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Riding the Synthwave: Exploring the Nostalgic Sounds and Aesthetics of the 80s-Inspired Genre

There's no denying I've been heavily influenced by Synthwave when writing songs as Icarus. I thought i'd dive in and give a further explanation for what Synthwave is:

Synthwave, also known as retrowave or outrun, is a genre of electronic music that emerged in the late 2000s. It is heavily influenced by 1980s pop culture, particularly the aesthetics of movies, television shows, and video games from that era. Synthwave has gained a large following in recent years and has become popular in both underground and mainstream circles.

If you're interested in exploring the world of synthwave, there are a few key things you should know. In this article, we'll take a closer look at the genre, its history, and some of the key artists and tracks to check out.


History of Synthwave

Synthwave has its roots in the French house and electroclash scenes of the early 2000s. It was also influenced by the soundtracks of movies and video games from the 1980s, particularly those with a sci-fi or cyberpunk aesthetic. Early synthwave artists included Kavinsky, College, and Mitch Murder, who all helped to define the sound of the genre.

As synthwave grew in popularity, it began to incorporate elements of other genres, such as new wave, Italo disco, and even heavy metal. Today, there are many sub-genres of synthwave, each with its own distinct sound and style.


Key Characteristics of Synthwave


One of the defining characteristics of synthwave is its use of vintage synthesizers and drum machines. This gives the music a distinctly retro feel and helps to create a sense of nostalgia for the 1980s. Synthwave tracks often feature pulsing basslines, shimmering arpeggios, and soaring leads.


Another key element of synthwave is its visual aesthetic. Synthwave art often features neon colors, grids, and retro-futuristic imagery. It draws heavily from the aesthetics of movies like Blade Runner, Tron, and The Terminator, as well as video games from the 8-bit and 16-bit eras.





Iconic Synthwave Artists and Tracks


If you're looking to get into synthwave, there are a few artists and tracks you should definitely check out. Here are some of the most popular:


Kavinsky - "Nightcall"

This track, which was featured in the movie Drive, helped to popularize synthwave and introduce it to a wider audience. It features a driving bassline and a catchy melody, and its moody, atmospheric sound perfectly captures the vibe of the genre.




The Midnight - "Vampires"

The Midnight is a synthwave duo that has gained a large following in recent years. "Vampires" is one of their most popular tracks, featuring a dreamy, atmospheric sound and lyrics that capture the feeling of being young and invincible.





FM-84 - "Running in the Night"

This track is a great example of synthwave's ability to combine vintage sounds with modern production techniques. It features a catchy melody and a driving beat, and its slick production and catchy hooks have made it a fan favorite.





Synthwave is a genre of electronic music that has gained a large following in recent years. It draws heavily from the aesthetics of the 1980s, particularly the music, movies, and video games of that era. If you're looking to explore the world of synthwave, there are plenty of artists and tracks to check out, and the genre's unique sound and visual style make it a truly one-of-a-kind experience.

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