The Nine Circles ov…How I Became a Synthwave Fan

synthwave

After what feels like an eternity in the “development” stage — damn you, nursing school! — we’ve finally gotten our Retrocution column going here at Nine Circles. And damn, does that feel killer. I’ve gotten to a point in my music listenerdom where I’m listening to as much of this stuff as I do metal, if not more — and my attempt to build out this column certainly isn’t going to change that trend.

But, one thing said attempt has done is, it’s gotten me to look back at exactly how I got into this stuff. For a long time, I couldn’t — or never really tried to — pinpoint that. If asked why / how I got into the genre, I’d give a generic answer about “the aesthetics” or something, and just shift the topic to the genre’s latest offerings. And to be fair, “the aesthetics” are certainly part of the equation — but the music is the truly important part, and I’d never given any real thought to my foundations on that side.

So, let’s change that, shall we? Without further ado, I present The Nine Circles ov How I Became a Synthwave Fan. Continue reading

Rainbows in the Dark: M83 – “Junk”

If you were alive and conscious throughout the year 2011, chances are, at some point or another, you heard the song “Midnight City” — an infectious dream pop tune from French musician Anthony Gonzalez (a.k.a. M83) that captured the wonder and adventure of his move to Los Angeles. It was one of the best songs of the year, from one of the best albums of the year, and it instantly set up a microscope over Gonzalez’s future output. From a critical standpoint, whatever follow-up material might surface down the road was preemptively put on watch.

Setting aside his soundtrack to the 2013 film, Oblivion, that follow up finally arrived in April 2016, in the form of M83’s seventh studio album, Junk. So how’d the thing hold up under the weight of gargantuan expectations?  Continue reading