Friday, December 23, 2016

Vaporwave

I love the samples of Mac OS 7 startup sounds, Enya, and so many other sources - all blended into one smooth memory key. Well worth listening to: Blank Banshee - Blank Banshee 0
http://blankbanshee.bandcamp.com/album Blank Banshee - Blank Banshee 1
http://blankbanshee.bandcamp.com/album
NxxxxxS - Fujita Scale
https://nbbeats.bandcamp.com/album/fujita-scale



Monday, November 28, 2016

WAVE

 

I've meant to write more about the emerging 'Wave' genre, as it's emerged over the past few years on SoundCloud. After finding a great new mix by Kareful today, I decided to just that.

Wave is a genre label attached to a collective of different artists, but typically has a mix of trap, dubstep and grime influences, but I also hear echoes of Witchhouse, and a lot of influence from gothic dance music, but slower and more chilled out due to the Trap influence.

To my sensabilities, I find this genre very enjoyable, as it channels what I liked about the goth music scene of the mid-2000s, but without any of the pretension or the homage to the 80's aesthetic inherant most dark synthpop or EBM. It's a style of music that's evolved out of a collective of artists spread across the world via SoundCloud, which this article explores really well.













There's a great article discussing the ins and outs of the emerging genre, with some interesting quotes from the artists themselves about the aspirations they have for their music, one that bridges the gap between dance floor and introspective bedroom music:



Kareful has one other ambition that at first seems bizarre, but makes complete sense within the wider context of the times in which we live.“Wouldn’t it be great if our tracks resonated so deeply with people they start breaking down on the dance floor crying?” he grins. “We’re trying to make the most emotional tracks possible. This surely has to be the best result of that?” [...]

“I think emotion plays the most powerful role in any production or piece of music,” agrees Sorsari. “Being able to move a listener with an emotional vibe that you want to exude from a track is probably the coolest thing ever. I want the listener to put themselves into an imaginary environment based on what they’re listening to and to resonate with it… The wave genre has been a gateway for me to do that, and play it in clubs.”

For others listening pleasure, an ongoing WAVE genre playlist I've been curating for a few years: 

Friday, November 18, 2016

College - Synthwave




“When David approached me for this project, I was thrilled. Listening to Auto-Pilot, I envisioned a distant world with 1980’s American mall aesthetics. I wanted the video to resemble a fever dream, drifting through empty corridors and spaces that have long lost their luster. The dozens of hours of footage I have collected of dead malls in America paired with the track was a perfect, harmonious fit. It was a fantastic collaboration to be a part of. We both knew exactly what we wanted with this project..” - Dan Bell

Related: [1] [2]





Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Midnight - Endless Summer (Instrumental version)

A wonderful synthwave track by The Midnight:



Also worth listening to is the rest of the album:

Friday, August 26, 2016

S U R VI V E - RR7349 singles

The band behind the soundtrack to Netflix 'Stranger Things' is releasing a new album on Sept 30th 2016, and have some amazing dark, driving synthy tracks available for listening.






I'll be certain to get their album once it's available on Bandcamp, but I'm hoping for a release of that amazing looking cover art too.



Music that reminds me of the dreams my childhood self had of the distant future: how the past remembers the future has been a preoccupation of mine artistically. I'm happy to see series like Stranger Things give a musical platform to modern acts like SURVIVE for that reason.


Check out the io9 article for more information about their upcoming (US) tour.

A previous 2012 album by the band in full, S U R V I V E - S U R V I V E:



Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Tears In Rain: A Tribute Album to Blade Runner (FCR)


A very well produced compilation paying tribute to the sound of Vangelis' Blade Runner sound track. The beginning of 'Shinjuku Rose' is a bit jarring, but the rest of the track - and album are stellar.



Full size album art:



Sunday, July 17, 2016

Stranger Things extended Theme Song

An extended fan-mix of the "Stranger Things" theme song:



The series is an amazing example of tactfully done 80's nostalgia  - the pulsing John Carpenter-esk synth score, combined with familiar elements of both horror and kid-adventure Sci-fi from that era: ET, The Goonies, Close Encounters of Third Kind, all wrapped in a Twin Peaks/X-Files-esk show on Netflix. A highly recommend series.

Here's some additional altered versions of the theme song, found on this Nerdist article:



__

The series was scored by Michael Stein and Kyle Dixon, who were once part of an Austin Texas Synth group called s-u-r-v-i-v-e:
https://soundcloud.com/s-u-r-v-i-v-e

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Com Truise - Declination (Instrumental Track)



From the Hokokum game soundtrack - Declaination (instrumental) by Com Truise.

Original version with vocals by Joel Ford:



Friday, May 6, 2016

Noble Oak - Past Life

An excellent dreampop album came out today from Toronto based musician/producer Patrick Fiore's Noble Oak. His work, along with Dayve Hawke's Memory Tapes have became my favorite dreampop artists.

I discovered Memory Tapes (then Weird Tapes / Hail Social) back in the early 2000's, making my recent discovery of Patrick's work in spring 2015 a welcomed surprise.

Now released to iTunes, Spotify, as well as in it's entirety on the Noble Oak Soundcloud, his latest 15-track album is available for the world to hear. It's pleasant and introspective without being too somber. The synthetic and guitar melodies carry each song along with well worded vocals that provide depth, and anchor each track wonderfully.

Noble Oak
SoundCloud
Facebook


Friday, April 29, 2016

DREAMS WEST

It's rare, but occasionally I'll come across an artist on soundcloud whose been around for years, but seemingly has zero connection with another artist - but they share a similar sound.

DREAMS WEST has been around for 5 or so, (at the time of this writing)  - and that's a while in the internet age. It surprised me to hear similarities between his work and HIGH TIDES's self-titled album though, given I'd never seen the two appear together in any playlists or associated tracks.

Give both a listen and see~



Thursday, April 28, 2016

Rise of the Synths - Documentary



The Rise of the Synths
, sounding like '50s B-movie that never was is actually an crowd funding effort to by director Ivan Castell to create a documentary about the very music genre I've focused on the past few years: 'Sythwave', 'Retrowave', or just '80s sounding stuff' to some,
 

“... At least for me, it’s a reinterpretation of a retro sound that taps into somewhere in your brain and brings back memories from your childhood,” he told Vehlinggo recently. Basically, he’s saying that what these artists are doing isn’t always retro, or always 80s, but they’re using the pastiche and modern production to evoke particular moods. I tend to agree." [link]
I've written about the topic early on in this blog, mainly because it was something that I never saw articulated anywhere else. It was music that just emerged online without a physical touring or mainstream presence and tapped directly into how I imagined the future would sound as a child in the late 80's and early '90s.

I'm very interested to see what comes of this documentary, particularly given the lineup currently listed:

College, Electric Youth, Maethelvin, Com Truise, Miami Nights 1984, Kristine, Lazerhawk, Mitch Murder, Power Glove, Futurecop!, OGRE, Dance with the Dead, Night Crawler, Vincenzo Salvia, Stellar Dreams, The Midnight, Jordan F, Betamaxx, 80s Stallone, Dynatron, Darkest, Carpenter Brut, Timecop1983, Waveshaper, and MPM Soundtracks.
The whole interview is worth reading, and I'd hope anyone with a love of this musical genre pledges some kind of support to the documentary maker. It would certainly create a nice musical touchstone to show people unfamiliar with this style of music - and to help delineate it from actual 80's synthpop.

 

Monday, April 25, 2016

The transition of remixes and covers: Under your Spell

Discovering how different musicians and remix artists reinterpret a song can be an interesting journey to take. Case in point - 'Under Your Spell' by the 80's-esk group DESIRE. This track was released in 2009, and appeared in the 2011 film DRIVE.

A common complaint was the 80's 'Breakfast Club'-esk talking interlude in the middle of the original song:



 An edit exists that removes this section:




Other artists have reinterpreted the song further, while incorporating improvements to it's structure like the clean edit:



Other versions, perhaps released as B-Sides provide an acoustic/synth only track:



Among the most distant renditions is a looped vaporwave version, highlighting the core aspects of the song:



Friday, March 11, 2016

FUTURE SHOCK: Orson Wells brings us Beyond the Black Rainbow

I had the pleasure of watching the late Orson Wells narrate/star in FUTURE SHOCK, a mid-1970s schlocky documentary about how too much change too quickly could destroy (western) society.

I remember the book, and it's interesting cover on my grandfather's book shelf when I was a child. He was an avid reader of Vonnegut and JFK assassination theories - disseminated in the pre-digital age as small novelette-sized printed books. The original film (which was originally created for screening at the Cannes Film festival) feels like something my grandfather would have enjoyed:



Aside from the synthy music, what struck me about the documentary was how seriously it took it self. "We're faced with so many choices, so many decisions, and we have to make them so quickly. None of us can escape the pressures. That's what future shock is all about." Orson Wells reads this dramatically over '70s disco montage music showing various things people can purchase, including 8-track tapes. While incredibly dated, that's part of the charm of this 'documentary'. From a modern point of view, it documents a future that never came to pass - at least not in the form predicted.
Consistently, FUTURE SHOCK (perhaps intentionally), blended 'modern day' late '60s/ early '70s footage into what it predicted will be the future.  At times, I couldn't tell if they were showing an interview with a person from the '70s about science, pharmacology, hitch hiking or polyamorous living, - or if those sections were intended to be set in some distopian 'future'. The aim seemed to gleefully revel at change, and simultaneously communicate how TERRIFYING this change was, and that you shouldn't like it.

I decided to watch BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW afterwards: it's a modern film set and styled as occurring in 1983 which deals with similar issues. Playing the ending of FUTURE SHOCK over top of this films' cassette tape-style introduction created a nice bridge - almost as if FUTURE SHOCK was a spiritual prequel to Panos Cosmatos film:



The intro 'Promotional' video above for the Arboria Institute above is the beginning to BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW. This film is fictionally set in the same time frame as FUTURE SHOCK, and it provides an interesting segway: it posits that the disposable, futuristic society Wells drones about actually comes to pass in the form of Huxley's Brave New World -- an assembly line society where everyone is medicated by a societal elite. People struggle to cope in this dark, 'future shocked' world, and turn instead to 'benign pharmacology, sensory therapy, and energy sculpting, " to find "contentment and inner peace". 

Be sure to check out the article about FUTURE SHOCK at DangerousMinds.net which goes into some interesting detail about the production and the ideas within.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

MOLAM - Psychedelic music from Thailand's countryside.



Molan music emerged from Issan, a location in Thailand outside of the urban centers. "Isaan [and it's Molan music] is like being from Idaho," a backwater burg to urban Thais who view it as the place where the city's taxi drivers and domestic workers hail from.
[,..]
"The 20th century strain of Molam music features trippy riffs, hypnotic patterns, and drawn-out, inventive solos. Maft Sai's favorite era of Molam is slightly older than he is, though. "The modern Molam sound actually comes from the 70s. It's like reggae. They use the same lines but each band uses slightly different instrumentation and style. Some use the traditional phin and khaen, some use a brass band; some add guitar or keyboard."

Thursday, February 11, 2016

glo - sovande (Ambient soundscape album)

Another wonderful (and free!) release by gℓo. Perfect background music for work or contemplation:

Album as a single mix or individual tracks via Bandcamp.


gℓo
Soundcloud
Bandcamp

Sunday, January 24, 2016

C (299,792 km/s) - Retrofuturistic 80s Synthwave Short Sci-Fi film

C (299,792 km/s) from Seaquark Films on Vimeo.


To stop time, and live in a memory of a memory. The present's vision of what the past's vision of the future was. Filters within filters.

C (299,792 km/s) was a crowfunded independent short SF film that seems to combine a late 70s, early 80s Carl Sagan/Cosmos vibe with a futuristic tale of humanity, topped off with synthwave music by Sellorekt.

Trevor Something - Death Dream



 I enjoy the VHS electro haze of Trevor Something's releases. Some tracks also blur into a "High Tides" style of distortion which are dreamily pleasant too:

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

DERU - 1979

Wishing I could attend Eustis' performance as Telefon Tel Aviv (1st time since his bandmates death a few years ago, happening a world away in LA on April 2nd.

He's performing with an artist I'd not heard before, but will certainly take notice of now - Deru:



Soundcloud.