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Electronic and Synthpop Blogs | HiCap Records

Electronic and Synthpop Blogs

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Tenek releases tantalizing “Another Day” EP

Modern Synthpop - Thu, 03/21/2013 - 12:47

Recently, Tenek released an exellent new EP entitled Another Day. Like any good EP, it satisfies, but leaves you wanting more. In other words, it’s a tantalizing taste of what’s to come from the group’s forthcoming third album.

Another Day consists of two new songs – the title track and a darker song entitled A New Foundation – plus two remixes. Here’s a closer look:

Another Day: This is an excellent mid-tempo song with a nice beat to it. It’s got all of the characteristics of a great Tenek song: Tight production, engaging synth riffs and Peter Steer’s distinctive vocals laid on top. This song features some interesting interplay between synths, guitar and Steer’s vocals. Another Day is a solid Tenek track.

A New Foundation: This new track is my favorite on this EP. Minor key vocals set the tone of this song, which paints a picture of a lonely figure moving on from a broken relationship. Slow, syncopated vocals tell the story: “You are not the end of it all/In this world no one can find you/Resolution, made that call/Now it’s gone, we move on, build a new foundation.” A heavily distorted vocal sample during the bridge only adds to the ominous tone of this ballad. In terms of arrangements, this song is more sparse and stark compared to most Tenek tracks. But the sound effects and synths sound like they’ve been carefully chosen and placed. There’s nothing over-embellished here – it’s just right. Geoff Pinckney’s voice is quite striking on this evocative track.

Watch a video of A New Foundation on YouTube here

Elusive (Alien Six Remix): This remix of a single from Tenek’s EP2 album is due to be popular on dance floors, because of its pumping, rhythmic vibe. But interestingly enough, it’s not overdone, as so many synthpop-based dance remixes tend to be. Alien Six’s production is nicely understated; it  doesn’t pound your brain into submission with a thunderous beat, but has just enough to propel the song and get the bodies moving on the dance floor.

This remix of Elusive has a bright sound, with layered echoing synth riffs in its opening plus a collection of cool effects in the background. It’s more sparse in its arrangement, more stripped down to its core than the original. I particularly like how the track builds to a crescendo of strings just before shifting into a sparse, rhythmic chorus anchored by Pinckney’s soaring vocal. I like Alien Six’s work. They did a very cool remix of Mesh’s song Only Better for their last album, An Alternative Solution. By the way, Alien Six is Steer and Pinckney from Tenek.

Another Day (Airwolf One Remix): Airwolf One opts for a rhythmic, echoey sound that works well in this arrangement. Processed female vocal effects and heavily processed synths give this mix a trance-like feel. This remix is more layered than the original. It pushes the vocals back under a dense mixture until about halfway through the song, when they break into the foreground. Nicely done!

As I said, this EP has accomplished its mission: It has whetted my appetite for the release of Tenek’s third album, which is expected later this year.

Watch the preview video for the Another Day EP

The Birthday Massacre’s new album Hide & Seek is scary good

Modern Synthpop - Fri, 03/01/2013 - 22:32

For some reason, The Birthday Massacre was never on my radar screen until a few months ago, when I was exposed to their Imaginary Monsters EP. Intrigued by what I heard, I dug into their back catalog, and immediately fell in love with many of the tracks on Pins & Needles and Walking With Strangers.

That only served to heighten my anticipation for their latest album, Hide & Seek, which was released in early October. It was worth the wait: Hide & Seek is easily The Birthday Massacre’s (TBM’s) best work to date. This new album further solidifies ther position as producers of some of the finest synthpop music on the scene today.

Hide & Seek builds upon TBM’s traditional recipe of big guitars, soaring synth riffs and driving percussion, with Chibi’s crystalline, slightly sinister vocals riding on top – but with some exciting new twists added. Normally I don’t much like female fronted bands, but with TBM I’m willing to make an exception. Chibi has an amazing voice that fits the feeling of their music perfectly.

For example, on the second song of Hide & Seek, Down, Chibi belts out several lines of screamed lyrics during the chorus. She does a great job, too- and it fits right in with the song’s theme. Down is without a doubt the most head-banging song on the album, and I mean that in the best possible way. Just try holding your head still when the pounding guitar riffs and Chibi’s raucous chorus kick in! Not surprisingly, this song was the opening track of their awesome show in Milwaukee in early November. It immediately got the show off on the right foot, at a high energy level.

Stand-out uptempo songs include In the Dark, Alibis, Calling, One Promise and Need. Hide & Seek also contains a gorgeous selection of slower songs, including Play with Fire, In This Moment, Cover My Eyes. These songs are dazzling with their awesome point-counterpoint between the synths, bass guitar and vocals. These vocal tapestries are best appreciated with your eyes closed and a fine pair of headphones bracketing your skull. The vocal harmony in the chorus of the closer,  The Long Way Home, is a divine piece of aural splendor.

With their impressive body of work, The Birthday Massacre has accomplished something remarkable: they have managed to define and evolve their very own sound that is not derivative of anyone else’s. There is no filler in Hide & Seek. Each song is a gem in its own right. I can’t recommend this album enough – it’s a masterpiece, The Birthday Massacre’s best work yet!

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