You cannot outrun the past, because the past is awesome.
April 15, 2014 5:12 PM   Subscribe

If cruising through neon wireframe landscapes is your kind of thing, and previous mefi posts haven’t satisfied your burning desire for synth wave/retro electro/neo 80s, then perhaps you would be interested in a few of the following albums...

Almost all links are to Bandcamp.
Outrun Europa: A subgenre of this subgenre is named after the arcade game Out Run, because of it's soundtrack. This is a huge free compilation with a lot of great tracks.

Two more large free compilations.

Girlfriend Records has a bunch of good stuff, of which Le Matos’s Join Us is definitely my favorite.

Vogel’s sexy Hologram EP is a free download.

Perturbator explores the grittier side of your retro fantasies. (album art moderately NSFW)

Betamaxx keeps it straightforward and listenable. Legacy is a free download.

And if that’s not enough, go check out the Future City Records page on Bandcamp, the Project Friday radio show, or this blog post with lots of music videos.
First FPP!
posted by ropeladder (40 comments total) 135 users marked this as a favorite
Sweet! Playing the Europa one now.

The computer: an extension of the human intellect. The ENCOM 511, center of the most calculating intelligence on earth. Programmed by Master Control to survive... by all means. Soon, the ultimate tool will become the ultimate enemy.
posted by Kevin Street at 5:26 PM on April 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

Another great free album It's a story too.
posted by tralalogic at 5:55 PM on April 15, 2014

Great post but the grittier playlist needs more Anne Clark.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 5:59 PM on April 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

And you can scroll through this while listening.
posted by penduluum at 6:08 PM on April 15, 2014 [5 favorites]

Yes! Outrun on mefi!
posted by Our Ship Of The Imagination! at 6:10 PM on April 15, 2014

Also, the r/outrun subreddit is pretty good...
posted by Our Ship Of The Imagination! at 6:31 PM on April 15, 2014

Want to make your own? This Juno emulator is actually pretty accurate, and a freebie, to boot.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 6:33 PM on April 15, 2014 [3 favorites]

I'm still digesting everything I bought after SXSW. I'll never catch up if you keep putting more music in front of me!
posted by immlass at 6:50 PM on April 15, 2014

Perturbator's label, Aphasia Records, has more releases of this type. Fantastic stuff.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:14 PM on April 15, 2014

Hey, Future City and Girlfriend! Good stuff; looking forward to hearing the rest.
posted by klangklangston at 7:18 PM on April 15, 2014

Oh god, so much good stuff! This is my favoritest genre, although I call it Dreamwave.

I recommend Arcade High. I love their albums The Art of Youth and Pixel Passion.

Also, I shouldn't have to say this but check out Blood Dragon (previously)
posted by rebent at 7:40 PM on April 15, 2014 [3 favorites]

See also Nitronic Rush (a surprisingly great freeware Tron-styled racing game with a great soundtrack) and the upcoming sequel Distance.
posted by straight at 7:55 PM on April 15, 2014

This took quite a while to find, but look through this post if you liked this. There's probably some overlap, but it's just so much good stuff.

Especially FM attack.
posted by emptythought at 7:55 PM on April 15, 2014

That Outrun Europa compilation is amazing. I wish I owned a car so I could go out and drive down some neon-soaked, rain-slicked streets to it.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:01 PM on April 15, 2014

This previously is another good visual aid.

I feel guilty about how much I love 80s cyberpunk future stuff; it's like I'm betraying my generation or something. And I sort of wish people would start being aggressively forward-looking again instead of retro everything. But this is all so great!
posted by vogon_poet at 8:17 PM on April 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh man this is perfect timing. Last weekend I was hanging out with friends and was asked to stop playing the OutRun soundtrack (there is a huge compilation of it out.)

Maybe they'll like OutRun Europa more.
posted by griphus at 9:03 PM on April 15, 2014

Also someone should really do a post on Valerie, the French synthpop label. The music and aesthetic coming out of them is super-rad.
posted by griphus at 9:24 PM on April 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

The conceit of Starcadian's Sunset Blood is that it's the soundtrack to a Blade Runner/John Carpenter-esque '80s SF/action movie. It's an astonishingly well-realized and impeccably produced album, with dozens of little nods and touches that convincingly evoke the period aesthetic (Slap bass! Simmons drums! Cowbell!) but never feel forced or gimmicky. Point of fact, the songs are so good in their own right that the "retro" gimmick just vanishes into the background.
posted by Lazlo Nibble at 12:23 AM on April 16, 2014

(...aaand apparently I missed ropeladder's link to the original Starcadian post. Sorry, I just get excited when I have a chance to hype that album.)
posted by Lazlo Nibble at 12:27 AM on April 16, 2014

I'm not sure how to put it in formal terms but I guess dreamwave is less retro in terms of synth sounds and with more of a frenchhouse impact, especially Daft Punk? Probably not that important. The biggest success this kind of music had in the recent past was probably the Drive soundtrack.

Here's a link to Vangelis and Jean Michael Jarre's Miami Vice Theme, which I'm sure provided a big chunk of the DNA for the Drive Soundtrack.

Here is some extra deamy wave, Mystic Body by Peace Fire.

And speaking of DNA and to go full circle with some video game music, here is my older brother Keenhouse playing a theme from the SNES version of F-Zero, Silence.
posted by quoquo at 2:48 AM on April 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

I recently heard this song on the radio and that got me looking into more on Todd Terje. He's got a new album coming out called It's Album Time, which deserves a smile at the very least :)

He definately scratches my retro electro itch just right, along with Kavinsky and the Blood Dragon soundtrack (rocking it rebent!)
posted by trif at 3:34 AM on April 16, 2014

Street Cleaner's remix of One Night In Neo Kobe City is somewhat sweet.
posted by scruss at 4:48 AM on April 16, 2014

I have listened to most of the Outrun compilation and I would say that some of them get it, some are a bit too serious and some don't actually get the feel right and seem to think that simply using 'authentic' synth sounds is enough. Anyway, overall it made me think of The Tripods theme music, which I don't think I have heard in a very long time.
posted by asok at 5:38 AM on April 16, 2014

Well, my Rdio collection just grew larger again. Thanks, this is great stuff!
posted by spitefulcrow at 6:21 AM on April 16, 2014

ok so what is the name of the distinct 80s synth instrument that sounds kind of like a flute and is featured predominantly in kung fu movies?

Is there a web page that catalogues the different synth sounds, what they are known for, who used them best, etc?
posted by rebent at 7:04 AM on April 16, 2014

Enjoying Starcadian, nice one Lazlo Nibble! Here is another thing along those lines - Bag Raiders Shooting Stars (Instrumental)
posted by asok at 7:34 AM on April 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

I’ve discovered so many great ‘dreamwave’ artists via Bandcamp over the last couple years. Kudos to this post.
posted by judomadonna at 7:48 AM on April 16, 2014

Neato! Here are some of my suggestions:

Com Truise

Jacob 2-2

Blank Banshee (this is more "vaporwave trap" or something but it's nice)
posted by sixohsix at 8:03 AM on April 16, 2014

Hey, this is basically what we were doing/trying to do with our band Tangemeenie back in the late 90s/early 00s (before the universe tried to stomp us out of existence for fun)! IIf this is your kind of thing, you should maybe check us out, too. Just search for "Tangemeenie." It's literally a name we made up to be sure people could find us in web searches.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:12 AM on April 16, 2014

So, there's a genre that kinda sorta overlaps with this genre that I call Retro Chiptunes and OSTs. Here are some of my favorite albums:

Abinox 2
Risk of Rain OST
Zombies OST
posted by rebent at 8:13 AM on April 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

(Thanks for all the leads on more good sources of inspiration, too.)
posted by saulgoodman at 8:13 AM on April 16, 2014

This is enough to give one displaced nostalgia for one's imaginary adolescence misspent in grimy video arcades in a rustbelt town in New Jersey, dreaming of owning a sweet Trans-Am and pining after a girl whose boyfriend turns out to be the leader of a street gang. Maybe, the dream goes, you'll get the car and the girl and high-tail it out of town to a better life...
posted by acb at 8:17 AM on April 16, 2014

acb, have you seen the movie "The FP" which is basically that?
posted by rebent at 8:19 AM on April 16, 2014

No; does it have a killer synthwave soundtrack?
posted by acb at 8:25 AM on April 16, 2014

Every time "retro electro" is described I think of Dam Funk. Is he not considered part of this scene? Cuz he's really good and the music actually sounds like it could have been made 30 years ago. 7 Days of Funk with Snoop Dog wasn't bad either.
posted by Hoopo at 8:33 AM on April 16, 2014

rebent: "ok so what is the name of the distinct 80s synth instrument that sounds kind of like a flute and is featured predominantly in kung fu movies?"

I think the patch is usually called Shakuhachi after the japanese bamboo flute.

SynthMania Famous Sounds
posted by Hairy Lobster at 9:36 AM on April 16, 2014

oh wow Hairy Lobster that is exactly what I was looking for! Man, that page could make a FPP of its own!
posted by rebent at 10:19 AM on April 16, 2014

Aside: I usually refer to the 'rez zap' sound as a “skvulp” (after the filename of a sample of it in an tracker/MOD file); I'm guessing that's onomatopoeic in some Scandinavian/northern-European language.
posted by acb at 10:29 AM on April 16, 2014

Man Machine fet. Zen - Denki Shakuhachi (Remix)

Not actually the synth sound AFAIK
posted by asok at 7:06 AM on April 17, 2014

« Older Rowsdower vs. Trumpy: FIGHT!   |   SpongeBob And The Ice King - One And The Same Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments