V/A Synthétique: A French Synthwave Compilation 1982-2016 (CD Album – Peripheral Minimal)
Genre/Influences: Electro-pop, minimal-electronics.
Background/Info: “Synthétique” is a kind of sonic ‘documentary’ featuring 13 French formations dealing and/or inspired by electro-pop. The main particularity of the sampler consists of a truly travel throughout the years. It starts in 1982 and stops in 2016. The sampler starts off with Philippe Laurent and comes to an end with the same artist, but with a song from 2016. In between both tracks you’ll discover 12 artists. All the songs have been remastered (by Martin Bowes) while it also is an opportunity to discover numerous previously unreleased songs from somewhat forgotten –or simply unknown, formations.
Bands: Philippe Laurent, X-Ray Pop, Atom Cristal, Adn’Ckrystall, Love In Cage, Guerre Froide, Mad Masks, No Unauthorized ao.
Content: This is an interesting testimony from the French electro-pop underground scene, mainly revealing minimal electronic tracks composed with good-old analogue gear. It creates this unique sterile- and cold sound color reminding me of the early years of new-wave and electronic music, but it also is a kind of sonic bridge between bands active during different periods.
Next to several familiar names it also is an opportunity to discover forgotten or simply unknown formations.
+ + + : I really like and fully support this kind of ‘conceptual’ compilation revealing forgotten and sometimes unknown sonic treasures from the past mixed with contemporary formations with an intelligent approach in sound. Most of the bands belong to the 80s generation of electronic pioneers, but it also is encouraging to see that contemporary formations are still fascinated to re-produce and experiment with the old standards. This is an exciting and fully recommended sampler featuring numerous great songs. Multiple bands are singing in their Mother tongue (French) giving a particular touch to the release.
– – – : I noticed a little error in the tracklist as 2 bands have been switched with each other. You also will notice some differences in the sound quality from band to band. This is not due to the mastering of Martin Bowes, who for sure did a great job, but you simply can’t transform a poorly and old recorded track into a high tech piece.
Conclusion: I simply like this sampler for its concept and I think it would be great –although a tough job, to release similar compilations featuring other countries. But who knows… that’s maybe an idea… Respect to Peripheral Minimal for this great work!
Best bands: Love In Cage, X-Ray Pop, Guerre Froide, And”Ckrystall.
Label: www.peripheralminimal.co.uk / www.facebook.com/PeripheralMinimal
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