Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Happy 4th Birthday To Synthetix.FM!

Today marks the fourth birthday for Synthetix.FM and I thought a new look for the site was in order as well as a few new things we'll be doing on here as a part of your regularly scheduled programming.

First off I'll be introducing four new monthly features to the site, one per week, that will be covering non-music but completely 80s related passions of my own. I've found over the last year that I wanted to write about things other than music on occassion and instead of creating new sites I've decided to put them under the umbrella of Synthetix.FM, hence our new tagline: 80s Passions For Your Modern Life.

I've been a passionate collector and ardent fan of many 80s things besides the music and will be using the site to showcase these under four new banners here. I'll also invite others to contribute to these sections as they see fit too as the is always going to highly value contributors. These new sections are:

Objet d’Rad 

These posts will focus on specific items of 80s desgin that are true hallmarks of the decade. From housewares to ceramics to designer pieces to electronic consumer products and everything in between. There are so many wonderful items I've collected over the years and also continue to pine for that these posts will draw from many of the resources I've also collected over the years.

Selling The Dream

Selling The Dream is all about advertising throughout the 80s. Print ads, TV commercials and vintage brochures will be covered here for your delectation. Advertising materials are some of my most prized resources and these posts will endeavour to give you constant new 80s inspirations.


This will be a monthly post covering boomboxes, cassettes and other 80s music related technology. I'll be featuring specific items from my collections and covering their design features as well as pop culture associations from the decade. If you're already a fan portable audio design and cassette culture this is sure to be something you'll enjoy.

Synth Erotica

Technically not anything new as I was doing Synth Erotica long before Synthetix.FM but from now on Synth Erotica content will be posted on Synthetix.FM. Synth Erotica focuses on the incredibly synth based soundtracks used in adult entertainment throughout the 80s and early 90s. This music has already provided much inspiration, and will continue on here to be a monthly feature. I'll be also doing these in video as well as audio format, where it is tastefully possible.

These new sections will be midweek posts that will happen approximately once a month, the schedule will become apparent over the next few months as I get things organised. 

Synthual Rendezvous 2016

In other Synthetix.FM news we're now roughly ten days away from the cut off date for this year's Synthual Rendezvous mixtape. If you have a sensual, sexy, sultry track that can be Synth Romance, or even just emotionally driven music that has that loving passion or even a synth pop love song, it's all gonna be rockin. Here's last year's edition if you're still not sure what I'm after.

The tracks don't have to be exclusive or previously unreleased but they can't be more than a year old and they MUST be mp3 format and tagged CORRECTLY with song title and artist name. Any track submitted that isn't will not be included. All tracks must be original work too, no remixes or covers. Tracks can be sent to me via email here.

I'll need the tracks by Friday, February 12 (that'll be the 11th for those in the U.S and UK due to timezones) with a view to have the mixtape up and rockin by 13th.

The First Synthetix.FM Mixtape For 2016

And finally, the latest edition of the regular Synthetix.FM Mixtape is now out on soundcloud!

This marks the final track in the Synthetix.FM Extended Mix exclusives I've been including for the last 16 months or so. Cry Wolf's amazing 'Don't Look Back' gets that honour and will be the last track of the twevle exclusive extended mixes that will be released on a special edition compilation in March. I'll be hoping to do this as a limited edition cassette release too, so keep an eye out for news on this project here and on Synthetix Sundays.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank every person who's contributed to Synthetix.FM, been an active member of the Synthetix Music Facebook community, listened to a Synthetix Mixtape or tuned into Synthetix Sundays, or just come here to find some rockin new tunes. Every hit, every comment, every word of encouragement means a great deal to me and the 80s inspired synth scene is something I'm honoured to be a part of expanding and growing over the years. Every single one of you makes a difference.

Here's to more good times and great rock'n'roll for many years to come, Happy Birthday Synthetix.FM!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Synthetix.FM Returns For 2016

Greetings fellow devotees of 80s inspired synth music and welcome back to regularly scheduled programming on Synthetix.FM. Our first post back is a bit of a catch up from over the holiday season, to let you know what we've been listening to over the last month that we just wanted to make sure you didn't miss out on. Let's get rockin! - RS

Synthetix.FM Staff Holiday Selections

Andrew B. White

Future Unlimited ‘Calm Me Down’

A brand new release from Nashville’s Future Unlimited. This straight-forward, chugging electro pop track has great vocals and an arrangement that pays homage to both the 80s and today. Nashville is not the most obvious place for this style of music but it’s a welcome addition to the airwaves. Check out more Future Unlimited out on Soundcloud.

Emil Rottmayer ‘L.I.F.T.’

This recent track from the U.K.’s Emil Rottmayer is an example of instrumental synthwave done well. Thoughtful production, arrangement and instrumentation raise it above the bar of others in the genre. A pleasure to listen to. If you think the cover art looks familiar, you’d be right – it’s by Forces Creative who did Duett’s cover, an artist that Rottmayer shares many qualities with.

Frances Rose ‘Dangerous’

Get in early, these two sisters are probably going to be the next big thing. Like HAIM but with one less sibling, with ‘Dangerous’ Frances Rose deliver a solid example of modern, 80s-inspired pop. I wouldn’t be surprised if they have been listening to Kristine for ideas, and the song title is not far removed from Kristine’s ‘The Danger’. But hey, every thing in pop has influences. The production is pretty good although what I’ve seen of their live shows so far doesn’t live up to the recordings just yet..

New Shack ‘House of Frankenstein’

‘House of Frankenstein’ was quietly released in the last part of 2015 but it’s a stayer. New Shack blur the lines between synthwave and modern electronica and despite the horror-title, the song this is beautiful and floating, with Catherine Leavy’s vocals complimenting the Cocteau Twins-like guitar textures.

Priest ‘the Game’

OK, so this one’s almost a year old now but I think Synthetix listeners who have not experienced Priest yet will find this right up their alley. A great example of Electric Youth-style synth pop, mixed to perfection. The album ‘The Game’ is from is also pretty good although for me, nothing on it quite tops ‘The Game’. Better late than never – get your ears ready.

James Mann

The holiday times mean several things for us folks here over at Synthetix.FM. Take some time off from the grind, catch up with family, a few friends and....well, still listen to some great tunes. There's never a break from the continual stream of synth product pushing its way through our speakers and into our minds. With that said, several releases over the last month have not only been impressive but I dare say must haves for your collection.

Stilz - Hyperspace Drifter II

Stilz returns with his signature heavy handed synth wizardry for a stellar release, one that steers you through his cosmic world of heavy beats and lush melodies. At times dark and determined, and other times melodic and beautiful, the tapestry of sounds in this release are strong.

Dallas Campbell - City 1

The analog master Dallas Campbell returns with one of the most cinematic, mesmerizing pieces or work I've ever heard. Beautiful, thick tones with sequencers and modules guide the listener through an OST dimension of nostalgia and wonder. His ability to circulate on a track puts you in a complete trance, and would fit perfectly in most movies. Come to think of it, if I ever have a short film or movie release there is no question I would commission him to score it. This stands apart from all other synthwave releases with a much more sophisticated grasp of sound and hardware knowledge. Absolute 10/10. So proud of this dude.

Muscle - White EP

Our favorite Italo/Hi NRG artist is back with a spectacular EP that brings the best energy this rock star can offer from the Falkland Islands. His progressions, sensibilities demonstrate a deep knowledge of song structuring with our favorite analog synths that really play off the Italo melodies that are sorely missing from the scene. You will never get scraps from Muscle, his bench press and lifts go far beyond the expectations from any listener. Perfect for drives, or just beautifully scripted motivational music for....oh say the gym. Yeah. I like that.

So there you guys have it. The folks at Synthetix.FM never really stop listening. These are three releases that transcend the best in current retrowave music and the best part is they are just a click away. So do yourself and your friends a favor and track these down.

Robin Ogden 

Psychic Shield - Slasher Film Festival Strategy

Psychic Shield is an imagined horror film gorefest, firmly in the Carpenter tradition of synth soundtracks, by Slasher Film Festival Strategy that I was fortunate enough to pick up on tape over the Christmas break from Transmission records. It’s a wonderful gateway into SFFS’s 20 year synth career and rich back catalogue of chilling horror/sci-fi synth releases.

Psychic Shield cassettes are still available at Foreign Sounds and a vinyl release is forthcoming via Death Waltz/MONDO soon. Slasher Film Festival back catalogue and Facebook pages.

City I - Dallas Campbell

City I is the latest full length release from synth guru Dallas Campbell, a masterful soundtrack for a thriller movie sans celluloid. Completely synchronic with the pre-midi era of 1983, City I’s a cerebral voyage into an all analog megalopolis.

City I is available for download via Magic Happened and a cassette release is forthcoming. Follow Dallas Campbell's musical journey here on Facebook.

Michael CA L

Between the time that Rick and the rest of the writing crew at Synthetix.FM closed up shop for the holidays and now, there have been a lot of goings-on in the world of synthwave and other retro-inspired genres. Just because the music was released during a time when coverage and reporting of such musical endeavours tapered off, however, doesn't mean that the music shouldn't be acknowledged.

In fact, holidays being times of high-spirits, good people, relaxation (if you're lucky) and an occasion to catch up on all the things one loves to do but maybe doesn't have enough time for during ordinary weeks of the year, perhaps they're the ideal time for listening, when one can catch up on the great music that's out there after putting their nose to the grindstone for so many months leading up to a break from it all.

If you were lucky enough to have some free time for music-listening during the holiday season (or a holiday at all), then you probably know that I mean about it being a great time to listen to music. I was fortunate enough to have some time off during the past month, and my good fortune was enhanced because of the incredible synth releases that I happened upon during this time. Although there were plenty of albums, EPs and singles in rotation during this time, I've decided to distil my list down to two releases that I found myself coming back to again and again. Here are two of the finest synth EPs that hit the scene between mid-December and now.

Nightboat - Bodyglove EP

Some artists opt to promote their work as much as possible, while others simply post a notification or two on their social media site and leave it at that. Nightboat tends to do the latter, and while his work is familiar to many synthwave fans, his tendency to release EPs more quietly than some means his growing body of work doesn't tend to reach the far corners of the scene the way other artists' work does.

In terms of cover art being an accurate reflection of an artist's work, Nightboat is up at the top of the list. His choice of artwork is slick, cool and clean, just like the sounds he produces. Tracks like "The Sure Thing", "Oceanview" and "Body Glove" are incredible examples of how a song can be engaging, playful, and replete with sentiment while also retaining a self-possessed edge of precision, purpose and ice-cold focus. It makes for the kind of listening experience I especially appreciate while navigating roadways with the music turned up loud or while walking through busy streets with a plan in mind.

The Bodyglove EP is a driving release in every sense of the term, and yet another excellent, succinct offering from a producer who typically skips self-promotion in favour of making music of a consistently high quality.


I first tuned into CRYSEHD when he released his Serial Killer album in the summer of 2015. I was impressed by his work for several reasons, not the least of which was the pure catchiness of his music and the ease-of-access through which the listener can appreciate his song writing in the face of glaringly dark themes and viciously aggressive and volatile tones. While it's not a revolutionary feat (we've known artists such as Perturbator, Dan Terminus and Gost to pull off similarly powerful achievements in their music), CRYSEHD managed to amalgamate the two often-dissimilar worlds in a manner that had its own unique and autonomously-inspired twists and turns, and his new EP continues on this path with similarly potent results.

There are moments commonly found in the songs on EP I ("Blood and Fire", "New World Order" and "TSAR" come to mind instantly) where the harsh, driving and volatile sound collapses into a single point of focus, where the listener's mind is attached to something pure, sharp and central. These moments don't necessarily have to do with a drop in tempo, breakdown or build-up, but instead have everything to do with precise and specific events that enter the mix.

Whether it's a unique instrument, an unusual synth voice, a melodic element or a rhythmic attribute, the music of CRYSEHD commonly features something that can best be described as an eye-of-the-storm type of phenomenon - something that brings a new breath of fresh air with a new taste to it into the listener's body. It makes for a powerful listening experience, and these refreshing gulps found within EP I, remarkable and effective as they are, leave me eager to follow the artist down the rabbit hole of dark sonic exploration.

Rick Shithouse

There's been some totally rockin releases over the last month and it pains me that we don't have the time to really cover some of these records in more depth but the releases keep coming and I didn't want the site to be bogged down catching up on things at the start of the year. It was also good to go back and look at what really stood out, for me personally, over the holiday period. 

D.Notive - Sentinel
First up is D.Notive with his very impressive Sentinel album. D.Notive has really crafted his own universe in this album, check out the trailer below for some idea of the effort he's gone to to make a cohesive dimension for his music to exist in.

The diversity in the music itself though is what stands out on this record. There's a great deal of homage to other staples of the 80s inspired synth scene but the way D.Notive shifts into vastly different gears from track to track is what impressed me a great deal. Whether he's rockin some intense darker grooves or crooning his heart out in a more pop chart oriented direction or even taking things back to smooth instrumentals D.Notive's music is all bound by an energy that is completely entrancing. The massive amount of divergent sounds on Sentinel make it a spectacular album experience and one that definitely stands out as genuinely passionate and accomplished release.

Pick up a copy on D.Notive's site here in dowloadable formats and CD.

Damokles - Ozone Surfing

Damokles really became a part of the extended family of Synthetix in 2015 and I found it an honour to be able to share in his music, myself, but it gave me great joy to see his music so accepted and loved in the wider audience of synthwave fans.

Damokles' album Ozone Surfing is characterised by true and sharp 80s synth hooks that are forged in equal fires of synth pop and electro.  The Damokles sound is vital and crafted spectacularly well but he never loses that sense of fun, which makes his synthscape especially and truly 80s in tone and colour.

The album covers many of his singles released throughout 2015 as well as some extra surprises to keep the album fresh. Since Damokles has been writing this music since the 80s themselves one would expect an accurate and honest experience and this album delivers this beautifully and articulately while still keeping some elements of modern sounds weaved within. There are superbly honed trademarks in Damokles' arrangements and melodies and that personality gives such an endearing and individualised accent to all his music that it just feels innate and effortless. Well, that's what decades of hard work will get you!

Pick up Ozone Surfing on Future 80s Records Bandcamp page here.

Myrone - New York Pizza

The guitar genius who wandered into the 80s inspired synth scene and decided to stay a while is back with a great little EP that rocks as hard as it swoons. Myrone's soft shred style has found a true home in 80s inspired sounds and New York Pizza proffers three suites of cheese laden, tasty goodness that is completely irresistable.

The EP wanders into some exciting library flavoured textures while still retaining the smooth licks and lip smacking chops we all love from Myrone, perhaps even more late-night soulful too in some respects? Regardless, it's all just rockin to the max and should be in everyone's music collection.

Get some tasty slices of New York Pizza on Myrone's Bandcamp page here while they're piping hot and sure to sate your 80s appetites.

Finally, I'd like to make sure everyone out there gets behind A Synth Love Affair Vol.1, curated by our very own Marko Maric out now on Future 80s Records. This has been a genuine labour of love in every respect for Marko and he's assembled and incredible line up producers all rockin their deepest emotions in pure, unfettered Synth Romance.

It's the first compilation of its kind and takes you into a dreamy dimension of nostalgia and rich emotions. From beginning to end, you'll feel every track as deeply as you hear them.

Pick up a digital copy of Synth Love Affair Vol.1 on Future 80s Records Bandcamp here and keep a sharp look out for the super limited edition cassette release coming out soon.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Synthetix Sundays

Marko's back with another killer edition of Synthetix Sundays this weekend, only on Radio Pure Gently!

This week Marko sits down with dark synth icons Dance With The Dead in a extended interview that will be sure to thrill and chill! He'll also be premiering an exclusive track from the Synth Love Affair compilation due out this Tuesday the 26th. 'Tis the season of love and passion so get your groove grinding and explore those warm (and sometimes wet) 80s feelings in the deepest way possible.

Quality Time With Shithouse returns along with regular segments from Paul Dress-2-Kill Daly and Dallas with Synthetix Spotlight.

There'll be heaps of download codes to giveaway as usual and a synthtastic playlist you'll be thoroughly entertained by.

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:

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Synthetix Sundays

Marko's back with a kick arse new episode of Synthetix Sundays this weekend, only on Radio Pure Gently!

He has nterviews this week with the ever rockin Aaron Vehling from review, interview and blog, Emmett Brown and Nightboat.

There'll be no Quality Time with Shithouse this Sunday as I'm trying to pretend I'm on holidays but there will still be Synthetix Spotlight with Dallas and also Paul 'Dress-2-Kill' Daly's segment.

Marko will be giving the love to all the good releases from the last three weeks plus has a tonne of download code giveaways for those listening 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.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Synthetix Sundays

Happy New Year Everyone!!

This week we bring you the Synthetix Sundays End of Year Special!

It's going to be a very special show featuring the best synth music from 2015. Marko will be interviewing one of the scene's premier graphic designers Sam Todhunter,  he'll be chatting with Nennek about his awesome new album Supercluster and the super talented producer Atrey will be rockin the scene too.

Very special end of year segments with Paul Daly and Quality Time with Shithouse and as you've come to expect there'll be heaps of download codes to give away in the chat! Marko's also premiering an exclusive track from Atrey.

So come join us we celebrate and recap the outstanding year that 2015 was in 80s inspired synth music!

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.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Fourth Annual Synthetix.FM Synthstravaganza!

2015 is nearly all but a memory and it's been another huge year for the 80s inspired synth music scene. The progress seen throughout the year has been something that has genuinely amazed me. Instead of writing soundtrack style music producers are now writing soundtracks for actual products. Games, movies, TV and more media are looking to the 80s to provide the musical accompaniment for their vision as an almost commonplace occurrence. Massive projects like Kung Fury and Turbo Kid shone as hugely succesful examples of implementing 80s inspired synth music in the perfect manner. What I've seen this do is establish the music as something valid as opposed to it being a 'novelty' style of music in the eyes of many new listeners. The music evolves as does its audience and 2015 had some great music that will always mark out this year in particular, stylistically.

This year was the year that producers more regularly began digging deeper for 80s inspirations. If 2014 was the year Italo came back, 2015 was definitely the year 80s Library music came back. So many producers explored the obscure gems of 80s library and stock music and took those influences into their own sounds. The end result has been some of the most kick arse music I've heard the scene produce since the early days. Fresh sounds, full of excitement and energy. Sounds that bring new possibilities to 80s music in a modern context.

The exploration didn't stop there though. Deeper explorations of existing 80s styles occurred through so many genres throughout the year. Vocals developed massively through 2015 as producers literally found their own voices and also enlisted new voices into our beloved 80s soundscape. This year has easily been the most prolific thus far for 80s synth pop sounds with so many incredibly written and performed pop gems included on many albums. The diversity is always what breeds creativity and this past year has been rockin to the max for new and established producers to be inventive and break out in bold new examinations of 80s sounds.

For all the positives, there have also been some negatives this year. We've lost numerous parts of the scene in 2015, some that some would say were integral; other would say their loss was inconsequential. The loss of Maniac Synth's YouTube channel was one of the hardest for many as his channel provided marvellous exposure for many producers and had a huge following. A related huge negative impact on the scene throughout the year; (and one that will only continue to worsen through 2016 in my opinion, unfortunately) is that of perceived copyright infringements used by services such a soundcloud and YouTube. Throughout the year I've seen far too many cries from anguished producers having their music taken down, or accounts frozen due to automatic (and mostly incorrect) flagging of copyright breaches. Our own Neros77 wasn't untouched by this and nearly had his YouTube account closed during the year. And even yours truly is serving 'one strike' against his soundcloud account for some entirely unknown breach of copyright that I had no recourse whatsoever to even get the details of what the infringement was.

As the internet becomes more and more monetised and controlled by larger interests it closes tighter and tighter around those of us who use other people's music or imagery to promote it. Who knows where it will end, but it's definitely only just beginning as more and more automated routines scan and rescan everyone's content for possible copyright breaches. I fear the days of anyone being able to post fanmade content to popular services are behind us, but hopefully other avenues will appear as losing these people who do so much wonderful and entertaining work to promote the music we love hurts all of us.

Back to the positives of 2015 and another big change that happened this year and has had a huge snowball effect is the amount of producers and groups now playing live; and doing so regularly. So many great gigs have happened all around the world this year with cards of completely 80s inspired synth acts performing to audiences of old and new fans. For all the great work the internet can do for music promotion I'm still a very firm believer in the old school tried and tested grassroots fan base for the music and playing live is an important way to grow the music's fanbase. I've witnessed this first hand myself and really hope that more fans of 80s inspired synth music 'vote with their feet' and get out to local shows to experience the live magic of seeing producers you love in their true element.

So, what's up for 2016? Well, I have no idea what's in store for the 80s inspired synth scene but I'll be right there with you sharing the love for all the music that I think matters. This year we formed  a core of half a dozen regular writers who'll (hopefully!) all be rockin with you on here next year too, whom I thank deeply for donating their time and energy in creating content for the site. Also next year, as I mentioned in the most recent Synthetix Sundays, I'll be expanding Synthetix.FM's content beyond just music in 2016. I was originally going to start a new umbrella site that Synthetix.FM would be a part of but I think the best idea is to keep things as one on here and add new types of content under the Synthetix banner.

I've had many, many ideas of things I'd like to cover and write about online from the 80s fascinations I have but I always kept them 'on the backburner' as I figured they'd need to exist in a separate space to this site. I then realised doing new sites just fractures things further and further. The content I plan on sharing on here that is not music related will essentially be 80s design oriented. Products, design pieces, art, photography and consumer items that I find essential to the 80s aesthetic. I'll be introducing these new sections after the site's fourth birthday in February, I hope it will be content you find interesting and entertaining. It will not effect the amount of music coverage on Synthetix.FM, the new content will be in addition to the regular music reviews and Synthetix Sundays episodes. I'm really looking forward to sharing many more of my 80s passions with you throughout 2016, it's gonna be rockin to the max!

I'd also like to thank Marko Maric for all he has done for the music in 2015. The Synthetix Sundays shows are a spectacular showcase for the best of the scene and offers so many opportunities for producers to share their stories and music. The endless hours that go into producing the show is something Marko does purely for love, and I greatly look forward to working with him throughout 2016. Many thanks to Jazzi, Paul, Dallas, Micky, Larry and the other regular contributors to the show. It's a phenomonal success that I hope keeps on rockin and it's an honour to have a spot on the show as well as it being a part of the Synthetix family.

Compiling this year's favourite music was an interesting, as always, experience in really focusing on what music I loved the most over the past 12 months. I must, as always, preface these Top Tens as being solely my own opinion. They're not based on sales or listens or anyone elses opinion but my own. One of the absolute hardest categories to do this year was the Top Ten Albums. So, so many great albums came out in 2015, so many wonderful experiences that thrilled from beginning to end that it was exceedingly hard to get it down to 10 only but the labouring I've had over the order of all these Top Tens over the last couple of weeks has got me to a point where I'm confident they reflect my musical loves and passions for the year. So, let's get rockin with the Top Tens of 2015 on Synthetix.FM

Top 10 Soundtrack Synth

1, Blood Ninja - City Project
2, Transport Beauty - Phaserland
3, Tequila Sunrise - Le Matos
4, Towards The Island Universe - Dynatron
5, Ninja Eliminator 4: The French Connection - Thomas Barrandon
6, A New Market - Chuck Shumann & Trevor Bennett
7, Mooginizer - Interstellar Travel
8, Story - Cobra Copter
9, Viracocha - Like Mowrey
10, News Report - Alpha Boy

Top 10 Electro Funk Synth

1, Quantum Flux - Damokles
 Don't Stop - McKlain
3, Do The Math - Slanger
4, Tergiversation - Satori In Bed
5, Maverick - Fanateek One with Rach B
6, We Just Wanna Dance - Beat Ratio
7, On The Streets - Garth Knight
8, Shopotheosis - USA Gold
9, Negotiations - Robert Parker
10, Break Dancer - AlphaRISC

Top 10 OutRun Synth

1, Guided By Moonlight - Betamaxx
2, Feed To Kill - Thomas Barrandon
3, Felony Evading - Streetcleaner
4, Tony Chaw Is Dead - Volkor X
5, Ride All Night - September 87
6, Endurance - Destryur
7, Highway Lovers - VHS Dreams
8, Chase On Brickell - Bart Graft
9, Does He Look Like A Bitch - Occams Laser
10, Reality Time - Unitra

Top 10 Dark Synth

1, Paradise Warfare - Carpenter Brut
2, The Wrath Of Code - Dan Terminus featuring Perturbator
3, Bathory Bitch - GosT
4, Chryslerpés - REZNYCK
5, Operation Munich (Extended Version) - Vercetti Technicolor
6, Pathfinder - Vector Hold
7, Hour Of The Wolf - Oscillian
8, Una Notta Violenta - Nighcrawler
9, On The Verge - 20SIX Hundred
10, Purgatory Theme - Europaweite Aussichten

Top 10 Italo Disco Synth

1, Star Rhythm - Galspace Project
2, Everytime - 23rd Underpass
3, Tear - Lost Years
4, Glory Days - Plaisance
5, Complications - Ben Businovski
6, Glider - Dallas Campbell
7, Playing Space - Interval - Andrey Zhitnev
8, Let's Faux - Map Of The World At Night
9, Planet - TDHDriver
10, Sorceror - Paladin

Top 10 Synth Romance

1, Reminiscence - IamManolis
2, Virtual Sunset - Starbound
3, Roads - Vincenzo Salvia
4, Everything - LA Dreams
5, Drifting Away - Timecop1983
6,  Summer Rain - Myrone
7, Any Given Moment - RF Extreme
8, Last Days Of Sun - Sunglasses Kid with Phaserland
9, Ocean Drive - Sub Morphine
10, Lost With You - First Impressions with Ghost Mall

Top 10 Synthwave

1, The Pump - Flash Arnold
2, Future - Mahoney
3, Jimmy - Pumping Body
4, Running From The Past - Nitelight
5, Long Before Morning - Hello Meteor
6, Look At Me - Damokles
7, Allegiance - Mick Mclane
8, Amped - LA Dreams
9, Crime Ridden Wasteland - Mythical Vigilante
10, Summer Is Coming - Run Vaylor

Top 10 Synth Pop

1, Save You - Highway Superstar with Sebastian Gampl and Miranda Carey
2, Lifeline - Foret De Vin
3, True Survivor - Mitch Murder with David Hasselhoff
4,Julienne  - D U E T T featuring Stuart Lockwood
5, Chasing The Sunset - Miracle Cat
6, Motorcade - Beckett
7, Burning Fever - Kristine
8, Mesmerised - Jordan F featuring Dana Jean Phoenix
9, Nothing To Burn - Freeweights
10, I Don't Mind - Glass Apple Bonzai

Top 10 Electronica

1, Company Regulations - Amazing Police
2, Meta Valley (Extended Mix) - Abelard
3, Videoscape - B o d y l i n e
4, Back To Life - Killstarr
5, Send Him In - Oscillian
6, Body Heat - Robots With Rayguns
7, Meteor Wave - Skript
8, Wrong Number - Tanimura Midnight
9, Seaside - Z A N D A
10, Variations - Raikman

Top 10 EPs of 2015

1, Winner - Sebastian Gampl
2, Ep III - Carpenter Brut
3, Victory Lap - Pengus
4, OST - Thomas Barrandon
5, Mind Game - IamManolis
6, Jai Alai - Plaisance
7, Resemblance In Machine - Phaserland
8, Solar Drifter - Waveshaper
9, Interfaces - Format 440
10,Kosanagi-no-Turugi - Kyoto Dragon

Top 10 Albums of 2015

1, Volume I - TEK
2, Endgame - Highway Superstar
3, Retrograde - Beckett
4, The Wrath Of Code - Dan Terminus
5, Turbo Kid OST - Le Matos
6, CS005 - Maethelvin
7, Kristine - Kristine
8, Borderline - D U E T T
9, The Cold Rise From Sleep - 20SIX Hundred
10, Paper Objects - LA Dreams

And to complete this year's Synthstravaganza festivities we have the Synthetix.FM Ultimix 2015. The top four tracks from each top ten mixed into a two and a half hour plus time capsule of what music rocked me the most over the last 12 months.

Synthetix.FM will be on vacation now until late January 2016 when we'll be back and rockin hard. Many thanks to everyone who's become part of the Synthetix community and who supports the music we all love. Much love from the extended Synthetix.FM family to yours.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Sferro's Ornaments

By Jerry Herrera

Listening to Sferro’s latest album, Ornaments, isn’t like listening to other synthwave releases. Whereas many producers will stay in a particular subgenre or two, and will be the go-to guys and girls for when you’re feeling like OutRun or future synth or horror, there a fewer out there who are willing to experiment and deconstruct or pull from other retro influences. I believe this is purely a matter of choice for the most part; some want to master a particular sound while others just want to see what happens when different influences collide. With Ornaments, Sferro falls into the latter category. It’s challenging to describe the album within the vocabulary of the synthwave genre, so bear with me. The only thing I can promise is that there will be no Christmas puns.

I’ve said before that some producers create from a point of nostalgia. Their music is an homage to a memory. Others put themselves in the decade and say, “What did they have then? What were their creative tools?” In this sense, one artist is a historian (or historical storyteller) and the other is a recreationist (or time traveler). I think that Sferro sat down and gathered up the synths that were available at the time and used them to illustrate his inspiration, rather than trying to make a “retro” record.

If this was the case, then it explains why there are no “OutRun” or “Horror” tracks, indeed there aren’t any tracks that fit well under any category. Each song is deeply nuanced and changes from one mood to another, giving the listener the feeling that threads are being added to a multi-colored rope, as opposed to instruments being introduced as the track progresses.

It could be said that the first track, 'Devant', is OutRun but that would ignore the Kraftwerk influences I felt. It could be said that 'Basic Pleasure Model' is sci fi, but that would ignore the use of filters to create “distance” between the listener and the music, and the purposeful shortness of the track that acts as a punctuation mark in the album, perhaps a poster for an android companion in the subway tunnel. 'I Wanted To See You' is another punctuation mark, a sensual breath over the phone, a picture pulled from a wallet.

Ornaments travels to many places, including the airy heights of some of the best ‘90s EDM (weren’t we still calling it electronica back then?) with tracks like 'Blitz' and 'Blitz II', which serve as bookends to 'The Way Of The Bomb', itself a reminder of Orbital’s first two albums.

Each track has its own distinct charm and engaging qualities that draw the listener inward, but none moreso, for me anyway, than the title track. 'Ornaments' is simply magnificent from an emotional standpoint. It glitters and soothes, each instrument is a light pulsating in the darkness until the darkness itself is burned away and only thousands of brilliant, glowing colors remain.

'A Better Tomorrow' is a the cinematic end to Ornaments that blends intensity, longing, hope and mourning together. Again, these tracks are woven together organically, not programmed or produced.

I believe that Sferro has reached a high point in his creative endeavors and Ornaments demonstrates an emotional maturity as well as a nose for proper musical chemistry. The album doesn’t tell a story so much as it paints scenes that allow our emotions and imaginations to act and play freely in.

2015 was a great year for synthwave because there was a lot of stuff that came out that well, wasn’t so cut and dried “synthwave” and this album is a prime example of that. And I’m going to break my promise about not having any Christmas puns, because Ornaments is Sferro’s gift to us.

Girlfriend Records presents Sferro's Ornaments album on their Bandcamp page here and it comes very, very highly recommended from Synthetix.FM.