As the days get shorter and the temperatures get colder, there's nothing better than hunkering down in your favorite chair, or hopping on your bicycle for a relaxing cruise with some fresh tunes playing in your ears. In this month’s Beats & Burn playlist, DJ Kyle Reese enlightens our eardrums with a wave of synth-heavy sounds that channel some dark 1980's movie-soundtrack vibes.
Cover art by Phoebe Low
This is the 32nd volume of our monthly Beats & Burn series, a collaboration with Portland's local, independent radio station XRAY.fm.
Playlist by DJ Kyle Reese of VCR TVc
About the mix
“The overall mood I try to create when I’m doing a radio show is usually a mix of three things; style, mystery and fun. I like to do everything live in the studio and have the format be a continuous flow, with one song blending into the next whenever possible. The music and process feel much more organic and energized to me this way, not unlike if you were actually out at a venue.
That feeling is what I have tried to present with this mix; it was recorded in one take. The music itself is a combination of old and new songs that I feel have come to represent the vibe of VCR TV. If I had to describe what that is, it would surely be italo disco from the early 80’s, synth-wave artists of today, movie soundtracks that are dark and timeless, noir new-romantic oddities, and always at least one unclassifiable curveball. This is generally the music I’m thinking about most of the time, but considering we are edging ever closer to Autumn and October, I think this mix feels timely and appropriate. It’s unintentionally divided into two sections; the first is more dance-oriented, while second is almost all soundtrack picks.
I want to mix the idea of music and movies together, because I think the two are very important to each other. The main genres I usually pull from are 1980’s sci-fi, fantasy and action movies, because I believe these are some of the most creative & imaginative films, in all aspects. Inversely, if I hear a song that reminds me of one of these movies or sounds like it could be part of one, its going to be a perfect fit for me. This is the main concept I always try to go for and hope this mix is an enjoyable sample into the realm of video music!”
About the DJ
Reese is likely to be found in any number of places; installing exhibits at the Portland art museum or in a private collector’s house, hanging out at the Hollywood theater or Movie Madness (both essential), DJing around town at different venues, or deep in a thrift store, searching for electronic junk and VHS tapes.
VCR TV is broadcast LIVE on XRAY FM from 2am-3am on Thursday Nites/Friday
Mornings. Kyle Reese is your DJ, host, & curator of movie soundtracks, heavy synth, and dark dance music.
Cover art by Phoebe Low / phoebelow.com / @phoebehlow
About the art
"When I first listened to this playlist, I was really drawn to the full-on 80s synth-wave sounds, with some really fantastic nods to 80s movie soundtracks. I knew that my color scheme needed to reflect these sounds, and – as I am an artist obsessed with portraits – I wanted to create a character who personified the dark yet glamorous feeling that builds throughout the tracks. When I think about some of the most iconic and culture-shaping movies from the 80s, I always fall on John Hughes, who was truly an expert at depicting the awkward and shitty experiences of being a teenager. As troubling as they were, I was always very intrigued by the stereotypes and characterizations of each high school "clique" portrayed in those movies, and I found it inspiring when characters would break the mold and do something totally unlike themselves.
About the Artist
Phoebe Low is a graphic designer, illustrator, and painter in Portland, OR. She is deeply curious about people, particularly what their faces say about themselves- or what they hide about themselves. The style of her work is inspired by artists that span from Egon Schiele to Chuck Jones, and continues to get a little bit more political with every terrifying, passing day.