Thursday, March 26, 2015


FM-84 - Los Angeles EP

By Matthew Neophytou


Having been released just a couple of weeks ago FM-84’s – Los Angeles has been making waves throughout the retro sphere with extreme good reason. The Scotsman resident of San Francisco, has compiled a love letter to the genre we all know and breath.

Throughout the album sunset glistened saxophones kiss the breezing drums cascaded by melodies, as most evident in in tracks such as 'Delorean' and 'Outatime' bridged by slow atmospherically cool tracks 'Nightdrive' and 'Los Angeles', ending in a synth driven number 'Max'.

The over all feel the EP gives me is that of fellow San Fran electronic outfit Tycho, in the sense that FM-84 takes what we relate to the retro genre, strips away the dramatic and by having the keen ear to keep the basics, has in fact given Los Angeles a fresh level of nostalgia.

FM-84's Los Angeles gets a very, very high recommendation from Synthetix.FM and is available at his Bandcamp on several digital formats here and be sure to also check out his latest single Mainframe here, a bit deeper outing but no less awesome.

Nightcrawler - Strange Shadows EP

By Jason Taylor

George Gold's experience as a art director is certainly the crux behind his latest offering of his alter ego, Nightcrawler. Inspired by the Italian Giallo and horror cinema of the 80's which if your interested in, will require some research on your behalf, because it's too much to discuss here in a paragraph or two. The album artwork is cleverly designed as a classic horror movie cover you'd expect to find at your local video store complete with name star casting.

The five original tracks cover all the sonic expression required for composing this style of music. Ominous, brooding textures and rhythms, lots of maniacal suspense and stabbing synths and screams. However, what George has created here really can be described as a work of art fit for some sort of audio art installation with patrons wandering around in weird bird masks. I get a sense that each track is meant to represent a specifically inspired horror scene in George's head and the compositions really takes you there.

I really felt like I was being stalked by something unseen and unclean and I was only seconds away from my annihilation, then transported to a watery dungeon while desperately trying to claw my way up the walls towards a pin prick of light. The stand out track here for me would be 'Calvary' (featuring Vincenzo Salvia). Like with all his other tracks, every sound has been chosen carefully to convey the exact message it serves, and every layer has been placed lovingly across the spectrum to allow a fantastic sense of space yet with a heavy anchor glueing it all cohesively together.

Naturally the remixes bring about the upbeat, four on the floor flavour to the record. The artists clearly were chosen for their different styles and what they would bring to the table in terms of reinterpreting the original material, and each stands alone in showcasing their respective remixing talents, but the stand out remix here for me is Péndulo Oculto (Umberto Remix). As dark as the original version was, this goes to a whole new level with huge booming percussion, sinister, hair on the edge of your neck synth leads building into a massive hurricane layered wall of sound. I think a good remix pays homage and respect to the original while attempting to engage the listener into checking out their own material, which Umberto has succeeded here for me. 

Strange Shadows comes highly recommended from Synthetix.FM and you can pick up a copy from the Nightcrawler Bandcamp page here.

Nitelight - Bliss-817

By Matthew Neophytou 

As we know there are many sub-genres of electronic music - especially within the retro corner - many producers dabble in mixing some together and achieve great audio heaven, whereas others on the other hand, end up the equivalent of a rewinding cassette tape, using an HB pencil.  

Nitelight is far from the latter, presenting us with their second outing Bliss-817, a well-crafted space journey of the experimental kind.

'Running From The Past' is an outrun track if I ever heard one with an underlying hint of Italo electro that pops up every once in awhile but not defining it at all. 'Terrace To The Stars'; saxophone, drums and a vocal breather held together based in a kick-beat and drums, what’s not to love?  

'Wormhole' is the merging of the last two tracks; outrun drum kicks with ethereal synths culminating in a rather cool guitar rift. 'Glitch In The Code' could sit very well within the soundtrack of a video game without it sound like it's trying to be there. Warped synths, energetic beats and an upbeat melody makes this a cool mash of electro.

 'The Rainy Season' is the reflective track off the album, whether you're a ship's computer, who just discovered sentient thoughts, or a crewmember looking out of the portal to the stars. Melodic piano and smooth sounds, ease the mind of a weary traveller. Ending on a cool note is 'Together Again' featuring a familiar vocal sample, slick beat and playful synths.

Nitelight presents Bliss-817, is a refreshing album that does not stay within an overall theme but rather uses it as a platform to create something enjoyable and cool space journey. Receiving a very high recommendation from Synthetix.FM, you can find it here on Bandcamp.

Dream Shore - Thoughts Of Choice

By Rick Shithouse

Following up the great tease maxisingle release of  the track Thoughts Of Choice from earlier this month, Dream Shore has just released his debut EP and it certainly rocks good and hard. The 'Thoughts Of Choice' single teased much of Dream Shore's inspirations and 80s influence but on the EP we're taken in new directions that add more depth and more sheen to what Dream Shore means.

The opening introductory piece sets the perfect stage for the song 'Memories'. Dream Shore instantly creates a nostalgic moods while also bringing in modern synthpop layers into the mix. What drives this undulating but somehow chaotic synthscape is the vocals and Dream Shore has some fantastic delivery an songwriting skills to back up the music.

The title track, 'Thoughts Of Choice' (featured previously on Quality Time With Shithouse on Synthetix Sundays) goes for a far more authentic 80s vibe that has only secondary modern touches and is very strong from beginning to end. This continues into the next track, 'Clear Eyes', which brings home even more emotive pop laden synth gold.

I've instantly been drawn to the phrasing and simplicity of Dream Shore's delivery yet also entranced by his honesty and presence within his voice. The styles and sounds just work magnificently well together in the realms of 80s inspired pop synth music. Could Dream Shore be the next Patrick Baker for the 80s inspired synth scene? From what I'm hearing on this EP; that's a definite possibility.

The EP finishes off with the magnificent instrumental track 'Motivation'. Dream Shore lets the music do all the talking in this experience and when you hear that lead hit you'll know exactly why. It's a real show case for Dream Shore's ability to rock the classic sounds and create wonderful visions and emotional responses sans vocals.

Dream Shore's Thoughts Of Choice EP is presented by Retro Promenade on their Bandcamp page here and is refreshing and engaging heavy dose of quality 80s synthpop. But more than that, this scene is crying out for vocal talent like this and I have a strong, hopeful feeling we'll be walking those delightful Dream Shore's in many different locales throughout 2015.

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