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Spacesynth and Friends

It's been a while...

Earlier this week, a member of the Battlezone community posted a video of a project they were working on and I liked the music they had going in the background. I asked what it was and they sent me a YouTube link:

Apparently, this is a new(ish) album from a famous Dutch Spacesynth duo named Rygar whose members originally went by the name Laserdance. I ended up going on a YouTube and Wikipedia binge, listening to a bunch of Spacesynth and Italo Disco stuff on YouTube and found some neat things along the way. I would have been super into it in the late 1980s and early 1990s had I known about it.

One song that caught my attention particularly strongly was "Trip to Wonderland" by Electron, a Finnish Spacesynth duo. Between the very-familiar synth pads, arpeggiation, and a synth lead I know for certain I've heard before, it couldn't sound more like Amiga demo music if it tried:

A lot of their other songs are catchy too, though some feature grammatically-correct but English-is-clearly-not-their-native-language fantasy-themed narration.

The speech-synthesized narration in "Symphony of the Fairies" gives it a weirdly humorous touch. ("Once upon a time there were little fairies who lived deep in the woods. At sunrise they gathered at a special magical place (special magical place)"):

If you can get past the first 30 seconds and its overblown and cringe-inducing narration ("Three Wolf Riders in the night, feared by every creature, hunting in the deep dark woods, nothing can outrun"), "Wolf Riders" is super catchy:

Occasional cheese aside, I ended up downloading all the songs that Electron made available on their website.

The 50-video playlist attached to "Trip to Wonderland" kept me going most of the week and I'm still not completely done with it. A fair bit of it could be mistaken for Amiga music (though a few were actually Amiga music). Spacesynth generally sounds a lot like Amiga demo music, but given its history, it's probably more accurate to say that Amiga demo music sounds like Spacesynth.

One of my more amusing finds along the way was Laserdance's "Dead Star" (from 1992), which I posted at work and described it as the theme song for Dead Star if Dead Star were a European Amiga game from the mid to late 1990s (complete with low-fi "DEAD STAR!" voice sample). I can almost see the tracker patterns rolling past as I listen...

Now I want to make an Amiga-style "demake" of Dead Star...