By Lachie Hunt
It's nice to see a bit of variety in the location of synthwave artists, as even out here in Australia, most are in metropolitan centers like Melbourne and Sydney. Mt Gambier, a fairly out of the way town at the bottom of South Australia, is the home of synthwave artist and guitarist Rad Pitt. He has released one EP up to now, entitled Miami Nights EP which came out in May last year and it was a chilled out release that was a great first foray into the genre. Fast forward to this year, nine months later and Rad Pitt has just released EP Two, a nine track "EP". Personally, I think it's a little long for an EP, but certain choices make me think it's meant to be like this. The artwork, by AppleJail, really does a number on the eyes, but in a good way! It definitely captures the 80s feel.
The EP is bookended with an 'Intro' and an 'Outro'. 'Intro' starts with a sample from what sounds like a 1980s news anchor talking about the future of television. The song sounds calm, with huge snare reverb and a healthy dose of it on the kick as well. The entire track just sounds warm to the ears like a nightly news report.
Back to the "certain choices" I was referring to before. The songs after 'Intro' seem to be in pairs in their tone. First up, 'Pumping Iron' and 'Plissken's Day Off'. These tracks are the energetic light ones, not out of place in a fitness tape or eighties movie montage. The synth stabs in 'Pumping Iron' really help the groove, and the nice little saw lead going on at the same time meshes so well with the rest of the track. 'Plissken's Day Off' is the first part in the EP where Pitt's guitar playing gets to shine. The same high treble saw lead lets the track sound a little like Miami Nights 1984 at times, and the repeating guitar riff is insanely nostalgic.
Now onto the second set, the dark tracks. 'Night Rider' and 'The Wizard' are the fourth and fifth tracks on the EP, and they are possibly my favourites. 'Night Rider' has almost a Hotline Miami vibe to it, as the droning hard bass continues until the breakdown. This track also uses reverb really well, a lot of the percussion sounding like it has space. 'The Wizard' feels malevolent, like a slasher movie killer's theme. The rising bass and creepy samples add atmosphere to the song. The last half minute though feels very uplifting. It's hard to explain unless you hear it yourself, but the song is able to change tone incredibly smoothly.
Now finally onto the last set, the calm tracks, 'Glow' and 'VaperWave'. The percussion is the standout feature of 'Glow', while the pads are nice, they can't beat some of the tom fills in this track. The same goes for 'VaperWave', although I feel the instrumentation edges out 'Glow' slightly. It picks up towards the end for sure though.
The last proper track on the EP is 'LA Connection'. It's simple, but beautiful. The arpeggio in the background for most of the song is a fantastic way of keeping the groove going and the pads go very well with it. 'Outro' finishes off the EP with some more ChipTune styled action, but with some very neat pitch drop effects at the end.
EP Two is able to conjure up an image of the 80s I feel I've never seen before, a combination of elements from darksynth to dreamwave. Rad Pitt presents EP Two on his Bandcamp here and certain tracks can be found on his soundcloud here so be sure to follow him there too. EP Two comes very highly reccomended by Synthetix.fm.