Synthwave has really caught the attention of people across the world over the last decade. Be it the minimalist soundtrack of Drive or the heavy beats of Stranger Things, it has a wide nostalgic appeal. But sticking to the same formula can make a genre grow stale extremely fast, so it was great to find artists stretching their sonic boundaries on to new horizons over the past one year. Below, we give you a few artists we believed put out the best synthwave album in 2017.
ABSTRACT VOID – INTO THE BLUE
The synthwave genre is extremely saturated, so bands like Abstract Void are extremely welcome as a way to break up that monotony. Blending black metal and dreamwave, the atmospheric sound they create is magnificent, and sets them up in a league of their own.
ALEX AND TOKYO ROSE – AKUMA
ALEX and Tokyo Rose teamed up on one of the darkest records of 2017. Driven by heavy-hitting, dark synths, the duo create an intriguing yet thrilling dystopian atmosphere. There is a sinster edge to the music that just pulls one in!
BOUCLE INFINIE – 直線移動
Taking a break from hard-hitting electrometal, The Algorithm’s Remi Gallego tried his hand at Synthwave, which blended in experimental IDM and post-rock elements perfectly to create a whole new experience for fans of the genre.
DAN TERMINUS – AUTOMATED REFRAINS
Automated Refrains is exactly the follow-up expected from Dan Terminus. Hard-hitting, over-the-top synthwave clashes with deep, rich soundscapes in this awesome offering.
FIXIONS – GENOCITY
Fast, furious and completely over the top, Fixions play a kind of synth-dub-wave which is powerful and intense for the listener. Players of ‘Mother Russia Bleeds’ will recognise the insane beats. Handle with caution, this is a spicy one!
MASTER BOOT RECORD – INTERRUPT REQUEST
If you’re looking for something pretty different, then load up Master Boot Record. Synthwave at its core, but corrupted by noise and heaviness, like if HEALTH played a show in the Tron universe besieged by a virus. Interrupt Request has weighty rhythms, glitchy melodies and sharpened tones.
THE MIDNIGHT – NOCTURNAL
The duo of Tim McEwan and Tyler Lyle aka The Midnight are back with a dash of modern-retro sound packaged in their latest offering – Nocturnal. Bright neon melodies, soothing vocals and a blistering sax solo, this will be played across endless summers.
METEOR – INNER DEMON
Inner Demon doesn’t sound like the kind of album that would house a more chilled, flowing approach to the tropes of synthwave, but that’s exactly what you get. This is 80s nostalgia amplified, complete with rockin’ guitar performances and upbeat rhythms. A great, fun time.
NIGHTCRAWLER – BEWARE OF THE HUMANS
The Catalonia crisis has thrown Spain into chaos, and it’s only natural that some of the most nightmare-inducing work comes armed with the Spanish armada. Enter Nightcrawler, the modern Spanish version of John Carpenter, delivering a cinematic album backed with dark dystopian melodies.
NIGHT RUNNER – THUNDERBIRD
Alex Diosdado and Tabique Malévolo of Night Runner return with their sophomore album Thunderbird, a diverse palette of sounds driven by synths of the 80s. The key word is diverse, as the duo show the courage to experiment, incorporating saxophone and guitar solos, while still remaining firmly rooted in the retro sound.
PERTURBATOR – NEW MODEL
Perturbator was well within his right to coast by on a sound he helped establish after years of contributions to the scene, but with New Model, we saw him take a left turn into even darker (you might say “Vantablack”) territory with more industrialization and atmosphere than before.
TIMESTALKER – PANDEMONIUM
One of the purer synthwave albums on this list, Pandemonium captures an oft-sought-after occult/horror vibe while keeping things traditional, cinematic and lush. In the absence of a GosT album in 2017, this was the go-to album for dramatic, dark synthwave.
Arcadea – Arcadea
Com Truise – Iteration
Futurecop! – The Movie
Lazerhawk – Dreamrider
Thanks for scrolling.