We’re big fans of Australian indie musician, songwriter, producer and retro-synth wizard Andrew Hetherington here at our magazine offices, and I think it’s pretty obvious why. Inspired by the sounds of our youth, Andrew’s music is a glorious explosion of synth goodness that is as exciting as it is innovative. The composer’s last single release “Intemporal” was one of my favorites and I’ve been eagerly awaiting a follow-up. Today is that day. Today marks the unveiling in our offices, of “Terminator 1984: A Musical Tribute”, and album that is sure to not only please fans of the genre but also win over newcomers. As can be gathered by the title, this musical collage was inspired by the 1984 sci-fi movie Terminator starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. This musical tribute delivers 10 intensely and lusciously layered tracks that goes well above the usual retro-synth tunes. This is epic stuff.
Opening with “Cyborg”, we’re immediately thrust into aggressive percussion and beefy basslines with fluttering and sparkling orchestrated strings. But what makes this track stand out is that it flows wonderfully, going from a hard-hitting attacks to an almost hypnotic cadence.
This is what you would expect from someone like soundtrack designer Hans Zimmer, rather than a retro-synth wizard. Andrew Hetherington has clearly stepped out of his comfort zone and moved his level up a couple of notches.
He is now playing the movie soundtrack field, where the arrangements, textures and tones are required to be more elaborate and expansive. However, this doesn’t seem to present a problem for Andrew Hetherington. The album then transitions into “Who Is Sarah Connor?”, which has a synthetic whine above a growling bassline that is just badass.
There’s really no other way to put it. And the fact that the album then follows with “Tech Noir”, which might as well make you feel like The Terminator yourself, just puts the cherry on top of the icing.
This opening trifecta already does an amazing job of hooking the listener in but then what follows are three wildly different sounding additions that prove that Andrew Hetherington is not only back with amazing music but that he’s further matured and grown in his approach, bringing far more to the table than one would have imagined.
“Run For Your Life” is full of twists and turns, moving from resonating synths to full orchestral flourishes in true cinematic fashion. “The Rise Of The Machines” is even more monumental featuring a mammoth arrangement embellished with choir chants.
Then we’ve got “Cyberdyne Systems 101”, which features the extensive use of horns, which add yet another dynamic dimension to an already stellar recording. “I’ll Be Back” bangs beyond belief, with funky bass guitars and rich undulating string motifs that add a splash of Technicolor and pace.
I could go on and on about the strength of this album, with songs like “(He’s) Unstoppable” or “Crushed (You’re Terminated F***er!)”, and the album closer “A New Destiny” which continues Andrew use of humongous instrumentals and voicings, but I think you’re realizing by now that I am absolutely besotted with this release.
As I stated previously, Andrew Hetherington has shown enormous technical growth and compositional maturity with “Terminator 1984: A Musical Tribute”.
There is clearly a mind-boggling amount of thought that has gone into each track, ensuring that each instrument, each tone, each pad, does something interesting towards conveying the album’s narrative. Andrew Hetherington has skillfully woven an album that is intricate and absolutely fascinating.
Moreover, this is an album – which is out now via the Jam Junkie label – that should shift Andrew Hetherington out of the underground shadows and into the spotlight, where synths become fully blown orchestras, and simple songs become epic soundtracks. The 1980’s sci-fi sound still lives, now improved by eons of evolving technology, and a sapient pair of Australian hands.