Saturday, September 20, 2014

Synthetix Sundays

On a brisk, cool night the moon lights a sliver of open ground amid the swaying bamboo forest and the flashing blade of Marko Maric bursts from the shadows! The Synth Ninja himself explodes with fury in this week's episode of Synthetix Sundays! With arcane ninjitsu magicks in full force as he takes on the might of Neon Vice, the clandestine mirage that is Waveshaper and the beguiling but deadly charms of Femmepop.

The final battle for control of the ninja empire results in a shodown with the ninja master The Dust Collective and the robotic ninja assassin Droid Bishop; finally divulging the book of martial art secrets contained in the Beyond Blue album due out this Tuesday. Expect Marco to extract some choice cuts and slashes from this tome as Droid Bishop relinquishes his tight grasp over the coveted prize!

Joining Marco along this violent path of destiny is Paul 'Dress2Kill' Daly doing his best Sho Kosugi impression and Rick Shithouse in Quality Time With Shithouse, channelling the spirit of Richard Harrison for even more shuriken firing, katana shredding, kama wielding good times!

Synthetix Sundays is LIVE on Radio Pure Gently at this time wherever you are on planet Earth. And you can come back to the shadows on Monday for a fully downloadable digital copy of the live show as well as the Quality Time With Shithouse free and purchasable tracks.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Flashback Friday

Killer Workout aka Aerobicide (1987)

Happy Friday Retronauts!  This week I've chosen a forgotten 80's slasher packed full of sizzling co-eds in leotards with leg-warmers bouncing and gyrating to exquisitely cheesy pop tracks that'll make you sweat!

1987's Killer Workout  also known as Aerobicide, written and directed by David A. Prior stars Marcia Karr as Rhonda Johnson, the owner of a small town health club that caters to young beautiful people.  When members of the gym start turning up dead, dim-witted police detective Lt. Morgan begins looking for clues that seem to point toward a member named Jimmy after he's caught stalking Rhonda by Chuck Dawson, a private investigator.  Chuck confronts Jimmy which results in Jimmy knocking Chuck out and escaping only to return later to hit Chuck with his car.  Lt. Morgan gets word of Rhonda's secret past as Valerie Johnson, a model who scarred 70% of her body in a terrible tanning bed accident and believes her jealousy may be a motive, but after Jimmy kills Chuck he's not sure who the real health gym murderer is!

The soundtrack is full of energy and the backing tracks are enjoyably suspenseful.  A great synthwave album to accommodate this film would be Arc Neon's Technicolor Workout which is perfectly attuned for a hot, steamy workout.

So if you've been looking to hit the gym and burn some of those extra calories but can't must the energy, or just need an excuse to watch gorgeous 80's ladies in leotards do aerobics then give this flick a watch!  Till next Friday Synthaholics, have fun and be safe!

-Magnum Crockett

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Jordan F In The Slipstream

By Jerry Herrera

The truly beautiful and rewarding thing about being a fan of Synthwave is that it’s very much like watching the birth of a universe:  planets clumping together, stars being born in the furnaces of heaven, clouds of pastel gasses unfurling across a twinkling abyss, and gravity pulling all of it into rhythm and form.  It’s so rewarding to see new producers pop up but at the same time there are those celestial structures that were there when the music gods first said “Let there be Synth.”

Jordan F is one of the first names I came to know when I first fell in love with the genre.  Over the past two years or so, he’s been diligently and consistently putting out singles, an EP and a handful of remixes all of which explore different avenues of synth but none missing the mark.  While other producers may have struggled early on to find their voice (so to speak), Jordan F just seemed to grasp the concept, the “feel” of synth.

Finally Jordan F gives us a full length album, Slipstream.  Fans will automatically recognize 'Abandoned Streets' which I feel is a seminal track and the video by Neros77 stands out as one of the genre’s best.  It’s a slow drive down the alleys of a futuristic nightmare, complete with acid rains and nuclear dust storms sweeping across the desolate wasteland.  If you’ve never heard of Jordan F, consider this his business card.

Making a sudden turn down a completely different avenue is 'Take Flight'.  This is easily my favorite track on the album because it’s just so damned cool.  An easy, pleasant bassline with those familiar power snares and some trance like guitar strings all come together to make perfect cruise music for this transition between summer and autumn.  'Into the Night' follows a somewhat similar formula but with a little more rock thrown in as there is some killer guitar shredding and some power chords in the background.  I should also note that Jordan F is one of the only guys who can make a synthwave drum arrangement and bassline worthy of the hip hop head nod.

'Space Romance' takes the ‘80s love theme and puts a sci fi/OutRun spin on it, with scintillating synth melodies and ever so soft, delayed guitars behind them.  The last minute and fifteen seconds is just pure, haunting bliss and the track creates a sense of travel, and an image of two people crossing oceans of stars to be together.  'Night Wave' is a return to more traditional sci fi synth with a little OutRun thrown in, and while I’ve named 'Take Flight' as my favorite track; I do have to recognize the gorgeous brilliance of 'Hologram Rose' which is another slow, chilled track that is both emotionally evocative and soothing to hear.  While Jordan F chooses to focus on the sci fi sound, it is evidenced by tracks like this that he also understands what makes a song draw out emotions and nostalgia.

Closing out Slipstream is one final race to the stars with 'So Close' before we return to the post apocalypse with 'Abandoned Streets (Part II)' which plays with some melodies and pads that may not have made it into the first version but retaining the grit and terror of the original.

Being one of the first shining stars of Synthwave doesn’t excuse anyone from slouching or putting forth a half-assed effort and it’s clear that Jordan F knows we expect great things from him.  Indeed, Slipstream takes us from the mutant infested streets of the dystopian future to cosmic heights populated with star crossed lovers, and then back down again with the earnest effort and natural talent of a guy that’s been around the block a few times.  Jordan F continues to be on point and his vision couldn’t be more clear.

Rosso Corsa Records presents Jordan F’s Slipstream on their Bandcamp page here. This album stands out from the crowd in its polish and the make up of the tracks, everything manages to sound so well thought out and constructed while remaining passionate and emotional. Slipstream comes very, very highly recommended from Synthetix.FM and has proven once again that patience in waiting for something great certainly pays off.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Scythian Chronicles: Infiltration

Synthetix.FM is honoured to host the epic new project from imagination of Jon Of The Shred as a regular biweekly feature. I hope everyone supports this kick arse idea as it takes the soundtrack aspect of 80s inspired synth music into whole new realm of possibilities and as the Synthetix community becomes involved who knows what wonders we'll experience. Over to you, Jon rocker! 

The concept behind Scythe is an idea I've had for years now. Conceptualized in 2009, the idea is an entire sub-genre of music that is connected through a cohesive narrative. Instead of a concept album from one band, why not have a concept UNIVERSE celebrated by a dozen artists? Upon discovering the genre Synthwave through this very site, Synthetix.FM, I found the perfect music genre and community to allow this project to reach it's full potential. It is with that I proudly present the launch of the SCYTHE universe available exclusively on Synthetix.FM and LuigiDonatello's Youtube channel!

The Scythian Chronicles: Infiltration

by Jon of the Shred

The city skyline stands dark and solemn against the night sky, almost invisible to the eye, blending almost seamlessly against the stars. This was the once great Specter City. Years before Specter City was a bustling metropolis filled with culture and wealth, arguably the grandest city on the entire planet of Scythe. Back then the skyscrapers would have been dotted with inviting lights, drenching the countryside in a neon hue so bright it would block out the stars. But all the life of the once prosperous metropolis had been drained away, and now it was just another massive graveyard; a charred, blackened gathering of twisted steel that housed nothing but death and the fading memories of a great civilization lost.

Specter City stood upon the edge of the country, sandwiched between the great Specter Sea and the Forest of the Impaled. At the edge of the Forest of the Impaled now stands the Lone Musician, one of the psychologically scarred survivors of the horrid Apocalyptic Dawn. His face is expressionless as he surveys the abandoned city, memories flooding into his minds eye, painful reminders of horrors from 6 months ago. He can't help but turn his thoughts to those days during the great panic, to how the world was turned upside down and a plague mercilessly cut through every city and town on the planet, rendering once great civilizations and cultures into figurative ashes of the past.

The Lone Musician continues forward, his trusty guitar on his back and a machete hanging off his belt. A steely, cold resolve pushes him forward despite his weakened state. He hasn't eaten in days – the Forest of the Impaled did not prove fruitful for foraging. Not only had no animals walked within the cross hairs of his crossbow during his journey through the forest, but no animals even made sounds within earshot of him. The forest was stiller than it had ever been before, eerily silent when it too used to be so full of life much like the life the city once housed. The Lone Musician's search for food in the forest had lasted 3 days with no results. It was with this string of bad luck and hunting misfortune that drove him to the edge of Specter City on this dark and unforgiving night.

Scoping the fence that surrounds the city, the Lone Musician looks for a weakness, and finally spots a hole in the chain links. Through the hole in the fence he goes, and he now stands in Specter City, likely the first living man to walk through it's streets since the Apocalyptic Dawn first brought the Scythian people to their knees.

The pungent aroma of death grows thicker with each step he takes. The alleyways are littered with corpses, thankfully none that are moving. Once majestic buildings tower overhead ominously, no longer dotted with the neon lights and flashy digital billboards of only 6 months prior. Now they only cast shadows of death and despair, across abandoned streets and alleys littered with the decay of a dead society.

The Lone Musician continues forward, making his way down an alleyway. He steps over corpses mindfully, making each step deliberately. Lurking undead would often spring back to life and bite a chunk of flesh from their victims legs, now lazy and inactive compared to their frenzied, calculated rage in the early days of the apocalypse. The Lone Musician continues forward, listening for signs of danger, always alert and ready to fight or flee should the need arise. As he reaches the end of the alley, his ears catch the sound of shuffling feet, of uncoordinated footsteps. He carefully peaks around the corner, hand ready on his machete, to survey the situation.

There it lumbers. The mechanized corpse of a former Specter City police officer aimlessly wanders the abandoned city streets. It's face is a twisted mix of hunger, instinct and death, with the slightest hint of sadness. Chunks of flesh hang off what used to be the corpses left arm, which appears to have been violently ripped off at the elbow. A large gash in it's stomach has caused the creatures innards to fall out. It's intestines were now being dragged across the concrete below, leaving a trail of blood behind, the corpse none the wiser. The Lone Musician notes the irony – these beasts are perpetually hungry, yet this one's intestines are being dragged behind it – the food serves no purpose. He'd seen other Impaled who feasted so much their stomachs had exploded. What a cruel irony, both for the creatures and the survivors. An endless hunger that only leads to more hunger. Perhaps the creatures hungered for death. In any case, it was time to end this one's hunger.

In a flash his machete was drawn and he was darting towards the Impaled. The creature turned towards him, but not fast enough, as the machete was sunk deep into it's head, draining the strange life right from it's undead eyes. The Lone Musician quickly withdraws the blade from the creatures skull, and the corpse sinks lifelessly to the concrete below. He looks around fast, not seeing any more of the Impaled, and darts to an abandoned corner store.

Looking into the window the Lone Musician sees the store is still full of supplies and opens the door cautiously, closing it softly behind him. Looking down each aisle he spots only a single corpse. He picks up a piece of broken glass on the floor and throws it down the aisle right at the corpse. The glass hits the ground and shatters, but the corpse does not stir. In a flash, he puts his customized survival guitar case to the ground, opening one of the large pockets and stuffing it with all the food within arms length. He rips open a bag of chips and starts eating passionately, satiating a hunger that had lasted far too long and returned far too frequently.

The Lone Musician moves on to the beverage section. The refrigeration systems had long been dormant and most of the goods contained within were spoiled. This does not deter the man, as he searches for water. He finds it and starts adding dozens of bottles to his haul, quickly filling his bag, not noticing the lifeless corpse from earlier had started to shuffle towards him. He opens one of the bottles and right as he's finished chugging it's contents, the corpse grabs him.

Dropping his machete and falling to the ground, the Impaled now lunges at his throat. The Lone Musician in a moment of desperation pulls out his pistol and fires a bullet right into the creatures brain. The gunshot echoes through the abandoned store. The Lone Musician tosses the corpse off of him and quickly scoops up his guitar case, holsters his pistol, and grabs his machete.

Now dashing for the door, the wail of Impaled moans is growing around him. They were already swarming towards the entrance. Lurking Impaled sprung to action, straining to gain footing and lumbering hungrily towards the convenience store entrance. The Lone Musician steps into the streets and scopes dozens of Impaled closing in from every direction. The gunshot had served as a dinner bell, and these corpses were hungry. An Impaled gets too close for comfort and the Lone Musician plunges his machete through the creatures right eye and out the back of it's skull. The corpse doesn't even hit the ground before the Lone Musician has broken into a sprint towards the alleyway he'd entered the city through.

Two Impaled block the entrance of the alleyway, and the Lone Musician quickly sinks his machete into one of the creatures skulls while simultaneously drawing his pistol and firing a round into the others skull. He immediately withdraws his blade from the rotten flesh and holsters his pistol, breaking into a run down the alleyway with purpose. Finally he reaches the breech in the fence, dodging three more Impaled and scrambling through. He has escaped Specter City in one piece, but the night is still young and he has to move fast to outrun the legions of Scythian undead now slowly stumbling towards him in hopes of consuming his flesh.

As he finally reaches the edge of the forest, he turns around and takes one last glance at Specter City. In a strange way it was satisfying seeing the city full of life again. For just a moment he pretends the figures dotting the landscape and now pushing at the fences were living Scythians. He pretended the dark presence of death has been lifted and the city was once again full of life and prosperity. But these thoughts fade quick as more Impaled emerge from the forest. Quickly downing three of these creatures to the grass with his machete, he darts into the forest with a case full of food and an entire undead city at his heels.

The Scythian Chronicles will have a new instalment published on Synthetix.FM every two weeks and you can pick up a copy of 'Infiltration' on Jon Of The Shred's Bandcamp here

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sagittarius V Is The Renegade

By Rick Shithouse

One of the many things that interests me about modern producers of 80s inspired synth music is how they become entranced in the sounds and then how their inner muse takes this direction further. From other electronic genres, to the ever present Drive movie, through to all manner of metal and rock related places and spaces we find new producers of 80s inspired sounds appearing with startling frequency.

Sagittarius V is one of the most recent devotees to the classic synth sounds and through his recent interview on Synthetix Sundays (available for your predilection here) I learned much about his background and how he got to the point of making the Renegade EP. With such a wide variety of influences it is no surprise that Sagittarius V's take on retro synth sounds comes from a rather different place and adds some very intriguing elements into the mix.

There's much variation in Sagittarius V's sounds, from track to track and as an experiment, Renegade marks a great debut into sounds from the past that opens many paths for this producer to adventure upon. A stronger opening track you'll be hard up finding as Sagittarius V's powerhouse OutRun track 'Lucidator' begins things in earnest. The lead melody is haunting and hits hard, a melancholic aura rides on top of the huge engine room and brings in darker shades of synth alchemy. The depth of the piece, however, is where the real reward is, as is the case with much of this EP; tracks consistently delve well below the surface and are explored with much passion.

This takes on different shades in the second piece, the title track: 'Renegade'. The darker moods from 'Lucidator' move into different pastures of sounds with a harder, late 80s Italo bassline mixing with a combination of early 90s EBM/Industrial sounds. Sagittarius V cites Nine Inch Nails as a major influence and this is felt directly in the musical parts of 'Renegade' as well as in the heavily Reznor-esque vocal phrasing. The combinations of sounds work, and the way the track is arranged is far less traditional than initial impressions give.

Sagittarius V's experiments pay off, and with the third movement, simply titled 'The Night'. We're presented with a vast and involving synthscape that is hugely emotionally driven while keeping a cold austerity to complementary elements. Feelings of isolation and longing filter in throughout but a hope is present within the melodies that is frail and delicate, holding things together; if only just.

Romantic sounds begin to flow into the palette with the gorgeous follow up piece 'Sunrise'. The musical elements as so muted and sensitively arranged that a closeness can be felt within the sounds and the quieter passages. Guitars and very ethereal vocals add an even greater intimacy which then melts into a truly uplifting final passage. One of the brightest highlights on the EP, 'Sunrise' is a vision of synthual pleasures.

The atmospheres of 'Sunrise' are warm, welcoming and a resounding contrast to the opening tracks and the heat continues to rise in another scene-setting piece titled 'Tokyo Mind E-Racer'. This is the most soundtrack oriented piece on the EP and the journey is as unpredictable as it is intriguing. The tensions become greater and more intense through each passage with Sagittarius V employing some very kick arse slowing down and speeding up gimmicks that really capture the imagination, painting an energetic picture of free flowing synth magic. 'Tokyo Mind E-Racer' is, structurally, the most epic and inventive experience on Renegade and shines bright from beginning to end.

Renegade completes with 'Standby...Me', ushering in an introspective synthscape underneath the garbled crosstalk of space program communique samples. The contrast of the samples with the absolutely breathtaking melodic excursions creates a sense of total wonder, contemplative and uplifting; giving the listener a sense of hope against the backdrop of an unforgiving yet beautiful celestial void.

Future 80s Records presents Sagittarius V's Renegade EP on their Bandcamp page here. There is a lot to love and explore amid the six tracks contained and it all sounds fresh, vital and full of future possibilities. Sagittarius V has a wonderful gift of instilling deep emotional conversations into his music and conveys the messages with great clarity. Synthetix.FM very highly recommends this release for both its inventiveness and the emotional investment and also for the incredibly robust arrangements within the tracks the tell each story so beautifully.