The Synthwave Radioshow
'The quiet earth'
Best track: treasure
click album cover to listen
it's obvious from the very first listen of this album that a huge amount of graft went in to this...see what i did there...been wanting to write that all day! but let's get to the point, for anyone looking for an authentic trip back to 1988, you will find your ticket to ride right here.
there are a number of outrageous elements to this compilation like the fact that you'll hear echoes of 'enya' on it, wafts of new-wave and some truly daring juxtaposition between some of the songs. don't let the title or the cover of the album throw you, this isn't an entirely peaceful set of tracks...you should be glad!
as i mentioned earlier, the album opens with a track that sounds like a beautiful amalgamation of a deep and meaningful late night musical get together of 'enya' and 'zero 7'. h0w at ease i felt once my train pulled in to the station only to be hurled in to the world of the london hometime rush-hour. and right on-cue...the soundtrack that perfectly encapsulates the moods and strifes of this unholy event. the synths at the start are truly grotesque...the way one feels when he gets to grips with what the next hour will bring. however, the simple addition of some sweet shredding and euphoric tones in the backdrop are the reply...'come on man, you can do this...in one hour you'll have a pint in hand and two days off'. truly ugly and beautiful all in one.
'some distant memory' has a cool nod back to howard jones's 'what is love?' near the halfway point. there's a lot of catchy percussion throughtout as well, and it's not entirely conventional. 'arcadia' is a proper late 80's sounding track but bart graft has really stamped his own twist on to this one with an unorthodox time signature which really presents a great opportunity to smother the track in a fresh syncopated beat.
desolation is another glaring example of how a simple single synth tone has the ability in synthwave to turn a song from something quite gritty to something completely heavenly. whether or not this crossed his mind whilst making it i don't know. 'air' is an absoute gem! i think a lot of musicians would really struggle to create a soundtrack for the word. but mr graft has absolutely nailed it with his creation. how on earth can a track that has so little, do so much? it's right up there fighting for the award of 'niccest noise' with the likes of 'to heal' by underworld and 'lower your eyelids to die with the sun' by m83. simply mesmerising.
and to perfectly embody the lates 80s new-wave sound, you're gonna want to turn up the volume on the track 'treasure'. it's duran duran, new kids on the block. thomas dolby, squeeze and information society all rolled in to one. name me one artist who can say they sound like five 80s musical maestros in a single song! bet you can't. paradiso is the last track 'proper' on the list and will bring a smile to the face of the listener...if they like the tv series 'friends'. you know that little piece of music they had between every single change of scene...this is that song! i don't even watch friends and i was immediately reminded of it.
this is a really really good album. its quirky, daring and upbeat. bart graft has excelled at creating a vivid and relatable sound to remind us that despite them ending nearly thirty years ago, the 80's are never too far away. i think it's a near-impossible challenge to get modern new wave right and that you're a brave person for even trying. but hands down this is a triumph in doing so and one of the best albums of heard from this scene in quite a while. joe ward 9.5/10
a visual representation of the album: