Thursday, July 21, 2016


London Lazers - Tide You Over
By Rick Shithouse

London Lazers returns to captivate your heart with waves of synthually deep chords of emotion on his new EP Tide You Over. This five track affair is something special indeed as it takes much of synthwave-trappings of previous London Lazers releases and forgoes them for raw, emotional compositions that move and evolve of their own volition rather than stay grounded to templates and formulas.

From the opening piece 'Juliet' we're presented with a vastly, sprawling open wound of synthsitivity. A crushed out, blunted bassline maraudes like a haunting spectre while shivering caresses of the faintest melodies say the words you want to hear but can't bear to say. The use of guitars through out add even more humanity and presence to the experience. It sets a tone that is then further explored.

The music remains deeply rooted in London Lazers Synth Romance fascinations while revelling in what makes the music so emotionally connecting. 'Sentiments' has a tortured guitar melody that is just barely able to be kept conscious with echoing bells inducing a completely wonderful confusion. Influences from some wider sources echo through the synth-space too. For all the decanted minimalism of the melodies darker threads add rough textures in 'Nobody'. The glacial pace verges on complete distension but the emotional hope of the beautiful melody remains the guiding beacon whilst all around is disintegrating. The production on this piece in particular adds even more raw power to the feelings. It's not sugar coated and glossed but instead scarred and weeping, obtaining something beautiful in between.

London Lazers takes subtlety to even greater depths in 'Minus' as uncentred tones unbalance the synthscape entirely. The bassline becomes background to the background noise which reminds me of an extended vintage payphone dialtone. The melody staggers gracelessly amid the down turned passages but completes the thought beautifully.

Finishing off the EP is my favourite experience on it, 'Somebody'. The sheer ethereality of this chapter in particular is transfixing in a similar way to classic My Bloody Valentine songs. The completely unstable melodies hanging off even more unstable rhythms. It threatens to become catastrophic but instead becomes wholly enriching. Hypnotising and altering the space around you in ways only music can.

This five track EP is a really expressive and impressive release and adds much to the concepts of how emotionally driven 80s inspired synth music can take leads from other directions to create something fresh and full of possibilities. Get in on the evolution now and pick up a copy to Tide You Over on Bandcamp here.

Faint Waves - Slippin’ Away EP
By Jerry Herrera

Faint Waves is a very prolific producer with a broad spectrum of influences that he draws from on a whim and manages effortlessly to convey whatever imagery or emotion he aims for. This time we’re on our way to a coastal paradise, the scene of many a synth release, but in this case Faint Waves takes a slightly different approach with the Slippin’ Away EP.

Of course on a beach themed EP you’re going to have to have an upbeat outrun track or two and maybe some more chill, sunset stuff. You want cars, palm trees, and babes to float around in the listener’s head. You want the tracks to be something you would actually hear if you were in Miami in the ‘80s. But Faint Waves instead, to me anyway, decides to tell the story of the beach. Not in the way one might score a film but I took each track to be a different narrative of all that is possible in the sun, by the sea.

There are moments of hammock swinging and drink sipping, moments of tender love, moments of heartbreak, and even moments of danger. Slippin’ Away is full of texture and emotion, forgoing typical song structure to create layered and nuanced audio narratives. That being said, it’s an easy listen, but not quite chillwave. There are a lot of instruments one doesn’t normally hear in a synth release and the ones that are staples of the genre are used thoughtfully and correctly, instead of just being included in the track because they’re “industry standard.” Indeed, on my favorite tracks, World Wonder and Roses Never Fade there are some beautiful compositional moments that elevated the EP beyond just another synth release. This isn’t just “generic beach vibes” but afro caribbean latin tropical jungle beach vibes. There’s a relaxing depth to this that I haven’t seen in other similarly themed releases.

Faint Waves is a talented producer and musician and chameleon and this is his latest and perhaps best example of non literary storytelling or non visual painting. I look forward to seeing what new inspirations strike him next, and what the results are.

Pick up a copy of Faint Waves Slippin' Away EP on Bandcamp here.

Hollywood Burns - First Contact EP
By Rick Shithouse

As 2016 officially becomes the year of Dark Synth music and Slash Electro in the scene, one of the brightest (or is that darkest?) talents I've heard thus far is Hollywood Burns. From the moment I heard the absolutely monstrous 'California Nightmare' months ago I knew this rocker was going to be something special.

I've heard a lot of Dark Synth channel the new masters of the genres often this year, homaging the homage if you will, be it by way of a sidestep experiment or something more obviously derived. None of this is something I'm seeing as negative, mind, I'm all for dabbling in the dark arts for fun and profit as much as the next malcontent. But Hollywood Burns takes things further. The intensity is something the this producers nails to the cross and then incinerates in the pits of the abyss. But this is never, ever at the expense of the melody or groove and never to the point of making a sound to just make a sound.

The depth of intensity rides through the melodies and the synthscape. The influences of vintage theremin styled horror soundtracks in the melodies as refrains while deftly switching paces around tracks without losing their flow or groove is a spectacle unto itself. Sure, the sidechain compression is set to explode through out the EP but there are hugely melodic parts to all the extremeties that make everything work together as one wall of intricately exacted audio violence.

The horror schitck is thoroughly engaging with tracks separating back to heavenly choirs and apparitions of ghostly haunting only to then shatter the sky with chainsaw melodies and then rise and rise further with intensity through the climax. Hollywood Burns writes his music exceedingly well with clear directions and balance held through all his music. He knows when to hit the synths hard on the violence and when to cut back for an off-screen murder. It's not all in your face and it knows when to obfuscate things just enough to keep your attention and excitement set to the maximum levels possible.

Special note needs to go to the absolutely rockin to the max basslines that are a real hallmark of the Hollywood Burns synthscape. The tracks all contain different flavours and colours but those highspeed OutRun-esque basslines are always there to rock you into whatever dimension Hollywood Burns decides to explode. Through every action packed and exhilerating act of the six tracks you're treated to death defying thrills and esoteric chills with the incredible density of the of the storytelling feeling like an experience far greater than what you'd expect. How Hollywood Burns handles a full length album is one explosion I can't wait to walk away in slow motion from.

This EP is easily the most complete, adventurous, exciting and totally rockin Dark Synth/Slash Electro experience I've had thus far in 2016 and cements Hollywood Burns as a producer that I for one will be champing at the bit to take me back to Hell again whenever he's ready.

Grab a copy of this totally rockin EP on his Bandcamp page here.

Division - 2083 EP
By Sarah Halloran

Timecop1983 is dead! You heard it here first folks. It’s a sad day for synthwave lovers everywhere...we can’t quite believe it...wait, we’re getting an update through now....false alarm...temporary hibernation for his own safety...and ours...something about a division… Okay folks, well I don’t know what to tell ya, but it seems Timecop1983 is very much alive, and that he’s left us a little something while he takes some errrr...necessary time out. Don’t touch that dial.” 

The year is 2083. Timecop1983 has slipped over to the dark side, and been taken over by a malignant, menacing alter ego by the name of Division. Let go of everything you thought you knew. Division is in the driving seat now. I managed to speak to Timecop1983 before he went bye-bye for a while, and he told me that his darker side always seems to emerge when playing hardware synths. If the 2083 EP is anything to go by, then we’ll forgive him just this once.

First track Act.1 sets the scene for the darkness to come, pulling back the curtain and revealing an ominous undercurrent and a pulsing, hypnotic whump-whump-whump. A few seconds in, and you forget all about Timecop1983, or drawing any parallels. This is something entirely different altogether.

New Wave is up next, and delivers clean yet edgy sound that just oozes dystopia, and visions of the world we once knew, now eroded and hostile. Through the rubble, the machine lurches forward in time to the beat, searching for life, programmed to kill. AI-driven choppers fly low, locked and loaded. All hope is gone. We cannot beat them.

Okay Division, don’t hurt me, but I’m just going to say this. Just hear me out. The start of Lost In Time? Kind of sounds like Gunship’s Tech Noir on speed at the start, but that’s okay! That’s where the similarity ends, but it’s just one of the reasons why this track is my favourite on the EP. Where New Wave served up despair, Lost In Time reveals that glimmer of hope, that glitch in the mainframe, that line of code that will unravel the machines one by one. Uplifting, victorious and bad ass, this is one track you’ll have on repeat often.

Don’t you just love it when a Blade Runner quote is tossed into the synthwave salad? Yeah, me too! Deja Vu is your go-to track if you have some replicants to track down, and it needs to be turned up loud as you cruise slowly through the mean streets. Epic synths are laid down here, alongside a punchy kickdrum and a sublime melody that gleams like a beacon amongst the smog and destruction.

Final track Escape From Orion (feat. Sonic Synergist) just blew my headphones apart, metaphorically speaking of course! Beautifully echoing the Terminator theme in places, this is easily my second favourite track on the EP, and one I’ve listened to many times. It’s a stomping assault on the senses, featuring a driven, merciless bassline and an intensity that never lets up.

“Doctor...he’s...he’s waking up. Shall I sedate him again?” Will Timecop1983 recover, or has the darkness taken him forever? You’ll have to wait and see... The 2083 EP comes very, very highly recommended by Synthetix FM.

Slanger - Paradiso
By Rick Shithouse

If you've listened to any of the Quality Time With Shithouse segments on the last season of Synthetix Sundays you'll be familiar with my amusement over the nostalgia we now have for the 2007-10 era nostalgia influenced music. But the fact is we're nearly 10 years away from this point now and the music has changed and evolved in that time in great strides in many genres deemed 80s inspired.

Which brings us to Slanger's new Paradiso EP. This EP really struck me as it takes a lot of the nu-disco and French House sounds from the 2010 period and breathes life into them once again. Heavily vocoder-ed vocals, tropical atmospheres, summery vibes, big synth hooks and a vibrant fruity falvour make for a wonderfully refreshing EP in the middle of 2016.

'Give Me Sign' ramps up the funky energy to near-Televisor levels while the groove rocks steady and the sweetly vocoder-ed vocals layer in infectious refrains you'll be singing along with on the second pass. The upbeat and uplifting energy is just so compelling and enriching you can't help but get that feel good magic.

Slanger goes late night alright with the help of Stuart Lockwood (of D U E T T fame) in 'Mountains' with empassioned vocals winding upwards with the bright poppy synths. The funk's made a tad more 80s-chart-friendly in this track but it accentuates Lockwood's spectacular range and just enough modern flavours are mixed into to ensure the groove rises to new heights.

'Coast To Coast' has become my favourite track off this EP as it's format of looped samples and an absoloutely intoxicating bassline proves an enrapturing combination. Those 2010 vibes rock hard in this track but Slanger's groove is sure to take you to those warm, tropical afternoons on the beach right now; wherever you are.

More vocal talent joins Slanger on 'Let You Go' courtesy of Late Nite Cable that produces a more authentically 80s pop sounding and mixes in a little bit of Book Of Love for good measure. The sound is mournful and reflective and overflowing with delightful 80s melancholy showing a different side to Slanger's sound that works just as successfully.

The EP completes with a more vaporwave inspired piece that's the perfect companion piece to 'Coast To Coast' albeit it mixed for dimensional exploration than for pure pleasure. It's a great finish to the proceedings, however, and ensure Slanger's infectious, bass driven, summer vibe is planted firmly in your consciousness as a parting gift.

A great EP that covers surprisingly varied 80s influences but always keeps the rad levels turned as high as possible from beginning to end, pick up a copy on Slanger's Bandcamp page here.


  1. That Black Saucers tune is a real face-melter. Excellent track.