I don't say this lightly when I tell you that this is one of the best months of synth music I've had the pleasure of listening through. There is so much variety happening out there in the synth world right now. Quality production, creativity, and beautiful arrangements. Yeah, of course, there is always more lackluster music thrown onto the internet than the outstanding, but that's why Indie Discotheque is here. It's my job to sift through it all for you, and not just find synth sounds of a specific type, or try to fit square pegs in round holes. This month is pure, beautiful, and emotional, and I'm going to share it with you now. Listen to each track carefully, enjoy them, and if you don't want to hit play on each one, I've even mixed them into an hour of bliss, posted at the bottom of this list. Enjoy the synths from August 2018 -- there were great ones.
1. Free Love - Pushing Too Hard
The twinkling of the synth in the introduction of this song is mesmerizing. It grabs your attention in a way that can't be released, and the clarity of the bassline that joins it brings an immediate focus to the song. The vocal treatment is atmospheric through its echo. I'm always a fan of the French language in electronic music, and this song is no exception. The language swap that happens in the song from French to an English chorus flows well.
2. Terr - Multiverse
It's one of those instrumental tracks that stands firm in the background. A space anthem that really hums and churns, a steady metronome through time and space. The melodies presented to us on the keyboard are minimalistic but memorable and would make for a perfect night driving song as you watch the road paint stream across your vision.
3. Milo Greene - Move (Tensnake Remix)
I really appreciate Tensnake. This is an artist that has remained consistent with his work, maintaining a style that feels so classic, yet completely modern simultaneously. This is a hard thing to do, particularly when remixing a track like "Move" by Milo Greene, which is one of this year's most outstanding songs in its own right.
4. Mitch Murder - Into The Night feat. Megan McDuffee
Megan McDuffee keeps making her way into my lists which means she is doing something right. She definitely seems to be the featured singer of choice by many of the best synth producers out there, and as a composer herself, she brings a lot to the table. This time around she's working with Mitch Murder, who can be a mixed bag of quality at times, but in "Into The Night" we have some great bass work paired with some gorgeous simple chords and a nice 80s ballad sparkle.
5. Sung - Cobalt Vision
This song needs more love. It's an absolute banger of an instrumental, with a slow tempo, great pacing, and this deep pedal pitched synth that just blasts you into submission. I love how well mastered this song is. Sounds that require clarity are clear, others that need atmosphere have such, and there are so many layers on this thing you could transcribe it for the symphony.
6. The Bad Dreamers - Who You Run To
This is a beautiful synth ballad that really stands out on its own. The synth work is beautifully arranged and for a song that brings such a feeling of vulnerability through its lyrical content, the performance really pulls at you emotionally with such a confident and clear vocal performance. No matter who she runs to, I'll be running to The Bad Dreamers.
7. Digital Shades - Blue
Your eyes are open and hands are shaking but we're going to ignore that for now. When I was young I had so many dreams, so many plans, but everything seems so, so, sad. But that's what music is for, to lay those feelings out on the table to make everything better. And while we might be depressed, if there isn't any clarity, one day we'll be able to cast aside the confusion and find the light we've always been dreaming of. Check the premiere of this here.
8. Daniel Brandt - Flamingo
I'm going to be right up front and tell you that this is a straight-up jazz tune, but the pacing, piano work, and synth accents that work their way into this song are such an enveloping experience. We are taken onto a journey that makes its way into brass instrument territory, a bit of sax, some trombone, we get moments of guitar, even some flute-like sounds to bring rise and fall. There is a great echo effect when it's needed, and the recurring synth keeps coming around to keep the theme and tie everything together. This is by far Daniel Brandt's best work, in my opinion, a song worthy of playing on repeat.
9. Sferro - Introspective
Introspective, indeed, this track by Sferro is a fully enveloping swirl of synth that can take you to places you never thought your mind would go with the right room atmosphere. What kind of room atmosphere am I talking about? Perfect sound, smoke, lasers, and hundreds of your closest friends. There is a chirp in the introduction of this song that pulls you completely into it, and a moment where this voice just starts calling you and you feel so at home. It's gorgeous work.
10. Robert Parker - Final Moment
The warbled synth is what makes the song, but it's also so much more than that. It's an instrumental that uses a backing atmospheric choir so well as a bridge, and leads you back into the melody so well, that it simply pulls the right elements back into your focus to get you into the groove it was designed to get you into. The funky bass guitar work doesn't hurt, either.
11. Shyguys - Journey
The melody is so easy to get behind, it's this compressed plucking that repeats over and over and over and over. The accentuating synth work overlaid with this melody gets increasingly complex and we work our way through the song. The percussion is crisp and bouncy, I'm doing the chair dance right as I write. There's a guitar solo in this track that just shreds and really exposes the potential for how amazing this song can be in a live setting.
12. Le Matos - Cold Summer feat. Computer Magic
I have loved both of these artists for years, but I never in a million years imagined they would be working together and collaborating on a song. This is a beautiful surprise. The Computer Magic influence of the composition and arrangement is really apparent in this song, but the sounds are decidedly Le Matos. It's a juxtaposition of artists that pairs interestingly and makes a whole new sound. Lyrically the theme is cold, dark, brooding (night is coming!), but this lyrical chill works really well when contrasted with Le Matos' trademark production warmth, it makes the chilly subject that much thicker and really brings the point home.
13. Eagle Eyed Tiger - Carbon Dream
The vocal treatment in this track is so atmospheric, it really is a dream. We get treated with an amazing synth solo in the bridge that goes borderline glitch at times, such impressive work on the keys. The pacing of the song is a journey in itself, with a variety of percussive textures throughout, and a great use of harmonic rise and fall to accentuate the emotional nature of the song.
14. You Drive - Cracked Plate
The clarity and simplicity of this song are what really attracts me to this song. The pacing fo the vocals are a wonderful compliment to the staccato nature of the synth work. Simple arpeggiations, stabs of chords, humming, and a vocal vulnerability that matches the subject, to be careful with me because I'm cracked, please don't break me.
15. Ladytron - The Island
Oh, my, Ladytron. You've done it. This is one of the most beautiful, haunting, emotional journeys you have ever taken us on. Savages, the apocalypse. I chose this song for the chart before the band released the video, and it makes the song even more powerful. I am sitting on the edge of my seat for this album to drop, hotly anticipating not just the music, but the subject matter you've been inspired to bring us.
Now listen to it all together.