Thursday, February 25, 2016


AIRBORNE returns for 2016 as we bring you the most rockin EP's of the last couple of weeks. In other news the monthly feature of Selling The Dream has been slightly delayed due to my inability to source a scanner for printed material and being unsatisfied with results from available cameras. I'll hopefully have this sorted out in the next couple of weeks but Objet D'Rad will premiere next Wednesdsy. Also, it brings me great pleasure to introduce you to Lachie Hunt, Sarah Halloran and Joel Svanbäck as writing staff to the site. I'm greatly looking forward to hearing their impressions of the most rockin releases in the 80s inspired synth scene! Make them welcome. Many thanks to all three for stepping up to this role, it's greatly appreciated. - RS.

JJ Mist - Self Titled

By Joel Svanbäck

Retro-electronic music as a genre has always lacked good singers - which is why it always piques my interest when new vocal tracks come out. This time we got not just one track but an EP full, courtesy of JJ Mist on her self titled debut EP. With her soulful pop vocals, she brings the listener into the more tender and often vulnerable side of retro-pop.

The EP starts out with 'Battle of Love (I surrender)', an almost pop-rock type tune with strong vibes of the times gone by, driven by JJ Mist's heartfelt vocals and culminating in a classic 80's distorted guitar solo. The beautiful pads and bells really set the mood on the track 'Burning Desire', a classic synth ballad, which sounds like it would could belong in a love scene in a high school drama of the 80's. This track as well as 'Horizon', the other ballad on the EP, is where I feel JJ Mist's soft vocals really shine.

JJ Mist is not all about ballads though. The more up-tempo tracks 'Crazy Lover', with an almost R&B type beat and dark pop lyrics, as well as the last track of the EP, 'Stronger than belief' show us that JJ Mist is a multifaceted singer and producer. As sensitive and sometimes dark retro-pop music goes, JJ Mist's self titled EP is a great debut

A Space Love Adventure - Synth Punk EP
By Rick Shithouse

Many will be aware I'm a monstrous fan of Camille R's Last Limit record from 2011, to me personally this is still one of the absolute high water marks for 80s inspired synth music in an original and raw presentation that is just bursting with vibrant 80s energy. The production on this record was intentionally raw and rough, and it boggled my mind as to why other producers never went this route with their production styles and instead opt for appling exacting levels of polish on their works.

Much to my immense pleasure A Space Love Adventure is rockin the rough stuff in all the right ways on his new Synth Punk Ep. The guitars, synths and drums all crunch into an explosive hard rockin, in your face, raw as fuck, no time for love, Dr Jones fist fight of righteousness. The opening track, 'Red Blaze', takes the energy beyond the danger zone with riffs chugging like neon powered engine and synths stabbing with electric tentacles. The drums pound, the sounds fight for prominence in the mix and the grittiness of the textures is absolutely magical.

The flavour goes darker on 'Avalanche 29' as the hypnotising rhythms usher in cataclysmic aural disasters that refuse to be contained. A slightly more OutRun aesthetic is given to the experience and the music benefits greatly from it.  Going darker still is 'Reign Of The Outlaws' which strips things back to pure, roughly hewn ingredients before building up in to a Synth Punk take on the theme from Escape from New York. A definitely winning combination.

Apart from being the best named track on the EP, 'Thunderchrome' delivers the most visceral thrills as a heavy rolling bassline annihilates all in its path and the synths and guitars trade blows against and electrified skyline. The pure menace of this track's aesthetic is totally rockin to the max and in many ways incorporates more traditionally metal elements into the synth genre more cohesively than a lot of other dark synth I've heard.

A Space Love Adventure should change his name to An Earth Hatred Crusade as the atmosphere created on Synth Punk is pure black t-shirt and torn jeans with a sauvely greasy mullet on top. 100% rock and roll and a must-experience for all fans of the darker ends of the synthwave spectrum.

リョウ (Ryou) - offset

By Lachie Hunt


By the sounds of it, Ryou's EP offset flew under the radar for most. His actual name seems to be リョウ (Ryou), but for the ease of this review, I'm simply referring to him as Ryou. Offset has a unique collection of tracks, from the more synthwave sounding tracks of 'The Mirage and Memories' to the more ambient modern sounding 'For Two (revisited)'.

Out of the four tracks here 'The Mirage' was definately my favourite. It combines asian sounding plucks and smooth pads in the intro and jumps straight into a square wave arp and heavy bassline with some neat vocal pads in the background. It definitely seems to have a basis in more modern EDM and club music, but it's blended so well with the 80s style it works like a charm.

All of the tracks on this EP are well worth a listen, personally 'For Two' was my least favourite however. The other tracks sound amazing, and the production is on point, sounding very clear and crisp. This EP is well worth a look, and Ryou is definitely an artist to watch!

Villeneuve Sound - Blond EP

By Sarah Halloran

Villeneuve Sound may be brand spanking new on the synthwave scene, but as a seasoned synth programmer and sound designer, you could say he knows a thing or two about synthy bits and bobs. Now, wait a minute, I don’t remember ever saying this review would be technical!

I’ve been listening to the Blonde EP all week, and it’s a fantastic debut. First track and stand out track for me, 'Away In The Sunshine' starts off with a glimmering little melody that immediately hooks you in and has you humming it for days. It’s only when you listen to the bittersweet lyrics, beautifully performed by the way, that you realise the sadness and angst that weaves its way through this track, and actually the rest of the EP.

'All I Wanna Be' floats over the speakers next, and delivers a sneaky little twang of the heartstrings with its slightly melancholy bassline and synths. A Pet Shop Boys influence here? Maybe. All I wanna be is happy go the lyrics, but there is hope and strength here delivered in a punchy, in your face chorus that says this lady ain’t going to give up her search for love that easily.

The tight drums and rolling bassline of 'Tell Me' are the perfect partner for the atmospheric synth arrangement and lush, whispery light vocals. Smooth, sleek and haunting, this is one to listen to in the evening over headphones with a large glass of something something in your hand.

Final track 'Sun Goes Down' is just sublime and absolutely needs to be played and in my case, sung at high volume. It’s an embracingly warm track that is pure unadulterated 80s and the perfect ending. If the rest of the EP had you feeling a little melancholy and thinking about lost loves and missed opportunities, this will have you on your feet and punching the air like a Berlinesque Hasselhoff!

I spoke to Matt, aka Villeneuve Sound, and he was very modest about his first foray into synthwave. “Tinkering” and “testing” were some of the words he used. Can’t wait to see what happens when he really gets serious!

The Analog Kid - Better Times

By Rick Shithouse

I still find incredible that after listening to so much of this music for so long that I can still feel the musical and emotional bolt of lightning hit the within seconds of hearing certain songs. The opening and title track to The Analog Kid's Better Times EP made the bolt hit right to the heart in seconds as the utterly glorious opening melody formed into a supremely emotive refrain. The track is built of this beautiful structure and evolves into a warmly comforting aural blanket. The 80s love is so strong and unfettered, one can feel this right to the core.

The melancholy reminiscence of 'Better Times' takes a more upbeat by no less deep tack on 'Arcade Dreams'. The lead melody is dripping with glowing nostalgia to the 80s and the brighter elements are given a healthy sparkle as they rise and fall in time with the lead.

The final track, 'Neon Nights' gets back to the purely emotive swell of synths like in the title track. There is something inexorably pure about the way The Analog Kid structures his track, very uncomplicated in progressions but completely enrapturing in presence and depth. These three tracks are beautifully crafted examples of yearning, soulful Synth Romance and I can't wait to experience more of The Analog Kid's musical journey.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

OGRE's Calico Noir

By Rick Shithouse

OGRE's donned the trappings of 80s Miami one more time as the sequel to 2013's Calico Brawn hits prime time screens all over the planet. The follow up we were all champing at the bit for, the conclusion to all the open ends and loose threads, the final showdown. Calico Noir has arrived and if you thought the streets were hot during the daytime you won't believe how much hotter they get at night.

OGRE's penchant for this particular denomination of 80s inspired soundtrack synth music is one the most refined of all modern day producers. His ability to create atmosphere and hold your attention with a single chord and then deftly define intense scenes of rage and passion using uncomplicated elements makes the music shine and gives a massive amount of authenticity to the experience.

I have literally just finished watching the two-part masterpiece of Miami Vice's Golden Triangle as I write this review and this album is all I wanted to hear throughout it. As mentioned in my review of Calico Brawn, the absolutely accurate use of sounds and arrangements in OGRE's music makes for the perfect accompaniment to Miami Vice's visuals. The real soul of Miami Vice's music aesthetic is not one that producer's often tap into directly. Sure, there's surface reflections and homages to the base elements but only OGRE melds his creative muse into a purely musical citizen of Miami-Dade County and immerses himself into the complete aural representation of the soul of Miami Vice.

The story of Calico Noir treads darkened alleys and seedier establishments than Calico Brawn as OGRE goes deeper undercover for the biggest pay off of them all.  Opening with 'Hardboiled (Flashback)' the isolation and pure drama is right up front. This is not a going to be a by the numbers scenario and the law is going to be taking a back seat to justice. The flashbacks to the escalating violence that brings the protagonist to this point freeze frames moments of pain and anguish. A driving force rolls through the unflinching bassline; there's now nothing left to lose.

A sense of loss runs through a great deal of Miami Vice's greatest story arcs including the main back stories of Crockett and Tubbs themselves and this melancholy, bittersweet justice that takes the scum off the streets but doesn't fills the holes they've left behind runs throughout the darker aspects of Calico Noir. 'Out Of Retirement (Profiler Theme)' captures that sense of loss, the memories of those close now gone. The emptiness of one's pulse when ceases to beat for another. The strained melodies are pained with too many shed tears and sleepless nights. The chords sustain with presence and refuse to weaken, but rage grows beneath the surface that can't be tamed for much longer.

Back on the streets and 'Becoming' one with his surrounds our protagonist finds slipping back undercover all too easy. The fast lifestyle, the excitement, the danger. Being so close to the evil that threatens to completely swallow you into the void of the night. The temptation. The music becomes almost ghostlike as the spirits of the night fill the senses. It feels like it's all or nothing, like each haunting refrain takes one more step away from sanity and normality and further down the spiralling despair lurking behind every closed door in every darkened alley. What's even more terrifying is it feels like home.

OGRE's experimentations in completely avant garde sounds and textures on Calico Brawn have evolved into equally as spellbinding experiences on this album but don't attempt to pervert them away from reality. Instead we have much more authentically written pieces that thrive on an abundance of atmosphere and nuance instead of putting you off balance. The powerfully minimalistic 'Crime Scene Reconstruction 1' displays OGRE's uncanny ability to summon the vision through music to the listener. Single piano notes and echoing percussion ride a hum of intensity behind flickering red and blue sirens. The frame rate halves as details become more prominent. The once insignificant comes into sharp, shrill focus. A heart beats its last and the cold, dark of the night claims another soul.

The use of recurring or familiar passages in Calico Noir, like all great soundtrack albums, ties the scenes together and gives them a thematic to keep the story coherent. In 'Bureau and Boulevard' we have a powerfully rising anthem that constructs the engine of the law machine and sings the presence and efficiency of its power. The theme then turns into a night version of itself once the daylight ebbs and the darkness takes control in 'Profiler II', which instead or rising and reinforcing its own importance slowly strips back the layers as the protagonist leaves behind the police juggernaut to once again go deeper.

The night is even more unforgiving as OGRE brings in some incredibly powerful percussion in 'Entrapment' as the drama threatens to break the whole city apart. Tensions are stretched to beyond breaking point and the music becomes an unyielding pillar of aural vengeance.

The passage is cut short though as the scene switches to another location and 'Visions On A Red Eye Flight' begins to illustrate a new chapter of the story. The synths dance with a different palette of colours as new, fresh life is injected into the music. A feminine element becomes a bigger part of the equation and now a whole new set of circumstances and possibilities come in for landing.

New life becomes a part of the story as more life is drained from the streets of Miami as 'Crime Scene Investigation II' offers more singular clues. This truncated segue finds the tiniest of elements becoming vastly important. Ticking rhythms and heartbeats become a single final utterance. Is it a dead end? Or is there more to this than it appears?

The violence finally gets to be viewed from the demon's own brain as 'Mindset Of A Killer' illustrates the brutality and madness of someone capable of almost anything. Melodies are woven with fragility in an unbalanced and manic way that gives the listener the killer's perspective. The violence becomes justified to the maniac. The world is closing in and taking it down piece by piece is the only solution. A gentle fade gives the killer a moment's peace before once again the night will call him to take more lives.

Mapping the course of the narrative beautifully is 'Houndstooth (Profiler Reprise)' as our lead's journey is revisited and reflected upon. The changing of the structures of the original piece while adding a heavier, solemn presence to the instruments explores deeper feelings. The mirroring of similar frailties described in 'Mindset Of A Killer' makes for some incredibly deep moments of connection between the 'hero' and the 'villain'. The concept of taking life as a part of the law or as an act against the law seem to mix into a cloudy uncertainty of where the moral high ground even is.

The plot then takes another twist as 'Lockup' moves the story into the world of another villain; a seemingly unrelated character who all of sudden has a new importance to the case. The bass sways with drudgery and darkness of prison life, echoing the lost hopes and forgotten souls. Pieces of the puzzle begin to form as the music drowns out the conversation but expressions convey a new hope.

Called back out into the darkness amid the scurrying badges and flashing lights 'Crime Investigation III' takes the story into more Asiatic tones as the nefarious powers that run Chinatown offer a new twist to the repeating purge of human life. The tones are mysterious. Rhythms are scattered. Shards of evidence stab at possibilities, but all that results is more confusion. But what's this?  The girl on the plane appears of nowhere and all of a sudden the shape of things to come becomes razor sharp.

The investigation takes its toll on our hero. The years spent deep undercover. The loss of family, the loss of himself. The old feelings coming back and taking over. He's too old for this; this is a young man's game. But he knows the pieces are on the verge of coming together. The music brings elements together tightly and resolutely, soaring higher in tone and presence than ever before. A light of hope glows faintly and grows brighter. It looks like, this time, the case 'Cracked' just before he did.

A gleam returns to those old, tired eyes as a trap is set. He's on his own entirely now. The frenetic melody brings a new, refreshed vigour. He feels it within himself. Tonight he can take on the night - and win. The trap is set with a the girl as the bait. He knows he can't resist her. But he can't lose her to him. This is a one chance scenario. If she goes down he may as well go down too cause he can't live with the blood of another Innocent on his hands. The lights flicker. He hold his breath and lunges into the killer's path. The visual freezes. The sound stops. Blackness is all that's left.

The final atonement of Calico Noir is a credit roll of pondering thoughtfulness as the consequences remain unknown of the final showdown. The melodies revisit the anthems of the set pieces. The turns and twists are given a tone of  folly as perhaps all this violence, all this pain, all this suffering goes without a conclusion. Was the journey to find the killer or find himself? Does the taking of life need to be quantified and balanced or is this vicious circle inescapable? The vision fades with the music and the questions remain unanswered. But like all the most enriching journeys; the destination is sometimes completely irrelevant once arrived at.

In Calico Noir OGRE has taken the soul of his Miami Vice homage and repurposed and recrafted it into a completely tactile original story. This is the entire definition of taking 80s ideas and giving them new contexts. The sights and sounds breathe in with intoxicating familiarity but the craftsmanship and reformatting of them into this complete experience is really where the magic exists.

OGRE presents Calico Noir on his Bandcamp page here in the usual array of digitally downloadable formats as well as on limited edition cassette. This album is another high water mark for the soundtrack genres of 80s inspired synth music and OGRE creates something wholly evocative and engaging from the opening establishing shot to the final second of the credit roll. Undoubtedly,  a Synthetix Reference Experience and an album that sits in the extreme upper echelon of 80s inspired soundtrack experiences.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Synthetix Sundays

On this week's edition of Synthetix Sundays Marko present the Nu-Disco Special co hosted by premier Nu-Disco and synthwave producer and remixer Final DJ's!

It will be a special segment focusing on the very best producers and music from the Nu-Disco scene.
Marko also has two exclusives to premier this week from Final DJs feat Keenhouse and also one from VEALØS.

On top of this Marko's also interviewing Cosmo Cocktail and Oscillian!

Paul Dress2Kill Daly and Dallas's Synthetix Spotlight are also rockin, but no Quality Time With Shithouse this week as I'm nursing a sore throat.

There'll be plenty of giveaways too and all the hottest tracks from the best scene in music!

Tune in to Synthetix Sundays LIVE on Radio Pure Gently here, at 11pm 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.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Synth Erotica

By Rick Shithouse

I hope everyone welcomes Synth Erotica back into the fold at Synthetix.FM with a warm hand, softly placed on the posterior. For those unaware I did this content as a bit of pilot project before I began Synthetix and it served the purpose of sharing my love for vintage adult feature soundtracks that were synth based. Many classic pieces of 80s synth music appeared in these delightfully entertaining videos and I wanted to give them a home online.

Since Synthetix took up much of my creative time and energy Synth Erotica didn't get many updates in recent times, but this year I'm bringing the project back as a monthly feature. Also, these posts will be primarily in video format as opposed to the soundcloud posts I previously did as I always wanted to do some playing around with video editing and this feels like a great project to learn with.

For our first Synth Erotica post for the year we'll be visiting with the classic VHS series from the early 90s Hot Body International. '90s?!?!' I hear you cry, 'I didn't come here for 90s claptrap!' But please, bear with me. One of the last bastions of 80s sounds that continued long after the decade ended was the adult film industry.

From the rampantly radical Italo synth in early 90s releases from Marc Dorcel and Foxy Lady through to the incredibly wondrous library synth pieces used on many American production company's soundtracks the adult entertainment industry in the early 90s was one the last places you could still get those exciting 80s vibes.

Hot Body International was a series that focused on wet t-shirt style competitions and other beauty related pageants in order to crown Miss Hot Body International. The videos had footage from the competitions, photo shoots and general frollicking about with the models whilst they're 'competing'. These videos are a real time capsule of late 80s sexuality in America and one of the genuine high points of the productions are the soundtracks.

Mostly using library resources or session musicians the music used rarely gets an proper credit, but that's where we can now give it the appreciation it deserves. Richard Roeder is the only credit for the music on this edition (which we will be visiting again in a future installment) and his Discogs page doesn't glean much information about his musical career at all unfortunately. Still, the Miniskirt Competition from Miss Puerto Vallarta contains sumptous synths that gyrate and resonate in perfect time with the competitors. That late 80s R&B pop flavour rides deeply into the groove while the completely arousing guitars grind you where you need it.. all, night, long.

Synth Erotica 1 2016 from Rick Shithouse on Vimeo.

Don't forget, you can still see all my original posts on Synth Erotica here; if your passions still aren't sated.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Gayana's Kingdom

By Andrew B. White

Kingdom is the second album from emerging Russian artist Gayana. Her first album, the seven track Reborn, was released in 2013 and Kingdom continues with the 80s-inspired direction of the debut. She collaborates once again with producer Vladimir Boytsov who does an excellent job on the production, recording and mixing and he also contributes some tasty electric and synth basslines. Kingdom echoes the sound of the mid-late 80s and early 90s. To me, artists like Amy Grant, Sophie B. Hawkins and Martika come to mind. Gayana’s vocals are suitably restrained meaning Kingdom is no ‘diva’ album — she sings ‘with’ the music, not over it or against it.

I’m assuming that Gayana is a Russian native and that English is her second language. Here, she’s made the decision to sing the whole of the album in English which may also contribute to the restraint of the vocals. Singing in a language you are less familiar with may affect the delivery. I’m not implying that Gayana doesn’t have big chops or that any of the songs sound clunky. It is more a case of the lyrics not always being obvious or in-your-face and could be part of the reason the vocals blend well with the music. So, for someone who is not singing in their native language, Gayana does an excellent job.

The instrumentation of Kingdom is clean, rounded and strong. The electric and synth basslines are great with mixture melodic runs and solid underpinning of the drums. Electric guitars feature for rhythmic and lead duties, played and mixed appropriately to emulate the era they reference. As far as synths go, pads and ‘tinkly’ elements feature and it sounds as if these are mainly provided by a Roland Juno 106 for extra authenticity. There is a mixture of programmed and [most likely] live drums played on electronic kit. It’s hard to tell with drums these days but the live videos of Gayana show her performing with a drummer.

Kingdom opens with a short track running in at 1:36, appropriately called ‘Intro’. Gayana does indeed introduce herself in rhyme, over a playful early 80s, Herbie Hancock-style hip-hop beat. It’s fun and a contrast to the more serious nature of the rest of the album. Second track ‘Work’ sets up a swaggering funk-lite groove and is probably the least ‘80s’ sounding track on the album.

Next up is the sublime ‘Claustrophobia’ – a mid-tempo track you might hear 3/4 of the way through an 80s movie when two characters are temporarily apart and contemplating their future. It also features a very nice keyboard solo and Gayana’s voice work on the outro is a nice touch. ‘Land of Lies’ is pinned with an underlying spiky, arpeggiated synth, topped with a DX7-ish marimba melody an occasional, well-placed swelled synth brass. Overall a brooding, dark-sounding cut.

‘Pilgrim’ starts with the familiar sound of a cassette being inserted into a tape deck. Although the song is up-tempo, it doesn’t ever break into a full drum beat, instead maintaining a sustained tension throughout. The title track ‘Kingdom’ is a soulful pop number, again featuring subtle, yet familiar DX7 sounds and a gospel vocal chorus with a vocal reprise after the song ends.

‘The Judge’ points in the direction of Phil Collins’ ‘In The Air Tonight’, using sparse drum programming and vocals, gradually building to big drums and electric guitars. Like the character of the same name, ‘Terminator’ does sound very ‘cyborg’ in its delivery, although it is not industrial or hard-edged sounding. Like ‘Pilgrim’, the track sustains a tension throughout and although it is up-tempo, the snare drum is only played at ‘half time’, making all the difference to the outcome of the song. If the snare had been played at 4/4, the track would have sounded very frantic indeed.

Of all the tracks on the album ‘Matilda’ is the most ‘pop’ and follows the formula of the ‘observational narrative’. This has been done many times before by a variety of artists as a tried-and-true method of story telling in the third person and it woks just as well here. The closing track ‘Touch My Music’ is one of the best on the album. Mid-tempo, great sounding drums and subtle electric funk bass, lovely synths and guitars with Gayana’s vocals confidently floating over the top. Excellent.

Fans of Sheryl Crow’s first Hugh Padgham produced ‘unreleased’ album (featuring ‘Hundreds of Tears’ from the Point Break movie) will definitely appreciate where this album is coming from. Kingdom is not a ‘retro’ album but is an example of artists pulling influences from the 80s and combining them with a modern-day approach to great effect.

Credits for the album are hard to find as is any additional info on Gayana, especially in English. She’s supported the likes of Tesla Boy and her live performances on YouTube show Gayana and her band to be dynamic and very much together musically. Combine this with the fact she is concentrating on singing in English I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before she break out of Russia and is exposed to other parts of the world.

At this point there doesn’t seem to be any physical product available for Kingdom but you can get it on Bandcamp here in digitally downloadable formats and of course on iTunes and Spotify, be sure to check out and subscribe to Gayana's YouTube channel here too. The album comes very highly recommended by Synthetix.FM.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Synthetix Sundays

Happy Valentine's Day from Synthetix.FM! Marko's got a special Valentine's themed episode of Synthetix Sundays coming up focusing on the very best exponents of Synth Romance and love themed tracks from the 80s inspired synth scene!

There'll be lots of requests and he'll be be premiering a very special exclusive collaborative track from The Encounter and Stilz!

He also has interviews this week with the super talented Superflight and also a very special extended interview with Disasterpeace the man behind the epic synth soundtrack to the retro horror movie It Follows!

Plus all the regular segments are rockin with Quality Time With Shithouse, Synthetix Spotlight and Paul 'Dress-2-Kill' Daly.

Keeping that romantic spirit flowing, Marko's also got some download codes to give away to lucky live listeners for a Synth Love Affair Vol. 1,

Don't be lonely this Valentine's Day, come spend it with Synthetix Sundays and feel the love!

Tune in to Synthetix Sundays LIVE on Radio Pure Gently here, at 11pm 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.

And don't forget the third annual Synthual Rendezvous Mixtape ready to give you that perfect Valentine's Day soundtrack in the mean time.

Quality Time With Shithouse Featured Tracks

Thursday, February 11, 2016

DATAStream's Stored Energy Technologies 3

By James Mann

Sleek and undeniable. Smooth and confident. Romantic and tactile. When it comes to pumping out some of the best retro-vibed tunes in the scene, Martyn Stonehouse (DATAStream) is no novice. He is actually quite the opposite. A true audiophile and sound production specialist of sorts, he delves deep into the world of waves through modules, synthesizers; customizing sounds and patterns strictly for his arsenal of 80s weaponry with the utmost detail and care and orchestrating them into stellar work. As an FM wizard, crafting beautiful tracks that not only have the highest in production value, but also cast the highest in emotive retro themed spells, he takes the listener on a pure and unadulterated journey of poignant and extraordinary compositions.

DATAStream has breezed through the scene with finesse, detail and love over the last several years. All of his tracks seem to evoke such light and airy sounds and accompanying emotions, I dare say his tracks sound almost….well, effortless. Upon multiple listens it’s evident the talent runs deep, and song structuring and execution are the name of this game. His recent work is standing above so many others and truly in a class of its own with the glassy, funkiest sounds of the 80s and ultimately cross referencing several other genres. Groovy and determined bass lines, DX7 and choir pad symphonies, sharp percussion just to name a few. With the advent of Stored Energy Technologies 3, any 80s lover of smooth jazz, funk, synth pop and well rounded tunes must have this in their collection.

A must mention is Martyn’s clever packaging and promoting of his stunning release. Physical copies in tape format are available and get this, a MiniDisc that provides two tracks exclusive to the format. Wow. Not to date myself but rocking the nostalgia of a MiniDisc in college radio classes brought back tremendously sweet memories of the past. Well played, DATA.

'The Synthesizer (f. Dean Freidman)' kicks off this lush journey in sound with fantastic finesse. Immediately a sample and monologue of a man talking (about….fittingly, sound) plays wonderfully with a funky, smooth composition. Shimmering synths dot the beginning, and then a powerful and confident bass kick in in tandem with some lovely percussion and drum work which immediately kick the DATAStream machine into full gear. Ornate and detailed layering of pads seem to occupy their own space and leave a great amount of room for the listener. Exceptional panning allows maximum audio experience, as this technician knows exactly how to structure and execute. Love this track. I’m in the STREAM already.

'Downtime' immediately evokes moods of a warm isolation. A nice balance between the ambience of dark and hope. This instrumental introduction and atmosphere is shattered with an extremely tight and impressive composition that catches me off guard in the best way possible. The signature DATAStream vocoder carefully balances over the emotional range of progressions and melodies. Sleek, but an honest piece, and just on the verge of somber. The bridge and refrains come together for a unison that creates an incredible song.

Time to slip into something more comfortable. Pour a glass of your favorite adult beverage for that someone special (even if that’s just yourself) and drift away into a realm of romance with 'Lossless Lover', also brimming full of beauty and nostalgia. Sleeked out and incredibly sultry, the smooth vibes of bass, synthesizer and percussion dance around the room in tandem for one of the sweetest productions I’ve heard in quite some time. It’s that unique and glorious sound of DATAStream that he has truly patented for his own.

'Digital Daydream' opens with a melody and lick generating images of a scientist working late at night behind locked doors, the bustle of crowds through New York streets, a solitary walk into the void with an unsettled mind. This pensive oriented mood erupts into a full fledged wave of chills and emotions as the 'Digital Daydream' bursts into one of the sweetest sounding tracks I’ve heard in a while. The bass is a somber progression and immediately captures my attention as the DATAStream beats and synths cover the rich landscape of sound with accompanying feelings of sadness but also warmth. What a sweet balance to have and is something I strive to capture in the right tracks and artists. Incredible beauty and emotion captured with this, I found myself pushing the play button again and again. I must say this is my favorite track on the album.

'Employee Relationships' is an interesting title, and I quickly realized this was perhaps the most funky track on the album. The bass and rim shots from the snare with a sweet and playful lead orchestrate a head bobbing anthem destined to be played on your walkman and definitely in your car on a summer day. A wicked little synth solo clarifies this artist’s ability to rock a synthesizer with determination and dexterity. What a sweet little number, right on par with the exceptional and rocking sound that is DATAStream.

'Synthetic Hearts' is a slow jam that carries some of the most powerful feelings evoked from the Stored Technologies series. A vocoder winds through this synthscape with meaningful lyrics and tact. It’s refreshing to hear some vocals (albeit Synthetic) carry through a composition so lovely and romantic. Effortless and familiar sounds from our favorite 80s slow tracks become transparent and on display for all modern listeners to enjoy. A gorgeous and well crafted song, this came in a close second for favorite on the release.

Just when I thought Martyn couldn’t outdo himself on the caliber of music preserved in this splendid offering, 'Call Waiting' blasted through my speakers and I had to nearly take a seat. Inspired and incredibly groovy, the retro mood is huge in this. Appropriating some late 70s moods and techniques, the electro blend updates the genre and stamps it as a pure DATAStream production. Wonderful solos prance through the synthscape alongside that impeccable production value.

'Fast Lane Waiting Game' reminds me of a cinematic and heartfelt OST from a 1980s movie of the most authentic caliber. And by that I mean incorporating the best of elements and weaving an intricate and fitting atmosphere to accompany a wide variety of scenes. This is really a top notch track, and has the artist venturing off into a world he sounds so comfortable and familiar with. Powerful and inspirational, the progressions in this are nothing short of spectacular. It’s a side of DATAStream I hadn’t heard quite before. Incredibly unique and satiating, I’m just a second away from stripping first place song and re-awarding it with this gem. Simply superb.

A true journey in sound, DATAStream has managed to win our hearts with Stored Energy Technologies 3. Creating and blending small stories that bring out the best in our listener sensibilities, this album is a must have for anyone who enjoys synthesizers and a variety of genres stemming from the 1980s. This is a spectacular release which shines as one of the most welcoming and heart warming productions I’ve heard in quite some time, all coming from an artist who simply loves what he does. He is constantly immersed in sound production, teaching and creating masterpieces not just for his loyal and established fanbase, but for himself. The passion shows DATAStream, and we are all here to enjoy your gifts to the synth world.

Stored Energy Technologies 3 is available on Bandcamp here in digitally downloadable formats as well as the aforementioned limited edition physical releases and comes very, very highly recommended by Synthetix.FM.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


By Rick Shithouse

Welcome to the first edition of Audio/Visual! This new monthly feature on Synthetix.FM is all about sharing my loves and passions for 80s sound technology. I plan on covering many, many icons of classic 80s boomboxes, stereos, cassettes, components and other items that really capture the essence of the 80s aesthetic.

For this first edition I decided to share the love for one the most iconic boomboxes of the 80s the RISING SRC-2015. As far as the quintessential boombox design goes this radio is one of the absolute pinnacles of what gives a boombox its presence, street cred and all out pure radness.

The sheer beauty of the RISING SRC-2015's design is evident from even a cursory glance. Huge 20cm/8inch white coned speakers, bold steel protector bars down each side (to prevent damage to the front of the unit in the event of it falling forward), massive LED meter and geometric straight lines all over the top of the unit while keeping nearly all the controls on top to accentuate the clean front.

The 20's on either side of the LED meter advertise the 20cm woofer size and among collectors this unit is usually referred to as the RISING 20/20. This brand only saw one other radio (a smaller three piece design) but many variations of this radio were released around the planet under different brand names with slightly different variations in aesthetics, such a different colouring on the tuner scale and front fascia as well as square grills around the speakers as opposed to round.

The RISING 20/20 is one of the few radios that succeeds in being a large, powerful boombox that is also designed to be carried. Taking 9 D sized batteries this radio cranks a great deal of sound and throws it beautifully. Bass is tight and highs are even, but the sound footprint created by the RISING 20/20 is what stands out. The top mounted controls with a very large volume control means carrying this radio isn't nearly as cumbersome as some 'portables' and adjusting the music on the fly doesn't require repositioning the unit. At 60cm (23.6") long by 33cm (13") high this boombox is the perfect size to be imposing but not impossible to carry around.

Other features include a four band tuner  (AM/FM/SW1/SW2), separate Bass and Treble controls and a 'Wide' stereo mode that creates a surprising amount of stereo separation. The tuner is strong and pulls in stations easily in stereo while the cassette deck is very robust being fully mechanical. The main issue this radio has is losing the plastic key covers on the cassette deck however, as they slide on to thin metal posts and over time can be damaged and lost, aside from needing the usual rebelting of the cassette deck these units usually age very well and don't have any other inherent issues.

On the connectivity side this radio has you covered with AUX in (via dual mono headphone sockets), external microphone, headphones, phono (including ground) and the ability to connect external speakers. The only oddity being the AUX inputs not being standard RCA connections. Considering these are used on the Phono connection it's quite baffling as to why RISING chose these types of connectors.

The RISING 20/20 is a genuine icon of boombox design and had a few notable appearances in pop culture during the 80s. 'Body Rock' from 1984 is a bit of an unsung hero of 80s breakdance movies unfortunately but its homage to the RISING 20/20 during the movie's finale is unmistakable. If that wasn't enough, Maria Vidal's single 'Body Rock' from the movie features a normal sized RISING 20/20 in the opening scenes.

But the finest hour for the RISING 20/20 in 80s movies is definitely from the auteur cinema favourite Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo where a spectacularly well graffed up 20/20 is the designated weapon of choice for the Electro Rock crew. Just look at that supreme majesty! Stunning in every respect.

That does us for this month's edition of Audio/Visual, I'll be back soon with more rockin good tunes and pure 80s love as Synthetix.FM just keeps on rockin.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Feel The Dreadwave With Dedderz

By Rick Shithouse

I became aware of the Dedderz movement under their Joystixx brand on the original MOTU2 compilations from 2009 and it brings me great joy to have them rockin then scene still today... and rockin it so hard!

When I made contact with Dedderz a couple of years ago it pained me to see them unappreciated and unknown to most of the 80s inspired synth scene and that all the wonderful work they were doing was completely unknown to the audience who I thought was really going to be the most supportive.

Dedderz have embedded themselves beautifully in to the 80s inspired synth scene since with numerous collaborations now under their collective belts and finding their sound appeciated by a new audience. The endless work this duo do to promote and refine their image as well their own personalised take on 80s sound makes the Dedderz experience something most unlike anything else in the 80s inspired synth scene; in music, design and aesthetic.

Aggressively taking cues from Sigue Sigue Sputnik and Pop Will Eat Itself while mixing up a whole mess of darker, sleazy and exploitative influences Dedderz rock their sound hard and in your face in a hugely confrontational manner. Hearing familiar 80s inspired synth artists do their best to temper their chaotic energies in more traditional 80s synth directions makes for an explosive combination.

Their Come Alive Ep features work with Irving Force on the insanely catchy chainsaw-pop track 'Ravage', which was featured on last years Halloween Rhythm Vivisection Mixtape and still stands up as a massively impressive track. The EP then takes one of my personal favourite groups, Batch Sound, into the Dreadwave Zone and the combination of sounds accentuates both acts' strong points in a hugely engaging manner as the nihilistic future sounds get a less abrasive atmosphere and get those classically 80s hooky Batch Sound melodies rockin all the right ways.

VHS Dreams enlists in the Dreadwave army next and the thudding drums usher in smooth synth melodies while Vid Vicious and Nuke Puke Em's vocals tell the story of 'She's So Rad'. This is a true anthem as the chaos is kept in check for the majority of the track and a groove is developed and allowed to really carry the track.

The dark instrumental segue, 'Ooze Of The Plasmatix' sets the scene for the final and title track of the EP 'Come Alive'. The mixture of Dedderz influences is always an enticing part of each of their songs as nods to vintage sounds and visuals are never far away and in plentiful supply. 'Come Alive' brings the drama and danger on waves of crashing synths and lyrics that completely befit the nature of the music.

The Dedderz rockin ain't even close to stopping though as yet another EP was released only the day before Come Alive. Yearbook Of The Programmed Damned unleashed four more tracks of menacing mechanical machinations on a public unprepared to deal with their malicious intensity.

Opening up with 'Streets Of 2099' Ron Cannon brandishes his synth weapon in an all out battle on the streets (of 2099) in a high energy brawl of Dreadwave. The whole question of 'what is Dreadwave?' can be best answered I think by picturing that the threat of the nuclear apocalypse actually happened in the 80s and this is the soundtrack that has evolved in the charred wastelands over the last few decades. Imagine it. Grunge never happened. Nu Metal never happened. Celine Dion. Nickelback. NSYNC. Bieber. Never existed.

The end of the 80s marked the end of true civilisation (well,  it did to me anyway, but I digress). That late 80s electro industrial sound experienced on early NIN and the wonderful music Ministry released in the 80s are the last remnants of melody and the Dreadwave forges them with the musical spirit of the 80s in a soundtrack for the mutants that survived the atomic holocaust; now rising to a new power.

Well, that's my take on the Dreadwave sound and in one of the most accomplished collaborations I'm yet to hear the remaining three tracks on Yearbook Of The Programmed Damned find Dedderz taking Python Blue into the fold with absolutely kick arse to the max results. The early 80s, heavily Gary Numan influenced and atmospheric synthscapes that Python Blue has refined over the last couple of years find the perfect accompaniment in Dedderz aggressive percussion/vocals and arrangements.

This combination is completely complementary to both creative minds and allows both to create new, expansive dimensions in their sounds in monstrously exciting ways. One needs only experience the opening stanzas of 'Souls On Ice' to feel that powerful musical magic crunch its way through the riffs and synths in a way that creates wonderful 80s homage with a harder modern edge. The chaos is traded for cold, glassy grooves, refined and full of menace.

'Eject The Videomancer' finds Python Blue embracing even darker loves and Dedderz thoroughly revelling in the misery of the futureless future. I especially enjoy Vid Vicious and Nuke Puke Em's ability to use their different vocal styles to really capitalise on the emotional investment in the music. The vocal performance on 'Eject The Videomancer' really shine in this respect while the unstoppable synth engine powers across the war torn landscape like a juggernaut.

The tempo picks up in 'Cyborg Academy' and the energy takes on new militaristic intents as they march in time with the stabbing synths, taking over the minds of the weak willed and blood thirsty alike. The pin sharp focus of the track makes for wholly riveting experience.

You think that's enough Dedderz for you? Wrong! If this wasn't enough music to release in a two day period they also unleashed two remixes of their tracks by none other than Cluster Buster and GOST! I'm usually not a fan of remixes in general, to no one's suprise, but when Dedderz get remixed by 80s inspired synth producers it definitely gets my attention. The bones and organs of Dreadwave repurposed and reanimated with neon energies and a gaited swagger just rocks too damned hard, check out both remixes here and here.

It's a huge start to 2016 with Dedderz rockin the scene like nobodies business and I'm champing at the bit to hear more of their musical journey as we progress through the year. Get all the Dedderz rockin for all the above releases on their bandcamp here and get all the cold hard facts on to make sure you know exactly when the world's going to end so you can press play just in time.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Synthetix Sundays

Marko's back this week with another radical to the max episode of Synthetix Sundays, only on Radio Pure Gently!

This week is a special one with the third edition of the Ladies Of Synth! Marko will be showcasing all the most rockin female producers and vocalists in the scene and will be interviewing Oceanside 85 and Femmepop returns to Synthetix Sundays to talk about brilliant new EP.

There will be heaps of codes to giveaway for the stellar Synth Love Affair Volumel 1 compilation plus Oceanside 85's 'Cool Surfs Hot Nights' release and many more!

There's also a special Andy Fox Remix of a Tiltshifted's track to premier on the show plus regular segments from Paul Dress2Kill Daly, Quality Time With Shithouse and Synthetix Spotlight.

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:

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Happy 4th Birthday To Synthetix.FM!

Today marks the fourth birthday for Synthetix.FM and I thought a new look for the site was in order as well as a few new things we'll be doing on here as a part of your regularly scheduled programming.

First off I'll be introducing four new monthly features to the site, one per week, that will be covering non-music but completely 80s related passions of my own. I've found over the last year that I wanted to write about things other than music on occassion and instead of creating new sites I've decided to put them under the umbrella of Synthetix.FM, hence our new tagline: 80s Passions For Your Modern Life.

I've been a passionate collector and ardent fan of many 80s things besides the music and will be using the site to showcase these under four new banners here. I'll also invite others to contribute to these sections as they see fit too as the is always going to highly value contributors. These new sections are:

Objet d’Rad 

These posts will focus on specific items of 80s desgin that are true hallmarks of the decade. From housewares to ceramics to designer pieces to electronic consumer products and everything in between. There are so many wonderful items I've collected over the years and also continue to pine for that these posts will draw from many of the resources I've also collected over the years.

Selling The Dream

Selling The Dream is all about advertising throughout the 80s. Print ads, TV commercials and vintage brochures will be covered here for your delectation. Advertising materials are some of my most prized resources and these posts will endeavour to give you constant new 80s inspirations.


This will be a monthly post covering boomboxes, cassettes and other 80s music related technology. I'll be featuring specific items from my collections and covering their design features as well as pop culture associations from the decade. If you're already a fan portable audio design and cassette culture this is sure to be something you'll enjoy.

Synth Erotica

Technically not anything new as I was doing Synth Erotica long before Synthetix.FM but from now on Synth Erotica content will be posted on Synthetix.FM. Synth Erotica focuses on the incredibly synth based soundtracks used in adult entertainment throughout the 80s and early 90s. This music has already provided much inspiration, and will continue on here to be a monthly feature. I'll be also doing these in video as well as audio format, where it is tastefully possible.

These new sections will be midweek posts that will happen approximately once a month, the schedule will become apparent over the next few months as I get things organised. 

Synthual Rendezvous 2016

In other Synthetix.FM news we're now roughly ten days away from the cut off date for this year's Synthual Rendezvous mixtape. If you have a sensual, sexy, sultry track that can be Synth Romance, or even just emotionally driven music that has that loving passion or even a synth pop love song, it's all gonna be rockin. Here's last year's edition if you're still not sure what I'm after.

The tracks don't have to be exclusive or previously unreleased but they can't be more than a year old and they MUST be mp3 format and tagged CORRECTLY with song title and artist name. Any track submitted that isn't will not be included. All tracks must be original work too, no remixes or covers. Tracks can be sent to me via email here.

I'll need the tracks by Friday, February 12 (that'll be the 11th for those in the U.S and UK due to timezones) with a view to have the mixtape up and rockin by 13th.

The First Synthetix.FM Mixtape For 2016

And finally, the latest edition of the regular Synthetix.FM Mixtape is now out on soundcloud!

This marks the final track in the Synthetix.FM Extended Mix exclusives I've been including for the last 16 months or so. Cry Wolf's amazing 'Don't Look Back' gets that honour and will be the last track of the twevle exclusive extended mixes that will be released on a special edition compilation in March. I'll be hoping to do this as a limited edition cassette release too, so keep an eye out for news on this project here and on Synthetix Sundays.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank every person who's contributed to Synthetix.FM, been an active member of the Synthetix Music Facebook community, listened to a Synthetix Mixtape or tuned into Synthetix Sundays, or just come here to find some rockin new tunes. Every hit, every comment, every word of encouragement means a great deal to me and the 80s inspired synth scene is something I'm honoured to be a part of expanding and growing over the years. Every single one of you makes a difference.

Here's to more good times and great rock'n'roll for many years to come, Happy Birthday Synthetix.FM!