Saturday, March 29, 2014

Synthetix Weekend Update

Due to soundcloud refusing to participate properly, as of writing, this Weekend Update will focus exclusively on some of the rockin EP releases that have occurred over the last couple of weeks. I hope that next week's Weekend Update will be back to normal programming.

McGain - Artery

First rocker up is McGain with his latest EP, Artery. McGain's style mixes up a lot of vintage sounds and arrangements with melodies that are more modern, creating a mix of old and new that is very pleasing to listen to. The five tracks of Artery work a macabre aesthetic that gives a delightful air of horror to each track.

Opening with 'Reminisce' we get the blood pumping fast with exciting rhythms working feverishly beneath a slightly off kilter melodies. The music works as a dichotomy throughout the EP as the beauty and positivity of the sounds are accented by a deeper, darker element that always seems threatening to explode. My favourite track title on the EP has to be track two's 'Limb Vendor', heavy percussion and scattered melodies create inquisitive passages and writes a deep narrative to sew it all together.

The most surprising track on the EP is definitely the title track with its darkly delivered vocal track that crosses over brilliantly from the romantic to the grotesque. It's an ominously haunting work of vast entertainment. The transition into even darker synth continues with 'Bleed Air'. The synthscape is completely devoid of any positivity as glowering melodies and sweeping winds cast a spell of diabolical intent. Artery finishes with the high energy 'Dr Castle', which has been a Synthetix.FM favourite since its inclusion on the Halloween Rhythm Vivisection Mixtape. The ambience completes the EP very well indeed with atmospheres remaining tense and intimidating throughout.

Future80s Records presents McGain's Artery on their Bandcamp page here, this EP is highly recommended to those with a yearning for the darker side of 80s inspired synth music as it really captures that fearful element while keeping its tongue firmly in cheek.


The crossover of modern and vintage sounds really creates some incredibly fresh new soundscapes. The work of Klockhaus, Amazing Police, Robots With Rayguns, Starcadian, Navigateur and others manage to always capture my attention with their bending and repurposing of existing 80s ideas in a modern time. Swagbot is definitely another one of these artists that allow their imagination to explode in 80s neon rainbows in exciting and original ways.

Although arranged with a huge amount of modernity each track each of the tracks have 80s souls burning deep within them. 'Frozen In Time' opens the experience; detonating megatons of synth energies all at once and raucously pummelling each facet of sound into dangerously explosive new variations. The vocal refrain is perfect and each chapter to the experience is stunningly executed.

Opting for more house flavours, 'Sometimes' takes me back to the early 2000s with it's French Touch aesthetic, but this reasonably traditional track is then followed by the fractured and fantastic 'The Only One'. Densely compacted synth melodies jostle for space amid the mechanical percussion tracks with fervent vocal samples adding even more panic to the experience. 'Trying' takes another turn, with a thoroughly rockin electro breakin' atmosphere which is full of killer 80s moves and cut with a chemically sharpened blade of contemporary energies. The final track, 'Rocknrolla' offers up another dimension of sample driven 80s homages with a marching beat that is impossible to resist and arrangements positively burning up energetic intensity.

Swagbot presents the Frozen In Time EP on his Bandcamp page here and this release to totally rockin to the max. The music is so tightly packed and engineered for maximum power that it's invigorating to listen to and contains an aesthetic all its own in the bulk of the compositions.


KFDDA - Grime Time

'Grime Time' is the new EP from KFDDA and is a concept work greatly inspired by the likes of side scrolling beat-em-up video games and movies like The Warriors and 1990: The Bronx Warriors. The music couples together classic game soundtrack music with a 70s-synth-futurism and all manner of 80s inspirations in between that creates a totally rockin atmosphere painted with heavy strokes of nihilism and violence.

That isn't to say this record is dark synth though, the music can definitely get very bleak, but the instrumentations lend the synthscape more to a night soundtrack than pure out and out horror vibes. Opening salvos 'Can You Dig It' and 'The Culling Of Droids' create much tension and apprehension but also are exciting and inspiring in their make up. Dark streets are empty, but distant sounds of savagery beckon.

Opting for a much less dark atmosphere in 'Heroes Never Die'; KFDDA unleashes all a furious synth assault that would be at home on any boss level from a bullet hell shoot em up. The pace is break neck and the intensity completely unrelenting. This track leads into the OutRun styled 'She Gets Even' which takes to the streets with vengeance specific auras emanating all kinds of ill will.

The wonderfully titled 'Death By Download' brings in a decidedly early 80s European feel to the experience with EBM inspired passages illuminating all manner of nocturnal obeisance. The unforgiving percussion takes full control and and random patrols of the local constabulary can only try to contain the gang conflict that threatens to burn the city to the ground. The final track offers another energetic piece, with the melody veritably bursting at the seams before disappearing into the ravaged urban decay.

KFDDA presents the Grime Time EP on his Bandcamp here and is also currently available in limited amounts on rockin cassette format, complete with a poster of the artwork. This concept release is full of thrills and spills and creates the great deal of excitement and panic, often at the same time. Highly recommended to be your soundtrack next time you take to the streets with revenge on your mind.


Preqwal - Dimension (Side B)

I missed the first part of this release unfortunately, which was Dimension (Side A) released last December whilst Synthetix.FM was on vacation, but I'm pleased to be able cover the second half of Preqwal's 80s synth journey in Side B of this project. Both sides of the Dimension album mark Preqwal's first forays into 80s inspired synth sounds and the tracks contained on this record show much promise and understanding of 80s sounds and emotions.

As stated on his Bandcamp profile, this producer is highly influenced by 80s soundtrack sounds and in Dimension we hear and feel that beautiful 80s glow driving the experience. A decidedly Miami Vice-esque vibe opens up with 'Electric Streets' as slow, smooth melodies are given beautiful spaces to work in. Preqwal's arrangements are sumptuously created, allowing for elegant melodies to be fully explored and detailed. He takes things in a new direction in 'Palm Trees And Rollerskates' which although bright and positive in melody has numerous darker elements in the synthscape that keep your guessing.

'The Future Is Now' introduces a spacey futurism to the aesthetic with sparkling melodies dancing amid pulsing basslines and crisp percussion. The implementation of classic 80s news samples achieves a tad less success with their balance and placement seeming just a bit out of whack with music.  The next track 'At The Wheel' finds synth mirages forming in the heat haze of the road ahead but still keeping a restrained control over the music which is kept to a canter. The airy nature of Preqwal's synthscapes keep a wonderfully light nature to the passages.

This positive nature takes on a more dramatic tension in 'Infiltrater'. The progression are definitely cut from a darker cloth and delivered with a more pointed focus and the intensity ramps up very nicely indeed from the midpoint on. The album finishes with 'One Last Race' which definitely stands out from the pack with even more darker elements and a tone to the instruments which befits that threat of impending terror magnificently well. The structure and power of this piece definitely makes it the highlight of the release.

Preqwal presents the Dimension (Side B) on his Bandcamp page here but more importantly physical copies of Dimension featuring sides A and B available here in a both cassette and compact disc formats. I do hope Preqwal continues his musical journey in 80s inspired sounds as much of the music on this record displays a warmth and genuine appreciation of classic sounds that deserve to be given even more exploration and new life.


Alpha Boy - Daily News

The final item I'd like to include in this EP oriented Weekend Update is a single, but definitely needs to be given due appreciation. Alpha Boy's new track 'Daily News' is something I found very special indeed. The approach to the melody and sounds is a marked change from Alpha Boy's normal blueprint and the overall atmosphere is much more live and vital.  If I had heard this track without knowing previous that it was an Alpha Boy piece I'd be hard up to say who wrote it, such is the departure from his usual creative hallmarks.

The air of 80s naïveté is still beautifully employed but the ambience is more robust and full of insightful arrangements. It's jazzy and vibrant and full of 80s magic and totally rockin to the max.

At least the one Weekend Update tradition I can do this week is a hot new rockin video and courtesy of  scene auteur Neros77 we have a fantastic new video for Tommy's remix of Protector101's 'Fighting Spirit'. Complete with a spectacular ending sequence that is a true work of genius.

 I do apologise for not being able to make this a regularly formatted Weekend Update, but I hope you still found some rad new tunes to keep the 80s dream rockin. I'll be back during the week with more action from the 80s inspired synth scene. 'Til then, stay 80s and keep on rockin.

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