Satellite Young - Self Titled
Satellite Young's debut album hit the net only a few days ago, and it's already turning heads and racking up the Bandcamp downloads. This self-titled LP is a fresh take on synthwave that bends the genre into new and interesting territory – an deft mix of kawaii and cool.
The Japanese retro synthpop sensation has been steadily gaining momentum with a series of several lauded singles over the past two years, culminating in "Sniper Rouge," a fantastic collaboration with the synth master Mitch Murder. Their music has been used as the theme song to the parody anime "Senpai Club," and Satellite Young also recently played their first state-side performances at SXSW with several live theatrical shows that charmed the crowds.
Satellite Young is comprised of three members – the budding idol Emi Kusano piping out some amazing vocals, BelleMaison Sekine (who's solo EP was released last year) tickling the synthesizers and the newly-added Tele Hideo, a dancing, television-headed wild-card hype machine who plays various instruments while shooting hand-lights, ray guns and sometimes bubbles into the audience.
Sometimes it's easy to forget the retro sounds of the 80's affected the whole world. Satellite Young draws heavily on this universal influence, taking cues from Japanese 80's artists such as Minako Honda, Chisato Mori ,Yu Hayami and Pink Lady – but also western artists like Cusco, Journey, Jan Hammer and Tangerine Dream. This synthesis of the music from these very different but temporally linked cultures has led Satellite Young to create a new style – a retro J-pop take on synthwave.
Taking only the best parts of synthwave and J-pop, the tracks on this album are mostly up-tempo and feature brilliant synth sounds mixed with sentimental vocals - a heady mix of happy nostalgia. The mix and master on this album are also fantastic, as the instruments never compete with the vocals for soundspace and compliment each other well. Even if you aren't a fan of J-pop, you will likely find this album worth a listen.
It is very interesting to hear this particular mix of genres. While both kawaii and retro music can be cheesy, Satellite Young somehow melds them together in a way that lacks the kitsch while staying very true to their influences. Even their anime music videos are drawn in a retro style.
This first release is the perfect introduction to Satellite Young, as the album features many of their old singles but also holds plenty of new material for familiar fans. The tracks work well together, forming a cohesive whole while exploring their unique and exotic sound.
As their music spreads across the world, the future is looking bright for Satellite Young. The stand-out tracks on this album are Sanfransokyo Girl, Dividual Heart, AI Threnody and Sniper