Boomkat Product Review:
Cult synthesist Novo Line re-imagines Philip Glass, Wang Chung and Jan Hammer’s ‘80s soundtrack work in a surreal, killer re-working of the musical atmosphere to the classic Qatsi trilogy and William Friedkin’s noir cop flick, ‘To Live and Die In LA’, made on era-specific Atari and Yamaha synths.
Adored for his mathematically insightful explorations of mid-late ‘80s digital synths, Atari computers and MIDI tools, Novo Line’s music can be heard as a form of Hauntological archaeology; a persistent hunt for the ghost in the machine which irrevocably altered pop, dance and soundtrack music and helped shape western cultural consciousness since the advent of affordable home computers and synthesisers.
On ‘To Qatsi and Die In LA’ he brilliantly delves into the soul of a Yamaha TX816 synthesiser which he acquired from American singer-songwriter Leon Russell shortly before his death in 2016. With the tone of Philip Glass and Wang Chung’s music and the inseparable imagery of Friedkin and Godfrey Reggio in mind, he coaxes out a sound that immediately connotes warmth and nostalgia, but, as ever with Novo Line’s music, there’s just something wickedly off in the music’s subtly curdled and ear-puckering tones, likely as a result of his favoured ancient tuning systems.
The music plays out a cinematic montage of imagery associated with ‘80s crime thrillers - palm trees, pink and purple sunsets, shadows of venetian blinds on beige walls - in a way that uncannily emphasises the dreamlike nature of ‘80s synth soundtracks, and by turn ‘80s FM synth sounds, smartly highlighting their hold over contemporary psyches in the same way that warbling ’60s and ‘70s analog synth sounds did to previous generations.