For whatever reason the sights, sounds and possibly smells of the 1980s are back in fashion. From the pastel clothing to the resurgence of every pop culture franchise of the decade coming back from the dead, people love the 80’s it seems. And what reeks of neon lights, poor quality television sets and leather jackets more than the early synthesised sounds that blasted out of the sound systems of environmentally damaging automobiles and shoulder mounted boomboxes. If you love that iconic electronic sound but have exhausted all the hits, here are some new artists that deliver an authentically 80s feel to your ears.
From his hilariously over the top album covers that see him clad in Ray Ban glasses and a white tux while having a conversation on a chunky corded phone, it’s clear this guy isn’t trying to be subtle. You’ll immedietly settle into the punchy synth drums that kick off the catchy beats, followed by delightfully corny arpeggiator chords. It’s hard to not like the light-hearted and astoundingly accurate imitation here that brings to mind the feather-haired icons of yesteryear. It won’t take long to convince you that this keytar rocking solo artist has the sound of 80’s synthpop down to a fine art.
Synthwave lovers will be delighted by this band who’s 2015 self-titled album helped punch the 80s sound back into the limelight. With rich programmed instruments that provide a dark urban sound with pangs of the Terminator, Gunship clearly love everything about the era they are constantly summoning. Listen close and you’ll catch well known lines from Kurt Russell action films and melodies that are just a hairpin away from a theme tune or two. You may be particularly in their darker almost cyberpunk style cover of the classic Cyndi Lauper hit Time After Time.
For something a little different here is an artist who lovingly recreates the sound of old technology. The head nodding and somewhat ambient sounds that make up producer Seth Haley’s back catalogue are unique in that they don’t really sound like anything else, while still holding close a sound that is fundamentally of an age gone by. The tremolo waves of digitised noise ripple back and forth through from speaker to speaker as low fidelity hooks work their way into the charmingly outdated collective of sounds here. Somehow Haley has managed to find a sound that sounds like the soundtrack to a day in the life of a sentient Atari.
We are now in the realm of vaporwave, a strange subgenre and indeed subculture that has been sweeping the internet for a handful of years. The odd aesthetic that consists of blue and pink hues, roman sculpture and early Microsoft Windows screensavers now has its own sound too, and ESPIRIT is one of the most prolific perpetrators. Bursting with samples that will bowl you over with warm and fuzzy memories of your first computer or dated American high school sitcoms, this vaporwave pioneer takes you back in time; with or without your consent.