FM-84 – Los Angeles EP


LA, the mythical city. City of dreams, city of movies of our youth/childhood, city of inspiration. What do we have here - an LA-inspired synth pop mini release actually produced in California? You don't see - or hear - that often enough.

Despite coming to this EP with low expectations, having heards hundreds of takes on the whole LA, synth city theme with varying degrees of success, I was pleasantly surprised.

The tracks are expertly, expertly produced with slick synths that perfecly coallesce.

If you like the sun-tinged bittersweet sound Miami nights 1984 is best known for, you will like this release too. Ok, time for the track-by-track.

1. DELOREAN Our romp down the streets of LA begins. First gear, second gear, third gear. Off we go. Early night. Coasting downtown LA with no care on his mind, the driver makes us a promise we can't refuse.

2. NIGHTDRIVE - As we move deeper into the night, the leit motif from track one becomes sexier, glossier, more flourescent. We are lifted high above the skyline of LA sometime after midnight. We are flying, with the city lights in our eyes. Faces fly past, laughter, lust, desire, drive.

3. OUTATIME - A flash of light in the night of LA. The main synth riff has that bittersweet feel that reminds you of leaving a lover behind, before disappearing into the night.

4. LOS ANGELES - We're close to the dawn now. First rays of light start to appear on the horizon. The sleeping city is awakened, unaware of what went on the night before. We're walking in the wet sand of Malibu beach, with brief flashes of what happened in our heads as the only proof.

5. MAX - This bonus track is amazing. This is an example of FM-84 bringing different synth tracks together in perfect unison, and bringing that ultimate rush of blood to the head to finish off the record.

If one of the main reasons we love synthwave is to take us on a ride to the other dimension, then this EP delivers. Even if you're more a fan of the darker, brooding stuff, you can't deny the craftmanship that went into this mini release.

This tired old reviewer can get cranky and bitchy about the level of quality that usually comes from the synthwave producer community, so when a gem like this one appears, his wounds are healed and his faith restored.

I found myself opening Google maps and poring over the map of the LA, while listening to this. Those mythical names – Venice, Santa Monica, Sunset Strip - ring with a thousand of promises made before. Listening to 'Los Angeles', you can't help but fall for them again.