Synth Hero


The DNA of Electronic Music

                    
Legendary Synth Heroes create individual mixes of their formative electronic music influences.
Curated by Tim Noakes

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THE GOLDEN FILTER

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The communal guise of Penelope Trappes & Stephen Hindman. Part art project, part electronic experimentation, part disco party, The Golden Filter were born in 2008 in NYC as a disruption to the pop music status quo.

Now based in London & firmly welcomed into the Optimo Music family, their current raw, minimal wave creations push the limits of analog beat-heavy soundscaping & angular vocals.

For their Synth Hero mix, the duo has selected songs from cassette-only releases and demos released between the years 1978 - 1986.

“When I was a little kid in the 80s I had older brothers buying records from artists like Television, Fire Engines, Human League and Madonna, all of which I became a fan of,” Stephen recalls. “I didn’t really own a record player myself, so I bought tapes. One of the first was Bad Brains’ debut tape on the label ROIR. That led me to buy Suicide’s ‘1/2 Alive’ tape from the same label, not really knowing what I was getting. From there I was (sometimes blindly) mail ordering electronic and punk tapes from all over the world. I did not own all of the tapes in this Synth Hero mix, but through blogs like ‘DIY or Die?’ along with some others, I’ve amassed a digital collection of tapes from the 80s to put int mixes and get influenced from.”

So how does the crackle and hiss of cassette tapes influence their new music? “In The Golden Filter’s work, and in Penelope’s Solo work – as well as my upcoming solo project called ‘Isolating’ – we try to add an unquantifiable ‘tape demo’ vibe to a few tracks on every release, and we repeatedly come back to the music in this playlist for inspiration.”





TRACK NOTES by STEPHEN HINDMAN of THE GOLDEN FILTER



00:00 - Attrition - Crawling

From the ‘Death House’ Cassette released in 1982. Ambient and deathly music… Thought this was a good way to get things started.

04:00 - Cosey Fanni Tutti - The Secret Touch

This is originally from Cosey’s ‘Time To Tell’ Cassette released in 1983. We only discovered this track within the last 6 years or so (which is odd as i’ve been a TG fan for, like ever). but I think this might be one of my all time favourite pieces of music. She documents her experiences in the sex industry and with art performance. An important document. Pure art… and a very entrancing listen.

10:19 - Invincible - The Sea Of Wires

From ‘Individually Screened’ Cassette - 1980. I don’t know much about it, but we listen to this collection a bunch when looking for inspiring 80s music.

13:40 - 5XOD - Rattlesnake

From 'Befor The Beginning We Were Living’ Cassette in 1982. Five Times Of Dust, was their full name, aka Mark Phillips and Robert Lawrence. They were super prolific, and pretty uncompromising in the best possible way.

15:40 - The Dadacomputer - Automation

From ‘The Dadacomputer ’ Cassette - 1981. This is by the same duo as the last track, but under a different name… and a bit more punk.

18:20 - Caroline K - Don’t Believe It’s Over

BLEEP cited Caroline K as a reference point when reviewing Penelope’s first solo album, which was exciting to see that they got that. Her album, ‘Now Wait for Last Year’ from 1987 is amazing, and probably better than this song, but it was a vinyl release, and ‘Don’t Believe It’s Over’ was on a lost demo tape from 1983, released recently by Mannequin records.

21:12 - Sympathy Nervous - Polyester 35 Micron

From ‘Polaroid’ Cassette - 1980. Sympathy Nervous Yosihumi Niinuma  from Tokyo. I don’t know if I discovered this through a blog of from Minimal Wave releasing his music, but either way, it’s a really great track.

23:20 - Third Door From The Left - Live 002  ( from ‘Live 001 / Live 002’ Cassette 1982)

A live recording by a duo who sound a bit like Throbbing Gristle. I feel like this is how all first performances should feel. gritty. imperfect. but with vibes.

27:12 - Cabaret Voltaire - Oh Roger (from ‘Attic Tapes Three 1978 - Mute reissue)

One of the first vinyl records i ever bought was ‘Mix Up’ by Cabaret Voltaire. Quick slapback delay in drum hits are something i do all the time in The Golden Filter tracks because it fondly reminds me of CV. This is from a release of old Cabaret Voltaire tapes on Mute.

30:30 - Roberta Eklund - Obsession (from ‘The Heterodox Conclusion’ Cassette - 1986)

Amazing track by poet, artist, pianist, Roberta Eklund. She has a really great collection of work all on cassettes released in the 80s.  Love this song the most.

34:10 - Clock DVA - Oedipus (from ‘tape 1’ Cassette 1978)

My brother had the ‘Breakdown’ 7inch when i was growing up.  I kind of liked it, but thought it was overproduced… I think i would have really loved Clock DVA if they stayed more like this.

38:01 - Tom Ellard - Blame (from ‘80s Cheesecake’ Cassette - 1982)

Tom Ellard from Severed Heads’ solo work. This is a really great dance track with tape loop edits…  probably sampled from somewhere as you can hear the loop isn’t perfect… but pure charm.

40:40 - Claire Thomas And Susan Vezey - Reprint 1 (from ‘Reprint’ Cassette 1980)

I discovered this tape a couple years ago and I didn’t really know this until last week, but this is apparently by an artist named Phillip Sanderson, and not two women. The disguise probably wouldn’t make sense today, but misinformation in underground music in the 80s always makes for an interesting listen. The music is great either way.

41:51 - Andie Oppenheimer - Subterranean Desire (from ‘New Mexico’ Cassette 1982)

This is Nuclear Researcher, Andie Oppenheimer … he was in a band called Oppenheimer Analysis… which has had reissues on Minimal Wave… which is how I know about it. Really amazing synthpop production for 1982!

46:00 - The Nocturnal Emissions - Untitled (from ‘Deathday’ cassette - 1981)

Recorded live.. Noisy, but really good . I wish there was still a market for gritty live experimental electronic improvisational releases.

47:30 - Solid Space - Contemplation (from ‘Space Museum’ Cassette - 1982)

This has been reissued on Dark Entries in 2017, but i had these mp3s about a year before that… really great British synth pop that probably should have been huge in 82.

50:41 - Ian Boddy - Surface Touches (from ‘Elements Of Chance’  Cassette - 1981)

Proggy ambient synth work. Really Really nice…

54:25 - Soft Cell - Occupational Hazard (from ‘The Bedsit Tapes’  1978 - Some Bizarre reissue)

Tainted Love was huge all over the world. Even in Pennsylvania. when i heard Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret i just really wanted to know how to get those snare drums (Really!). Such a good thwack. Anyway. I picked ‘Occupational Hazard’ cause it starts pretty much the same way that our tracks End Of Times, and Electric Light start. Obviously they were first. Massive influence for us both. Brilliant duo.  

57:51 Suicide - Dreams (from ‘1/2 Alive’ Cassette - 1981)

I own this tape from R.O.I.R. … I think I bought it because of their name (or maybe ROIR’s description) when i was in elementary school and have been a mega fan ever since. Thankfully, I caught them live 2 times… once in NYC in 2007, and once at the Barbican for one of their last shows ever. Punks in the truest sense..
Synth of the Month:
Korg Mono/Poly

The Korg Mono/Poly (MP-4) is a 44 key "mono-polyphonic" analog synthesizer manufactured by Korg from 1981 to 1984. This keyboard is the sister synthesizer to the Korg Polysix. It has four highly stable voltage-controlled oscillators (VCOs), a 4-pole, self-oscillating low pass filter (LPF), several modulation capabilities and pseudo-polyphony (paraphony).

Notable users are Johnny Jewel, MGMT and Erasure’s Vince Clarke. "It's like playing four cheap synthesizers at once” was Clarke’s observation of playing it.

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AZARI

Still Hungry for the Power


This month I am very excited to have Dinamo Azari take over the controls of my synth spaceship. I’ve been a huge fan of his productions since the Canadian house music legend teamed up with co-producer Alixander III back at the end of the noughties.

Azari and Alixander met at a karaoke bar while "dancing to Donna Summer". By 2008, they formed Azari & III but it wasn't until 2009 that their first single "Hungry for the Power" was released, followed by "Reckless (With Your Love)", which drew the attention of Tiga.

They released their self-titled debut album in 2011 and it produced hits like "Hungry for the Power" and "Reckless (With Your Love)”. Sadly they broke up in late 2013, just as they were polishing off the sequel.

For the last five years, Dinamo Azari has been forging a solo career, which has included the album Estranged a grittier, tougher take on the retro-tinged house music he made in the past. He’s also set up his own label called Model Future and recently released a remix EP for his track M-Body.

For this mix, AZARI is tweaking some of his most influential and sacred tracks. “! I used a lot of effects processing and wanted to let the tracks breathe while also bringing them new life.”