Welcome to Electronic Playground. In this weekly column, we will cover tech-heavy music that is a large segment of the Alternative/Indie movement of today. In general, these bands do not see the popularity of some "less out there" acts, so do not be discouraged if you haven't heard of them. We will focus on all types of electronic music in a genre that is known for its subcategories.
We are back to our Synthwave ways and there will be no apologizing. In fact, we can't believe we haven't written about Futurecop! sooner, simply due to the number of times "N.A.S.A.," has unsuspectedly creeped its way into the Electronic Playground research playlists. The band concept was created in the mid 2000s by Manzur Iqbal but did not fully realize until Iqbal met Peter Carrol in college in 2007. While the band has released numerous albums since then, Futurecop! initially gained popularity through recognition by fellow musicians including Diplo, Crystal Castles, and College.
From the band's 2008 album, The Unicorn & The Lost City Of Alvograth, "N.A.S.A.," is by far the band's most popular song on Spotify and for good reason. It grabs you like you have heard it dozens of times before, even if you hadn't. This track, even from the intro, is incredibly catchy with its repetitive drum line and backing synth notes, the song slowly builds while continuously gaining volume and momentum. The track is instrumental, but the overt lead synth notes overtop provide the same force that one could expect from vocals (at least to this reviewer). The track is quite cyclical with versions of the main hook continuously repeating with little variations added each time. In the way the title suggests space exploration, this song offers an exploration opportunity as well.
Lost Love - Thunderclaw Remix
We don't feature remixes often, but we figured the remixed version of this track is so good, we decided to run with it. "Lost Love," originally released on the Fairy Tales album, is quite a deep and powerful track that draws comparisons to the heavy brooding sound of GUNSHIP, another fave of ours. Futurecop! worked with DWNTWN and Thunderclaw to create this version of the track. While the vocals aren't often at a place of prominence in this track, they do a great job at supplementing all the powerful synth work going on throughout. If you pay attention to the vocals, the writer discusses leaving the home they've known for someone else. This gives them a feeling of being cut in two, dealing with the needs of their partner but also their own happiness. You can hear and feel the internal struggle happening.
This is another of the band's more popular tracks. From the album, The Movie, "1988 Girls" is an instrumental track that starts with short blasts of synth chords before moving into a looping rhythm section. This rhythm section continues throughout with short interludes pulling out the drum tracks only to bring them back as each melody builds.
Check out Futurecop!, especially if you love Synthwave true to the genre. Once you listen to most of their works as a duo, check out some of the great collaborations with other Synthwave acts. We love instrumentals, but the addition of vocal tracks really push Futurecop!'s work into another dimension while not taking attention from the melodies.