Tag: I Am Snow Angel (Page 1 of 4)

JENNY HVAL The Practice Of Love

‘The Practice Of Love’ is Norwegian songstress JENNY HVAL’s seventh album and the opposite of its self-explanatory predecessor ‘Blood Bitch’ which included stark confessionals such as ‘The Great Undressing’ and ‘Conceptual Romance’.

Now with her anger more subdued, in conceiving her new album’s aural palette, Hval got nostalgic. “I kept coming back to trashy, mainstream trance music from the ’90s” she said, while “writing something that was multi-layered, a community of voices, stories about both myself and others simultaneously…”

Released on Sacred Bones Records, home of ZOLA JESUS and THE SOFT MOON, ‘The Practice of Love’ is quietly subversive like I AM SNOW ANGEL, a body of gentle and mature synthy pop with an ethereal quality which challenges the concept of conventional personal relationships without getting angry.

Featuring friends and collaborators Vivian Wang, Laura Jean Englert and Felicia Atkinson on additional vocals or sections of recorded conversation, it asks “What is our job as a member of the human race? Do we have to accept this job, and if we don’t, does the pressure to be normal ever stop?”

Lightly percussive loops, album opener ‘Lions’ featuring a monologue by Vivian Wang is an exotic pulsing number with Hval’s angelic vocal tones gaining great exuberance as the song progresses asking “Where is God?” in a Scandi-Gaelic styled vocal cross.

With more rhythmic looping and gated synths, ‘High Alice’ exudes a widescreen hypnotism with the surprise of slinky sax and a dreamy understated voice embroiled in optimism declaring “We are something better”. With sparkling arpeggios, the gorgeous ‘Accident’ comes over like a Nordic KID MOXIE, with harmonies, ethnic choir samples and more brass concocting some deep forest escapism.

An ambient spoken word art piece, ‘The Practice Of Love’ title track sees Laura Jean Englert and Vivian Wang expressing their thoughts on being childless. Making valid existential statements, it questions “What does it mean to be in the world? What does it mean to participate in the culture of what it means to be human? To parent (or not)? To live and die? To practice love and care?”

Recalling ‘He Said’, the gorgeous collaboration between Michael Rother of NEU! and Sophie Williams from 2004, the dreamy but solemn ‘Ashes To Ashes’ with its gorgeous swathes of synths has a subtle metallic backbone to contrast the mood. It steadily builds for a resigned acceptance of mortality as “I am digging my own grave / in the honeypot / ashes to ashes / dust to dust.”

Beginning like an avant-jazz jam, ‘Thumbsucker’ also has folky overtones but sounds unusual with a subtle electronic arpeggio figuring in the interesting hybrid of styles. The spacey ‘Six Red Cannas’ sees Hval’s friendship trio all together within a metronomic dance enhanced backdrop of trancey sequencer driven synths that still maintains a feminine mystery.

Closing with the layered hush of ‘Ordinary’ with whispers, gongs and synthetic raindrops drifting into a transcendental climax, Hval accepts “We don’t always get to choose / when we are close / and when we are not.”

A thoughtful celebration of female empowerment and the human condition, despite being only eight tracks in length, it does feel a lot longer though. Not for everyone, the lyrical expression and spiritual air may require additional investment. But for those who open-minded enough get both the sound and the sentiment, the enlightenment will undoubtedly prove rewarding.


‘The Practice Of Love’ is released on 13th September 2019 in vinyl LP, CD and digital formats via Sacred Bones Records, available from https://jennyhval.bandcamp.com/

http://jennyhval.com/

https://www.facebook.com/jennyhval/

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https://www.sacredbonesrecords.com/collections/jenny-hval


Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Lasse Marhaug
6th September 2019

A Short Conversation with I AM SNOW ANGEL

The quietly subversive I AM SNOW ANGEL launches her most ambitious body of work yet in her second full-length album ‘Mothership’.

The space vehicle of Julie Kathryn, the multi-talented singer, musician and producer hailing from Lake Placid, an unusual combination of electronica and Americana has steadily evolved since her self-titled debut EP.

Following works such as ‘Crocodile’ and ‘Desert’, the spiritual intensity of ‘Mothership’ offers a work which is rich and melodic but perhaps a shade darker than where I AM SNOW ANGEL has boldly gone before, reflecting some turbulent times in a volatile world.

Julie Kathryn kindly talked to The Electricity Club about her ‘Mothership’ and where else she might be landing…

Your first album was called ‘Crocodile’ and from the title alone, ‘Mothership’ indicates a great sense of ambition?

This album definitely felt more substantial for me from the start. It feels like one piece of music, split into acts. I knew I needed to isolate myself to create it, and that the finished product would be more intense than what I’ve created in the past. This album was something I felt compelled to create.

Spirituality has been a recurring theme in your music, is ‘Mothership’ connected to that?

Definitely, ‘Mothership’ is an intersection of traditional spirituality and paranormal / science fiction – both of which are present in my inner artistic life. At the beginning of the album, the protagonist struggles in an emotionally uninhabitable world, longing for escape – and even for abduction. When the ‘Mothership’ finally arrives, her fantasy of escape feels more like a nightmare. But in the end, she returns to an altered world where she is enlightened. She can feel love again.

How important was the interim ‘Desert’ EP on your musical journey to ‘Mothership’?

Musically, it was very important. My songwriting on that EP – in particular, ‘Desert’ and ‘Losing Face’ – took me to a deeper place, lyrically and emotionally. I think this served as a bridge to this new, more intense material.

You recorded this album alone in a cabin in the woods, how was it to be cut-off from all the distractions of the city and to function self-sufficiently?

It was so wonderful. I didn’t want it to end. I was able to get lost in artistic flow for days at a time, working around the clock in my favourite place on earth.

Is this what contributed to the nocturnal demeanour of ‘Mothership’?

Yes. In the middle of nowhere during the winter, it was dark and quiet a lot of the time. And I definitely created a lot of the music late at night or in the early hours of the morning. Those are my prime creative hours.

It all starts with a wondrous instrumental ‘Inception’ which is a new path for you?

That piece of music seems to write itself. It didn’t seem like it should have lyrics, so I left it as it was.

‘Honeybee’ is perhaps one of the album’s pivotal tracks, what inspired it?

‘Honeybee’ – like much of the first half of the album – describes a sense of disillusionment and a desire to escape. I chose sounds that reminded me of buzzing bees and gurgling honeycomb, but with an ominous edge, intended to represent a natural world out of balance. Once I settled on guitar chords and synth sounds, the melody and narrative came to me quickly.

Things seems grander on this record, ‘You Were Mine’ sounds like it’s been backed by a huge synthetic orchestra?

I remember creating the music for that song. I was sitting on the floor in front of the fireplace in the cabin with my gear spread out around me. I used some of the sounds from Ableton’s “Orchestral Strings” soundpack, looping and layering various parts – whatever felt natural. The sonic landscape for this track materialized in a really fun and intuitive way.

You’ve opted to include both variants of ‘Honyebee’ and ‘You Were Mine’ on ‘Mothership’, what were your reasons?

For ‘Honeybee’, I felt very connected to my original version – the Cabin Mix – and still I had a nagging desire to re-imagine the song once I was back in New York City. So I spent a day or two remixing my own track (which was a really fun exercise in itself) and I ended up with the City Mix. While the Cabin Mix feels very organic to me, the City Mix is more glitchy and anxious. I thought it would be fun to include them both.

With ‘You Were Mine’, I was curious to hear another interpretation of the song. I asked a collaborator whom I really respect – the Swedish artist / producer THE LAND BELOW to remix the song and I loved his dark twist on it.

You’ve applied more glitch techniques ?

Yes I definitely used some glitchy sounds on this album. In ‘Inception’ I reversed sounds of children playing and simple xylophone notes to create an eerie, subtly off-kilter mood. In ‘Prey of My Own’ and ‘Wake Me’ I chopped, warped and reversed a lot of the backing vocals. And as I mentioned before, ‘Honeybee (City Mix)’ ended up a bit glitchy and crunchy.

‘Loud and Sharp / Hard and Fast’ does what it says on the tin with talk of “falling out more times than falling in”, what was the catalyst for that?

As I was writing this, I was thinking about the concept of “falling in” or “falling out” of love. I started to wonder if there’s an exact moment when each of those occurs. In the case of “falling out”, I envisioned a loved one’s previously soothing voice suddenly sounding harsh and abrasive. And then I realized that I can recall “falling out” of love more times than I can remember “falling into” love… which seems paradoxical.

‘Prey of My Own’ is quite intense and almost claustrophobic, a case of cabin fever?

This song was partially inspired by a post-apocalyptic novel by Emily St. John Mandel, ‘Station Eleven’, that I read while I was conceptualizing this album. The characters in the book, including the female protagonist Kirsten, must fend for themselves in a wild, uncivilized world. In ‘Prey of My Own’, my protagonist has become a warrior in a cold and dangerous winter forest.

The ‘Mothership’ title song and ‘Wake Me’ both have a sombre air?

Both of these songs depict the protagonist’s abduction (or, dream of being abducted). Desperate for relief from her unhappy life, she eagerly awaits the ‘Mothership’, even drinking special elixirs in an effort to expedite its arrival. But when the ship lands, its sound is harsh and deafening. What follows (in the rest of the track and in ‘Wake Me’) is either an actual abduction or a very vivid nightmare that leaves her frightened and disoriented. When the protagonist wakes up/returns to consciousness, she finds that the world has changed, and she has changed.

The lyrical content of the closing number ‘I Love You’ could have many interpretations for the listener?

The album’s narrative ends here. Unaware exactly how long she has been gone from this world, the protagonist wakes up to an altered reality – both internally and externally. Her spiritual composition has changed, and the world feels different.

She finally feels peace and love within herself. She remembers someone she loved many years ago and makes a trek through a new futuristic landscape to find this person.

You must be very proud of ‘Mothership’, what’s the next step as far as presenting it to the wider world?

Thank you so much. I’m hoping to reach as many people as I can with this album, and I’m grateful to people like you for taking the time to listen to and share my work.


The Electricity Club gives its warmest thanks to I AM SNOW ANGEL

‘Mothership’ available as a download via the usual digital outlets

http://iamsnowangel.com/

https://www.facebook.com/iamsnowangel

https://twitter.com/I_Am_SnowAngel

https://www.instagram.com/i_am_snowangel/


Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Julie Drummond
2nd February 2019

I AM SNOW ANGEL Mothership

The ‘Mothership’ has landed and it is indeed I AM SNOW ANGEL’s most ambitious work yet.

The quietly subversive vehicle of Julie Kathryn, the Lake Placid native wrote, performed, programmed, produced and engineered the album herself in a woodland cabin retreat outside New York, although there are some guitar contributions from Charlie Rauh on two tracks.

At eight tracks, while this is not a long concept album in that progressive rock kind of way, ‘Mothership’ has a thematic core which is possibly darker than the dreamier I AM SNOW ANGEL material of the past.

With a political air of alienation, ‘Mothership’ has been described as an intersection of traditional spirituality, the paranormal and science fiction.  After a surreal instrumental intro with the widescreen overtures of ‘Inception’, ‘Honeybee’ provides some Americana twang alongside glitchy atmospheres and dense icy strings, recalling the mysterious air of Hilary Woods who released her debut solo album ‘Colt’ on Sacred Bones Records in 2018.

On the wispy drama of ‘You Were Mine’, the feelings of loss conveyed over an airy collage of mystery are chillingly bittersweet, accompanied by a magnificent synthetic orchestra and a minimal dressing of guitar. More loudly dynamic, ‘Loud and Sharp / Hard and Fast’ does what the title suggests in an aural cocoon of drum loops, bass synth, guitars and voice samples.

Reminiscent of Angelo Badalamenti, ‘Prey of My Own’ is intense and claustrophobic; “One of the big influences for me on my new record was actually David Lynch” confessed Julie Kathryn to The Electricity Club, “especially the new series of Twin Peaks”.

The sombre air of the ‘Mothership’ title track gives a very austere atmosphere swathed in intensity…

“What follows (in the rest of the track, and in ‘Wake Me’) is either an actual abduction or a very vivid nightmare that leaves her frightened and disoriented” Julie Kathryn said, “When the protagonist wakes up / returns to consciousness, she finds that the world has changed, and she has changed.”

Drifting among sombre strings, ‘Wake Me’ works with detuned spacey synths to provide a twist, building around a steadfast swung rhythm, mighty guitar textures and haunting whispery vocals, before drones and six string make a profound declaration in ‘I Love You’, an ultimate expression of blind devotion which captivates and unsettles simultaneously.

Sonically nocturnal and emotive, embroiled in a delicate melancholy via an earthy merging of technology and nature, ‘Mothership’ moves I AM SNOW ANGEL away from dreams into more cerebral climes but is still quietly subversive.

At the end, there is almost a sense of cabin fever, isolation and uncertainty, reflecting some turbulent times in a volatile world.


‘Mothership’ available as a download from 25th January 2019 direct from https://iamsnowangel.bandcamp.com/album/mothership

http://iamsnowangel.com/

https://www.facebook.com/iamsnowangel

https://twitter.com/I_Am_SnowAngel

https://www.instagram.com/i_am_snowangel/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Shervin Lainez
23rd January 2019

I AM SNOW ANGEL Honeybee

With her ‘Mothership’ opus about to land soon, Lake Placid’s I AM SNOW ANGEL has presented a new in-studio performance video of her current single ‘Honeybee’.

The vehicle of songstress and producer Julie Kathryn, her wonderful debut long player ‘Crocodile’ was a quietly subversive statement that crossed modern electronica with some Americana twang and even closed with a wispy drum ‘n’ bass cover of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘I’m On Fire’.

Recorded appropriately enough in a cabin located in the wintery Adirondack Woods which are north of New York, ‘Honeybee’ has been presented in two versions, depicting according to Kathryn: “two iterations of a dark and bittersweet metaphorical world where alienation is omnipresent, and love and salvation are ephemeral (never truly unattainable no matter how much I long for them).”

“In the City Mix” she said, “I overlayed trap beats with glitchy and robotic vocals to help bring the song’s melody to life while also depicting the inevitable merging of technology and nature.”

However, the more sedate and barer Cabin Mix recalls haunting air of Hilary Woods who released her debut solo album ‘Colt’ on Sacred Bones earlier this year; “I employed onamonapia by using sounds that, to me, are reminiscent of the buzzing and gurgling of a honeybee and it’s honeycomb lair, but with a dark edge.”

‘Honeybee’ is the follow-up to the chillingly bittersweet ‘You Were Mine’ and the long awaited parent long player ‘Mothership’ is now slated for 25th January 2019. As well as finishing the I AM SNOW ANGEL album, Kathryn has also undertaken some sound design with her own Dream Pack for Splice as well as engineering and producing ‘No Sound’, the new single by Canadian singer / songwriter Grace Lachance.

But despite the workload, Kathryn simply says: “I’m so grateful that I get to make music all day every day ✨?


‘Honeybee’ available as a download via the usual digital outlets

The album ‘Mothership’ is released on 25th January 2019

http://iamsnowangel.com/

https://www.facebook.com/iamsnowangel

https://twitter.com/I_Am_SnowAngel

https://www.instagram.com/i_am_snowangel/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
5th December 2018

TEC’s 25 21ST CENTURY SYNTH COVERS

“The medium of reinterpretation” as HEAVEN 17 and BEF’s Martyn Ware once put it, is still very much present in the 21st Century.

There have been albums of cover versions from the likes of SIMPLE MINDS, ERASURE, MIDGE URE and CLAUDIA BRÜCKEN celebrating their influences, as well as numerous various artists collections paying tribute to particular acts.

However, a newish phenomenon of covering an entire album has appeared in more recent years, something which MARSHEAUX, BECKY BECKY and CIRCUIT 3 have attempted on works by DEPECHE MODE, THE KNIFE and YAZOO respectively.

On the other side of the coin in recognition of the cultural impact of the classic synth era, the Anti-Christ Superstar MARILYN MANSON covered SOFT CELL’s cover of ‘Tainted Love’ but added more shouting, while DAVID GRAY took their own ‘Say Hello Wave Goodbye’ and turned it into a lengthy Dylan-esque ballad.

There has also been a trend for girl groups to cover songs from the period with GIRLS ALOUD, THE SATURDAYS and RED BLOODED WOMEN being among those introducing these numbers to a new younger audience.

So as a follow-up to TEC’s 25 Classic Synth Covers listing, here is a selection taken from reinterpretations recorded from 2000 to the present day, restricted to one song per artist moniker and presented in chronological order.


SCHNEIDER TM va KPTMICHIGAN The Light 3000 (2000)

Morrissey was once quoted as saying there was “nothing more repellent than the synthesizer”, but if THE SMITHS had gone electro, would they have sounded like this and Stephen Patrick thrown himself in front of that ten ton truck? Germany’s SCHNEIDER TM aka Dirk Dresselhaus reconstructed ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’ to a series of minimal blips, blops and robotics to configure ‘The Light 3000’ with British producer KPTMICHIGAN.

Available on the album ‘Binokular’ via https://mirrorworldmusic.bandcamp.com/

http://www.cityslang.com/schneider-tm/biography


GOLDFRAPP Yes Sir (2003)

A breathy Euro disco classic made famous by sultry Spanish vocal duo BACCARA, Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory’s take on this cheesy but enjoyable disco standard came over like The Cheeky Girls at The Nuremburg rally! Now that’s a horrifying vision! All traces of ‘Yes Sir I Can Boogie’ apart from the original lyrics were rendered missing in action as the stern Ms Goldfrapp played the role of the thigh booted dominatrix on this highly original cover.

Available on the single ‘Twist’ via Mute Records

http://goldfrapp.com/


INFANTJOY featuring SARAH NIXEY Ghosts (2005)

When BLACK BOX RECORDER went on hiatus, Sarah Nixey recorded a beautifully spacey cover of JAPAN’s Ghosts with INFANTJOY whose James Banbury became her main collaborator on her 2007 debut solo album ‘Sing Memory’. Meanwhile the duo’s other member was none other than ZTT conceptualist Paul Morley.  A POPULUS remix appeared on the ‘With’ revisions album while MIDI-ed up and into the groove, Nixey later also recorded THE HUMAN LEAGUE’s ‘The Black Hit Of Space’.

Available on the album ‘With’ via serviceAV

http://infantjoy.com


DIE KRUPPS featuring CLIENT Der Amboss (2005)

Of this mighty industrialised cover, Ralf Dörper said to The Electricity Club: “When I first heard ‘The Anvil’ (‘Der Amboss’) by VISAGE, I thought: “what a perfect song for DIE KRUPPS” – it just needed more sweat, more steel. And it was not before 2005 when DIE KRUPPS were asked to play a few 25-year anniversary shows that I remembered ‘Der Amboss’… and as I was a big CLIENT fan at that time, I thought it would be a good opportunity to ask Fräulein B for assistance in the vocal department”.

Available on a self-released CD single for the band’s 25th anniversary tour, currently unavailable

http://www.diekrupps.de/


FROST Messages (2007)

Comprising of Aggie Peterson and Per Martinsen, FROST have described their music as “upbeat space-pop”. Much of their own material like ‘Klong’, ‘Alphabet’ and ‘Sleepwalker’ exuded a perfect soundtrack for those long Nordic nights. Meanwhile their ultra-cool cover of OMD’s ‘Messages’ embraced that wintery atmosphere, while providing a pulsing backbone of icy synths to accompany Peterson’s alluringly nonchalant vocal.

Available on the album ‘Love! Revolution!’ via Frost World Recordings

https://www.facebook.com/frostnorway/


ONETWO Have A Cigar (2007)

Onetwo_InsteadIn this “Pink Floyd Goes To Hollywood” styled rework, Claudia Brücken revisited her ZTT roots with this powerful and danceable version of Roger Waters’ commentary on music business hypocrisy. ‘Have A Cigar’ showed a turn of feistiness and aggression not normally associated with the usually more serene timbres of Claudia Brücken and Paul Humphreys’ ONETWO project. But by welcoming pleasure into the dome, they did a fine cover version.

Available on the album ‘Instead’ via https://theremusic.bandcamp.com/album/instead

http://www.theremusic.com/onetwo/onetwo


BLACK NAIL CABARET Umbrella (2008)

Budapest’s BLACK NAIL CABARET began life as an all-female duo of Emese Illes-Arvai on vocals and Sophie Tarr on keyboards, with their first online offering being a darkwave cover of RIHANNA’s ‘Umbrella’. Already very synthy in the Barbadian starlet’s own version, it showcased their brooding form of electro which subsequently impressed enough to earn support slots with COVENANT, DE/VISION and CAMOUFLAGE while producing three albums of self-penned material so far.

Available on the album ‘The Covers’ via https://blacknailcabaret.bandcamp.com/album/the-covers

http://www.blacknailcabaret.com


CHINA CRISIS Starry Eyed (2008)

Liverpudlian easy listening crooner Michael Holliday was the second person to have a UK No1 written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, the first being Perry Como with ‘Magic Moments’. His second UK No1 penned by Earl Shuman and Mort Garson was a romantic guilty pleasure. CHINA CRISIS pledged their Scouse Honour with this jaunty synth / drum machine driven rendition of ‘Starry Eyed’ layered with reverbed synthbass warbles and harmonious vocals from Messrs Daly and Lundon.

Available on the album ‘Liverpool – The Number Ones Album’ (V/A) via EMI Records

www.facebook.com/pages/China-Crisis/295592467251068


LITTLE BOOTS Love Kills (2009)

LittleBootsEPLITTLE BOOTS gave a dynamically poptastic rendition of Giorgio Moroder and Freddie Mercury’s only collaboration from 1984, retaining its poignant melancholic quality while adding a vibrant and danceable electronic slant. The recreation of Richie Zito’s guitar solo on synths was wondrous as was the looser swirly groove. While Victoria Hesketh didn’t have the voice of Mercury, her wispy innocence added its own touching qualities to ‘Love Kills’.

Available on the EP ‘Illuminations’ via Elektra Records

www.littlebootsmusic.co.uk


PET SHOP BOYS Viva La Vida (2009)

Yuck, it’s Chris Martin and Co but didn’t Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe do well? Merging possibly COLDPLAY’s best song with the synth riff from their own Latino disco romp ‘Domino Dancing’, ‘Viva La Vida’ was turned into a stomping but still anthemic number which perhaps had more touches of affection than PET SHOP BOYS‘ marvellous but allegedly two fingers Hi-NRG rendition of U2’s ‘Where The Streets Have No Name’. So altogether now: “Woah-oh, ooh-ooah!”

Available on the album ‘Yes: Further Listening 2008-2010’ via EMI Records

http://petshopboys.co.uk


DURAN DURAN Boys Keep Swinging (2010)

WeWereSoTurnedOnNo strangers to raiding the Bowie songbook having previously tackled ‘Fame’ in 1981, DURAN DURAN however blotted their copy book with their 1995 covers LP ‘Thank You’. They refound their stride with the return-to-form album ‘All You Need Is Now’ but just before that, this superb reinterpretation of ‘Boys Keep Swinging’ reconnected them to their New Romantic roots with washes of Nick Rhodes’ swimmy Crumar string machine, held down by a danceable beatbox and John Taylor’s syncopated bass runs.

Available on the album ‘We Were So Turned On: A Tribute To David Bowie’ via Manimal Vinyl

http://www.duranduran.com


LADYTRON Little Black Angel (2010)

LADYTRONThis frantically paced cover of controversial neofolk band DEATH IN JUNE was recorded for the LADYTRON ‘Best Of 00-10’ collection and purposely uncredited. The antithesis of the midtempo atmospherics of ‘Gravity The Seducer’, this cutting four-to-the-floor romp was the last of the quartet’s in-yer-face tracks in a wind down of the harder ‘Velocifero’ era. With the multi-ethnic combo subverting the meaning of ‘Little Black Angel’, it deliberately bore no resemblance to the acoustic laden original.

Available on the album ‘Best of 00-10’ via Nettwerk Records

http://www.ladytron.com


GAZELLE TWIN The Eternal (2011)

‘The Eternal’ from ‘Closer’, the final album by JOY DIVISION, was one of the most fragile, funereal collages of beauty ever committed to vinyl. But in 2011, Brighton based songstress GAZELLE TWIN reworked this cult classic and made it even more haunting! Replacing the piano motif with eerily chilling synth and holding it together within an echoing sonic cathedral, she paid due respect to the song while adding her own understated operatic stylings.

Available on the EP ‘I Am Shell I Am Bone’ via Anti-Ghost Moon Ray Records

http://www.gazelletwin.com


MIRRORS Something On Your Mind (2011)

lightsOn their only album ‘Lights & Offerings’, MIRRORS revealed an interesting musical diversion with this haunting take of a rootsy country number originally recorded by Karen Dalton. Written by the late Dino Valenti of psychedelic rockers QUICKSILVER MESSENGER SERVICE, ‘Something On Your Mind’ was a touching ballad with its tortured yearning suiting the quartet’s pop noir aspirations. Ally Young told The Electricity Club: “It was very nice for us to be able to apply our aesthetic to someone else’s song.”

Available on the album ‘Lights & Offerings’ via Skint Records

http://mirrorsofficial.bandcamp.com/


OMD VCR (2011)

OMD vcrIndie stoners THE XX had a minimalist approach to their sound which Andy McCluskey told TEC was “really quite impressive”. This bareness made their material quite well suited for reworking in the style of classic OMD. ‘VCR’ had Paul Humphreys taking charge of the synths while McCluskey dusted off his bass guitar and concentrated on vocals. McCluskey added: “People go ‘how did OMD influence THE XX?’… but have you listened to ‘4-Neu’? Have you listened to some of the really simple, stripped down B-sides?”

Available on the EP ‘History Of Modern (Part I)’ via Blue Noise

http://www.omd.uk.com


I SPEAK MACHINE My Sex (2013)

As I SPEAK MACHINE, Tara Busch has been known for her haunting and occasionally downright bizarre live covers of songs as diverse as ‘Cars’, ‘Our House’, ‘The Sound Of Silence’ and ‘Ticket To Ride’. For a JOHN FOXX tribute EP which also featured GAZELLE TWIN, she turned ‘My Sex’, the closing number from the debut ULTRAVOX! long player, into a cacophony of wailing soprano and dystopian synths that was more than suitable for a horror flick.

Available on the EP ‘Exponentialism’ (V/A) via Metamatic Records

http://www.ispeakmachine.com


NOBLESSE OBLIGE Hotel California (2013)

French theatrical performer Valerie Renay and German producer Sebastian Lee Philipp are NOBLESSE OBLIGE. Together, they specialise in a brand of abstract Weimer cabaret tinged with a dose of electro Chanson. Their lengthy funereal deadpan cover of THE EAGLES’ ‘Hotel California’ highlighted the chilling subtext of the lyrics to its macabre conclusion! The synthesizer substitution of the original’s iconic twin guitar solo could be seen as total genius or sacrilege!

Available on the album ‘Affair Of The Heart’ via Repo Records

http://www.noblesseoblige.co.uk/


I AM SNOW ANGEL I’m On Fire (2014)

I AM SNOW ANGEL is the project of Brooklyn based producer Julie Kathryn; her debut album ‘Crocodile’ was a lush sounding affair and could easily be mistaken as a product of Scandinavia were it not for her distinctly Trans-Atlantic drawl. Already full of surprises, to close the long player, out popped a countrified drum ‘n’ bass take of BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN’s ‘I’m On Fire’! Quite what The Boss would have made of it, no-one is sure but it was quietly subversive and it certainly delivered the unexpected.

Available on the album ‘Crocodile’ via I Am Snow Angel

http://iamsnowangel.com/


MACHINISTA Heroes (2014)

Reinterpreting any Bowie number is fraught with the possibility of negative feedback and MACHINISTA’s take on ‘Heroes’ set tongues wagging. Recorded as the duo’s calling card when experienced Swedish musicians John Lindqwister and Richard Flow first came together, electronic pulses combined with assorted synthetic textures which when amalgamated with Lindqwister’s spirited vocal, produced a respectful and yes, good version of an iconic song.

Available on the album ‘Xenoglossy’ via Analogue Trash

http://www.machinistamusic.com


NIGHT CLUB Need You Tonight (2014)

Comprising of frisky vocalist Emily Kavanaugh and moody producer Mark Brooks, NIGHT CLUB simply cut to the chase with their enjoyable electronic cover of INXS’ ‘Need You Tonight’. Here, the familiar guitar riff was amusingly transposed into a series of synth stabs before mutating into a mutant Morse code. It wasn’t rock ‘n’ roll but we liked it! Purists were horrified, but history has proved the best cover versions always do a spot of genre and instrumentation hopping.

Available on the EP ‘Black Leather Heart’ via http://nightclubband.com/album/black-leather-heart

http://www.nightclubband.com


MARSHEAUX Monument (2015)

The MARSHEAUX reworking of DEPECHE MODE’s second album ‘A Broken Frame’ shed new light on Martin Gore’s first long form adventure as songwriter and affirmed that numbers such as ‘My Secret Garden’ and ‘The Sun & The Rainfall’ were just great songs. But ‘Monument’ was an example of a cover outstripping the original and given additional political resonance with the economic situation close to home that the Greek synth maidens found themselves living in at the time of its recording.

Available on the album ‘A Broken Frame’ via Undo Records

http://www.marsheaux.com/


METROLAND Close To Me (2015)

Needing to be heard to be believed, this rather inventive and charming cover of THE CURE’s ‘Close To Me’ by Belgium’s favourite passengers METROLAND utilised a selection of male and female computer voice generators to provide the lead vocal, in a move likely to upset the majority of real music purists. Meanwhile, the hidden melodies shone much more brightly than in the goth-laden original, thanks to its wonderful and clever electronic arrangement.

Available on the album ‘A Strange Play – An Alfa Matrix Tribute To The Cure’ (V/A) via https://alfamatrix.bandcamp.com/album/a-strange-play-an-alfa-matrix-tribute-to-the-cure

http://www.metrolandmusic.com/


JOHAN BAECKSTRÖM Jerusalem (2016)

One of DAILY PLANET’s main inspirations was cult UK synth trio WHITE DOOR, who released just one album ‘Windows’ in 1983. So when their chief synthesist Johan Baeckström was needing tracks to include on his ‘Like Before’ EP, the almost choir boy overtures of ‘Jerusalem’ was a natural choice for a cover version. Of course, this was not the first time Baeckström had mined the WHITE DOOR back catalogue as the more halcyon ‘School Days’ adorned the flip of his debut solo single ‘Come With Me’.

Available on the EP ‘Like Before EP’ via Progress Productions

https://www.facebook.com/bstrommusic/


THE FRIXION Under A Cherry Moon (2017)

Forming in 2016, seasoned vocalist Gene Serene and producer Lloyd Price’s combined sound delightfully borrowed from both classic synthpop and Weimar Cabaret on THE FRIXION’s self-titled EP debut. From it, a tribute to The Purple One came with this touching take of his ‘Under The Cherry Moon’, highlighting PRINCE’s often hidden spiritual connection to European pop forms and recalling ‘The Rhythm Divine’, YELLO’s epic collaboration with Shirley Bassey.

Available on the EP ‘The Frixion’ via https://thefrixion.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/TheFrixion/


KALEIDA 99 Luftballons (2017)

Moody electronic duo KALEIDA first came to wider attention opening for RÓISÍN MURPHY in 2015. Covers have always been part of Christina Wood and Cicely Goulder’s repertoire with ‘A Forest’ and ‘Take Me To The River’ being among them. KALEIDA’s sparse rendition of NENA’s ‘99 Luftballons’ earned kudos for being very different and was included in the soundtrack of the Cold War spy drama ‘Atomic Blonde’, hauntingly highlighting the currently relevant nuclear apocalypse warning in the lyric.

Available on the album ‘Tear The Roots’ via https://kaleida.bandcamp.com

http://kaleidamusic.com


Text by Chi Ming Lai
1st January 2018, updated 3rd June 2019

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