Thursday, July 31, 2014

Mitch Murder's Interceptor

It only really dawned on me today, while going through my fourth or thereabouts listen of Mitch Murder's new album Interceptor, as to why he's such a stand out talent in 80s inspired synth sounds. This is really because his music isn't 80s inspired at all. Instead it is pure 80s in its make up and essence; you won't find any hallmarks or influences from any modern electronic music or otherwise in the Mitch Murder synthscape and this is one of the facets that is so pure and alluring. Taking authentic 80s sounds from varied styles and genres and combining them in new ways that come across fresh and still authentic is what that Mitch Murder magic is all about.

A new Mitch Murder album is an event. Much like Current Events and before it Burning Chrome the Mitch Murder album experience is an ambrosial pleasure in pure 80s music listening. Interceptor marks the third journey milestone for Mitch Murder and the synthscape created is definitely a natural progression and feels more accomplished in subtle ways that make a big difference.

This. for me as a fan. was a supremely welcome surprise, as in the back of my mind I had a suspicious, nagging feeling that Mitch Murder was in danger of becoming a parody of himself with his music. It wasn't anything I could put my finger on but on some pieces since Current Events I've thought Mitch Murder is trying too hard to sound like Mitch Murder. Now that Interceptor has arrived these suspicions were completely unfounded and this new record takes the Mitch Murder experience in a direction that evolves his music into an effortlessly soulful synth spectacular.

The overall presence of the music is smoother, lighter and ethereal as the classic 80s jazz fusion and library influenced Mitch Murder melodies are taken to a higher ground of nuance and warmth. The familiar tones of 'Saturdays' sets a golden glow, bloomed out sequence of melodies hung by shafts of streaming light. The crispness of the new day air is invigorating and every single element of the synthscape is uplifting; buffeted on warm breezes rich with positivity.

Mitch Murder's music is purely transporting in its capturing of the 80s flavours, keeping the tones pure and honest while exploring them deeply. The inquisitive nature of many of his pieces flit from drama to freeze frame free fall in seconds whilst retaining a flow of molten energy. 'High Performance' personifies these qualities and the boundless depth of the details within each progression illustrates visually and aurally with sharp dexterity all while feeling utterly effortless.

This magical combination of high calibre musicianship that never loses its soul is one of the qualities Mitch Murder has taken into the stratosphere on Interceptor. Melodies are unforced and naturally formed and the drifting elements are choreographed in an unprocessed manner that gives life to the pieces. You feel 'The Touch' and its magical glow in this way and it warms you deeply

A new maturity is felt in the melodies spun by Mitch Murder as the emotions are allowed to dance and illuminate even more than in his prior releases. Although 'Race Day' will be a familiar piece to many fans, the subtleties and richness of notes resonate with feeling eternally. That brand new freshness is an essential part of every Mitch Murder structure and you'll want to revisit that feeling over and over again.

This continues into less well lit sectors in the title track 'Interceptor'. Opting for a slow paced soundtrack   ambiance that opens as many doors as it locks we get to delve into  the longer shadows and feel the burning within. The exceptionally crafted minimalist synthscape has become one of my personal favourite Mitch Murder styles as it allows the melodies to sing their magic in a totally unfettered and free space. Twisting the screws on these elements towards the conclusive (or inconclusive?) final sections gives the darkness the upper hand. A different kind of intensity than much dark synth fare, but certainly no less moving or menacing.

'Snow Crash' creates more lovingly minimalist aural pleasures only this time casting lightness across the palette. Shimmering with a vibrant light and glacial melodies (especially by Mitch Murder's standards) we get to take a slow dive into the sparkling icy powder with leisurely exploration allowing for a full appreciation of the epic vistas of our surrounds.

The beauty of the mountainous countryside gets traded in for urban electro rockin with the exemplary 'Breakazoid'. I always thought the Mitch Murder sounds were the perfect match for classic electro funk breakdance music and this comes off superbly with energy levels high but the groove cut deep. Catchy refrains are milked for all their worth and more subtle expositions ensure that funk is kept rockin hard.

Mitch Murder revisits the timeless allure of the video game arcade next, channelling inspiration from many classic early 90s Japanese video game soundtracks that are then wrapped up in highly polished gloss, while still harkening back with delightful homage to his own early work. The triumphant tones of 'Thanks For Playing' provides the ultimate theme for your favourite arcade game's credits while you bask in the glory of its electronic defeat.

One piece I'm constantly surprised by on Interceptor is 'In The Fast Lane'. The combination of love-theme intimacy delivered with a jazz funk presentation creates one the purest Mitch Murder experiences I'm yet to hear. The absolutely feather-light synths are like gossamer spun from clouds and the bassline tone is engineered to complimentary perfection. The energy, the flavour, the details; it's all pure Mitch Murder magic.

The tones become even jazzier and livelier in the following track 'Stages'. The classic Japanese 80s jazz fusion sounds get painted all shades of vibrant colours and the interplay between the lead synth melodies and the drum tight rhythm section becomes the essence of 80s excitement. The smoothness of the production gives this an especially prominent 'live' feel and comes across like a jam session of highly trained musicians, feeling the love and energy for their music flowing and weaving wizardry through every element.

The minimalist approach returns with the musically vast 'Nocturne' that plays out as a follow up to 'Interceptor' beautifully. The mood is no longer fraught with darkness and instead sends ethereal Siren's calls, mysterious and inviting but balanced with solemnity. The beauty of this track is bracing and entrancing. The grip holds firmly and the deeper you go in the more fragments of the story you'll discover with a final chapter that is stunningly wondrous.

The mystery doesn't end there though as 'Nocturne' is followed up by the deep atmosphere of 'Traces To Nowhere'. Shades of Twin Peaks return and begin to materialise into the synthscape with Mitch Murder allowing the bassline to dictate the action with strings and synths providing deep, rich flavours. The presence in this piece is undeniable and the relaxing soul of the music becomes metaphysical in its shining grandeur, completing the album perfectly.

To say this album is superbly crafted and incredibly rewarding to experience is quite the understatement as everything that makes Mitch Murder's music so wonderful has been developed considerably on all levels throughout Interceptor. The huge variations in sounds span vast amounts of musical space while making every composition intimately personal and you can feel the love and emotion invested by the composer through every beautiful second.

Mad Decent presents Mitch Murder's Interceptor album on iTunes here and it's also available (in my own personal fantasy realised) on double vinyl with a bunch of other kick arse goodies on Mad Decent's site here currently for pre-order. Mitch Murder's Interceptor is a stunning example of how beautiful and imaginative 80s sounds can be and is a bona fide Synthetix Reference Experience. This is the record that will make 2014 a very special year for lovers of the highest quality 80s sounds and will no doubt usher in many new devotees to Mitch Murder's own brand of synthesized musical magic.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Kasia's Secret Diary

By Kasia

Sunday, 1st June, 2014

Timecop 1983 (featuring Dana Jean Phoenix) - Dreams

With you
I feel like I am living in a dream
Everything is possible and everything depends on me
I can do whatever I want 
Only I can set the boundaries 
And only I can break them.
All my wishes and thoughts can come true if I just want it
I feel like your beautiful sounds are giving me magical power 
And letting me finally break all the walls in my head 
I used to be trapped in my mind's limitations
But I am not anymore, and you are the reason 
We all have dreams 
And deep down we know what is best for us
Just believe in yourself and always follow your heart
Time flies..
Door's open...
Away goes the past, it's okay...
You wanna go...
There is no turning back...
The world is yours!

Monday, 24th March, 2014

Mosaik - Sky Fighter

So the fight is ON!
But you know what? 
I am not afraid.
Not at all
Because you are here with me 
And this is our shared fight 
We stand shoulder to shoulder
Me and you... 
Against the world...
Against all odds 
The more I listen to you
The more sure I am that we can win this battle
Together we can defeat the bad things
And we can find the biggest treasure
Happiness and peace.
It's worth fighting for 
Keep up the spirit and dont give up
We are the best pilots of our lives
We decide where to fly
And no matter how far away we are
We can always change direction
We are skyfighters!

Sunday, 8th December, 2013

Robert Parker - Unfinished Symphony

There is something good about unfinished things
You still have a choice 
And you still have the chance to make it the way you want it to be 
Nothing is decided yet 
The options are endless.. you just have to pick a path to follow
There are some sort of mysteries and uncertainties 
Every sound makes me feel more and more excited 
I want to know and I don't want to know how it will end at the same time 
Our story is like an unfinished symphony.
A neverending story
But has it even started yet? 
In case it has, I have to write my own ending
Maybe the stars will give us the answer...

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Cluster Buster In Total Terror

By Chris 'Python Blue' Day

As a synthwave musician specialized in darker atmospheres, I already knew many of the big names in the dark synth scene. Oddly enough, however, I hadn't heard much material from Cluster Buster beyond occasional SoundCloud tracks, though I was aware of his presence as a contemporary of musicians like Perturbator, Carpenter Brut, and Dan Terminus.

Then I got a hold of his latest album. Total Terror is an obvious tribute to 80s horror films, made even more clear by the fittingly-edgy artwork for the music that is occasionally even darker. It is not as aggressive as producers like Carpenter Brut or Perturbator, but what it lacks in intensity at times it makes up for in spookiness, effectively keeping Cluster Buster qualified as a dark synth producer.


The album begins with the title track, 'Total Terror', which, unlike much synthwave, is extremely convincing for the opening cue for a movie such as Halloween or Friday the 13th. It is a bit short but then it is meant as an intro track, and it's a great incentive to listen to the rest.

After a hanging note 'Total Terror' shifts suddenly to a beat with 'Valentine Bluffs'. Evidently, this is a theme for a Valentine's Day gone wrong, and the minor, somewhat chromatic scale for the melody makes it all the creepier. Bell sounds loom over much of the track, suggesting that this is indeed one screwed up holiday occasion. 'The Bodycount Continues' follows suit. While the title seemed a bit early for the album as a whole, it's still a great track as the mass murder in the story goes on.

While some pitch shifting in synthwave sounds a bit iffy for me, Cluster Buster pulls it off well in the beginning of 'Don't Go Skinny Dipping', successfully giving the track a somewhat creepy vibe, though the track appears to otherwise be a lighter mood. 'Deranged' fits well as the main theme for the serial killer of the tale, a rather creepy melody fitting his state of mind.

The beginning of 'Pierced by Shears' is ridden with flanged sound effects, easily reminding me of the soundtrack to Halloween 5. The rest of the track starts off slow, then suddenly picks up into an unusually fast-paced synthwave track, perfectly representative of pop-themed chase music. Another personal favorite from the album.

'Female Protagonist' starts off with lots of vinyl cracks, and it changes to a driving beat comparing to a rather on-edge female hero a la Sarah Connor. 'Hypovolemic Shock' has a very haunting, atmospheric tone despite the use of drum machines, a description comparing well to the mental state of those still alive in Cluster Buster's narrative. 'Cleaver vs Cleavage', while an interesting pun of a title, is easily one of the darker tracks from the album, with a backing melody remarkably reminiscent of the Halloween theme.

'Axe You a Few Questions' is particularly interesting to me as a soundtrack fan. Some orchestral strings are thrown in, in addition to the usual purely-synthetic sounds, giving a good Psycho-like vibe to the track at times. Definitely something to check out if you want more variety of sounds in your dosage of synthwave.

Gearing up for the 'Showdown', as the name would suggest, is very foreboding, suggesting an impending fight as the killer and his remaining targets prepare themselves for the other. Great preparation/workout music overall.

Evidently, the killer has won for now the title of the next track says, 'He Never Stops'. Another good mid-tempo track with nice synth strings trading places with orchestral strings every so often, all over drum machine-based rhythms.

'Nightmares in a Damaged Brain' is a nice horror track shifting in and out of chromatic melodies, making it fitting for the corrupted dreams of the survivors. Near the end of the story, the police finally begin to get a clue of what's going on with 'Crime Scene', which is perfect soundtrack music for a crime-themed movie or TV show. A rather troubling, cliffhanger of an ending of the album with 'The Dead Next Door' ridden with fuzz guitars and on-edge brass and string instruments.

Overall, this is an amazing piece of work. The mastering is not over compressed like some other dark synth albums but loud enough to be deemed a good adrenalin hit for audiences. The choices of instruments, both synthetic and acoustic in nature, fit very well with the ideas. Definitely something I'd recommend for synthwave fans who prefer its darker side.

Future 80s presents Cluster Buster's Total Terror album on their Bandcamp page here and is very, very highly recommended by Synthetix.FM. There appears to be no physical release at the time of this review, though hopefully that will change soon. This album is simply too good for any fans of noir and horror influenced synthwave sounds to miss.