Notes From The Keybed – This Month In Synths [August]

The sun has been shining throughout much of August, but that hasn’t stopped the bedroom producer generation from locking themselves away and making horrible bass noises. In fact, you’d think it was officially brostep month with new releases from EDM staples Porter Robinson and Steve Aoki. Breaking the mould though is Rustie, whose new album Green Language was released on the 25 August through Warp Records. Lead track ‘Raptor’ is a sign of things to come, a slice of genre-defying electronica that is equal parts vicious and euphoric. It comes highly recommended for anyone bored of the aforementioned glossy EDM scenesters, former dubsteppers who haven’t discovered a decent drop in years, or just those who secretly like trap but are far too indie (or middle class) to admit it (shhhh).

On a gentler note Imogen Heap’s Sparks is another new one for August. The experimental pop singer-songwriter’s fourth album is set to be her most ambitious yet, with her usual mix of tradition and technology bolstered by crowdsourced field recordings, gesture activated music gloves, and a constantly evolving song that will be added to every seven years! Away from the oddities it’s business as usual with Heap’s trademark layered vocal textures matched with soft synthesiser tones and wistful melodies. It’s a welcome return from one of the UK’s most forward-thinking artists, who continues to inspire and confound in equal measure.

A couple of recommendations for all you electro goffs this month – The Wrongchilde record has been reviewed elsewhere on TBO but here’s a reminder to check it out in case you missed it the first time! Goldblooded is ten tracks chock full of 80’s clichés and sultry synths from the Kill Hannah frontman, bringing up the dark side of the electro indie scene with sublime songwriting and understated production. As an alternative check out Anne, whose album was included as part of SoundSupply’s recent Run For Cover download drop. In typical style this is an artist who has decided to fold as soon as I discover them (here’s looking at you Dananananaykroyd…), but the man behind the name has vowed to do something new, which is certainly worth keeping an ear out for. In the meantime, album Pulling Chain is most unlike anything else on the Boston punk label, combining icy synth textures with yearning vocals reminiscent of much-missed New York indie dancers The Bravery. The final remaining Anne music and merch is available at cut-down price from his Big Cartel page.

This month’s Keytar Hero award goes to Kill Paris, producer, DJ, keytar enthusiast, and mate of Skrillex. Standing apart from the dubstep overlord’s OWSLA empire, Kill Paris delivers late-night disco vibes that are dripping with sex. Search out the Kill Paris & Bees Knees Keytar Mix of ‘Falling In Love Again’ for a slice of saucy synth pop punctuated with an ace keytar solo played on a custom painted purple and white Roland beast! Nice.