Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Don't be Afraid by Anoraak (feat. Sally Shapiro)

I've seen a few artists who describe themselves as "dreamwave."  I don't think that that label has quite enough currency to be recognized widely, but on the other hand, it's fairly obvious what it means—"new wave" music in the US later 80s sense of what otherwise might be called "synthpop" music that has a dreamy tone or mood; sometimes more downtempo (but not necessarily) and much of it has a kind of ethereal wispiness or fragility to it.  Most of the guys I know who use the label come out of the lighter, dreamier side of synthwave (as opposed to the action video game soundtrack darker approach) and a lot of the work of artists like Electric Youth, Timecop1983, Futurecop!, College or Anoraak, etc.

Of course, I already really liked a few songs and artists who don't necessarily come from the synthwave tradition per se, but which also trade in this same vibe.  A lot of the work of Book of Love or Marsheaux certainly fits, for example.

I decided to create a playlist on my phone that I call "Dreamwave" and I've got a first pass at it of about 90+ songs, although it'll probably see some pruning, and then some stuff that I've missed will get added.  I like some of the instrumental music from the synthwave movement, but the pop songs of the synthwave movement are usually my favorites, as you can probably tell by what I've chosen to highlight here so far.  My own Dreamwave playlist doesn't worry too much about pedantic genre purity; I actually think at some point that becomes much more of a bug than a feature.  So, I've got stuff as diverse as Chris and Cosey ("October Love Song"), a bunch of Marsheaux (although I've focused on their "softer" songs; so while the Fotonovela remix of "Breakthrough" is one of my favorite Marsheaux songs, it doesn't really fit, whereas "Destroy Me" is the epitome of what I'm looking for) and a bunch of synthwave.

Speaking of lack of genre purity, I've seen a number of folks who have decided that if a synthwave artist, like Silent Gloves or Lost Years remixes a synthpop song, then it becomes a de facto synthwave song.  Again; I don't really have an opinion on it; since I like synthpop and synthwave, and can't really tell for sure where the line is between them on synthwave that has a vocalist, I don't see any point in trying to arbitrarily draw a line between the two anyway.  Maybe I'll get some of that stuff going here soon as well...

But for today, here's one of my favorite recent discoveries.  I've seen the same song credited differently depending on who's album it appears on, and it appears on albums by both Anoraak and Sally Shapiro (where it's presented as a song by the artist who's album it is, featuring the other artist.)  I don't know which one has precedence, so I'm just going with how I saw it first; an Anoraak song featuring Sally Shapiro.  Anoraak is an odd name, but the guy's a French house musician (as are many of the founders of the synthwave scene) with the real name of Frédéric Rivière.  My first thought on seeing a picture of Sally Shapiro was; "she doesn't look very Jewish" which turned out to be true; she's not.  In fact, nobody knows what her real name is, and it's just a pen name for both her and her partner; they're two Swedish electronic musicians.  (She does look Swedish, on the other hand...)

Lost Years does the remix of this particular version; another Swedish synthwave group, that did some of the music for the Swedish homage to the 80s, Kung Fury (along with also Swedish Mitch Murder.)  Seems like the Swedes are well represented here.

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