Saturday, December 15, 2012

Synthetix Year End Synthstravaganza!

2012 has been a great year for 80s inspired synth. Possibly the best year since the 80s. There have been so many incredible new producers arise and mainstays of the scene have perfected their craft even further. It was suggested to me a couple of months back by the always engaging Jordan F to do something different for the Best of 2012. Jordan's suggestion was to do a Top Ten for all the different 80s inspired synth genres.

I loved this suggestion, but thought I might be getting in over my head. Going through all my favourite tunes of 2012 I kept trying to separate tracks into genres. This took a lot of time and patience to work out, for a start I had to settle on genres. This became a bit of an obsession for me as I really wanted to so this right and make it a bit of a platform for how this music groups into set thematics.

One of the things that really vexed me for years in this scene is that there was no real genres that made much sense. The only one that made sense to me was OutRun, which is a hallmark of the Rosso Corsa stable. OutRun has it's own personality, the high energy night driving chase music that is instantly recognisable. But what about Dream Wave? Synth Wave? And the myriad of other variations. It became harder and harder to even relate these styles to the genres, often really just having the 80s as their sound inspiration, but the form this music was taking was constantly changing it's flavours; adding new ones, and bringing in more ingredients.

I'd like to state I'm no musician. I have no musical talent whatsoever. I don't understand how music is written and to me the whole making of music is a magical process beyond my comprehension. I do, however, have great passion for music. The 80s sounds I grew up with are now being revisited and reinvented by modern day magicians who make the past the future and are able to freeze time in individual moments. I don't want to know how music is made, I don't want to see what's behind the curtain and have it explained to me in bunches of numbers and formulas. Keeping music a magical and wondrous experience is what inspires me and gives me great pleasure.

So as I went through the genres I was making up, or adapting and grouping tracks accordingly, it rarely was about the nuts and bolts that make up the tune and more about the feelings it inspired in me. The mood it created and the ambience it exuded. This was all based on emotional response and it took much mulling over and deep contemplation about how to make these genres work. I don't expect these genres to be any kind of blueprint or standard for the scene, that's not my intention at all. This is more about how I as a reviewer and sharer of music can convey an idea or a response to what I personally have felt in the music.

It was rather serendipitous that without trying to I settled on eight genres of 80s inspired synth. These are: Soundtrack Synth, OutRun Synth, Synth Pop, Synth Romance, Dark Synth, Electro Funk Synth, Synth Wave and Italo Disco Synth. All of these have elements that can crossover into others and it's not like there are any strict rules, but for the sake of my sanity these seemed to work for any track I could listen to. This is not something I'm going go into any detail to explain, I let the music do the work there.

What this means for the year end Best Of 2012 top tens on Synthetix is that I have eight individual top tens covering my favourite music in all these genres resulting in 80 of my favourite musical experiences for 2012. I hope theres lots of familiar, and maybe some new experiences for you. There are a few tracks one might think are glaring omissions too, but I placed a couple caveats on what music was eligible. The first of these is that they have to have been released in 2012 and the second is that they must have been officially released. There were many tracks that have been shared on soundcloud but either not released or been downloadable. I made the decision of making these tracks exempt from the top tens as I wanted anyone to be able to enjoy these tracks, and that the artist was happy with them as their final evolutions. Unfortunately there are few tracks in these charts that have been removed or met their download limits since they were posted, but I hope this is only in a couple of instances and you might be able to get them still through contacting the artist.

The top tens themselves aren't based on anything by my own personal feelings and opinions about the music. Theres no set rules as to where the tracks are and they're by no means based on anyone else's opinion but my own, so please keep this in mind if you're not in agreeance.

Before we get to the charts themselves I have bonus gift for everyone in the Synthetix Ultimix 2012. This is a monster two hour mix containing  the top four tracks from each genre's chart. I hope you enjoy this mix as we blast off with the first of many Year End Top Tens on Synthetix!

Top 10 Soundtrack Synth

1, A Glowing Light, A Promise - Makeup And Vanity Set
2, Serve The Public Trust - Protector 101
3, Retrofutures - Starforce & Perturbator
4, Propulsion Overdrive - Dynatron
5, Silver Streak - LA Dreams
6, The Hour Has Come To Fight - Tommy
7, Golden '85 - Starforce
8, A Hero's Anthem - Flash Arnold
9, Rumblefish - Pilotpriest
10, 80s Muscle - Quasars

Top 10 Electro Funk Synth

1, Interface - Garth Knight
Cut Glass Accent - Aminova
3, Quantum Leap - 80s Stallone
4, Sleepover (Up All Night) - Rolly Mingwald
5, Streets Of Metropolis - Flash Arnold
6, Cardboard Kings - Rain Sword
7, Shadow Of Haumea - Bluezz Vylez
8, Mecha Cop - Kenji Run
9, Clockwise - SaiR
10, Funky Times - Evanton

Top 10 OutRun Synth

1, Overdrive - Tommy
2, Bal Harbour Shakedown - DigitalNativeDance
3, Vision Runner - LA Dreams
4, In Full Action - Flash Arnold
5, High Beams - Miami Nights 1984
6, Paralell Lines - Photosynthesi
7, Sunset Highway - Seipa
8, Highway Heat - Tommy
9, LA Dream - LA Dreams
10, Midnight Drive - DJ Ten

Top 10 Dark Synth

1, Run To Survive - Perturbator & Protector 101
2, Prey For Your Life - Arc Neon
3, L'incubo Senza Fine (Reprise) - Vercetti Technicolor
4, Welcome To Nocturne City - Perturbator
5, Crime In Fourth Sector - Jordan F
6, Mania - Phalanxes of Fingers & Congenital Pride
7, Electric Getaway - Mega Drive
8, Shadow Runner - Flash Arnold
9, Thunderground - Judge Bitch
10, Dark City - Neonflashdrive

Top 10 Italo Disco Synth

1, Disco Venus - Modular 1981
2, Beyond Saturn - Italo Robo
3, Powerline - Lost Years
4, Midnight Breeze - Vincenzo Salvia
5, Profondo Nero - Salta & Roma
6, Discobody Synthklash - The Klash
7, Alfa - Malibu B
8, Electric Midnight - The Dante
9, Everytime (Instrumental mix) - Quixotic
10, Scaglietti - Franz Tormer

Top 10 Synth Romance

1, Perfect Summer - LA Dreams
2, Summer Breeze - Rain Sword
3, The Secret Letter - Crystal Bridge
4, After Chasing Sunsets - LA Dreams
5, Departure - Mr Nissness
6, Dream Of Me - Arcade High
7, Bikini Girls - Jordan F
8, Make Love - Tommy
9, This Last Dance - Chaconne
10, Restless - Betamaxx

Top 10 Synth Wave

1, Star Hustler - Lazerhawk
2, Rockin Summer - Lueur Verte
3, Flash Workout - Flash Arnold
4, Breakpoint - Garth Knight
5, Daybreak - Cut Slack
6, Valles Marineris Pursuit - Mitch Murder
7, Rafales - Plaisance
8, Pittsburgh Nights - Betamaxx
9, Miami Lights - Scream & Dive
10, Running Man Fever - Hot Hot Hawk

Top 10 Synth Pop

1, Get 2 Know U - Patrick Baker
2, Romeo - Tempogeist (feat. Lisa Dank)
3, Modern Love - Kristine
4, It's OK - Bastian's Happy Flight
5, Takeover - Mirror Kisses
6, Dark Ride - Mirana
7, You Are You Are - Le Cassette
8, Fight - Tyson
9, Electric Touch - Hot Hot Hawk & Patrick Baker
10, Never Let You Down - Cut Slack

As a bonus Top Ten for 2012 here are my favourite top ten electronic tracks that came out this year that aren't specifically 80s, or are hybrids of numerous styles. These tracks were just too good not to give some love to for all the joy they've brought me in 2012.

Top 10 Electronica

1, Brainchild - Klockhaus
2, We Need A Beat - Navigateur
3, Icarus - Madeon
4, Pinup - Televisor
5, Analog Ending - Action Jackson
6, Psychic Feelings - Occult You
7, Walk With Me - Oliver
8, Luckystar - Paul For You
9, Spoken Word - Lancelot
10, Getting High (Final DJs Remix) - Lifelike & Popular Computer

This completes our musical journeys and adventures on Synthetix for 2012. It's been a great first year for this blog and the 80s inspired synth scene feels like it's really establishing self with a magnificent range of artists who are finding the love for the 80s sounds their true calling. I'd like to thank all the members of the scene and the Synthetix Facebook group who make all of this happen.

I hope you have had a rockin  good time on here this year and I hope you have a most radical festive season. I look forward to having more good times and great rock'n'roll with you in 2013.

Til then, stay 80s and keep on rockin.

1 comment:

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