Synthwave (also called retrowave, outrun and futuresynth) is a relatively new genre of electronic music, originating from the mid 2000s, influenced by 1980s cinematic film soundtracks and video game music. It is characterized by light bass tones and a BPM between 100 and 150, often using retro sounds. It's inspired by New Wave music and usually features a darker, more somber and serious mood than Synthpop, and, as the name of the previously mentioned genre would imply, less of a pop influence. Characteristics include the use of steady 4otf (four-on-the-floor) drum patterns (exceptions exist, though; the patterns can be broken up, such as in PYLOT - "Flashbacks" and PYLOT - "Blurred Vision"), specific gated reverb snares, sharp transient kicks, sometimes acoustic drums, synthwork and basslines that can be found oscillating in double-time (8th notes) or quadruple-time (16th notes) heavy filtering, phaser and flanger effects, formant filtering, a liberal use of reverb to create ample cinematic atmospheres, percussion backing, possible bit reduction, tape saturation, heavily vocoded / "talk box" effect impacted vocals - that can be chopped and pitch-bent (in the case that they're present - most of the times, Synthwave is instrumental), synths inspired by analog gear and synthesizers, produced from simple analog waves (such as the sine, triangle, square and sawtooth waves). Tracks produced in this style can take on a wide range of tempos, but it's usually centered around 100 bpm, with outliers like PYLOT - "Locke" (80 bpm) and PYLOT - "Caine" (155 bpm)

Aesthetically, synthwave gives a retrofuturistic perspective, emulating 1980s science fiction, action, and horror media, sometimes compared to cyberpunk.


  • Darksynth
[ vte ] Alphabetical List of Synthwave Songs (Genre)
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