Volume 1 by Tek will transport anyone born between the late ‘70s and early ’80s back to their childhood. The compilation album with artists such as Phaserland, Pengus and Matthew Kwid feels like it is completely smothered in ‘80s synth soundtracks when it was at its peak. Volume 1 is a fun ride but not the first time we have seen this resurgence happen. The movie Drive had a retro ‘80s soundtrack and the record label Italians Do It Better got people interested in this brief moment of time.
The music on this album feels less like a tip of the hat to ‘80s electronica but that it was actually made back then. It really does have authentic quality that is manifested through the aesthetic choices and tropes, which were established over thirty years ago. On top of that the synths that were used were made in the ‘80s not some virtual instrument that you can pop up in your DAW.
The album starts off with “First Class to Tokyo” which if played at a party you could guarantee at least a couple of people would break out the infamous robot dance. It’s surprisingly tranquil in some ways yet dance worthy. The dichotomy is a pleasant deviation to where most mainstream dance songs in 2015 sound like they have to be filled with an ongoing intensity that you can’t hide from them.
The good times continue with “Let's Meet Up” which implement 808 style toms and some lead guitar that also manages to utilize a very ‘80s sounding hall reverb. As the album progresses it continues to impress with songs that are well written and feed into the general theme. “Aijou Jazz” does have an elevator music/jazz vibe that works quite well while “Bon Voyage” is upbeat, bright and quite joyful.
The fact that there aren’t any lead vocal parts may be an issue for a marginal minority but I think most people will thoroughly enjoy the ride of Volume 1. It’s the kind of album you can pop in and listen to straight through or if you need a rush of ‘80s nostalgia you can take a quick bump. The attention to detail isn’t only impressive but really essential to what these group of artists pulled off. I think most people in general will enjoy this album but for people in their mid 30’s such as myself it's as close to a flashback to the ‘80s you can have without actually having a time machine.
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