Thursday, January 28, 2016

Synthetix.FM Returns For 2016

Greetings fellow devotees of 80s inspired synth music and welcome back to regularly scheduled programming on Synthetix.FM. Our first post back is a bit of a catch up from over the holiday season, to let you know what we've been listening to over the last month that we just wanted to make sure you didn't miss out on. Let's get rockin! - RS

Synthetix.FM Staff Holiday Selections

Andrew B. White

Future Unlimited ‘Calm Me Down’

A brand new release from Nashville’s Future Unlimited. This straight-forward, chugging electro pop track has great vocals and an arrangement that pays homage to both the 80s and today. Nashville is not the most obvious place for this style of music but it’s a welcome addition to the airwaves. Check out more Future Unlimited out on Soundcloud.

Emil Rottmayer ‘L.I.F.T.’

This recent track from the U.K.’s Emil Rottmayer is an example of instrumental synthwave done well. Thoughtful production, arrangement and instrumentation raise it above the bar of others in the genre. A pleasure to listen to. If you think the cover art looks familiar, you’d be right – it’s by Forces Creative who did Duett’s cover, an artist that Rottmayer shares many qualities with.

Frances Rose ‘Dangerous’

Get in early, these two sisters are probably going to be the next big thing. Like HAIM but with one less sibling, with ‘Dangerous’ Frances Rose deliver a solid example of modern, 80s-inspired pop. I wouldn’t be surprised if they have been listening to Kristine for ideas, and the song title is not far removed from Kristine’s ‘The Danger’. But hey, every thing in pop has influences. The production is pretty good although what I’ve seen of their live shows so far doesn’t live up to the recordings just yet..

New Shack ‘House of Frankenstein’

‘House of Frankenstein’ was quietly released in the last part of 2015 but it’s a stayer. New Shack blur the lines between synthwave and modern electronica and despite the horror-title, the song this is beautiful and floating, with Catherine Leavy’s vocals complimenting the Cocteau Twins-like guitar textures.

Priest ‘the Game’

OK, so this one’s almost a year old now but I think Synthetix listeners who have not experienced Priest yet will find this right up their alley. A great example of Electric Youth-style synth pop, mixed to perfection. The album ‘The Game’ is from is also pretty good although for me, nothing on it quite tops ‘The Game’. Better late than never – get your ears ready.

James Mann

The holiday times mean several things for us folks here over at Synthetix.FM. Take some time off from the grind, catch up with family, a few friends and....well, still listen to some great tunes. There's never a break from the continual stream of synth product pushing its way through our speakers and into our minds. With that said, several releases over the last month have not only been impressive but I dare say must haves for your collection.

Stilz - Hyperspace Drifter II

Stilz returns with his signature heavy handed synth wizardry for a stellar release, one that steers you through his cosmic world of heavy beats and lush melodies. At times dark and determined, and other times melodic and beautiful, the tapestry of sounds in this release are strong.

Dallas Campbell - City 1

The analog master Dallas Campbell returns with one of the most cinematic, mesmerizing pieces or work I've ever heard. Beautiful, thick tones with sequencers and modules guide the listener through an OST dimension of nostalgia and wonder. His ability to circulate on a track puts you in a complete trance, and would fit perfectly in most movies. Come to think of it, if I ever have a short film or movie release there is no question I would commission him to score it. This stands apart from all other synthwave releases with a much more sophisticated grasp of sound and hardware knowledge. Absolute 10/10. So proud of this dude.

Muscle - White EP

Our favorite Italo/Hi NRG artist is back with a spectacular EP that brings the best energy this rock star can offer from the Falkland Islands. His progressions, sensibilities demonstrate a deep knowledge of song structuring with our favorite analog synths that really play off the Italo melodies that are sorely missing from the scene. You will never get scraps from Muscle, his bench press and lifts go far beyond the expectations from any listener. Perfect for drives, or just beautifully scripted motivational music for....oh say the gym. Yeah. I like that.

So there you guys have it. The folks at Synthetix.FM never really stop listening. These are three releases that transcend the best in current retrowave music and the best part is they are just a click away. So do yourself and your friends a favor and track these down.

Robin Ogden 

Psychic Shield - Slasher Film Festival Strategy

Psychic Shield is an imagined horror film gorefest, firmly in the Carpenter tradition of synth soundtracks, by Slasher Film Festival Strategy that I was fortunate enough to pick up on tape over the Christmas break from Transmission records. It’s a wonderful gateway into SFFS’s 20 year synth career and rich back catalogue of chilling horror/sci-fi synth releases.

Psychic Shield cassettes are still available at Foreign Sounds and a vinyl release is forthcoming via Death Waltz/MONDO soon. Slasher Film Festival back catalogue and Facebook pages.

City I - Dallas Campbell

City I is the latest full length release from synth guru Dallas Campbell, a masterful soundtrack for a thriller movie sans celluloid. Completely synchronic with the pre-midi era of 1983, City I’s a cerebral voyage into an all analog megalopolis.

City I is available for download via Magic Happened and a cassette release is forthcoming. Follow Dallas Campbell's musical journey here on Facebook.

Michael CA L

Between the time that Rick and the rest of the writing crew at Synthetix.FM closed up shop for the holidays and now, there have been a lot of goings-on in the world of synthwave and other retro-inspired genres. Just because the music was released during a time when coverage and reporting of such musical endeavours tapered off, however, doesn't mean that the music shouldn't be acknowledged.

In fact, holidays being times of high-spirits, good people, relaxation (if you're lucky) and an occasion to catch up on all the things one loves to do but maybe doesn't have enough time for during ordinary weeks of the year, perhaps they're the ideal time for listening, when one can catch up on the great music that's out there after putting their nose to the grindstone for so many months leading up to a break from it all.

If you were lucky enough to have some free time for music-listening during the holiday season (or a holiday at all), then you probably know that I mean about it being a great time to listen to music. I was fortunate enough to have some time off during the past month, and my good fortune was enhanced because of the incredible synth releases that I happened upon during this time. Although there were plenty of albums, EPs and singles in rotation during this time, I've decided to distil my list down to two releases that I found myself coming back to again and again. Here are two of the finest synth EPs that hit the scene between mid-December and now.

Nightboat - Bodyglove EP

Some artists opt to promote their work as much as possible, while others simply post a notification or two on their social media site and leave it at that. Nightboat tends to do the latter, and while his work is familiar to many synthwave fans, his tendency to release EPs more quietly than some means his growing body of work doesn't tend to reach the far corners of the scene the way other artists' work does.

In terms of cover art being an accurate reflection of an artist's work, Nightboat is up at the top of the list. His choice of artwork is slick, cool and clean, just like the sounds he produces. Tracks like "The Sure Thing", "Oceanview" and "Body Glove" are incredible examples of how a song can be engaging, playful, and replete with sentiment while also retaining a self-possessed edge of precision, purpose and ice-cold focus. It makes for the kind of listening experience I especially appreciate while navigating roadways with the music turned up loud or while walking through busy streets with a plan in mind.

The Bodyglove EP is a driving release in every sense of the term, and yet another excellent, succinct offering from a producer who typically skips self-promotion in favour of making music of a consistently high quality.


I first tuned into CRYSEHD when he released his Serial Killer album in the summer of 2015. I was impressed by his work for several reasons, not the least of which was the pure catchiness of his music and the ease-of-access through which the listener can appreciate his song writing in the face of glaringly dark themes and viciously aggressive and volatile tones. While it's not a revolutionary feat (we've known artists such as Perturbator, Dan Terminus and Gost to pull off similarly powerful achievements in their music), CRYSEHD managed to amalgamate the two often-dissimilar worlds in a manner that had its own unique and autonomously-inspired twists and turns, and his new EP continues on this path with similarly potent results.

There are moments commonly found in the songs on EP I ("Blood and Fire", "New World Order" and "TSAR" come to mind instantly) where the harsh, driving and volatile sound collapses into a single point of focus, where the listener's mind is attached to something pure, sharp and central. These moments don't necessarily have to do with a drop in tempo, breakdown or build-up, but instead have everything to do with precise and specific events that enter the mix.

Whether it's a unique instrument, an unusual synth voice, a melodic element or a rhythmic attribute, the music of CRYSEHD commonly features something that can best be described as an eye-of-the-storm type of phenomenon - something that brings a new breath of fresh air with a new taste to it into the listener's body. It makes for a powerful listening experience, and these refreshing gulps found within EP I, remarkable and effective as they are, leave me eager to follow the artist down the rabbit hole of dark sonic exploration.

Rick Shithouse

There's been some totally rockin releases over the last month and it pains me that we don't have the time to really cover some of these records in more depth but the releases keep coming and I didn't want the site to be bogged down catching up on things at the start of the year. It was also good to go back and look at what really stood out, for me personally, over the holiday period. 

D.Notive - Sentinel
First up is D.Notive with his very impressive Sentinel album. D.Notive has really crafted his own universe in this album, check out the trailer below for some idea of the effort he's gone to to make a cohesive dimension for his music to exist in.

The diversity in the music itself though is what stands out on this record. There's a great deal of homage to other staples of the 80s inspired synth scene but the way D.Notive shifts into vastly different gears from track to track is what impressed me a great deal. Whether he's rockin some intense darker grooves or crooning his heart out in a more pop chart oriented direction or even taking things back to smooth instrumentals D.Notive's music is all bound by an energy that is completely entrancing. The massive amount of divergent sounds on Sentinel make it a spectacular album experience and one that definitely stands out as genuinely passionate and accomplished release.

Pick up a copy on D.Notive's site here in dowloadable formats and CD.

Damokles - Ozone Surfing

Damokles really became a part of the extended family of Synthetix in 2015 and I found it an honour to be able to share in his music, myself, but it gave me great joy to see his music so accepted and loved in the wider audience of synthwave fans.

Damokles' album Ozone Surfing is characterised by true and sharp 80s synth hooks that are forged in equal fires of synth pop and electro.  The Damokles sound is vital and crafted spectacularly well but he never loses that sense of fun, which makes his synthscape especially and truly 80s in tone and colour.

The album covers many of his singles released throughout 2015 as well as some extra surprises to keep the album fresh. Since Damokles has been writing this music since the 80s themselves one would expect an accurate and honest experience and this album delivers this beautifully and articulately while still keeping some elements of modern sounds weaved within. There are superbly honed trademarks in Damokles' arrangements and melodies and that personality gives such an endearing and individualised accent to all his music that it just feels innate and effortless. Well, that's what decades of hard work will get you!

Pick up Ozone Surfing on Future 80s Records Bandcamp page here.

Myrone - New York Pizza

The guitar genius who wandered into the 80s inspired synth scene and decided to stay a while is back with a great little EP that rocks as hard as it swoons. Myrone's soft shred style has found a true home in 80s inspired sounds and New York Pizza proffers three suites of cheese laden, tasty goodness that is completely irresistable.

The EP wanders into some exciting library flavoured textures while still retaining the smooth licks and lip smacking chops we all love from Myrone, perhaps even more late-night soulful too in some respects? Regardless, it's all just rockin to the max and should be in everyone's music collection.

Get some tasty slices of New York Pizza on Myrone's Bandcamp page here while they're piping hot and sure to sate your 80s appetites.

Finally, I'd like to make sure everyone out there gets behind A Synth Love Affair Vol.1, curated by our very own Marko Maric out now on Future 80s Records. This has been a genuine labour of love in every respect for Marko and he's assembled and incredible line up producers all rockin their deepest emotions in pure, unfettered Synth Romance.

It's the first compilation of its kind and takes you into a dreamy dimension of nostalgia and rich emotions. From beginning to end, you'll feel every track as deeply as you hear them.

Pick up a digital copy of Synth Love Affair Vol.1 on Future 80s Records Bandcamp here and keep a sharp look out for the super limited edition cassette release coming out soon.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Synthetix Sundays

Marko's back with another killer edition of Synthetix Sundays this weekend, only on Radio Pure Gently!

This week Marko sits down with dark synth icons Dance With The Dead in a extended interview that will be sure to thrill and chill! He'll also be premiering an exclusive track from the Synth Love Affair compilation due out this Tuesday the 26th. 'Tis the season of love and passion so get your groove grinding and explore those warm (and sometimes wet) 80s feelings in the deepest way possible.

Quality Time With Shithouse returns along with regular segments from Paul Dress-2-Kill Daly and Dallas with Synthetix Spotlight.

There'll be heaps of download codes to giveaway as usual and a synthtastic playlist you'll be thoroughly entertained by.

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 Featured Tracks:

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Synthetix Sundays

Marko's back with a kick arse new episode of Synthetix Sundays this weekend, only on Radio Pure Gently!

He has nterviews this week with the ever rockin Aaron Vehling from review, interview and blog, Emmett Brown and Nightboat.

There'll be no Quality Time with Shithouse this Sunday as I'm trying to pretend I'm on holidays but there will still be Synthetix Spotlight with Dallas and also Paul 'Dress-2-Kill' Daly's segment.

Marko will be giving the love to all the good releases from the last three weeks plus has a tonne of download code giveaways for those listening live.

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.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Synthetix Sundays

Happy New Year Everyone!!

This week we bring you the Synthetix Sundays End of Year Special!

It's going to be a very special show featuring the best synth music from 2015. Marko will be interviewing one of the scene's premier graphic designers Sam Todhunter,  he'll be chatting with Nennek about his awesome new album Supercluster and the super talented producer Atrey will be rockin the scene too.

Very special end of year segments with Paul Daly and Quality Time with Shithouse and as you've come to expect there'll be heaps of download codes to give away in the chat! Marko's also premiering an exclusive track from Atrey.

So come join us we celebrate and recap the outstanding year that 2015 was in 80s inspired synth music!

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.