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Synthetic Villains - Obstacle Navigation - Drops 2nd August

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Richard Turner
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 Richard Turner
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Synthetic Villains is the electronic music project of Richard Turner, whose self-titled debut was self-released in March 2020. It received 8/10 from Louder Than War, was a Bandcamp Electronic New & Notable.

For Obstacle Navigation (so named to describe the determination required in life, journeys, and even the process of getting to make the album itself), the aim was to get things more finely honed. The result is 10 tracks in just under 45 minutes made with various drum machines, synths and a collection of electronic percussion augmented by electric and acoustic guitars (processed via violin bows, Ebows, effects pedals) as well as electrified zithers, bass guitar, a GDR transister organ and even an Early Learning Centre keyboard.

Defying easy categorisation, the album is a kind of instrumental synth pop but with an updated emphasis on the beats, plus the addition of an unusual blend of synth strings and bowed guitars on several tracks. Great care has been taken to use textures in new ways. Electronic sounds are layered with more organic sources, radio frequencies are mangled through tape machines, sent into rooms via guitar amps, early 80s analogue and digital keyboards combine with the latest technology. And regardless of the sounds used, at the heart of the album is an unashamed love of riffs, hooks and melodies.

4 of the tracks streaming now:


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