Archive for August, 2010

Three artists we’re digging this week

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on August 23, 2010 by softsynth

One things we can say about 2010 is it’s been a productive year for new electronic artists. A clear majority of the albums we’ve reviewed this year have been debut recordings from new artists.

As some older, more established artists fade a little, break up (Thermostatic, we hardly knew ye!), or go to that latter-career place where a new album comes around about with the same frequency as Haley’s comet, it’s key that younger, newer artists start to step up to fill that void. A couple of such new folk are all over the Softsynth playlist this week (and one established new artist with a kick ass new song).
Continue reading


Another new O.M.D. track

Posted in News with tags , on August 20, 2010 by softsynth

Okay, we’re not going to obsess over the forthcoming release by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (seriously. Shut up.), however we feel like we’ve been pretty hard on the bits and pieces we’ve heard to date so it’s only fair to share a track that’s gotten us excited about History of Modern again. Spin magazine provides not only a neat new song from the album (“New Babies, New Toys”) but an illuminating interview with Andy McCluskey. Check out the track and see why the album could end up being better than the sum of it’s parts after all…

Review: Tenek – On the Wire

Posted in Review with tags on August 17, 2010 by softsynth

While we quite enjoyed Tenek’s debut, Stateless, and looked forward to its efficiently-released follow-up ,our expectations were realistically whelmed. That an album that hardly writes new history, or pushes electronic music into any particularly interesting new direction can be this good is a testament to the songwriting prowess of this constantly refreshing UK duo.

The band go in a clearly-defined new direction. While their first album was rather standard modern synthpop indicative of the aughts, On the Wire takes a decidedly retro path. There are songs here, like “The Art of Evasion” and “The Grid” and especially “Under my Skin” that evoke mid-80s Canadian synthpop. While listening to the album on repeat during a five-hour drive this weekend we kept flashing back to summer of ’85 or ’86 when songs by Strange Advance or Honeymoon Suite were all over the radio in this country. In and of itself that’s not germane to whether the album good or bad, it just very much “is”. Continue reading

O.M.D. release first video from History of Modern

Posted in News with tags , , on August 16, 2010 by softsynth
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark have released their first video from History of Modern. And maybe it’s a case of too much anticipation, too much lionizing, too much pedestaling, but we’re not really feeling it yet. It’s a fine, serviceable track with some vintage O.M.D. sounds and one definitely feels the influence of Paul Humphries’ return but we’re missing something. Maybe it’s the experimental side of the band we’re yearning for (and we remain hopeful that the album will reveal some of this once again), and this is more like latter-day O.M.D. than we’d like in an ideal world though this remains our most anticipated release of 2010.
The video itself is nice. Pretty people doing pretty things with each other whilst doing pretty interpretive dance with less pretty Humphries and McCluskey rather creepily watching them from on high.
Watch: If You Want It

Review: Dual Density – Soul Ecstasy

Posted in Uncategorized on August 12, 2010 by softsynth

We’re glad to have let this album sit for a few weeks before review; had we plunged in from the outset it wouldn’t have been a pretty review. As it is, this is more a case of “what might one day be” rather than what “is”.

This Swedish electro-pop group leans heavily on the dance end of things. Sometimes it can work, other times – when a band doesn’t have enough in their bag of tricks to differentiate – it can be an exercise in monotony. Too much of Soul Ecstasy falls into the latter through there are definitely moments of the former. Continue reading