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Update: The It Follows horror film soundtrack by Disasterpeace, the composer for Fez, is out now and fits in perfectly with the other recommendations here. Expect your pulse to skyrocket while simultaneously feeling really cool.
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is out and it's pretty great. The game oozes an '80s action movie aesthetic, complete with neon lights, ridiculous one-liners, and campy robot adversaries. One of the most important elements of selling that '80s feel comes from the talented Australian synth group Power Glove (not to be confused with the video game metal band, Powerglove). I've been listening to Power Glove for weeks now and developed an infatuation for heavily synthesized electronic music that apes classic '80s horror and action films. If you liked Blood Dragon's soundtrack and want more, I've got you covered.
Here's a quick link to an abridged Spotify playlist if you're short on time. It's missing some great stuff, but it's better than nothing. Otherwise, read/listen on!
First off there's the Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon OST itself. Go ahead and check that out on iTunes. It's a treat. Or better yet, if you haven't played the game check it out and fall in love that way. Buy it after that. Power Glove also has a handful of other tracks available on iTunes which are equally fun. I especially enjoy "Maximum Potential," which has a retro workout video feel complete with motivating Dolph Lundgren voice samples.
Next up is Carpenter Brut, which focuses on a John Carpenter-inspired, 80s horror synth vibe. "Le Perv" kicks off with a driving beat and haunting drone, then implements creepy strings and frantic melodies. The entire woefully brief EP is available on the cheap.
Judge b*tch (a band our profanity filter disapproves of) has a couple of albums available, Priors and Viper. Both are solid, but I'm a bigger fan of Viper. The intro track "Pacer" is evocative of Carpenter Brut. Fans of "Hobo with a Shotgun" may recognize the track from a video in the film's special features. In fact, following Jason Eisener, director of "Hobo with a Shotgun" (and a personal friend of Blood Dragon creative director Dean Evans), on twitter is where I've picked up on a lot of these musicians. His tumblr page is also a good time.
Power Glove's "Hunters", previously heard in Hobo with a Shotgun
If you've begun to doubt the link between Blood Dragon and any of the bands I'm recommending, let Perturbator silence you. I Am The Night includes a song called "Technoir", which is the name of the trendy dance club Sarah Conner hides from Arnold in during The Terminator. James Cameron's legendary flick is a core inspiration for Blood Dragon. "Technoir" even begins by playing an answering machine message from the film. The rest of the tune is a tense, moody piece of electronic fun. Perturbator's other albums, Terror 404 and Night Driving Avenger are also worth a listen. It's worth noting Perturbator also has a couple tracks on the '80s-centric downloadable, Hotline Miami: "Vengeance" and "Miami Disco". While you're at it, check out the whole Hotline Miami soundtrack.
If you'd rather listen to a collection of retro synth music, Nightdriving Vol. 6 might be your best bet. This collection includes tracks by the previously mentioned Perturbator and Power Glove, along with some poppy songs with vocals that would be right at home in The Breakfast Club. Electric Youth's "The Best Thing" sounds like it could be from the soundtrack to Drive, which is no coincidence because the group teamed up with College for that film's song "A Real Hero". I'm also a big fan of Kavinsky's "Protovision" with its steady beat, moody guitar string bends, and warbling ambient notes. Kavinsky also wrote "Nightcall" for Drive. So yeah, go ahead and listen to the soundtrack for Drive while you're at it.
So check out all this good stuff, and be sure to dive down the rabbit holes of SoundCloud and Bandcamp to find more. I recommend searching tags like "retro electro", "80s", "vintage synth", and the like. If you find something awesome please give me a heads up on Twitter, I'm @timturi. Now download some tunes, slide on the Blue Blockers, and hop in the car for a night drive.
P.S. Nearing the end of writing this blog post I stumbled upon Danger, which so far sounds like lost tracks from Streets of Rage. That's a compliment.
Email the author Tim Turi, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.