Nostalgia is a dangerous business. It is inherently regressive. When nostalgia is used as a lazy prop you get lazy Hollywood remakes and reboots (Ghostbusters, I mean you). But nostalgia at it’s best it creates something warm and cosy that brings people together and unites them. This is where programmes such as The Great British Bake Off and musical genres like synthwave really work.
This album and cassette claims to be a long-lost collection of film and score music by long-forgotten composer Stefano Leproto. Of course, it isn’t, but it does an incredibly good job of pretending that it is. The whole synthwave genre takes it’s inspiration from the electronica of the late 70s through to the mid 80s. It is usually a digital recreation of an analogue age, it brings to mind skateboards, BMXs and 8-bit computer games leaning up against a colossal hi-fi with speakers the size of suitcases. We’ve touched on this and faux 80s soundtracks earlier with Repeated Viewing’s Street Force. The genre went mainstream this year with Stranger Things, and it’s wonderfully evocative soundtrack.
And into this field comes Stefano Leproto with perhaps the most detailed recreation to date. This recreation just isn’t in the glorious analogue sound saturated with tape hiss, it is in the music itself. It’s not a recreation of the glossy soundtrack sheen of Jan Hammer, this is the low budget and gritty soundtrack world. The composers of the late 70s and early 80s were often classically trained composers working in a brave new world of futuristic electronic devices inspired by Clockwork Orange’s outstanding score. This captures the musical depth and knowledge of such composers, with baroque arpeggios and trills (more Wendy Carlos than Tangerine Dream) accompanying the more John Carpenter-esque synthesizer swells and drones. This album is very well composed, and brilliantly realised. It also gets top marks for song titles – “Love Theme from Sewer Baby” in particular merits an A*.