Thursday, April 17, 2014

Drift Through The Pages Of Jowie Schulner's Emotronic Diary

Jowie Schulner has finally released his album containing tracks going back numerous years that he's been waiting for right moment to share with the world. In Emotronic Diary Schulner has created a sixteen track tome of synthual pleasures that realises an individualised vision in each chapter. The scenes created in each track are intimated with great care and one feels the composer has really put himself 'into' the music.

Emotronic Diary as a title really captures the theme of the work as songs feel like cherished sketches of Jowie Schulner's first hand experiences, some of which I know first hand go back to 2011, some tracks possibly even further back. It is rare to find such emotional investment in a record and it is something the requires a great deal of understanding of one's self and how that can translate into a created representation. Like all true artists, Schulner does this with much skill and the constructions are a wonderful window into his muse.

'Sweet Lake's Lullaby' opens up the album in a fashion that is spectacular in scope and vision. The structures sweep through atmospheric hazes and enunciate themselves with airs of futurism and reflections on retro synth worlds coalescing into one. This continues delightfully into the refined beauty of 'Emotions' as stylised patterns are given organic warmth that reverberates within rising synthphonies as a pale reflection in limpid pools of reminiscence. The nostalgic aspect is given so much more presence via the delivery of the melodies in these opening pieces that one's sensitivities are laid bare and exposed to this eminently soulful music.

Jowie's mood turns wilder in track three's OutRun-esque 'Suspicious'. The momentum flows and doesn't become unbridled; instead it explores the nuances of the imploring lead melody which is apologetic and pleading for forgiveness. The melodrama plays into into darker aspect of human emotions titled 'Complexity'. Not darker in the sense of foreboding or menace, but in its inwardly focused tone that asks many questions of which there are no easy answers.

After this internal collapse we reside for a time in 'Sorrow' and the pleading synth melodies now cry out with pounding fears removing all solace and the loss's weight looms above, unbearably heavy and threatening to cancel out the skies of hope forever.

It doesn't take long for things to begin looking up though and the bright cheer instilled in 'Butterflies' rekindles love and faith with it's early 90s harmonies that flutter and bounce with verve and colour. The vintage sounds return with glorious vengeance in the follow up piece 'At The Heart' which serves as one of the most elevatory high points on the album. Synth Romance is the order of the day and the swelling, sustained melodies intimate electric passions and dizzying desires, utterly sumptuous in its luxurious presence and richly rewarding.

'Sunset Chase' is next and the well controlled pace allows for instruments to get supercharged and accelerate into the violets and oranges of the sunset. Melodies sweep left and right; over and under each other, in a duel of automotive elegance. Jowie throws a bit of a curveball next with the multifaceted 'I Arp You'. Layers of sound are arranged with superb nods vintage sounds while haunting refrains phase in and out audible dimensions. The sounds are captivating and work together with much harmonious gracefulness as the engine's roars fade into the night.

When I first heard 'Two Hearts', many moons ago now, it became very quickly one of my favourites pieces of music Schulner had created (the top spot always being reserved for his thus far unreleased masterpiece 'Friends Forever'). His spiralling melodic style is brought into sharp focus against energetic percussion in an epiphany of uplifting aural wonder. 'A New Day' follows 'Two Hearts' in a fast paced continuation and really rocks hard as a companion piece that free-falls into verdant synthelation and completes the experience.

Keeping the rhythms pumping hard and excitement on the edge of combustion is 'Bad Rain'. Channelling some darker forces this track does indeed feel like it's cut from a much more morose cloth as the free-fall turns into a downward spiral. Orchestral strings enforce the monstrous gravitas of the situation as a long fade out makes you wonder what is in store next. And right out of leftfield comes 'Spark' to add an entirely new dimension to the record. Early house structures are given a coat of ChipTune-esque colours and the synthscape takes on a CRT glow as scan lines divide thousands of colourful pixels into a fiery space joyride. The tone of this piece is marvellous as homage and modern aspects meld together into an all new experience.

To round out the album 'You Will Never Be Alone' becomes a jubilant anthem, buoyed by rising passages of synth magic that just continues to rise higher and farther into the heavens and beyond. The final piece, 'L.R.S' creates a montage like atmosphere of reflection upon all the Emotronic Diary has explored. Simplified elements recall past experiences and dreamlike elements make those memories feel like a wonderfully familiar fantasy.

Werkstatt Recordings presents Jowie Schulner's Emotronic Diary on their Bandcamp page here and this album is not just an important work for Jowie Schulner but also the scene in general. Jowie has created a magnificently structured experience in this record that incorporates wonderful new ideas while retaining an 80s glow that lights up the entire synthscape. This abum comes very, very highly recommended from Synthetix.FM and is a record that will take you on an emotional roller coaster ride of gorgeous synth magic.

Synthetix.FM will be taking a short vacation until I return to regularly scheduled programming on the 29th of April. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Synthetix Weekend Update

This will be the last Weekend Update for a couple of weeks as I'll be taking a little vacation over the Easter period and will be back and rockin April 29. There'll be one more review I'll cover this coming week before the break, however.

Another big week in the scene has elapsed and I've got a bunch of hot rockin tunes to share with you in this week's Weekend Update on Synthetix.FM. The first thing I definitely need to cover this week is the amazing anthology release compilation from Werkstatt Recordings released recently. The Werkstatt Chronicles is an incredible documentation of the history thus far of one of the scene's most prolific labels.

Spanning five years this compilation covers fifty six (yes, FIFTY SIX) tracks from a tonne of musical denominations but always with retro vibe. Lots of the scene's most loved and respected producers show up on this release, including the likes including Protector 101, Fantastisizer, Sam Haggblad and Gost along with a myriad of producer's Werkstatt has continuously promoted. This label is one of the central hubs of the 80s inspired synth scene and I'd like to take this moment to thank Kostas for all his work and determination in sharing so much wonderful music. Here's to the next five years, my good man.

You can pick up a copy of The Werkstatt Chronicles on Bandcamp here at a name-your-own-price point. Please support this release as this label is vastly important to the development of the scene.

Time to switch on your inflight entertainment console and blast off into the wide blue yonder with this week's AIRBORNE hits on Synthetix.FM!

Run Vaylor - Star Knight - Rockin a new six track EP straight out of France comes Run Vaylor with his Star Knight release. This producer's sounds combine great vintage progressions and melodies with a modern energy that makes them sound very club oriented. His work on this EP really hits some big high points with 'Saturn V' and 'Orbital Cocktail' really taking the Run Vaylor synthscapes into exciting new realms.

Dan Terminus - RĂªverie - Resident synth antichrist Dan Terminus has eschewed his lusts for the aural violence he so wantonly creates and has instead gone for a much more positive aspect with his new diversion RĂªverie. Distorted terrors are replaced with sweet, breezy melodies and are arranged with delightful care and nuance for the most part, but Terminus can't help himself and unleashes the beast in the final chapter, I guess he needed to add something darker to balance out the lovingly crafted synth serenade to Vincenzo Salvia which precedes it.

Spacious Sweep - Searing Chains - When it comes to Italo flavoured synth action there are few as prolific in the scene as Spacious Sweep/JEJE80 Home Production. This rocker has been one of my favourite creators of 80s synth that is written with a wonderfully fun aspect and oodles homage to the classic sounds. Searing Chains is a package of ten tracks from the last few months that really encapsulate the Spacious Sweep magic. Although the release is officially being hosted on DepostiFiles, please give him some love on his soundcloud page here and continue supporting his music.


The first of a few new rockers for Synthetix.FM this week is Daniel Deluxe and his latest work 'The Getaway'. Maximum levels of intrigue and intensity in the opening stages lead to full throttle excitement as OutRun styles are taken on a collision course with Michael Cassette-esque elements. The experience is rockin from beginning to end and is currently available for FREE download via the player.

Having been on a bit of a break for the last couple of months Cougar Synth have triumphantly returned with a sublimely beautiful new slice of warmth Synth Romance titled 'Denying Everything'. The mood is fragile and intimates undertones of need and emotional sensitivities ensconced in the glowing haze of that Cougar Synth magic we love so much. Currently available for FREE download.

The scene continues to go all wonderfully topsy turvy this week as a new chapter has arrived in the Garth Knight story. He's taken a trip off the funky well lit streets we're accustomed to finding him in and is instead now exploring darker alleys of festering decay and untold horrors. 'Nightmare City' gives the Garth Knight synthscape the Giallo Disco treatment and it rocks harder than a melonfarmer. Available for purchase via the player.

Someone who we all can rely on to bring things back to normality is Who Ha. His new album project has begun with his homage to the shapeliest of derrieres in 'Cutiest Petutiest Gluteus'. The album is going to be an ongoing work with songs added to  the Bandcamp page for Pop Goes The Who Ha  as he  sees fit. Expect radness, badness and madness in equal portions as Who Ha rocks the 80s all around the world once again.

MegaDrive's brand of high energy synth necromancy has returned with a great new track called 'Slum Lord'. The music is dark and bubbling over with maleficence while melodic details sharpen their wits in electrifying passages from which there is no escape. Be sure to check out a marvellously entertaining interview with MegaDrive in the latest episode of Beyond Synth if you'd like to learn more about this totally kick arse producer.

To celebrate the beginning of Spring in the northern hemisphere Sferro has been very public spirited in offering a phenomenal new track called 'Let's Take The Top Down' for FREE download. This is one of those amazing pieces of music that hooks you deep within seconds and never lets go. I absolutely love this track, and I'm sure you will too. Thanks, Sferro rocker! Happy Spring to you too!

A brand new producer just beginning to rock the scene has opened his account with a hugely impressive track. Shock Street's 'Andromeda' is being groomed to have a vocal track at some stage but this instrumental version was something I just couldn't pass up on covering. The way this track has been constructed is wildly engrossing. Synths soar and passages become uplifting in their presence throughout the narrative. This is currently available for FREE download via the player too.

Must be something about Spring that brings a lot of producers back into the fray as Vestron Vulture has also released a new track for the first time in quite a while but my word; it was well worth the wait. 'Dethboy' from its name and art work would appear to be a work of dark synth brutality but is instead a very positively constructed journey that is held together by a synthually wondrous refrain. This is available for FREE download currently too.

We haven't visited with Right Knider for a while now but this situation is definitely remedied with his epic new jame 'Cosmonot'. The ambiance and spatial quality of this track a joy to behold as mind altering synths take you into the galaxies above upon wings of pure retro synth magic. The passages of this track are crafted with a keen appreciation of narrative based soundtrack synth and the perilous journey becomes one we simply must see through to the end.

Block 35 has been on my radar for a while now and his new track certainly made me sit up and take notice. 'Splashing Waves' is an entrancing blend of Italo sounds that are bright and sparkling in a most alluring way. Details are sharp and full of joie de vivre and are thoroughly energising in their overt display of glorious 80s love. You can pick up a copy of this rockin track at a name-your-own-price point via the link to Bandcamp in the player.

One of my all-time favourite collaborative teams in the work STARFORCE and Dynatron produce; whenever they get together magic surely follows and with their latest track 'Cyborg Cyclops' we get to experience that rockin magic once again. An ever so slightly 70s prog element is present in the lead melody which adds even more impetus to their retro synthscapes. Arranged and engineered for seriously rockin good times this killer track is available for FREE download via the player.

Another hot new rocker for this week's Weekend Update, this time FlashROM with his beautiful new track 'Forever'. This passionate composition is like supercharged Synth Romance as the layers of synths and guitars meet in an electric embrace. There's a whole lot to love about this superb track, I can't wait to experience more of the FlashROM experience!

Thundering out of the starting grid and hitting top speed in nanoseconds is the thrill ride known as Tokyo Rose with his powerhouse new track 'Zender Overdrive'. Thumping OutRun percussion and swerving synth melodies accelerate past the competition and disappear over the horizon in a dazzling display of refined engineering and pure adrenalin. Totally kick arse.

Continuing the OutRun flavour let's scorch the asphalt into dangerous oblivion with Will Burn's death defying frenzy 'Wrong Wayz'. Everything on this track is turned up into the red zone and one's pulse is sure to be sky rocketing into the stratosphere as each chapter pushes harder than the last. This incendiary tracer bullet of synth energies is available for FREE download via the player.

Miami Beach Force are back with a killer follow up to 'Robotic Assassin' called 'Neon Ninja'. The eastern flavours are marvellously well woven into this action soundtrack oriented piece. The chapters are assembled seamlessly with a magically potent refrain tying the tension together into a bundle set to break its restraints and exact revenge upon all and sundry.

The final track for this week's Weekend Update just snuck in before the cut off point and I'm very happy it did. New 80s Stallone music is always cause for much excitement and his new track 'Bollinger' is as smooth and refreshing as the drink itself. The 80s Stallone blend of quality 80s craftsmanship within modern arrangements is always a joy to experience and this is totally rockin all the right ways.

Not one but two videos are to be featured as the final part of this week's Weekend Update. First up is a beautifully pieced together video for AloneWolf's track 'The Way Of The Wolf' as made by the original composer. The editing is cut perfectly to the track and adds a complimentary visual component to this great track.

AloneWolf: The Way Of The Wolf [Music video] from AloneWolf on Vimeo.

The second video is a totally rockin new teaser for Perturbator's next release: Dangerous Days. Employing the talents of Mykola Dosenko we're presented with a cityscape in a 16bit heat haze, burgeoning in glorious parallax with a soundtrack filled with wanton desire and fiery emotions. This is just short clip, but my lord does it leave one champing at the bit for more.

That does us for an XXXL Weekend Update on Synthetix.FM, as I stated earlier I've still got one more review I'll be posting during the week before taking a week and a half off over the Easter period.

'Til then, stay 80s and keep on rockin.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Professor Zonic Zynth's New York Vibes

The last time we visited with the good Professor was August last year with his totally rockin Nostalgic Fantasy EP and betwixt then and now Zonic has released three full albums. For some reason entirely unknown to me Zonic Zynth is a producer that never seems to get a lot of love; which he richly deserves. The last couple of releases came out at times that didn't fit with the Synthetix.FM schedule unfortunately, but it pleases me greatly to be able to give some quality time to his latest album New York Vibes which in my eyes is his most accomplished work yet.

I've previously mentioned how this producer in particular has a gift for creating true 80s spaces in music and as he's progressed over the last year or thereabouts, even more kick arse sounds have become part of the Zonic experience. Zonic Zynth is a producer's producer in that his craftsmanship and style seems to be appreciated by other producers, but doesn't seem to garner a similar excitement from the scene's fans. This is something that I hope changes with New York Vibes as it is a magical experience in 80s synth sounds.

The twelve tracks of this album are soundtrack oriented synth that get delicious new flavours with Zonic's wonderfully imaginative vision. The opening pieces are rife with tension and initiate the listener into the Zonic version of New York and its multicultural background. There are many, many bold moves taken in this album that I can but applaud as the Professor brings in a cacophony of varied instruments and makes them all work so beautifully well. The steel drums completing 'Eclipse' are merely a taster of things to come but certainly begin to open and unlock one's mind to rockin new possibilities.

Zonic's refined a lot of his techniques in this record but one area that this is hugely pronounced is in the percussion. He gambles and wins often rolling highly aggressive beats against serene melodies and firing machine gun rounds of fills into the mix with the precision of a veteran sniper. The album's tone retains much of the playfully authentic melodies Zonic is highly proficient in but now adds jazzier aspects that take the soundtrack's multicultural nature into account. The positively asiatic atmosphere of 'Summer Posse' stands out, with some progressions Yellow Magic Orchestra would be proud of. Energetic drums syncopate surreptitiously in the steamy back alleys of Chinatown, where gangs jostle for dominance and eastern mysticism permeates through the night.

One of the absolute stand out tracks on New York Vibes is 'Ferrari Lot'. The incredibly vibrant drums clash and rock with a golden swagger while synth melodies sweep in from behind; exuding expensive class and unattainable beauty. This track really feels like three or four people creating the music live and jamming along to the groove, making the different textures and tones presented in the instruments stunningly vivid.

A continental atmosphere is introduced in 'Cossack Queens' as an Italo vibe is given an Eastern European strength and force and the Russian Quarter of New York begins to rock and roll. Zonic's fascination with orchestral stabs has become one of the strongest weapons in his arsenal and in this track in particular he makes them work in an integral part of the piece's narrative and not just as an accented detail. Marvellous work.

The album has an over arching cop-movie storyline that crops up as set pieces between the albums more ethnically oriented parts. 'Cops By-The-Book' arrives on the scene at the record's midpoint with the melodrama of the crime wave hitting home and taking no prisoners. This track is followed by another one of the album's highlights: 'Manhattan Docks'. Things slow down as the investigations move into unfamiliar territory and pierce the shrouded moors with floodlights of synthual beauty. The plot becomes dangerous and foreboding with huge percussive cues signalling more sinister forces at play but one can not help but be utterly entranced by the resplendent synth refrain.

Edge of your seat thrills climax with velocity and explosiveness as the back end of the record brings the loose ends together and the pieces fall into place. The energetic inquiries surrounding 'Alley Of Fate' are set alight in the follow up 'Forbidden Formula MK-II'. Frenetic synths and drums meet with a definitively bluesy guitar track that echoes the dangers of this new street drug. The astronomical highs drop down to subterranean lows and Zonic's descriptive passages leave nothing to the imagination.

Some of my favourite aspects of Zonic's musical pastiche are his funkier bass-driven jams and in 'Out Tonight' he rides the groove right into the funkosphere and beyond. Cool and sophisticated horn sections bring a whole new level of refinement to the proceedings and the music takes off into outer space powered by its own celestial rhythms. The final chapter of the album takes a decidedly more restrained approach with smooth melodies lingering in the night air as the culmination of months of detective work brings the officers to the 'Moonlit Well' for a final discovery before the credits roll.

Professor Zonic Zynth presents the New York Vibes album on his Bandcamp page here and with no reservation what so ever this album is a Synthetix Reference Experience. The cohesiveness of the tracks given their huge variety of flavours is completely intoxicating. Zonic creates his own vision of New York and its diversity in a celebration of cultural differences that unite in superbly orchestrated synthphonies. This is easily one of the most complete soundtrack synth albums I've heard and you'd be doing yourself a monstrous disservice in not picking up a copy as soon as possible.