Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Betamaxx Creates Sophisticated Technology

I do believe that it needs to be categorically stated that Betamaxx doesn't get enough love/respect/recognition/honour/accolades/virgin sacrifices/etc. This producer has released some wonderfully crafted 80s inspired synth over the last twelve months, beginning with his rockin debut EP Legacy which then lead into his totally kick arse first album Lost Formats. In turn, this lead to his next full length record, Interface, which came out in January this year.

All three of these previous releases are true vestiges of classic 80s synth love, and it became apparent that Betamaxx's multi faceted style was something that lent itself exceptionally well to the full length format. And like a bolt of lightning, Betamaxx has unleashed a brand new album experience entitled Sophisticated Technology seemingly out of nowhere.

The Betamaxx soundscape has elevated into spectacular new levels with this new album, its diversity and quality is something very special and through all the chapters contained on this album runs an energy signature that I now recognise as being pure Betamaxx.

The opening track of Sophisticated Technology is 'Breakthrough' (featuring the ever awesome Tommy). The music is instantly uplifting and full of the promises of a better future through technology and it's in this opening piece we get to feel the Betamaxx magic begin to grow and take over our imaginations. It's like Tommy opens the door and takes a bow as Betamaxx roars in, with engines pouring smoke and lights that blind and dazzle.

When the smoke clears the ambiance begins to groove and move with new purpose and electro funk of 'Dolby Dance' turns the heat up exponentially. This is really what I'm talking about with Betamaxx. This piece is classically 80s in it's gorgeous melodies and nuances but the modern lacquer that Betamaxx manages to liberally coat the soundscape with makes it sound fresh and brand new. The music rocks, innately, with a glowing 80s soul but always with a gleaming layer of 'now' in the mix.

Taking things into poppier modes we find 'Zenith', which brings back the superb guitars from the 'Dolby Dance' and constructs synth stratum around them. The mood is smooth as glass and twice as cool and every instrument keeps positivity the focus throughout. More romantic moods are opted for in the kick arse third track 'Maxximum' which adds synth romance and some more dramatic elements and then out of nowhere italo styled details begin to break the surface really invigorate.

Betamaxx has managed to keep his ideas simple and make them count in 'Sophisticated Technology'. Each track forms an idea and tells it's story in a refreshingly distinct way. As 'Maxximum' fades out and the frenetically fast paced 'Redlining 6th' kicks in you really begin to get sucked into the instant attraction and immediate gratification of what is on offer. 'Redlining 6th' is so beautifully constructed and executed that it blows my mind each time I hear it. The arrangements and melodies are just flawless and when your excitement gets to the point of no return you find the fade out's going to save you. Like Frankie said, Relax. Theres plenty more excitement to come.

Through the interlude of 'Expensive Taste' Betamaxx teases some more ambiant ideas, but just can't resist the urge to rock it and keep the energy blazing with vigour. This alluring piece is then succeeded by the much more, initially, restrained 'Inside Information' which forms an intriguing counter point to the previous tracks. The melodies are pointed and quizzical, but the midpoint change into a sombre piano based suite is something most certainly out of left field that had me mesmerised for it's duration.

Moonwalking into the next chapter we find Mike McG collaborating with Betamaxx on the totally kick arse synthscapade 'Reel To Real'. The sounds and structures are chrome polished in this track and it evolves at a wonderfully paced canter to allow all avenues to be explored and exploited. The Betamaxx brand of electro funk is fast becoming one of my favourites, and is right up there with the best from Garth Knight and 80s Stallone.

Betamaxx takes on some more experimental tones in his 'Chrominance' track which is chapter nine on the album. The melodies are far more ethereal are allowed to ride the fast paced percussion with their own wistful presence. They loop, fade in, fade out, collapse back on themselves and then unite sometimes all at once, but the powerhouse rhythm section ensures there is always a forward momentum and doesn't allow the feelings to dissolve into the ether. I found this track very surprising, and equally engaging and this is in no small part due to it's perfect placement in the track order.

But darker passages of acute madness are fostered and allowed to create their own diabolical constructs in the next track, 'La Cabane Noir'. To usher the shadows in with maximum fear is, of course, the one and only Perturbator whom Betamaxx has enlisted to perform the more depraved elements. The combination of talents provides for a superbly ominous track that still retains the Betamaxx charms and prefers to teeter on the edge of Hell as opposed to diving in head first.

The energies turn positively neon in the rockin the max, italo flavoured 'Memorex Discotheque'. Sounds move salaciously and dance with carnal opulence upon a dance floor that is fuelled by pure Betamaxx alchemy. The rising build and constant free flowing melodies are absolutely rockin to the max in this piece and it's uncomplicated and forthright delivery gives it a full force punch that is felt deeply.

The second last piece on the album, 'New Horizons' feels like a segue between dimensions for Betamaxx. The oddly timed, almost Asiatic, melodies intimate something timeless and majestic but there is also a frailty to them. They hang in the air like gossamer threads, our understanding is fleeting but the beauty is undeniable. This piece leads into the final chapter of Sophisticated Technology, the poignant and delicate 'Remembrance'. As an epitaph to the album it speaks solemnly but with much love and tenderness. Credits roll on this action packed epic, and our introspection and contentment is only broken by the sound of applause.

Sophisticated Technology is so full of totally rockin music that it takes a good half dozen listens to it in it's entirety to get the full picture. More than anything else, this record shines as an unbroken experience. Not that this is a concept album who's narrative requires a start-to-finish listen but instead every track is given a place a time to shine on Sophisticated Technology in a way that demands your attention and keeps you hanging out for the next track. The arranging of these chapters and craftsmanship in the overall writing is Betamaxx's real forte and throughout the record his creations inspire and enlighten the listener constantly.

Telefuture Records presents Betamaxx's Sophisticated Technology album on their Bandcamp page here. This album is most deserving of your love and attention, as is Betamaxx himself, as he displays through every second of this record his passion and understanding of what makes 80s synth rock. Synthetix.FM very highly recommends this album and hopes that Betamaxx is no longer the Rodney Dangerfield of 80s inspired synth producers and gets the respect he thoroughly deserves.

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