The blog is being migrated and merged with multiple Imphenzia blogs so the format and content will be inconsistent for a while.

Low Poly Universe Spacesynth

Not very long ago, I became aware of the music genre Spacesynth. The genre has been around since the 80s and I just simply didn't know of it. The most likely reason for this is that “back then” I was always interested in making music, but never really interested in listening to it. Strange, I know, but so am I.

Recently I bumped in to an independent musician (in real life.) He, along with a friend, had just released a new album and it so happens to be in the “Spacesynth” genre. I bought the album, I listened to it, and I also wrote a review of “Triumphant Return” by MindXpander.

I really liked the sound, the melodies, the composition, the atmosphere, and everything about the music. I kept referring to it as “mod music” (with parallels to some classic mods like Space Debris by Captain.) I suspect this may have frustrated MindXpander a bit since a lot of the mods aren’t really that good… But what I meant by this comparison is that it contained the same type of cheerful sound that many of the great mods from the 90s did. As it turns out, the Spacesynth genre is older than the mods I referred to and it’s just a case of the mods that I liked being in the spacesynth genre =) Oh well, at least I learned something.

Following this revelation, I searched for some Spacesynth music through Spotify. I found some real gems (such as Polaris Spectrum) and I will again (incorrectly) describe them as sounding like awesome remakes of old mods!

This was about as far as I could go without launching Cubase. A simple spacesynth inspired beat with kick, snares, hihats, and toms… A snappy bass line alternating notes split by an octave… Some cheerful brass chords… The Ayla patch in VanGuard by ReFX with added portamento and vibrato acted as the perfect spacesynth lead… I was on my way composing my first Spacesynth track.

You can listen to the end result here:

Low Poly Universe by Imphenzia

When I formed/created/founded (or whatever you call it) Imphenzia, I started out by making Goa-inspired music. My favorite artist at the time was Astral Projection. Following the release of my debut album, Sector, my music became more mellow and floated towards trance. I also started to make slowed down “chillout” remixes of my so called trance music. Without too much hesitation I even went as far as to make acoustic piano versions of my tracks.

Despite such a variety in genres, I'm not sure whether or not to release this, or any future, Spacesynth tracks under the artist name Imphenzia or if I should use an alternative name... Any suggestions?

Update 2012-03-17

I released it as Imphenzia today after all. The more I thought about it the more it made sense to do so. I've already released a large variety of genres as Imphenzia and I've never really been to bothered what genre a particular track is as long as I like it =)

It would also require a lot of work to create and promote another artist name. It's taken me about 15 years to build up Imphenzia and a single track by an unknown artist might as well be left unreleased.


Triumphant Return by mindXpander

Today I received word that mindXpander, a Swedish spacesynth duo, released an album on 28 January 2012 titled "Triumphant Return."

If you don't know of the spacesynth genre, not to worry. Neither did I until recently. I have, in fact, loved the genre for decades without actually knowing what it was called. I would, probably wrongfully, describe it as a modern take of the best oldschool "mod" music from the golden Amiga era of the 90s. The duo started making music using Pro Tracker on the Atari, so maybe I'm not entirely under water with my comparison. I find it to be a treasure that melodic elements have been kept intact in the music of mindXpander, even 20 years on!

The album contains 7 lengthy tracks (durations range from 05:30 to 07:32) with a nice variety of tunes. Production quality is excellent and the instruments used are crisp and sound very unlike default presets and patches. I have some insider information from David of mindXpander that quite a lot of time is spent creating new awesome sounds using modular synths. Personally I would freak out if a saw a single cable today, but these guys clearly know what they are doing.

One of my favorite tracks on the album is #4, "Hoshi No Koe", as it reminds me very much of a mod tune named "Space Debris" by Captain. Space Debris is a legendary track that got me involved in making music to begin with back in the 90s. Listening to Hoshi No Koe brings me back memories. Great memories. The difference is that now I can enjoy a crisp modern production and the mix sits great in my Sennheiser PXC450 headphones.

Another great track from the album is the first one, "Blue Creatures." I must admit that the initial 13 seconds are a bit "cliché" (synth music with a typical bassline) - but give it a few seconds and the experience quickly turns into a very enjoyable uplifting melodic journey.

The genre is different from the music I make, but you may find melodic similarities as this style has influenced me a lot over the years. Personally I bought Triumphant Return as an MP3/FLAC album on bandcamp before even reaching the midpoint of Blue Creatures. If you like it as much as I do, consider supporting mindXpander by purchasing Triumphant Return and enjoy it offline in very high quality =)

I will also take this opportunity to inform everyone that I'm working on a little surprise Imphenzia project. Keep your eyes and ears open!