Saturday, July 4, 2015

Synthetix Sundays

Synthetix.FM is on a bit of a break for another week or so, as I'm currently going through the reconstruction of my computer after a hard drive failure. Things are looking up though, and we'll be back and rockin regular updates soon. Also, the cut off date for the Stereo Sonic Electro Rockin Mixtape has been pushed back to the 11th of July so if you have an electro funk breakdance style track you'd like to submit please get it to me within the next week via the contact form here or directly via email here.

But, just cause I'm on a bit of a break doesn't mean Synthetix Sundays is, and Marko is back and rockin hard with hot new episode on Radio Pure Gently tonight!

This week Marko chats with Synthetix.FM favourite in recent times, the one and only IamManolis and also interviews Timecop1983 about his new record Reflections. Marko also spends some time rockin with Sandy H and also has a whole mess of exclusive tracks from Maya, Dress-2-Kill and Red Comet 3.

Synthetix Spotlight and Paul Dress2Kill Daly are kickin it with their segments and we have special edition of Quality Time With Shithouse. This week I go back to the early days and the late 2000's of 80s inspired synth music and play some personal favourites that I think deserve revisiting, myself and Marko spend some time remembering those early days of the scene so get your rose coloured glasses on and prepare for a bit of a wander down memory lane.

Marko's also got plenty of download codes to give away from Waveshaper, Timecop 1983, Kirk Gadget and Occams Laser, so be sure to tune in 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.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Manolis Plays Some Mind Games

By Rick Shithouse

Manolis was one of my stand-out performers in the 80s inspired synth scene in 2014, his sounds have always been so heartfelt and deep while retaining incredibly catchy melodies that his music has had a completely Midas touch. These golden tunes have been a bit thin on the ground in 2015 but with the release of his new EP he's set the record straight once again about why his music is so important and engaging.

Things swoon together in a hazy, gauzy wash of nostalgia as the title track begins. A groove that Imagination would've been proud of rocks the bassline like a buttered lullaby and the poignant and gentle synths of Manolis start working their magic. Slow paced, strolling at a suave pace the story unfolds and the night air becomes heavy with presence and possibilities. Inhale deeply of the cool, synth atmosphere and the 'Mind Game' will take over.

'Reminiscence' continues into the night escapades with Manolis keeping the vibe rockin and the pace meandering with another gloriously crafted love theme. Ever since 'My Future Girlfriend' I've found Manolis's take on Synth Romance to be utterly honest and completely captivating. You can feel the delicate emotions and subtleties in the tonal colours of the music and that 'Reminiscence' glows and grows with each passing second.

Cut from a similar cloth again is 'A Fling', which has been previously shared recently by Manolis, indeed it's a feature on the most recent Synthetix.FM Mixtape, but the overt tenderness of the previous tracks is taken in a new electric direction that is exciting and full of romantic possibilities. The chances and charms of that first meeting and the apprehension and following exhilaration will leave you buzzing with memories that will last a life time.

The funk gets brought up to the front in the final track on the EP, 'Perfect'. A strictly casual exploration of tones that have a delightfully Library influenced colour palette bring a shiny and bright new dimension into play. The upbeat nature and even more inspiring melodic passages create a completely mood-changing experience. Listen to 'Perfect' first thing in the morning and you're sure to carry those rockin good vibes all day long.

Manolis presents the Mind Games EP on his Bandcamp page here in the usual array of downloadable formats. Once again, this producer shows his emotional connection to his music and gives us four splendidly arranged and performed synthual jewels of glittering 80s magic. A must-have EP and one that comes very, very highly recommended from Synthetix.FM.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Money Talks, Robert Parker Listens

By Rick Shithouse

Exploring the textures, sounds, emotions and flavours of 80s music is something I'm hearing more and more producers do in their work. New experiences and retellings of those kick arse 80s sounds are always welcome on Synthetix.FM and in Robert Parker's latest record we get to hear another new dimension to this great producer's work. This time Parker parks his synths on Wall St. and gets thoroughly into an 80s library mode. I've got to say; the matching of Robert Parker's talents with this oh so golden genre of 80s sounds makes for a spectacular record.

The pure 80s library sounds push the 80s-ness of music into an entirely new level, even beyond that of Italo's wondrous trappings. Some Library in its more soulless guises threatens to become muzak in some cases but in its most refined form it really captures the 80s magic in eloquently majestic ways. Robert Parker's used the thematic of 80s high finance mixed with his own soaring, inspirational sounds and layered it with a piquant air of solid Library gold to take the listener into wonderfully rich and luxurious synthscapes.

It seems like the perfect match of sounds as the emotive melodies of Robert Parker's previous work get moulded into chintzily delightful incidental music and then expanded into full, detailed stories. The selection of synth sounds is perfection, uncluttered and sharp passages peppered with zesty aural seasonings to make the flavours pop, creating an explosive sound bite you just can't resist. I find this form of 80s inspired synth music is very inspirational and provides unseen visions that accompany the stories. You just can help but see quick cuts of suited men rushing across town, hailing that cab, getting the wink from his secretary as he enters the office and then finishing on that freeze frame fist pump as he hangs up the phone on his desk and seals the deal. Just another day at the office and Robert Parker's there providing the soundtrack.

Money Talks isn't afraid to eschew the purity of upbeat library sounds in favour of more introspective explorations and cuts like 'Cosmopolitan Collection' do a great job of getting out into the fresh of air of the night on your apartment balcony after trading futures and foreign exchange deals during daylight hours. That energetic hustle and bustle of the world of high finance gets captured succinctly in 'Showtime', 'Business As Usual', 'Work It!' and the market hammering 'Negotiations' but Parker knows when to take a break and pull those red bracers down, loosen the tie and get down to some passive bonds between two highly valued properties. It's not just the prices that rise in the steamy, sweat drenched passages of 'A Head For Business, A Body For Sin', that's for sure.

Robert Parker's foray into this cut throat world of high finance ends up being something that inspires and enthrals. The excitement, pleasures and suaveness of this idealised lifestyle is sublimely captured through each piece and makes for a thoroughly complete experience. I love that in 2015 there is still so much 80s musical inspiration still laying undiscovered and when, like Robert Parker, you strike gold, you just can't deny how refreshing, entertaining and totally rockin the music is.

Robert Parker presents the Money Talks album on his Bandcamp page here in the usual array of digital formats and, unsurprisingly, it comes very, very highly recommended from Synthetix.FM.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Synthetix Sundays

Synthetix Sundays hits the big FIVE O! That's FIFTY episodes of the world's best 80s inspired synth show! Many congratulations to Marko for making this a hugely valuable and integral part of the scene, it's an honour to be part of Synthetix Sundays every week, and I hope it keeps on rockin.

This week Marko interviews synth legend Damokles and the wonderfully talented Glass Apple Bonzai.

Plus all the regular segments including Quality Time With Shithouse, Synthetix Spotlight and Paul Dress 2 Kill Daly.

There'll be a tonne of giveaways and all the hits you need to hear on an extra special playlist to mark the event.

Join Marko and catch up on all the hottest rockin  this past week in the 80s inspired synth scene.

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.

And be sure to rock the latest episode of Soiree 80s on Radio Pure Gently with myself, Marko & Jazzi, DJ Spaz and Micky Dodds rockin lots of classic 80s favourites. Tune in here for a full replay of the show.

Quality Time With Shithouse feature tracks:

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

LA Dreams Become A Reality

By Rick Shithouse

I'm sure everyone that reads Synthetix.FM is well aware with my love affair with LA Dreams' incredible music. For years now I've shared the magic of LA Dream's music and finally, finally we all get to have a little piece of LA Dreams himself in our lives as a permanent fixture. Thanks to the always rockin Rad Rush Records we now have the opportunity to have four stunning LA Dreams tracks to enjoy on vinyl. This has a been a long time wish of mine, that my favourite producers get to the point of releasing their music on cassette and record and while I've had the pleasure of owning many cassette releases in recent times the vinyl side of things is always far more elusive due to short runs and expensive manufacturing. But now, slowly, labels like Rad Rush are changing this and I am elated with the results.

The listening experience of vinyl is something I deeply adore, it always takes me back to the 80s themselves and the connection one gets to the music, no matter how much romanticised, is luxurious and electrically tactile. The intimacy of LA Dreams' music is such a wonderful match for this format that I find myself enjoying this repeatedly. The music itself is as strong as ever with the selection of tracks capturing the energy, emotions and innate magic that Kevin always puts into his music.

Sounds And Waves really provides a great introduction for those new to the LA Dreams sound and the selection of tracks is definitely geared towards an exhilaratingly high performance thrill ride. The opening title track is a beautiful Synth Romance love crush theme that is overflowing with the 80s wonder LA Dreams appears to have on tap in limitless quantities. The other three pieces aim to much higher speed experiences and make for an exciting adventure with 'Drop Top' screaming down the coastline in a super powered convertible on an idyllic Californian day while 'This Way Forever' walks a dangerous line of chase sequences and night time excitement. The final track, 'High Life' brings in all the grandiose 80s excess, packaged in glossy candy coloured wrapper. Make this the background music next time your shopping to make sure you get that proper 80s consumer feeling!

You should pick up a copy of this wonderful release as soon as possible and get those LA Dreams rockin like never before. Grab a copy on vinyl and digital download on Rad Rush Records Bandcamp page here. If this isn't enough LA Dreams rockin for you, (and goddamnit it shouldn't be!) check out his superb new album Amped, available on his Bandcamp page here. Can you believe this is his 34th release? THIRTY FOURTH. Kevin, you're an amazing creative wonder.

And for one final bit of LA Dreams love check out the latest opus from Neros77 for 'Drop Top'. You know if it's a Neros77 video it's going to be rockin to the max! It's time for the ultimate Summer Job!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Faint Waves Of The Ocean's Drift

By James Mann

Synthesizers. Lo-Fi futura-funk. Emotion and possibilities. Traversing several decades of sounds through custom and unique soundscapes (dare I say soundtracks) isn't practical, in fact it isn't easy. Whether the music evokes images of late night Euro discotheques buzzing with energy, a pensive solo journey through the streets at night, or just a respite of the mind that has been on continuum since daybreak, this artist manages to dot his talents across so many genres, delivering an emotive EP full of gyrating grooves, lasting melodies and most importantly a thoughtful, deep sense of uniqueness in approach and execution. In Faint Wave's latest release Ocean Drift, the Daytona based artist takes you through his world unapologetically, creating sonic, emotive compositions that touch on innumerable genres and sensibilities that, well come across as effortless. I was going for a kind of light new wave/retro pop feel on most tracks, before my direction changed a bit last minute to be more electronic and jazz infused with On The Coast. Excellent choice Faint Waves, we like your last minute direction.

'Funk Panic' introduces the EP with an electric, pulsating baseline set to lush drums carrying the rhythm. The two fall out of sync by just a step and turn almost into a syncopated sound, then fall back into groove. This strategically touches on the "Panic" of the track, as the frenzied energy that splays out is quickly fused with a pleasing melodic synth and detailed guitars touching on the best funk from the early 80s. ABC comes to mind, and a confidence, strut like groove is formed. Nice intro track, yet only yields a fraction of what this fusion oriented artist has in store for the remainder of the EP.

'Espadrille' is a wonderful composition, starting out with a lush ambience of air that is quickly filled with detailed synth work and a groove that transcends beyond ear candy. Sensible melodies and rhythms build into a monumental track I never want to end. A bridge of guitars emerge from the background and is replaced with the original groove. Unique and satisfying, this piece of work showcases the range of talent and nostalgia Fain Waves has hiding up his sleeve. This is perhaps my favorite track on the EP, and I only wish it was longer. The addicting note placement hits the mind so sweetly, and it's apparent this man doesn't stick to one formula. I try not to follow many rules or limit myself, which can lead things to becoming chaotic and noisy but it can also keep things very fresh and exciting. My music tastes are also all over the map, so I try not to be shy about experimenting or putting different sounds together.

'All My Love' is a highly emotional piece reminiscent of a late 70s Shaft soul-ballad theme. Full of violins, tasteful piano, light drumming coupled with a sensual bass, (and subsequent sax solo which is other-worldly) all of the components for love and romance are in the air. Balanced and thoughtful, this tracks shows the softer side of Faint Waves, which is remarkably restrained. Less is in fact more, as this paced out and moody track takes the listener on a sonic journey through the 70s full of afros and love. The creativity really just flows with the Waves. I just do my best to create something expressive for myself first and foremost. Faint Waves began as a purely creative outlet and that's really it's basis now too. If I'm able to bring to life something that I've conjured up from my imagination, then I think I've done well and have expressed myself wholly, regardless of what it sounds like.

'Evening Street' is a nice ballad opening up with the smoothed, chorus chords of the 70s and 80s, as this artist strives to emulate performers such as Niles Rodger, INXS and Blondie in guitar work. Brassy synths pop on top for a pleasing track that has both momentum, groove and restraint. I can almost hear a Jackson Brown progression, but whatever it is Faint Waves has put his stamp of originality on it. It's so refreshing to hear individuality in approach and execution, and this little work demonstrates that perfectly. I feel the track could have turned into a song with perhaps some vocals, as it clocks in just under 2 minutes.

'Ocean Drift' could perhaps be considered Faint Wave's chef d'oeuvre. This track has everything in it. Synths, guitar, bass and funky drumming that pulls the listener into a classic rock time warp complimented with smoke and lasers. I feel like it's a miniature Who ballad because every instrument and melody is in perfect sync, and that synth lead is quite detailed and impressive. Close to my favorite track on this sweet EP, but Espadrille still takes the cake.

'Lovers Lounge' spills sultry memories and melodies of a late 70s analog Euro horror/romance, perhaps an ending scene or credits. Extremely cinematic, touching on vapor-esque pops with the sax and snare, but again stamped with the patent of Faint Waves. I see him scoring soundtracks in the future. A fitting end to a sweet ride on the ocean.

Ocean Drift is a stellar EP that should join the ranks of any music lover's collection. It encapsulates so much nostalgia and memories in such a short time, (The EP is just over 15 minutes) and I'm sincerely looking forward to the next release from Faint Waves that will perhaps be a bit longer. "As far as current projects. I'm working on a pretty diverse mixtape/compilation called Attitude Propaganda and it tackles hip-hop, electronic, alternative, you name it. It's a fun collection of new stuff from all of my projects and me trying to get some of my friends heard too". He also tells me another Faint Waves release is in the future. This gem is truly a fantastic release, a walk down memory lane with the tonal signatures of the 70s and 80s. You can purchase the album on Bandcamp here, and it comes highly recommended from Synthetix.FM.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Unrestful Slumber With Pentagram Home Video

By Robin Ogden

I’d been eagerly awaiting the follow up to Pentagram Home Video’s seminal synth offering, ‘Who’s Out There?’, since the end of last year. Slumber is PHV’s latest foray into formalist synthesis, a super realised analog soundtrack to the upcoming short apocalyptic science fiction film of the same name, directed by Martin Lancaster and Jack McFarlane.

Stark, brutal, raw and honest, Slumber is a wondrously driven dystopian experience. Substance is prized over surface, there is no hiding behind over production and gloss, and the whole score has been meticulously recorded to tape. A hauntingly awesome and at times chillingly experimental soundtrack from start to finish.

Slumber comes very, very highly recommended by Synthetix.FM, and is available both digitally and on limited edition cassette from Pentagram Home Video’s Bandcamp here and Death Waltz’s imprint Transmission Records here.