Santa Barbara


Milwaukee-based synth artist Holy Visions first began slinging his sunny, colorful 80s retrosynth in early 2015 with the release of the instrumental "Santa Barbara" on the Coup De Grace Studios label. That song was described at the time as a "fatter, more intense" take on the sunny pastels and major-key hooks of 80s Miami than what is usually seen in the synthwave/retrowave movement from artists such as Miami Nights 1984, Mitch Murder and SelloRekt/LA Dreams. At least one critic also noted that below all that care-free sunshine vibe was a frenetic, anxious energy, just waiting to come out — adding a complex emotional dynamic to the mood palette of the retro song.

Holy Visions followed that up in November 2015 with the equally pastel-toned "Cut Me Out," a vocal track with an airy house foundation that more often than not pulls Holy Visions away from the standard synthwave/retrowave label into the poppier retro vibes of the likes of Brothertiger and Cut Copy. When it was released, at least one critic described the song's house-infused backbeat, glossy pink synthesizers, and comforting vocals as being just the base for an all-encompassing feeling of serenity and pan-species goodwill the music conjures up.