There is a subgenre of synthwave that I have talked a little bit about in the past and, truth be told, it’s probably one of my favorites that I don’t think a lot of people are either aware of or fully understand and that is spacewave. I will concede that it is honestly a hard subgenre to nail down, often floating between other more well known ones, but to me it’s categorized by a grandiose scale of sound in terms of its production and overall scope. It recalls images of stars, planets, and epic battles among them in the distant future of our own galaxy or perhaps a long time ago in another far, far away.
However you personally choose to interpret the sights and sounds of spacewave, something can certainly be said for the music of Isidor and their album 3218 in terms of how it fits within the subgenre; it has a lot of energy for one thing. Kicking off with the track “Star Sheriff,” which itself kicks off with the sounds of a cassette tape being loaded, it’s an unrelenting and constant barrage of heavy hitting drums with accompanied fast-paced synths that’ll make you feel like you’re bursting straight through the atmosphere at supersonic speed.
The follow up track, “Soldier of Fortune,” keeps up the pace of the previous song but also gives you that first taste of space by adding an all around otherworldly feel to it with synth sounds that almost echo like radar. “Utopia Phase” doesn’t let up either, equally banging out those impressive synths with a beat that just won’t quit, but ultimately it ends abruptly and thus ends what I dubbed the “high energy” trilogy of tracks. They’re followed up with “Touch the Sky,” featuring some incredible vocal work that one cannot help but recall a certain space opera performance from The Fifth Element. It’ll send shivers up and down your spine.
Speaking of shivers, “Secrets of the Universe” might just give you goosebumps because it dips itself into a bit of darksynth territory with slow, plodding, and uneasy tones complete with a creepy little girl voiceover. Don’t worry though because the next song, “Stardust,” brings back those upbeat synths and will get you back up and moving again! Even more so once “Timeline” kicks in as it’s an amazingly perfect blend of synths, drums, and a couple of killer guitar solos that is just the cherry on top; it is for sure my favorite track on the album, no doubt!
“Solaris Rising” kicks off with some rising keys before exploding into the drums and synth, keeping that flow going throughout and into OutRun (SpaceRun?) territory with the way it just does not let up or relent in anyway until it comes to a screeching halt. “The Last Geisha” is probably my second favorite track on the album, just simply based on how complex it is due to all the sounds involved. You’ve got the drums, the synth, the guitar, and wind instrument-like sounds that just intersect and come together to create an amazing mix and–you know what? I’ve change my mind–this IS my favorite track! No doubt about it at all!
“Grid Surfer” brings back those space opera vibes, complete with the vocals, and a pounding beat that sounds and almost feels like it was produced with a tesla coil due to it’s pulsating electricity; it’s absolutely shocking how hard this track rocks! Actually, maybe this is my favorite track… anyway, “Apollo” is up next and it’s another banger that’s peppered throughout with actual Apollo mission audio; taking the space in spacewave literally! The album then ends with “Sirius A,” a slow jam of sorts that is a perfect way to end the album; smooth and comforting.
3218 is but the most recent album by Isidor, as there are four other past releases to be found on their Bandcamp, and while I have yet to listen to any of the others at this point I can therefore only assume that due to the quality of this album the rest are top notch as well. That said, I look forward to delving into the rest of their catalog at some point to confirm this hunch and implore you to do the same because they’re certainly someone that deserves your attention.