Virgin Skulls: “Gatekeeper” – robust, pounding electronica with a vintage tinge!

Virgin Skulls are Marco and Tiro Rivera. The duo share a 20-year friendship, but only recently joined forces artistically. Their creativity is inspired by new wave, disco, and the UK’s eloquent and chic new Romantic Movement. Marco and Tiro have come to save electronic music from mediocrity. They have ridden in on a white horses, adorned with bags of gold, to spread its wealth to all who will accept it. And there is no reason why you should not accept it. I know I’m risking overhype here, which I don’t mean to do, but their latest track “Gatekeeper”, is just that good. Utilizing sounds from the 80s, 90s and the new millennium, they create an ultra-modernized old school vibe. Phat basslines and dense structures in constant flux make it a majestic creative vision. The sheer scale of the track will grab you by the ears and never let them go. This is a single that is sure to leave a lasting impression.

But it goes beyond that. Virgin Skulls take their many years of experience and craft one of their best tracks yet. Marco and Tiro Rivera rarely rest on their laurels, they offer creativity and energy in bucket loads, and always provide a stunning, ear warming auditory experience.

Truth be told, Virgin Skulls is never out to waste your time, not even the 5 minutes of “Gatekeeper”Virgin Skulls is out to help you spend that time a whole lot better than you would have, without them. The analog sounding whooshy leads, and alternately surging and stabbing basslines, form a robust, pounding electronica with a vintage tinge.

From the opening bars of “Gatekeeper”, the building rhythm, head-in-the-clouds synths, and playful bass squiggles suggest something multifaceted and euphoric. This hits home in an impactful way, once the layered vocals slide into the arrangement. Moody, melodic and captivatingly ‘80s, the track incorporates dark synthwave motifs and sounds both familiar and uncanny, and always beautifully handmade. Tying together ideas of Darkwave and slow-motion funk.

“Gatekeeper” is a thoroughly well-made and rewarding listen. The word that comes to mind while exploring the different zones of this track is unquestionably ‘confidence’, which might seem annoying on paper, but Virgin Skulls is so self-assured in their arrangement that the vocals fuse themselves flawlessly into the balancing act of driving drums and skittering synths.

Nostalgic, dramatic and not exactly short on synth, “Gatekeeper” is the kind of track necessary to help us battle through the rest of 2019. It seems like Virgin Skulls have set themselves the personal challenge of seeing how much groove and emotion can possibly be conveyed through electronic music.

Virgin Skulls display a complete mastery of their craft, building up electronic sounds in an alternate language ample enough to express shifting moods and paint a series of signature styles.

Remember a few decades back when synthesizers took over, heralding the sound of the future? That original synth sound has diluted now, becoming a past artefact that only a handful of current electronic musicians know how to manipulate authentically. Virgin Skulls is one of the select few.

MORE ABOUT Virgin Skulls: Among their influences Marco and Tiro Rivera of Virgin Skulls count such diverse artists as Depeche Mode, Donna Summer, Tears For Fears, Morrissey, ABC, and Yaz. Tiro has spent decades as a tastemaker in music, fashion, and television. He’s widely respected for his career as a successful event promoter and talent buyer, producing some of the New York City area’s premier dance parties before becoming music director at the famed East Village venue Webster Hall.

A model, dancer, singer, composer, and actor, Marco has appeared in runway shows for such designers as Tommy Hilfiger and John Bartlett. He’s globe-trotted as a dancer with megastars such as La Bouche, Planet Soul and Sonique. He has also garnered roles in videos by such superstars as Ashanti, George Michael, Enrique Iglesias, Jennifer Lopez and Destiny’s Child, opposite Beyoncé.

***NOTE*** Virgin Skulls will be going on tour during the upcoming seasons and will be doing a few warm-up open mic sessions at the amazing New Jersey beach resort town of Asbury Park, at THE ASBURY HOTEL starting on the 27th of June at 7:00 Pm.


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