introduced me to a fantastic music genre last year known as “Synthwave”. In a nutshell, it’s the embodiment and celebration of the 1980’s in all of it’s neon colors, tricked out synthesizers, track pants and sports cars. As often as not you’ll catch samples from old arcade games and 80’s action films. The nostalgia factor is huge here, and it’s just tons of fun. You wouldn't think something could simultaneously be cheesy and cool at the same time, but there it is. If you like 80’s nostalgia and electronic music, you might just be a fan. For me it was the perfect storm. Here are some of my top picks:
MIRANA - Dark Ride
LazerHawk - Distress Signal (also don't miss the
. LazerHawk is probably my favorite group of all the Synthwavers out there. This video also does a great job capturing the look and feel of this subculture of music)
Nightlife - Nooka Over You (a bit more light hearted)
Miami Nights 1984 - Ocean Drive
Power Glove - Streets of 2043 (remember when I mentioned video game samples?)
Flashworx - Futurisma (video features a classic scene from the 1988 animated film, '
' which may turn in to a blog post of its own down the road.)
Last but not least, I want to share a mix that first exposed me to the genre. It's was put together by Futurecop (Skip to 2:35. Tracks listed in the video description):
the genre got started back in 2006 with French musician Kavinsky. I’m not sure if I could say it's “taken off” since then, it seems much more underground. However there are some exceptions- if you’ve seen the movie “Drive” you might have noticed the overly neon-pink theme and some music from Kavinsky (
). Also not a bad film if you don't mind Ryan Gosling staring at people for extended periods of time. Seriously though it's pretty great.
Then there’s also the video game Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon which has a very Synthwave cover, and features music from Power Glove:
And apparently I’m not the only Synthwave fan out there- A group going by the name Laser Unicorns put together a successful Kickstarter campaign last year to make a Synthwave inspired movie: “Kung Fury”. They raised $630,000! Here’s the trailer:
Yup, over the top, and just plain fun.
Eric James Lyman
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