Tag: Waveshaper

WAVESHAPER Mainframe

Tom Andersson is the Swedish synthesist and retro gamer known as WAVESHAPER. Introduced by his father to Jean Michel Jarre, unsurprisingly his music has a filmic quality thanks to his own love of Vangelis and John Carpenter.

One of the talking heads in ‘The Rise Of The Synths’ documentary from 2019, within his armoury are a Roland Jupiter 4, Roland Jupiter 6, ARP 2600 and Korg MS20, while the VSTs that he favours include Tal-Uno-X, FM8, Polysix, M1 and Retrologue. His debut album ‘Tracks To The Future’ came out in 2013 while his most recent long playing offering was 2019’s ‘Artifact’.

In between he contributed to soundtracks for the game ‘Furi’ alongside Carpenter Brut and the downbeat thriller ‘Videoman’ with fellow Swedes Robert Parker and Johan Agebjörn. But now comes ‘Mainframe’, his latest muscial visit into yesterday’s tomorrow.

Loaded with a sinister grit but also weird but intriguing melodies, ‘The Phantom Machine’ is a mighty opener, sweeping into a skyward zone, with cutting mechanisation acting as a backbone to a descending chord progression. Driving with hearty rhythms, ‘Friends Again’ also offers edgy arpeggios and power chords without a guitar to facilitate a bouncy groove in the vein of Norwegian neighbour Todd Terje and even a key change.

The pulsating ‘Signals In The Night’ shines for the dancefloor, hypnotic and phat like a more intense take on vintage French disco masters SPACE with a distorted synthetic horn solo to provide extra uplift. Tapping at a more steadfast pace, the percussively prominent ‘Save Room’ takes on a comparatively atmospheric approach like ENIGMA in outer space, but is augmented by a tough percolating bass.

Gorgeously melodic within a claustrophobic drama, ‘Lost In The Cloud’ does as the title suggests like Vangelis meeting Giorgio Moroder at the Necropolis on a dreamy dance trip. It’s a lovely little uplifting synth instrumental although suggesting something darker, Andersson says “Imagine Red Riding Hood trapped in the Digital Cloud, behind the Mainframe. How would she feel? What would she see? There is probably more to fear than a wolf in the forest…”

More archetypically synthwave with deep sombre basslines and blippy arpeggios, the strident overtures of ‘The Hive’ would make a great theme to a futuristic animation series.

Meanwhile making its presence felt, ‘Artificial Promises’ is glorious multi-layered space disco where each part, whether melodic or percussive, has a hook. It’s how good electronic instrumentals always should be and is the antithesis of a lot of vocal-less synthwave which often sounds like someone has forgotten to sing… the short ‘A Sense Of Something’ goes downtempo but its synthetic choirs and detuned applications provide a deep emotive resonance to close.

With a dynamic production, ‘Mainframe’ is a harder edged synthetic voyage that doesn’t head down the rock abyss, so will appeal to those who may have found the more recent adventures of PERTURBATOR veering too much towards goth metal.

Tom Andersson himself has said this is his most interesting work to date and it is certainly among his most focussed.

In a year which has seen worthy instrumental releases from the likes of КЛЕТ with ‘Alconaut’ and BETAMAXX with ‘Sarajevo’, ‘Mainframe’ positions WAVESHAPER right next to them.


‘Mainframe’ is released by Waveshaper Music Production on 17th September 2021 as a CD, cassette, MiniDisc and to the usual digital platforms, pre-save via https://fanlink.to/f5Pw

https://www.facebook.com/Waveshaperofficial

https://twitter.com/Waveshaper_SWE

https://www.instagram.com/waveshaperofficial/

https://waveshaper1.bandcamp.com/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photo by Svetlana Kovalenko
15th September 2021

THE RISE OF THE SYNTHS The Official Companion Album

“The natural way of the cultural wave: we generally experience that musical and cultural trends shift from an outstanding position within public opinion to near utter rejection, refusal and ridicule, through an ever-shortening period of time. However, if that period of time is extended, to often several decades, we can witness a renovation, a new heightened recognition – the rebirth of the wave. Through today’s global reach, powered by the internet, cultural waves and fascinations can resurface and manifest themselves, with an even much bigger fan impact than the original source.”

And so The Synths rise, to combat the ordinary, to get ahead, to prove that this isn’t a mere revival; it’s a continuation of the trend started a long time ago, a trend which has been bubbling away in the hearts and minds of many, the army of the underground, which is now unleashing its machines to show the world their supremacy.

‘The Rise Of The Synths’ is the definitive documentary about the electronic music of its mainstream heyday, the nostalgia of those years and the memorable atmosphere created by the likes of GIORGIO MORODER, EDGAR FROESE and JOHN CARPENTER.

The project, backed up by hundreds of modern synth music composers, alongside the daddies of electronica, is a journey in time from its origins, through to the most successful time for synth, into its grunge fuelled denial and the big comeback thanks to the newly discovered social media and its important role in propagating of new music.

Anyone can be an artist these days, the day job is one thing – but why not tinkle on your synths and computers in your spare time? And with the digital outlets sprouting up like mushrooms, anyone can have a chance to hear your music. nostalgia lives through, be it with the lovers of vintage games, computers, equipment, or clothing, to those who just can’t forget the musical excitement upon hearing what synthesisers could do.

JOHN CARPENTER loved the fact that “when synthesisers were first introduced into music, (he) could get a big sound with them, (…) like an orchestra.” And that’s why many got inspired into making fresh sounds which would be impossible to achieve otherwise.

The machines never sleep and 2011 saw ‘Drive’, with its magnificent synthy soundtrack, win the festival’s Best Director Award for Nicolas Winding Refn at the Cannes Film Festival. The movement continues with the superb Netflix series ‘Stranger Things’; not only showcasing the life in provincial America in the Reagan-era, but also a deliciously electronic score, full of analogue goodness straight from the onset intro, which is impossible to skip.

‘The Rise of the Synths’ continues that trend, with numerous lovers of analogue and digital from all around the globe, joining forces to stand against the ordinary and to prove that machines rule. They rule big…

Kicking off with the perfect arpeggios by CHROME CANYON on ‘Deckard Returns’, the compilation promises a perfect listening experience from the onset.

GUNSHIP with ‘The Vale Of Shadows’ takes the reigns next, presenting the London trio of Dan Haigh, Alex Westaway and Alex Gingell; the group have had a very successful release under their belt with the 2015 eponymous album.

POWER GLOVE are best known for writing the soundtrack to the retro-futuristic video game ‘Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon’; here, the two Australians plate up ‘Fatal Affair’; a futuristic flick with a twist. ‘Makita’ by GENO LENARDO imagines the machines picking up their weapons and marching against the enemy, all with industrial elements of fear inducing qualities.

Naming his project after the ‘Top Gun’ icon, COM TRUISE aka New Yorker Seth Haley has gathered a substantial following with his “mid-fi synth-wave, slow-motion funk” and here he presents his quirky ‘Idle Withdrawal’.

While DANIEL DAVIS is ‘Lost In Love’ with a melodious pop song, ROBERT PARKER is chasing his ‘Silver Shadow’, and WAVESHAPER are on a ‘Mission To Remember’. If it ever rains for CODE ELEKTRO, it has to be ‘Black Rain’. The drops of arpeggiated downfall descend upon the simple melody, creating an atmosphere of suspense and dread.

But there’s nothing like GERMAN ENGINEERING on ‘The Osbourne Effect’, an experimental Kraftwerkian with the elements of the glorious instrumentals DEPECHE MODE used to provide in the day. The magnificent ‘Triage’ by GIORGIO MORODER, who is joined by RANEY SHOCKNE, passes almost too quickly, before the heavy ‘Night Stalker’ by CARPENTER BRUT appears; the Frenchman wrote music for video games ‘Hotline Miami 2 : Wrong Number’ and ‘The Crew’.

JOHN BERGIN introduces his guitar heavy ‘Crash & Burn’ and calming ‘Fleshman’, both as if taken from a video game. ‘Dead Of Night’ by LA based DANCE WITH THE DEAD could have easily been used in the likes of ‘Footloose’ and is very ‘Eye Of The Tiger’.

LAZERHAWK takes over on ‘A Hero’s Journey’ with filigree synths and cinematic landscapes; Garrett Hays is a founding member of ROSSO CORSA and a very successful electronic producer with a considerable success during the days of MySpace.

OGRE ushers in the era of ‘Rebar (Prologue)’, from Exeter, UK, Robin Ogden is a composer, producer and sound designer. MEGA DRIVE open the ‘Stargate’, a cleverly put together track of sci-fi design, while VOYAG3R closes the album with ‘Appearance Of The Mysterious Traveler’.

Many other artists were involved in the production; music makers from Sweden, Denmark, Spain and Canada joined numerous composers from the US and UK, all to aid the cause and strengthen the position of synth worldwide.

It seems like the trend is catching. The mighty synth has risen and it’s hitting with revenge and its revenge is sweet.


‘The Rise of the Synths’ is released by Lakeshore Records, available as a download or cassette from https://lakeshorerecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-rise-of-the-synths-official-companion-album-2

http://theriseofthesynths.com

https://www.facebook.com/theriseofthesynths/

https://twitter.com/RiseOfTheSynths

https://www.instagram.com/theriseofthesynths/


Text by Monika Izabela Trigwell
16th December 2017