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Connected: Echosynthetic Fest (2018) - Movie Review

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Connected: Echosythetic Fest

 

5 notesImagine it.  Close your eyes and set the scene.  You are alone on the highway.  Maybe this is a highway through a glorious city of neon lights.  Maybe it is a desert highway with only dunes and starry skies above.  Regardless, you are solo on this night and the destination ahead of you is nowhere near where you currently are.  Shift gears.  Let the speed take you over. 

The only company you keep on this night of travel is the black cassette in your tape deck.  The spools are tight; the hard plastic shell holds a single strip of magnetically coated, polyester-type plastic film together inside the cassette.  The volume is loud.  The speakers kick harder with each passing mile.

The well-worn cassette is a wild mix of synthetic sounds in which you play the hero; you alone are the sole journeyman in these cinematic escapes of slinky rhythms.  These electronic songs playing – whether they are the smooth signature melodies of Vampire Step-Dad, the pulsating blends from the alien worlds of FacexHugger, or the trippy DnB swagger of 10th Letter – are the brilliant and colorful themes of tonight’s Choose Your Own Adventure. 

From the velvet in glitbiter’s vocals to the awe-inducing motion of Gregorio Franco’s embattled beats, their unending retro callbacks to analog synthesizers and the reverb effects once heard on 1980s electropop tracks and John Carpenter soundtracks means that your night ahead will be an epic unfolding of neon custom graphics, 80s movies, and Japanese anime at high speeds courtesy of a Ferrari Testarossa.

Out here, the past is prologue and you, my friend, are on a nostalgic neon glide back to the future.

This is the cinematic landscape of synthwave, a musical genre whose artists - captured here dining together - behave like a close-knit family of good, good friends, and, as the genre is still relatively new drawing originating influences from the work of French artists Vincent Belorgey and David Grellier (both featured in 2011’s Drive), the music involved only has up, up, up to go.  What better time is there than to highlight this creativity with an inspired documentary that feels all sorts of warm and fuzzy? 

Thanks to Echosynthetic’s James Mitchell and the filmmaking team of Gene Priest and Derek Jones, a special night of synthwave celebration was recorded and edited together into the inspiring hour-long documentary that is Connected: Echosynthetic Fest.  While the "Sharing Needles With Friends" duo responsible for the film are usually behind microphones for their bi-monthly Podcast & Blog, their work here is a damn good move. 

The first Echosynthetic Fest NEEDED to be documented.

Connected: Echosythetic Fest

For one amazing night - November 11, 2017 to be exact - in Atlanta, Georgia, a whole slew of synthwave recording artists (from all over the world) – Ian Deaton, Frisky Monkey, Pattern Language, Gregorio Franco, Glitch Black, FacexHugger, 10th Letter, Vampire Step-Dad, Shredder 1984, and Majeure – came together to perform live for eager fans ready to partake in the glow of "photovision" electronic music.  Think synthwave is boring?  Hell, no.  Watch and learn, young buck.  These dudes are INTO what they are delivering.

Director Gene Priest take viewers on a grossly entertaining and euphoric journey into the vast auditory delights of the rising synthwave tide.  Priest is surrounded by friends, he tells us.  It has little to do with spreading the synthwave vibe is his continued confession.  For him, this feature project – documenting the first ever festival for synthwave – sounds like a good idea.  He's not wrong in that it sounds like a good idea.  Just wait until you see the amazing performance from a head-banging Gregorio Franco or see glitbiter join the stage with FacexHugger to perform “Come Up to the Dark” and tell me anything differently.  This whole concert is something special.  (I should have been there.  Maybe next year, Echosynthetic?)

After the confessional from the filmmakers, the documentary takes shape with the heartfelt musings of Echosynthetic’s James Mitchell who, in the hours before the show, confesses to the camera of his nervousness in putting the show together and his worry about the amount of people who will be willing to fork over $15 for the show.  He needn't worry, though.  We see him again at the end of the concert and he is simply overcome with all sorts of joy and love; the people showed and all sorts of fun was had. 

Connected: Echosythetic Fest

Held at Atlanta’s The Earl, the show is captured with an unflappable energy by the digital camera.  We even get solid interview segments inserted as the artists explain - while we see them on stage - what originally brought them to the genre; their love for it; and their appreciation for everyone taking the stage.  You, too, will be nodding along to the beats and flow of the music.  The film feels epic and a bit condensed because, well, it was an epic night of tunes and electronic thrashing that gets whittled down into a smooth 60-minute jam.

SNWF presents Connected: Echosynthetic Fest 2017  for your viewing AND your listening pleasure.  The film is a treat that fans will want to revisit.  The documentary is available to buy or rent now via the official Sharing Needles With Friends website at www.snwfrecords.com.  Plop down your money and set phasers to stun.  Grab your shades.  Get the leather jacket.  Climb in the car and floor it: neon nights and gritty cityscapes await your arrival.

Connected: Echosythetic Fest

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
62 mins
Director
: Gene Priest
Writer:
Derek Jones, Gene Priest
Cast:
10th Letter, Glitch Black, FacexHugger
Genre
: Documentary
Tagline:
SNWF Films Presents.
Memorable Movie Quote: "The community around synthwave, makes the genre so exciting."
Distributor:
SNWF Films
Official Site: www.snwfrecords.com/
Release Date:
February 2, 2018
Synopsis: Connected follows the artists through interviews and performances at the first annual Echosynthetic Fest 2017 in Atlanta, GA.

Connected: Echosythetic Fest

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