Oráculo Records :: Synthesizer surprises from a Spanish seaside town

Synthesizer surprises from a Spanish seaside town.

Oráculo Records :: Synthesizer surprises from a Spanish seaside town

Spain has a surprising tradition with electronics. The 1980s, a post dictatorial age, saw a burgeoning synth wave scene develop. This history has been captured by the likes of Domestica, but dig a little deeper and there is more to find. Just above Barcelona, near the French border, you’ll find Lloret de Mar, home of a synth label that has just completed its second birthday; Oráculo.

In its two year existence this Calatan imprint, founded by Vanessa Asbert and Nico Cabañas aka Synths Versus Me has been enviably productive. Acts such as Cold Colors, Xiu and Agent Side Grinder leap from their catalog and Nico drops a couple of other names into our recent conversation. But it’s not all well-known names, Oráculo has become home to a number of new groups on the synth pop scene. For him it “is not essential to be really known in the scene to be part of Oráculo, not at all.” It’s this willingness to take chances that makes the label so refreshing.

Take Valis for example. You’re not alone, I also said “Who?” Their second release, Cold Hands, was just recently released and it’s been a constant feature in my flat since. EBM inspired, the tracks pulsate with sharpened percussion. Vocals rise and fall, some fading into samples as probing chords pierce.

Quality production is central, clean and warm to let those synth wave sounds sing. Cabañas makes mention of “new projects,” ones of a grittier aspect. He’s reticent to give too much away, but it undoubtedly means a more deviant side is about to unleashed. That’s not to say there isn’t a black edge running through the “darkwave alliance” that has been formed on the eastern edge of Iberia. Acts such as Boy Harsher deliver a pain streaked wave style, moody vocals and bitter strings define others like Undertheskin.

The style pursued by the imprint is the same as that of its founders. To date Synths Versus Me have released a couple of albums and EPs. Cold chords are frosted with snapping drum patterns, lyrics reflecting that chilled aspect. Yet there are warmer currents, bass lines and romantic echoes thawing those more frigid moments. Despite being new, the Catalan imprint is ambitious. Cabañas mentions a number of projects in the pipeline that are following the set traditions. Bigger names such as The Hacker & HIV+ and Derriere Le Miroir are in line for releases alongside lesser known artists like Wonder Dark and Ivy’s Void.

And what does the future hold? Seems more than enthusiastic in his plan to continue to find and release “fresh darkwave danceable music.” Oráculo has only been around for two years but has already racked up an admirable list of releases but there are new avenues opening it appears. Digital demand means another wing of the label will be opened.

Synthesizer surprises from a Spanish seaside town.

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