"Buena Vista" by Miles Matrix
"Buena Vista" is the first album by Vienna-based synthwave / darksynth / retrowave producer Miles Matrix. What with Stranger Things Season 3 on the horizon, Synthwave artists featured heavily in blockbuster movies like Thor: Ragnarok or Drive and even Muse releasing a Synthwave-inspired album, it is safe it say this is one of the hottest niche genres right now, uniting rock, metal and dance fans in a shared passion.
Miles Matrix' "Buena Vista" features 8 tracks spanning the whole spectrum of the Synthwave genre while embracing influences from Power Metal, Darkwave and Hardrock. Born from a love for movie soundtracks, nostalgia and synthesizers, "Buena Vista" is 80s infused Retrowave inspired as much by Jean-Michel Jarre, Klaus Schulze and Vangelis – music Miles Matrix had on a cassette as a kid – as by contemporary synthwave icons like Perturbator, Dance with the Dead or Lazerhawk.
"Buena Vista" was led by the release of the single Night Striker which was featured on retrosynth juggernaut Luigi Donatello's Youtube channel and made waves on the 14 million subscribers subreddit /r/listentothis where it reached the top position. Night Striker is also the opening song of an album full of atmospheric, even dark synthwave tunes, a perfect listen for fans of John Carpenter, Blade Runner or Hotline: Miami. You did good, kid for example is a short movie in itself. If you close your eyes while listening, you'll know what I mean.
But genre staples are far from the only inspiration feeding the sounds of "Buena Vista". Metal breaks and guitar solos as well as scores from Italo Western movies played a huge role, too. Miles Matrix also recalls that a vinyl his father gifted him when he was a kid turned out to be one of the most influential elements while writing and composing. It was a record of instrumental rockband The Shadows, whose lead-heavy production approach can be heard in songs like Adventure Club or Starpilot. "While I wholeheartedly love the synthwave genre", says Miles Matrix, "simply ticking boxes will never satisfy me. I have always been a huge fan of rock music, including metal, and I think this has equally influenced my music."
Miles Matrix, who is an autodidact and has no background in music theory, produced and recorded the album in his livingroom. He initially entered the scene with vocal synthwave, but transitioned to instrumental soon. He had already finished the production on his album when he was struck by the insight that he was not at all happy with the results. "The majority of the tracks neither reflected my progress nor what I wanted to convey with my music", explains Miles Matrix. He scrapped most of the recordedings and started over. Only two songs from the abandoned sessions made it onto "Buena Vista": Stay a while, stay forever, a nostalgic video games anthem dedicated to a deceased friend (called Player 2 in the song) and Enemy Mine, a song about toxic relationships. "I am now at a point where I find it easier to convey my feelings and ideas through instrumental music", says Miles Matrix.
The album title "Buena Vista" has a couple of meanings for Matrix. For one, Buena Vista translates to Schöne Aussicht in german, the plural of which can be a metaphor for bleak prospects. Having grown up in the 80s, Matrix still remembers the feelings of anxiety due to Tchernobyl and the cold war mixed with a hopeful outlook based on technology and science. Miles Matrix translates this emotional melange to eight songs full of darkness and light alike, accompanied by an album artwork showing a view of Saturn from a beach. At the same time, Buena Vista International was a title card he saw on many movies he has fond memories of. "When I see the words 'Buena Vista', it always spawns a film in my head."
All songs were written, mixed and produced by Miles Matrix, featuring his own vocals on tracks 6 and 8. Created with Garageband, using the VSTs: UH-E Repro, Korg PolySix, Mono/Fury, Dexed, OB-XD, PG-8X and Audiaire Zone. The album was mastered by seasoned engineer Stefan Noltemeyer in his Berlin studios. Noltemeyer previously mastered music for renowned EDM acts like Sven Väth, Paul Van Dyk or Taucher. "Buena Vista" will be released on May 17th, 2019 and will be made available for streaming, as digital download and on Compact Disc.
Praise for "Buena Vista"
"Buena Vista is chock full of quality retro soundscapes and top notch production." – Nightride.fm
"Miles Matrix has come out swinging with his debut record." – Pastel Wasteland
"Listen to it!" – Deepground.de
"Goosebumps puncture your skin. You can't help but go along for the ride." – B-Sides & Badlands
"A cool nod back to retro gaming in the late eighties and early ninesties (...) His best production yet." – Every Synth The 80s
"No filler and plenty of hooks to take you to a land of escapism." – And Between The Wasteland And Sky
"A competent debut with standout moments." – Rob Dyson (Artefaktor Radio Host)
"Really good and worth listening to." – Synthwavefan.nl