Summer is here and we’re feeling the heat in more ways than one. Whether you’re in isolation at home or rediscovering the joy of nature out in the forest, or even more importantly, holding masked protests in the streets because Black Lives Matter, this heat is present in many of the tracks Indie Discotheque has selected for your ears this month. There’s always a uniqueness to the music aligned synthesizers, and the tracks we found this month certainly bring the vibes we crave.
1. WhoMadeWho & Adana Twins - Immersion
I’ve been a fan of WhoMadeWho for at least 15 years and they still manage to find a fresh journey with each song they release. “Immersion” with Adana Twins truly is immersive, with an arrangement in a progressive vein, but the percussion remains as a steady, familiar presence.
2. Roosevelt - Sign
Roosevelt manages to find beauty in everything he writes. “Sign” is a track that maintains the comfort we have come to know from his arrangements, but there remain a beauty and texture in the additional sound design; the sirens, ‘pew pews,’ and layered synths are wonderful.
3. Zimmer - Meteor
If you need a memorable melody in your ears that is accompanied by bounce and droning synth atmosphere, Zimmer has created the track for you. “Meteor” rises and falls throughout the track, providing movements through space that keep momentum and increase in subtle intensity.
4. Zane Alexander - Horizon 5 a.m.
The chords and twinkle in the introduction of “Horizon 5 a.m.” are a perfect soundtrack to a sunrise. The layering in the arrangements of this piece by Zane Alexander is spectacular. The bass provides a necessary foundation for the layers of synth that could leave the horizon otherwise.
5. Sebastien Tellier - Venezia
The vocal performance in tandem with this unique composition of synth is a fresh sound for Sebastien Tellier, who maintains a chameleon-like catalog of songwriting while still managing to maintain the ability for you to instantly know that you’re listening to one of his songs.
6. Dream Fiend - Lightyears feat. September 87
While I’m not the biggest fan of the “80s Guitar” thing, Dream Fiend's arrangement of the song manages to make such a supremely 80s track sound modern and fresh. The vocal style feels modern, even with the statement-and-answer format. The only thing this needs is more saxophone.
7. Cavego - Dovregubben
There is so much synth bounce and cowbell variety in Cavego’s “Dovregubben” there is no question that this one should be a dancefloor mainstay once the clubs reopen. The twinkling synth textures provide a melodic foreground to the simple chord stabs that accompany them in the background.
8. Empathy Test - Empty Handed
Empathy Test straddles an impressive line for me. I being a former industrial/futurepop DJ who would play the likes of VNV Nation and Iris in Detroit every week, “Empty Handed” and much of the band’s catalog fits in that realm. What they manage to accomplish is to break free of the mold and apply a continuously fresh perspective to dark synthpop. The scene could use more Empathy Tests.
9. Jordan F - Need You feat. Fluir
We’re getting more of a pop structure from Jordan F in “Need You,” which, as a fan of synthpop, is something I’ve been waiting for. Fluir’s vocal style pairs wonderfully. There are moments where I wish there were more layers or additional variety of sound, but the simplicity of the song layering helps Fluir’s voice stand forward, and that’s a great thing.
10. Lessovsky - Voyage
The latest from Lessovsky has a progressive trance structure. I’ve fallen out of love with artists for this (see Grum’s catalog), but the layering and improvisational feel of much of the track remains a joy to listen to. I most enjoy the choral element mid-track and wish this had been expanded upon further as a building block to the song rather than a stand-alone element.
11. Lowe AKA User - Nepalese
Is it Lowe? Is it User? They are also known as that. This might be a new pet peeve of mine; just pick a name that isn’t taken already and roll with it. Project naming aside, I do like the arpeggiation that is laid across this minimalistic track.
12. Glassio - Make No Mistake
Glassio is one of those projects that have such a variety of sound I often don’t quite know how to classify them. But in the case of “Make No Mistake,” I feel like they have found something they can really draw from. The synths rise and fall, the track has a variety of sounds and layers across the track, and it is a lovely piece of synthpop.
13. Perhopes - Demence
I had a really hard time choosing just one track from the new material from Perhopes. This is one of those dark albums that you have to listen to a few times on repeat. I’ll admit, I am always attracted to this style of dark synth. It’s so thick, juicy, and fully envelops the atmosphere.
14. Aileron - No Disco Space
Is there space for disco in “No Disco Space?” I believe it can be found because I’d play this in a disco. Perhaps not specifically alongside the genre of disco, but with likewise synth sounds that complete the picture with a fullness in Aileron's sound that also gives the track a mental shape.
15. Bolivard - Sauvons
Bolivard found an outlet for his neurosis. In the form of self-therapy, he embodies both the psychologist and the patient. Through this, he questions himself in a raw and sincere way on different existential and societal subjects between serious reflection and sarcastic humor.
Here are all fifteen songs in a handy synth collection for you: