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.
While we are on it, we are going to stick with the synthwave genre and discuss Jordy 'TimeCop1983' Leenaerts, a multi-instrumentalist producer from the Netherlands, who is the genius behind TimeCop1983. Thanks to his start in 2012 and Electronic music fans' fun for creating new subcategories, Leenaerts's music has also been described as "retrowave, dreamwave, and synth-pop." The artist has released five studio albums with another smattering of EP and Singles released during his career. As with other synthwave acts, the music consists of electronic ballads bringing the fun and color of the 80s into the modern world. TimeCop1983 uses the element of romanticism to further reach fans with his music. Unfortunately, the videos and information for TimeCop1983 are mostly submitted by fans so official videos were hard to provide. If one focuses on the music, the intention can still serve its purpose. Fans have described the music as deep and repetitive, but in the best way possible. These tracks are great for reflection and zoning out to the music.
Girl - Featuring SEAWAVES
The first song we are going to discuss is "Girl" featuring SEAWAVES, from the Lovers EP, PART II. The song was utilized in DC's Legends of Tomorrow television show and has gained a bit of fandom from the reach of the comic book series. This track tells the convoluted tale of a boy and a girl who are on the lamb, trying to stay out of sight and focus more on their burgeoning relationship. The anarchy of the run leaves the protagonist feeling a sense of freedom that ordinary would not allow. To this end, the singer pleads to see where things go while on the run and to utilize the loneliness of being an outlaw to continue to push the woman into his arms. This track is our favorite submission from TimeCop1983 so far and with the mashing of the heavenly vocals with the deep and brooding sound of the music, the track is an attention grabber for sure.
On the Run
The next track to cover is"On the Run" from TimeCop1983's Night Drive album. The song begins with a heavy beat and a stuttering synth (reminiscent of the 80s) carrying on throughout the intro. As the song builds, another synth-laden lead melody comes in with the use of a straight up synthesizer. As the song works into the second minute, the pieces have been pulled together for a wonderfully nostalgic beat, even if we had never heard TimeCop1983 before. Having been around when the original music existed and been a fan ever since, I can tell you that TimeCop1983 is doing what he can to keep the electronic scene thriving. The piece is fully instrumental, but with all of the cross-laden melodies and beats going on in the song, you do not need vocals.
This track begins with a heavy and lingering intro. A repetitive middle melody keeps pace of the track while a synth (sounding as if it were taking over for a horn section) laid pieces over the top. As the song passes the intro, a heavy 80s beat has formed and takes over the track. In fact, as many other synthwave pieces, this song could be featured during the credits section of any sci-fi movie from the 80s. The beat keeps pacing while building throughout, sort of a welcoming experience for the listener, but it mostly feels like a bonus as the track has done so well keeping us interested. We enjoy imagining listening to a song like "Come Back" as we were driving off into the sunset, perhaps the intentions. With no vocals or lyrics to decipher, we are left with out own hypothesis as to the meaning of the song, but we feel we are not far from it already. This is one of those times when you do not need to know the answer to enjoy the journey.
How to Listen:
I would not say TimeCop1983 features the heavy and deep basses of our previous selections, such as GUNSHIP, but the sounds are certainly heavily overladen and intricate. More important, they are incredibly accurate for the time period. Of all the acts we've featured in this column, TimeCop1983 would probably be the most convincing hangover from a previous generation who created this music. Listen with the best speakers you can, but the bass is not overwhelming enough to require large speakers necessarily. In fact, I would suggest listening to TimeCop1983 with a good pair of headphones/ear buds. Over the ear headphones do a great job at separating the intricate parts of the music while allowing you to enjoy diverse sounds found throughout.
Overall, TimeCop1983 is a worthy act when considering other authentic or reputable bands in the sector of music. TimeCop1983 focuses on the nostalgia on music from the 80s, which almost makes acts like GUNSHIP sound modern in comparison. Don't get us wrong, the music is beautifully produced and certainly was mixed well, but Leenaerts seems to focus on the authenticity of the sound rather than using electronic sounds that were not around in the 80s. Enjoy TimeCop1983 for the ambiance and the nostalgia as well as the beautiful melodies. You can find intricate pieces with lyrics and art or you can find simply instrumentals, all of which are performed by Leenaerts unless mentioned otherwise.
Band review: 4/5. There are some times when pure instrumentals do not pull you in, but there is a wealth of diversity in the pieces. The authenticity is great to hear and enjoy, but at times, we felt ourselves wanting a little more. This is another worthy entry in our synthwave artists and we hope you enjoy them too.