Fen Doi releases debut album ‘New Horizon,’ melding retrowave and uplifting synthpop

"It tells a story of tender new beginnings in the aftermath of unexpected change and loss. It is about maintaining an attitude of gratitude when much speaks against it"
7 June 2024
Photo by Sina Lou Ravasio

Electronic innovator Fen Doi launches his inaugural album New Horizon, packing a dynamic nine-track punch that rebukes categorization. Cashing in on his sonic promissory notes are layers of velvet-smooth synths and drums that throttle and turbocharge. Right from the start, New Horizon grabs your attention, with its audacious blend of classic retrowave elements and forward-thinking sonic experimentation.

Based in Zurich, Switzerland, Fen Doi is a refreshing addition to the synthpop world, driven entirely by producer, drummer, and vocalist Neil Lauper. His music, described as encouraging listeners to “dance into a brighter future,” blends futuristic and retro sounds seamlessly. Previous releases have been supported by electronic dance music artists like Ellen Allien (at Boiler Room Sydney), Curses, Perel, and Reka, and have received airplay on Swiss National Radio. Lauper’s unique mix of post-punk/darkwave with bright, uptempo synths and electronica captures a blend of melancholy and joy.

Photo by Sina Lou Ravasio

New Horizon was produced and recorded in Lauper’s home studio, starting as an organic piece found through keyboard improvisation. After writing the lyrics and vocals, he used digital synthesizers (Arturia V Collection, Alchemy) to create the desired sonic landscape and add harmonic depth. The track’s layered, full sound offers an immersive and intense listening experience.

At its core, New Horizon conveys a message of resilience through sparkling sonics and uplifting lyrics. “I think something must have changed in me,/ All the colors give me energy,” Lauper sings. He explains, “‘New Horizon’ tells a story of tender new beginnings in the aftermath of unexpected change and loss. It is about maintaining an attitude of gratitude when much speaks against it.”

The album’s visuals, created with Zurich illustrator and designer Frederik Bauer, depict a dark, digital, and somewhat polished room with a window or screen that feels like a portal to the real world, where new beginnings are just a step away. Lauper describes the artwork as having a museal vibe, situated between the digital and analog, the electronic and organic worlds.

ArtWork by Frederik Bauer

Other notable tracks from the album include Before You Go (a bittersweet breakup track that is as catchy as it is tragic) and Wallflower (an ode to classic 80s synth). Lauper has mastered the balance between darker lyricism and danceable compositions, a feat not easily achieved.

Fen Doi is an experience best enjoyed at full volume. Fans of both RÜFÜS DU SOL and Drab Majesty will be captivated by this project.

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