I’m a writer, so I indulge in fantasy. One of these fantasies is one day owning a bar-slash-coffee shop, a place where people would come in and hang. And I’ve gone so far as to craft a playlist for it. The bar would be themed “retro-future,” that is it would be themed in the way the 80s envisioned our collective (and sometimes dystopian) future. You know what I’m talking about. In the 80s, when it was becoming apparent that the computer age would soon be rushing upon us, we got glam synth groups like Visage, and far-out oddities like Gary Numan and Tubeway Army writing about the robot revolution. OMD wrote their avant-garde Dazzle Ships album and Sigue Sigue Sputnik brought us “Love Missile F1-11.” The future was colorful and strange, ad-saturated, Asian-influenced, defined in sound and in fashion. Since I can’t sew, I’ve decided to create a Pandora radio station. It’s a work in progress. Pandora is slowly learning what sound I’m looking for. My criteria is thus: if you walked into a bar in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, would this song be playing? There was a sound in the 80s (and I’m not talking about New Wave, though there is an overlap), a sound that I think we lost. For example, can you point to anything today which sounds even remotely like this song from Gary Numan?
Or this song from Sigue Sigue Sputnik, “21st Century Boy”:
Anyway I’m not so much trying to relive an earlier period of my life, but to discover artists who are exploring similar areas of sound today. This “retro-future” soundscape hasn’t been explored as much as it could have been, I believe, and as an amateur musician I hope to one day be able to write something that I wouldn’t be ashamed to play in my bar.