eyes of the villain our pulse quickens and minds races through torment that breaks quickly into insanity. 20SIX Hundred adds empathy to synths that call out desperately for solace and forgiveness before all control is relinquished. But the terror is loosed upon victims that can not possibly survive the immense bloodlust now slicing life from limb in a murderous rampage.

After the carnage the tone becomes calmer once again. The story of 'Obscured By Memories' allows the listener to hear the human story of an inhumane life. The cries of pain and anguish, though painful, are tenderly explained via some brilliantly performed guitar and the music gets stripped back to a bare whisper in the scintillating final act act of the scene, 'The Darkness'. A human face is given to the maligned monster of death, a hand quivers, outstretched in the darkness; looking, hoping for something to hold onto. The grasp remains empty,.. and falls deeply into the nothingness within.

Ending the investigation, 'Cimmerian Shade/Last Moments' gives us a two part conclusion that brings a semblance of order, sanity and hope into the narrative. The melodies hint at some kind of positive outcome; for those who are still left alive, but the haunting memories begin the manifest deeper and deeper into the music. The tonal frailty of superbly orchestrated tender passages are wondrous, and bring a small glowing orb of light that shines brighter and brighter until the screen fades to white and the credits roll.

20SIX Hundred presents The Cold Rise From Sleep on his Bandcamp page here in the usual downloadable formats and also in strictly limited editions on cassette and CD (plus the totally rockin artwork is available as a poster). I deeply enjoyed this album on a huge variety of levels. The rich storytelling and mixtures of sounds from many different influences makes for something very special.

It works exceedingly well as a concept or soundtrack album but the individual tracks themselves stand on their own as being parts just as important as the whole. The album is a masterfully made experience that raises the bar on the soundtrack oriented album. Much like C-Jeffs incredible Big Steel Wheels album and Tommy's Outer Space Adventurer 20SIX Hundred's The Cold Rise From Sleep will transport you to another place and tell you a story that is absolutely riveting from beginning to end and is thoroughly a Synthetix Reference Experience.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

The NEW Synthetix.FM Mixtape Has Arrived!

Here for your rockin pleasure is the NEW Synthetix.FM Mixtape! This month's mixtape features an EXCLUSIVE Synthetix.FM Extended Mix of Killstarr's 'Back To Life'!


1, Madame - Satori In Bed
2, Chrome, Palm, Drive - Sunset 23
3, What Is There To Say - Sebastian Gampl
4, Power Boost - Aquawave
5, Neon Highway - Deck Rickard
6, Neon Sunset - CM88
7, Highway Lovers - VHS Dreams
8, Hardline - Crockett
9, Midnight Cruise - Ben Businovski
10, Julienne - D U E T T (featuring Stewart Lockwood)
11, Back To Life (Synthetix.FM Extended Mix) - Killstarr
12, Intergalactic - 3Force
13, On The Verge - 20SIX Hundred
14, Towards The Island Universe - Dynatron
15, Miami Justice - Kid Quasar
16, Workin' It - PH Groove
17, Monster Minds - Oedo
18, Heaven Is A Bikini - Stallone Jones
19, Roads - Vincenzo Salvia
20, Feed To Kill - Thomas Barrandon
21, Rebel Heart - Robert Parker
22, The Harder It Gets - LA Dreams

Hungarian Synthwave Allstars Compilation

Be sure to check out the incredible new Hungarian Synthwave Allstarts Compilation, this is packed full of relatively unknown producers cranking out quality 80s aural love like nobodies business. All proceeds are going to a good cause too, you can read about it on the Bandcamp page here. You'll be sure to find lots of new and wondrous rockers on this compilation you'll want to follow and hear more from, that's for sure.

Submissions For The 2015 Rhythm Vivisection Halloween Mixtape Are Open NOW!

It's that time of year again!! The Third Annual Synthetix.FM Rhythm Vivisection Halloween Mixtape is going to be out on the 30th of October and I'm now taking track submissions. As per usual, I don't require the tracks to be exclusive or made recently. I'm accepting of any track from the last 12 months that is from the darker ends of the synthwave spectrum that is an orginal work, no remixes or covers will be accepted. I won't be having a cut-off point, numbers wise, so whatever gets sent in that meets the criteria is going in!! I'm looking forward to this being a monstrously rockin journey into terror!! As with last years Nightbreed edition, I'll be building this mixtape around another classic horror movie's samples, but more on that later.

If you'd like to submit a track please email me here or via the contact form (you can't attach files on the contact form though) with 'Halloween Mixtape' as the subject. Submissions will close on Tuesday the 27th of October, so get rockin now!

To get you in the mood be be sure to check out the last two Halloween Mixtapes!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

VHS Dreams' Trans AM

By James Mann

Pulsating. Hypnotic. Ethereal. Dark. Blending such strong descriptives to culminate in an experience you could only dream of. Lush, vibrant and detailed craftsmanship evoking such powerful feelings and imagery emerge from an artist whose ability has never been in question. Proficiency and rhythms transport you to another world, the one you've been searching for to bring you to a better place. Finding that perfect balance between all of those genres you've so adored, the ones you grew up with now seem to all culminate in a cohesive work of art that satiates every facet of your musical sensibilities. Made for not just lovers of the 80s, but the 90s and anyone who appreciates danceable and most importantly memorable tracks packed with clever and emotional melodies. One of the strongest release of the year has descended upon all things synth. Blazing an effortless sounding trail through the retro-wave wilderness comes the latest LP from VHS Dreams, Trans AM.

This stunning, full length release blends the best of electronic music. Pure emotive and nostalgic tracks with disco based backbeats but housed in the best elements of the 80s. Progressive touches and late 80s dance and early 90s house blend for incredible arrangements this artist has a deep and knowledgeable understanding of. Delivering such a cohesive flow of memorable tracks from someone who has lived and immersed himself in so many other music sensibilities really pays off for this veteran producer, and those fortunate enough to hear this piece of art will most certainly appreciate every second this gem has to offer.

'Vice Point' revs the RPM's for pure 80s gold to start this fantastic beach and sun drenched voyage journey known as Trans Am. A strong melody creates the foundation for a memorable, driving arrangement which quickly layers the best instrumentation of our favorite era. Percussion and a confident dance oriented beat develops with a beautiful groove and emotion filled synth lead. It's evident that VHS Dreams knows arrangements, and he effortlessly layers the track so sensibly you are immediately hooked. I also might add that his production value is top notch. The instruments and beats sound so crisp and powerful through the speakers. What a fantastic start to this sweet ride.

'Miami 2K15'. A deep almost tech like house rhythm kick this track off and overlays an ominous bass to create nothing short of a deep groove. High string like synths dot the soundscape adding dimension to a building track. Excellent panning of percussive elements and a beautiful lead synth that is full of emotion emerges from the beat to pull the listener into a bridge between that sweet 80s and dare I say club house. (note the tactful use of cowbell and that signature snare crack). VHS Dreams pulls apart the track several times with breakdowns, finally delivering that full spectrum ear candy just after 3 minutes. I can feel the dance elements on this one, perfect for a full house packed with energy and lights. Pure bliss. Spectacular track and one you are destined to get lost in.

'Highway Lovers' brings a more pensive side of the VHS Dreams machine. Electro signals kick this gem off and quickly blend to a sweet 80s vibe with calypso sounding percussion. A deep, impressive baseline blasts through with a killer set of notes to create a full and tasteful blend of layering that work so well together and occupy all spectrums of your speakers. I can hear a Maethelvin influence in the breakdown and melodies, but this artists stamps his own unique craftsmanship. Hold that synth. Is that a sax? Mind blowing, the soulful and intricate saxophone work compliment this arrangement perfectly. Again, this artist has a deep understanding of bridging and combining his layering to create interest throughout every second. Without reservation one of my favorites on the album.

As a lover of house music, electro and dance music I was blown away to finally discover a track from a retro wave artist who encompasses all elements of the best in these genres. Enter 'R.E.D.M'. 808 percussion (among others) and a sleek, mysterious synth immediately pull the listener in with a vibrancy and freshness that I've been craving. Giving way to a female voice sample (in the style of early 90s Culture Club or S.N.A.P. for any retro dance lover who knows what I'm talking about) artistically infused and a gorgeous chord progression of synthesizers that send chills up the spine of anyone who recognizes and values incredible music. Such a sweet track and a contender for best on the album. The heat is accelerated and Trans AM is already proving to be a powerhouse with astounding arrangements.

'Trans AM' tops off your full tank with a slap, funk bass with claps that set the scene for beautiful, lush synth chords that remind me of Don Henley's 'Boys of Summer.' Ferocious claps layer on top of the bass to accelerate into a quick breakdown. VHS Dreams enjoys pulling you in with such effective handiwork and rebuilding the track with new elements to refresh layers of an already impressive tune. Thoughtful leads rejoin the base layer for an added dynamic range that comes together for a truly enjoyable, one that is full of emotion.

'Discorecord'. What a banger. Samples flutter over panned percussion and a gritty, deep electro bass gives way to a full on dance excursion. VHS Dreams steers you through his jungle of electronica and dance, delivering a confident track that's made for the night. This composition brings some of the best the Dreams has to offer, as the energy on this is incredible and ventures into new territory with a dynamic approach and execution. This is my favorite track off Trans AM.

For any synth lover who knows the scene, the name Alpharisc has been thrown around quite a bit, and for good reason. He's been dazzling the synth scene for several years now with his complex and nostalgic themed tracks full of fantastic and lasting melodies, arrangements and quite possibly the best production out there. (not to mention his healthy obsession with video games and OSTs) To think these two wizards would combine talents for a tour de force is quite exciting and welcomed. 'Shanglin 2K15' combines the best of both worlds, spacious ambient like sweeps with Kyoto based synths fuse into one of the sweetest sounds on the release. Again, that feel is just so effortless. Driving beats, funky bass and leads create a spread of sounds that appeal to all ears. This was a tough contender for best track.

'Nightdrive' showcases a keen ability of this artist to combine both driving, darker tones and beautiful, angelic like chords into one unforgettable song. He offers a mood and feel that is, should I say, accessible to all audiences. That's perhaps one of the observations of this release that is so evident and foremost for me, the music doesn't isolate one listener or genre, it manages to deliver work that appeals to lovers of all things nostalgia and those eagerly awaiting the future of music. Classy, timely, relevant and such a smooth track. Oh, and I've decided I can't get enough of that VHS cowbell. Simply epic.

'Ocean Heights' brings a downtempo occasion of sweet and sultry proportions when he combines efforts with Sartori in Bed. Glassy synths and toms dance across the speakers with imagery of slow motion bikini beauties, or simply a walk back home from school deep in thought. The wonderful applications of music like this is to create and secure your own ties and connections, as this particular one is a highly emotive piece gracing such impressive arrangements. I can't help but wonder when this will make it's big screen debut on a movie soundtrack. Cinematic and fresh, these two work seamlessly to deliver one of the greatest pieces off the LP by appealing to your Wham! and slow 80s synth ballads, bringing you down so gently for a ride that was nothing short of stellar.

'AM Eternal (outtro)' is a gorgeous piece that reminds me of Starforce's 'Summer of 2085' Those signature synths create a backdrop heavy in sentiment, that is quickly filled in with that distinct slap bass and light overlapping synth arrangements. Short, sweet and fitting. This track pulls Trans AM into your driveway, hits the automatic headlight covers and stows that baby away for a peaceful night of rest and sleep, giving you space and time to pour over the incredible journey you just embarked on full of wonder and escape.

Trans AM is a release that's one for the books. A stunner of synthtastic proportions. VHS Dreams manages to create a work of art with such detailed tracks that entail not only such unique identities, but also having the ability to appeal to so many listeners. A balance that is not easy to achieve. Any electronica lover would be remiss not to have this in their collection. Top notch production and execution place this artist easily in the forefront of music making when it comes to the scene, and the inspiration from his keyboard and production is dripping with a deep personal love of the genres this artist grew up not only listening to, but also playing as well. Trans AM is presented by Future 80s Records on their Bandcamp page here and comes very very highly recommended by Synthetix.FM.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Paper Planes On The Aquawave

By Rick Shithouse

When listening to new producers of 80s inspired synth music I often hear good intentions without the knowledge base or experience in the sounds to really back it up into something I enjoy. I do have a very critical eye/ear when it comes to new producers but I always want to encourage them to be better at what they do and improve their craft. Nothing's to be gained by being completely negative or dismissive of anothers work and I'm very aware that the more encouragement I (or anyone else) can give someone; the more chance there is that their music will become something special.

Debut releases often show promise but rarely deliver a cohesive package and it's even rarer to have the cohesive diversity that Aquawave has in his debut EP, Paper Planes. Over the course of six tracks Aquawave takes his own wonderfully restrained time to explored retro-futuristic synth spectrums and work a sublimely refined sheen over his music. There's not so much of a story tying Paper Planes together as there is a motif that allows Aquawave to work in all kinds of directions while retaining those strong, cohesive elements that bind it into one complete suite.

When it comes to the new rockers on the block they often sacrifice atmosphere and mood for energy and vibrancy. I hear a lot of music from new producers that cranks up the BPM and goes all out into OutRun mania; unfortunately with wanton disregard for the elements that actually create the tension and energy in an 80s style. When I saw 'Tokyo Ride' as the first track title on Paper Planes I internally sighed a 'here we go again..' with another soulless high energy introductory piece. But oh, how wrong I was.

Taking it's time to build and using equal amounts of mood and energy Aquawave rocks a staccato bassline that is over lit with synths and guitars in equal measure. The tone is perfect, that balance of such an instantly complex scenario is effortlessly enacted and an essence of cool washes over the track's exciting and enthralling chapters.

The air of coolness flows to all new levels in the follow up track 'Skydiver' with Aquawave really making some space allows the track's story to unfold at a serene pace that enhances the hypnotic melody enrapturingly well. A tranquil air permeates the chill vibes and a nuances of each instrument make for a tantalising experience. Following on from this is the title track, 'Paper Planes' and the suave and distinguished passages elicit a more sensual experience. Uncomplicated in stature yet grand in its elements and sounds this piece really capture the aesthetic of Aquawave's laid back grooves.

This mood continues on 'Endless Space' as Aquawaves opts for a funkier sound courtesy of the bassline and guitars; but still rocks the inner synth peace throughout the cosmic journey. 'Power Boost' adds fuel to the funk fire with more pointedly inquisitive elements leading to passages of intrigue and then winds back in a tension filled space before rockin back into sharp, vibrant focus.

The final track on Paper Planes takes a turn darker as 'Mind Control' creeps in the shadows of conniving structures with untold maliciousness on its agenda. Things never become to overpowering however and instead hint at the foreboding eeriness; rather than bludgeon you over the head with sonic violence. Even when exploring these darker ends of the spectrum, Aquawave retains his controlled and chill disposition, letting the mysteries remain exactly that.

Aquawave presents his Paper Planes Ep on this Bandcamp page here in the usually array of digitally downloadable formats. I've been hugely impressed by this release as the depth and cohesiveness of the experience is richly displayed through each track, The stories may all be self contained but Aquawave's skills in songwriting and production make for an outstandingly engaging experience across the entire release. Definitely a rising star in the 80s inspired synth scene, Aquawave's Paper Planes comes very, very highly recommended from Synthetix.FM.