Even though we’re still generally all stuck at home, I am inspired by the music that has been released in the synth music space this month. Indie Discotheque is proud to compile for you this month's best. With music from heavyweights like Washed Out, Goldroom, and Amtrac, to chill synth projects like Hotel Pools, Alpha Shades, and A.L.I.S.O.N, every song featured in this month's list is worth taking the time to enjoy. There is a great variety of sounds and styles here, so let’s dive head first into the greatest synth songs of April 2020.
1. Emil Rottmayer - L.E.V.E.L
This month’s chart starts off with an absolutely stellar track from Emil Rottmayer, which had me dancing in my seat almost instantly. The synth work in “L.E.V.E.L” is bouncy, layered, and keeps your attention across all five and a half minutes. Turn on the speakers and crank this one loud.
2. Washed Out - Too Late
It’s never “Too Late” to sit back and listen to a new track from Washed Out, and this mellowed out ballad has such an atmosphere, with layered vocals that echo across beautifully orchestrated synth harmonies, pulsating bass tones, and percussion that ties it all together.
3. Color Theory - Infectious
Certainly geared toward, and appropriate for, our current social situation, but "Infectious" is written in a way that will last beyond the COVID quarantine era and still speak to those who are working through relationship issues. Color Theory's lyrical brilliance aside, the synth and piano work is fantastic.
4. Yates - Digital Karma
Upbeat and pulsating to get our hearts pumping faster, this minimalist track from Yates is a great example of vocal forward arrangement. The synth work stands back for much of “Digital Karma,” but droning chords, staccato stabs, and sparkle build as the song progresses.
5. Hotel Pools - Distance feat. Memorex Memories
It’s hard to pass up a new Hotel Pools track, and I certainly couldn’t overlook this new piece featuring Memorex Memories. This track has a title that is more apt to the current COVID situation than the sound, because the synth work in “Distance” surrounds you with its warmth.
6. Alpha Room - S K Y D I V E
This month is filled with chill synth. There are too many great arrangements that absolutely had to be included in the list. “S K Y D I V E” is another example of excellent synth songwriting. As soon as I think this genre can’t grow much farther, artists like Alpha Room change my mind.
7. Forhill & Youth 83 - Into Dust feat. Tima
I am very happy with the result of this collaboration between Forhill and Youth 83. It has a chill synth aesthetic with increased tempo, adding a pop structure and vocals. The percussion is clear and pronounced, providing momentum. Take notes everyone, “Into Dust” is a fresh look at the genre.
8. A.L.I.S.O.N - Nightride (Revisited)
“Nightride” was released in 2018, but this revisited version takes out some of the sleepiness, brightens up the tone, and pulls forward percussive elements. There is more clarity here, and compliments are due to A.L.I.S.O.N for blowing the dust off and giving this piece some new life.
9. Goldroom - Do You Feel It Now? feat. Love, Alexa (Nicolaas Remix)
The way Nicolaas remixed “Do You Feel It Now?” is impressive, especially considering the original artist is someone as iconic as Goldroom. The bass guitar is stripped out, replaced with crisp, forward leaning synth work that you could think was an original element of the song.
10. Orax - Ectoplasmic
Orax has found a great balance here. The aspect of “Ectoplasmic” that attracts me the most to this track isn’t just the dark, powerful synth work, but its the bass guitar that jumps forward and demands there be funk and warmth in what would otherwise be an extremely cold atmosphere.
11. Jordan F - Anywhere feat. Zealyn
I feel like I have mentioned before that I love Jordan F with vocals, and if I haven’t said that before, I’ve thought about it before. This work with Zealyn is beautiful, with synths that surround you and mesh beautifully with her voice. This is one I’ve been listening to on repeat.
12. Leitstrahl - Moertel
The synth work shines in this piece from Leitstrahl, but the real surprise in the production comes when voice is introduced as an instrument. It pulls the experience from completely synthetic to human, and while limited in scope, is melodic enough to work its way into your head for days.
13. Amtrac - Oddyssey
This is the final song I will be featuring from this absolute masterpiece of an album by Amtrac. “Oddyssey” is the title track, and it is filled with warm synth and orchestral brass arrangements, elements that are all beautifully mixed with percussion and momentous pulsating rhythms.
14. The Chain Gang of 1974 - Bends feat. Twinkids
It’s always great to see artist pairings that you would never expect, but work wonderfully together. “Bends” features Twinkids alongside The Chain Gang of 1974, and I love how the synth harmonies act as a foundation to the layered and beautifully processed vocal melodies.
15. Mike Ost - Like a Little Cigarette
Upbeat but still atmospheric, the latest from Mike Ost utilizes individual sounds in places that bring an element of surprise to the quick journey “Like a Little Cigarette” takes you on. I would live to hear an extended version of this one, as a running time of 2:42 leaves me wanting more.
Here are all of the tracks in one convenient playlist: