What is your favorite track from Equinox EP?

Monday, September 15, 2014



by Filip Galetic

Jordan F. delights with the latest record that ranks up with the best examples of Outrun Synthwave sub-genre.

Outrun fans will rejoice hearing the steaming fresh new LP by Sydney’s Jordan F. Its quintessential Rosso Corsa sound will feel right at home on your playlist that already has Lazerhawk and Miami Nights 1984 on it.

The record starts with the epic “Abandon Streets” that at the whopping 10 and a half minutes provides a mini journey of its own with flashes of gelled up hair, sleek wet-rain sports cars, neon lipstick and danger.

The track offers plenty of drama, adrenaline soaked sections alternating with quieter bridges, all coated in a rolling arpeggiated bass line.

The second track, “Take Flight” has an uplifting and emotional progression with a cinematic flair.

“Into the Night” is the first stand out track of the album with an infectious fade in and main hook that compares to such Rosso Corsa classics such as Miami Nights 1984 “Saved by the Bell” or Lost Years’ “Storm”. It only loses a bit of momentum in the middle of the track but quickly recovers.

Track nr. 4, starts off softly, aptly to its name “Space Romance”. One minute into the song, and you’re in for a pure synth bliss with a gentle but unrelenting riff carrying you through.

“Nightwave” is the fifth track and it brings back some of the thrill into the album with a heart pounding mix of deep synth bass and undulating lead.

In track nr. 6, we seem to go back into the more romantic territory. The track’s name “Hologram Rose” is a reference to the 1976 short story by William Gibson. The story tells of a man who in a bleak future uses sense-recordings of his ex-lover to be able to fall asleep. I haven’t read it but the track does convey that poignant sensibility this story might possess.

Second stand out track of the album, “So Close” immediately hits you with those haunting reverb-y synths in the background and builds up an aural image of some kind of futuristic intrigue playing out before your eyes.

The album closes by making a full circle: here we have a Part II to the opening track. The sequel takes the motifs from the filmic opener and plays around with them in new ways.

All in all, “Slipstream” delivers that signature Rosso Corsa Records sound in droves and is primarily mandatory listening for the fans of this particular subgenre of synth wave. For those looking for something new and cutting edge, this might not be the best choice but you certainly cannot deny Jordan F.’s ability to come close to the masters with his sound and provide some very striking auditory imagery.








It’s an under-appreciated art to be able to make an album’s cover embody the musical content. I am reviewing Sagittarius V’s music, but the subtleties of the artwork on the new Renegade EP give you a good idea of what to expect. The shadowy figure in the background is a good representation of the surprises lurking in the actual music.

The album opens with a rather simple moog-ish rhythm that is quickly pulsing to vintage beats. Sometimes this sort of pulsating beat/synth combo can be overbearing, but on “Lucidator” it succeeds in creating atmosphere. This EP in general and this track specifically creates a defined atmosphere, one that would prove effective in a film or game score. The melody is catchy, but it is not simple. Parts of it sound as though they were originally written on a guitar or composed by someone who listens to a lot of technical metal. The hi-hat in the quieter section of the song ricochets off of the glassy synth in a really unique and original way. It is a strange and exciting listen that had me replaying the track several times.

The title track is the highpoint and the inclusion of vocals created something special (is that two reviews in a row now where the best track is titled “Renegade”?). The decision to not make the vocals excessively breathy and laden with reverb was a wise one, as the distortion added a borderline dystopian feeling. The song creates very interesting juxtaposition between lighthearted bounciness and a moody urgency.

“The Night” and “Sunrise”, the middle two tracks of the EP, are obvious companion pieces. Of the two, “The Night” is more memorable, with a twinkling synth that feels like a cold night wind in a city. The latter song has a guitar solo that absolutely cuts through the mix. It’s unfortunate that a song with such interesting sections, mainly the solo and the smooth use of guitar on the verse, also winds up being a little underwhelming. It’s definitely an idea that I’d be excited to hear Sagittarius V pursue further in the future.

A song that comes close to the emotion of “Renegade” follows. It has a bit of a rocky start and I was worried the release would prove to be top heavy, but some of the prettiest melodies of the whole batch of songs start finding their way to the front. The song becomes frantic and starts playing around with accelerating and decelerating tempos. It’s definitely the darkest track.

The EP ends with a slower song that manages to match every other song on the album in terms of sheer energy. Sound-bites in songs can come across as cringe worthy at times, but “Standby… Me” sidesteps this with a catchy synth line, surprisingly complex drum pattern, and soaring guitar. I won’t lie, my initial listen had me placing this song as one of the worst on the EP. Subsequent listens really let this song shine. Since this album runs the gamut in terms of emotion, Sagittarius choosing to end the album on a smooth crescendo of hope left me smiling and eager to listen again.

Does this album break new ground as far as the genre is concerned? No. It doesn't have the most unique synth tones in the world, but the flair and invention is in most of the compositions themselves. This solid collection of songs is not just an enjoyable listen, but an enjoyable re-listen.


Friday, September 12, 2014


Miami Nights 1984

By Rhys Pearce

Over the years, Canada has had a knack for producing some great music, everything from the likes of Glenn Gould to D.O.A and Miami Nights 1984 are no exception. MN84 is Michael Glover, a synth revival pioneer and helmsman of Actrazer. He is also notably known as the founder of the highly influential, Rosso Corsa Records, a record label that is responsible for bringing us the likes of, Lazerhawk, Mitch Murder and Jordan F.

In 2010, MN84 introduced himself to us with the breakthrough album, ‘Early Summer’, an accomplished and confident debut featuring 9 tracks of groove ridden, dreamy synth pop. What’s immediately evident here is his ability to encapsulate nostalgic bliss and create towering sounds that stir those deep routed emotions of the 80’s. It became evident at this point that we were dealing with someone with enormous talent.
Picture of MN84 taken by Wolf Sheep Records

During the recording of his second album, a remix he did of Gotye’s ‘Somebody that I used to know’ exploded onto the internet, even reaching the attention of Rolling Stone, who later featured the song on their website. This would play an integral part in exposing him to a much larger audience and opening the door wider for the new wave synth movement. It’s very rarely that you hear a remix that totally blows the original song out of the water; MN84’s custom sound combined with Gotye’s melodic vocal line, embrace one another like a long lost love and come together as if how fate had intended. On March 18th 2012, MN84 dropped his anticipated second full length album entitled, Turbulence, with many hailing it as his finest work to date. The notable difference between ‘Early Summer’ and ‘Turbulence’ is that Glover appeared to find an extra gear on Turbulence, lifting the atmospheric tones to new heights and packing in extra punches with some seriously memorable hooks.

In the meantime, Glover has been keeping busy with various remixes with the likes of the Grammy nominated, Electric Youth, as well as Night Crawler, Silent Gloves and Kristine. He has also briefly resurrected Actazer, posting a new song online entitled ‘The Return’ and has even hinted at a new collaboration project called ‘Future Noir’ with close friend, DJ Murge.

In March of this year MN84 made a welcome return, posting a new song on his Facebook page, named “Reflex Training’. This subsequently reduced some fans to quivering messes, with one dude stating that his face "....has been melted!". Even though the song didn't appear to be a massive departure from the sound heard on his previous record, something tells me that we can expect something very special from the new material. Are you excited? Because I certainly am.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


1. Hello XES, it is very nice to meet you. Can you please tell us a bit about the group as a whole? (How/where/when did you meet etc. We will get into the individuals later)

Hello, nice to meet you too and thank you very much for the interview! It is an honor.
Straight to the answer – we are a duo. The band consists of me - Pasha Star, and my friend Pavel Saushkin. We've met when I was searching for a musician to start my own music project. I really loved the way he perceives the music, the way he treats melody and can play with bits of sound creating our unique sound. That is what I like about our partnership – I create songs in my head and Pavel manages to transfer it in reality as I have pictured it. Nonetheless, his own work is very nice and I do not create all of the songs of course. The band formed in July 2014, after we tried to make couple of songs together. It was like a trial period to test whether we can manage cooperation and do something really interesting. It worked out as you may see. After some paperwork we started to build our name.

2. Can each of you (band members) give us 5 interesting facts about yourselves.

Pasha Star: Ok, I will try first. Most of it is somehow connected to Japan, because I started my singing career there. 
1 - I can speak and write lyrics in Japanese;
2 - Failed at Sony Music Audition Japan in the finals, because I was so nervous I strained my voice.
3 - I took part in variety of Japanese TV shows and commercials as a model and a singer during my time in Japan.
4 - I am Russian but my background is a mixture of different ethnicities. 
5 - I am almost 6’4 tall.

Pavel Saushkin:

Well, as for me....

1 -hmmm
2 -well....
3 -......
4 -....I
5 -.....Hmmm

Pasha Star: He is a genius!
Actually it was harder than I thought because when it comes to describing oneself all of the memory just disappears into somewhere and at the same time nobody wants to look like a boaster

3. How would you describe your sound? 

Pasha Star: Right now, we have no particular genre in mind. We do identify ourselves as an electropop band, but our upcoming album will consist from different music genres – starting from synth pop and/or nu-disco ending with witch house. We want it to be a like a space travel – each song is a different planet. 
Pavel Saushkin: Eventually, we believe, this should bring us to something even more interesting in terms of genres and style. Let’s see where it takes us.

4. The video for "Black Tears" is immense, but it also seems like there is a hidden meaning behind the video. Could you explain what we witness?

Pasha Star: Actually, it is a start of our Black Tears Saga project. We are planning to create and include a game and some short animation clips coupled with our music. It is a highly metaphysical, surreal, and allegorical story about a girl named Destiny. She is blind but she can see the world through the sounds, spoken words and her own imagination. The music video puts a viewer in a scene where she has fallen into the lies of a Dark One, who has deceived her into thinking that the Saint – the guy in white – is in fact a Liar and that false “truth” makes her cry the tears of grief empowering the Dark One. The guy in white is the Truth as he carries the attributes of strength and weakness at the same time: a strong body but he is handicapped. There is a lot of symbolism such as the table that represents life and the masks that carry the idea that the whole world is a theatre and etc. 
There will be a continue which will cast some light on the plot we are trying to represent. 

5. How did you guys get to work with Origa?! THATS A PRETTY BIG FEATURE!

Pasha Star: I admired her music since I was a child. At that time, I did not realize I would be able to record a song with her someday. When I have started doing my own music, I have decided to send one of my demos to her and she, to my utter astonishment, responded. Since then we’ve worked together on some of her songs (I was responsible for writing some of the lyrics) and when we were about to release our debut single “Black Tears” I asked her whether she can add some vocals to it. She agreed and the result turned out really great. 

6. What more can we expect from you in the near future?

Pasha Star: In terms of music – we have many ambitions and we will surely release something really good in the near future. As our band’s name stands for eXperimental Electronic Sound we plan to experiment and make something unique and at the same time pleasant to listen to. As for the rest, as I already mentioned – we are going to continue developing our music story, and most important we are soon to start performing live, so do not forget to check our social networks for information and updates.

7. Where can the retro scene stay connected with you?

Pavel Saushkin: We are gradually developing our network. Therefore, at the moment you can find us online at
which has links to all our social network groups, including our

YouTube channel,

our Facebook group ( ;,

VK group (, Instagram (

and Soundcloud (

 Also, you can find us on many other popular websites just look for us online and you will definitely find us.

Check out XES hot single and video "Black Tears" below. A great new boost for the retro scene!!