Man from Space asks you: "Is this 80s enough?"

New track, as 80’s as I could make it. I keep working to finetune the details of the arrangement and the mix, but the main question I need answers for is quite simple, actually: Is this 80’s enough?

Great track again BTW :wink:

To try to answer your specific question : the Linndrum type of sounds & most of the synths sounds and especially the one playing at 2:35 are definitely sounding 80’s to me. I’m perhaps less sure about the white noise used in transitions & the violin used during the break as well as some choirs/vocals.

You could perhaps expect some Juno or Solina type of violins in a typical 80’s track, many sounds where also coming from the popular Yamaha DX7 or the different models of the E-mu Emulator at the time. This violin sounds more orchestral than this to me, though the E-mu Emulator was quite good as this as well.

Also the way this violin is played here ( a little bit staccato or with a notion of rhythm anyway, not good at music theory terms, LOL ) is different from a 80’s classic track for me, many tracks were based on long, sustained notes & chords for synths & even some kind of guitar sounds.

I think that’s always the issue when trying to make a track in this genre, if you don’t want to take a risk to fall in “pseudo 80’s synthwave” or “Pop-wave”, then the best way is to just use sounds very close to the originals, enhancing the track with sounds that our ears & brains can’t refer to as “authentic” ( for those old enough at least, LOL ) will jump out right off the track and people go : “ah wait, it’s a modern recreation, not a classic 80 track” I think.

The rest is about tempo & arrangement, you can have the right sounds but use a different progression or tempo and the track will possibly fall in the “Pop-wave” or “Retro-wave” register. That’s the all difficulty when creating tracks from scratch in this genre IMO.

For classic sounds references, this guy is amazing in his live performances & he’s just using hardware.
On live shows he mainly playback good-old golden classics but he has released album and original music synthwave music too ( search for his “Perplexagon” series ) You can check his YT channel here :

And an interesting Ted’s talk here too : Analog music in a digital world | Sebastian "Kebu" Teir | TEDxVasa - YouTube

Thanks! Never thought of the strings that way. I just loooooove the strings I used (British Drama Toolkit by Spitfire Audio) and I didn’t consider the Solina. Unfortunately, I don’t have any Solina emulation, I just have a sampled Mellotron, which I’m bored of because it has been overused and abused, but I can try to emulate Korg Delta strings (Synthmaster One includes Korg Delta waveshapes, I can try that way) and see what happens.

Wow, and the guy you recommended sounds 200% classic. Perplexagon part 3 just went straight to my Synth/retrowave playlist.

Again, thanks for taking the time to give such a detailed response.

I think I owe you a couple :beers::beers::beers:.

1 Like

Hahaha :wink: :smile: be careful with that kind of proposal, I’m not afraid of a few pints ! :smile:

Hope you’re doing all good BTW and that you can stay home & safe, it’s really mental what’s going on right now. Might not be the best time to give sound design classes at school, hope they allowed you to work remotely.

Take care !

Edit : Oh BTW, talking about violins & classics sounds, Arturia is having a good deal on their V7 collection right now, a 50% off I believe. There’s a Solina & very great synths in this one. But if you decide to buy it just don’t tell your spouse that it’s the fault of that guy from S.A forums who’s always pushing you to buy plugins ! :smile: :smile:

Oh, I forgot to explain this, that is an “ostinato”. Ostinato is a repeating phrase. As the phrase is built of short notes, I used the “short ostinato” setting, which is built to play several notes in sequence (I used Spitfire Audio Originals Strings for this one, as British Drama Toolkit has no short articulations for strings).

EDIT: oh, I tried your suggestion. I replaced the “British drama” strings in the background by a vintage synth string sound (Hillman by Klevgrand). That part of the song seems to make more sense now. Replacing the ostinato, on the other side, didn’t work as expected, I wasn’t able to design a fitting sound.

1 Like

Thanks for the explanation on the “Ostinato”.

Well, that was a very subjective part of my comment, it might work & sounds great for many others keeping the ostinato, especially if you favor the synth sound during this break & keep those violins as complementary background elements.

Have you already send some tracks for the weekly YT Live Stream either for “Demo-Doctor” or “Fix my Mix” BTW ?

I sent “Call the Bluff” about a month ago, I don’t remember the exact episode it was aired in. I’m sending this one right now.

1 Like

Sweet. Sounds very retrowave to me. To nitpick, in a few occasions at the first beat of the new bar there is a overly sharp hihat sound. E.g. around 01:04, 01:14, 01:25 and 01:46.

Sorry, I forgot to reply. I think this is not an issue in the vocal version of this track. This one is a bit abandoned, I should check. Thanks!