Mixtape Primer: Dark Synthpop Sounds Past and Present

If you head over to Matador Records’ website, you’ll find the new Cold Cave album streaming in its entirety. It’s been on high rotation here at Flavorwire, and we’re particularly loving the strong influence it draws from the darker/harsher end of the 1980s synthpop spectrum – darkwave, coldwave, and other genres with names that sound like they were made up by Hipster Runoff but really, truly, actually do exist. These sounds have been creeping back into music over the last couple of years, coinciding with a resurgence in interest in the original genres. Synthpop got a bad name during the late 1980s, but when it began, it was a hugely exciting genre, taking the DIY philosophy of punk and applying it to newly affordable electronic equipment to create dark, raw electronic sounds. Here’s a C60 of some fine examples of this sound, with the old on Side A and the new on Side B.


Suicide – “Ghost Rider” (2:34)

Perhaps the first band to make synthesizers sound scary, Suicide pre-dated the European synthpop scene by several years, and their unhinged, synth-driven punk certainly had an influence on the development of synthpop…