Thursday, March 5, 2015

AIRBORNE



Screen Memories - Python Blue & Jupiter 8

By Kaleb KFDDA



In modern times, physical formats of various goods are a dying breed. Python Blue and Jupter-8's newest EP 'Screen Memories' is an ode to one of those favored formats, the VHS tape. In the true spirit of things, these two manage to intertwine their unique sounds in a not-so-common way.

The EP begins with Juptiter-8's 'Straight From the Screen', this song opens up like any summer action movie would begin, enticing you with progression that are full of drama and sustain. I can see credits rolling as vividly as I can hear the music that is straight out of 80s. Led with powerful but not speedy leads, this song is the perfect opening to a box office hit. Albeit not long, the song is a perfect taste of what comes next.

'Movies' is the second track, also composed by Jupiter-8 (did I mention this ep is split in half?) That's the unsual part, unlike most collaborative pieces, this EP is literally 2 entirely different interpretations of the same thing. Jupiter-8 captures a haunting sound in this one. This one is FULL of tension, a clifhanger of sorts, with some smooth jazzy elements thrown in, I believe this is the song that truly captures what Jupiter is all about.

I instantly applaud Python Blue's progression choices in 'Golden Tapes'. The song begins with angelic chord progressions that reminisce of your most fond material memories, bustering with that one-of-a-kind Python Blue sound.

'Behind a VCR' is definitely an emotional piece of work. It's moody, yet inviting. It's the kind of song you'd like to play when you're heartbroken, or mad as hell. Not often is an artist capable of making a song with such duality, and that's something Python does each and every time. The ending and end song 'Home Videos' I belive is some of Python's strongest work to date, ending this experience absolutely beautifully.

The atmosphere these two producers have managed to create throughout this EP is unmistakably gorgeous, unique, and balance each other quite perfectly; Jupter-8's agressive and dramatic tones combined with Python's passionate and artistically rendered progressions make this one of the most intriguing and amazing EPs thus far in 2015.

Very highly recommended from Synthetix.FM



TSTR - An Evening With The Devil

By Henry West


Not much is known about dark-synth author TSTR, other than his works started to come out steadily since January 2010 with the PAURA E.P., and gradually exposed a consistent number of nightmare-driven releases over the following years. The North Carolina native insists on a peculiar minimal approach to horror-themed soundscapes in An Evening With The Devil, his fifth official effort, which features six tracks that successfully render a vicious atmosphere of tension and distress around the listener.

The trip into demonic dominion starts out with a formal invitation to a place of fear and darkness 'Come Inside'. Harrowing basslines, incursions of high pitched bells, evil leads and relentless beats work together to paint an ominous picture with blood-stained intensity 'Behind Closed Doors' and industrial fervor 'In The Basement Ov The House Ov Satan'.

We are left to deal with a single elusive moment of hope 'A Way Out?' before it all ends in despair and tragedy 'You Will Never Leave This Place'.

This is a carefully executed piece of work that will resonate extremely well with fans of the SPLATTERHOUSE soundtracks by Eiko Kaneda, K. Tajima, Y. Kawamoto and Howard Drossin.



Sayak Striker - Never Surrender

By Sam Beck


I stepped out of the bar, three double whiskey and cokes coursing through my veins, soaking every cell in my body with Kentucky Bourbon. Taking a deep breath of the cold winter Nebraska night, I turned up the collar of my jacket, leaned into the lighter to set fire to yet another cancer stick and pressed play on my phone.

As I walked home, the dark streets of Lincoln, melted away, transforming into the harsh pedestrian pathways of a dystopian  megalopolis. With each step, each instance of my soiled Chuck Taylors' hitting cold, grey concrete, the barren city-scape exploded into the neon wash of a future, imagined in the past and yet to be realized in the present. Each cranked-to-the-max kick drum propelling me further into the night and my own fantasy world. Then a guitar burst out of the void, only acting to reinforce every Deckard inspired day dream I've ever had.

The new Sayak Striker EP, well really it's an album that is crafted as one whole with many parts, takes the listener on a journey in the way few releases do. There's no attempt to coax the listener into a pseudo and oft-regurgitated false memory of a time that has passed. The piece builds its own world, and asks the listener to enter, should they dare.

It is a world full of monoliths of consumerism, casting a bastardizing neon glow on fans of underground motorcycle races, crime and hedonism. Where a man can realize all of his fantasies at the low, low price of his soul.

80's inspired synthwave operates using the commodity of half-memories and nostalgia. Never Surrender builds a world that feels like a half-remembered fever dream. This is a landscape that Kavinsky hoped to map in tracks like Blizzard, but Sayak Striker has no interest in map making. He's the goddamn Google Street View of your dystopian day dreams.

Highly recommended. Why reinvent the wheel when you can put hundred spoke spinners on your whip?



Astral Stereo Project - Bastard Squad

By Rick Shithouse



Synthetix.FM has long be a fan of Neil Holdsworth's wonderful music created beneath the monicker of The Astral Stereo Project,  with much love given to the previous Anti Hero and Disco Death Sleaze releases over the years. Now the latest adventure from Holdsworth takes new inspirations and directions and creates a beautifully crafted homage to many classic; and not so classic 80s inspirations. The overriding thematic of these pieces being the soundtrack for 80s action video nasty that doesn't technically exist, yet can find trace elements of the original inspirations peppered throughout the tracks in loving recollections.

Something else this release is, which is an important factor I was only discussing yesterday with a fellow synthficionado, is that this has a genuine element of fun emblazoned throughout all the pieces. It might seem odd, but much of the real essence of vintage sounds is that fun nature to them. The 80s certainly never took itself seriously at the time yet much 80s inspired music loses that important feeling in favour of drama, tension or seriousness. There's nothing wrong with these feelings being driving forces, of course, but the stoic and melancholy need a bit of fun and frivolity too. I mean, it's not the grim and gritty 90s anymore... I hope.

Back to Bastard Squad though and it's plainly obvious throughout this record that Holdsworth isn't taking the subject matter too seriously and it is definitely of benefit to the rockin tunes. For those unaware, Bastard Squad was the name of a fictitious ultra-violent TV show referenced often in the classic 80s BBC series The Young Ones (must see viewing if you've not had the pleasure yet, or recently).

It's this spirit of the fun and the ridiculous that drives much of this EP's music. 'Intro/Blag' is an anthem of 80s action that hovers like Blue Thunder against moonlit cityscape. The overt double entendre of 'Hard Promises' belies all kinds of slowmotion lasciviousness,  probably while Blue Thunder in silent mode is peering through those open bedroom curtains. There's lots of great crossover sounds that bridge the 70s and 80s palettes too with 'Wheels Of Fire' cutting a swaggering disco groove over some wonderfully phrased lyrics and 'Maltese Hideaway' feeling like an extra track from Air's Virgin Suicides soundtrack; smooth, groovy and full of subtle nuance.

One of the real highlights is the monstrously infectious theme song for 'Supersnout' which is one hell of a funky adventure you'll wish had a TV series structured around it. The vocals make a full return in the smooth serenade of 'Nothing To Lose' as Holdsworth croons that 80s love with heavy doses of Nutrasweet providing that candy coloured layer of longing. 'Armed To The Teeth' takes the action back out into the VHS jungle as one lone survivor risks all for honour against whatever topical villain stereotype the shoestring budget can do semi-convincingly. The final act completing the Bastard Squad is the poignant 'Nothing But Death', which really captures that end of movie credit roll very nicely. A fitting finish to the experience, and it wasn't even interrupted by a siege or something.

I really do love what The Astral Stereo Project has done with this release, it's entertaining and eclectic and really retains a (sometimes devilish) grin from beginning to end. The 80s were all about fun, and that feeling is handed out overtly in Bastard Squad's rockin tracks. Definitely a worthy addition to any retro synth lover's collection and yet another kick arse release from The Astral Stereo Project.







Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Searsly Spuhghetti

I'm very pleased to announce the first of many Searsly Spuhghetti posts by learned colleague and famed raconteur of 80s media magic: Eddie Spuhghetti. Think of this as Synthetix.FM's own little  'public service announcements' to enrich, educate and entertain your modern day existence. -RS




By Eddie Spuhghetti

So when Rick Shithouse approached me to write for Synthetix, I was flabbergasted; I forgot to grab an onion for the delish' chili I was preparing.  Besides that, the news from Rick put me in a better mood and I started brainstorming ideas for what I could write about.  As a horror-writer/journalist/scriptwriter, I've dabbled in a catalog's worth of different topics within the realms of television, video-games and film.  Music, however, is bit of a new frontier for me; I'm the type of person who cannot explain Pet Sounds other than saying "Just go friggen listen to it."


Be it a rad commercial jingle, a blast-processed 16-bit game score, or a "what-song-is-that" background tune in a film: it says a lot if I rewind it once or twice to listen just to the song again.  The sad part is some of these tunes may never be discovered in their entirety but now we have a chance at some folks bringing to light certain tunes they recognize.  I'll be focusing your attention at beats you may have missed or outright forgot about - a catalog full of hidden gems that really are searsly worth checking out.


The DP Ultra Gympac commercial came my way on a beta tape I won off Ebay.  The tape was from a series labeled as "Stuff" with each tape consisting of short cuts from 80's women's aerobics/dance shows, Benny Hill, and nude movie scenes; essentially, some pervy teenager's pleasure tape.  There was a quick cut of this commercial (which of course, quickly went to something else once the guy in it showed up) but I instantly picked up on the music: intense and driven.  The ad's traits are obvious - it's cheesy, narcissistic and capitalizing on a time when home-exercising was trendy.  Had I been alive when this aired, I prob woulda rolled my eyes and went "Searsly?".  But you cannot deny how good it sounds: now I gotta go listen to The PUMP EP by Muscle.



Searsly Spuhghetti - "DP Ultra Gympac Commercial" from EddieSpuhghetti on Vimeo.


Saturday, February 28, 2015

Synthetix Sundays



It's a synthillating show lined up this week for the return of Synthetix Sundays on Radio Pure Gently!
Marko is rockin the scene like no other with interviews with Vincent Nuit, Jaunter and Vince Riviera!

Also back in action is Paul Dress2Kill Daly, Synthetix Spotlight and Quality Time With Shithouse.

It's also giveaway time once again with five copies of Phantom Ride's killer new Supersonic EP to share with those who can 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, along with the featured tracks from Quality Time With Shithouse.




Quality Time With Shithouse Featured Tracks:









And this month's new Synthetix.FM Mixtape is ready to rock too!







Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Central Control In Block 35

By Rick Shithouse

The love affair with 80s music from peoples of Eastern Europe has existed since the 80s themselves. The end of the Cold War and Communism in the late 80s seems to have freezeframed an era that is associated with much love, celebration and idealism and it never ceases to amaze me how this transcends generations and seems to just be a part of their instilled musical history.

When it comes to some of the most authentic 80s inspired synth music Eastern Europe always seems to be at the top of the heap and the most genuinely in love with sounds of this particular era. With the new release from Block 35 this theory is reinforced as this Romanian producer captures the spirit, energy and emotion of the 80s in his new album Central Control.

Although apparently based around a conceptual narrative I found a great diversity in the feelings and atmospheres present in each track and Central Control provides a real showcase for Block 35's talent and understanding of 80s motifs. The moods swing from bouncy playfulness to deep introspection and   everything in between and among the seven pieces you'll find a wonderful degree of depth and movements in all directions.
 


The album ignites with favourite track of mine from 2014 from Block 35 in the thoroughly epic 'Skyline'. This really sets a massive scene amid a spectacularly conceived melodic lead. The structures are built purposefully and deeply around the initial passage and delve inquisitively into detailed levels that are entirely hung off that totally platinum lead. 'Skyline' is an exercise in musical exploration and storytelling and done so with much care and craftsmanship.

Shifting into high gear Block 35 rushes into the high energy 'Grid Line' next. Massively frenetic percussion and crunching guitars join in the synth panic as the drama is barely kept under control. The difference in palette and tone to the opening track is vast but both still seem be of the same universe thanks to Block 35's careful attention to the overt details as well as the underlying strata that hold the tracks together.

The universe is expanded even further in next track, which is easily one of my personal highlights on this album. 'Arcades' has an incredibly lively and positive hook that is impossible to resist. The music rises; uplifting and full light as the melody imparts positive vibes to the point of elation. You get to feel a whole new side of Block 35's sound in 'Arcades' with its golden tones ringing throughout the galaxy like an unstoppable chorus chanted by billions of beings at once.

'Dragon's Nest' takes a very interesting turn next as it holds onto some of the threads and base ingredients of 'Arcades' and then re-purposes them into something much more elusive and thoughtful that takes the idea onto new grounds; sung in new voices. This partnering of tracks together, when done as well is this, is deeply rewarding to experience and for all my love for 'Arcades' it would somehow be incomplete without its less verbose but more ethereal cousin 'Dragon's Nest'.

The drama continues down a path of questions and few answers in 'Central Control' as darker colours become dominant but right when you think the atmosphere is getting too close a huge electro synth lead ignites the scene, unleashing a blinding contrasting vibrancy to proceedings. These two elements play off each other beautifully as much back and forth between light and dark completes this part of the story.

In 'Metro' Block 35 takes things to even more new territory as he manages to fuse classic Italo and Electro Rock elements together into an amazing new beast of brilliance. The bassline pulses with the flow of the streets and the synths inspire romance and affection while the percussion some how brings both wolds together in a massively grandiose manner. A thoroughly enrapturing combination of 80s sounds that totally rocks.

The final piece of Central Control is a vast seven minute epic that shows yet another side to Block 35's skills. 'Secret Police' presents a beautifully sparse yet brightly detailed adventure into the mind of Block 35 himself. The slow build of 'Secret Police' is utterly transfixing as the refrain shines new light into realms previously unexplored on the album. Tension is palpable, underpinning many of the sequences but it's the clean, light piano that steals the show with airy, echoing pinpoints of aural light in the darkness. The narrative on this track in particular is immensely deep, you'll be taken in to the world wholly and become one with its superbly crafted details.

Future 80s Records presents Block 35's Central Control album on their Bandcamp page here. I found this album to be a thoroughly enjoyable and often elevating experience. There are so many very strong tracks out of the seven chapters that it never allows you to drop your gaze or lose your concentration on what is happening in the music. The stories presented are diverse and full of life and wonder, something that always brings out those gorgeous 80s colours and makes this release very, very highly recommended from Synthetix.FM.






Thursday, February 19, 2015

AIRBORNE





LA Dreams - The Big Door

By Matthew Neophytou



Sellorekt/LA Dreams is up to his old tricks again - just over a month into the New Year and we get slammed with this absolute sunset strip (are you referring to the street in LA? Then Sunset-Strip) of an album. He has definitely got to be the mostconsistent artist on the scene today or the guy with lots of synths and time on his hands, but do we care, no, the answer is no, we don’t.

Tell me, just tell me you do not want to break into full on montage-opening-credit-scene-mode when you hear the first cords of 'HeartStruck', like Tropical Heat or if you’re more family-oriented Full House. Its got an upbeat melody and a groove to make you move (sorry) and that makes this a stellar opener.

'If You Stay' keeps the beat going but changes gear, serving just the right mix of cool stutter-y beats that soften you up for what I feel is the standout moment of the album, 'Mystic Corner Blues'. It’s a memory, laced with guitar-singed breaths of synth, that will whisk you down the smoky alleyways of blue hues in high tops.

Title track 'The Big Door' hits the ground running with the usual outrunner vibes but not at the expense of making it feel generic, which spills over to 'Feels so Real'. Okay, say you’ve reached the level of a video game where you are the dude! You got your moves aced and enough power ups to face the danger, that’s about the time to put 'Made of Stone' on the deck. Trust me.

The literal skip-filled 'Hourglass' leads us to the coolest SFX in a track I could possibly hope for. 'I’m Taking The Day Off” (a wish mantra for all employed these days) has synths that are playfully warped and result in a cheerful closer to the album.

An album that will add shades to your sun-kissed days or, for those on the opposite end of the planet, induce envy. LA Dreams' The Big Door gets a very, very highly recommended from Synthetix.FM, get it here. Like, now.




Hello Meteor - At Night

By Michael CA L

 
Out of the damp, forested, coastal regions of Washington state, USA comes a synth-laden mini-album that is as organic and rain-soaked as the environment in which its creator resides. Hello Meteor's latest EP At Night drenches its listener with a blend of synthesized textures, overdriven synth melodies and down-tempo rhythms that is at once murky, raw and lo-fi and at the same time as luminously bright and crystal-clear as sunrise frost glistening on the coniferous forest-beds of the West Coast.

The EP begins with the eponymous 'At Night', which delivers a down-tempo, wintry and haunting synth pad that is subsequently sheared in two by a ripping, overdriven synth melody. A delay effect on the melody is hypnotic and mournful, like a trace memory of violence that comes back to haunt after the act is already over. Complimenting this theme of recurrence, the snare hits are like the crash of a wave, with gated effects creating a right-to-left surge and pull across the sonic platform like the crash of a wave echoing from the point of impact to a distant, isolated coastal cliff. All the while, the smooth synth pad creates the feel of cold Pacific water and surges up towards the shore before retreating. The combination of soothing and solitary synth pad and harsh, foreboding overdriven synth melody creates a beautiful, exquisitely oppositional and truly haunting soundscape; one that is further explored in the second track 'Long Before Morning'.

'Long Before Morning'

If you live in the Northern hemisphere like I do and have experienced genuinely ice-cold weather, you might be familiar with the feeling of being so bitterly frozen that you almost feel warm. This visceral sensation comes to mind as the synth pads strike up at the start of the EP's second track 'Long Before Morning'. The mood is sombre and there's a frozen element to the sound that reminds me of the blackest winter nights, but in contrast there is also a warm caress within the core of the sound that is like blood moving slowly but with defiant heat from behind frozen skin. After several moments, a mid-to-fast tempo beat and a jogging, heat-creating arpeggio breaks the spell, allowing friction-induced warmth to take over the mood of the song for a time. Similar to the previous song, a violent, overdriven synth melody enters, and further added to this blend of blood-warmth and winter-death is a stunning and beautiful arpeggio at 1:54. Soon enough, that echoing shred of distorted synth drops out and we're left with those haunting and cold synth pads and that beautiful synth arpeggio. The song draws itself upward as if climbing a steep Pacific-coast cliff; it teases for a few moments before the slicing synth plunges back into the mix like the cold steel of a blade.

'Brightdown', the EP's third and final track, takes things in a different direction structurally while maintaining thematic and atmospheric similarities. Opening with a repeating loop of what might be natural harmonics on a guitar or perhaps the chiming, plucked, nearly percussive-sounding hits of a stringed instrument, the song is ancient-sounding while at the same time progressive and contemporary, continuing with the theme of contrasting sounds and textures. This dynamic sonic platform is moved forward by the introduction of a synth bass, a steady, mid-tempo drum beat, and the pulse of a warm string synth that emits heat as if it were white hot and on the brink of losing its form in the volatile environment of a Rocky Mountain mining foundry. The changes taking place in this track aren't abrupt, but the directions are unanticipated, which makes for a wonderfully alert listen, where the ears are tuned right in and fully devoted to the experience of absorbing the sounds and the directions Hello Meteor pulls them in.

At Night is an odyssey into the place where song meets soundscape and complex, ambient, audio-experimentalism meets instantaneous appeal. It's a concise package of music that explores new ground through contrasting elements such as the naturally organic and the mechanically constructed, and it comes very, very highly recommended by Synthetix FM.

Hello Meteor presents At Night, available through Bandcamp in various file formats for free/name your price here.




Miracle Cat - Chasing The Sunset EP

By Jerry Herrera

 
Maybe it’s because I’ve been listening to very heavy, theme driven synthwave lately but hearing Miracle Cat’s Chasing The Sunset EP really had an impact on me.  This is brilliant OutRun synth that doesn’t really reinvent the whole concept of “Miami racing/cruising” but does it in a way that makes it newly enjoyable.

First are the bright snares and tempo that are reminiscent of my favorite new wave dance tracks.  I really wish more producers would take a more lighthearted approach to their synthwave because it works spectacularly here and, let’s face it, upbeat and fun dance tracks are just as important to our beloved retro revival as sci-fi/horror soundscapes.  Another thing I enjoyed were Miracle Cat’s appropriately high energy vocals that are appropriately ‘80s without crossing the cheese line.

The third thing to complete this EP’s retro trifecta is righteous shred.  Both tracks feature clean, fun guitar work that accents the music, giving it added dimension and authenticity.  There really isn’t too much variation between 'Break Through To The Other Side' and 'The Hard Road' but in this case, I didn’t mind because I didn’t want the momentum to stop.  Miracle Cat is definitely an act to watch in 2015, and I definitely recommend picking this EP on their Bandcamp page here.




Waveshaper - Solar Drifter

By Rick Shithouse



Waveshaper returns with his kick arse new Solar Drifter EP. Bringing things back to basics with vitriolic OutRun being the order of the day across four pumping tracks. There's an uncomplicated brashness to Waveshaper's sound on Solar Drifter that harkens back 2010 era 80s inspired synth music and unabashedly recreates those moods brilliantly though out. It's actually refreshing to hear something so completely genre-focussed and unapologetic about where it's coming from.

All the trappings of classic OutRun are here. Climbing melodies. Guile drenched basslines. Hypnotising arrangements. Percussion that is unstoppable. All topped if with cool evening air rushing past in a daze of nostalgic brilliance. You know you're in for a good time seconds in to 'Stellar Jupiter' as Waveshaper twists you around every high speed turn and displays his complete contempt to anything but high energy thrills.

The journey adds dash of space themed atmosphere and a sprinkling of Discovery era Daft Punk in 'Distant Projections'; complimenting the raucous bassline magnificently well. The midway point elevates the melodies even further and a sense of gravity disappearing at some ludicrous top speed is thoroughly invigorating sets in as the track completes.

'Fight Against Time' moves into more spatially aware segments, in wonderful homage to Tommy-esque progressions while keeping a gritty, revving engine roaring behind the melodically synthual melody. Finishing off Solar Drifter is much more contemplative piece in 'System Failure'. Belying some kind of catastrophic break down, warped melodies stagger in a haze of ruins with heat searing from the scorched earth. The mood is definitely less frantic, but also no less direct as this score to an aftermath of sorts describes a tragically beautiful scene.

Rad Rush Records presents Wave Shaper's Solar Drifter EP on their Bandcamp page here in the usual array of digital formats as well as being up for preorder (currently) on white vinyl! I for one really enjoyed this edition of Waveshaper's musical journey and can't wait to get the full vinyl experience courtesy of Rad Rush Records. The opportunities are few to rock these kinds of sounds on this format and if that wasn't enough incentive there's also an exclusive track only on the record release. I highly encourage everyone to pick up a copy and make those 80s inspired synth vinyl dreams come true.