Thursday, October 23, 2014


Liege Viper - Power Of The Interceptor
By Rick Shithouse

Liege Viper is ready to rock with his debut release on Werkstatt Recordings and Power Of The Interceptor is set to explode into a frenetic electro oblivion! The Liege Viper synthscape proves to be an intriguing mix of aggressive electro and OutRun that feels just right and then moves into less threatening movements through the back end of the EP.

The harder edge of the synths that feel raw and ragged at times (in a good way!) is then complimented by compounding percussion. The sound is very early 80s European without drifting too far into EBM territory while retaining a panicked energy throughout the melodies. His more mellow pieces take on a warm charm due to the uncluttered nature of his sound, which takes the listener into safer, calmer waters later in the EP.

The three tracks on the first half of the EP are constantly on the verge of collapse as the synths race up a mountain incline to an unreachable summit while the road behind them crumbles into an abyss below. The energy pushes the music into a frenzy of split second decisions the prolong life for more precious seconds.

The all out red-alert tracks set fire to first half the EP are then tempered by the second half of Power Of Interceptor as Liege Viper dials down the turbulence and explores a delightfully more whimsical style of 80s sounds. The uncomplicated synthscape lends itself beautifully to these pieces and gives the release a marvellous sense balance. I especially enjoyed the final near seven minute epic that really conveyed a sense of accomplishment and completion of the EP's moods and journeys.

Power Of The Interceptor's highlights for me were definitely the title track, 'Eyes Of The Future' and sprawlingly epic 'Last Sundown' but each track on the EP has its own story to tell and does so very well. Liege Viper's debut is definitely strong and has a personality to the sounds that is individual while being able to use his sound in very different ways to create starkly different results. Werkstatt Recordings presents this killer EP on their Bandcamp page here in digital formats (as well as CD digipak and limited edition cassette) and is release that promises and delivers exciting and involving 80s inspired synth action that comes in equal measures from the head and the heart.

Dallas Campbell - Pagoda
By Matthew Neophytou

Straight out of West Virginia, US of A comes Dallas Campbell’s Pagoda an EP musical journey of melodies, synths and stuff. Explained by Dallas as an experiment taking less than a month to complete utilizing only three synths, wait till you see his next feet; the worlds first synth automated space airplane flight mission. The last one is not true, but after Pagoda I really do want to book that flight.

Introducing us to the nature of the EP itself  'Spice' feels like a bowl of mixed sounds kept together with an almost trance bordering sound. 'Parchment' belongs in a trailer for a really surreal video game, something like NiGHTS Into Dreams (remember that?), an uplifting piece of music this one is.

Ending the EP we are given the track 'Gold' to bring on the chill vibes, a retro inspired moog-y introspective fills my head as I fade away deep into the track, really take this one in, it’s a good one.

Dallas Campbell's Pagoda EP is one for those who like variety in their synthwave journey and very highly recommended from Synthetix.FM and is available on various digital formats on his Bandcamp page here. Also if you dig the album cover art it was done by Geoff Hoskinsin check out his stuff on his tumblr here.

Oedo - Reaktive
By Rick Shithouse

New rocker on the block Oedo has arrived with his hot new EP: Reaktive. Merging lines betwixt all manner of electronic influences Oedo is always moving into the dramatic and casts all manner arcane spells over his synthual experiences.

Though driven by 80s motives there are tactile elements of hip hop beats and experimental 90s sounds stirred through the synthscape. The structures are often quick glimpses at ideas that flash in and out of visibility but are always punctuated in a way that hits hard.

The four tracks included on Reaktive all are distant cousins from each other as their ideas and textures as heavily individualised. The opening track's bludgeoning bassline and ghostly melodies leads into more inquiring passages with 'Troma'. There are times that the tracks drift out of focus and meander but Reaktive brings things back sharply on most occasions and the stories never become mired or lost.

Standing out from the four pieces are definitely 'Troma' and 'Narly', which are easily the most 80s dominated pieces and is the direction I hope Oedo delves further into.

The Reaktive EP by Oedo actually feels Japanese in many respects and this Cork based producer obviously has a spiritual connection to the East, particularly its early 90s cyberpunk palette which he often wrangles successfully into more traditional 80s ideas. The EP is available on his Bandcamp page here and is definitely worth taking high speed trip down those gangland controlled highways of Neo Tokyo for. Post apocalypse, natch.

Clinton Affair – End of History
By Matthew Neophytou

Clinton Affair – End of History is an awesome love letter of an era gone by, the whole EP is seeping with old school sounds, its as though these tracks could easily be stripped down to be intros for retro tv shows.

We are given the minimum length of music here with the longest track being 'Singularity' which has a cool reggae-ish beat happening. Can you guess where the beat and vocal sample comes from? “Why?” should be a dead give away.

Opener 'Aquamarine' brings the hip thrust straight away, with it’s 90’s mishmash WHAM vocal style. Slowing it down ever so slightly is 'Be Mine' a swoon of a song reminiscent of a Peabo Bryson ballad remixed. Sidebar, How come no one has remixed Peabo, much potential to be had there. I pretty much love 'Birthday' as it could be the music an 80’s South African singer called Brenda Fassie could have made.

Future City Records (yay!) Presents Clinton Affair – End Of History EP and comes highly recommended from Synthetix.FM, only fault I can find is that its over too soon.  Check out this great release on Bandcamp right here where the EP can be downloaded in various digital formats.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Second Annual Synthetix.FM Rhythm Vivisection Halloween Mixtape Closing Date Approaches

As a bit of public service announcement, I thought I'd just mention that the cut off date for submissions for the second annual Synthetix.FM Rhythm Vivisection Halloween Mixtape is this weekend. I'll be able to take submissions til the end of the weekend, ie midnight on the 26th.

I've been advertising this on Synthetix Sundays and in the Synthetix Music Facebook group for the last couple of months but figured I'd get one last notice out there for those that weren't aware. Submissions don't have to be new or exclusive, but I do require that they are from 2014 and that they aren't covers. If you're a producer of 80s inspired synth from the darker end of the spectrum and have released something this year that you'd like to submit please just make contact with me via the contact box on the left side of this page.  The rules for this mixtape aren't nearly as stringent as other special event ones I do and I'm going to try to include everyone's submissions, we're already up to thirty tracks so it's definitely going to be monstrous!

The actual mixtape will be going up to soundcloud on the 29th of October, so there's lots of time to get a copy for your Halloween 2014 festivities.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Runaway Into The Neon Overdrive

By Jerry Herrera

One of the basic truths about synth producers, I think, is that they all love a good story.  There are very few producers out there that don’t have a narrative quality to their music, and this is neither good nor bad, it’s just a choice.  But when one considers the roots of synth and retro, films and film scores are the taproot.  A great synth track tells a story or creates a vivid image; it takes us on brief journeys into endless worlds.  LA Based producer, Neon Overdrive has brought us Runaway, an album full of these delicious bites of retro future storylines.

Runaway begins with 'Saturday Night', a midtempo track that has some ominous elements but ultimately evolves into a very ethereal track with soothing vocals that carrying the listener deeper into Neon Overdrive’s story of revenge. A 'Narrow Escape' is one of the strongest tracks on the album;  again Neon Overdrive has a great handle on creating thick, heavy curtains of synth but also creates a breeze on which they ripple and writhe. It makes for a uniquely atmospheric listen.

There is a brief break in the album for some lighter outrun style tracks, 'Baja Escape' and 'Welcome Home', but things get right back to business with 'Last Days' and the album really hits a high point from 'Transfixions' on through to the last track. 'POWERLOADER' and 'Necronomicon' are synth homages to two great movies, and since I’m a xenomorph fan, the former gets my vote for best track on the album.

As an entire experience, Runaway tells a cohesive story with antiheroes and heroines, danger, brief moments of levity and detailed settings and backdrops. There are car chases, violence, love, loss and revenge. Even when sampling other films, Runaway manages to tell its own unique tale and I always appreciate a story where LA is in ruins.

Sometimes I think that the dark, gritty synth sound is becoming a bit overdone but Neon Overdrive manages to bring something refreshing to it.  Not revolutionary; but necessary, maybe something like another shot of whiskey to that drink you were nursing. Perhaps it’s because his sound isn’t overbearing or aggressive, but smoother and fluid like ink in water. Flowing and seductive, but pitch black.

I greatly appreciate that Neon Overdrive incorporates atypical elements into his tracks and isn’t content with following the basic synth track formula. There’s lots of innovation to be had on Runaway and I’m so happy we have another Los Angeles based producer contributing his talents to the genre.

The Neon Overdrive presents the Runaway album on his Bandcamp page here and it comes highly  recommended by Synthetix.FM

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Synthetix Sundays

The red carpet is out and synth glitterati are out to shine as Synthetix Sundays prepares for a star studded LIVE broadcast, with your host Marko Maric. In the guest spot this week Marko sifts through the genius that is Prof. Zonic Zynth, discusses world politics with Ravenh0lm, takes to the streets with a candid conversation with Video Void and manages to track down Jacques le Boulanger (the artist formerly known as James Baker) in a téte-a-téte powwow that is sure to elucidate and educate.

Joining Marko on the couch will be regular guests Paul Dress2Kill Daley and Rick Shithouse with his usual musings and ramblings on the hottest tracks of the week.

This week Synthetix Sundays is offering you the chance to score the kick arse new Robots With Rayguns record Fresh As It Gets. There are three chances to win so tune in LIVE and get ready to rock!

The cavalcade of stars is set to shine LIVE on Radio Pure Gently is at this time wherever you are on planet Earth. And you can catch a the rebroadcast right here on Monday for a fully downloadable digital copy of the live show as well as the Quality Time With Shithouse free and purchasable tracks to make sure you're rockin all the right ways all week long!

Quality Time With Shithouse free and purchasable tracks:

Friday, October 17, 2014

Flashback Friday

Night of the Demons (1988)

Happy Friday once again my fellow Retroholics!  This weeks pick is 1988's Night of the Demons, directed by Kevin Tenney, a classic horror film backed by a powerful synth intro and a rockin' goth metal soundtrack.

It's Halloween night and outcast Angela Franklin and her friend Suzanne are throwing a party at Hull House, an abandoned mortuary suspected of being haunted.  Judy Cassidy's boyfriend Jay asks her to join him at the party with Max and Frannie.  After inviting himself, bully Sal Romero scares them when he jumps from a casket wearing a demons mask.  

Stooge, Roger and Helen show up uninvited but when the batteries go dead in the radio the group decides to play party games and Angela suggests a seance.  By using a mirror they would look at their past life but Helen sees a demon and freaks out.  The mirror smashes on the floor and they all begin hearing noises from the basement when a demon escapes the furnace.  Now with it possessing them will anyone escape Hull House alive?

As I mentioned before the intro song is great, along with intensive shrieking synths throughout the film to set the tone.  If you're looking for some adrenaline inducing horror themed dark synths I highly suggest the extremely possessive sounds of Alessandro Parisi's Le Porte Emertica from Giallo Disco Records.

So if you're looking for a cheesy 80's horror flick this weekend give this one a watch!  Till next week Rockers, have fun and be safe! 

Magnum Crockett