Tag: Goldfrapp (Page 2 of 10)

NO-MAN Love You To Bits

More than a decade since their last release NO-MAN return to their more synthetic roots with the new album ‘Love You To Bits’.

The release harks back to earlier NO-MAN works such as ‘Loveblows & Lovecries’ and ‘Flowermouth’ and is bound to throw anyone more familiar with the later recorded output from Messrs Bowness and Wilson.

The mirrorball on the sleeve should give a clue to the content within, but this is not fluff piece but a work of real depth and substance.

That said, anyone who only know the band from their later output may need to triple check the credits to ensure this is the same team that brought us tracks like ‘Truenorth’. From the opening portentous drone to the 808 style percussion and arpeggios running counter to the main synthetic melody line, it’s clear this is a very different beast from the last album ‘Schoolyard Ghosts’.

One thing that has remained from that release is Tim Bowness’s melancholic vocal. Possessing one of the most distinctive voices in modern music. the delivery throughout the album is spot on. Though split into 5 sections each, ‘Love You To Bits’ and ‘Love You To Pieces’ could be viewed as 2 long form remixes which utilise differing instrumentation to add light and shade of tone to the music.

One thing that is clear is the influence of Bruno Ellingham who has been tasked with the final mix is writ large on this release. The same sparkle he gave the likes GOLDFRAPP is obvious with the separation around the instruments giving the overall pieces room to breathe.

The opening section of ‘Love You To Bits’ gets straight to the point, announcing itself as an electronic work with electronic percussion and the aforementioned vocal front and centre. Real drums explode in around halfway through and kick the piece up a gear. The first breakdown comes after the vocals exhort that they ‘Love You’ repeatedly and a short linking piece has Bowness harmonising with himself over the sequenced bass from the first section.

A funky guitar loop heralds a more down-the-line band performance which once again melds with the open sequence before part 4 goes on an extended instrumental break with effected guitar being underpinned by more live drums and that simple but earworm-y sequence. There by this time can be no mistaking this for anything else but a pop album, but one which rewards repeated listening as although simple on the surface there are layers of instrumentation that are pulled out with each play.

This is a Steven Wilson collaboration so a sonic surprise shouldn’t come as, well a surprise. Here it’s from of the closing section of ‘Love You To Bits’ which at the end, having revisited the themes and motifs of the previous section closes with a plaintiff brass section playing out like something from ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ than Studio 54

The journey is at this point only half complete as the second half of the album, ‘Love You To Pieces’ opens with Bowness showing again how his voice is more than capable of carrying a song with the simplest of instrumentation to somewhere it really has no right to go. He really does possess one of the most unique tones in modern music, up there with the likes of Paul Buchanan of THE BLUE NILE in its ability to wrench at the heart without you really knowing why.

The interplay between synthetic tones and more organic instrumentation gets swept away in the next section as a driving synth bass carries a vocoded vocal forward, building into a jazzy section of effected electric piano which should give comfort to anyone that has seen Steven Wilson live recently and the playing of Adam Holzman, for it is he…

Overall the second half of the album appears to more contemplative and this is no bad thing giving balance to the ‘dancier’ opening ‘Bits’ section. All too quick, for this listener at least, it’s over with the final part coming across as something you’d here in a piano bar at 3am.

“Time was we mattered…” sighs Bowness at the close of the track. On this showing, NO-MAN still do matter and in spades. This is no misguided sidestep, the band where making music like this 25 plus years ago. In fact the bones of the album stem from demos that old.

As known progressive artists, both Wilson and Bowness have taken their individual brands of modern music in numerous different directions. This is another example of that and one expected to be included in many top 20 lists at the end of the year. A recommended release.

‘Love You To Bits’ is released by Caroline International in CD, vinyl LP, cassette and digital formats







Text by Ian Ferguson
25th November 2019

IMI Interview

Leeds based singer / songwriter IMI has made a fine impression in 2019 as one of the most promising new synth acts of the year.

Blessed with a glorious soprano in the vein of Alison Goldfrapp and Tara Busch, what has also stood out is the widescreen aesthetic of her music with sharp electronic melodies and inventive arrangements.

Of her single ‘Margins’ from the ‘Lines’ EP, one-time Numan sideman and co-writer of VISAGE’s ‘Fade To Grey’ Chris Payne said: “Very impressive. She has an amazing voice and very nice synths to surround it.”

Encapsulating the filmic ambition of GOLDFRAPP circa ‘Felt Mountain’ and its delightful oddness, IMI is undoubtedly one of the keys to a sustainable synthy future. She will be playing TEC006 at Electrowerkz in London on Saturday 30th November 2019 alongside REIN and KOMPUTER.

IMI kindly talked to The Electricity Club about her past, present and future…

Your sound has an interesting mix of electronic, trip-hop and classical, what is your own musical background?

I was classically trained from the age of 8, but I only started embracing that side of my voice over the past few years when I realised I could re-contextualise it within a more electronic setting. I didn’t really start listening to electronic music until I moved up to Leeds in 2012 for University where I was exposed to the likes of PORTISHEAD and JAMES BLAKE. In 2014 I formed the dream pop band LENIN which gave me my first taste of performing live and ultimately inspired a continued fascination with writing and performing music.

Your voice is incredible, what’s its range? Do you see yourself as a singer, or a songwriter first?

Thank you, my range is about E2 – C5 give or take. Singing was ultimately what led me down the path of music when I was younger, but I often shun my responsibility as a singer as I’m more fascinated by sound design and songwriting.

How did the melodic synth element enter the fray?

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when this happened, as I had been noodling with software synths in GarageBand from when I first got my MacBook Pro in 2011 when my friends and family all chipped in to help me buy it for my birthday. Since then I have been led by my same naive curiosity to create something I haven’t heard before, whether it’s some weird wonky synth or an amalgamation of seemingly polar opposite sounds.

Your father was a New Romantic?

My Dad was away in the Navy a lot when I was young, so years later when I was studying at college, he would help me catch up and teach me all about music history and the bands he listened to growing up.

He loved an eclectic mix of THE STRANGLERS, ROXY MUSIC and DAVID BOWIE; him and my Mum shared a few common interests in bands like VISAGE and I seem to remember hearing ULTRAVOX’s ‘Vienna’ on full blast which my sisters and I would sing along to triumphantly!

To the casual listener, GOLDFRAPP springs to mind with your work, have they been a favourite act of yours over the past few years?

I hadn’t actively listened to GOLDFRAPP until 2016 when I remember getting really into the ‘Felt Mountain’ album. I had just graduated and left education for the first time in my life and was honestly struggling with the realities of the real world. This album came to me like a shining beacon of light, reminding me of the potential for music to transport you to another place, which is the encouragement I needed to continue writing. The result of which was ‘Margins’, or at least an early version of it.

Your first single ‘Born For What?’ was an eclectic mix of styles and it’s a good song, although in hindsight it sounds as though you were undecided on your sound?

‘Born For What?’ was the beginning of a more industrial sound, which was exciting for me at the time as I had felt relatively trapped within quite a melancholic musical space. It was a stepping stone in allowing me to get where I am now, safe in the knowledge that I am not confined by style or genre.

Then came ‘Margins’ which was something of an epic, how did that come together?

‘Margins’ was written almost a year before the other tracks, and it was one of those strange songs that just materialises in front of you. It went through several transmutations after its initial inception, originally written for piano and vibraphone. Before I brought it to the studio, I re-harmonised several elements of it and reimagined it with a synth backdrop. The same theatrical drama shone through, but the industrial electronic aesthetic balanced out its ethereal nature.

What was it like to make your first promotional video for ‘Margins’?

Being a solo artist makes it difficult to create a visually appealing music video on a budget, especially for someone who hates being in front of a camera.

Luckily filming in a garage in the freezing winter of Leeds took my mind off of my anxieties, and director Joey Haskey’s experimentation with colour and lighting offers a visual feast that I think translates the vibrancy of the track.

Was ‘I Feel Alright’ written from your own first-hand experience? Also, it features a quite pronounced anthemic lead synth theme too…

This song was written after a few years of struggling with some personal issues and it was a celebration of finally feeling ok and feeling hopeful about the future. It will always hold special value to me for that reason, and when times are difficult, I’ll often look back and acknowledge that I’ve conquered that feeling before and I can do it again.

‘The Fence’ starts minimally with a lone synthbass note and then gradually builds, you do have a sense of drama?

‘The Fence’ was one of the few tracks to unravel in front of me lyrically. It originally started as a location recording I took when I was at home in Cornwall. The recording was of an electric fence, and the very idea of a fence conjured up that old saying “the grass is always greener”. It’s quite easy to look at other people’s lives and think they have it all sorted, only to make yourself feel worse about your own situation.

This song was my oath to try to view my own life through a different perspective so that I wasn’t always longing for the other side of the fence. The original location recording didn’t make it to the final recording, but the instrumentation was designed to reflect the growing solidarity of my statement.

With the video for ‘The Fence’, you opted to give a director freedom to do a visual interpretation rather than appear in it yourself? Were there any particular reasons?

I was initially going to have more of a live video setup for this track, but when a mutual friend showed me Deni Pesto’s work, I completely U-turned on the idea as his work resonated with me in a way I can’t really describe. When we were exchanging ideas and he sent over some mood boards, it was as if he had literally leapt into my mind. That sort of cohesion of understanding in collaboration is quite rare so I was happy for him to take the lead and create what he thought was right. I think it is a beautiful video in itself, and like my own music, it is fairly ambiguous and the viewer/listener can draw what they need from it.

Photo by Simon Helm

Presenting electronic music live has its own challenges as you found for a moment at The Finsbury gig recently… how does it feel to perform alone, compared with a band, orchestra or choir?

It can be quite stressful when technology fails you and there’s nothing else to pick up the slack, but when things go right it can be extremely cathartic and it’s one of the few times I feel completely present in the moment. I’ve had the vision from the beginning to get involved with a visual artist to add another dimension to the live show.

I played a show at my college a few years ago and had three large white balloons suspended from the ceiling with lights illuminating them and offering an immersive space to absorb my music in. While balloons might not be the most feasible thing to replicate, one of my next challenges is to see how I can create a little of that magic on stage.

Your keyboard of choice is a Moog Sub Phatty, with so many instruments on the market, what made you decide on that particular one?

I bought my Moog Sub Phatty for my old band LENIN, so I was looking for something that could produce some big bass and lead lines while I was singing.

At the time I didn’t know much about synthesizers, but it is really tactile and it’s not too complicated to understand so it was the perfect starting synth for me.

How are you finding exploring different hardware and software in the studio, what tools have you particularly taken to in your recording process?

When I’m writing, I only have access to predominately software (with the exception of my Moog Sub Phatty and some Teenage Engineering Pocket Operators), so I’ll often map out different ideas with the Arturia V Collection which has an expansive array of sounds. For the past four tracks I’ve recorded, I’ve worked with Matt Peel who has a growing collection of synths and other wonderful things in his studio The Nave in Leeds.

Each time I go there I discover something new, the last time we were recording, Jacob Marston of DEAD NAKED HIPPIES was playing on some old Simmons drum pads to create the thunderous toms in ‘The Fence’. I’m currently looking for my next investment for my home set-up, some of the Roland Boutique range are looking like appealing options but any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Photo by Simon Helm

You will be opening TEC006 in London, what can the audience expect if they arrive at Electrowerkz early?

I’m working on some new material at the moment that I might share in London. But as it stands, this will probably be my last performance with my current setup. It’s been a challenging but equally wonderful few years since my first single release and I’m hoping to celebrate this and to share this with others in November.

What are you own hopes and fears for your future in music?

When I was writing this music, my visions were far grander than were feasibly possible and it’s quite easy to feel deflated when things don’t meet certain expectations, especially when there’s no-one else to share and balance the burden. Something that I think is important for me moving forward is to work with others and I’m really excited at that prospect as I am keen to learn from others and expand my understanding of music.

The Electricity Club gives its sincerest thanks to IMI

The ‘Lines’ EP is released by Bibliotek, available as a CD or download direct from https://imimusicuk.bandcamp.com/album/lines

IMI plays TEC006 with REIN + KOMPUTER at Electrowerkz in London on SATURDAY 30TH NOVEMBER 2019 – tickets available now direct from https://billetto.co.uk/e/tec-006-with-rein-se-komputer-imi-tickets-381506

Please note that Electrowerkz requires mandatory photo ID for its events so NO ID, NO ENTRY – the organisers cannot take responsibility if entry is refused

TEC006 Facebook event page at https://www.facebook.com/events/360347931569962/




Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Portia Hunt except where credited
16th October 2019

IMI Live at The Finsbury

Leeds based singer / songwriter IMI has made a fine impression in 2019 as one of the most promising new synth acts of the year.

Blessed with a glorious soprano in the vein of Alison Goldfrapp and Tara Busch, what has also stood out is the widescreen aesthetic of her music with sharp electronic melodies and inventive arrangements.

Having previously been a member of a Goth band, classically trained IMI’s ears were drawn to her parents’ record collection; her father, a veteran of the New Romantic campaign had naturally been a fan of VISAGE so it was fitting when Rusty Egan started playing her music on his radio show.

IMI made a rare live appearance in London at The Finsbury to showcase her intelligent avant pop. Opening with ‘The Fence’ from her recent ‘Lines’ EP, a programmed warbling drop of vintage bass synth and a metronomic rhythm construction was the backdrop for an almost folky vocal before a percussive build to usher in the clouds and the darkness with a beautiful crescendo.

Two still-to-be-released songs ‘Monolith’ and ‘Pin Me Down’ demonstrated IMI’s previous flirtation with the gothique while encapsulating the filmic ambition of GOLDFRAPP circa ‘Felt Mountain’ and its delightful oddness. On stage, IMI took up different personas in the live presentation of her songs, from serious synth girl to serene pop princess, but the rousing melodic call of ‘I Feel Alright’ saw her enter I SPEAK MACHINE mode.

With the dramatic combination of her magnificent live vocals and sampled ethereal voices while sternly facing her Moog Sub Phatty, proceedings became more sinister but strangely captivating as her delivery emotively conveyed the parradox of the song’s title in a barrage of squelch and rigid beats.

Closing the short set with the mighty triplet infused operatic statement of ‘Margins’, IMI’s musicality allowed her to cross trip hop and Synth Britannia without anyone noticing the join, before a piercing cry on the caesura.

A largely mesmerising solo performance, IMI did well to get round some minor technical difficulties. As she increases in confidence and maturity, she will only get better. For the moment, she is a highly promising songstress with lashes of talent and a focussed esoteric mindset that will hopefully lead to more artful adventures for all to savour. IMI is undoubtedly one of the keys to a sustainable synthy future.

The ‘Lines’ EP is released by Bibliotek, available as a CD or download direct from https://imimusicuk.bandcamp.com/album/lines

IMI plays TEC006 opening for REIN at Electrowerkz in London on SATURDAY 30TH NOVEMBER 2019 – tickets available now direct from https://billetto.co.uk/e/tec-006-with-rein-se-komputer-imi-tickets-381506

Please note that Electrowerkz requires mandatory photo ID for its events so NO ID, NO ENTRY – the organisers cannot take responsibility if entry is refused

TEC006 Facebook event page at https://www.facebook.com/events/360347931569962/




Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Simon Helm
18th September 2019

Introducing IMI

Alison Goldfrapp and Tara Busch need to watch out, there’s a new synth girl in town, she’s got a Moog Sub Phatty and she’s going to use it…

Leeds based singer / songwriter IMI is gifted with a most glorious soprano but not only that, she applies that and her love of analogue synths to an intelligent avant pop aesthetic.

Having opened for LET’S EAT GRANDMA, she has certainly made it clear which playground she prefers to be in. IMI’s recently released EP ‘Lines’ contains three dramatically layered electronic mood pieces that encapsulate the early cinematic ambition of GOLDFRAPP and the more recent esoteric adventures of I SPEAK MACHINE. But crucially like both of them, she does this within a song-based format.

Originally released as a single in 2018, ‘Margins’ synthetically rumbles while side-chained to a cascading train ride, cerebrally meshing brooding atmospherics with IMI’s hauntingly assured smoky high vocal, like an oddball amalgam of opera, trip hop and Synth Britannia.

‘Lines’ opener ‘The Fence’ drops incessant warbling vintage synth textures over a steadfast metronomic back beat as IMI offers a traditional folk laden topline not far off Susanne Sundfør. Building to a ritualistic percussive fervour that chillingly darkens the Northern sky, there however remains a stark beauty, marking a clear demarcation line in keeping with the EP’s theme.

Meanwhile, ‘I Feel Alright’ with its sharp melodic call and ethereal voices heads into something more threatening, with pulsing rumbles and squelches facing off against swirls and sweeps, although in this song about acceptance, it all rewardingly comes over with a strong sense of musicality.

IMI’s artistic promise was there from the off with her debut single ‘Born For What?’ in 2017, but what the ‘Lines’ EP showcases is an increased confidence and maturity.

With her Instagram indicating further experimentation with the Korg Mono/Poly, EDP Wasp and Moog Modular, there are certainly more artful adventures to come.

The ‘Lines’ EP is released by Bibliotek, available as a CD or download direct from https://imimusicuk.bandcamp.com/album/lines




Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photo by Portia Hunt
8th April 2019, updated 16th June 2019


As long as there has been a music business, artists and producers have been forever tinkering with their work.

While often, it’s the single version made for mass consumption through radio play that remains superior and best loved, there are occasions when the album take reigns supreme.

Often there’s a track that is the obvious standout on the long player, but sometimes it can be of a structure that is considered too long for peak time radio where instant gratification is the key. On other occasions, the vision of the track for album consumption is reconsidered following an earlier short form release produced on a more limited budget.

So as a companion list to the earlier 25 Single Versions That Are Better Than The Album Versions listings feature and restricted to one track per artist, here are The Electricity Club’s 25 Album Versions That Are Better Than The Single Versions presented in chronological and then alphabetical order…

GIORGIO From Here To Eternity (1977)

Despite being a hit single, ‘From Here To Eternity’ was actually something of a disjointed disco medley, throwing in a section of the album track ‘Utopia – Me Giorgio’ halfway through. The full six minute ‘From Here To Eternity’ from the long player of the same name was a futuristic slice of electronic dance perfection, with Giorgio Moroder steadily building on his throbbing synth backbone and layers of vocoder punctuated by the steady beats of drummer Keith Forsey.

Available on the GIORGIO album ‘From Here To Eternity’ via Repertoire Records


THE HUMAN LEAGUE Being Boiled (1980)

The original Fast Product single version of ‘Being Boiled’ from 1978 had its own charm, recorded as mono demo which was subsequently released. However, having signed to Virgin Records and with a budget behind them, Messrs Marsh, Oakey and Ware took the opportunity to update their calling card with producer John Leckie for the ‘Travelogue’ album to more fully realise its funky overtones inspired by FUNKADELIC. The end result was fuller and more dynamic.

Available on THE HUMAN LEAGUE album ‘Travelogue’ via Virgin Records


JAPAN Nightporter (1980)

‘Ghosts’ had been an unexpected singles success for JAPAN in 1982 and Virgin Records wanted more of the same with ‘Nightporter’, despite it being already two years old and with the previously unreleased song ‘Some Kind Of Fool’ in the vaults. Trimming the solemn seven minute ivory laden Satie homage was always going to be difficult and the horrific radio edit butchered out the lengthy if vital instrumental climax of melancholic Oberheim OBX strings. Less really does mean less…

Available on the JAPAN album ‘Gentlemen Take Polaroids’ via Virgin Records


SIMPLE MINDS I Travel (1980)

The album version of ‘I Travel’ was only four minutes in the first place, yet original label Arista Records felt the need to chop the track on both single edits it released and neuter its impact. SIMPLE MINDS never fully realised their potential until they signed to Virgin Records and ‘I Travel’ heralded a futuristic art rock phase where the band’s Germanic influences, coupled to synthesized disco aesthetics of Giorgio Moroder, found favour at clubs like The Blitz.

Available on the SIMPLE MINDS album ‘Empires & Dance’ via Virgin Records


KRAFTWERK Computer Love (1981)

Whether ‘Autobahn’, ‘Radio-Activity’, ‘Showroom Dummies’, ‘Trans-Europe Express’, ‘Neon Lights’ or ‘The Robots’, the sheer average length of a KRAFTWERK track made them difficult to apply to the single format and ‘Computer Love’ was no different. A beautifully melodic piece that predicted internet dating and stretched to just under seven minutes with its glorious second half synth solo in its album version, it was like the reel of the film was missing in its edited form.

Available on the KRAFTWERK album ‘Computer World’ via EMI Records


BLANCMANGE Waves (1982)

A UK Top 20 single for BLANCMANGE in 1983, ‘Waves’ was remixed and given an orchestral treatment arranged by Linton Naiff, but it strangely detracted from the bare emotion of the song. Sounding like Scott Walker fronting OMD, with a more basic synthesized construction and a sombre detuned brass line allowed to breathe at the song’s conclusion, the album version sans orchestra was much better. However, the original cut has yet to be reinstated on reissues of the parent long player ‘Happy Families’.

Available on the BLANCMANGE album ‘The Very Best Of’ via Music Club Deluxe


DAF Kebab Träume (1982)

Originally recorded for a 1980 single on Mute Records in more of a band format featuring guitar and hand-played synths, ‘Kebab Träume’ was subsequently reworked by DAF in a more superior fashion under the production supervision of the legendary Conny Plank for their third and final Virgin-era long player ‘Für Immer’. Transforming into something much heavier, the memorable if controversial line “Deutschland, Deutschland, alles ist vorbei!” had more bite on this album version also issued as a single.

Available on the DAF album ‘Für Immer’ via Grönland Records


LUSTANS LAKEJER Läppar Tiger, Ögon Talar (1982)

Sweden’s LUSTANS LAKEJER came to international attention when their third long player ‘En Plats I Solen’ was produced by Richard Barbieri of JAPAN. With its synthesized atmospheres and art funk aspirations not that far off DURAN DURAN, ‘Läppar Tiger, Ögon Talar’ was one of the album’s highlights. But for the later single version produced by Kai Erixon, the band opted for a more laid back swing arrangement punctuated by a brass section, which frankly was not as good as the original.

Available on the LUSTANS LAKEJER album ‘En Plats I Solen’ via Universal Music


GARY NUMAN We Take Mystery (1982)

The single version of ‘We Take Mystery’ which was Gary Numan’s last UK Top 10 hit was too short and the extended 12 inch version was too long, which left the album version from ‘I, Assassin’ as the best take of the song. With its crashing Linn Drum snap and fretless bass with live percussion syncopating on top, this was a dancefloor friendly excursion which concluded with a marvellous additional rhythm guitar breakdown from fretless bassist Pino Palladino.

Available on the GARY NUMAN album ‘I, Assassin’ via Beggars Banquet


VISAGE The Anvil (1982)

Remixed by John Luongo for single release, ‘The Anvil’ ended up as a B-side but while the sound of metal-on-metal was added, it somehow had less presence than the original album version. Possessing far Teutonic tension with some superb guitar work from Midge Ure, metronomic drumming courtesy of Rusty Egan minus his hi-hats, Billy Currie’s superb screaming ARP Odyssey and Dave Formula’s brassy synth riff completed Steve Strange’s tale of debauchery for one of the best ever VISAGE tracks.

Available on the VISAGE album ‘The Anvil’ via Cherry Pop


JOHN FOXX Endlessy (1983)

By 1982, John Foxx has rediscovered his love of early PINK FLOYD, THE BEATLES and psychedelia which manifested itself in ‘Endlessy’. Based around a tom heavy Linn Drum programme, deep cello samples and sitars, it was an interesting if messy experimental romp. Come his third album ‘The Golden Section’ recorded under the helm of producer Zeus B Held, the new version, also released as a revisionist single, was much more focussed with an accessible uptempo electronic euphoria.

Available on the JOHN FOXX album ‘The Golden Section’ via Edsel Records


HEAVEN 17 And That’s No Lie (1984)

A sub-ten minute progressive epic was never going to work as an edited single and with ‘And That’s No Lie’, that’s exactly what happened. The original album version was HEAVEN 17’s ambitious adventure in sound and fusion that threw in everything from abstract sonic experiments, jazz piano, Fairlight samples, the gospel voices of ARFRODIZIAK and an orchestra, plus some excellent live bass and guitar work from John Wilson and Ray Russell respectively.

Available on the HEAVEN 17 album ‘How Men Are’ via Virgin Records


ARCADIA The Flame (1985)

ARCADIA was Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes and Roger Taylor’s attempt to be JAPAN during the DURAN DURAN artistic hiatus, but many of the songs from the short-lived side project were smothered in a pond of self-indulgence. One of the highlights though was ‘The Flame’, basically ‘A View To A Kill Part 2’. However for its single release, a neo-acapella intro was applied rather than the frantic percussive beginning of the album version which robbed the song of its tension and impact.

Available on the ARCADIA album ‘So Red The Rose’ via EMI Records


DEAD OR ALIVE My Heart Goes Bang (1985)

Having got DIVINE into the UK charts, Stock Aitken & Waterman gave the same treatment to DEAD OR ALIVE, scoring a No1 with ‘You Spin Me Round’. The resultant album ‘Youthquake’ had a number of excellent tracks including ‘My Heart Goes Bang’ which was ripe single material. But the single remix by regular PWL associate Phil Harding was horrible, throwing in the kitchen sink with voice cut-ups and an overdriven rhythm section which drowned out any merits the song originally had.

Available on the DEAD OR ALIVE album ‘Youthquake’ via Sony Music


NEW ORDER Bizarre Love Triangle (1986)

Inspired by a News Of The World headline, ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ is one of the best loved NEW ORDER tunes. The rugged self-produced original version that appeared on the ‘Brotherhood’ album was a glorious electronic number with a slight mechanical offbeat and space for Hooky’s distinctive bass. But the version released for 45 RPM consumption was a frustrating, four-to-the-floor remix by Shep Pettibone which took all the character out of the song with a barrage of overdriven percussive samples.

Available on the NEW ORDER album ‘Brotherhood’ via Warner Music


TALK TALK Living In Another World (1986)

Although ‘Living In Another World’ was the best song on ‘The Colour Of Spring’, it was always going to be a tall order to successfully cut its seven minutes in half for single consumption! A fine progressive combination of synthetic strings, piano, Hammond organ, hypnotic bass, acoustic and electric guitars, percolating percussion and harmonica, the TALK TALK sound would have been nothing however without the anguished vocals of Mark Hollis and the production skills of Tim Friese-Greene.

Available on the TALK TALK album ‘The Colour Of Spring’ via EMI Records


CAMOUFLAGE The Great Commandment (1988)

German trio CAMOUFLAGE had a hit with ‘The Great Commandment’ all over the world including the US, with only Britain remaining ambivalent to their industrial flavoured synthpop. As with many singles of the period, it clocked in at just over three minutes but sounded rushed. Come the debut album ’Voices & Images’ and ‘The Great Commandment’ was more fully realised, allowing space to prevail in the one of the best DEPECHE MODE tracks that the Basildon boys never recorded.

Available on the CAMOUFLAGE album ‘Voices & Images’ via Metronome Music


THE BLUE NILE Headlights On The Parade (1989)

Enigmatic Glaswegian trio THE BLUE NILE were never an easy sell to the wider marketplace and the Bob Clearmountain single remix of ‘Headlights On The Parade’ was hopeless, with over a third of the emotively atmospheric number absent for the sake of radio play. The centrepiece of the brilliant ‘Hats’ album, its haunting piano, swaths of synths and a collage of modulated sequences needed a full six minutes to truly convey its solemn drive and rainy cinematic melodrama.

Available on THE BLUE NILE album ‘Hats’ via Epstein Records


THE GRID Floatation (1990)

Subsonically remixed by Andrew Weatherall with a distinct chilled-out flavour and an additional vocal from Sacha Souter for single release, the brilliant album version of ‘Floatation’ had a more rigid KRAFTWERK feel echoing elements of ‘Tour De France’. And as the track drew towards the home straight, Julian Stringle’s clarinet brought to mind the aesthetics of Dave Ball’s previous residency in SOFT CELL. But while those woodwind textures were present in the single, they were less effective overall.

Available on THE GRID album ‘Electric Head’ via Cherry Red Records


PET SHOP BOYS Being Boring (1990)

Partly inspired by a quote about Zelda Fitzgerald, novelist and wife of author F Scott Fitzgerald which stated “she refused to be bored chiefly because she wasn’t boring”, ‘Being Boring’ is one of PET SHOP BOYS’ best songs, reflecting on Neil Tennant’s youth and the loss of a friend who died of AIDS. While the single itself was almost five minutes long, the superior album version featured a fabulous intro that steadily built with a lilting synth bassline and wah-wah guitar that made the most of the song’s elegiac aura.

Available on the PET SHOP BOYS album ‘Behaviour’ via EMI Records


DEPECHE MODE In Your Room (1993)

A tedious rockist statement by DEPECHE MODE when reworked by Butch Vig for single release, the lengthy original album version of ‘In Your Room’ was widescreen magnificence with a tense percussive drive courtesy of Alan Wilder who only played what was needed, adding a second simplistic drum passage in the final half for extra weight. A fine example of how feel is more important technique, current DM drumhead Christian Eigner managed to mess up his opportunity to shine on this during the ‘Global Spirit’ tour.

Available on the DEPECHE MODE album ‘Songs Of Faith & Devotion’ via Sony Music


LADYTRON Evil (2003)

The second LADYTRON album ‘Light & Magic’ is probably best known for its lead single ‘Seventeen’, but opening its second half was the brilliantly propulsive ‘Evil’. An obvious single, when remixed by noted dance producer Ewan Pearson, it was filled out with extra string synths and made more contemporary. This lost the track its appealing spatial dynamics and grunt while the way in which the vocals of Helen Marnie were mixed more than muted her charm.

Available on the LADYTRON album ‘Light & Magic’ via Nettwerk productions


ARTHUR & MARTHA Autovia (2009)

ARTHUR & MARTHA were Adam Cresswell and Alice Hubley; their debut single ‘Autovia’ was the first release on Happy Robots Records in 2008 but when it came to recording the album ‘Navigation’, the incessant Doctor Rhythm drum machine was given a more hypnotic Motorik makeover which ironically gave the track more drive. Meanwhile, there was an extended end section which allowed for some cosmic Theremin and synth wig-outs between the pair not unlike STEREOLAB meeting NEU!

Available on the ARTHUR & MARTHA album ‘Navigation’ via Happy Robots Records


MESH Adjust Your Set (2013)

From MESH’s best album ‘Automation Baby’, the wonderfully metronomic ‘Adjust Your Set’ with its personal relationship commentary in a technology dominated world was one of its many highlights. Given a more orchestrated remix by Nico Wieditz for the MaBose Radio-Edit with a much busier electronic bassline along the lines of ‘Enjoy The Silence’, while this single version had more obvious presence, it lacked the eerie cinematic Morricone-esque air of the album original.

Available on the MESH album ‘Automation Baby’ via Dependent Records


GOLDFRAPP Ocean (2017)

‘Ocean’ was already dramatic perfection as the best track on the seventh GOLDFRAPP album ‘Silver Eye’, but for the single version, it was felt a contribution from a former member of the  Mute family was needed. While Devotees were wetting themselves over Dave Gahan appearing on a more obviously electronic sounding track again, his faux bluesy drawl was something of a mismatch next to the breathy angelic tones of Alison Goldfrapp. Gahan may be from Essex but he was certainly no Alison Moyet.

Available on the GOLDFRAPP album ‘Silver Eye’ via Mute Artists


Text by Chi Ming Lai
2nd January 2019

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