Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sailing The Synth Waves With Plaisance

It was only on the 24th of September that I reviewed Plaisance's first album on Synthetix, the superb Regatta (read the review here). Only a month later we're taken seaward on another cruise with Plaisance with his second full lenght album Boat People. It boggles my mind how some producers manage to turn out so much quality music, and the muse that drives Plaisance must be working over time.

There are many words I will use in this review, but there will be one that I'll be using consistently. That word is 'authentic'. Plaisance's new album feels and sounds completely authentic to the 80s synth music he's been inspired by. The arrangements and production are almost entirely devoid of modern trappings which makes the experience of this record something I absolutely adore. This is a stellar example of capturing the sounds of the 80s and delivering them fresh and clean but always true to their origins.

The space this album occupies is a pure time capsule of mid 80s instrumental synth. I think this is why I'm so enamoured with this album, as a whole, as it feels like something I genuinely could have fallen in love with in 1985 and played over and over until the cassette wore out. The newness of these sounds in this time is something lost on those who've only heard the new music of this style in recent times; spoiled by high end digital production and arranged to perfection. When these sounds were new there was a naievete to this new form music that had yet to fully developt. It's albums like Boat People that whisk me back to this time in an instant and keep me there for the duration.

Plaisance's apparent fascination with the sea is the perfect basis for 80s synth, the sounds are airy and bright, lit beautifully by the sun in a sky of pure azure. The rhythm's of the waves, rising and falling with the melodies of that bounce across the top of them. And it's these melodies that are allowed to truly shine in their 80s glow that makes the experience so authentic. Across the expanse of Boat People there are so many inventively entertaining melodies, conceived and executed to vintage perfection.  The disco synths chart a course to luxurious extravagance on a million dollar yacht, cruising for romance, excitement and total 80s opulence.

Tracks seem to be entirely separate vignettes as the chapters of the story unfold in their own time with their own personalities. It's ironic that the opening sample for the album comes from The Love Boat as that's exactly the kind of episodic nature the tracks take on. Vignettes that are all individual yet all tied together by the seafaring adventure. Theres much time for high action on the high seas through the floating discotech painting a picture of the rich and famous at play in the mosy idyllic of climes. During these singular experiences the melodies are delivered in an upfront manner without the need for subterfuge, opting for a more direct and literal approach, which is again totally authentic to the original 80s sounds.

The inclusion of many tropically attuned sounds makes the album sound even more varied. A kaleidoscope of shimmering sounds that dance like the sun across a harbour, drawing the listener into the warmth of the sun and the adventure of the sea, feeling the splash of the water and the intoxicating music that runs as deep as the ocean itself. This is summer in musical form, it's the Mediterranean/West Indian/South Pacific cruise of your dreams and by it's end you'll feel like you've been on the vacation of a lifetime.

Plaisance's Boat People album is available on his Bandcamp here for FREE. This is a capsule of wonderful 80s inspired synth packaged in a form for taking abroad, upon the ship of your dreams. The authenticity of sounds and arrangements on this album make it extra special, in this man's eyes, ears and heart, making it a truly Synthetix Approved Experience.

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