Music of Past’s Future Brought to You Today


Max Bochkarev, Staff Reporter

Imagine walking along the boardwalk in Miami during the 80s. The sun setting off in the distance, producing an orange shadow on the sea and bathing the air in a pink haze. The neon lights of an endless row of casinos and clubs and the melancholy sound of a synthesizer quietly producing a sound that can only be connected to a time and feeling.

Anemoia is a noun that describes a feeling for being nostalgic for a time you have never known. This is a very obscure feeling, a sorrow of types that people at a certain point in their lives have felt. Possibly from a song or a painting or a movie. The music genre, one that is largely unknown by name but instantly recognizable by sound, is one such feeling of anemoia called Synthwave.

This music genre has been theorized to have started back in the 1980’s but the exact origins are hazy, the artist that first had mass media portrayal was Vangelis, with his soundtrack to the original Blade Runner movie.

Though having the average person say their experiences and opinions is difficult because of the lack of knowledge on the genre.

Sarah Jane Gibbons, one of two Millennium Brooklyn college advisers, said “I love it, I do… It reminds me in some ways of things I’ve heard and in some ways is completely new and has a different energy to the other music I listen to, and I like that.”

Synthwave could be confused as being a genre of just electronica or club music. While that is somewhat true, it is a gross misrepresentation of what it truly is. While some songs put out from Synthwave are just club songs that act as background to a good night out, there are many more that are able to define the night and make it its own.

With multiple artists, each with their own distinct style, Synthwave has produced a large swath of diverse sounds, each with their own story to tell.

From the French artist Perturbator and his unique capability of making melodies incredibly pronounced through a synthesized filter to GosT and his participation in the subgenre of Slasher Wave, with his own unique brand of synthesizing satanism through sound, there is plenty to hear.

With Synthwave also becoming comparatively more popular throughout the years since its official recognition back in the early 2000s. Games like Hotline Miami which heavily feature various forms of Synthwave to Furi which focuses more so on the high adrenaline feeling of Synthwave, it has become much more pronounced.

Though further depiction of the genre has been very limited, with a prominent depiction in the 2011 movie “Drive”, putting Synthwave artist Kavinsky and others for all to hear.

Synthwave in itself is a genre that heavily strides to recreate the 80s genre feeling by engaging in a auditory style of retro-futurism. Some artists that try this are The Midnight, M.O.O.N, Light Club and Carpenter Brut.