Thursday 14 July 2022

Down The Road Again

A real retro roundup this time, I was thinking of things I've been listening to recently and wound up landing on another sorta Synthwave selection. I've mentioned in the past how I don't dive into that world much anymore as there was a time when anything vaguely synthwave was a dime a dozen - but after going back to some old Kavinsky records a little while ago, I'd be lying if I said I didn't quite like it a bit. So today I've rounded up some of my other recent favourites both new and old, let's have a look.
Peter Alexander - Ceanothus (2001)

Starting with the new (or new-ish) with a bit of the soundtrack to Road 96, which first came on my radar due to folks talking about the soundtrack. I was sort of surprised to see The Toxic Avenger on there, I hadn't heard that name since the remix heyday of the electro house era. And actually you can hear that influence on Home Call, it shares much more in common with Kavinsky's brand of Electro than it does your average Synthwave, which for me does wonders when it comes to evoking that nostalgia that Road 96 is going for. That intro is divine.

Hitting up Mitch Murder next, I've always described his take on the whole retro electronic sound as very honest, and that's very true for his early releases. The After Hours EP from 2009 was actually Mitch's first, the version on his Bandcamp is quote "slightly remastered" and with redone cover art that is more in line with Mitch's now established look. I've posted bits and pieces from it before but honestly every track on here is very well done - I've gone with Bertone's Theme this time around, a much poppier take on the sound than you might be used to. In keeping with that retro theme, it almost sounds like a DMX Krew track at times with that funky undercurrent. I gotta echo what one of the reviews says on the Bandcamp page, even from this early release you can tell the man has an ear for this kind of thing. And as I say so often on this page, if you like this, you would do well to check out all of MM's output - a lot of his early releases are Pay What You Want so you can scoop them for free if you'd like.

And finally, I can't talk early synthwave without bringing up Perturbator - perhaps one of the biggest names attached to the genre. It's not hard to see why, the covers for these early albums and EPs lean hard into the 80's sleaze and cheese: dripping with images recalling the satanic panic, slasher flicks, sci-fi and sofcore porn. I put the albums back into rotation after a long absence, they're still excellent examples of the genre for sure (my favourite still being The Uncanny Valley) and I've found myself liking the slow jams on them more and more this time around. Last Kiss being one such example, following a very cinematic structure, it takes its time building an atmosphere before lavishly laying on the synths come the 2 minute mark. A complete 180 to the previous track Complete Domination featuring another synthwave heavyweight Carpenter Brut - that one is all about instant intensity whereas Last Kiss is a much more of a mood piece. Maybe it's my soundtrack side taking over, but these bits have been the definite highlights of my revisit.

And that'll be all for today, I hope you've enjoyed this very brief dip into the world of retro electro, there's a whole lot more out there to get stuck into but I think I did a decent job of showing some variety here, especially if you've not encountered any of these artists before. I'll be back soon enough. with more but until next time, as always, stay safe and enjoy the music.


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