Thursday, February 5, 2015


Plaisance - Leaving Room

By Rick Shithouse

Plaisance has returned with another EP, this one is titled Leaving Room, which finds the producer in a more mellow and contemplative mood, dedicating this release to the loss of a close friend. The Plaisance style has always been an intense experience, be they the high speed adventure of Havasu, the sweltering sensual explosion of Thunder In Paradise or his earlier coastal themed work. The bright and sparkling Plaisance aesthetic is foregone in this release for moodier tones and and muted synthscapes. A more mechanical feel manifests in the tracks through grayer shades. Even that unbridled quintessence of the Plaisance saxophone is given a more solemn tone.

This is a very welcome change of pace and pallet from this producer as it channels new emotional inspirations that whilst being less intense in presence and colour are no less rich in personal investment. The tracks become more and more deliberately melancholy as each track goes deeper into the Leaving Room aesthetic. 'June 79' plays out like a fondly remembered memory that now takes on a saddened reflection, 'Questions' has a feeling of hopelessness in the situation while 'Empty Spaces' delivers exactly that; quiet passages of thoughtful recollections.

It's a very intriguing side of Plaisance that exposes a deeper and soulful side to his sounds. As a devoted fan of Plaisance's work I found this very rewarding to listen to and encourage you to check this out as an interesting diversion from the usual avenues explored in 80s inspired synth music. There's much reward to be experienced amid the three suites. Pick up a copy of Leaving Room on Plaisance's Bandcamp page here.

Syntax - Sunrise

By Jason Taylor

James Mann could be described as a enigma, but there in lies the appeal in not knowing too much about the man behind Syntax. His debut 'Sunrise' falls easily under the standard genres of ambient and chill electronica, but it's so much more than that. You wont find pop structures or harmonic key changes here, instead it's a wonderful journey through floating sonic territories. Filled with lots of tumbling, driving textures and waves upon waves of lovely wavetable synthesis, 'Sunrise' reminds me heavily of a fantastic scene in Life of Pi where stranded out in open water at night, Pi is surrounded by a myriad of glowing Phytoplankton.

If there ever was a ideal way to listen to James work, it would be floating in the open water gazing up into the universe. The highlight track for me would have to be 'Cygnus' with it's overlays of sample and hold oscillations, dark trance percolated melodies and support from delicate cushioned beats. However this release is specifically designed to be enjoyed as a complete piece, you can tell the placement of each track has a purpose to allow cohesion, and more importantly enjoy the odyssey from beginning to end. 'Sunrise' is highly recommended from Synthetix.FM and you can pick up a copy via the Syntax bandcamp page for free here.

Kalax - Kalaxy

By Matthew Neophytou

Taking us on a pre-flight instruction process, before releasing Guardian later this year, the otherworldly synthwave rider Kalax drops Kalaxy, the appetizer of stellar proportions.

We begin with what could be taken off an 80’s Spielberg Soundtrack, 'Intro' with enough strings that will transform you into a kid daydreaming of adventures of things to come. Speaking of adventures 'Journey' (remastered) is just that, dream wave at it’s best, the musical arrangement of shimmering synths and cosmic beats blast you into the void of wonder and awe.

'Year Ends' has orchestral melodies and cascading waves pull towards an almost cerebral event horizon, in like a low key 2001 Space Odyssey way, not the 1997 film Event Horizon route (eek no!). 'Nebula' adds more energy to the warp drive fueling with more active beats and a sharper symphony. At the crest of the EP comes 'Acceleration' and boy doesn’t it just shout, “It’s not over, not by a long shot”.

Wave Runner Records presents Kalax's Kalaxy but it is but just a taste of what’s to come from the UK based producer, which deserves a very high recommendation from Synthetix.FM. Available for download here and also up for grabs is the limited edition Kalax t-shirts here, the uniform for the ride ahead. Keep this frequency clear for future transmissions!  

YXO - MIRAGE しんきろう

By Rick Shithouse

Presenting itself almost as if it was a vaporwave release from the artwork and EP title, YXO's MIRAGE ● しんきろう was quite the surprise upon listening to it. The minimalist synthscape YXO creates is something cool and clear while his ability to summon clean and crisp 80s flavours from the melodies makes for a delightfully refreshing experience.

The four tracks get better and better the deeper you get into the EP, slowly painting pictures in hazy lines the pictures get more lucid and develop lovingly crafted details the more you listen. Without the trappings of much 80s inspired synth standards the melodies are able to rise delicately and float in wistfully imaginative ways and the narratives are sweet and bright.

My two favourite tracks are definitely CONTINENT ● 大陸 and WAVE ● 波, with their glass smoothness cut to a sparkling edge that is wholly relaxing and entrancing. It is beautiful music that one definitely needs to be in a chill mood for to get the full benefit, but it certainly takes the listener away on cool breezes of wonderful synth magic. Pick up a copy of this great little EP on YXO's Bandcamp page here.

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