I owe much to the Internet in general and The Synthpop Network in particular for expanding my knowledge on both modern and old school synthpop bands. It's heartbreaking to see that loads and loads of talented bands struggle to get their music out there for people to hear, but SPN is a big help for smaller bands, helping them to promote their music.
Not long ago, the idea of releasing a compilation of exclusive tracks entered the minds behind SPN and "Synthetik Wonderland" is the first hard evidence of their admirable ambition. The content is a mixture of established bands like Rational Youth, Red Flag and Beborn Beton and modern favourites such as Echo Image, New Concept and Sweep.
Two interesting collaborations are also included, one of them being the club friendly opener "Empire of Lies" by Intact featuring The Diverge, and the other a quirky synth experiment, "Mongo (for You)", signed Red Light Distrikt, a k a Jarmo Ollila of Daily Planet and Robert Enforsen, former Elegant Machinery member.
Among the highlights on this collection of rarities are Sweep's "In Your Eyes (2001 MGR Mix)", with its contrasting phases of monotony and frantic melody, A Spell Inside's "Horizon (Ground Version)", where a ballad has transformed into an intense dance number and Neuropa's "Away", simply because this particular song shows how they should sound, with the vocals and catchiness as main features.
This said, the mix of Beborn Beton's "Vorbei" and Obsc(y)re's contribution, a remake of "Wounds", didn't make me jump of joy, but seen as a whole, "Synthetik Wonderland" is perfectly balanced synthpop combo, with appearances by many new talents, as well as some of the genre giants. A refreshing ingredient is the inclusion of both Spanish (Estatuas de Sol) and Norwegian lyrics (Echo Image), inducing new life in the songs.
I'd recommend this to both the eighties synthpop fan who doesn't know much about the current situation of the genre and to the contemporary synthpop nut (=me!) because of the greatness and exclusiveness of the included tracks.