Tag: Compute

A Beginner’s Guide To EDDIE BENGTSSON

Eddie Bengtsson has been a trailblazing presence on the Swedish electronic music scene.

While best known for his involvement in PAGE and S.P.O.C.K, there have also been his solo adventures SISTA MANNEN PÅ JORDEN and THIS FISH NEEDS A BIKE as well as various productions, collaborations and remixes. Inspired by Synth Britannia, two of Bengtsson’s most notable influences have been Vince Clarke and Gary Numan, with ’Dreaming Of Me’ and ’Tracks’ among the cover versions he has recorded over the years. Meanwhile, THE HUMAN LEAGUE, OMD and ULTRAVOX also loom heavily within Bengtsson’s concepts and sound.

Indeed, the moniker SISTA MANNEN PÅ JORDEN, translated from Swedish as “last man on earth”, came from Phil Oakey’s spoken introduction on the latter’s original Fast Product version of  ‘Circus Of Death’.

Eddie Bengtsson had actually started out as a drummer but dumped his kit for synths after hearing the ‘Music For Parties’ by  SILICON TEENS, convinced they were a real band. As a indirect result, the music of Eddie Bengtsson has always been rhythmic and bursting with synth melodies, continuing to maintain a cult following both at home and in Europe.

Although having played their farewell concert in 2000, PAGE has become Bengtsson’s most comparatively prolific outlet since reuniting with Marina Schiptjenko in 2010 for the album ’Nu’.

With a independent zest and focus despite having made music for nearly four decades, 2013 and 2017 saw the respective releases of ’Hemma’ and ’Det Är Ingen Vacker Värld Men Det Råkar Vara Så Det Ser Ut’ by PAGE.

Meanwhile 2019 will see the release of a brand new PAGE long player; entitled ’Fakta För Alla’ (translated as ”Facts For All”), Bengtsson reckons ”It’s the best I have ever done and that says alot. Heavely influenced by my favourite albums, it’s the songs NumanVox never did”. From it, the first single will be ‘Kloner’.

So as a Beginner’s Guide to his vast catalogue of work under his many different guises, The Electricity Club presents eighteen songs which are decisively ‘Just Like Eddie’ with commentary from the man himself…


PAGE Dansande Man (1983)

Originally comprising of Eddie Bengtsson, Marina Schiptjenko and Anders Eliasson, PAGE brought the more purer form of poptronica to Sweden. Their debut single ‘Dansande Man’ was a frantically percussive excursion suitable for dancing to as the title suggested. Bengtsson recalled it as: “One of the only songs I have co-written with somebody else, maybe the only one in fact. I haven’t decided if the song is a blessing or a curse. If this is the only song you’ve heard by PAGE, then it’s sad”.

Originally released as a PAGE single via Eskimo Records, currently unavailable

https://www.facebook.com/PageElektroniskPop/


PAGE Som Skjuten Ur En Kanon (1986)

Eddie Bengtsson has often been referred to as the Swedish Vince Clarke, he confessed: “I had a YAZOO-period once…” when describing the second PAGE single ‘Som Skjuten Ur En Kanon’. Taking their time with releasing a debut album, ‘Hallå! (Var Tog Månbasen Vägen?)’ was recorded by Bengtsson and Schiptjenko as a duo and eventually emerged in 1994. Meanwhile 1992’s interim ‘Page’ collection gathered various tracks and remixes from 1984-1991 as a clearing of the vaults.

Originally released as a PAGE single via Accelerating Blue Fish, currently unavailable

https://www.discogs.com/artist/60354-Page


S.P.O.C.K Never Trust A Klingon (1992)

In parallel with PAGE, Bengtsson joined vocalist Alexander Hofman  to write and perform some ‘Star Trek’ themed songs for a friend’s Trekkie themed birthday party. ‘Never Trust A Klingon’ is still their crowning moment, a genius combination of deadpan vocals, bubbling electronics and samples from Captain James T Kirk himself. “I wanted to make something ‘hard’ and mechanical for S.P.O.C.K. Maybe this is their ‘Dansande Man’ in a way. A timeless song I think”.

Available on the S.P.O.C.K album ‘Five Year Mission’ via Energy Rekords

https://www.facebook.com/StarPilotOnChannelK


PAGE Electricity (1995)

‘Electricity’ was how many in the UK first heard of PAGE as the track was bootlegged for various OMD covers compilations. Bengtsson remembered: “We did this for an album featuring covers of classic electronic pop songs. Some songs you shouldn’t make covers of, because they are perfect as they are. Just as ‘Electricity’ is by OMD. Therefore I wanted it to sound as close to the original as I could”. Meanwhile, S.P.O.C.K contributed a detached reinterpretation of DURAN DURAN’s ‘Planet Earth’.

Available on the compilation album ‘‘To Cut A Long Story Short – A Tribute To The Pioneers Of Electronic Pop’ (V/A) via Energy Rekords ‎

http://www.energy-rekords.se/


S.P.O.C.K E.T. Phone Home (1997)

For their third album, the S.P.O.C.K acquired a new crew member in Johan Billing. Inspired by the Extra-Terrestrial’s growly catchphrase, despite once stating ‘All E.T:s Aren’t Nice’ Bengtsson was pumped and energised: “Maybe my favourite song of all the songs I wrote for S.P.O.C.K. And the only one I wrote the lyrics for to”. But despite this artistic high, he departed the Federation Starship via its transporter room at the end of his five year mission following ‘Assignment: Earth’.

Available on the S.P.O.C.K ‎ album ‘Assignment: Earth’ via SubSpace Communications AB

http://www.subspace.se/spock/


SISTA MANNEN PÅ JORDEN En Blå Planet (1998)

Although initially a collaboration with Matts Wiberg, SISTA MANNEN PÅ JORDEN was effectively Bengtsson’s solo vehicle. A glorious love song to Mother Earth, ‘En Blå Planet’ was a delightful drumbox waltz with haunting echoes of OMD’s ‘International’ that even had him soaring to falsetto. With grainy synthetic strings and becoming more percussively militaristic as it progressed, this was according to Bengtsson: “The first SMPJ song with lyrics. Still as beautiful as it was ‘then’”.

Available on the SISTA MANNEN PÅ JORDEN EP via ‘Först I Rymden’ via SubSpace Communications AB

http://www.moonbasealpha.space/


PAGE Som Det Var (1999)

“PAGE had a ‘gitarr-pop’ period” lamented Bengtsson, “Marina wasn’t in the band anymore and I made the mistake of continuing with the name. Shouldn’t have done that. The interesting thing is I made a whole PAGE album where the synths sounded so very much like guitars, the listeners really thought they were. ‘Too much guitars some said’ and the ordinary pop people said ‘too much synths’. Those two albums were really good, but didn’t really reach anyone, which is sad!”

Available on the PAGE single ‘Som Det Var’ via SubSpace Communications AB

https://subspacecommunications367416693.wordpress.com/page/


SISTA MANNEN PÅ JORDEN Leonov (2001)

‘Leonov’ was a fine tribute to Alexey Leonov, the legendary Voskhod 2 cosmonaut who became the first man to walk in space in 1965 and also took part in the 1975’s joint US / Soviet Apollo Soyuz Test Project. With its spacey floating vibe, it more than fitted in with regular space travel and Sci-Fi themes of SISTA MANNEN PÅ JORDEN. “I wanted to get the feeling of a big spaceship, down in the machine room, a bit Russian and all. An SMPJ favourite” said Bengtsson, “The video made for this, was totaly weird!”

Available on the SISTA MANNEN PÅ JORDEN ‎album ‘Ok, Ok, Ok’ via SubSpace Communications AB

https://subspacecommunications367416693.wordpress.com/sista-mannen-pa-jorden/


THIS FISH NEEDS A BIKE Do It (2004)

Having sung in Swedish for most of his career, Bengtsson looked to the language of the electronic pop that had emerged from British post-punk. While ‘Putting My Suit On’ could have been PAGE or SISTA MANNEN PÅ JORDEN, ‘Do It’ had a deeper aggressiveness to its texture: “From another CD that kinda just passed by. THIS FISH NEEDS A BIKE is / was my English project. I wanted to do some kind of Punktronica. The whole album is very good!”

Available on the THIS FISH NEEDS A BIKE album ‘Between A & B’ via Energy Rekords

https://www.discogs.com/label/3287-Energy-Rekords


SISTA MANNEN PÅ JORDEN Allt Är Klart (2007)

‘Allt Är Klart’ was an ULTRAVOX tribute and effectively a Swedish vocal version of the instrumental B-side ‘Alles Klar’. The hard staccato bassline was borrowed from the original, but the track was bolstered by some superb whirring synths in the tradition of Billy Currie’. “I told Christer Hermodsson (the other part of SMPJ and stage keyboardist) to make this ULTRAVOX sounding song even more ULTRAVOX sounding.” Bengtsson recalled, “ Christer is a big ULTRAVOX fan, and he made this so very cool”.

Available on the SISTA MANNEN PÅ JORDEN album ‘Tredje Våningen’ via Energy Rekords

https://www.discogs.com/artist/119968-Sista-Mannen-På-Jorden


PAGE Ett S.O.S (2010)

Having departed in 1996 and found European success in BWO, Marina Schiptjenko returned to PAGE in 2010; Bengtsson was very pleased to see her back: “From the album ‘Nu’ and that was PAGE’s ‘Marina is back again in the band’ album. New sound but still very PAGE”. With its electro Schaffel stomp, ‘Ett S.O.S’ allowed Bengtsson to freely exploit his Glamtronica instincts, something very much in evidence on PAGE’s 2012 cover of SLADE’s ‘Coz I Luv U’ for ‘The Seventies Revisited’ tribute compilation.

Available on the PAGE album ‘Nu’ via BAM

https://www.discogs.com/artist/760463-Eddie-Bengtsson


ROBERT MARLOW The Future – Glamtronica Redux By Eddie B (2013)

For ‘The Future’, Eddie Bengtsson took his Glamtronica ethos to Basildon for his treatment of the Essex new town’s often forgotten trailblazer, best known for being a former bandmate of Alison Moyet and the best friend of Vince Clarke who produced his best known tune ‘The Face Of Dorian Gray’: “Well, that song really got so much cooler after my Glamtronica treatment. But still, Marlow is Marlow and what he does, it’s what he should sound like, and that cool enough”. 🙂

Available on the ROBERT MARLOW ‎album ‘The Future Remixes’ via Electro Shock Records

https://www.facebook.com/MarlowandStarky/


PAGE Lyssnade På Min Radio (2013)

The warm reception for ‘Nu’ and the remergence of electronic pop led to PAGE following up with ‘Hemma’. Beginning with a sampled burst of THE SEX PISTOLS ‘Holidays In The Sun’ before revealing a distinctly Clarkean spirit deep inside the song’s genetic make-up, ’Lyssnade På Min Radio’ was something of an angry musical rant with Bengtsson’s observations on the awfulness of modern radio shows: “A classic pop song, about all the crap music that gets played on radio. This song never did”.

Available on the PAGE album ‘Hemma’ via Wonderland Records

https://www.instagram.com/page_svensk_pop/


MY GOD DAMN TERRITORY Beyond TQ (2014)

Stockholm duo Kajsa Olofsson and Mark Pettersson were already veterans of five more conventionally minded albums and initially influenced by Grunge. But for their sixth long playing offering ‘Kajser Und Marit’, they wanted  a fresh electronic touch. Enter label mate Eddie Bengtsson as collaborator and producer: “MY GOD DAMN TERRITORY, probably Sweden’s coolest most fresh indietronica band. A bit sad they opted for making a vinyl instead of a CD. Should have been huge, this band”.

Available on the MY GOD DAMN TERRITORY album ‘Kajser Und Marit’ via Energy Rekords

http://www.mygoddamnterritory.com/


SISTA MANNEN PÅ JORDEN Stadens Alla Ljus (2014)

“The newest song from SMPJ. I really love it. Gives me goose bumps when I hear it” says Bengtsson. Originally released as a single domestically in Swedish, the sparkly atmospheric pop of ‘Stadens Alla Ljus’ was given an English language treatment by Simon Helm of Cold War Night Life as the lyrically darker ‘All The City Lights’ for a special ‘Translate’ EP made available exclusively to attendees of SISTA MANNEN PÅ JORDEN’s debut London performance at The Lexington in 2015.

Available on the SISTA MANNEN PÅ JORDEN single ‘Stadens Alla Ljus’ via Club Electro Sound Sweden Records

http://hotstuff.se/sista-mannen-på-jorden/x-9189


THE VOLT Thirteen Men (2016)

“THE VOLT, with me and Ulrika Mild from COMPUTE did this one single…” said Bengtsson, “there was plans for more, maybe still are. Played a lot of ‘Fallout 3’ when I made this and of course it is a cover”. Written by jazz guitarist Dickie Thompson as ‘Thirteen Women & One Man’ and made famous by Elvis Presley’s unrequited crush Ann Margret, Mild gave her own seductive Bassey-like vocal treatment over the drum machine laden backing in this saucy ode to post-apocalypse permissiveness.

Available on THE VOLT single ‘Thirteen Men’ via Energy Rekords

https://www.facebook.com/computopia/


PAGE Start (2018)

After ‘Lyssnade På Min Radio’, Bengtsson found solace in ‘The Pleasure Principle’ and ‘Vienna’: “I have really found how I want PAGE to sound like, this is it. I built some ‘walls’ to shut out all the music that don’t interest me. Inside the walls I have my favourite albums. I listen to them alot, and almost only them. I get a kick from that and lots of inspiration. It’s a model I recommend to anyone. We can call it the Eddie-modell and I can explain it better some other time”.

Available on the PAGE EP ‘Start’ via Energy Rekords

https://hotstuff.se/cdm-page-start-ep-digipack-limited-edition-300-copies/68573


ANYMACHINE featuring JEDDY 3 To See A Man Like Me Go Down (2018)

A sombre number laced with the darker side of early OMD in its gothic overdrones for a collection of modern electronic pop inspired by John Hughes and The Brat Pack, ‘To See A Man Like Me Go Down’ saw Bengtsson dust off his JEDDY 3 moniker used in 2006 for the one-off ‘Another Day’: “ANYMACHINE is the very talented Ulf Persson from ARACHNOPHOBIA, it’s just that he doesn’t know how talented he is. This is his song that I wrote the lyrics and the song melody for. A nice collaboration”.

Available on the compilation album ‘Romo Night Records Vol 1’ (V/A) via Romo Night Records

http://www.romonightrecords.com


Text by Chi Ming Lai with thanks to Eddie Bengtsson
Additional thanks to Simon Helm
23rd March 2019

Five Years of TEC: 30 Lost Songs of The Electricity Club 2010 – 2014

Over the five years since its inception on 15th March 2010, The Electricity Club has aimed to highlight the best new music within the electronic pop world.

But with so much music and only a finite allocation of time, songs have slipped under the radar occasionally, or perhaps only received a glancing mention.

However, a bit of time and distance can reveal if these recordings really are actually lost gems and whether The Electricity Club missed the boat.

So here are 30 songs from the cover the period between March 2010 to December 2014 which The Electricity Club feels are worthy of rediscovery. They have been released as physical product or purchasable / free downloads and are listed in chronological and then alphabetical order.


YVY DEMINA Alley of Aces (2010)

Zwischenfall - A New Decade Vol. 01Sounding like night meeting day with an omnipresent gothic allure, YVY DEMINA has been making music since 2007 but despite having songs on compilations, so far she has yet to have a release in her own right. A debut EP scheduled for July 2009 never materialised but the excellent ‘Alley Of Aces’ crept out on the ‘Zwischenfall – A New Decade Vol. 01’ compendium which also featured XENO & OAKLANDER. No more has been heard since…

Available on the compilation album ‘Zwischenfall – A New Decade Vol. 01’ via Real Voice Of Underground

https://soundcloud.com/yvy-demina/yvy-demina-alley-of-aces


LYLEE Sternentanz (2010)

LYLEE SternentanzSeductive, Weimer Cabaret styled electropop with a rich, layered atmosphere, ‘Sternentanz’ was a gloriously vibrant song from this promising German songstress. But aside from three mixes of ‘Sternentanz’ and another track titled ‘Kein Weg Zu Weit’ on the single release, that was it. LYLEE’s website has long since gone offline so despite Google, there appears to be no extra information on her whatsoever… so a song and artist truly lost.

Available as a download single via Batleth Records, extended version available on the compilation album ‘electropop.5’ via Conzoom Records

http://www.last.fm/music/Lylee


TIKKLE ME Remind The World (2010)

tikkle meSick of female fronted synthpop? Well, tough! We want “synths with balls” cry the electro fraternity still stuck in their shouty, chauvinistic cauldron! But as the feminist synth combo TIKKLE ME put it on their song ‘Remind The World’: “I’ve got no balls you see… I’ve already checked!”. This Swedish collective certainly made a positive impression with some thought provoking lyrics on their feisty self-titled debut album and have tunes too! Their second album ‘What Is Real’ is even better!

Available on the download album ‘Tikkle Me’ via Gaphals

http://tikkleme.se/


047 Featuring LISA PEDERSEN Everything’s Fine (2011)

047 Everythings FineWith some rich Scandipop in the vein of ROBYN courtesy of guest vocalist LISA PEDERSEN, ‘Everything’s Fine’ showed that Swedish electronic duo 047 could produce quality song based material. Sebastian Rutgersson and Peter Engström started out as a chiptune act before expanding their sonic template on their second album proper, ‘Elva’. It is territory they’re continuing in with the much anticipated follow-up, currently being recorded.

Available on the album ‘Elva’ via Killing Music

http://www.047.se/


JOHAN AGEBJÖRN & LE PRIX featuring LAKE HEARTBEAT Watch The World Go By (2011)

johan-agebjornJOHAN AGEBJÖRN is better known as cult Swedish songstress SALLY SHAPIRO’s right hand man, but for his debut solo album, he brought in a number of guest vocalists like QUEEN OF HEARTS for ‘Casablanca Nights’, a rather danceable electronic pop album. ‘Watch The World Go By’ was an uptempo highlight with a longing, melancholic vocal from Janne Kask of LAKE HEARTBEAT that was treated to the point of being almost feminine.

Available on the download album ‘Casablanca Nights’ via Paper Bag

http://www.johanagebjorn.info/


CITIZENS! True Romance (2011)

citizensProduced by FRANZ FERDINAND’s Alex Koupranos, CITIZENS! ‘True Romance’ had a hint of HOT CHIP collaborating with Vince Clarke about it. Catchy and quirky, it was released in late 2011 and even had a slight passing resemblance to the CCS remix of LYKKE LI’s ‘Little Bit’. From a so-called indie band, ‘True Romance’ had a fresh, synth assisted approach that didn’t involve too many guitar interventions.

Available on the album ‘Here We Are’ via Kitsuné

http://www.citizenscitizens.com/


HIGH PLACES Year Off (2011)

HIGH PLACES Original colorsHIGH PLACES are a duo based in Brooklyn. Dark but danceable, Mary Pearson’s half spoken / half wispy vocals on the haunting ‘Year Off’ are unearthly. As a percussive mantra takes hold, the cacophony of synthetic sound produced by musical partner Rob Barber only enhances the cerebral experience of this magnificent track, with an electronic bassline solid enough to knock your head on.

Available on the album ‘Original Colors’ via Thrill Jockey Records

https://www.facebook.com/pages/High-Places/83873543030


NIKI & THE DOVE Mother Protect (2011)

NIKI&THEDOVE Mother ProtectWhile quite obviously derived from THE KNIFE and the hanutronica mood of the times, ‘Mother Protect’ was a great brooding tune from NIKI & THE DOVE. Malin Dahlstrom had a menacing growl that strangely sat between Karin Dreijer and Cyndi Lauper on this doom laden percussive rattle. The pair had potential and while THE KNIFE go to Eurovision of ‘DJ, Ease My Mind’ was another good tune in their cannon, they lacked consistency and the debut album ‘Instinct’ was not quite as impressive.

Available on the EP ‘The Drummer EP’ via Sub Pop

http://www.nikiandthedove.com


SPLENDOR PROJEKT Darkest Days (2011)

electropop6Full of European melancholy, ‘Darkest Days’ did what it said on the tin and appeared on the ‘Electropop.6’ compilation alongside VILE ELECTRODES and OBLIQUE. The vehicle of French producer Peter Rainman whose remixed for artists on labels such as Dependent, A Different Drum and Out Of Line, to date this has been his last offering as SPLENDOR PROJEKT. It is often quite puzzling how some musical ventures never get beyond a few released songs, while other less satisfactory acts keep going on and on…

Available on the compilation album ‘electropop.6’ via Conzoom Records

http://www.discogs.com/artist/1034736-Splendor-Projekt


PATRICK WOLF In The City – Richard X Mix (2011)

the-city-patrick-wolf1PATRICK WOLF once claimed to have had his image and act nicked by LA ROUX, but he seemed to do alright for himself as a kind of 21st Century’s answer to MARC ALMOND. With the synthetically accessible Richard X remix of ‘This City’, he actually came over like the lost Glaswegian band H20 through a Eurodisco filter. If Wolf actually stopped worrying about having his thunder stolen and actually did more stuff like this, he might then be able to outstrip LA ROUX.

Available on the download single ‘In The City’ via Hideout Recordings

http://www.patrickwolf.com


CHROMATICS Kill For Love (2012)

Chromatics_-_Kill_for_LoveHailing from Portland, CHROMATICS were one of the brace North American electronic acts who appeared on the ‘Drive – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack’ with their song ‘Tick Of The Clock’. ‘Kill For Love’ from their fourth album of the same name could have been THE JESUS & MARY CHAIN if they were a female fronted synth band. With a lo-fi, punkier edge to their sound, CHROMATICS straddle several camps and bring a unique template to the alternative music table.

Available on the album ‘Kill For Love’ via Italians Do It Better

https://www.facebook.com/CHROMATICSBAND


COMPUTE Goodbye (2012)

seventies revisitedGothenburg’s Ulrika Mild is COMPUTE whose first two releases ‘This’ in 2009 and ‘The Distance’ in 2012 impressed with their wispy, emotive DIY synthpop. Since then, she also found time to record a fabulous cover of ‘Goodbye’, written by Paul McCartney and first recorded by Mary Hopkin, for a tribute CD that also featured Swedish synth veterans PAGE with a great electro version of SLADE’s ‘Coz I Luv You’. Known for taking her time over things, COMPUTE’s third release is still eagerly awaited.

Available on the download compilation album ‘The Seventies Revisited’ via Friends of Electronically Yours

http://www.compute.se


MORTEN HARKET Scared Of Heights (2012)

MORTEN HARKET Scared Of HeightsFollowing the second disbandment of A-HA in 2010, MORTEN HARKET has sat again in that awkward artistic hinterland where he has the voice and the cheekbones, but is more challenged in the songwriting department. However, the spritely ‘Scared Of Heights’ written by Espen Lind, a mentor on the Norwegian version of ‘The Voice’, recalled the best of A-HA’s classic singles with Harket’s trademark falsetto allowed to let rip. However, Harket is unlikely to ever escape A-HA…

Available on the album ‘Out Of My Hands’ via Island / Universal Music

http://mortenharket.com/


LIZ & LASZLO Rien À Paris (2012)

LIZ & LASZLO Rien À ParisWhile bandmate Sean McBride was busy with his MARTIAL CANTEREL solo project, XENO & OAKLANDER’s Liz Wendelbo took a parallel busman’s holiday and contributed string synths and vocals to some tracks recorded by Xavier Paradis of AUTOMELODI fame. Perhaps lighter than XENO & OAKLANDER and more obviously in key, ‘Rien À Paris’ captured Wendelbo’s Gallic charms in a manner than was Francoise Hardy rather than her usual Jane Birkin.

Available as a download single via Visage Music

https://www.facebook.com/lizandlaszlo


PURITY RING Belispeak (2012)

PURITY RING BelispeakThe act that influenced CHVRCHES, Edmonton duo PURITY RING combined synths and glitch techniques with a clattering, off-kilter drum machine backbone. Megan James’ vocals aren’t that far off Lauren Mayberry’s sweet tones but while ‘Belispeak’ was a good tune full of invention and atmosphere, overall PURITY RING have perhaps lacked the pop oriented immediacy and focus of their Glaswegian contemporaries. Where they head next in the light of this will be interesting…

Available on the album ‘Shrines’ via 4AD

http://purityringsongs.com/


TOMORROW’S WORLD So Long My Love (2012)

TOMORROW’S WORLD So Long My LoveThe enticing project of NEW PONY CLUB’s Lou Hayter and Jean-Benoît Dunckel from AIR, ‘So Long My Love’ was a wonderfully motorik number with hypnotic drum machine, brash synth effects and sexy nonchalance all thrown into the bargain. Such an interesting combination had so much potential, but the resultant self-titled album released in 2013 lacked the vibrancy of this calling card and was sadly a disappointment.

Available on the album ‘Tomorrow’s World’ via Homebase

http://tomorrowsworld.fr/


CLUB 8 Stop Taking My Time (2013)

Club-8-Stop-Taking-My-TimeReleased on Sweden’s Labrador Records who launched THE SOUND OF ARROWS, ‘Stop Taking My Time’ was proof that a danceable electronic tune didn’t have to be a journey into death by four-to-the-floor or longer than five minutes. With Karolina Komstedt’s dramatically assertive vocal and a bursting bassline, CLUB 8 showed in a crisp 180 seconds that glorious, uplifting synthpop could still have an impact.

Available on the album ‘Above The City’ via Labrador Records

http://www.club-8.org/


DELPHIC Baiya (2013)

DELPHIC BaiyaLike fellow Mancunians HURTS, DELPHIC were hailed as one of the great hopes for male fronted electronic pop with a sound not unlike A CERTAIN RATIO gone right! Their debut album ‘Acolyte’ showed what they could be capable of, if they could only turn their extended jams into songs. However, the follow-up album ‘Collections’ disappointed with a misguided excursion into rap. The launch single ‘Baiya’ though was a cracker, combining the anthemic vocal pomp of MUSE with the rhythmical overtures of PRINCE.

Available on the album ‘Collections’ via Polydor Records

https://www.facebook.com/delphicmusic


FORT ROMEAU Stay True (2013)

FortRomeauTrueGhostly are the innovative label founded by American electronic musician MATTHEW DEAR and home to electro-punksters ADULT. Their roster also includes a number of interesting acts like London based FORT ROMEAU. The project of producer Michael Greene, ‘Stay True’ takes on a pulsating electro influence, but is allowed to breathe and progress with the space permitted by the length of the piece.

Available as a download EP via Ghostly Records

http://ghostly.com/artists/fort-romeau


ISAAC JUNKIE featuring GLENN GREGORY Something About You (2013)

ISAAC JUNKIE+GLENN GREGORY Something About YouHaving toured both ‘Penthouse & Pavement’ and ‘The Luxury Gap’, HEAVEN 17 really needed to record new material to maintain their credibility. It could be argued that this collaboration with Mexican producer ISAAC JUNKIE and GLENN GREGORY went part of the way in kick starting that. A marvellously trancey electronic dance tune, the only thing that stops ‘Something About You’ from being perfect is the way Mr Gregory’s vocals have been processed and distorted.

Available on the single ‘Something About You’ via Isaac Junkie Records ‎

https://soundcloud.com/isaacjunkie


KEEP SHELLY IN ATHENS Oostende (2013)

KeepShellyInAthens_AtHomeLike MARSHEAUX crossed with POLLY SCATTERGOOD, the dream laden chillwave of ‘Oostende’ showcased what COCTEAU TWINS might have sounded like had they been a synth duo. Comprising of the gorgeous afflicted voice of Sarah P,. and the mysterious RΠЯ, KEEP SHELLY IN ATHENS actually hailed from the Greek capital, but sounded like they’d emerged from a frozen Fjord in Narvik. Sarah P. subsequently departed in 2014, but KEEP SHELLY ATHENS continue today with new singer Myrtha.

Available on the album ‘At Home’ via Cascine

http://keepshellyinathens.blogspot.co.uk/p/blog-page.html


KITE The Rhythm (2013)

kite VDespite having released their five EPs in five years, this Swedish duo have tended to be overlooked. There was a two year wait for KITE’s most recent EP ‘V’, but it was worth the wait when Nicklas Stenemo and Christian Berg offered some fine, if mournful electropop in the shape of ‘The Rhythm’. With layers of exuberant synth sounds and Stenemo’s almost chant like vocals full of brooding sadness but with a glimmer of hope, the next EP ‘VI’ is set for a Spring 2015 release.

Available on the EP ‘V’ via Progress Productions

https://www.facebook.com/KiteHQ


NATTEFROST Will I Get To Your Heart? (2013)

NATTEFROST futurizedNATTEFROST is Danish musician Bjørn Jeppesen whose tenth album ‘Futurized’ encompassed many of the spacey elements of yesterday’s tomorrow that fans of JEAN MICHEL JARRE and KRAFTWERK would enjoy. Featuring as a guest vocalist, Michel Moers of Belgian synth subversives TELEX, his Gallic nonchalance on ‘Will I Get to Your Heart?’ is particularly good with sequenced percussive effects and rich synth sweeps providing some old fashioned synthpop.

Available on the album ‘Futurized’ via Sireena Records

http://www.nattefrost.dk/


MULU featuring RUSSELL MAEL David – Frozen Smoke Remix (2013)

Frozen smokeSPARKS have never just been an exclusively synthpop act but with the Mael Brothers more orchestrated in their instrumental template these days, it is rare to hear the magnificent nuances of Russell Mael on an electronic track in the 21st Century. This rather good collaboration with MULU remained strangely unreleased until dance act FROZEN SMOKE threw caution to the wind and let their synth dominated remix with its meaty snare sounds out. Singer Laura Campbell sounded totally glorious next to the younger Mael.

Originally available as a free download via Soundcloud, currently unavailable

http://www.allsparks.com/

https://soundcloud.com/frozensmoke


NIGHT ENGINE Give Me A Chance (2013)

NIGHT ENGINE Give Me A ChanceArt rockers NIGHT ENGINE are possibly the most interesting guitar driven band to come out of the UK for some time. What separates them from the pack is their use of whirring synths for their solos. The rousing ‘Give Me A Chance’ fuses DAVID BOWIE and TALKING HEADS before digressing into a punchy end section which would conscript the quartet into TUBEWAY ARMY. And this is without mentioning that lanky vocalist / guitarist Phil McDonnell has that menacing air of Thin White Duke about him too.

Available on the download EP ‘Night Engine’ via Demand Vinyl / Something In Construction

http://www.nightengine.net/


TAXX Is It Love? (2013)

TAXX Is it loveMining the heritage of Italo disco, enigmatic Greek singer / songwriter TAXX aka Taxiarchis Zolotas successfully combined atmospherics, propulsive bass sequences and a solid electro beat on the immensely catchy ‘Is It Love?’. With a moodiness reminiscent of PET SHOP BOYS, but with spacey buzzes and a harder kick, TAXX’s homage to the club based sub-genre was a worthy excursion into classic European pop.

Available on the download single ‘Is It Love?’ via Undo Records

https://www.facebook.com/pages/TAXX/136706069723907


TRENTMØLLER featuring SUNE ROSE WAGNER Deceive (2013)

TRENTMØLLER featuring SUNE ROSE WAGNER DeceiveAnders Trentemøller made a name for himself when he remixed DEPECHE MODE’s ‘Wrong’ in 2009. He succeeded not only in stamping his own vision with a far superior interpretation but highlighted shortcomings in DM’s production department. The muted synth trumpets and spacey swirls of ‘Deceive’ driven by an incessant drum machine made for a positively nocturnal atmosphere . And when crossed with an eerie vocal turn by Sune Rose Wagner, it all came over brilliantly like DM meeting DEATH IN VEGAS.

Available on the album ‘Lost’ via In My Room

http://www.anderstrentemoller.com/


ELECTRIC YOUTH feat ROOM 8 Without You (2014)

ey.11183Hailing from Canada, ELECTRIC YOUTH’s collaboration with COLLEGE entitled ‘A Real Hero’ was included on ‘Drive – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack’ in 2011. Their debut album ‘Innerworld’ finally came out in Autumn 2014 and one of its highlights was another collaboration, this time with ROOM8 called ‘Without You’. The bridge and chorus are particularly tremendous. Now if this electronic ditty had come out thirty years ago, there is no doubt it would have ended up in a Brat Pack movie.

Available on the album ‘Innerworld’ via Last Gang Entertainment / Secretly Canadian

http://www.electricyouthmusic.com/


EMIKA Let’s Dance (2014)

DAVID BOWIE - RECOVEREDPitch shifted to an almost asexual resonance, EMIKA delivered a wonderfully unique cover of one of Bowie’s best known tunes. The stabbing synth melody only vaguely sounds like it may have been derived from the original ‘Let’s Dance’. Indeed, this is more of a tribute with EMIKA herself describing it as “A new time-travel, gender twisting experiment in honour of one of my favourite artists…” – indeed, DURAN DURAN’s ‘Union Of The Snake’ sounds more obviously like a cover of ‘Let’s Dance’ than this does 😉

Available on the CD ‘David Bowie – Recovered’ free with Rolling Stone Germany – May 2014

http://www.emika.co.uk/


TAYLOR SWIFT New Romantics (2014)

taylor swift 1989 deluxeThe now New York based pop princess moved away from her Nashville roots for her first overtly pop album ‘1989’. Whereas tracks like ‘Blank Space’ and ‘Out Of The Woods’ merely flirted with synthpop in the mould of CHVRCHES, the appropriately titled deluxe bonus track ‘New Romantics’ almost went the full hog! In fact, if Miss Swift’s inherent Americanisms were not so apparent, this enticing number could easily be mistaken for the dreamy allure of Scandipodean twins SAY LOU LOU.

Available on the album ‘1989 – Deluxe edition’ via Big Machine Records

http://www.taylorswift.com


Text by Chi Ming Lai
26th February 2015, updated 2nd August 2017

The Electricity Club’s 30 SONGS OF 2012

It was a weak year musically overall, but a number of acts with great potential emerged.

So here are The Electricity Club’s 30 Songs of 2012, listed in alphabetical order. All have been released either in physical formats or digitally as purchasable or free downloads during the calendar year. However, the list is limited to one song per artist

It also does not include tracks which are exclusive to streams and videos or DJs only promos like the remix of REPUBLICA’s ‘Christiana Obey’… so maybe next year perhaps?


AUTOMATIC WRITING Continuous

Consisting of the Merrick Brothers, AUTOMATIC WRITING are the angry OMD if you can imagine that! Their sombre, ENO influenced template is like Wirral’s finest have been given a contemporary anthemic facelift by having WHITE LIES Harry McVeigh recruited as lead vocalist! ‘Continuous’ whirs and spins while driven by mutant motorik beats and dysfunctional claustrophobia. The flip ‘Falling’ is a more mid-tempo cousin and is another worthy addition to the duo’s developing sound.

Available as a download single via http://automaticwriting.bandcamp.com/

http://www.facebook.com/automaticwriting


BRIGHT LIGHT BRIGHT LIGHT Immature

BRIGHT LIGHT BRIGHT LIGHT is Welsh songwriter/producer Rod Thomas who adopted his ‘Gremlins’ referencing moniker to prevent being mistaken for an acoustic act which he clearly now is not, despite his folkie roots. As the opener to the long awaited album ‘Make Me Believe In Hope’, ‘Immature’ is a great start as it rhythmically percolates in the manner of THE POSTAL SERVICE before a terrific synth section unexpectedly lifts the whole piece several notches. This is a superbly emotive and sensitive piece of pop.

Available on the album ‘Make Me Believe in Hope’ via The Blue Team/Aztec Records

http://www.brightlightx2.com/


CLAUDIA BRÜCKEN Everyone Says Hi

From ‘The Lost Are Found’ album produced by Stephen Hague which also features versions of songs originally by PET SHOP BOYS, DUBSTAR and STINA NORDENSTRAM among others, CLAUDIA BRÜCKEN’s lively reinterpretation of Bowie’s ‘Everyone Says Hi’ from ‘Heathen’ unveils a previously hidden heartfelt connection, a call for contact like Major Tom in ‘Space Oddity’. Dressed with catchy synth riffs and fuzzy shades, it combines ice maiden chill and organic warmth for an artful sound.

Available on the album ‘The Lost Are Found’ via There (there)

http://www.claudiabrucken.co.uk/


CHVRCHES Lies

ROBYN doing an electro cover of ‘The Whole Of The Moon’ may not sound immediately appealing in concept but that’s how this punchy number starts before elevating into a rousing, spirited synth anthem. CHVRCHES could become the next electro combo to shake up the mainstream pop world since LA ROUX. A great song with great melodies and weird noises, herein ‘Lies’ the bridge between leftfield and bubblegum pop. The follow-up ‘The Mothers We Share’  underlines this promising Glaswegian trio’s capability.

Available as a free download via Neon Gold

http://www.facebook.com/CHVRCHES


VINCE CLARKE Featuring ANE BRUN Fly On The Windscreen

Novelist Tonya Hurley commissioned her brother-in-law VINCE CLARKE to record a stark cover of his former band’s ‘Fly On The Windscreen’ with vocalist ANE BRUN as part of promotion for her literary trilogy ‘The Blessed’. While the guitar-like textures appear to have been borrowed from the original in an act of artistic continuity, the rest of the arrangement is quite different as the vulnerable feminine twist acts as the ‘Twilight’ Generation’s perfect introduction to DEPECHE MODE.

Available as a download single via iTunes and Amazon

http://www.vinceclarkemusic.com/

http://anebrun.com/


COMPUTE Light As A Feather

COMPUTE is Ulrika Mild, a Gothenburg girl who discovered synthpop via DEPECHE MODE’s ‘Speak and Spell’. ‘Light As a Feather’ is a bouncy but melancholic ditty which suggests a snow mountain of vulnerability. That is certainly apparent in Ulrika’s sweet, fragile voice. It’s beautifully sequenced with layers of eerie string machine for that distinctive Nordic chill.

Available on download album ‘The Distance’ via iTunes and Amazon

http://www.compute.se


CURXES Spectre

Roberta Fidora shows yet another fine turn of aggressive resignation like SIOUXSIE SIOUX in a padded cell while instrumentalist Macaulay Hopwood picks out his unsettling bass notes to full effect. While this CURXES tune is perhaps more guitar driven than what would normally be expected of most electronica, ‘Spectre’ is positively Spartan with symphonic synth stabs and industrial beat snaps…it’s the sound of the overground or Goth ‘n’ Bass…or even Gotham Bass; geddit? Simply exhilarating!

Available as a download single via Amazon and iTunes

http://www.curxes.com


DIVINE KNIGHTS Clouds (THE SANFERNANDO SOUND remix)

Goth laden PET SHOP BOYS from the theatrical Aussie duo dreamily remixed by THE SANFERNANDO SOUND. This is richly synthesized with lashings of atmosphere and accessible melancholy. The extrovertly camp pair have even subverted the realm of the talent show by getting into the semi-finals of ‘Australia’s Got Talent’. Dannii Minogue said: “I think DIVINE KNIGHTS are brave for coming on a show like this because not everybody is going to get them…but I really hope they do well!”

Available as a download single via Amazon and iTunes

http://www.divineknights.com.au/

http://www.facebook.com/thesanfernandosound


ELEVEN:ELEVEN No Words

Texan duo ELEVEN:ELEVEN comprise the feline vocals of Sicca with the instrumentation of Jake Childs and throw in a variety of influences including Italo Disco, Hi-NRG and Electroclash. ‘No Words’ recalls MISS KITTEN & THE HACKER, capturing a tense nightlife seediness. Short but sweet with a swirling middle section, who needs an extended dance mix when the point is made in two and a half minutes? ELEVEN:ELEVEN have proved danceable electronic pop music can be made that’s syncopated and subtle.

Available as a free download via http://weare1111.com/


GAZELLE TWIN Changelings (JOHN FOXX & THE MATHS remix)

Stark and mysterious, the living art of GAZELLE TWIN is the moniker of Elizabeth Walling, the Brighton based songstress whose brooding, unsettling Hauntronica has impressed in all the right circles. JOHN FOXX & THE MATHS’ version of one of her best tracks ‘Changelings’ sees Mr Foxx adding his own Cathedral Oceans sweeps to Benge’s Mathematical solutions. In an productive year profile wise, her music was used in the promotion for the film ‘Prometheus’.

Available on the album ‘The Entire City Remixed’ via Anti-Ghost Moon Ray Records

http://www.gazelletwin.com/


GRIMES Oblivion

GRIMES is the kooky Montreal sensation that is Clare Boucher and this LYKKE LI fronting KRAFTWERK tune is sumptuously infectious. Despite almost unintelligible vocals, ‘Oblivion’ is probably the most immediate track on the ‘Visions’ album although other tracks like ‘Genesis’ and ‘Be A Body’ explore similarly accessible synthesized avenues. ‘Oblivion’ is ideal for those looking for subtler percussive colours and synthesized tapestries in a leftfield lady meets pop princess fusion.

Available on the album ‘Visions’ via 4AD Records

http://www.grimesmusic.com


HUSKI Close To The Edge

HUSKI first came to public attention on the trendy Shoreditch electro scene back in 2007 with ‘Take Me Your Picture’.  The late lamented Word magazine described ‘Close To The Edge’ as sounding “not unlike how Clare Grogan might if she took a guest slot with THE HUMAN LEAGUE”. As both THE HUMAN LEAGUE and ALTERED IMAGES worked with the late Martin Rushent, that is not as peculiar as it first sounds and it brims with a cutesy allure.

Available on the album ‘H’ via Amazon and iTunes

http://www.huskimusic.com/


IAMAMIWHOAMI Drops

IAMAMIWHOIAMI is the enigmatic electronic multimedia project fronted by Jonna Lee. From her first full length album ‘Kin’, ‘Drops’ is uptempo but almost trancelike. The beats are subtle with just layers of ice and chill to compliment. The clattering fits of noise and metallic textures add to the hypnotism. Jonna Lee’s piercing larynx will polarise listeners but this is Nordic weirdness in all its wonderful glory.

Available on the album ‘Kin’ via Co-Operative Music/To Whom It May Concern

http://www.towhomitmayconcern.cc/


INJE Kofein I CO2

Hailing from Belgrade and featuring the nucleus of vocalist Jelena Miletić and instrumentalist Jovan Vesić, INJE have had the pleasure of supporting HURTS and FAITHLESS in their home country. Their chromatic East European charge will almost certainly please followers of LADYTRON. The excellent ‘Kofein I CO2’ from their EP ‘Protok’ is sort of DUBSTAR in Serbo-Croat meets DAVID LYNCH soundtrack, possessing an aural magnetism that is gorgeously layered with an air of wispy innocence.

Available as a free download from http://inje.rs/


KOVAK Killer Boots

‘Killer Boots’ is cooing new wave electropop with an immediately catchy Italo vibe…think ‘Self Control’ or even ‘Touch Me’! Appropriately decadent and sexy, this catchy song is produced by GARY NUMAN collaborator Andy Gray. Colourful, energetic and glamourous, KOVAK are like BLONDIE meeting DRAGONETTE and GWEN STEFANI through a TUBEWAY ARMY voltage controlled filter.

Available as a download single via 74 Music

http://kovak.co.uk/


LITTLE JINDER Keep On Dreaming

Is it dubstep or is it electro? ‘Keep On Dreaming’ actually sounds more like the latter. When the half beat/two step influences kick in, luckily they do so without the irritating, skipping CD nightmares that devilishly plague most dubstep. But like with all crossover songs, it is the flavour rather than the full blown experience that often wins favour. Confused? Just enjoy… this number by young Stockholm songstress Josefine Jinder features lots of lovely synths!

Available as a download single via Trouble & Bass

http://www.facebook.com/littlejinder


LOVELIFE Brave Face

From the creative minds of former MIRRORS man Ally Young and Lee Newell from one-time indie darlings VIVA BROTHER, ‘Braveface’ is a chilling but uplifting piece of mood music which comes over like OMD fronted by HARD FI! With its Cool Britannia meets Synth Britannia fusion via the Big Apple, LOVELIFE’s genre blend may be confusing indie and electronic music fans alike but at least it’s different.

Available on the free download EP ‘El Regreso’ from http://www.lvlf.info/

https://www.facebook.com/LVLFinfo/


MIRRORS Between Four Walls

Since slimming down to a trio, MIRRORS have been heading for a sparser, textural direction which is perhaps less immediate than their debut album ‘Lights & Offerings’ but nevertheless rewarding with further listens. The beautifully stark drama of ‘Between Four Walls’ is sublime and full of post 3am drama. With echoes of OMD, CHINA CRISIS and THE BLUE NILE, it is high end atmospheric electronic balladry at its best. “Do you ever wonder how you’ll ever get there when you never turn back around?”

Available as a download single via http://mirrorsofficial.bandcamp.com/

http://www.facebook.com/theworldofmirrors


MODOVAR Clearly

Comprising of Glen Wisbey on synths and the suave persona of Christopher Beecham on vocals, MODOVAR’s most immediate number is the emotively rousing ‘Clearly’. Beecham is a man with a self-confessed admiration of ALISON MOYET so ‘Clearly’ connects as a song of love in the first degree. It is just one of their “melodic, anthemic, chorus led songs, lyrically focused on the undercurrents of love and the human condition”. Also check out their cover of ROXY MUSIC’s ‘Same Old Scene’.

Available on the download EP ‘Clearly’ via Amazon and iTunes

http://modovar.com/


MOTOR featuring MARTIN L GORE Man Made Machine

MOTOR’s electro stomper ‘Man Made Machine’ features vocals by DEPECHE MODE’s Martin Gore in a collaboration that sounds not unlike a camp IGGY POP being backed by an angry GOLDFRAPP. In the absence of DM material in 2012, this has been a worthy substitute with Gore luring nervously over the duo’s brand of harder edged techno electro. Incidentally, the same titled parent album also features guest such as GARY NUMAN and NITZER EBB’s Douglas J McCarthy.

Available on the album ‘Man Made Machine’ via CLR

http://www.wearemotor.com/


THE MYSTIC UNDERGROUND Remember Me

New York domiciled Anglophile duo THE MYSTIC UNDERGROUND’s make “pop songs for the disenchanted, disillusioned and disenfranchised”. Featuring Vladimir Valette on vocals and Benedetto Socci on keyboards, their “life…set to a dance beat” touches a nerve and now more so than the NEW ORDER influenced ‘Remember Me’. An emotive guitar assisted number in the vein of ‘Leave Me Alone’, it is slightly mournful and despaired but melodically secure.

Available on the download EP ‘Dreamers & Lovers’ via Stereosonic Recordings

http://www.themysticunderground.com


KARIN PARK Thousand Loaded Guns

BJÖRK goes synthy via THE KNIFE on ‘Thousand Loaded Guns’, a danceable tune that provides a degree of accessibility into the world of darker Nordic climes. Hailing from the forests of Djura in Sweden, KARIN PARK is yet another child of Drejer-Andersson, straddling between electropop and artier aspirations. Her sound is sonically awkward, albeit in a liberating artistic way. Scandinavia is a great place to be musically at the moment.

Available on the album ‘Highwire Poetry’ via State Of The Eye Recordings

http://www.karinpark.com/


QUEEN OF HEARTS Neon

Following her Arrival in 2011, QUEEN OF HEARTS graced the music world with a glitzy slice of electro schaffel appropriately entitled ‘Neon’. On first hearing this live, The Electricity Club gleefully pronounced that this managed to out Goldfrapp GOLDFRAPP. While this had the obvious hallmarks of Lady Alison’s glam stomp, Queenie added her own cooing poptastic flavour, recalling RACHEL STEVENS’ under rated and great lost album ‘Come & Get It’.

Available on the download EP ‘Neon’ via All Things Go Records

http://www.iamqueenofhearts.com/


RITUALS James

Hailing from downtown Los Angeles, RITUALS comprise vocalist Neil Popkin and electronic producer Julian Denis. ‘James’ is rousing neo-NEW ORDER meets THE BRAVERY (remember them?) stomper which is only slightly short of being outstanding due to its demo-ish production…but the song resonates with an appealing doom. ‘Walk Away’ from their 2011 debut EP is another fine example of their potential.

Available as a free download via http://ritualsla.bandcamp.com/album/james-single

http://ritualsla.com/


SIN COS TAN Trust
SIN COS TAN is the new mathematically charged project of ace producer Jori Hulkkonen and VILLA NAH’s Juho Paalosmaa, “a synthesized duo of great promise, broken dreams, and long nights”. They have certainly delivered with ‘Trust’, all draped in melancholy with emotive vocals haunted by the ghost of Billy Mackenzie. This is subtle, hypnotic dance music with layered strings, sampled cimbalom and Cold War dramatics, it is one of the songs of the year.

Available on the album ‘Sin Cos Tan’ via Solina (Europe) and Sugarcane Recordings (Rest of World)

http://www.facebook.com/homeofsincostan


SINESTAR Hurricane

Bristol’s SINESTAR are a full blown five-piece band with drums, bass and guitar as well as synths and their MESH derived synthesized rock has the potential to crossover into several electronic sub-genres. With a so far small but impressive body of work as showcased on the ‘I Am The Rain’ EP, the terrific ‘Hurricane’ is like FAITHLESS gone rock! Catchy, tuneful and anthemic, they just need to work on the production.

Available on the download EP ‘I Am The Rain’ via Dead Rat Recordings.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sinestar/310216912403126


STRANGERS Safe/Pain

STRANGERS have been perilously close to COLDPLAY territory on occasions. But on ‘Safe/Pain’, a moody slice of sweeping synth noir with a lonely piano intro, the big surprise comes when a series of rave stabs cut in for the ultimate euphoric lift, crossed with a bit of dubstep! The BBC loved ‘Safe/Pain’ and used it for a clip compiling Team GB’s immense cycling achievements at the end of the London 2012 Olympics. Following prestigious support slots with BLANCMANGE and CLAUDIA BRÜCKEN under their belt, David Maddox-Jones, Raife Hacking and Piers Sherwood Roberts are well on their way!

Available as a download single via Beatwolf

http://strangers.co.uk


TITANS It’s Dark

‘It’s Dark’ could be RAMMSTEIN reincarnated as DEPECHE MODE with fewer the flame throwers! TITANS’ vocalist Dan Von Hoyel sounds like a lower register Dave Gahan winning a fight with a less Teutonic Till Lindemann. In an electronic sub-genre known for its shouting, ‘It’s Dark’ manages to sound menacing without forcing the aggression. The edgy electronic backing from Fredrik Mattsson and Jimmy Svensson blends marvellously with the band’s doompop manifesto.

Available on the download album ‘For The Long Gone’ via Progress Productions

http://www.facebook.com/TitansOfficial


ULTRAVOX Live

There were so many songs that could have been chosen but with this opener from their err… Brilliant comeback album was ULTRAVOX’s optimistic message of intent. Musically, ‘Live’ is ‘Dancing With Tears In My Eyes’ without the imminent nuclear holocaust! The instrumental breakdown, which drops to a magnificent pulsing sequence, piano and lone bass drum before the climax, is pure LA DÜSSELDORF and really is something to be savoured.

Available on the album ‘Brilliant’ via Eden Recordings/EMI Records

http://www.ultravoxbrilliant.com/


SAORI YUKI Yoake No Scat (MARSHEAUX remix)

While recording their long awaited new album ‘Inhale’, MARSHEAUX added to their remix portfolio with a terrific reworking of a track dating back to 1969 by Japanese classic singer SAORI YUKI. Adding incessant beats, infectious pulsing synth and melancholic washes of sound to the more organic re-recording with PINK MARTINI from 2011, this brings Kayokyoku (a style of Japanese music thatabsorbs various Western styles) into the electro age with a Melody For a New Dawn.

Available as a download single via EMI Japan

http://ameblo.jp/saori-yuki

http://www.facebook.com/marsheaux


Text by Chi Ming Lai
12th December 2012

Introducing COMPUTE

“COMPUTE is a synthpop-project with some dirt in it, an attempt to combine past, present and future in one single song, and a sparkling merge of melancholy and naive pop melodies. COMPUTE believes that every song should be a hit for someone, somewhere. Hopefully, that includes you”

These are COMPUTE’s own words to describe her music.

Behind the moniker COMPUTE is Ulrika Mild, who hails from Gothenburg, Sweden.

In her early teens, she was introduced to DEPECHE MODE’s classic record ‘Speak and Spell’ by her older brother and instantly felt like she had found her musical home. She soon started to play in different bands. In the beginning of the new millennia, Ulrika got her first software synths and started to create her own music at home, which was like a revelation to her. In the beginning she used the synths like any other instrument and tried to build a rather traditional pop sound. Later, she abandoned this to a certain extent and instead, dared to take full advantage of all the possibilities the synths gave her.

COMPUTE’s music can be described as really irresistible synthpop songs, full of brilliant multi-layered soundscapes, accompanied by strong beats, incredibly catchy melodies and vocals that are both fragile and powerful at the same time. The lyrics are also very personal, clever and original. Just like MARSHEAUX, she can do both cute little pop tunes, melancholic ballads and songs with harder danceable beats with the same ease.

Her music is very uncompromising and direct, far from being shy. It’s really liberating to hear music with this level of authenticity; music that doesn’t try to be trendy in any way. COMPUTE sticks to her own formula and by doing so delivers high quality synth pop tunes like they are the most natural things in the world.

After selling out some EPs between 2004 and 2006, she released her debut album ‘This’ in 2009. In 2010, she recorded a very well received cover of ‘Förlåt’ on the tribute record to Sweden’s first synthpop band PAGE (curated by this writer).

In fact, PAGE’s Marina Schiptjenko named COMPUTE’s cover her personal favourite on the entire ‘Tiden Går – En Hyllning Till Page’ double album.

In 2011, COMPUTE collaborated with Deadbeat from THE GIRL & THE ROBOT but she has now released her follow up album; ‘The Distance’.

The overall production has been sharpened up a notch or two, the sounds are crisper with more power and the vocals as angelic as ever. This time there are a little more indie pop influences here and there, especially in the last song ‘The Ending Of You’ – maybe because Ulrika also is a part of the indie pop band LICHTENSTEIN? Sometimes the music is extremely minimal and simplified, but thanks the Ulrika’s brilliant voice and sense of creating melodies and beats, it all works and does so very well.

Sure, you can trace some inspiration from early DEPECHE MODE, Minimal Wave and groups such as PAGE, YAZOO and others: the refrain of the song ‘Light As A Feather’ is a reminder of DAVID BOWIE’s ‘Ashes To Ashes’, the beat in the song ‘This Is It’ features obvious similarities to that of THE KNIFE’s ‘Like a Pen’, and there is something in the song ‘Shot’ that feels like NEW ORDER’s ‘Touched by the Hand of God’. But it has to be said: COMPUTE is never a clone. On the contrary, she is quite unique.

The highlight on the new album is ‘Dawning Days’, which combines classic EBM beats (think early FRONT 242) with a synthpop melody and Ulrika singing sweet harmonies with herself. All in all, this album is another brilliant piece of COMPUTE-music, albeit a bit short with only eight three minute songs – but maybe this is another KRAFTWERK influence?

It’s more fun with COMPUTE. When playing live, COMPUTE is often augmented by her friend Renee Gustafsson on additional keyboards and backing vocals. Her gigs are real treats and just like with EMMON or MARSHEAUX, it is impossible not to start dancing.


‘The Distance’ and ‘This’ are available as downloads

http://www.compute.se

https://www.facebook.com/computopia

http://soundcloud.com/deadbeatcompute

The original Swedish version of this article was published at www.synth.nu


Text by Johan Wejedal
19th June 2012