Synthwave has made a comeback in recent years thanks to a slew of nostalgic producers and film directors looking to bring back the retro sounds of the ’80s. If you’re a fan of TV drama Stranger Things, then you’re familiar with synthwave. That gloomy, rolling synth-heavy electronic intro music was produced by Austin-based synth-pop band S U R V I V E. In a recent interview with The Vinyl Factory, the band confirmed “things are going to be a bit darker and weirder” as the characters “are going to spend a little more time in the Upside Down this season.” You can read the full interview at The Vinyl Factorwebsite, but for now, get yourself familiar with synthwave.
What is synthwave?
You can think of it as music from the ’80s that didn’t actually exist in the ’80s. The origins of synthwave can be traced back to French electro house scene in the mid-2000s. It’s influenced by 1980s film soundtracks, video game music and pop culture. Films like Blade Runner, The Running Man and RoboCop as well as games like F-Zero, Street Fighter and Out Run are often cited as influences of current synthwave artists.
Power Glove: Most notable for making the soundtrack for videogame Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, the Melbourne-based duo named themselves after the Nintendo Power Glove. They sound like an ’80s retro gym class; think coloured tights and leg warmers.
Com Truise: Com Truise, aka Seth Haley, is in a league of his own. Hailing from New York, Truise’s synth-heavy tunes are arguably the closest you can come to a total Tron-like experience — and who doesn’t want that?
Mitch Murder: He’s been touted as the king of the ’80s revival and described as “an overworked Wall Street IT guy from the ’80s who dreams at night other realities for himself. His music is the soundtrack to those dreams.” Expect clean pads, complex bass lines and clever chord progressions.
S U R V I V E: Amassing a veritable arsenal of classic synths, S U R V I V E has adopted a purist's approach to synthwave. According to The Vinyl Factory, they’re “a heavily textured block of sound that at times recalls Tangerine Dream at their most cinematic, Brian Eno at his most layered, and Giorgio Moroder at his least disco.”
Check out these classic synthwave film soundtracks:
- Hotline Miami
- Blade Runner
- Stranger Things
- Kung Fury
- Big Trouble in Little China
- The Warriors