I have become quite addicted to synthwave over the last several months. After becoming immersed in the Netflix series Stranger Things and the soundtrack by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein of Austin, Texas quartet S U R V I V E, I interviewed the duo last fall for the Observer. Through our chat and recommendations via Spotify, I delved deep into the synthwave / retro wave / retro electro movement that has been steadily building over the last five or six years. This keyboard-driven subculture — inspired by mainly by ’80s electronic music, video games, and films — has produced some fantastic music by the likes of Gunship, Dynatron, FM-84, and dozens of other artists.
Now I’d like to expose A.D.D. readers to great synthwave sounds with a weekly selection. For this last week of July, the spotlight is on “In The Face Of Evil” by Magic Sword, which was used in the new Thor: Ragnarok movie trailer (and has racked up 1.7 million plays on Spotify). This tune could have fit into various ’80s sci-fi and fantasy flicks and almost feels as if it was composed for the Marvel movie itself. The mysterious trio that created it hides their identities behind cloaks and masks. They have released music since 2013, had two songs included in the Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number video game, and performed throughout the U.S. over the last year and a half. Now they are getting wider exposure via a remixed version in the Thor trailer that generated a strong buzz at San Diego Comic Con last week.
It’s great to see (and hear) synthwave getting more attention. It certainly makes great music for videos games, TV shows, and movies, and the ’80s kid in me relishes it. Check out Magic Sword on Spotify, YouTube, and their site. (Their comic books are online too.) Here is the Thor: Ragnarok trailer as well as a Magic Sword live performance captured last year. I’m looking forward to more music from Magic Sword members The Keeper of the Magic Sword, The Seer of All Truths, and The Weaver of all Hearts and Souls created in their studio on the Shores Of Oblivion. (Okay, Boise, Idaho.)