Replay Thursdays September 5th - Synth Wave Edition w. DJ Waves

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There’s something so comforting about playing a futuristic themed retro game such as Star Wars pinball…

1977’s gift of the Star Wars franchise was one of the first (and biggest) sightings of the sci-fi/fantasy world in mainstream popular culture. Sure, we had The Jetsons and books by Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, but Star Wars ripped through the screen and the trend of retro-futurism spread through the galaxy. 40+ years after its initial release, the Star Wars Universe is now bigger than ever, reaching new generations of fans through memorabilia, books, Disney films, and games such as Stern’s 2017 release of an updated pinball machine that satisfies the desires of old-school purists and new-age fans (because really, the 1999 Williams released machine with holographic features was trying just a liiittle too hard).

Everything old is new again. Vinyl and cassette sales have skyrocketed, fashion has taken a post-apocalyptic/Mad Max style approach to design (hello, Rick Owens), and Hollywood has given us blockbusters such as “Blade Runner”, "Tron”, “Twin Peaks”, “Drive”, and of course, “Stranger Things”. We’re able to be in the present, and exist straddling time. We capture photos and videos with our cell phones and then add film grain or a VHS filter overtop. We seek time spent in nature and are lured outside by the glow of a digital Pokè Ball. We lust for the snap, crackle & pop of vinyl records while also commanding ALEXA to stream us our party playlist. Society is fascinating. We look to the future and fantasize, while simultaneously holding on to the past; the warm hug of nostalgia enveloping us just as much as the ethereal space-age clouds our minds.

A majority of music today is heavily reminiscent of themes and sounds related to sci-fi/post-apocalyptic/fantasy aesthetics. Grimes looks and sounds as though she’s not of this realm. Kanye West famously dusted off the Roland 808. Chromeo made the vocoder cool again. Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories” album relied on sounds, styles, and production techniques of the late 70’s & 80’s. Even Toronto indie-pop favourites, Alvvays, fetishized the retro-futuristic aesthetic in their music video for “Dreams Tonite” ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXu6q-6JKjA ) . We’re living in the future, dying for the past.

This weeks edition of Replay Arcade is a sonic trip through time that celebrates the retro-futuristic charm that has tinged the world of music. Join DJ Waves for a night of chasing the endless possibilities that the future holds…

“A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…”

Nathan Hunter