Synth

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The Human League vs Thomas Dolby vs OMD vs Depeche Mode

Poll ended at 27 Jun 2018, 11:25

The Human League
10
38%
Thomas Dolby
3
12%
OMD
5
19%
Depeche Mode
8
31%
 
Total votes: 26

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Fonz
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Synth

Postby Fonz » 20 Jun 2018, 11:25

What do you reckon, yo?

I'm curious, not out of a sense of mischief, but because I read Dolby's autobiog last week and found it fascinating. I'm not really into that eighties synth thing, but I intend to listen to a bit 'with fresh ears'.

So, tell me what you think about these, and other synth artists of the time.

What was groundbreaking?

Tell me about the synths.
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Re: Synth

Postby Eddie Shah environment » 20 Jun 2018, 12:06

I'm just wondering why I dislike so much DM stuff, but have a lot of time for the Human League....

but maybe that's not so much to do with the synths...


I remember playing JD's 'Isolation' in the office a few years ago and this American dude was absolutely appalled by the synths honking away in the thing. So much so that he wouldn't stop going on about it. Finally I switched it off. But they are bold, even intrusive, aren't they? like a pisstake, almost.

Maybe they're better used unashamedly. Blast them out. Like Bowie's 'Speed of Life'. That's a killer song and it's all about those screeching synths.
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Re: Synth

Postby Fonz » 20 Jun 2018, 13:46

I never liked the synths on JD stuff. They were pretty raw, but not in a good way, and I reckon the effect was to make a couple of those songs almost unlistenable.

Gary Numan seemed to know what he was doing. Another artist I need to explore more from.
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Re: Synth

Postby Rayge » 20 Jun 2018, 14:15

I voted the League and Dolby, because OMD are too cardigans for me, and DM too much Dave from Basildon (although I liked the Vince Clarke material). Others I like include the Passage, Flying Lizards, Robert Rental, Thomas Leer, Daniel Miller (The Normal), Fad Gadget, Yazoo – it's actually a pretty long list...
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Re: Synth

Postby Fonz » 20 Jun 2018, 14:25

Can anyone recommend a multidisk comp of this sort of thing. Ideally something totally synth orientated, so no Elvis Costello or other late seventies/ early eighties new wave...?
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Re: Synth

Postby Kinkhurt » 20 Jun 2018, 15:03

Image

John Fox - Metamatic, get this. As a kid, this and Metal Box were the 2 left-field albums that held my attention. Its been remastered recently with a shed load of extras. Its a bleak sounding record and reflects the times, I mentally tie it to CND marches and inner city riots. If you want a reference, its a darker version of Tubeway Army.
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Re: Synth

Postby Sneelock » 20 Jun 2018, 16:22

I vote Dolby. I find that other stuff altogether too bloodless. (DM slightly less so)
it ain't bad but it just strikes me as music made for Air Freshener commercials.
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Re: Synth

Postby Darkness_Fish » 20 Jun 2018, 16:40

I absolutely love late 70s/early 80s synth, some of my favourite music ever was recorded during this time. I'm not sure on comps, especially not particularly mainstream ones, but I love the fairly recently re-released B9 BIS:



If you have to go British, Robert Rental & Thomas Leer's The Bridge is an absolute favourite, and you can't go wrong with a spot of Fad Gadget. Normally massively overlooked in the field of synth-pop, more noted for their later psychedelia, I think that the Legendary Pink Dots early stuff is some of the finest synth-pop ever recorded, Edward Ka-Spel is such a gifted lyricist and songwriter. In fact, I'm going to have to return to this later when I've got more time, because I'm going to piss off home now.

This is slightly muffled, but includes the greatest wordplay known to man:
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Re: Synth

Postby sloopjohnc » 20 Jun 2018, 17:12

Although they weren't mentioned, I think Heaven 17 were the most adventurous with synths. Maybe Soft Cell too.

The rest used them for very tuneful pop songs, but they didn't really go out on a limb, did they?

OMD a little, maybe.

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Re: Synth

Postby Eddie Shah environment » 20 Jun 2018, 17:39

I like synths when they sound like synths, and there's real drums hammering away behind them.

Like this:



there's still a strong feeling that they're trying for something entirely new
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Re: Synth

Postby Moleskin » 20 Jun 2018, 19:30

Fonz wrote:I never liked the synths on JD stuff. They were pretty raw, but not in a good way, and I reckon the effect was to make a couple of those songs almost unlistenable.

Gary Numan seemed to know what he was doing. Another artist I need to explore more from.


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Re: Synth

Postby Dayodead » 20 Jun 2018, 19:33

Early Human League and OMD have some good songs, I've warmed to some mid period DM (When Dave embraced drugs...) and Dolby has some good singles...

play around with some Sparks, Soft Cell/Marc Almond, Pink Industry, Fad Gadget, Cabaret Voltaire and throw some Devo in there for good measure...You'll find some quality releases once you start digging..

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Re: Synth

Postby pcqgod » 20 Jun 2018, 20:11

Human League and OMD about equal for me. Never cared to much for the others. OMD was probably the most artistic in the use of synths.
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Re: Synth

Postby Moleskin » 20 Jun 2018, 20:26

Kinkhurt wrote:Image

John Fox - Metamatic, get this. As a kid, this and Metal Box were the 2 left-field albums that held my attention. Its been remastered recently with a shed load of extras. Its a bleak sounding record and reflects the times, I mentally tie it to CND marches and inner city riots. If you want a reference, its a darker version of Tubeway Army.


Another vote for this one.
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Re: Synth

Postby Positive Passion » 20 Jun 2018, 20:47

I love OMD. They are great live.
I like the Human League's hits.
I love the first Heaven 17 album.
Don't like much DM, but Personal Jesus is fantastic.

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Re: Synth

Postby Darkness_Fish » 20 Jun 2018, 21:04

As already mentioned, one of my personal favourites, proper pioneering synth-pop:


Another personal favourite, though Die Krupps later made the most egregious downturn into industrial metal of any major act:

Like fast-moving clouds casting shadows against a hillside, the melody-loop shuddered with a sense of the sublime, the awful unknowable majesty of the world.

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Re: Synth

Postby Darkness_Fish » 20 Jun 2018, 21:10

And if we're taking a cue from the aforementioned & darned jolly good DAF:





Like fast-moving clouds casting shadows against a hillside, the melody-loop shuddered with a sense of the sublime, the awful unknowable majesty of the world.

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Re: Synth

Postby Darkness_Fish » 20 Jun 2018, 21:13

And of course, Eyeless in Gaza weren't always completely synth-based, but they deserve special mention for being one of the few artists to bring an emotional overload into synth-pop:



Like fast-moving clouds casting shadows against a hillside, the melody-loop shuddered with a sense of the sublime, the awful unknowable majesty of the world.

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Re: Synth

Postby Darkness_Fish » 20 Jun 2018, 21:21

And stretching the definition a bit, it should also be mentioned that the US had a few bands who were also doing some pioneering synth sounds, albeit with a bit of guitar thrown in:



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Re: Synth

Postby sloopjohnc » 20 Jun 2018, 21:56

I also like the way Wall of Voodoo blended synths and regular instruments.

The Bay Area has always been kind of at the forefront of dance music. Voice Farm was a synth band from the early days, which I liked a lot.



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