Roburai - Interstellar
By Jason Taylor
Roburai describes himself as a 'Cybernetic Warrior of Grooviness', and that's exactly how he's crafted his nice debut concept EP 'Interstellar'. This 3 tracker sits comfortably in the home of space synth and synthwave, but he also tips his hat towards Psytrance and good old fashion 80's pop too.
When I first listened to the opener 'American Thunder' I really envisioned dawn breaking over Cape Canaveral before hurtling towards the stratosphere. His ability to utilise interesting synth layers to convey different tangents in the one track is a nod to his producing chops, in that you could tell time was spent here cultivating the compositional ideas, and not trying to jam a round peg into a square hole.
Zipping past planets with the sun in your rear view space mirror, 'Ion Drive' rumbles along with a great use of counter melodies, synthscapes and creative reverb fx's. I've always been a fan of breakdown edits, and what Roburai has programmed here works incredibly well, feels natural given the pace of the track, and more importantly, not overused.
My suggestion for this release would be get yourself your headphones, a big pillow and your favourite Sunday afternoon couch. That is until we get to the closer 'Superluminal' because you'll be up boogying on the couch within 16 bars. Here we hear Roburai busting out the lead guitars and vocals as good as any 80's pop star, energetic and anthemic until the beautiful close allows you to fall back gently onto the couch, roll over and hit repeat. Very highly recommended from Synthetix.FM. Pick up a copy of Roburai's 'Interstellar' from his Bandcamp here.
Marco Maiole - Pollen EP
By Matthew Neophytou
Someone get me a butter knife because I have some honey to spread, that’s right I’m bringing out the cheese with this one but you’ll understand why when you set your ears on the “Pollen” EP by Italian Marco Maiole, A slick produced effort with praise from fellow producer Makeup and Vanity Set, do I need to go on? Pollen is a mish mash of Marco’s 80’s disco and modern electro influences and funks it all up silver lined with digitised vocals.
'Toonite' a partnership with producer Miami Mai (who gave us 'Summer Anthem' a while ago) produces an intro worthy of a Tycho track that blasts into a playful piece of electro.
Getting down to the sound of the EP we have 'Still Familiar' which sets the bar for the rest of the tracks with its varied arrangements against the back drop of a solid upbeat, that is pulled through to 'Histamine Antagonist' and the title track 'Pollen' without getting repetitive. I kept 'Slide Mountain' for last, as it is my favourite; melodic piano work, a slamming vocal sample and sprinklings of percussions just get me into the mood to bust a groove.
Telefuture Records presents Marco Maiole's Pollen EP, available in various digital formats on Bandcamp here. It's very, very highly recommended from Synthetix.FM to anyone who likes their wave with a tune of cool.
Cobra Copter - Ninja Empire
By James The SuperGeek
Cobra Copter came onto the 80s inspired synth scene early this year with The Golden Age in which he really captures the golden age of the 80s (see what I did there) with catchy and powerful synth melodies that demonstrate a true understanding and mastery of the 80s style and aesthetic to create a glorious and immersive experience. He followed this up with Machine Age which was released mid this year. A strong follow up to The Golden Age, and delivered an evolution and continuation of the style implemented in the Golden Age but retaining identifiable motifs that has strung his catalogue together.
So how does Cobra Copter follow up his previous two efforts? I'll let you guess. Here's one clue: What's the coolest thing you can think of? That's right! Ninjas! For Cobra Copter's latest release he evokes the Ninja in us all and it is quite the awesome experience.
Stand out tracks off this album would have to be 'Ultimate Ninja', 'Ninja Mission' and 'Ninja Destiny'. This album tackles a side of the 80s that i haven't seen many producers attempt in really submersing himself in the classic ninja movie soundtrack. 'Ultimate Ninja' feels like it is intended to satisfy the audience that wants a standard 'banger' (as the kids call it) and gets it out of the way early to give Cobra Copter plenty of room to explore the deeper elements of the Ninja aesthetic.
'Ultimate Ninja' is an epic track with a powerfully emotive synth melody which strings the track together, giving it a lifeblood all its own. Listening to this track makes you feel like an ultra badass and at multiple points in the song I feel compelled to pull out a couple of katana's and fight a ninja army. The remainder of the album is much more calm in comparison but still retains a solid level of badassery, from 'Ninja Missions' smooth bass and pan-flute to the synth leads in 'Ninja Destiny'. This album is carried allot by bass and percussion and it creates a very cool and massively individualised aesthetic.
This is a solid progression of Cobra Copter's music and style and it leaves me very excited for what he will produce in the future. Cobra Copter does something with this release that I haven't encountered much in other synthwave releases and with the current rate at which he is releasing we won't have to wait long. Ninja Empire is a badass edition to Cobra Copter's body of work you need to experience as soon as possible. You can pick up a copy on his Bandcamp here and there's also a Limited Edition Cassette which i would recommend checking out while they last; which won't be long. So grab your katana, sharpen up your shurikens and let Cobra Copter be your guide through the Ninja Empire.
Midnight Static - The Colorwave EP
By Jerry Herrera
Midnight Static brings us the Colorwave EP, which starts off with 'Dreaming of ‘84', which is a pretty by-the-numbers synthwave track. This isn’t a bad thing, of course. I will never knock a producer for stepping in to the scene and putting forth a genuine effort. But the quest is for music that is truly special and that will further the genre or bring it to new people.
So when 'Midnight Drive' blossomed into fuzzy basses and dreamily distorted guitars I was so happy that Midnight Static was more than I had expected. This track is the sound of a lovely buzz enjoyed in the back of a cab, in the heart of the city, with someone’s hand in yours.
The Colorwave EP is full of similarly comfy vibes. The tempo never strays too far upwards, the basslines stay fairly fuzzy and the synths are simultaneously exciting and cause for calm. What I really love about this EP is the imagery that is drawn out of me when I listen. I see sunlight through tree branches, I see midnight traffic moving like blood cells through the city’s veins, I see children playing Nintendo in their pajamas.
Midnight Static is a bit like M83 by way of 1983. The Colorwave EP exists in a twilight zone between synthwave and dreamwave, retro and chill. Outside of the EP Midnight Static even strays into post rock territory, and I mention this because I went and got a hold of every track I could just to make sure my enthusiasm wasn’t misplaced, and thankfully what we have here is a genuine creative force. This is an artist that paints murals of synth and it’s a love story from beginning to end.
The Colorwave EP comes very, very highly recommended from Synthetix.FM and is available on Midnight Static’s soundcloud page here for free download.
Dashcam - Getaway Pt. 2
By Michael CA L
At times ice-cold and razor-sharp and at others, more delicate and lined with a fossil-fueled warmth, Dashcam's debut EP The Getaway Part 2, is an album full of twists, turns and emotional ups and downs that plays like the hypothetical score to a yet-unmade futureheist film. The entire EP has a cinematic feel to it, and the track names and title of the EP itself imply there's a story being told within the music - one involving crimes being committed, chases ensuing, and the threat of dire consequences in a dangerous, noir world becoming apparent as the plot thickens.
The first two tracks - 'You Can Run But You Can't Hide' and 'Escape Plan' - move the listener through the sonic equivalent of a credit roll and the introductory glimpses of characters and plotlines. They start the EP off with an innocently hopeful mood and tone, with sweeping pads and vocoded vocals courtesy of O.Tune, but things take a darker turn with 'The Heist', where it becomes apparent that there are no clean getaways in Dashcam's future world.
Beginning with a menacing, rhythm-centered introduction and then expanding itself with darkly atmospheric melodies, 'The Heist' is the listener's first real taste of tension and conflict in Dashcam's tale. The marching fierceness of the rhythms are juxtaposed by the smoothness of the synth pads and cold precision of a vocal sample that sounds like a knife being slid slowly across a sharpening stone. It's the sound of professionals at work in a trade that is both dangerous but also potentially lucrative in its payoff, and allows the listener to understand the scope of the crime and its consequences. 'The Heist' is the album's point of no return, where everything afterwards will be in direct relation to moments being defined in the here and now.
'The Getaway Part 2' is perhaps the climactic focal point of the EP, in which the dream of safety dissolves completely and the listener now understands that there's no way forward for the characters in Dashcam's story except by way of immediate and violent manoeuvring. There's a threatening tone throughout the song, with siren-like synths filling any empty space with nervous tension and fast-paced drums hammering the listener like the cylinders of a getaway car. There's danger written all over the track, but as the track fades, so does the intensity of the moment. The chase has ended, the pursuers are left watching slowly diminishing tail lights, and the hero-thief, miraculously, will live to see another day.
The EP's final track, 'Some Long Kiss Goodnight', acts as a bookend to the release's introductory song 'You Can Run But You Can't Hide', and brings back the same tone of hopefulness, promise, and also perhaps a certain amount of naivety. Did the hero actually make a clean getaway or is danger, for the moment unseen, still only one city block behind?
Like the best narratives, the ultimate meanings and resolution are open-ended and left up to the listener to decide, but as the old truism dictates, the journey itself is often more important than the destination, which is most certainly the case with Dashcam's The Getaway Part 2. It's a concise, tightly-put-together synthwave odyssey that's immersive, engaging and a hell of a lot of fun.
Dashcam's The Getaway Part 2 is available on Future City Records' Bandcamp here and comes highly recommended by Synthetix.FM.