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Retro Reverb Records November 2020 Chart Toppers

Karl is a longtime freelancer who's passionate about music, art, and writing.


1. Orbiting Earth by Synthwave Redneck

"Orbiting Earth" by Synthwave Redneck begins with deep, sharp-edged pulses of descending synth moving in long waves, feeling heavy. A strong, bright series of arpeggios with a round, warm vibe spins into the track along with a slightly stuttering deep drumbeat.

The shining lead synth moves through rotating patterns as longer pulses of sound keep moving around it and the drums keep up their throbbing jump. Those climbing, descending arpeggios spin and whirl as the track progresses.

There’s a segment in which a piano-like synth cascades in shifting, flickering patterns that are intricate and elegant. The track returns to those shifting arpeggios as the piano keeps moving with complex patterns over it, the whole track an interlocking tapestry. Now there’s a break in the track as synth and drums create a starker, stripped-down atmosphere before the oscillating bass notes move in and we get back to the main segment of the song. The track fades out on piano notes and silence.

2. Night Flight by Simulakrum Lab (feat. Cody Carpenter)

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“Night Flight” by Simulakrum Lab (feat. Cody Carpenter) comes to life with a steady synth oscillation before a stuttering beat is joined by soaring, leaping synth lines. The synths dance above that throbbing beat as they glow, airy and easy. The track does create a musical image of a late night flight over a futuristic city.

A more tense, dramatic feeling is added by big, powerful synths with real weight and depth as that insistent beat keeps on moving underneath them. The dense clouds of notes rise before fading into long drifts and floating air.

Long flashes of synth pile on one on top of the other into the open space around them and now that smooth, even and flowing heartbeat of drums throbs underneath as string-like synths fly in. There's more variation as a low synth pulse, full of tension touches the track before there’s a crescendo and we return to the “A” section with those powerful, rising notes over the steady pulses.

3. Black Sand by Six Leaves Left

Six Leaves Left’s “Black Sand” combines a shining, triumphant lead synth and charging electric guitar creates a powerful sensation of being carried upwards. There’s a feeling of positive energy that pours out of the music.

The melody on the track is warm, hopeful and vibrant and it is given a sense of forward motion by the propulsive drum and bass sounds that anchor it. The beat has that classic synthwave exuberance and energy that I find so infectious.

I was drawn toward the feeling of something better ahead, a feeling of emerging into sunlight as the track goes out on warm synth washes that ripple gently over the surface of the track. In these days where things are dark and uncertain, this music just relaxes me and helps me to feel a sense of joy.

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