Alone 1980 is the mysterious musical project from Sweden that gives us imagined soundtracks to horror and science fictions films that never existed. Well, except for in the mind of their creator. For the past two years a prolific amount of music has come from Alone 1980, and all of it engaging and hypnotic. You haven’t delved in yet? Well I suggest Beyond from last year first. Then hit up Sleepwalker. After those you won’t need any more guidance as you will have hit play on everything the Bandcamp page has to offer.
Sleepwalker was my first foray into the world of Alone 1980. There are a lot of people experimenting in the imagined soundtrack genre, and a lot of it is quite good. There’s also a bit that feels very stale; a derivative of better things that came before. Alone 1980 does these imagined scores very well. To my ears there’s a sense of melancholy throughout the work. A sadness among the madness. Vintage-sounding gear wheezes life and goosebumps into Alone 1980s tracks, making these songs feel more like a night of contemplation sitting in candlelight as much as scoring a movie about space ghosts and unexplained happenings.
Alone 1980s newest album is the just-released Humanity, another slice of nighttime dread and hazy synth glee. The album continues the ebb and flow between moments of John Carpenter-esque sonic touches and Giallo-inspired melody that have peppered past releases. But as with each Alone 1980 album, Humanity builds on what came before to give us something new and ever-evolving.
With names like “Ritual Crime”, “Forest Entity”, “Cave of Clarity”, and “Dimensions” you can get a good idea of the kind of movie Humanity would be scoring; something dark, ritualistic, and claustrophobic. The work of Alone 1980 stays true to the intimate work of single synth composers of the late 70s and early 80s that gave b-movies a touch of class. But album opener “Creation” surprises right out of the gate with an almost optimistic piece of synthesized grandeur. Touches of Vangelis and Jean-Michel Jarre. It’s a high note, but then we quickly delve into the darkness of Humanity.
Elsewhere “Empty Tomb” brings to mind Pentagram Home Video and Slasher Film Festival Strategy, while “Cave of Clarity” adds a little sunshine to the proceedings. “Resonator” sounds like it came right out of an early Abel Ferrara film, with urban decay and street light glow all over it. “Black Candles” resonates dark magic vibes and incantations at midnight. The wonky organ vibes add a bit of an old school Hammer horror feel. Title track and album closer “Humanity” opens with an old church organ vibe but is accompanied by a melancholy synth line. It’s an exquisite piece to close this sonic world out on. End credit scene material for sure.
There’s a classic feel to Humanity. Sure, it’s similar to what has come before in the Alone 1980 canon, but there’s a real Gothic feel to the songs with the church organ that guides us through the record. The classic analog synth vibes bring us into the album’s narrative tone, but Alone 1980 wants us to experience this record on a more emotional level. There’s more of a connectivity to things tangible; be it fear, desire, love, or sadness. It’s the human experience presented to us in an imagined soundtrack. In my mind, there’s something transcendent about that. Something quite human.
8.1 out of 10
Humanity is available now. Get it over at Alone 1980s Bandcamp page.