The Best Synthwave Artists: Shaping The Soundtrack of Nostalgia

The Best Synthwave Artists

Synthwave, a genre rooted in the nostalgia of 1980s music and culture, has seen a remarkable resurgence in recent years. Characterized by its retro-futuristic soundscapes, lush synthesizers, and pulsating beats, synthwave has captivated listeners with its blend of past and present. Here, we explore some of the best synthwave artists who have defined and shaped this genre, each bringing their unique style and vision to the table.

Pioneers and Influential Artists


Kavinsky is synonymous with synthwave, largely thanks to his iconic track ‘Nightcall,’ featured in the film ‘Drive’. His music is a cinematic journey through neon-lit streets, characterized by brooding, atmospheric sounds that evoke a sense of mystery and adventure. Kavinsky’s work has set a high bar for the genre, blending storytelling with a distinct 80s flair.


James Kent, known as Perturbator, is a leading figure in the dark synthwave subgenre. His albums ‘Dangerous Days’ and ‘The Uncanny Valley’ are rich tapestries of cyberpunk themes and intense, driving beats. Perturbator’s music delves into the darker side of synthwave, offering listeners a thrilling and immersive experience.

Carpenter Brut 

Carpenter Brut merges elements of metal with synthwave, creating an aggressive and energetic sound. His ‘Trilogy’ compilation is a masterclass in high-octane synthwave, featuring tracks like ‘Turbo Killer’ that are as exhilarating as they are addictive. Carpenter Brut’s work pushes the boundaries of the genre, infusing it with raw power and intensity.

Mitch Murder 

Mitch Murder is renowned for his smooth, melodic approach to synthwave. His album ‘Interceptor’ showcases his ability to craft nostalgic, emotionally resonant tracks that transport listeners back to the 80s. Mitch Murder’s music is a perfect blend of retro and contemporary, making it a staple of the genre.


Gunship blends synthwave with rock and pop elements, creating a sound that is both atmospheric and catchy. Their self-titled debut album and follow-up ‘Dark All Day’ are filled with tracks that are cinematic and evocative, featuring guest appearances from notable artists and a strong visual aesthetic that complements their music.

Rising Stars and Contemporary Artists

The Midnight 

The Midnight, composed of Tyler Lyle and Tim McEwan, is known for their emotive and catchy melodies. Albums like ‘Endless Summer’ and ‘Kids’ have helped define the modern synthwave sound, combining heartfelt lyrics with lush, nostalgic synths. The Midnight’s music resonates with listeners, capturing the essence of bittersweet memories and youthful dreams.


FM-84, led by Col Bennett, often collaborates with vocalist Ollie Wride to produce heartfelt and nostalgic tracks. The album ‘Atlas’ is particularly well-loved in the synthwave community, featuring anthems that are both uplifting and deeply emotional. FM-84’s music is a celebration of the past, wrapped in modern production.


Timecop1983 creates dreamy, cinematic synthwave music that transports listeners to another world. His album ‘Reflections’ is a standout, showcasing his talent for crafting immersive soundscapes that evoke a sense of longing and wonder. Timecop1983’s work is a testament to the power of synthwave to evoke deep emotional responses.


Lazerhawk blends retro 80s vibes with modern production techniques, creating tracks that are both nostalgic and fresh. Albums like ‘Redline’ and ‘Skull and Shark’ are essential listening for synthwave fans, offering a journey through high-energy, adrenaline-pumping soundscapes.

Dance with the Dead 

The duo ‘Dance with the Dead’ is known for their energetic, guitar-infused synthwave. Albums like ‘Out of Body’ and ‘Loved to Death’ demonstrate their unique sound, blending rock elements with pulsating synths to create a dynamic and electrifying experience.

Emerging Talents

Le Matos 

Le Matos gained prominence with their work on the ‘Turbo Kid’ soundtrack, offering upbeat, retro-futuristic tracks that are both fun and evocative. Their music is a perfect blend of nostalgia and innovation, making them a rising star in the synthwave scene.

Dan Terminus 

Dan Terminus creates dark, atmospheric synthwave that is complex and layered. Albums like ‘The Wrath of Code’ and ‘Automated Refrains’ showcase his ability to blend intricate sound design with powerful, evocative melodies. Dan Terminus’ work is a deep dive into the more experimental side of synthwave.

Mega Drive 

Mega Drive specializes in a darker, more dystopian form of synthwave. Albums like ‘198XAD’ and ‘Sequencer’ are highly regarded for their intensity and cinematic quality, offering listeners a journey through a futuristic, cyberpunk world.

Honorable Mentions

Com Truise 

Com Truise blends synthwave with chillwave and IDM influences, creating a unique sound that is both nostalgic and innovative. Known for his meticulous sound design, Com Truise’s albums like ‘Galactic Melt’ are a testament to his creative prowess.

Miami Nights 1984 

A key figure in the early synthwave scene, Miami Nights 1984’s album ‘Turbulence’ remains a classic. His music captures the essence of the 80s, offering listeners a perfect blend of nostalgia and modernity.

Synthwave is a genre that continues to evolve and captivate, driven by the creativity and passion of its artists. From the pioneers who defined the sound to the contemporary artists pushing its boundaries, synthwave offers a rich and diverse musical landscape. Whether you’re drawn to the dark, brooding beats of Perturbator or the emotive melodies of The Midnight, there’s a synthwave artist for every listener. Embrace the nostalgia, turn up the synths, and let these artists take you on a journey through time and sound.

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