a wave French house and nu-disco artists begin to make music inspired by scores from 80s films and video games and we see the birth of early synthwave as a result, known back then as outrun. french composer 'kavinsky' releases his debut ep 'teddy boy' which is probably the very first of its kind to be made up entirely of outrun tracks.
a 'justice' remix of 'we are your friends' under the name 'justice vs simian' is released and reaches number 20 in the uk charts.
kavinsky releases his second ep '1986' to consolidate himself as the godfather of outrun. justice has a big year as he releases the single 'd.a.n.c.e.' via the ep titled 'phantom' which went on to reach number 48 in the uk charts and had the accolade of being number 4 in rolling stone's list of the best 100 songs of 2007.
justice then goes on to release the first album under the name of 'justice' again featuring 'd.a.n.c.e.' as well as 'genesis' and the brilliant two-parter of 'phantom' and 'phantom part ii'. French house and nu disco have really hit the uk mainstream by force at this point.
The Valerie collective was setup by david grellier, maethelvin, anorak, russ chimes and others in natntes, france. known as a music cooperation by the various members, it was described at the time as being 'responsible for some of the very best original electronic music coming out of france', at least it was at the time. as a record label, it was used to promote artists forming collaborations by connecting them via a network of blogs. some tracks were released under the Valerie record label.
david grellier, the man behind 'college' releases his first ep titled 'teenage color' and then follows that up with his debut album 'secret diary'.
we begin to see the first murmurings of a change in direction for outrun begin as 'futurecop!' releases first ep titled 'the unicorn and the lost city of alvograth'. this was a much friendlier sound for outrun and may even have been the first set of tracks known as dreampop.
'anoraak' releases his debut album 'nightdrive with you' which signals the beginning of vocal outrun.
'Desire' release a single, ep and album all in one year. the album went by the same name as the band, and both the ep and album included their smash hit 'under your spell'. however it wouldn't become a hit until 2011 when it was part of the soundtrack to a cult-classic film.
'Mitch murder' releases his first ep titled 'after hours'. as a whole, 2009 is a quiet year for significant releases in the outrun genre. however, things were about to explode in to action...
two of the most notable outrun artists join in the fun, 'Miami nights 1984' and 'lazerhawk'. kavinsky impresses with a single release called 'nightcall' which would also go on to earn huge notoriety when it was included in the soundtrack for the same film that 'under your spell' by 'desire' was.
outrun was truly cooking with gas and many other artists joined the party such as; 'let em riot' and 'electric youth' with their collaboration with 'college' on the track 'a real hero'...another song that made it on to a cult-classic film a year later...I bet you already kmpw the film i'm talking about despite my best attempts to be ambiguous.
futurecop also releases an album of remixes by other budding outrun artists titled 'remixes <3'
this was the year when outrun was thrust in to the proverbial spotlight of musical infamy. the film 'drive' is well-regarded as one of the coolest films ever made, with a truly unforgettable soundtrack accompanying it. it did particularly well at the 'cannes film festival' where it won the award for best director. the opening robbery scene is backed up with 'tick of the clock' by 'chromatics' and once the robbery has successfully finalised, the listener is treated to 'nightcall' by 'kavinsky' for the opening credit montage.
by far the most famous track from the film is 'a real hero' by 'college and electric youth'. it was included in the '20 best songs of 2011' by 'spin' magazine. the romantic scene between ryan gosling and carey mulligan in the corridor is bolstered with a powerful synthpop track by 'desire' called 'under your spell'.
some solid albums were also released that year from the likes of 'makeup and vanity set', mitch murder', and le matos'. and there it was, the path for synthwave to grow and become a huge new genre the world over, was set before us. and the rest...is history.
synthwave: the early years
below is a year-by-year list of the most significant outrun and synthwave events to occur from 2004, up to 2011.
Felix da housecat releases album titled 'devin dazzle and the neon fever' which was heavily responsible for a lot of modern edm. the track 'ready 2 wear' was an instant synthpop classic despite it being fairly unknown. it did however manage to reach 62 in the uk chart.