Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Experience Deja Vu With FM Attack

FM Attack is a name synonymous with 80s inspired synth sounds and has a track record of releasing some the most inspiring and visionary records since the early days in 2009. I vividly remember hearing FM Attack's Dreamatic EP and falling in love with the reinventions of 80s sounds and emotions with modern arrangements and dance floor ethics. FM Attack was on the cutting edge of the revival movement in 2009 and this continued in 2010's classic Astrowave EP. The magic was still vibrant and powerful as the FM Attack experience evolved with deeper purpose and focus. When this EP was released it renewed my faith in hopes of more of the original first wave of 80s inspired synth producers would continue this path and explore more classic sounds.

Shooting forward a few years we finally have a new record from FM Attack and again the evolution of this artist bears fruit of delightful flavours, rich colours and refreshing textures. The soundscape is still deeply rooted in the 80s and the poppier sensibilities of previous release are still present but they also allow for a much wider palette of sounds to be used.

The FM Attack sound is genuinely multidimensional. Going back to Dreamatic, this is a consistent ideal that FM Attack adheres to. Upon my first listen of Dreamatic I initially thought it was a compilation, so varied were the soundscapes and this is true today with this new record. Few producers can successfully sit astride so many varied genres while retaining their own individual magic and this is exactly what makes FM Attack so special.

Opening with 'With You Tonight' we're immersed into a classically written 80s pop gem. The music is OMD like in it's tone with synths basking in mysterious night time airs that Visage or Ultravox would be proud of. FM Attack is gifted in his way of creating simplistic lyrics that have an honesty about them that resonates with total honesty; thus completing the perfectly balanced pop synth magic of the 80s with a  modern vigour.

To find track two with Kristine doing the vocals is a warm embrace on a beach at sunset as the bite of the sea breeze begins to usher in the night, but the softness of her voice creates a new kind of warmth that lingers as the sun fades, long into the small hours of darkness. Aural 'Magic' wends it's way through this song, making the embrace even stronger, tying bonds of emotions that are eternal, rhythms move in time with the shore break and the moment is complete.

The chapters of Deja Vu focus tightly and make freeze frame moments of light and vision that hold the music together. Each song contains new versions of old emotions and tell a story just as timeless. Track three, 'Corazon', continues into new paths of unrequited romance that loses it's colour and fades to a monochrome palette of mechanised passages that haunt a memory and refuse to leave. Melodies create the accents to the lyrics and form a downbeat disco dirge that remain clearly hooked in a deep groove.

Rockin into the italo disco synth energies and finding a newly reinvigorated passion is track four 'Activate'.  The simple vocal refrain and spectacularly arranged percussion and rhythm section allow the melodies to build and reinforce the lyrics profoundly. The music is a mantra to the universe, a robotic call that will echo throughout ages and dimensions. Activate my heart, activate my love - for you, an italo anthem that will be remembered and revisited for many years to come.

The subtleties of FM Attack's growth are most pronounced in the more ambitious pop tracks on the record and this is most evident in 'Fade Away'.  A guitar track heavily influenced by The Pretenders is joined by cascading synth melodies; sparkling like liquid jewels with a rhythmic undertow bassline rolling with immense grandeur. The arrangements and implementations of these elements create a vista of incredible depth and infinite textures that are once again augmented to wondrous new heights by the vocal performance.

FM Attack is spoiling us on this release with not one but two songs featuring the glorious Kristine. The second track is full of Kristine's gorgeous breathy intimacy but also adds just a little bit of desperation and danger. Musically, this is again an exercise in multi faceted pop alchemy that melds into a catchy and ultimately energising vision of late 80s pop coloured by just enough modern elements to retain that perfect balance of now and then.

Raising the energy up even higher is the fast paced 'Tears Don't Lie'. Although the percussion marches to a very frenetic pace the vocal remains dutifully focused and allows for a slower intimation of the lyrics. The juxtaposition of these elements creates a duality of comfort and reassurance contrasted by the a heart that beats with passionate fervour. The journey is safe and dangerous at exactly the same time like the delicate grip of a loved ones hand being the only thing keeping you from a chaotic downward spiral, the touch so light and yet so deep.

Deja Vu's final chapter is comes in the form of 'Lost Angeles'. A slight departure from the other journeys on the album this is  much more introspectively layered piece that keeps itself afloat with a deftly funky bassline. Melodies are smooth as glass and cut with a precision that accents the mirrored textures with reflective brilliance and vast beauty. The pace is languorous and is in no rush to get to it's destination, but by the time we get there it feels like it's time to do it all again from the beginning.

It was a true stroke of genius to title this album Deja Vu. The feelings of the familiar are constantly at a peripheral distance throughout the wonderfully constructed compositions that make up this album. This is by no means a negative quality as it's this familiarity that then takes us to new places and guides us into vivid new dimensions of the FM Attack experience.

FM Attack presents Deja Vu on his Bandcamp page here and in this release has crystallised the beauty and emotions of classically 80s sounds that are reborn and revived to exist in a modern relevancy that somehow makes them even more timeless. This album is by definition a Synthetix Reference Experience of the highest calibre, FM Attack is still one of the true leaders of the 80s revival scene and it brings me immense pleasure to be taken on yet another beautifully crafted adventure from this talented artisan of synthualised majesty.

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