JOVM chats with Detroit-based emerging synth pop artist Phaserland about his new single “Flip The Switch” and its accompanying video.
John Glenn Kunkel is a Los Angeles, CA-based multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist and producer, who has released three critically applauded albums, four EPs and a number of remixes with his solo recording project The New Division. Kunkel’s work has received millions of Spotify streams, and adding to a growing profile, Kunkel has been covered in major media outlets like Pitchfork and The Guardian.
Kunkel’s soon-to-be released Fader EP will further cement the Los Angeles-based electronic music artist and producer’s reputation for crafting cinematic and moody synth pop that immediately brings Depeche Mode, New Order, Umberto and others to mind; in fact, the EP’s first single, the dance floor friendly, opening track “One Night in Tokyo” is centered around slick production featuring a motorik-like groove, propulsive boom bap-like beats, shimmering, arpeggiated synths and a soaring hook; but underneath the dance floor friendly sounds are melancholy lyrics based on a failed trans-Pacific love affair that has haunted the song’s narrator, which create an interesting and ironic juxtaposition within the song.
Last month, I wrote about the Jyväskylä, Finland-born and-based, up-and-coming Finnish electronic music producer and artist Ere Ek, who started the 80s cyberpunk soundtrack-inspired project NightStop back in 2012. Since then, Ek has seen a growing profile across Europe and Russia’s tight-knit DIY scene, steadily touring and releasing both cassette and vinyl releases. Now, the Chicago, IL-based label No Trend Records, the label home of Ganser, Absolutely Not and others will be releasing a vinyl edition of NightStop’s most recent effort, Dancing Killer on March 30, 2018 — and as you may recall, although the album has already seen a digital release, Ek included a pulsating John Carpenter meets Umberto-like single “Phantasmagoria,” as a bonus digital track for the album. Interestingly, while that track cemented his reputation for crafting brooding and cinematic retro-futuristic electro pop; however, it may arguably be one of the most dance floor friendly tracks he’s released to date.
Building upon the buzz surrounding the vinyl release of Dancing Killer, the up-and-coming Finnish electronic music producer and artist recently released the incredibly creepy, stop animation based video for “Under the Killer Moon,” by Tommi Niukkanen. As far as the single, it’s a retro-futuristic and broodingly cinematic track featuring layers of shimmering, arpeggiated synths and thumping beats — and while clearly being indebted to the aforementioned John Carpenter and Umberto, it may also be the most menacing track of the entire album.
NightStop is the attention grabbing brainchild of its Jyväskylä, Finland-born and-based mastermind, the up-and-coming Finnish electronic music producer and artist Ere Ek, who started the 80s cyberpunk soundtrack-inspired project in 2012. And since then, Ek has seen a growing profile across Europe and Russia’s tight-knit DIY scene, steadily touring and releasing both cassette and vinyl releases. Interesting Chicago, IL-based label No Trend Records, the label home of Ganser, Absolutely Not and others, recently announced that they will be releasing a vinyl edition of NightStop’s most recent effort, Dancing Killer on March 30, 2018.
Although the album has already seen a digital release, Ek has included a pulsating John Carpenter meets Umberto-like single “Phantasmagoria,” as a bonus digital track for the album — and interestingly, while cementing his reputation for crafting brooding yet cinematic, retro-furturistic electro pop, the track may also be among the most decidedly dance floor ready track he’s released to date. (As a side note, the track derives its name from Roberta Williams’ 1995 horror adventure game Phantasmagoria.)
Comprised of Arjun Viswanathan and Kostas Papadopoulous, the up and-coming, Boston-based duo Modesta specialize in a retro-futuristic synth pop sound that will remind most listeners of John Carpenter soundtracks and 80s synth funk, as well as contemporaries like Umberto and others — although interestingly enough, the duo cites Roosevelt, The Shins and Unknown Mortal Orchestra as major influences while saying that their own own sound and aesthetic is rooted in diversity and experimentation.
Since their formation, the duo have accrued almost half a million streams on Spotify with over 15,000 monthly listeners, and along with that the duo have built a home recording studio from the ground up, while learning new ways to improve their craft and experiment with their sound and songwriting process. Their debut EP VHS is slated for a January 12, 2018 release and reportedly the EP will find the duo meshing contemporary, electronic production, analog synthesizers, and organic instrumentation while further cementing their reputation for crafting material that’s indebted to 80s synth pop; in fact, as you’ll hear on EP title track and first single “VHS,” Viswanathan and Papadopoulous as the duo pair shimmering layers of arpeggiated, analog synths, thumping beats, a sinuous bass line, ethereal vocals and a slick hook. But underneath the moody iciness of the song is a swooning devotion of love.
The recently released music video further emphasizes the retro-futuristc theme and vibe of the song as it features VHS player noises, grainy footage shot on VHS tape and incredibly 80s-like graphics and special effects.
Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few months, you may come across a post featuring the Copenhagen, Denmark-based electro pop duo TAN. And as you may recall the duo comprised of Mathias Riss and Andreas Bengsten have had stints in several local post-punk and psych rock bands, which makes their collaborative project together a marked change in direction for them; in fact, their previous single “PANORAMA” found the duo leaning towards the chilly, retro-futuristic synth-based compositions of John Carpenter, Umberto and countless others while subtly nodding at early house music.
The Danish electro pop duo’s latest single “BARBARA” will further cement the duo’s reputation for crafting chilly, retro-futrustic synth compositions — in this case, the cinematic and radio friendly track is a bit more straightforward as it features shimmering, arpeggiated synths, propulsive drum programming and a soaring hook. And interestingly enough, the recently released video further emphasizes the single’s chilly and creepy vie, as it stars Danish drag queen PROXY, who the duo met when they saw her dancing during one of their sets. As the story goes, the duo realized that PROXY’S appearance is much more than just putting on a costume, and they wanted to capture that on film.
“In the video, PROXY gets a crush on a synth playing mannequin. Brought together by a mutual love of synthesizers, their attraction slowly grows to the point where it dissolves boundaries and norms into insatiable lust and attraction for each other. Love works in mysterious ways, and rather than trying to understand it, they just surrender and go with it.” As a result, the video possesses a swooning, dream-like logic.
Comprised of Mathias Riss and Andreas Bengsten, the members of Copenhagen, Denmark-based act TAN have spent sings in a number of post punk and psych rock projects which makes their current collaboration a marked sonic departure for them with their sound, as you’ll hear on latest single “PANORAMA,” leaning towards the chilly retro-futusitic synth-based compositions of John Carpenter, Umberto and countless others; however, the Copenhagen-based electro pop act’s sound manages to subtly nod towards early house music.
Interestingly, enough the song and video were created at all night rooftop party in Brooklyn. Inspired by the skyline and the infinite sense of possibility of NYC, they ditched the party armed with an old 80s VHS video recorder, with which the duo dressed entirely in black bodysuits explore the city, hitting up bars, riding the subway and wandering through Times Square and chatting with locals — and typical for New York, no one bats an eye towards these oddly attired strangers.
Chris Lamaro is an up-and-coming Australian multi-instrumentalist, producer and electronic music artist, best known as Diskodisco. And as Diskodisco, Lamaro specializes in a cinematic yet dance floor friendly retro-futuristic sound that seemed indebted to John Carpenter soundtracks, Giorgio Moroder‘s 80s output, Umberto and The Chemical Brothers‘ “It Began In Afrika,” as Lamaro pairs layers of propulsive, arpeggio synths, with layers of shimmering synths and a computerized vocal sample which spells out DISKO, as you’ll hear on “The Darkest Magic,” the first single off his forthcoming debut EP, The Game Within The Game.
Lost Themes II’s latest single “Utopian Facade,” is a moodily atmospheric and cinematic composition consisting of throbbing and insistent bass, cascading layers of shimmering synths, and a staccato, string-based sample in what may arguably be Lost Themes II’s most haunting and eeriest single while nodding at Carpenter’s imitable and familiar sound.
Produced and directed by Gavin Hignight and Ben Verhulst, the recently released video for “Utopian Facade,” is the story of an android’s nightmare, hidden in dark, murky forests, set in an uneasy yet relatively near future that feels and looks dimly familiar. As Hignight explains in press notes “We were instantly haunted upon hearing ‘Utopian Façade’. It conjured images of jagged tree branches, dark woods and things that go bump in the night. Our goal was to explore these feelings combined with the visuals of the electronic synth driven world established in the ‘Night’ video from the prior album.” Unsurprisingly Hignight and Verhulst manage to further emphasize the slowly creeping dread and horror within the song, while hinting at the dystopian future that seems almost inevitable.
If you’ve been frequenting JOVM over the better part of the past year, the renowned director, screenwriter, producer, editor and composter John Carpenter has quickly become a mainstay artist after last year’s critically and commercially successful album […]