Posts Tagged ‘tangerine dream’

Rock Synths Mix

May 16th, 2016 | The Mix | 0 Comments

I’ve gotten really interested in synths since moving to Brooklyn. I’m not sure why, but I’ve just had a year-long craving for weird, spacey sounds.

When I was younger, back in the 90s, I associated synths with dated 80s music (think Cindy Lauper). Of course, that all changed as indie rock began reclaiming synth sounds in the mid-2000s. For a lot of kids my age it started with the “Nintendo sounds” of The Strokes‘ “12:51”. That sound wasn’t even a synth, it was just one of them playing really high on the fretboard with a good bit of chorus to make his guitar sound like a synth. But it still showed everyone that synths could sound cool in indie rock. Then when Wolf Parade put out their first album, and Spencer Krug really owned that analogue sound, I started to think these synth things were actually pretty cool. Instead of sounding big and bright, like they did on a lot of cheesy 80s stuff, Krug’s synths sounded weird and ominous.

Around this time I came across the first Black Mountain album and loved it. I found out that the so-called “Black Mountain Army” had all these satellite bands and acts. One of those acts was synth player Jeremy Schmidt‘s solo project Sinoia Caves. After a long period of unsuccessful attempts, I finally managed to hear his album The Enchanter Persuaded, and I really liked it. I’d never listened to this kind of weird, spacey, experimental stuff, or if I had, I didn’t like it. But this time I did, and through that I got into even more weird, abstract stuff likeĀ Tangerine DreamĀ and Klaus Schulze.

This mix doesn’t have any abstract stuff. I wanted to put something together that might give a friend of mine more reference points for the use of synths in rock music. Nonetheless, there’s a lot of cool sounds here.

Obscurity Points // Franco Battiato

July 18th, 2012 | Features | 1 Comment

I found out about Italian prog-experimental artist Franco Battiato while reading Merchandise‘s ‘Rising’ interview on Pitchfork, where they claimed his 1972 collector’s classic Pollution “made” their latest album.

While I’ve kind of only started exploring Battiato’s discography, it’s clear the guy was a big fan of sci-fi and the kinds of sounds we would associate with that genre of film – especially the cheesy 70’s stuff. And indeed, his most renown (though not most popular) stuff was made in that era, and proudly sounds of it. However, this isn’t like Tangerine Dream type stuff – as cool as that can be – even when it’s instrumental and exploratory, it sounds focused and highly melodic. But just as easily as it slips into a cool groove, Battiato can jump into something weird with bloops and beeps and whatever.

In the 80’s he sort of sold out in the sense that he actually got really popular and made pop songs with drum machines and what not, but to North American ears it still sounds super weird – maybe Italians are just cooler with weirder stuff or maybe to Italians it doesn’t sound weird. I really don’t know the deal, but the stuff I’ve heard of his from that era – while definitely more accessible than his 70’s experimental stuff – still sounds pretty interesting and I wouldn’t advise anyone to skip it. This is the song he made with some chick for the 1984 Eurovision song contest.

In the 90’s he apparently teamed up with a philosopher named Manlio Sgalambro and they made some heady stuff. In recent years he’s directed some movies, including a movie about Beethoven in which Alejandro Jodorowski – who’s Chilean (and apparently Jewish???) and best known for making the crazy-ass films El Topo and The Holy Mountain – played Beethoven.