Synthwave Sunday: FM Attack’s Remix of Actors’ “Slaves” (Plus: An Announcement on Synthwave Sunday’s Future)
Before we get into FM Attack’s synthwave remix of post-punk outfit Actors’ track “Slaves,” a bit of an administrative note: “Synthwave Sunday” as you know it will cease to exist going forward.
It mostly already has. For the better part of three years, starting in the summer of 2015, I tirelessly catalogued new and exciting synthwave releases (and caught up on some classics, too) nearly every week, fueled by my passion for a burgeoning genre that was just starting to catch fire, mining the depths of Bandcamp and Soundcloud on a continual basis to discover everything the genre had to offer. Eventually I burnt out on that pursuit, in part because one can only go so hard for so long, but also in part because the genre itself started to burn out, too: most newer acts were simply rehashing what the old ones did (with a few exceptions, of course), and most older acts were rehashing themselves. I’d point to recent drastic sonic pivots from Perturbator and GosT as evidence that even synthwave’s very best realized it was time to try something else.
Over the past year there haven’t been many Synthwave Sundays, and there will not be any more. But I do not plan to stop writing about synthwave! And this, too, is a factor in my decision: synthwave’s DNA has become so interwoven with metal’s at this point — and even with the mainstream’s — that it no longer makes sense to relegate it to a sole weekly entry on a low traffic day of the week. So you’ll still see synthwave writeups on MetalSucks, just integrated with our regular, weekday workflow. And the category will still be called “Synthwave Sunday,” because why the fuck not.
That starts today with FM Attack’s remix of Actors’ track “Slaves,” from their 2018 self-titled album. Post-punk and synthwave have always been darling bedfellows, post-punk just one of many ingredients in synthwave’s retro-futuristic nostalgia stew. That much is abundantly clear from a side-by-side comparison of both versions of this song. Thumping, percussive bass, a danceable club beat, a soothing, sultry voice… the only major difference between the remix and the original is the latter’s heavy reliance on layers of cascading keyboards in place of jangly guitars. Actors’ original version of “Slaves” was steamy to begin with, but FM Attack has done a glorious job of gussying it up for the synthwave generation, somehow making it even more infectious and danceable.