Color Theory (AKA Brian Hazard) has created synth-pop rooted in the 1980s since the 1990s — replete with Martin Gore pipes, his work has even been mistaken for new Depeche Mode material. But new album The Majesty of Our Broken Past represents his first foray fully into synthwave, a genre that is generally more ’80s-inspired than ’80s. Today, you get an exclusive opportunity to listen to the whole album two days before it’s released.
The Orange County, California-based Hazard has called Majesty a “melancholy synthwave collection” that captures the ’80s in which he grew up: “wonderful, even magical at times, yet wistfully desolate.” You’ve heard a couple of the tracks already, because they were released as singles. There’s even a video.
‘The… Music I’ve Always Wanted to Make’
But why synthwave, I asked him? It’s true, Hazard has always been a fan of ’80s music, including artists like Vince Clarke and his related acts and bands he can now count as mastering clients, including Heaven 17 and Information Society. Perhaps synthwave was a natural progression for his 10th album?
“Synthwave is the kind of music I’ve always wanted to make: the music of my youth,” Hazard told Vehlinggo. “But until the past year or so, I never took it all the way, because I didn’t think there was an audience for it. Instead, I fused my ’80s leanings with whatever was happening in electronic music at the time. From 2010-2016, while I was borrowing production elements from EDM, the synthwave scene grew into a movement right under my nose, and somehow I didn’t notice.”
But since 2016 he’s been able to fly his synthwave freak flag and we’ve all been better off for it. Welcome home, Brian.
Cover art for The Majesty of Our Broken Past is by scene stalwart Sam Todhunter. The album releases on Friday.