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3 jul. 2020

Recensie: CodeBurst - A Cyberpunk Soundtrack van Reed Reimer & Benjamin Emory Larson

Eén van de meest gave muzikale en visuele projecten die er dit jaar zijn uitgekomen op het gebied van synthwave en cyberpunk is het meesterlijke ¨CodeBurst: A Cyberpunk Soundtrack¨ van de Amerikanen Reed Reimer en Benjamin Emory Larson. Geniet van de schitterende soundtrack en het bijbehorende spannende sci-fi verhaal.

CodeBurst: A Cyberpunk Soundtrack

A dystopian science fiction fable about Aubrey -- a programming genius in search of her lost creation -- and Jamie -- a man struggling to regain control of his life from the artificial intelligence that has taken him over.

Kortgezegd het verhaal achter CodeBurst. Het is voor sci-fi liefhebbers een schitterend, meeslepend verhaal geworden vol spanning. Ik moet toegeven, het was voor mij best zware kost, maar de doorgewinterde lezer kan dit verhaal enorm waarderen. Je zult waarschijnlijk merken dat ik het kort houd, maar ik wil je echt zelf van deze ervaring laten genieten.

Wanneer we vervolgens naar de soundtrack kijken van dit sci-fi project, zien we dat het album uit twee gedeeltes bestaat. Het eerste gedeelte bestaat uit nummers met voornamelijk vocalen van getalenteerde artiesten als WRNG HAUS, JØUR, Savannah Smith en Soubrette. Deze nummers zijn geïnspireerd door het verhaal en klinken als heerlijke synth-pop nummers. Elk nummer heeft iets aparts, waardoor het als geheel makkelijk wegluistert.

Het tweede gedeelte van de soundtrack zijn nummers die je meenemen in het verhaal. Wat heel goed gedaan is, is dat je tijdens het lezen wordt geattendeerd op bepaalde titels van deze soundtrack die speciaal zijn gecomponeerd voor een bepaalde passage. Het geluid versterkt dus het gevoel bij het lezen van het verhaal. Je hoeft niet één bepaalde stijl te verwachten, maar je wordt getrakteerd op verschillende substijlen uit het synthwave genre. Nummers die er bij mij uitschieten zijn CodeBurstBlackbirds en Rev.

Met CodeBurst: A Cyberpunk Soundtrack hebben Reed Reimer & Benjamin Emory Larson een ontzettend mooi project afgeleverd, wat niet alleen een genot is om naar te luisteren maar wat je ook trakteert op een spannend sci-fi verhaal.

Ik raad dan ook iedere sci-fi liefhebber dit bijzondere project te ondersteunen en een eigen exemplaar aan te schaffen via deze website. Een diepe buiging voor Reed en Ben voor dit creatieve meesterwerk.

CodeBurst - A Cyberpunk Soundtrack bundle

2 jul. 2020

Interview met VanMahner

Op 22 mei kwam het debuutalbum ¨Landing Is Done¨ van de Franse producer VanMahner uit op Lazerdiscs Records. Het begin van een nieuwe muzikale reis wat veel spektakel belooft. Maar voordat we onder dompelen in de wonderlijke wereld van VanMahner, eerst tijd voor een interview!

On May 22, the French producer VanMahner's debut album "Landing Is Done" was released on Lazerdiscs Records. The beginning of a new musical journey that promises a lot of spectacle. But before we immerse ourselves in the wonderful world of VanMahner, first time for an interview!


Victor, can you please introduce yourself?
Hi! I'm Victor VanMahner, thank you for the interview, it gives me great pleasure to respond.
Where to start? I bathe in the music since my youngest age, and through various prisms (public, organization of events, musician, dj and composer).
I like originality, I am mainstream phobic, passionate and creative, I have my cinema subscription and I also like new technologies and to travel.
I grew up in France with a great Italian influence. I spare you a adolescence composed of organ, guitar and concerts. My first contact with a sequencer to produce electronic music must coincide with my first steps on the Internet. I had to ask Google "how to make electronic music", it was in 2005.
I was at a turning point, the rock band I played in came to an end, everyone was going back towards their life, I wanted to continue the music, even if it meant making it alone.
So I learned to record, control synthesizers and transcribe my ideas more fluently on a computer rather than an instrument.
At the same time I took a liking to this culture, vast and constantly evolving, without confining (lol) myself to a genre.
I made my way with all this baggage, practically alone. This is a bit how I got there today.
Today I take part in Strasbourg's underground nightlife. I had the opportunity to produce music for various projects, and new ones are arriving.

You just released your debut album called ¨Landing Is Done¨. Well done, I like it very much! Are you excited, now it has been available for everybody?
I am so proud to present my project to all earthlings. It had required a lot of work, I hope that the listeners will appreciate my universe and that the story begins in earnest. This is only one of the multiple stages, the album is already in progress, I am thinking in parallel on how to set up the live show.

What is the concept/idea behind your album ¨Landing Is Done¨?
¨Landing Is Done¨ could not be better named, being the 1st official release of my project, having crossed for many years the different strata of "the musical universe", the EP marks a start.
Here is what I want to offer, my influences and the sound that characterizes me. The journey may have been very long, but necessary to reach this level of maturity. Now I'm here, ready to introduce my universe to humans.

Which song is most special to you on ¨Landing Is Done¨ and why?
Difficult question, but my heart would go for Messages, it is full of Moog synthesizers, the construction is complete, the melody does not leave indifferent. It bears this title because we quickly understand that "the thing" that emits these sounds is trying to communicate with us.
We could also talk about Alien on Tinder featuring Luka, it was audacious for me to propose an original title with voice. I wanted to see this title included to add accessibility to the EP (it must be admitted that it sounds POP compared to the rest). I am pushing Luka to take holidays in order to move forward on a side project together, she has a real talent and we worked really well together. But after all, if these 6 titles are present it is because they are special, each one has it´s history.

VanMahner - Landing Is Done

In the past you did also remixes for RAMMSTEIN, Die Antwoord and others. If you can choose a new artist or band to do a remix for, whom will these be then?
My way of working for remixes is special, I only base myself on vocals of music which nourished my culture. I then recreate a new music from scratch with my codes, my mark.
When choosing the title I also make sure that it has not already been the subject of other occasions, always with the aim of offering new content to listeners.
Currently I have in mind to propose my version of "Freed from desire" from GALA, the voice is magnificent and unifying.
Also, I rarely use voices in my titles, so remixes are a way to offer songs with vocals.

What other musicians do inspire you?
I like lots of artist, diverse gender, In flames, Rammstein, SOAD, (breaked loud stuff), Deadmau5, Carpenter Brut, underground things like neurofunk / Dnb / Psytrance. But also softer styles, reggae / Dub / Trap / classical music.
If you had to choose only one it would be JUSTICE. I followed this group from the start on Myspace, I love all their titles and they are complete with a wonderful philosophy.

What are you further plans for this year, though life is not normal nowadays due to COVID-19?
Everything will depend on how ¨Landing Is Done¨ evolves. It is still too early to predict that, but the idea would be to decline the EP live with VJ, hybrid drummer, Luka and maybe guitar players.
Offer a show in line with the world of EP.
Until then, we hope this pandemic is behind us, I promise I have nothing to do with it!

What do you like most about the ´80s?
For me, in music, it is above all the decade where artists have started to make the best with synthesizers, the technology starts to become part of pop culture (video games, gadgets etc.), the human being showed a lot of creativity over this period (just to remember the number of tubes that were created in the ´80s).
Otherwise, I did not experience this period, but I have certain vestiges, such as game consoles, instruments or music players. From my point of view it is a pivotal period for culture and which still influences many people today (me too).

And finally, any last words to the synthwave community?
I hope to tickle curiosities, that my 1st EP pleases, and that our paths will cross one day to dance and headbang. Stay as amazing as you are, follow me on the social media this is just the start!
Thank you...

Je kunt VanMahner volgen op:

19 jun. 2020

Interview met Crunkid

Morgen (20 juni) verschijnt het debuutalbum ¨Extra Terrestrial¨ van de Nijmeegse producer Crunkid op het Nederlandse label Wic Recordings (bekend van de ¨Katana ZERO¨ soundtrack). Met inspiratie van de elektronische muziek uit de jaren ´90 heeft Crunkid hier een eigentijdse draai aan gegeven en een fantastisch album afgeleverd. Check snel de Bandcamp pagina van Crunkid en ga zijn muziek beluisteren. Maar nu tijd voor een interview!

Tomorrow, June 20th, the debut album "Extra Terrestrial" by the Nijmegen producer Crunkid will be released on the Dutch label Wic Recordings (known from the "Katana ZERO" soundtrack). Inspired by electronic music from the 90s, Crunkid has given this a contemporary twist and delivered a fantastic album. Check out the Bandcamp page of Crunkid and listen to his music. But now time for an interview!


Reg, can you please introduce yourself?
I am Reg Verstegen, 21 years old, born in Nijmegen. I am an electronic music producer and signed to Wic Recordings. I started playing the guitar at the age of 10 and for a number of years my interest in synthesizers and electronic music has increased considerably. I am very much at home in 90’s music: breakbeats, acid, rave house and techno.

Congratulations with your new album "Extra Terrestrial". How was it to work on this album?
Extra Terrestrial was originally intended as an EP of approximately five songs. In every project you have a certain angle or style in which you create your songs. I loved writing in this ‘space’ theme and quickly got the feeling I had to make it bigger than just an EP.

The great thing about this album is that it's not just about the songs, but about the whole picture. For example, take the song Invaders Must Die (refers to: The Prodigy). This is not necessarily a track of its own; an ambiance is indicated here to enhance the story of the album. So the answer to the question is: it is very refreshing to be able to write in such a broad way.

You can pre-order the album ¨Extra Terrestrial¨ here!

In your bio I can read that you are obsessed with vintage drum machines like the Roland TR-909. What gear did you use for "Extra Terrestrial"?
I used a TR-909, TR-707, TR-606, BOSS-DR550, Akai-Tom Cat, Yamaha RM1X, TB-03, IK Uno Synth, Eminent Solina P255, Vinyl (samples), electric-, acoustic-, and classical guitar, Arturia Keylab as midi controller. I also recorded djembés and shakers!

Which songs are most special to you on the album?
Of course it remains difficult to choose, but Apollo 303 was the first song I wrote for the album; this remains special because Extra Terrestrial has started from here. The last song I wrote was 2090s. Or rather: I have rewritten. I was not satisfied with the original 2090s and decided to start over. The concept that transports you from the Portal to 2090 had to remain, so a new version had to come. In retrospect I am very happy with this track!

I also like Caught! as one of the songs that make the album strong. It is also more about the atmosphere and the intensity. A feeling is expressed and I personally think that this feeling accentuates the story.

Though ¨Extra Terrestrial¨ sounds very fresh, it also has influences from the 90´s. Which acts or producers from that era were a big influence for you?
The Prodigy comes first. I still think that what Liam Howlett as a producer and musician has managed to put down, is really insane! Artists such as the Chemical Brothers, ProppelerHeads, Front 242, Gessaffelstein, but also Tame Impala and MGMT. I didn't grow up with electronic music alone. I also listened a lot to hardcore/punk, rock and hip hop.

Crunkid - Extra Terrestrial

When you start working on a new song, how do you begin?
I always work from left to right, a kind of freestyle. I never think in advance how the song will be put together. Of course, a bpm gives you a feeling and a vision that you want to work towards. If I feel that the song needs a build-up or drop at some point, then I will try to realize it. However, I always have ideas in my mind about which instruments I want to use. And yes, it happens that some ideas sink a bit in the process and I don't use them. But I also save them and may apply later. Recycling can work very well!

What are you further plans for this year, though life is not normal nowadays due to COVID-19?
I am again busy with new ideas and want to focus more on live performing. I would actually do my first festival show last year, but unfortunately this has been canceled. Performing live takes a lot of time and energy, but it is certainly something I think there’s a future in. I think it would be very cool to control live drum computers and synthesizers. I already do this, in my own studio… unfortunately without an audience, haha!

What is the last movie that you have seen?
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, very heavy, dark film, and Jack Nicholson plays a great role in it! Favorite movie of all time? There is no reigning number one, but The Silence of the Lambs ends high in my list. Anthony Hopkins' screenplay is legendary!

You made a remix of the song ¨Volition¨ of the game soundtrack ¨Katana ZERO¨. What do you think of this soundtrack and the game itself?
I have also played the game myself and found it very entertaining. A 2D game always plays away easily. The game had a cool Japanese design and the music of Ludowic and Bill Killey matched it perfectly! It is therefore an honor to be asked to make a remix for this game.

And finally, any last words to the synthwave community?
I am far from where I want to be and I can still grow a lot in this profession. To readers that are also involved in producing, I would like to say: try to finish projects, dare to end it. In the sense of: now it is really finished! Otherwise, you will continue to struggle with your current projects. Not everything has to be perfect, because later you can look back on that imperfection with a good feeling. I would also like to ask you to grab your headphones and join this journey through time and space: Extra Terrestrial!

You can pre-order the album ¨Extra Terrestrial¨ here!

Je kunt Crunkid volgen op:

17 jun. 2020

Synthwave en video games: een overzicht van bijzondere soundtracks

Video games is een uitstekend medium wat zich leent voor een synthwave soundtrack. Meerdere games zijn er in het verleden al ontwikkeld en nog steeds komen er nieuwe games uit met ondersteuning van synthwave muziek. Eén van de laatste games is Retro Drive waarvan de soundtrack is uitgegeven door Outland Recordings. 

Retro Drive (soundtrack Outland Recordings)

De games gaan qua stijl terug naar de jaren ´80 of bieden een geheel nieuwe futuristische cyberpunk wereld. Het kan dus alle kanten opgaan. Hoe dan ook de muzikale ondersteuning is zeer belangrijk om een zo diepgaande ervaring aan de speler te bieden.

Zelf heb ik nog lang niet alle games met een synthwave soundtrack kunnen spelen. Eén van de games die ik wel heb gespeeld is 80´s Overdrive. Een game die qua gevoel veel weg heeft van het legendarische Out Run (SEGA, 1986) maar het qua gameplay zeker niet haalt bij deze game. Iets wat ik erg jammer vond, want grafisch gezien ziet het er perfect uit. De besturing is minder soepel dan ik had gehoopt en het wispelturige gedrag van de auto´s om je heen is irritant te noemen. Als je aankomt rijden, wordt je van links of rechts zomaar zonder reden geramd. Blijf gewoon op je baan als je wordt ingehaald zou ik zeggen. Jammer!

In deze special heb ik een aardige lijst met games voor je verzameld, allen voorzien van een te gekke synthwave soundtrack.

80´s Overdrive
Datum: 7 december 2017
Ontwikkelaar: Insane Code
Uitgever: Insane Code
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Nintendo 3DS

Crossing Souls
Datum: 6 februari 2018
Ontwikkelaar: Fourattic
Uitgever: Devolver Digital
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS, PlayStation Vita

Datum: 13 augustus 2019
Ontwikkelaar: Traxmaster Software
Uitgever: Traxmaster Software
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
Datum: 30 april 2013
Ontwikkelaar: Ubisoft Montreal
Uitgever: Ubisoft
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Datum: 5 juli 2016
Ontwikkelaar: The Game Bakers
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

Hotline Miami 1&2
Datum: 23 oktober 2012
Ontwikkelaar: Dennaton Games
Uitgever: Devolver Digital
Platform: Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita

Katana Zero
Datum: 18 april 2019
Ontwikkelaar: Askiisoft
Uitgever: Devolver Digital
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Mac OS, Microsoft Windows

Mother Russia Bleeds
Datum: 5 september 2016
Ontwikkelaar: Le Cartel Studio
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS

Neon Drive
Datum: 12 mei 2016
Ontwikkelaar: Fraoula
Uitgever: Fraoula
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS

Nex Machina
Datum: 20 juni 2017
Ontwikkelaar: Housemarque
Uitgever: Housemarque
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows

Power Drive 2000
Datum: Mei 2016
Ontwikkelaar: Megacom Games
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS

Retro Drive
Datum: 1 mei 2020
Ontwikkelaar: Retro Drive Studio Ltd.
Platforms: iOS, Android

Rigid Force Alpha
Datum: 31 augustus 2018
Ontwikkelaar: com8com1 Software
Uitgevers: com8com1 Software, Headup Games
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, Xbox One

Top Run
Datum: 31 januari 2020
Ontwikkelaars: Katata Games, Fantastico Studio S.R.L.
Uitgevers: Katata Games, Fantastico Studio, Fantastico Studio S.R.L.
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Android, Microsoft Windows, iOS, Mac OS

VA-11 HALL-A (Valhalla) 
Datum: 21 juni 2016
Ontwikkelaars: SUKEBAN GAMES, Wolfgame
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS, PlayStation Vita