Quite a substantial amount of music in the 80s inspired synth scene walks a line betwixt the classic sounds and arrangements of old; striving for authenticity to the 80s sounds and the music that mixes in more modern elements. This provides sometimes interesting, sometimes jarring but also sometimes totally rockin results.
Stellar Dreams' new four track EP walks this lines like a 100 story tightrope act, keeping the balance beautifully throughout the four episodes of On Call. In the case of this EP the sounds are reasonably strict in their adherence to the 80s, but the arrangements are coloured by a tinge of the new. In some cases this is barely discernable, but in others it's more pronounced. This mixture serves Stellar Dreams very well as the overall experience is one of those 'best of both worlds' type affairs.
On Call opens with the title track that brings on the high octane energy of classic OutRun styled synth melodies then explodes into a more staccato delivery that pushes the punctuation to the point of exclamation. The megaton drums accent every note with earthshattering power throughout the first stanza. The music then breaks down into a much more modern period of muted tones that promise and deliver the ubiquitous build up and drop of present day arrangements. This ends up working very impressively with the energies of the sounds really coalescing superbly.
A slower exposition entitled Emotion is track two. This dirge like exploration of more somber moods retains a modicum of modern elements, but these aren't in contrast to spatially produced ambience and instead add an extra layer of interesting details. This slower and more atmospheric style is usually done in a totally 80s soundtrack style manner but Stellar Dreams really added that little bit of today in there and did so very succinctly without sacrificing the intimate nature of the track.
The stand out track of the release, for this listener, is Rad Racer which is the third adventure in On Call. The upbeat beginning leads into some of the most bitchen synth melodies on the release. The main melody is absolutely stunning with bright high energy sounds delivered in layer upon layer of gleaming aural neon. The OutRun motif races throughout this track again, as would be expected from it's title, keeping excitement levels high and searing synths rockin on twelve cylinders.. until the final violent end.
To finish off the EP we have another high energy piece in Sunset Chaser. This is a journey that feels like a Tommy construction in many respects, which I say as compliment. The overall sound is a different shade of Tommy's own brand of magic, but the feelings are there and Stellar Dreams perform them in a true and honest manner. Sunset Chaser and Rad Racer are the most classicly styled pieces with only fleeting moments of current sounds being used. The end result simply works and makes for a soundscape that is quite individual and charaterised with aplomb.
The On Call EP is available for FREE from Stellar Dreams' site here and I'd encourage all fans of quality 80s sounds to grab this fine release and give the guys some love on their Facebook page here too.