Now electro is a genre I find fascination, as its involved with the synthwave scene. Artists like Lazerhawk, Miami Nights 1984, Perturbator, they use the electro style really with incorporating the 80’s style into it. And then there’s the master of retro electro himself, VHS Dreams. George Dervenagas is the man behind the mask here, and he’s no stranger to funky music. Having an EP, many singles, and a vaporwave side project entitled Home Visions™. George’s debut album released back in August 2015, entitled “TRANS AM”. It was a successful album, receiving two vinyl-style cd’s and a cassette run. The album was remastered and formatted quite recently, and as the one-year anniversary of its release draws closer, now is the time to take a look at this parallel universe of music.
“Vice Point” is the first track on the album, and already you feel that funky sound. It’s rhythm is unquestionably soaked in modern house and EDM elements, rich with that 80’s coating, giving it the retro electro taste we all so love. It’s the beginning of a brilliantly made dance album with heavy emphasis on that 80’s retrowave sound mixed with a trance-like feeling. “Miami 2k15” adds on to the previous song by making it sound like a song at a spring break party or even an underground club circa 1994. It sounds really amazing and bouncy, I thought I felt my entire house shaking when I was listening. I felt like sliding around my house on socks and moving my shoulders and arms around like crazy, if I’m honest.
“Highway Lovers” is the third track on the album, and this time its just plain old retrowave, and there’s nothing wrong with that. This sounds like something from old action movies like Die Hard or even obscure stuff like The Exterminator. It still incorporates the same funky fresh sound of the previous songs, and is undeniably cool to jam out to. “R.E.D.M.”, the fourth song, makes this entire album worth listening to. It’s house settings, its sweet silky 80s vibes, its not just a head-bobber, its a headbanger. It’s a true dance song in late 2015, and now it sounds so much better in mid-2016. This has to be my favorite song on the album, and it’ll be staying on my playlist every day I live. “TRANS AM” marks the halfway point, and returns to the retrowave/outrun format from earlier songs, and yet still has those modern EDM feelings mixed in, but not as important, instead helping set the mood for a love story, intertwined with car chases, cyber police, and of course, alien chicks. It’s a space love adventure, if I say so myself.
“Discorecord” is track number six, and we get right back into the funk of it all. It’s a groove-a-thon, you just can’t stop moving listening to this beast of a song, quite an extravagant dance song. I see a bunch of flashing lights, a video of a vinyl record spinning around, the artist’s logo on the record, and it changes colors slowly with every beat, its definitely modern house material. “Shanglin 2k15 (vs Alpharisc)” is an unusual song, if I must say. It’s essentially a mashup version of “Miami 2k15” by VHS Dreams and “Shanglin” by Alpharisc, two amazing synthwave legends who use their electro styles to create amazing retrowave tracks and released that are sure to treasure. Seeing their coolest tracks combine into a musical force to be reckoned with is something special to hold. It’s beautiful, in fact.
“Nightdrive” is the eighth track following the mashup of a lifetime, and gets right back to the slick synthwave style from earlier songs, and this was the one single I never stopped listening to. Maniac Synth had this uploaded on his channel, and I remember the views going up constantly, I was there right alongside thousands who were listening to this incredible song. It’s still funky, still a song I’d drive to, and a song that gets me excited. “Ocean Heights” is the second-to-last song, and features a synthwave mainstay artist named SATORI IN BED. The song itself is still a funky song, with more of a soft and slow/sensual side to it, like a penthouse suite above the city of Miami, slow dancing with the girl you just met. It was her idea for the music, you didn’t care. As long as you could move in time with her. “A.M. Eternal (Outro)” is exactly that, the final song on the album and a fitting end. It’s a journey in music, an ending to a great adventure that never seemed to go anywhere or have meaning except to be an adventure. It doesn’t need to mean anything or have a deep story to be a joyful and bouncy retro electro album. Go check it out on Future 80’s Records. Like, right now. You won’t regret this.