I Smell Synthwave and Candy

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Back around October 25th, I went a little bit off the deep end on Twitter in terms of holidays with their respective timings and observations. People were complaining about there being Christmas decorations on display before Halloween, there was Halloween candy at stores in August, and clearly capitalism just continues to go unchecked to the point where holidays and seasons don’t really matter much anymore. Did they ever really matter?

That said, there were a number of Halloween related albums which were released within the synthwave scene around the end of September, and into October, but I have to admit that I just really wasn’t feeling the spirit of the season at the time. In fact, by the end of October, I decided it was best to take a month long hiatus from the internet and so I therefore celebrated “No Net November” by staying off social media. Now that I’ve returned, and have more or less gotten back on my feet in more ways than one, I’ve suddenly got that feeling back in terms of wanting to indulge in a little bit of Halloween… in December.

Honestly, I still see no problem with this and so I stick to my previously mentioned tweet; I don’t think you really need to let holidays and seasons dictate when you should and can enjoy something. We’re a couple months removed from the “spooky season” and Halloween, yes, but does that mean I shouldn’t be able to go back and enjoy something now which was meant for only then? Just as how you can eat a turkey dinner every other day of the year besides Thanksgiving, and how you should show someone you love them every other day besides Valentine’s Day, I believe that you should be able to enjoy scary synthwave music any day of the year as well; that’s what darksynth is for, no?

Anyway, here’s a fun size sampling of Halloween related synthwave albums which I enjoyed along with me comparing them to brands of candy (with no gimmick infringement intended towards OSW) just because, hey, why not?

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Growing Up in Lovecraft Country

Horror, true gut-wrenching and soul-crushing horror, is the absolute absence of hope and safety. As I mused in a previous article, about the unnatural ambiance of synthetic horror, this often takes the form of the unknown and unfamiliar. However, and perhaps somewhat ironically, it’s often when we feel at our safest that we’re actually at our most vulnerable and therefore more susceptible to the horrific consequences of our follies. After all, there’s a reason as to why the most successful experiences in horror are those which tend to cut the closest to home.

That is partly why, to this day, the opening sequence to Tales from the Darkside continues to haunt me; the idyllic countryside of dirt roads, covered bridges, rivers, and woods reminds me so much of where I grew up. It was my first taste, at a very young age, that something so beautiful and serene in the light could turn so sinister and menacing at night. Combine those haunting visuals with that mental anguish, then pepper in a creepy narration with equally freaky music, and you’ve got the recipe for something which scarred me for life as a child growing up in New England. I never again looked at the world the same… Continue reading

Burial Grid and the Uneasiness of Reality

It’s funny these days to look back not but a couple years ago as I once lamented that the small area of the world in which I call home, the northeastern region of the United States known as New England, was seemingly without a synthwave scene to call it’s own. I used to watch from a distance with envious eyes at the growing scenes on the west coast, down in the south, and across the pond among other locations in the world as synthwave artists emerged from those locations, releasing albums as well as performing live shows; where were they locally?

Turns out they were always here around me just waiting, willing, and able to make their presence known when the time and opportunities presented themselves and now I can proudly say that, yes, New England does in fact have a synthwave scene. Which is to say that for some time the only synthwave act in the area that I really knew about was Crockett who produces out of Boston but, thanks to Scott Forte (who lives in Maine) and his label RetroSynth Records, I became aware of a number of other synthwave acts in New England. Ray Gun Hero, from Massachusetts, and Straplocked, from Connecticut, are just a couple notable examples of such local acts who are signed with RetroSynth Records.

WhereWeGoArtYet there are still those in the area who are trying to make their way onto the neon soaked grid, currently buried deeper in the more rural areas of the region, and are looking to make a name for themselves if only given the right opportunity. Burial Grid, from the western Massachusetts town of Northampton, is one such act as they recently released their debut album entitled Where We Go and for me to try and accurately describe it’s bizarre background and inspiration in detail would not do it justice.  Continue reading