4AM is the recently unearthed DIY synth-pop manifesto by UK duo Steve Kirby and Kevin Finch. Their lone release was originally privately pressed in 1990 to a dismal 300 copies, but thankfully repressed by Oslo-based label Mutual Intentions in 2019. Recording in their bedroom studio, the duo harbored quite the synth arsenal and composed a lo-fi futuristic record that perfectly sits on the edge of 80s and 90s electro music. The main tools for the record were a DX7 for chords, a Casio CZ-101 for bass, a Korg EX-800, and a Roland MKS-50 for pads and washes, and of course, a trusty 808 and a Sequential Circuits TOM for drum programming. The album is a bouncy 40-minute balearic adventure that subtly moves through styles taking in the sounds of the times with funked-up British synth-pop, sentimental bedroom ballads, and futuristic takes on electro-jazz and proto-house. Like all great 80s amateur records, it’s incredibly heartfelt, almost to the point of being endearingly goofy with its romantic aims, but that’s the key to 4AM’s undeniable charm. Highly recommended for fans of fellow 80s “amateur” pop and electronic masters like Ronald Langestraat, Vito Ricci, Jeff Phelps, and Patrick Cowley.
Recommended – A3 Passion, B2 Trouble & Pain
Tags: Balearic / DIY / House / New Wave / Reissue