The Forbin Project has always focused on one thing: paying homage to the synth-drenched sounds of the ’80s. But until now, Danny Martinez and company have never really reached their historicism like they have on TFB’s latest single, “Speak.” The programmed drums, the static arpeggiated synth line, Martinez’s ghostly vocals and an undeniable surprise beckon to synth-pop’s earliest beginnings. Martinez himself proclaims the track is “probably the most electronic song I’ve ever put out,” making it a departure from his typically organic, shoegaze cantations. When it comes to early new wave, it’s obvious that Martinez has done the required listening, and is a worthy heir to the electronic throne.
In late ’70s Manchester, U.K., an independent label specializing in a genre eventually known as new wave would change the face of pop music. Factory Records, as it was called, would give a voice to some of the most formative acts of the 1980s, fielding artists like Joy Division, Paul Haig, Durutti Column, Cabaret Voltaire, and many more. Seemingly, Martinez is channeling the ghosts of that era, with sparse keyboard work, and a mechanistic disco underpinning. His voice is breathy, his musical layering apropos of the late ’70s/early ’80s movement.
“Speak” follows a typical synth-pop line, but reserves the track’s most pleasant surprise for the three-minute mark, where Martinez emulates the unmistakeable signature of the Factory Records style. A Peter Hook (Joy Division, New Order)-esque baseline, along with a sparse guitar texturing, a la Bernard Sumner, graces the track. The result is a true homage to synth-pop at its finest, and another dead strike for Martinez’s Forbin Project.
Martinez has taken his trade to a new level with “Speak.” Although his work as the brain trust behind The Forbin Project has always been on point, this song is a departure from Martinez’s usual shoegazer fare. In its place comes a truly wonderful, historic homage.
“Speak” comes off the “Ghost” E.P.
This article originally appeared on Examiner.
Note: The video was shot entirely in Martinez’s bedroom, splicing in bits of cinematic fare and intensity building devices.