Lazerhawk - Through the Years
It’s rare to be able to name an artist that so definitively defines a genre. All great synthwave artists strive to embody what makes it great; rolling synths, hard hitting beats, massive leads, and that unmistakable feeling that you could go on listening to it all night long. An artist that gives us all of this and more is none other than Garrett Hays, the man behind Lazerhawk. To date, he’s released four full albums, all chock full of their own style and brimming with that unmistakable synthwave and outrun sound. Just in case you somehow aren’t familiar with his work, we’ll take a look at what made these releases so important to this genre.
Hailing from Austin, Texas, and a founding member of Rosso Corsa Records, Lazerhawk has
quickly risen to the forefront of the scene due largely in part to his unique style that blends all of the best aspects of what makes music from the ‘80s so great along with everything we love
about modern synthwave. Jumping right in, Lazerhawk started us off in 2010 with his first
release, Redline. True to its name, this album can best be described as a high-octane thrill ride laced with fast paced synths that you simply can’t sit still for. Right off the line with the titular track “Redline” and its followup “Overdrive”, you can’t help but feel you’re putting the pedal down in a blood pumping car chase through a big city at night. Later tracks on Redline such as “Interstellar” and “So Close” show off Lazerhawks’ ability to slow things down and deliver soothing synths on top of smooth and catchy drumlines.
Around two years later and perhaps from another galaxy, the journey continues with Visitors, a slight departure in style compared to Redline but one that can’t be confused with the already timeless sound we’ve come to attribute to Lazerhawk. We’re given a taste of what to expect from this album with the opening track, “Lazerhawk’s Theme” which consists mostly of slower paced and dreamlike synths. This continues in “Visitors” and is done to perfection in “Distant
Signal 001”. It would not be an exaggeration to call Visitors one of the best sophomore follow up releases to an album in recent history. We can clearly see the influence that Redline had on the Lazerhawk sound with new innovations brought into it, all invoking that feeling of nostalgia that we crave.
Once again showing us that he can keep a signature sound while innovating with each new
release, Lazerhawk treated us to Skull and Shark in 2013. Displaying some of the best
production value yet, this release is pure horror-inspired electronic bliss. Out of any Lazerhawk
release so far, Skull and Shark is easily the album that is capable of making you feel like you’re
in another world. Each track feels hand crafted to tell a story. Just looking at each track title
almost gives us an idea of the events of this story. Required listening here is without a doubt
“King of the Streets” and “The Looks That Kill” that show us what hard rock style guitar mixed
with classic rolling synths sounds like.
Really, this album demonstrates what is essential for any artist; to show that they can use their signature style to create a diverse range of sounds. Finally, there is no better way to finish out this look at Lazerhawk than by highlighting his most recent release, Dreamrider. Out just this year, Dreamrider sounds like you may expect from its title. We can hear the influences of chill wave in tracks like “Cruise” and “Cool Breeze” that instantly transport us to another world. This
album gives us visions of beautiful vistas both earthly and otherworldly. As you can see, Lazerhawk has proven time and again that he is truly a titan of outrun synthwave. He constantly innovates and reminds us what this genre is really about. Even though Dreamrider was released very recently, we already can’t wait to see what he has in store for us next.