MARNIE Strange Words & Weird Wars

Helen Marnie has established herself as a solo artist with her magnificent first opus ‘Crystal World’, which having been recorded in Iceland, had a feel of cold and serene, yet volatile atmosphere.

Of course, better known as the front face of LADYTRON, Marnie’s own sound will always be compared with that of the band which made her popular, but her musicianship runs deep. Having studied classical piano at the Royal Scottish Academy Of Music & Drama and music at the University Of Liverpool, Marnie is a songwriter and instrumentalist in her own right.

Having been remixed by names like Mark Reeder and Stephen Morris, Marnie quotes KATE BUSH, MARIA CALLAS, CHVRCHES and GRIMES as her favourites. And now her long awaited second album ‘Strange Words & Weird Wars’ announces itself with the first single ‘Alphabet Block’. A burst of pure pop, sounding like a cross between MEL C, KYLIE MINOGUE and GRIMES, the song is deliciously melodic with the addition of that candied voice, all the ready to challenge pop and electronic charts alike.

‘Bloom’ ushers a decent dose of synth in, while continuing to be a hook laden gem… so why haven’t we sent Marnie to do the Eurovision again? Meanwhile ‘G.I.R.L.S’ bears the signs of the synth revival girls LA ROUX and LADYHAWKE.

From girls to boys, ‘Summer Boys’ brings in slower paced commodities of dreamy electronica and classic pop, but where are Don Henley’s ‘Boys Of Summer’? Back onto girls, ‘Invisible Girl’ pays homage to the classic pop of the late 20th Century, combined with something LADY GAGA wouldn’t be ashamed of. Meanwhile, ‘A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night’ brings back the feel of the tracks John Fryer used to produce during the shoegazing era.

‘Electric Youth’ stands out with a perfect pop utilisation à la TIFFANY or even DEBBIE GIBSON. With ‘Little Knives’, Marnie is as close as she can get to GRIMES; it’s a grown up CHVRCHES inspired track, which in places could have been a LADYTRON piece. However, it’s quite clear here that the darker influences of LADYTRON never originated with Marnie.

‘Lost Maps’ is simply stunning; urgent, yet patient, full bodied, yet uncomplicated. It’s an instant hit. The long player is wrapped up with ‘Heartbreak Kid’, which beefs up the synths and extends Marnie’s vocal abilities, genuinely showcasing the lady’s capabilities.

What can Marnie’s solo project be described as? It’s like LADYTRON, minus the darkness or gothica, but with an added genuine love of pop music, often in a Scandinavian style.

However this is not a happy clappy record; under the aura of sweetness, there are real issues, but they’re freshly packaged and positively delivered. This is a worthy body of work from the Scottish songstress.


With thanks to Paul McCallum at A Badge of Friendship

‘Strange Words & Weird Wars’ is released on 2nd June 2017 by Disco Piñata in vinyl LP, digital and limited edition CD-R formats, pre-order from https://helenmarnie.bandcamp.com/

http://www.helenmarnie.com/

https://www.facebook.com/helen.marnie.official/

http://discopinata.com/artist/marnie/


Text by Monika Izabela Trigwell
24th May 2017

FIFI RONG The Same Road

Beijing-born songstress FIFI RONG pulls off a surprise with her latest single ‘The Same Road’.

More uptempo than she has even been before with a driving nocturnal resonance, ‘The Same Road’ is accessible while still retaining the airy mystery of her previous work. The synthy soundscape is particularly enticing along with Rong’s distinctive vocal interplay, while the rhythmic guitar and reverbed drum sound adds some of the Trans-Atlantic vibe that CHVRCHES successfully adopted on their second album ‘Every Open Eye’.

Mixed by Max Dingel whose credits have included THE KILLERS, WHITE LIES, MUSE and GOLDFRAPP, ‘The Same Road’ is the possibly the most pop that FIFI RONG has ever been with the latter’s ‘Head First’ looming over it.

While the single sees FIFI RONG move away from her more artful downtempo roots, she says “‘The Same Road’ falls into one of my recurring themes of such inherent paradox and emotional cocktail of vulnerability and strengths.”

Directed by her regular visual collaborator Paris Seawell, the video for ‘The Same Road’ sees Rong in enigmatic dance motion choreographed by Dam Van Huynh, with the hazy effect enhanced by striking UV glow make-up…

Following the success of her previous campaigns, FIFI RONG begins a new Pledge Music project for her next two single releases. One of the options available is the possibility of her recording a cover version of your choice, while also available are the usual opportunities for private gigs, personalised lyric sheets and a signed limited edition compilation vinyl LP of her career to date.

With appearances at SXSW 2017 and The Great Escape, along with her noted collaboration with Swiss electronic pioneers YELLO, FIFI RONG is undoubtedly on an upward trajectory with her brand of world futurism.


‘The Same Road’ is released on 16th June 2017 via AWAL through the usual digital outlets

FIFI RONG launches ‘The Same Road’ with a live show at The Waiting Room in London’s Stoke Newington on 13th June 2017

Information on FIFI RONG’s current Pledge Music campaign can be viewed at: http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/fifirong-2singles

http://www.fifirong.com/

https://www.facebook.com/fifirongmusic/

https://twitter.com/fifirong


Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Paris Seawell
24th May 2017

TEC Gold: LIVE REPORTS ARCHIVE

jean-michel-jarre-o2-03Since March 2010, The Electricity Club has built up a big portfolio of live reports featuring gigs by evergreens such as JEAN-MICHEL JARRE, OMD and HEAVEN 17 to modern day exponents of electronic music like EAST INDIA YOUTH, NIGHT CLUB, VILE ELECTRODES and TENEK.

Events both home and abroad such as The Electronic Phuture Revue and the ELECTRI_CITY CONFERENCE have also been reviewed. All of TEC’s live reports have been archived in an easy-to-use page set in reverse chronological order. More inside ›

AVEC SANS We Are

‘We Are’ is the latest single from London based pairing AVEC SANS.

Remixed from their debut album ‘Heartbreak Hi’ released in 2016, it is beefed up considerably from the original; the self-directed video to ‘We Are’ acts as an excellent visual accompaniment with the duo cast in a series of fast cut strobe-induced settings.

Certainly, it’s been visually in a live setting that AVEC SANS have made the biggest impression, with vocalist Alice Fox’s enigmatic SIA-like presence and Jack St. James’ use of three flashing Novation Launchpads on stage.

Forming in 2012, AVEC SANS quickly garnered the support of the influential web publication Popjustice and secured a support slot with LITTLE BOOTS in 2013 while more recently, they were spotted opening for LADYHAWKE. Their other supporters include RUSTY EGAN and RODNEY CROMWELL.

Their appearance at the Butlins ‘Electric Dreams’ weekender last December alongside OMD, HEAVEN 17, MARC ALMOND, BLANCMANGE and MARSHEAUX won them new fans.

However, AVEC SANS have polarised electronic music audiences… while some consider them the best new synth act since CHVRCHES, other observers point to their lack of hooks and immediacy compared with their Glaswegian contemporaries.

Whatever, what cannot be doubted about AVEC SANS is the quality of their vocals and production. As they tour North America this spring, their trajectory can only head upwards.


‘We Are’ is released as a limited edition CD single on 3rd April 2017 by Beverly Martel, the debut album ‘Heartbreak Hi’ is still available

http://avecsans.com/

https://www.facebook.com/avecsansband/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
4th March 2017

PARALLELS Metropolis

Canada often treats the listener of electronica to some sparkling gems, including GRIMES, DELERIUM, SKINNY PUPPY, FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY or RATIONAL YOUTH, and PARALLELS are now one of them.

The Toronto based trio consisting of the siblings Holly and Nick Dodson plus Artem Galperine, topped the electronic charts in 2015 and have toured extensively since. Known for their use of vintage synths, including the Korg PolySix and Juno 60, the self-confessed fans of DEPECHE MODE, KATE BUSH and NEW ORDER have now released their third opus ‘Metropolis’.

The claim that “PARALLELS has been more than just a music project to us – it’s something we’ve lived, breathed and dreamt about for many years now” proves that the passion to make music is deeply ingrained in the trio, who joined many other artists to present their work through Pledge.

‘Metropolis’ doesn’t just share the album title with PARRALOX‘s 2010 stunning electro dance outing; it’s as synthy and as dishy as that of their Australian friends. The title track, which also opens the long player, has been featured as Song Of The Week on CBC Radio 1’s ‘Here & Now’.

It’s all about high energy, wholesome songs, sung in a stunning voice, which at times recalls MADONNA in her prime. Apart from the mellower pieces, there are some Eurovision worthy anthems, like ‘Civilisation’.

There’s also something dark lurking behind the candied front, which represents itself beautifully on ‘I.R.L’. The hounding vocal leads the elusive melody, studded with perfect electronica and that bass, as if taken from the soundtrack to ‘Twin Peaks’.

‘Ocean, Moon & Tide’ sounds like a female-led ERASURE and ‘Catch’ has the urgency found in the familiar tracks by ROBYN, with synth lines of AND ONE.

The exuberant synth is joined by soft rock elements in ‘The Kids Will Save Detroit’, which also featured on ‘Civilisation’ EP. This tune could truly pass as a something from a film soundtrack. Similarly, ‘Technicolor’ has those larger than life BON JOVI or BRYAN ADAMS guitar riffs, before a more contemporary sound comes back on ‘The Last Man’. The lineal, almost tribal textures here, together with gentle synthesis and subdued lead, close the production.

While the sugar-coated vocal may not appeal to some listeners of the genre, it has to be said that PARALLELS have done their homework and produced an excellent dance album once again. Dodson’s voice has a luscious quality, without being too sickly, and it corresponds with the poppy electronica beautifully. Could she be the female ANDY BELL? Sure so!


‘Metropolis’ is available as a CD or download via Marigold Productions from https://parallels.bandcamp.com/album/metropolis

http://www.iloveparallels.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Parallels/

https://twitter.com/iloveparallels


Text by Monika Izabela Trigwell
17th February 2017