The future is bleak, dangerous and full of retro 80s madness
It’s safe to say there has been quite a resurgence and fascination with the 1980s. Or rather, a fascination if you were looking back across the decades wearing your biggest, rosiest, neon-tinted glasses. From films like ‘Wolfcop’ and ‘Kung Fury’ to bands such as Carpenter Brut and Lost Years, the retro synthwave scene is receiving a lot of attention. Auteurs of all varieties are attempting to recreate heart pounding, fast-paced flavours not seen since the likes of ‘Terminator 2’ and ‘Escape From New York’.
‘Turbo Kid’ is one of those recreations. Romantic, colourful, post-apocalyptic and terrifically gory, it would best be described as ‘Mad Max’ on BMXs. It’s drenched in 80s aesthetic while maintaining a modern twist. And its soundtrack had to represent that, which is where synthwave artists Le Matos arrive on the scene.
Since forming in 2007, the French-Canadian duo have been creating music heavily inspired by movie soundtracks, drawing on influences such as John Carpenter, Vangelis and Tangerine Dream. So it seems apt that they dabble in a bit of producing and create their own film soundtrack this time around. ‘Chronicles Of The Wasteland’ / ‘Turbo Kid Original Motion Picture Soundtrack’ as you might have gathered, is a double album, a mammoth 50-song adventure — the first part a supplemental remixed version of the soundtrack, while part two is the complete movie score.
There’s a lot going on in ‘Chronicles Of The Wasteland’. Le Matos have taken care in reworking the more atmospheric tracks from the ‘Turbo Kid’ soundtrack so they function as songs in their own right, and by offsetting bleakness with hints of hope, it’s an incredibly enjoyable listen. Standout ‘Playtime Is Over’ is a dark, brooding track that builds to a fist-pumping crescendo, while in contrast, the more emotional ‘No Tomorrow’ works as a sing-along, featuring the soothing tones of London-based vocalist Pawws.
The ‘Turbo Kid Original Motion Picture Soundtrack’ is a slightly different animal. Quintessentially 80s in its production, it drifts from dreamy and slow to dark and doom-ridden before jumping into a fast-paced bolt of analogue synths and drum machines. Because it’s a film score, the majority of the tracks are only a couple of minutes long (the shortest is just 16 seconds), nevertheless, the album flows seamlessly and rarely would you realise you’re listening to a soundtrack. It even features some OST versions of songs from ‘Chronicles Of The Wasteland’, shortened to match the rest of the tracks.
Across both sets, Le Matos have succeeded in every way to tell their aural story, weaving heart and romance into their dark, apocalyptic songs. If there’s to be more films that try and recapture the magic of the likes of ‘Terminator 2’ let’s hope they hire Le Matos to perfect the score.