Thursday, March 5, 2015
Screen Memories - Python Blue & Jupiter 8
By Kaleb KFDDA
In modern times, physical formats of various goods are a dying breed. Python Blue and Jupter-8's newest EP 'Screen Memories' is an ode to one of those favored formats, the VHS tape. In the true spirit of things, these two manage to intertwine their unique sounds in a not-so-common way.
The EP begins with Juptiter-8's 'Straight From the Screen', this song opens up like any summer action movie would begin, enticing you with progression that are full of drama and sustain. I can see credits rolling as vividly as I can hear the music that is straight out of 80s. Led with powerful but not speedy leads, this song is the perfect opening to a box office hit. Albeit not long, the song is a perfect taste of what comes next.
'Movies' is the second track, also composed by Jupiter-8 (did I mention this ep is split in half?) That's the unsual part, unlike most collaborative pieces, this EP is literally 2 entirely different interpretations of the same thing. Jupiter-8 captures a haunting sound in this one. This one is FULL of tension, a clifhanger of sorts, with some smooth jazzy elements thrown in, I believe this is the song that truly captures what Jupiter is all about.
I instantly applaud Python Blue's progression choices in 'Golden Tapes'. The song begins with angelic chord progressions that reminisce of your most fond material memories, bustering with that one-of-a-kind Python Blue sound.
'Behind a VCR' is definitely an emotional piece of work. It's moody, yet inviting. It's the kind of song you'd like to play when you're heartbroken, or mad as hell. Not often is an artist capable of making a song with such duality, and that's something Python does each and every time. The ending and end song 'Home Videos' I belive is some of Python's strongest work to date, ending this experience absolutely beautifully.
The atmosphere these two producers have managed to create throughout this EP is unmistakably gorgeous, unique, and balance each other quite perfectly; Jupter-8's agressive and dramatic tones combined with Python's passionate and artistically rendered progressions make this one of the most intriguing and amazing EPs thus far in 2015.
Very highly recommended from Synthetix.FM
TSTR - An Evening With The Devil
By Henry West
Not much is known about dark-synth author TSTR, other than his works started to come out steadily since January 2010 with the PAURA E.P., and gradually exposed a consistent number of nightmare-driven releases over the following years. The North Carolina native insists on a peculiar minimal approach to horror-themed soundscapes in An Evening With The Devil, his fifth official effort, which features six tracks that successfully render a vicious atmosphere of tension and distress around the listener.
The trip into demonic dominion starts out with a formal invitation to a place of fear and darkness 'Come Inside'. Harrowing basslines, incursions of high pitched bells, evil leads and relentless beats work together to paint an ominous picture with blood-stained intensity 'Behind Closed Doors' and industrial fervor 'In The Basement Ov The House Ov Satan'.
We are left to deal with a single elusive moment of hope 'A Way Out?' before it all ends in despair and tragedy 'You Will Never Leave This Place'.
This is a carefully executed piece of work that will resonate extremely well with fans of the SPLATTERHOUSE soundtracks by Eiko Kaneda, K. Tajima, Y. Kawamoto and Howard Drossin.
Sayak Striker - Never Surrender
By Sam Beck
I stepped out of the bar, three double whiskey and cokes coursing through my veins, soaking every cell in my body with Kentucky Bourbon. Taking a deep breath of the cold winter Nebraska night, I turned up the collar of my jacket, leaned into the lighter to set fire to yet another cancer stick and pressed play on my phone.
As I walked home, the dark streets of Lincoln, melted away, transforming into the harsh pedestrian pathways of a dystopian megalopolis. With each step, each instance of my soiled Chuck Taylors' hitting cold, grey concrete, the barren city-scape exploded into the neon wash of a future, imagined in the past and yet to be realized in the present. Each cranked-to-the-max kick drum propelling me further into the night and my own fantasy world. Then a guitar burst out of the void, only acting to reinforce every Deckard inspired day dream I've ever had.
The new Sayak Striker EP, well really it's an album that is crafted as one whole with many parts, takes the listener on a journey in the way few releases do. There's no attempt to coax the listener into a pseudo and oft-regurgitated false memory of a time that has passed. The piece builds its own world, and asks the listener to enter, should they dare.
It is a world full of monoliths of consumerism, casting a bastardizing neon glow on fans of underground motorcycle races, crime and hedonism. Where a man can realize all of his fantasies at the low, low price of his soul.
80's inspired synthwave operates using the commodity of half-memories and nostalgia. Never Surrender builds a world that feels like a half-remembered fever dream. This is a landscape that Kavinsky hoped to map in tracks like Blizzard, but Sayak Striker has no interest in map making. He's the goddamn Google Street View of your dystopian day dreams.
Highly recommended. Why reinvent the wheel when you can put hundred spoke spinners on your whip?
Astral Stereo Project - Bastard Squad
By Rick Shithouse
Synthetix.FM has long be a fan of Neil Holdsworth's wonderful music created beneath the monicker of The Astral Stereo Project, with much love given to the previous Anti Hero and Disco Death Sleaze releases over the years. Now the latest adventure from Holdsworth takes new inspirations and directions and creates a beautifully crafted homage to many classic; and not so classic 80s inspirations. The overriding thematic of these pieces being the soundtrack for 80s action video nasty that doesn't technically exist, yet can find trace elements of the original inspirations peppered throughout the tracks in loving recollections.
Something else this release is, which is an important factor I was only discussing yesterday with a fellow synthficionado, is that this has a genuine element of fun emblazoned throughout all the pieces. It might seem odd, but much of the real essence of vintage sounds is that fun nature to them. The 80s certainly never took itself seriously at the time yet much 80s inspired music loses that important feeling in favour of drama, tension or seriousness. There's nothing wrong with these feelings being driving forces, of course, but the stoic and melancholy need a bit of fun and frivolity too. I mean, it's not the grim and gritty 90s anymore... I hope.
Back to Bastard Squad though and it's plainly obvious throughout this record that Holdsworth isn't taking the subject matter too seriously and it is definitely of benefit to the rockin tunes. For those unaware, Bastard Squad was the name of a fictitious ultra-violent TV show referenced often in the classic 80s BBC series The Young Ones (must see viewing if you've not had the pleasure yet, or recently).
It's this spirit of the fun and the ridiculous that drives much of this EP's music. 'Intro/Blag' is an anthem of 80s action that hovers like Blue Thunder against moonlit cityscape. The overt double entendre of 'Hard Promises' belies all kinds of slowmotion lasciviousness, probably while Blue Thunder in silent mode is peering through those open bedroom curtains. There's lots of great crossover sounds that bridge the 70s and 80s palettes too with 'Wheels Of Fire' cutting a swaggering disco groove over some wonderfully phrased lyrics and 'Maltese Hideaway' feeling like an extra track from Air's Virgin Suicides soundtrack; smooth, groovy and full of subtle nuance.
One of the real highlights is the monstrously infectious theme song for 'Supersnout' which is one hell of a funky adventure you'll wish had a TV series structured around it. The vocals make a full return in the smooth serenade of 'Nothing To Lose' as Holdsworth croons that 80s love with heavy doses of Nutrasweet providing that candy coloured layer of longing. 'Armed To The Teeth' takes the action back out into the VHS jungle as one lone survivor risks all for honour against whatever topical villain stereotype the shoestring budget can do semi-convincingly. The final act completing the Bastard Squad is the poignant 'Nothing But Death', which really captures that end of movie credit roll very nicely. A fitting finish to the experience, and it wasn't even interrupted by a siege or something.
I really do love what The Astral Stereo Project has done with this release, it's entertaining and eclectic and really retains a (sometimes devilish) grin from beginning to end. The 80s were all about fun, and that feeling is handed out overtly in Bastard Squad's rockin tracks. Definitely a worthy addition to any retro synth lover's collection and yet another kick arse release from The Astral Stereo Project.