First appearing as a dubstep and garage producer during the late-2000s, Manchester-based artist Synkro (Joe McBride) gradually evolved his sound into a melancholy, atmospheric mixture of drum'n'bass, ambient, and IDM. Throughout the 2010s, Synkro released several EPs and full-lengths through R&S sublabel Apollo, from the wistful downtempo EP Broken Promise (2012) to the ambient/new wave hybrid Images (2019), in addition to collaborations with ASC, Arovane, and Indigo (his partner in the Akkord project).
Synkro initially emerged as part of the late-2000s dubstep scene, releasing dozens of 12"s on labels like Smokin' Sessions and Dubbed Out. His booming, bass-heavy tracks like "Jah Love" update dub reggae for the post-Digital Mystikz era, while "Don't Know" and "Closer" are moody and melancholy, with swinging U.K. garage rhythms and Burial-like vocal sample manipulation. He first began collaborating with Indigo (Liam Blackburn) in 2009, releasing joint 12"s on labels such as On the Edge and Mindset. In 2010, Synkro began producing atmospheric drum'n'bass similar to artists such as dBridge and Instra:mental, beginning with "Letting Go" on Blackout Music. Released in 2011, the Stop & Think EP incorporated more of a deep house sound, while other productions reflected his ambient and IDM influences, with intricately programmed beats and fragile, wistful melodies. Following records on Box Clever and Pushing Red, Synkro collaborated with similarly minded producer ASC in 2012, issuing the "Borderline" 12" on Auxiliary.
Also in 2012, Synkro signed with R&S sublabel Apollo, which issued the producer's downtempo Broken Promise EP. This was followed in early 2013 by the double EP Acceptance. Also in 2013, Synkro and Indigo's darker, more experimental Akkord project signed to Houndstooth, which issued the Navigate EP and a self-titled full-length that year. At the end of the year, Apollo released Synkro's Lost Here EP, which featured two tracks sung by vocalist Robert Manos. By this point, Synkro had built up a busy touring schedule, but his recorded output had eased up considerably since his more prolific dubstep days, making each successive release more of a special event. Transient arrived on Apollo in late 2014, with two drum'n'bass tracks on the A-side and two downtempo cuts on the flip. In early 2015, he released a handmade cassette single titled "Farewell," which had more of a sad new wave feel to it. Synkro's long-awaited debut full-length, Changes, arrived on Apollo in September of 2015. Following the Changes Remix EP in 2016, Apollo released a double CD of early Synkro singles, Memories 2008-2011. In 2018, McBride launched his own Synkro Music label with two EPs, Luminous and Gagaku. He also collaborated with Arovane on Refractive (Index), an EP for Apollo. A third Synkro Music 12", released in 2019, included another Arovane collaboration, as well as a track with Marenn Sukie. Synkro's second full-length, Images, was released by Apollo in 2019. ~ Paul Simpson