In keeping with today’s retro theme, let’s take a look at one of the fastest-growing musical scenes of the New Tens – synthwave! Synthwave is a genre out to revive the 80s in the best way, capturing the sights and sounds of the decade and bringing it into the modern era. Neon grids, sunsets and palm trees are the order of the day here, drawing influence from Miami beaches, the works of John Carpenter and 80s pop culture.
With 80s culture coming back to the fore with the massive success of Stranger Things, I thought it was time to take a look at some of the artists creating awesome synthwave tracks to make your Saturday a retro heaven.
Wolf and Raven – ‘On The Run’
This was one of the first synthwave songs I ever listened to, on the recommendation of my mate Jason, an afficionado of 80s culture in all its forms. Immediately after hearing this track I fell in love and knew this was a genre I needed to explore more. With its accompanying video capturing the look of the genre perfectly, if you’re gonna get into synthwave, start with this one. As an added bonus, the Youtube channel this one comes from, NewRetroWave, posts regular synthwave songs so you’ll always have your retro fix.
Gunship – ‘ Revel In Your Time’
One of the few synthwave bands to use vocals, Fightstar alumni Dan Haigh and Alex Westaway craft a neon future with a beautiful pixel art video. This is seriously one of the best music videos I’ve ever seen, telling a virtual romance story stuffed with nods to geek culture that any fan of cyberpunk will enjoy.
Holder/MLW – ‘League of Legends Main Theme (80’s Remix)’
Since 80s synth has such a distinctive sound, it’s a frequent favourite of remixers. League of Legends has a very talented sound team, and the main theme is a great piece of work. Marrying it with synthwave was a great choice, creating a pounding track that’s sure to hype you up for any ranked game. The use of the iconic ‘Welcome to Summoner’s Rift’ soundbite is an extra-nice little touch, too.
Kartmaze – ‘Icarus (Remix)’
‘Icarus’, the main theme of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, is one of the finest pieces of game music of the past ten years, incorporating dark synths and choral vocals to build a great backbone for a tech-noir cyberpunk future.
This remix takes cues from Vangelis’ Blade Runner soundtrack to add to that feel even more with pounding drums loaded with reverb. One of the best remixes of one of the best title themes ever, easily worth a listen for any fan of game music.
Perturbator – ‘Neo Tokyo’
Perturbator is one of the biggest names in the synthwave scene, with a harder-edged take on synthwave drawing from industrial music and digital hardcore. It’s nice to see an artist take influence from 80s horror films and incorporating their dark themes into his music. He’s one of the first artists I listened to in-depth, and appealed to my metal-loving sensibilities perfectly.
What retro tunes are you listening to? Let me know in the comments!