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Various – Messages From The Void Volume 2 review

For those with a penchant for the vintage synthesizer sounds of Italo-disco , cold wave and new wave synthpop, these are exciting times. While Andy Blake’s Dissident label is no longer with us, it’s legacy lives on – not just in the work of a whole raft of fast-rising electronic music producers, but also in the development of synthwave.

This superb compilation from Cyber Dance – subtitled “the new electro/disco sound of London” – offers a neat insight into the retro-futurist stylings of Britain’s tiny but impressive synthwave, electro and Italo scene. It’s as good a snapshot of that scene as you’re likely to find – this year, at least.

Throughout, the sounds are achingly vintage – all late 70s/early 80s flat-pack synths, new wave style and slightly wobbly drum machine beats – but this is more than mere revivalism. There’s a freshness and exuberance to the productions that can’t fail to excite. Perhaps understandably, it’s Brassica and Ali Renault who provide the big-name flourish. Brassica’s “Lydden Circuit” is a chiming robot chorus wrapped up in a chic synthwave finish, while Renault’s “Deep Sea Pumas” is a creaking dancefloor throb that sounds like it was beamed down from the stars.

Yet their are plenty of other stand-outs here from the scene’s lesser-known names – up and coming artists who’ve yet to make their mark on electronic music at large. It’s these contributions that make Messages From The Void Vol 2 so indispensable. Check the slo-mo Italo chug of Martin Aston’s “Mannista”, the back-to-the-future alternative pop of Bill Ambrose’s “Pariah”, and the icy expanse of “Arctic Wolf” by Glaswegians Meschi; all push synth-heavy electronic music in exciting new directions.

Matt Anniss