The PR blurb for Vector Seven’s latest opus entitled Dark Metropolis, due out on 21 October, tells us that it’s “an innovative cross between cyberpunk and synthwave, a trailblazing pulsating album, that takes you on a ride through the metropolis driven by corrupted syndicates, cybernetic street gangers, and infinite hive wars. It is infinitely dark, filled with possessed pulsating bass lines, intense captivating rhythms, and true cyber dimensional atmosphere. A craft done by a true cyberpunk Maestro. Welcome to the future, welcome to the Dark Metropolis!”
Hmmm, with an intro/fanfare like that, how could you not be impressed and intrigued? And intrigued I was, mostly to find out the subtle nuances and links between cyberpunk and synthwave!
Cyberpunk is essentially a literary thing, a subgenre of science fiction in a dystopian futuristic setting that tends to focus on a “combination of lowlife and high tech” featuring advanced technological and scientific achievements, such as artificial intelligence and cybernetics, juxtaposed with a degree of breakdown or radical change in the social order. A lot of cyberpunk is rooted in the science fiction of the 1960s and 1970s,
Whereas, Wikipedia (bless ’em) sums up synthwave (also called outrun, retrowave, or futuresynth) as “an electronic music microgenre that is based predominantly on the music associated with action, science-fiction, and horror film soundtracks of the 1980s. Other influences are drawn from that decade’s art and video games”.
So there you have it – Doctor Who music?
“Vector Seven” is the nom de plume for a well respected synthwave, darksynth and cyberpunk solo artist from Germany. He is famous for his unique production style combining dark and heavy synthesizer sounds, with punchy drum patterns and a good bit of retro nostalgia. He has proven more than once how versatile he is as a music producer with his distinctive sound design skills. I believe that Dark Metropolis was actually available in digital format in mid-2019, so it’s not actually his most recent work, that being Electric Blood, released in August 2020. Electric Blood was described as “a homage to horror movies from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, musically blending electronica, synthwave, rock, metal, “French House” and 80’s movie soundtracks”. Fans of Daniel Deluxe, Carpenter Brut, Absolute Valentine, Perturbator, Hype, Dance with the dead will definitely enjoy!
Dark Metropolis will shortly be available for the first time on vinyl and CD, featuring seven tracks plus a bonus. At around 26 minutes in total it’s another of those “not quite a CD but more than an EP” creations, no-one really has a name for yet!
Carnage starts us off, it’s perhaps Vector Seven’s most streamed track at the moment, with its bubbly disco-ey 80’s house feel. An accessible, bouncy dance track but with some darker changes in vibe and mood. Shirakawa then follows, the songset’s longest track at 4.18 minutes. This is much more of a film soundtrack, a dark, post-industrial number with echoes of Blade Runner maybe? You still struggle to keep still though! Meta Machine is the next track, another hypnotic House number. Militech and Breach flow in a similar vein, and I begin to see why this might not work as a full-length CD – interesting though it is, and eminently danceable, listening to close on an hour’s worth could well become a bit samey….
Combat Zone is a bit different, its darker, tense, brooding, with a great underpinning electronic riff-like sound, an industrial sort of noise that is fascinating! Arasaka Headquarters is another homage to an imagined sci-fi film soundtrack. Slow, dark, definitely not danceable! A bonus track then follows, Braindance, back to a House-style number but with staccato pauses thrown in.
Vector Seven can be tracked down through Outer Space via Darkhan Music at darkhanbit.com or via bandcamp at darkhan-music.bandcamp.com