Monstercat, Audioporn, Korsakov Music and Mainframe Recordings darling High Maintenance has been quiet lately, with his last original work out in May of 2020, the dancefloor collab EP, also with AL/SO (love that pun), Hypersonic. Now we know why: the cheeky chap from Brighton has only gone and rebranded as Synth System, quietly releasing his first remix of Sub Focus’s “Last Jungle” on RAM in August.
While the newly minted Synth System has been retooling on the DL, however, Korsakov Music’s A&R guru AL/SO has been as loud as ever, having released his first solo EP, the mad and fast metal-inspired Toaster Bath in August as well and touring all over the slowly re-opening EU during the summer and even landing in the UK in September (as if that poor island hasn’t suffered enough already).
The UK is where the two dancefloor heavy hitters finished up their new collab tracks, “City Lights” featuring vocalist Eidna and “Extra” and signed them to Viper. It’s easy to see why Matrix & Futurebound’s imprint wanted the melodic festie anthem that is “City Lights”: with the punch of Synth System’s synthy synths, a fireworks display of a snare and a composition structure that somehow straddles classical and pop, there will be no escaping this track on the dancefloor this fall and winter. Why would you want to? The haunting, strained melody is the perfect emotive punchback to where the music world has been in the past year and the explosive drops promise all the places we’ve still yet to go.
The wild card on this dual single and our chosen premiere today is the b side “Extra.” Once again heavy on the synths, this track, while still concise and made for dancing, has a lot of complex sound design that the tech heads will love. Right away in the intro, the opening synths have a fun and none-too-easy-to-craft 80s throwback vaporwave sound to them. You can practically feel the 80s tween movie opening credits rolling. The drop is introduced by a sassy, singular female vox sample – perhaps even a Kardashian (perish the thought) – saying “why are you being so extra” before the track drops into its more ravey and cinematic territory, with the downbeats hitting just right and the synth capable of pulling even the grumpiest wallflower off of said wall to the dancefloor.
This is both AL/SO and Synth System’s first release on Viper, on first listen, nay, on first phrase, it’s clear they don’t belong anywhere else. The clean lines of “Extra” and the heart-rending vibes of “City Lights” will keep the vibes going through the colder seasons as they’ll be overplayed at ever rave well into spring.