With the exception of black metal and first wave dungeon synth, both of which were at their best during the 90’s, the 1980’s represent the pinnacle of popular music. After the hairy people of the 60’s and 70’s had come down from their various narcotic substances and political delusions, cocaine and the mass availability of the synthesizer put music temporarily back on track. Few genres today pay proper tribute to this magnificent era of Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love”, The Terminator and high cut jeans. Synthwave, despite its occasional forays into 1990’s sound and culture, is one of the proud few that do.
Fixions’ Genocity announces its musical affiliation boldly, with an extremely typical pink/blue cover and logo. There is no reason to object to this – synthwave is almost always great, and to add undue originality to the mix can do little except dilute the cocktail. From the second the opening track “Crimeware” begins it’s awesomely obvious that no such dilution has taken place. This is synthwave, darker such, pure and proper, with all the nostalgia, wet synthesizers and driving, machine drum beats you could possibly ask for. There’s more than a hint of the 1990’s, but the sentiments conjured are pure mid-to-late 80’s.
When comparing to other recent synthwave acts, like the Hungarian project Lazerpunk, Genocity has less chiptune influences, though there are certainly many melodies which would fit in all sorts of classic video games. The original Castlevania series for the NES, as well as numerous 2D Run and guns, could certainly make use of some of Fixions’ magic tonal arrangements, though said arrangements would have to be crushed a bit or eight first. “Black Chrome Riot” brings 90’s hardcore gabber techno into the mix, through use of a melody eerily similar to the signature circus music of Vanugenth The 5th’s “Pussycat” off of Thunderdome 8. A similar vibe can be found in “Terrorwave”, though it takes it one step further into horror/slasher soundtrack territory (musically, that is, the voice samples seem to concern some other topic).
The most obvious use for this music would have been in movies, though. Almost every track could be used to open some slightly darker, classic action or thriller flick from the last two decades of the former millennium, even if some of the synth sounds have a slightly more contemporary vibe. If I must mention just one movie which would work very well with this album, it would have to be Ridley Scott’s Black Rain (1989).
The album concept seems quite developed, with a post-apocalyptic future providing a fine example of high quality world building. Implants, the awaited coming of the “Rust Oracle”, corporate totalitarianism – staples of the future once imagined in jest by the mighty 80’s ancestors of Fixions. All in all, this is a well-rounded, solid dark/synthwave album, which you really can just keep listening to indefinitely without tiring.
For just under 8 bucks, a beautiful digital download of this album can be had.