5CD, A Different Drum, 2003
The description ‘a snapshot of the underground Synthpop scene’ may not be completely accurate but it does give a good idea of what this very affordable 5CD compilation is about. Coordinated by Todd Durrant of the American Synthpop label/music store A Different Drum, “State of Synthpop 2003” is the result of an ambitious project in which the efforts of many independent labels, active in the release of Synth-based music, were pooled in an effort to showcase as many representative bands as possible in a single package.
Despite not being exactly noticeable by the mainstream, Synthpop, Electro-pop and related genres have experienced a steady growth over the last few years as the number of people enjoying this kind of music and of bands producing it has increased. With a large increase in the quantity of music being produced, the time spent searching the Internet for bands, music downloads, labels, catalogues, etc can be quite large and eventually disheartening.
This is where this compilation comes in. “State of Synthpop 2003” is a bargain-priced (28USD/Euro!) package of 5 discs featuring the work of 85 bands from over a dozen record labels, with some information about the participating bands (including website addresses and publishing labels).
Naturally, not all the active Synth-based bands are featured in this release (that would be close to impossible…), but a good number of those that can be considered as representative of the underground Synthpop scene (or related to it) are. With such a large number of bands, the diversity of material presented is enormous, ranging from ‘classic’ Synthpop to Electro and Techno-pop, with incursions into Industrial, Trance, Darkwave, from club anthems to tracks ‘for a darkened room’.
There are a few bands that I personally disagree as to their inclusion in this compilation and also some that I feel should be present here (like Beborn Beton , Statemachine or Robert Marlow). However, in view of the monumental work involved and the number of bands present, it is just a minor detail which I easily overlook.
“State of Synthpop 2003” could probably be best described not as a ‘snapshot’ but as a ‘road-map sketch’, saving you a lot of time and headaches in charting your own way through Synthpop-land searching for new music. A definite must-have for Synthpop-fans wishing to widen their musical horizons and for all those who are simply curious about the modern Synthpop scene.
— Miguel de Sousa