Later this week, Austin based experimental electronic group S U R V I V E graces Washington’s presence with their brand of dark, rich, organic synth goodness. The group’s contributions to soundtracks for Stranger Things and The Guest have earned them comparisons to artists such as Tangerine Dream and Goblin; their soundscapes sounding raw, analog, and drawing inspiration from 80’s science fiction and horror electronica. Nostalgic and undeniably cool, their aesthetic is perfect now that we are moving into the end of October and the leaves are falling and the flannel is appearing.
And, in the spirit of the season and their show on Friday at U Street Music Hall, here’s a taste of some other incredible 80’s synth goodies.
Tangerine Dream, “Charly the Kid” from Firestarter
Tangerine Dream’s soundtrack work defined a whole generation of film. From fantasy to horror to science fiction to Tom Cruise and prostitutes, their sound is categorized as lush, warm, and enveloping. Their work on the film Firestarter is vastly underrated comparatively to their work on Sorcerer, Legend, and Risky Business, but it has its charm and it absolutely captures the essence of synth-based electronic music during this time period.
Giorgio Moroder, “Irena’s Theme” from Cat People
Before he was on Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, Giorgio Moroder was an accomplished producer. Some of his finest works was on the soundtracks to films like American Gigolo and Midnight Express, but in 1982 he left his touch on the remake of Cat People. Nobody ever looked at panthers the same way again.
Brad Fiedel, “Dream Window” from Fright Night
Sinister, but alluring with an undeniable groove, this excerpt from Brad Fiedel’s score to the 1985 horror classic Fright Night has the 80’s washed out guitar on top of sexy analog synthesizers oozing lust with each passing second.
John Carpenter, “Moochie’s Death” from Christine
John Carpenter gets a lot of credit for Halloween: a titular theme for horror fans and to the public consciousness. The average joe may not know, however, that Carpenter has done the music for most of the films in his catalog. This chilling, ominous piece from his soundtrack to the movie Christine is classic Carpenter in all the best ways right down to the high notes which float over gravelly lows.
Vangelis, “Tears in Rain” from Blade Runner
While it’s not horror, Blade Runner has one of the finest synth based soundtracks from the 80’s masterfully written by Vangelis. Paving the road for artists like M83 in years to come, Vangelis’ often minimalist atmospheres wash over the senses and create expansive, entrancing gateways which capture all of the feels. This list would be remiss without a mention of this score.