POTW (2019/8): Classic Electronic Music

This week’s selection for Playlist of the Week is ‘Classic Electronic Music’ by Spotify user ‘lodolf’. It focusses in on the more melodic and cinematic side of electronica, which has roots in classical and orchestral music. In fact, some of the pieces included are actually classical orchestral music being played on synths, e.g. Synclassica’s renditions of Mozart, Beethoven, Vivaldi and so on. Another notable piece is Arvo Pärt’s moving minimal work, Spiegel im Spiegel.

There is a lot to like here. This is a well thought out playlist of instrumental music, with selected pieces of electronica from the 1970s onwards. There were a few surprises – I didn’t expect to hear ABBA’s Arrival or, for that matter, any Bowie. (Benny Andersson of ABBA also snook in again with his cinematic Skallgång.)

That insistence on shying away from the obvious is one of the playlist’s major assets – it includes a generous smattering of emerging artists, examples being Easily Embarrassed, Bassic, Animobo, Firechild, Didymos, and the list goes on. This led me to discover at least a handful of artists who weren’t even near my radar, let alone on it.

If I’m going to be really picky, this playlist focusses a bit too heavily on certain artists, albeit with some heavy hitters fitting that category, such as Jean-Michel Jarre, Vangelis and Tangerine Dream. That has not taken away from this playlist being a thoroughly enjoyable listen, however, as the ‘over-represented’ artists are all fantastic.

Playlist of the Week (2018/49)

Playlist of the Week: Alex Pope's Hover Car Radio Synthwave/Retrowave collection

This week’s Playlist of the Week is Hovercar Radio: Synthwave/Retrowave/Dark Synth. It’s compiled by Alex Pope, the Bristol based producer behind Dark Smoke Signal, an 80s-inspired synthwave and electronica act. He’s a bass-playing multi-instrumentalist who has been involved in a number of other projects, such as the Hot Freaks. He’s only released a couple of tracks so far under the Dark Smoke Signal moniker, but they’re very well made. If you only listen to one, check out The Big Stage: it’s worth it for the stunning bassline alone, but there’s far more to it. Imagine a synth-pop mashup of Daft Punk, Gorillaz and Kids in America by Kim Wilde and you should be getting close.

This playlist is unabashedly retro. It kicks off with the titles of Blade Runner by Vangelis.  There’s a strong synthwave element running through it, as you might expect, peppered with artists such as Kavinsky, Kalax, Com Truise and Daft Punk as well as the odd 80s classic track. In addition, there are plenty of tracks by artists you might not have heard before.