Damo’s Synthwave Funk and Virtuosity on the new “1988”

Damo - 1988

Damo is Damein Parker, a multi-talented multi-instrumentalist producer based in Tucson, Arizona. Regular readers of The Static Dive will recognize the name. He first appeared on these pages in July of 2019. At that time we featured his newly released 4-song “Damo Demo.” On that record he introduced us to his unique retro-synth vision.

Parker has used the ensuing year since he dropped the demo to finish the full-length album, 1988. The new 10-song collection both expands and defines the theme he first presented in 2019. As the title of the album suggests, Damo’s new record is a sonic ode to a bygone era of 808 beats, analog synths and rocking guitar. However, the 10-song instrumental collection uses live instrumentation and sophisticated arrangements to expand that 80’s framework well beyond typical synthwave fare.

The record opens with “The Albeit Horizon.” The track’s expansive and synth-heavy sound, funky chorus-soaked bass guitar and Frank Zappa influence lead guitar set the stage for what’s to come. The whole album has a cinematic feel and many times leans heavily into that realm. For instance, “I’m Done With That” sounds like an outtake from Prince’s Batman soundtrack. It even includes a sample of a famous movie quote; Clark Gable’ legendary, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn,” from “Gone With the Wind.” “See You Out” creates an expansive soundscape and includes some really nice solo keys.

Although this is an intentionally synth heavy record, it is not simply drum machines and robot music. Each track features top-notch actual human musicality. From jazzy improvised keys to 80’s powered guitar shredding. Throughout the album, cool bass lines create funky and eclectic grooves. Both organic and synthetic bass tracks work in off-beat rhythms and creative melodic lines on tracks like “With it” and the adventurous “To See a Light.” That track is a real highlight of the album with its shifting moods and thoughtful composition.

Tracks like “Just Doin Me and My Thang” and “Dawn of Mass” feature some beautifully complex melodic work that borders on Classical. The latter gets into some cool, hypnotic avant garde moods. Damo also likes to sneak modern genres into his retro framework. Tracks like “Valediction” and the album closer “On My Way” hint at EDM styles ranging from Hard Techno to Ambient.

All songs written, recorded, mixed, master,
owned and distributed by Damein Parker.
Released on Independence Day 2020

At first listen, Damo’s new album “1988” sounds like the really cool soundtrack to our favorite 80’s movie. Digging a little deeper, we find it to be an intricately layered sound. The full album is available on both Soundcloud and bandcamp. Check it out and follow the links below to connect with the artist. Stay in the loop on all of his current and future releases.

Connect with Damo