The Rise Of The Synths

Director Iván Castell
Spain, United States / 90 min. / 2019 / English, French, Spanish

The choral history of synthwave, the underground electronic current inspired by BSO and the imagery which, thanks to Drive and Stranger Things, has permeated the mainstream and has made a generation of musicians feel nostalgic for times they did not live.


John Carpenter is little less than a God here. The voice and work of the author of films and soundtracks such as Rescue in New York, They’re Alive and The Prince of Darkness soar over the entire footage as a unanimous reference for synthwave artists of all ages. Its spartan and atmospheric synthesizers pave the way to countless interviewees in half a dozen countries: projects such as Vallerie Collective, 80s Stallone, Carpenter Brut, Miami Nights 1984, Perturbator and Nightcrawler. Among them, they draw different ways of understanding an eminently postmodern subculture (one foot in the past, another in the future) that in the mid-2000’s congregated dozens of MySpace users and sneaked into mainstream terrain, largely due to the Kavinsky theme song for Drive and the eighties nostalgia of the Stranger Things series. The documentary nimbly illustrates that visual aesthetic of synthetic geometry backgrounds taken from the Tron movie, degraded lilac tones, pink neons like Blade Runner and ubiquitous urban night skylines. The emergence of synthwave is attributed to the tiredness with the musical landscape that they experienced and which made them re-appropriate the past: italo-disco, technopop, krautrock, heavy metal, Moroder soundtracks, Tangerine Dream or the Jan Hammer symphony for Miami Vice, as well as recent references such as Daft Punk and Justice. They also make interesting reflections about their rejection of the traditional music industry, their attachment to anonymity, nostalgia for a time that many did not live, the feeling of community and the danger that synthwave will become a victim of its own success.




Friday 1st November - Warm up with Dj Rosario (Femmnoise) 

Entradas BCN


National Scene

Showing format

Perturbator, Carpenter Brut, Gunship, OGRE, Dance With The Dead, 80s Stallone, Holodeck Records...among others. Narrated by John Carpenter.

Iván Castell

Iván Castell

Beltrán García, Adrián Barcelona

Ana Castañosa, Iván Castell, Javier Moreno, Rebeca Villar Rodríguez

Film company
Castell & Moreno Films, 9am Media Lab

Film distributor

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