We might not talk about it much on this here blog, but we do have a predilection for that most toothsome of 80s indebted genres, Outrun Electro. While Drive did a lot for the dreamy synthwave end of auto-fixated nostalgia (we guarantee the soundtrack to the film is playing in a “hip” coffee shop in your town right now), there’s plenty of stuff which cleaves closer to our end of things. For this mixtape (our first in a donkey’s age, good gravy) we’ve flagged a baker’s half-dozen Outrun tracks that have at least a hint of dark aggression to them, while still staying right in the hot zone of tunes you’d want blazing in your ears were you to ever own the gull-winged whip of your dreams. Special thanks to ID:UD adjunct editorialist at large and dedicated Outrun enthusiast Matt Pathogen for doing a fair bit of the heavy lifting on this tape! Download from here, or stream from the widget below!
Perturbator, “I Am the Night”
John Carpenter’s great, stripped-down horror soundtracks and their muted analog synths dripping with menace are one of the
influences on Outrun we feel doesn’t get enough attention. Perturbator’s I Am the Night captures that brooding, ominous influence extremely well: it ain’t all Testarossas and laser guns.
Le Matos, “Montrose”
Everyone’s all up on Kavinsky as the standard bearer for Outrun, but if we are ever asked to choose an act that stands as evidence that it’s a genre with weight, it’s going to be Montreal’s Le Matos. Their track “Montrose” from their debut Join Us is slickly produced, catchy and danceable, and not bogged down with the kitsch that sometimes hinders the genre, while staying true to it.
Lazerhawk, “The King of the Streets”
One of our favorite subsets of Outrun is the kind that sounds like it’s from the intro sequence for an ‘80s Action News helicopter montage. Lazerhawk is fantastic at this turn, and even if he’s recently spread his influences far wider with his latest album Skull and Shark, we’d be hard pressed to think of a more bitchin’ “driving fast while ninjas on motorcycles chase you” song than this.
Crimes at Midnight, “4 AM Sunrise”
Released on Cervello Elettronico’s SquareWav label a year or so back this one off single should serve as a nice bridge between some of the stuff we usually cover on the site and the Rosso Corso set. Bonus points for Patrick Nagel referencing artwork and hella 80s cyberpunk sounding samples that slip and slide around the swelling bass and pads.
Power Glove, “Streets of 2043”
It’s a little weird to think about it, but Power Glove (no Graupner y’all) might have been heard incidentally more times than 99% of the bands we talk about here on ID:UD. The Australian act’s soundtrack to Far Cry 3 80’s action spin-off Blood Dragon proved to be a huge part of that title’s popularity. Check the video game samples (do we hear Streets of Rage?) that permeate this snappy number.
Los Angeles and Miami may be in a dead heat for the title of Spiritual Home of Outrun, but if LA’s Vogel has anything to say about it, it’ll be the city of Angels that comes out on top. With a pay what you want (for a limited time!) EP just released and some recent remix work for Aesthetic Perfection, Robert Vogel is hard reppin’ the slick dystopian end of the genre.
Nightcrawler, “Broken Dreams”
One of the acts quietly sneaking to the top of the pack, Nightcrawler has infused his take on the genre with dread since day one, with his
first album Bassferatu being an unmistakeable homage to old Argento classics. “Broken Dreams”, included in his newest Metropolis, makes a turn towards the mournful, presenting a ballad rife with feelings of sorrow and loss, far away from the bubblegum spaceship conventions.