March wound up being a pretty chill month in the synth world, but that's perfectly fine during a time of year when the ice still lingers, figuring out how to thaw and make way for spring. The warmth found in so many of these tracks curated by Indie Discotheque should help with that. Imagine the grasses greening and animals making their way out to explore nature while you listen to this month's collection of synth songs. It brings a smile to my face just thinking about it.
1. Manila Killa - 1993
An increasing number of artists are making the shift to include strong synth features with a classic structure, and in the case of "1993" by Manila Killa, this track is simply an introduction to the album. I see the track as a sign of what's to come, an embrace of synth work that had been pigeonholed for far too long.
2. Gesaffelstein - Forever feat. The Hacker & Electric Youth
This new album from Gesaffelstein is a mixed bag for me. It's partly influenced by what Daft Punk did a few years back, taking a style and infusing elements of modern and classic pop. While the synth work in this track, and across the album, leans ambient and droning, the vocals and Kraftwerk-like breakdown are what make this great.
3. Cavego - Hunderfossen
Another thrilling piece from Cavego this month with play and bounce. The sound is rooted in Italo but modernly Norwegian. Cavego's production is always done with satisfying clarity. The whisper-like vocals throughout the song keep me interested and help maintain the pacing through a song that could otherwise get repetitive.
4. Com Truise - Existence Schematic
When you hear the percussion kick in and the drone of the foundation synth you immediately know it's a Com Truise track. While the distinctive formula of what his music is becomes replicated across the synth spectrum, it's annoying to feel like you have to check, but always great to know it's Com Truise when you hear it.
5. Goldroom - Cocaine Girl
It's a picture in slow motion - a young woman is walking along the boardwalk dressed to impress, a string of pearls around her neck. It's new music from Goldroom, and this track is defined by the vocal. The way notes are stretched fits the topic, bringing intensity to a song that would otherwise be a breezy seaside soundtrack.
6. Krosia - Night Sky feat. A.L.I.S.O.N
Images of the night sky are easily conveyed through the experience of this beautiful, chill synth track from Krosia. The sounds wash over the mind with very clear percussion and twinkling accentuation, and the simple arpeggiated harmonies swirl like the galaxies deep into space, until it fades, leaving you satisfied.
7. Last Island - Revive
Definitely some modern songwriting on this beautiful piece from Last Island. There is this moment in the introduction of the song that greets us, an "uh," very sudden and abrupt, that isn't found anywhere else in the track. I love this kind of surprise in music, where the unexpected embellishment can add that much more.
8. Le Flex - Your Lips, Your Hips
Yeah, it's very retro. It's overdone. The topic is surface and eye-rolling, but that's what makes this track fun. It's got a style and swagger that hearkens back to the height of synth ballads in the late 80s or early 90s, so turn this one up and start singing along while dancing around the room. It'll be a highlight of your day.
9. The Golden Filter - Restraint
I'm a huge fan of The Golden Filter if you haven't noticed already, and this new track maintains the rise and fall of simplicity and complexity I love about their music. What most interests me about this style of music is the whispering vocal style, the ethereal nature of the reverberation and multi-layered percussion accents.
10. Dombrance - Taubira
This is one of those tracks you could listen to on repeat for hours and not get tired of it. The contrast between the bass guitar groundwork clarity and the echo-effect in the backing synth and vocal is mesmerizing and brings you along on a ride of bliss that maintains a rise and fall of ambiance and arpeggiation.
11. Computer Magic - Perfect Game (Futurecop! Remix)
This duo makes a really great combo. There are two tracks that were released this month, one in association with the new Futurecop! album, the other this remix of Computer Magic's work that has me most interested.
12. Vast Hill - Heartbreaker
Reminding me of the great revival and introduction of this specific sound in the late 00s and early 10s, this track from Vast Hill has a lot in common with the output of Sally Shapiro from that era. A little bit of disco awash in synth textures, and a dreamlike, heavenly vocal that will keep you singing on the dancefloor.
13. Fear of Tigers - Forever In Your Heartbeat
While I believe the music of Fear of Tigers could be greatly improved through post-production, it's another great piece of songwriting, with a sound that bridges the line between classic synthpop and vocal trance. It's really the vocal style that brings me to that conclusion, reminding me of the Opus III classic, Fine Day.
14. Ostberg - Journey
The music of Ostberg has drifted into the synthwave realm, and I'm enjoying the shift in direction. While this track remains a bit formulaic and typical, it is very well produced - as much of his work is. This is an instrumental packed full of classic synth accents, and even a bit of guitar thrown in to keep things spicy.
15. The Faint - Quench the Flame
The guys are back with a new album, and it is a great collection of a dark mood, synthpop textures, and vocal distorted choruses that we've become accustomed to, complimenting the band's biggest hits. This song stomps along the line of early 00s futurepop and has nicely subtle harmonic guitar textures throughout the track.