It was a combination of happy accidents that led to my discovering Rosso Corsa Records, a small, independent label that specializes in super 80s-esque synth music that would totally rock my nuts off if I did indeed have any nuts to be rocked off. More precisely, they specialize in something called “outrun electro” (a genre they coined), dreamwave, and chillwave of the 1980s persuasion. If you liked the music in Drive, you already have a good idea of what to expect here.
First there was the incident where I was attempting to queue up “Crockett’s Theme” from Miami Vice in Spotify (you know you love it too, shut up) and accidentally clicked the auto-suggested best match of an artist by the name of Miami Nights 1984, who I decided to listen to based on the sheer awesomeness of that name alone. I immediately loved what I heard, so I starred the artist for later listening. A few weeks go by and then a video teaser for a new comic book called Skull and Shark pops up in my feed, via Kotaku of all places, who had the good sense to include the name of the artist who contributed the totally rad music. It was an artist called Lazerhawk. Freaking LAZERHAWK, you guys! I wanted to find out more. No, I needed to find out more. My Awesome 80s Music Sense was tingling.
What it feels like when this happens:
The similarities between Lazerhawk and Miami Nights 1984 were immediately clear–that is, totally synthy and 80s-tastic! I began to wonder if I had stumbled upon some underground revival movement for this style of music, and as it turns out, I kinda did. A little bit of research led me to the aforementioned Rosso Corsa Records who specialize in exactly this kind of 80s-infused, throwback electronica, and I wasn’t at all surprised to learn that both of these artists are on the Rosso Corsa label, or rather, I should say they are the label. And now we’ve come full circle.
I’d like to give you a little taste of each of the artists on the Rosso Corsa Records label so you can experience the awesome for yourself–you can thank me later. I’m also going to post some of their album art because it’s every bit as awesome as the music itself, and because you know how I have a thing for cool album art.
So for pretty much the past week straight I’ve been listening to Lazerhawk during my daily commute. It is perfect driving music, especially at night on those winding, deserted back roads through the woods I take between here and my new office. It makes everything feel intense, but in a good way. I just wish I could be driving KITT to get the full effect.
“Electric Groove” – Lazerhawk
A founding member of Rosso Corsa, Lazerhawk is Garrett Hays from Austin, Texas, USA. His outrun electro is robot pop mixed with dark synths and the occasional lyric. Two years ago I described him as reminiscent of everything that was good in the 80’s: synthesizer jams with gargantuan leads, hard toms, spaced-out melody and the pains of being pure at heart. Since then he has experimented with chill wave and disco, but with a fundamental link to the 80s.
Miami Nights 1984
This is where my adventure down the rabbit hole started; as I said above, I was looking for Miami Vice music and accidentally listened to Miami Nights 1984 instead. It’s shaping up to be the best mistake of my music-listening life. I had a hard time choosing WHICH awesome MN84 song to share. I could have picked any of them, really. I recommend putting on your white Armani-style jacket while giving this a listen:
“Tiger 42” – Miami Nights 1984
Miami Nights 1984 is Michael Glover from Victoria, BC, Canada. His obsession with the 1980s has led to the founding of Rosso Corsa Records and a revival of synthesizer music. With Rosso Corsa he is championing many artists such as Mitch Murder, Lazerhawk, Jordan F and Lost years to make 1980s-inspired music with modern fidelity.
I haven’t yet had a chance to listen to everything by Mitch Murder, but believe me, it’s on my to-do list. The few tracks I’ve listened to in full, like this one here, are simply fantastic.
“Frantic Aerobics” – Mitch Murder
Mitch Murder is Johan Bengtsson from Stockholm, Sweden. His new wave styles and smooth production are somewhat of a rarity these days and that’s why he’s a large part of Rosso Corsa.Back in 2008 we heard a couple Mitch Murder tracks on myspace and were blown away by the clean pads, complex bass lines and clever chord progressions. Since then we have been blessed with two Mitch Murder albums here at Rosso Corsa: Burning Chrome from August, 2010 and Current Events from November 2011.
Anything that sounds like it could be on the soundtrack to Beyond the Black Rainbow gets a wholehearted thumbs-up from me.
Today we have the distinct pleasure to introduce Lost Years to the Rosso Corsa family and announce the worldwide release of their first EP: Nuclear. Three tracks wide, the new EP is a post-Terminator epic inspired by John F Kennedy’s “common enemies of man” inauguration speech. The 1980s run deep in the EP and it’s a new extension of our own Outrun Electro.
I couldn’t find much information about this artist, but he has released a couple of individual tracks and EPs through Rosso Corsa. Here’s his Facebook page and Bandcamp page. The little I’ve heard so far is aces; I’d love to hear more.
“Last Night” – Jordan F
HOLY SHIT THIS IS AWESOME MUSIC!
I know, right!? If you want to hear more, I thoroughly recommend you browse through Rosso Corsa’s music blog, which contains tons of great music and videos from every artist affiliated with them, as well as links to works by similar artists they recommend. It’s like one big 80’s music orgy over there. If you have Spotify, you can also subscribe or listen to this Rosso Corsa playlist I’ve gone through the trouble of compiling. (Again, you’re welcome!) I’ll continue to add more stuff to it as my discoveries unfold, but for now, it already contains over 7 hours’ worth of some of the best goddamn 80s synth music you’ve never heard.