Synesthesiæ Films is not only our single favorite Youtube channel, but is also the creator of the official music videos for many of our favorite artists. Utilizing retro found footage and heavy visual editing, Synesthesiæ Films crafts nostalgic video montages for the vintage vibes purveyed by acts like 18 Carat Affair, Holy Other, Klockhaus, and many more. Periodically, they’ll put together a very short “station ID”, melding a choice cut from some lucky VHS-wave artist with washed out footage or decades old vector art. Do tha right thing, and enjoy these teasers created by Synesthesiæ Films, and then subscribe to their Youtube channel for more creative visual insight into the best of today’s electronic acts. You can even download their podcast mixtapes, deemed “Colourcasts”, at their Soundcloud page.
Considering the official release date of this album is February 18, 1990, but the opening track “199X” didn’t appear on Soundcloud until about four months ago, all bets are off as to when </3 hit the airwaves. After falling in love with Dreams West’s self-titled debut, we frequently revisited his spheres of influence in hopes of new material, and this LP just appeared one day, cohesively comprised of material created throughout the past couple of years. Some of the tracks seem to have been released as stand alone singles before Dreams West even came out in 2011. Your favorite producer’s least favorite producer is slowly but surely creating again, but not without this first releasing this beautiful montage of the many shades and facets of his work since the inception of Dreams West. Kicking off with a sprawling Chuck Person-esque mashup of found foreign sound, retro samples, and a wall-of-sound, “199X”, while easily the most experimental jam on </3, really prepares the listener for the coming onslaught of varying vintage sound palettes. Segueing perfectly into the retro Balearic vibe of “Disengage”, one of Dreams West’s better known singles, the album remains steadfastly lo-fi and mid-tempo, yet punchy and user-friendly throughout. Its predominant tone is chopped and screwed funk, boogie, and soul samples from the early to mid-80’s, with the occasional detour into ambient analog synth music and early 90’s dance, the above featured collaboration with Tokyo Hands being an excellent example of that. That title track is easily the strongest song on the release, being a thick colloidal mixture of tape reel-based synthwave and awful 90’s techno haze. It almost sounds like something that Pictureplane may have secretly engineered. “Battery View” and “Sweating”, both being short vignettes, add facets of warped, looped audio glaze and pitch-shifted vocal sampling to the heavily edited VHS-wave experience. “Mind Over MIDI” regresses pleasantly to that sunny, beachside turn of the decade tone, utilizing the synth leads and reverberating toms that truly distinguish the artist from his brethren. At the end of the colorful, exotic journey, the closing track channels Blade Runner- and Apocalypse Now-era Tangerine Dream with an eerie beatless synth symphony of space age triumph and a deep sense of impending doom. If you haven’t already heard the lion’s share of Dreams West’s newer full-length </3, do tha right thing and grab a download of the album at his Bandcamp page. He’s not asking anything for what we consider a fun-filled, nostalgic cinematic excursion, so we think you really ought to do him a solid one and at least pay what you would if you found it at a shop on record day. If you are already well acquainted with the album, then join us in begging Raleigh, North Carolina’s cassette obsessed beatmaker for another one, and soon!
Record label Astro Nautico just released a sprawling free mix called Atlantics Vol. 3, featuring a brand new Jacob 2-2 single, along with some other names that we recognize. While supposedly not as ambitious of Vol. 2, there are thirty-two free jams available for the taking over at Astro Nautico’s Bandcamp right now. Considering how legit this new Jacob 2-2 single sounds, it just might be high time for a dizzownload. “Videolympics”, while cluttered with a small choir of synth noises, immediately startles the listener with its smooth hi-fi clarity. Akin to the sounds coming from that dedicated movement of crystal clear funk, boogie, and soul music, the tune is mixed well and has a very metropolitan tone to it. Despite the 8-bit arcade sounds and the Tron-esque bassline, “Videolympics” sounds almost like overly ambitious corporate mood music, like birth and death in the digital age. What really makes this track a winner is that neon shorts-wearing bright eyed 80’s whiz kid vibe that’s a part of every Jacob 2-2 song, but with a crisp, clean bite to it that goes down ever so smoothly. Pour yourself some champagne, play a couple rounds of Galaga, and grab a free MP3 download of Jacob 2-2’s “Videolympics” today. Afterwards, check outAtlantics Vol. 3, and consider spending some cash on Jacob 2-2’s previous releases. We’ll personally stand behind his Cabazon EP.
Midnight Runners, our favorite Asian boogie duo, just dropped this sassy new single not ten hours ago via their Soundcloud page. Sporting that phat retro bassline and those italo-disco synth tracks you know and love, “Keep On” is an incurably optimistic synthwave anthem. Despite its pensive half-tempo pacing, this sunny uptown jam really keeps on, with its soulful vocal looping and crisp vintage percussion. Expect no less than a booty bouncin’, bitch bangin’ time with Midnight Runners’ latest single “Keep On”. If you’re a fan of Capo Blanco, Sloslylove, or Spinoff, grab a free MP3 download of the tune after the jump, and be sure to make their Overdive EP your next calculated purchase. This is high class shit, y’all.
After the death of Elite Gymnastics, I think a fair number of us reasonably assumed that the days of witchy K-pop-inspired drum n’ bass were numbered. We thoroughly enjoyed the long, drawn out Q&A’s with lone member James Brooks, but we felt pretty ambivalent about the much-hyped Adult Swim single “Andreja 4-Ever”. We longed for the days of Ruin and its three subsequent iterations. After bumping back on into Elite Gymnastics’ Soundcloud page for sentimental reasons, a screen grab of Miyazaki’s Porco Rosso grabbed our attention, so we felt that a quick listen to the most recent post was in order. “Is This on Me?” is a cut from a little-known release called Real Friends from back in 2010, which explains its similarity to the dark and desperate vibe of the B-side selection of Ruin’s reworks. The typically early 90’s IDM-inspired percussion section is here, but not to the extent that it sounds kitsch. The more refined, and yet nonetheless forceful beat lays the foundation required for an early onslaught of exotic retro sampling from Chinese pop star Faye Wong’s “Eyes on Me”, which was featured prominently in Final Fantasy VIII. A prominent bassline lends the jam a subtly retro tone, while still maintaining the melodramatic flair. Tinny pitch-shifted female vocals chant the eponymous question over a garbled male taking care of the verses and chorus, all of which is paired nicely with a very lo-fi Vimeo collection of vintage sporting footage. Skateboards, roller skates, bicycles, and the like. If showcasing this rarity is Elite Gymnastics’ unique way of telling listeners that his brand of Square-Enix-inspired witch house-and Warp Records-era club music is coming back in full force, we are fully on board. You have our attention, James, and we eagerly await your resurgence. By the way, are you really dating Grimes? If so, holy shit.
Amusement, the Croydon foursome that released this stellar remix of Disclosure’s “Flow”, really turns a good original jam as well. Some quick research into their relatively sparse online presence yields results quickly, as their most recent Soundcloud offering pops in such a sensible way while still retaining a warm self-produced sheen. “Mural”, posted four months ago, has a very hi-fi studio grade tone to it, putting it in the same sound echelon as acts like Fixers or Races. The layered wailing at the forefront of this very radio-friendly indietronic tune is complemented perfectly by the light beat and the warm, pervasive bassline. The highlight, of course, is the digital distortion towards the end of the refrain. Very simple, effective, and catchy. Some of those generic sounding indie rock bands really gel well with that experimental sound that we constantly chase, so we’d like to put in a plug for Amusement. We hope that their vibes continue to resonate for quite some time. Do tha right thing, and get an MP3 earful of “Mural”, by Amusement, and then see what else you can see by these guys afterwards. That Disclosure remix is definitely not to be missed either.
Apparently, Italy’s Spinoff has a new EP due out soon via Smashtales. This smooth single, “Understood”, was revealed at Smashtales’ Soundcloud page about three weeks ago, flying under the radar and about ten feet above the waves. The only official compilation that Paolo Cuomo (Spinoff) has released to date is his Sooner or Later single/EP, so we’re very excited about the expansive sound of “Understood”. Hushed retro soul vocals loop to the tune of a manic reverb-soaked beat and italo-disco synth sounds. A very funky early 90’s chic vibe is at play in “Understood”, well in step with the synthwave tone of similar artists like 18 Carat Affair, Capo Blanco, or Lay Bac. Do tha right thing, and grab a free MP3 download of Spinoff’s synth-funk single “Understood” below, and then swipe Sooner or Later also, if you haven’t already. There are also quite a few earlier compositions and remixes available at his Soundcloud. We’ll keep you posted about the newcomer’s upcoming EP, which will hopefully be released by Smashtales sooner rather than later.
We just learned about Helsinki’s Albert Swarm today, thanks to Ceremony Recordings’ excellent little mix for ISO50. Featuring Solar Year, Bam Spacey, and a couple of others, Ceremony for ISO50 pretty well encompasses that minimalistic pop ethos that seems to be all the rage these days among the indietronic and full-on electronic music followers. Particularly, Albert Swarm’s “Aging Out” nods subtly at that neo-R&B vibe purveyed by the likes of Clams Casino, Supreme Cuts, and pretty much every artist that’s signed onto Tri Angle Records. Taken from 2011 debut (and pre-Holy Other titled) Held EP, “Aging Out” is deep, dark house/downtempo music along the lines of Holy Other or Synkro, and yet there’s more space age digitalism just outside of the confines of the four-and-a-half minute entry that steadily reveals more of itself with each further listen. Despite the sensual vocal samples, the typical retro urban overtones or witchy haze that one would expect to be present in this type of jam are lost in the stardust and sonar, like tears in the rain. Do tha right thing, and grab a free MP3 download of Albert Swarm’s “Aging Out” below. Afterwards, check out the rest of Ceremony Recordings’ playlist for ISO50, and purchase Swarm’s Held EP or maybe some of his more recent releases, if you enjoy what you hear enough.
Sand Circles is Stockholm’s Martin Herterich, and his retro-futuristic VHS-wave jams seem typically to lean in tone toward all things oblivion. This observation really can’t be further from the truth in the case of “Continuity”, an unreleased tune from his fold from about a month ago. The darkness and silence create a negative space within the mind of the listener, lending strength and gravity to the minimalistic lo-fi synthwave of “Continuity”. Faint record hiss backs looming vintage percussion, foreboding rhythm synth tracks, and a nightmarish lead that reappears continuously. The five-and-a-half minute experience brings to mind the chain-smoking late night beat cop shift in a run-down dystopic wasteland right out of Escape From New York. Decay. Futility. Annihilation. Do tha right thing, and grab a free MP3 download of “Continuity”, by Sand Circles below. If you like his post-apocalyptic downtempo, purchase a copy of Motor City, his most recent release via Not Not Fun.
This one’s a submission that’s dated from 5 months ago, before climactic single “It’s Not Forever” and all of the sneak peeks that Phaseone’s being releasing from his upcoming new album, If I Tell U, out May 7th via Williams Street Records. Until that fated date that we both get to indulge together in the most expansive work to date by the Brooklyn producer (and man of few words), we’ll just have to settle for the limited offerings represented on Phaseone’s Soundcloud and extremely dated Bandcamp page. This oft-overlooked entry, “No Makeup”, was apparently once tagged “killa”, which jives with Phaseone’s apparent early dabbling in rap music. This jam, however, really fits handily in with the sounds purveyed by Juicy or Keats//Collective, modernized synth-funk, digitized slow jams heavily influenced by the sounds of yore. “No Makeup”, with its contemporary-meets-italo-disco overtones, would be right at home between tunes by Jolly Mare or Matt Miller. With its smooth synth lead, its sensual percussion, and its glittering electronic rhythm sounds; we highly recommend you do tha right thing and give “No Makeup”, by Phaseone, a good solid listen. Enjoy a side to the artist that we don’t often see, and be sure also to purchase If I Tell U when it drops in early May. We can’t wait!