Compilations are nothing new in the world of music, but none the less they remain consistently effective. While they may be done in a variety of ways, the underlying reason for implementation is to be a collection of songs which encompasses a particular theme, having each song being but one piece of an overall puzzle. They’re also a great way for numerous artists to gain exposure alongside their peers, like a buffet of appetizers, hoping that you’ll like each sample of what you hear and will therefore venture forth to pick up all of their own individual releases.
Therefore it should come as no surprise that compilations are a big thing in the synthwave scene, as there’s a lot of hungry talent out there chomping at the bits and looking for any opportunity to get noticed. I can personally attest to said power of compilations, as I have discovered many artists through such means, most of whom I continue to follow to this day and have purchased their own released work in turn.
That said, I would like to take this time to highlight some of these compilations, in the hopes that the results will be the same for you as they were me. After all, you honestly never know what you’ll find hidden within a compilation. One of them could end up becoming your new favorite act.
Now, for me to review every single song in the following compilations would be akin to reviewing every single article in an encyclopedia. Similarly, for me to cherry pick a few songs here and there to cover would not be all too different from flipping to a random article in said encyclopedia. It would do no justice to not only those not covered, but the entire compilation as a whole, for that is what a compilation is after all: a sum of its parts.
Again, this is not so much a review but a highlight of many compilations that exist out there, although it is far from a complete list. This is, as the title of the post would suggest, just my own compilation of compilations:
The first compilation I want to highlight is one which was a gross oversight on my part, “Xenophobia: A Synthwave Alien Tribute,” because it came out on Alien Day a few weeks ago and I did not give it the proper attention it so rightfully deserved on that day of all days. Simply put, if you’re a fan of the Alien franchise and synthwave, you’re going to love these songs. There’s something here for everyone, and I personally love the usage of sounds and cues from the movies themselves, especially when they’re made into beats. Tidal Wave Records keeps it frosty with this release.
“RetroSynth: In Synth We Wave” is, simply put, a compilation’s compilation with a whopping 70 tracks to it’s name. I imagine that, if this was sold back in the day like many compilations were on television, this would have easily clocked in at several cassette tapes for an exorbitant amount. However, today it can be yours for only ten dollars, and digitally! Compiled by the RetroSynth YouTube Channel, this could easily be considered a great primer for anyone looking to get into synthwave.
Is a movie soundtrack considered a compilation? I think so, especially when it’s made up of various artists, such being the case with “EP I,” the “Official Companion Album to the Rise of the Synths.” If you’re not familiar with “Rise of the Synths,” it’s a currently in-production documentary about the synthwave scene that was partially funded through crowd sourcing; I am proud to say that I helped in said funding.
“FutureSounds, Vol. 1,” released by TimeSlave Recordings, is a special compilation in and of itself as sales were donated to the Down’s Syndrome Association of UK. An impressive £571.77 to be exact! TimeSlave Recordings really set a bar with this release, and in my opinion is one of the best labels out there today, consistently signing fantastic up-and-coming acts with top notch cassette tape releases to boot! Hoping for Vol. 2 soon…
Speaking of compilations that I wish would get a Vol. 2, “Selection Vol. 1” is a collection of works as featured on Drive Radio, and released by Lazerdiscs Records. They’re another top tier label that seeks out impressive talent and in turn puts out high quality cassette releases, and have done other compilations too, such as “Future Dark Club, Vol. 1” that I would again love to see a Vol. 2.
To finish off this compilation of compilations, with a duo of compilations that currently has a Vol. 2, we have “Synth Love Affair, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2” which were released by Future 80’s Records. They are yet another hard-working label that is doing their part in finding talent, releasing physical media, and just generally being one more noteworthy outlet for artists to get noticed. That’s what it’s all about.
Again, this is by no means a complete list of all the synthwave compilations out there, as I am sure there are more that I do not personally know about but will make sure to cover in the next volume. Yes, as the title of this post proclaimed, this is but volume one of my own compilation. When will volume two drop?
I’m not entirely sure, but you’ve got plenty here to hold you over until then, no? 😉