ROGUE SOUNDS: “119X” by Hollow Muse Wouldn’t Hassel the Hoff
Growing up in the Nintendo and Depeche Mode ruled ’80s certainly started me down the path, but the stellar soundtrack to Stranger Things on Netflix, has plunged me deep into a reborn synthesizer fever. And that can be a rough affliction to have here in string band obsessed So-O. There are five music stores in the valley, vending a grand total of one synthesizer—a highly prized vintage ARP Odyssey that even the shop owners seem somewhat puzzled by. So there aren’t a lot of synth groups to follow.
That’s why it was a joy to find 199X, a new collection of tunes from Grants Pass knob-jockey, Hollowed Muse. The 10-track collection released in late September could pass as a new addition to one of John Carpenter’s Lost Soundtracks (soundtracks for films he never made) series of album.
For example, it opens with “Prelude: 199X,” a theme song for a tragically never-made low-budget cyberpunk police drama on basic cable. I mean, it’s an instrumental tune, and that’s not stated anywhere in the album notes, that’s just what it sounds like. David Hasselhoff could guest-star in the pilot to give it credibility, but poor writing would kill it in the second season. A Rhino release of the box set would give it a cult following. Or it could just be a groovy tune. Dealer’s choice.
The second song, “Last Grove,” is a lagging half-time epic of epicness. Put this on to drive at night down a neon highway and contemplate your life.
The fifth track is “Tryian 2016,” a peppy, danceable tune with a driving ’80s beat, and a whimsical lead line straight out of a Mega Man game. If that’s the campaign jingle for #TeamLannister, then sign me up.
The collection closes with “UAC Labs,” which is anchored by a punchy synth bass riff, and a series of rapid dirty staccato chords. Between the minor keys, and the aggressive rhythms on the chords, switch it to guitars, and it could be a System of a Down Song.
Hollowed Muse may not quite be ready to stand alongside the grand wizards of synth like Giorgio Moroder, and Wendy Carlos, but anyone looking to make an ’80s-inspired horror flick or rock a dance party is advised to look ’em up.
199X is available as a download on Bandcamp.