Throwback Thursday: Synthwave to the rescue!

Synthwave. Our guilty pleasure here at Beatradar. It’s not underground, not bleeding edge, not deep, usually not even that groovy. Still, I dig it. It’s my safe haven whenever I want some of that eighties charm.

Because, each decade do of course have their charm – so also the eighties. The problem being that the eightes is so insanely oversaturated. Beyond repair. I can’t stand listening to “The Final Countdown” or “Is This Love”, “Africa” or “Forever Young” one single time more.

And that’s where synthwave comes to my rescue.

Turbo Cobra – On Levels

And here’s a track that really reminds me of the classic eighties detective series; Miami Vice. Classic electronic pop instrumental. With the mandatory el-guitar solo on top. Yeah, this one check all the right boxes.

Turbo Cobra is a German duo who told me they love everything eighties, from music to films and fashion. So starting a Synthwave group was just the right thing to do.

And they have obviously done their homework cause this is as authentic as can be. The sound on the track is unfortunately a bit muddy. Unless intentionally sounding like played off a worn cassette – and I doubt that’s intentional – it would benefit from a bit fresher mastering. So there’s a tip to you guys.

But really, if you like synthwave this duo is really worthy of your attention!

This track will be added to our Spotify playlist “More EIGHTIES than the 80s itself” as soon as it is available there. This is the list where only the finest, most authentic synthwwave tracks are collected as we find them. If synthwave is your cup of tea there really are no reasons not to add this list to your library. So grand us a “follow” today!

“What if…” – these were featured in an eighties soundtrack?

My teen years were spent in the eighties. This was obviously before the internet, and the music discoveries were pretty much limited to what we heard on our national TV and radio broadcasters.

As a result of that, having a song featured in the soundtrack of movies and TV series was one very sought after way of achieving a hit record.

Here’s three retrowave tracks that I could totally picture being featured in a TV soundtrack back then. What kind of scenes do you imagine seeing them in?

Mapt, “Summer in L.A.”

This track gives me vague Mr Mister vibes. That big reverb on the snare, the synth arps, the big arrangement of the chorus…

But anyway. Back to topic. Had this been part of a soundtrack it would have to be a romantic, melancholic movie. Long fly-by scenes, silhouettes of ladies with big hair, neon signs, quiet early morning streets, and faces with an expression like they think real hard on something. With slow motion sunset scene, summer dress blowing in the wind during the chorus.

But all fun and games aside, this is a really good retro track. It has a very, very authentic chorus that could so totally be charting those days.

Manuel Marino, “Dream a Trance Music”

Alright, let’s get the title out of the way first: Say… What?

One could call this track a hybrid of 90s trance and eighties synth, but it definitely holds retrowave qualities: A pompous el-piano leading the way to an hurricane of a synth track. As for the “imaginative scenes the track could be featured in“, I picture this as the theme song for an American action crime series, featuring a cop who goes his own ways but with a heart of gold, who has as goofy friend and a dog companion.

Or a dolphin. They were like that in the eighties.

Solarrio, “In My Head”

We round up this vaporwave tripple run with Solarrio and his “In My Head”. The track sounds like it sums up something, so the credit text scroll at the end of the movie would be a suitable place for it!

But I can also imagine it during a scene where our hero, or perhaps a party of people, lays strung out in some hallucinogenic drugs, you know those cheesy “hippies scenes” from the eighties where the director really had zero idea on how the drug he described actually worked, and just blasted on with all the cliches imaginable, including rolling eyes and silly grins. And reaching hands. Always reaching hands.
Then the side kick enters the room and wakes up our hero with a couple of slaps on her cheek, and voila she’s totally sober again.

Good music triggers mental images. And these all triggers the right images for the sound they set out to achieve. Three great synthwave tracks that would have deserved to be featured in a suitable soundtrack back then. Or in the playlist of any eighties fan today!

These tracks are obviously added to our really quite spiffy playlist “More eighties than the eighties itself“. If you like what you heard so far, follow the list and keep track of new discovers as we make them!

Click and follow!

Double synth-pop Monday: Language Arts, “Against The Wind” & Skauss, “Father”

Today’s double feature contains two tracks that both are located somewhere in the cross-lands between Electro Pop and Synthwave. If there ever was a separation between the two… One could rightfully say one is a child of the other. I guess what I try to say is that it’s probably not pure retro in the most purist sense of the term. Yeah this was a real dull ingress so let’s get on to the music:

First out: Language Arts, “Against The Wind

This duo from Toronto (Canada) have a very disarmingly expression in their music, much due to the properties of the vocalist’s remarkably charming voice. A naive, optimistic and feelgood atmosphere is spun across the whole audio imagery.

The catchy track comes across as very retro for this listener, but the decade is not as easy to pin down. It’s got obvious elements of eighties synth pop, but also nineties indie pop, alternative underground and most importantly: It’s got bucket loads of charm. Charm is timeless, isn’t that what they say?
(actually, no. They don’t. Nobody says that. But is is!)

Next we are heading to Greece for Skauss and his “Father“.

When it comes to sound, one could say that Skauss is on the other side of the spectrum from Language Arts.
It’s dark, alarming, a sensation of despair and frustration is in the soundwaves of this creation. But they have a catchy chorus in common. On this track we find an absolutely stunning gospel style choir that helps lift this track up from the “okey” to the “yey!“.

Those of you who already follow our “More EIGHTIES than the 80s” playlist have already heard Skauss and his track “whoami”. I try not to repeat myself too much on our playlists, but I hope you agree that we should make room for one more from this mysterious Greek.

Both of these tracks are added to our “Beatradar Selections” playlist, along with all other selections we do on this blog. But we also added these to our “More Eighties Than The 80s itself” list, a list that indeed deserves to be followed if the above two tracks are to your liking:

click to follow

Millennium Falck, “Beat Drop”: Don’t drop this beat too soon

When it comes to dance music I keep harping on about that ever so important groove as the crucial ingredient. But here’s a track that’s almost too groovy. Yeah.

The beat jumps out of the speakers and slaps you in the face. It’s so intense that I’m thinking, is there any other moment during a house set to drop this one other than at the very peak?

I mean, listen to this banger:

Would it even ruin a set by being dropped too early?

The influences from the french electronica duo Daft Punk are quite audible, but we’re in Finland now.
According to mr Falck, his music is from Neo Helsinki in the year 2080. Millennium Falck, the time traveller and audio wizard. One of Neo Helsinki’s residents, the messenger of these stories from the future.
Yeah, I can dig that.

He describes his project as “a musical interpretation of how the district of Kallio in Helsinki sounds like in the year 2080. Kallio in the 2080’s is filled with CyberYuccies who like futurefunk and oldschool floppy discs and cassettes. Beat Drop is the first song of the EP that portrays the discoteque scene of Kallio in the year 2080’s.”

And that EP is simply just bloody great. What it sounds like? A delicious mashup of 90s disco house and eighties synthwave! Check it out:

I’m with you, Millennium! Let’s go!

This track is added to our “It’s House Music!” playlist, and is bouncing around in there as we speak:

In addition we also added another track from his catalogue to our synthwave/retrowave playlist, currently in the making. Watch this space.

Klangplanet, “Utopia”: Synthpop meets house

This seems to be a week out of the ordinary here at Beatradar. Originally set out to cover the contemporary underground club tracks, I seem to have a temporary knack towards the retro sounds and are hell bent to not stick to our declared goals.

Yesterday I picked a track that was intentionally very retro. Today I got a track that also have clear roots backwards, but without as obviously trying to be retro. The vocals, both lead and chorus are very 80s, the beat very 90s. Interestingly it seems to be a rising curve of music with 90s feel lately, at least judging from what’s been submitted to us.

It’s obviously very cinematic, this track. In fact it reminds me of the Austrian artist Falco, the same theatrical and beat oriented arrangement plus the very typical female chorus, and I for one don’t mind that.

But how does this track differ from those that we decline? I think part of the attraction here stems from the audio production. It’s just so crystal clear, gorgeous drum sounds, clearly defined soundscape. It just sounds so… Crunchy! Goes to show how important a proper mixing and mastering stage is.

Funky, playful guitar riffs breaks the otherwise quite cold synth landscape, a very welcome detail. All in all a track that I find a bit hard to categorise, but easy to enjoy!

This track is added to our ever expanding “Beatradar Selections” playlist, a list that we do welcome you to follow for a selection of pretty diverse tracks, all with the Beatradar stamp of approval!