Welcome to the Echo Chamber…
Enzo Van Baelen, co-founder of TimeSlave Recordings, introduces a new column for Echosynthetic. He’ll be offering a regular take on the best new music the scene has to offer
I’ve started this semi-regular column for Echosynthetic for cathartic reasons. As my bank balance will testify, I have a growing weakness for Synthwave.
I’ll call it an addiction, as it seems to be driven by both devotion and obsession. Running a business in the scene only makes it worse. It’s a beast with a constant need to be fed – and there are rich pickings to be had.
On top of that, each week at TimeSlaves we receive around 20-30 new submissions from budding producers – and that figure is on the up, as our releases reach new audiences.
It’s part of the reason that I set the label up in the first place, with my brother and best mate, because I wanted a way to help collate and promote the best of the new music out there under one roof.
But it also means that it’s my job to scour the scene for new artists, and to keep on top of changing trends and styles. Which means listening to hundreds of tracks a week.
But as with the joy of food/sex/drugs/other – the pleasure of consumption dissipates quickly. And I’m on to the next new thing.
And that’s why I want to start this column.
Don’t misunderstand me. This is not a joyless pursuit of pleasure – far from it. But this column is my therapy. An outlet to justify my relentless search for new treasure.
Welcome to the Echo Chamber.
In each edition I’ll be featuring a handful of my favourite new releases.
It’s such a diverse and exciting scene to be a part of at the moment, and I’m looking forward to sharing my musings with you.
Some of the bigger releases will be impossible to ignore – but I’ll try and keep a sharp eye on the best of the new wave of talent.
Return of the Robot Overlords [Turbo Knight]
First up, and I’ll declare an interest here: we put Turbo Knight’s debut album out on TimeSlave Recordings. But Finland’s finest has now set his own label up and seems to be releasing a new track almost every day.
No need to worry though. As ever, the quality is top notch. This track is a relentless builder, with a dark heart.
Steady Pace [Vampire Step-Dad]
One of Bandcamp’s fastest selling albums this week is ‘The Night Call’, a charity compilation raising funds for Yorkshire Cancer Research. The cause itself was enough to pique my interest, but the track listing is killer too and features some really big names including The Midnight and Robert Parker.
For me however, it’s the new track by VSD that nails it – with screaming guitar solos and a subtle but infectious bass-driven melody.
Special mention for new label Nokogiri Nami Society. I like to think we started the trend for ‘Synth Aid’ over at TimeSlave Recordings, but they’ve taken the format and run with it.
We get some amazing submissions at the label and there aren’t enough weeks in the year to release all the good material we receive. That’s why we started the ‘Fear the Future’ series, which showcases the new talent snapping at the heels of the big guns.
But BVSMV is worthy of high praise. Translucent is one of my favourite tracks of the year, calling to mind Com Truise at his melodic and ethereal best.
We’ll be working with him later in the year on a full length album and I can’t wait for you to hear it. [Berliner ‘KSMTK’ is also worth a listen – another one for the future].
Not strictly speaking a brand new release, but I did see that Stilz has launched a QRates campaign to get July’s ‘Haute EP’ a full vinyl release. I need it, so get your orders in!
One of the only producers I can call to mind with an immediately identifiable sound of his own. A sexy laid-back funk which has (probably accidental) echoes of the sci-fi sound so prevalent in the Jungle Techno scene back in the early 90s.
If you haven’t heard it, I suggest you get your act together (and your wallets out).
Love Is Innocent (feat. Vicky Harrison) [COMPUTRONIC]
I want to wrap up with a cheeky pitch of two new tracks by new artists on TSR.
Computronic’s album is something I’ve been following closely for the last few months – I’m one of the lucky few to have seen previews throughout the process and I was immediately blown away by the meticulous detail he went into in the formulation of a strict story.
I’ve heard this called the ‘soundtrack to the greatest film never made’. I can’t better that description. For me, Love is Innocent and Facelift are the stand-outs but there’s something for everyone.
My Curse_Holiday in Goa [IVERSEN]
Wrapping it up for this week with an EP that we’re putting out on cassette and ultra-limited lathe cut vinyl (you heard it here first).
IVERSEN is a producer from my neck of the woods and his synth-pop/synthwave gems are littered with references to the part of West London I grew up in. That aside, IVERSEN sounds like a reincarnation of ‘The Style Council’ in which Paul Weller’s voice has shifted a few octaves, and he’s grown up on a diet of disco instead of blues.
Listen to My Curse and you’ll be on supporting harmonies within minutes.
To celebrate the release of COMPUTRONIC’s debut – ‘Even the Score’ – we’re giving away 3 copies to Echosynthetic readers.
It’s been called the soundtrack to the greatest 80s film never made. To enter, simply tweet me at @TimeSlaveRec using the #COMPUTRONIC and tell us your favourite film from the 80s.
*Choice between cassette and digital release.