Spacesynth (after a brief bit about Space Disco)

Posted by Eric Brightwell, April 14, 2008 04:00pm | Post a Comment


When you like a lot of the sci-fi movies from the mid-to-late 1970s, you frequently are treated to Rubellian utopias populated by horned-up hedonists, robots who are polished like (coke) mirrors and multi-racial aliens all getting together at the space disco/cantina/casino. As with almost all science fiction, it's more a reflection of the time of it's conception than any like future. This stuff was heavily indebted to the sexual revolution that preceeded it and was wholly clueless about the AIDS epidemic lying around the corner. In the tense, cold-war-fearing 80s, just a few years later, sci-fi frequently fell into two camps. On the one hand you have bands of marauders roaming the post-apocalyptic wastelands in churched-up dune buggies out to terrorize the few remaining civilized humans, who are attempting in a harsh world to preserve culture and science and maybe the knowledge of how to grow food. On the other you have gritty near-futures where market economics and technology have exploded into fearsome things, exploited by crusties who can access the internet through datajacks in their skulls. And they live in cities called Neo Tokyo and the like. But, for now, back to the 70s...

Space Disco was a briefly popular subgenre of disco which melded science-fiction-inspired style, themes and futuristic sounds (like laserguns) to your garden variety disco. It was exemplified by groups like Cerrone, Space and Sheila B. Devotion, although less stylistically single-minded artists like Sarah Brightman ("I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper") and Dee D. Jackson ("Automatic Lover") also dabbled in the style. In America, MECO scored a big hit with their discofied version of the theme from Star Wars.

Spacesynth, also sometimes referred to as "synthdance" and "spacedance", is a modern term for a European musical style from the 1980s that developed from Space Disco. But unlike Space Disco, Spacesynth was usually instrumental. The music was usually triumphant, melodic and very synthetic, reflecting the explosion and popularity of new synthesizers. You can definitely hear Giorgio Moroder's influence in most of the tracks which often seem to harken back to the 70s view of the future and sound strangely out of step with the 80s whilst definitely a product of that decade. Most of the spacesynth composers worked anonymously and the monikers they recorded were often confusingly attached to different composers by their labels.

The music was never massively popular and all but disappeared with the advent and explosion of techno and house.

To learn more about spaceynth, visit the amazing and informative

Cyber People was an early Italian synthdance project which, after the rights went to ZYX Music, featured the compositions of Humphrey Robertson.

Koto was the name of Anfrando Maiola's group, with tracks such as "Visitors" (1985), "Revenge," "Jabdah," "Chinese Revenge" (sold over 10,000 copies in Italy) and "Dragon's Legend." In 1989 German label ZYX Music bought the name Koto and hired Michiel Van Der Kuy (from Laserdance) to re-mix Koto's catalogue and record new songs under the moniker. This video didn't originally integrate the clips from Star Wars, which were inserted by a fan.

Laserdance was the name of Dutch producers Erik van Vliet and Michiel Van Der Kuy's group. Their debut Future Generation (1987) yielded the hits "Powerrun" and "Humanoid Invasion."

Italian Hipnosis included producers A. Zanni and Stefano Cundari and composers A. Maiola, Jungleib, Misugoromo and M. Limoni. Later, Humphrey Robertson recorded under the moniker.

The first two Proxyon albums were recorded by Michiel van Kuy (from Laserdance, Koto and Rygar) and produced by Rob and Michiel van Eijk.

was a Belgian synthdance group made up of Ronny Verrept and Fonny De Wulf.

Eric Brightwell is an adventurer, essayist, rambler, explorer, cartographer, and guerrilla gardener who is always seeking paid writing, speaking, traveling, and art opportunities. He is not interested in generating advertorials, cranking out clickbait, or laboring away in a listicle mill “for exposure.”
Brightwell has written for Angels Walk LAAmoeblogBoom: A Journal of CaliforniadiaCRITICSHidden Los Angeles, and KCET Departures. His art has been featured by the American Institute of Architects, the Architecture & Design Museum, the Craft ContemporaryForm Follows FunctionLos Angeles County Store, the book SidewalkingSkid Row Housing Trust, and 1650 Gallery. Brightwell has been featured as subject in The Los Angeles TimesHuffington PostLos Angeles MagazineLAistCurbedLAEastsider LABoing BoingLos Angeles, I’m Yours, and on Notebook on Cities and Culture. He has been a guest speaker on KCRWWhich Way, LA?, at Emerson College, and the University of Southern California.
Brightwell is currently writing a book about Los Angeles and you can follow him on AmebaDuolingoFacebookGoodreadsInstagramMubiand Twitter.

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Eurodisco (9), Spacesynth (3), 1970s (45), 1980s (52), Synthdance (1), Spacedance (1), Hi-nrg (5), Space Disco (4), Italo-disco (9), Science-fiction (9), Electronic Music (62)