It’s 2015! And I’m writing this from my
flying car pocket cyberspace deck. And 80s retro is as much a thing as 50s retro was in 1985. So let’s do some.
I was a teen in the 1980s, but my memories of the music of the era are fringe and fleeting; songs heard in passing the radio, cassette tapes found without context, cryptic references in magazines. But in the last few years, thanks to Youtube, I’ve been digging back thirty years into the music that still resonates with me, that seemed then (and still seems now) to carry a sense of the strange, science-fictional future we felt crashing into us. A future that has now at least partly arrived.
The centre of gravity for me is 1982. Reagan and Thatcher had reignited the Cold War. FM synthesis and 8-bit microcomputers were on the rise. The Space Shuttle had launched and Star Wars was politics as well as art. Keyboards were the new guitars. Between the embers of Disco, the rage of Punk and the art-school alienation of New Wave, a tiny, futuristic sound appeared. By the mid 80s it had faded and stadium rock and rap replaced it. But briefly, in that window of a few years, something magical, alien and crystalline, burned in the neon night.
And because Youtube isn’t the most stable archival platform in the world, and beautiful songs vanish daily, I want to blog some of my rediscoveries, before they’re lost in time forever.
- Boytronic: Red Chips (1983, Germany) 31 October 2015
- Freur: Doot-Doot (1983, Wales) 9 June 2015
- Dollar: Videotheque (1982, England) 5 June 2015
- Tandy Morgan Band: Princeton (1984, England) 8 May 2015
- Nancy Nova: The Force (1981, England/Italy) 5 May 2015
- Modern English: After The Snow (1982, England) 3 March 2015
- Mainframe: Radio (Will Bring Me Home) (England, 1983) 15 February 2015
- XL Capris: World War Three (Australia, 1980) 10 February 2015
- Player One: Space Invaders (Australia, 1979) 1 February 2015
- Daemion: Human Arcade (UK, 1982) 26 January 2015
- Spoons: Nova Heart (Canada, 1982) 25 January 2015
- Quarks: Mechanical (England, 1981) 18 January 2015
- Data: Fallout (England, 1981) 17 January 2015
- Martha and the Muffins: Danseparc (Every Day It’s Tomorrow) (Canada, 1983) 15 January 2015
- Fay Ray: Different Morning (Wales, 1982) 15 January 2015
- Aphrodite’s Child: Rain and Tears (France, 1968) 12 January 2015
- Moments Lost in Time: A Synthpop Retrohistory 12 January 2015