Tag: John Fryer (Page 1 of 4)

KITE BASE Interview

KITE BASE released their debut long player ‘Latent Whispers’ in 2017.

Comprising of two bass guitars and electronics courtesy of a Dave Smith Instruments Tempest drum machine affectionately named Alan, the dynamic duo SAVAGES’ bassist Ayşe Hassan and the haunting vocal presence of Kendra Frost.

Songs such as the wonderfully hypnotic ‘Transition’ and the mantric percussive vibes of ‘Soothe’ have won Frost and Hassan a cult audience all of their own. But it has been their cover of ‘Something I Can Never Have’, a track from NINE INCH NAILS’ first album ‘Pretty Hate Machine’ that has attracted the most attention.

John Fryer, the producer of ‘Pretty Hate Machine’, invited Kendra Frost to contribute vocals to his BLACK NEEDLE NOISE project. Meanwhile, Trent Reznor himself has invited KITE BASE to open for NINE INCH NAILS on five North American dates for the upcoming ‘Cold & Black & Infinite’ tour.

Kendra Frost kindly took time out to chat to The Electricity Club about the ongoing progression of KITE BASE, as well as her new found passion for synth building and sound design.

KITE BASE have an unusual format in that it’s two bass guitars and programmed electronics. What were the inspirations behind making music like this?

It honestly wasn’t a conscious choice we made. When Ayşe and I first met, we bonded over the fact that we were both bassists and also shared a love of electronic music, so we stuck true to those things; the things that initially drew us together.

Working out how to physically integrate the electronics part was a big learning curve as I hadn’t programmed anything outside of basic level DAW tinkering before and so acquiring the right kit and learning how to use it was a challenging voyage of discovery.

Your drum machine / sequencer named Alan is a Dave Smith Tempest designed by Roger Linn, what made you choose one of those as opposed to something else and what is ‘he’ like to use?

Primarily, we both agreed that we wanted to avoid having a laptop on stage. So I set about the hunt for a singular piece of hardware that had a playlist function for practical reasons – so that I could play bass and sing at the same time. But I also wanted the ability to sculpt sounds and modulate live (certain songs ended up being written in a particular way to allow my hands to be free because I wanted to get some live modulation in there). Otherwise it would’ve felt a little like owning a vintage E-Type Jaguar and only taking it out to the supermarket on Sundays…!

Handily, I have a best friend who is a genius in all things sonically related and so I asked him what he might recommend for the job, after autonomous investigation only resulted in my drowning in the bombardment of options available out there. He gave me a very clever three tier choice system, based on price and rabbit hole depth. He introduced me to the Korg Volcas – which I still adore and use for inspiration – worked up to the Roland TR8 and then he said… “now hunt down and try out this…!” So I sourced a Tempest at the awesome store, Funky Junk, in London, and… well, how could I not have gotten hooked?! I took him home with me and named him ‘Alan’ in honour of Mr. Turing.

Alan is a complicated beast and he demands dedication. However, KITE BASE as it currently stands would not exist without him and he is well worth the effort.

I learned to use him by working out how to translate my demo programming over from Propellerhead Reason, finding ways to better it as I learnt the functionality of the machine.

I pretty much became a total recluse because of that, and willingly so! To learn the DSI functionality is not the learning curve, synthesis is. I didn’t even know what an oscillator was when I started and so beyond working out the basics like how to programme the sequencer, the science behind it was and still is the real challenge.

But what I did have to my aid were years of listening to and adoring outfits like NIN, AUTECHRE, BOARDS OF CANADA, CABARET VOLTAIRE and a whole host of other dance genres, so I had an excellent hand hold in that respect – I knew what I wanted to hear. To really get the most out of the Tempest, in my mind, you need to study the science behind sound to at least some degree. Years later, I still feel I have merely scratched the surface of that learning, but that is exciting to me because it directly influences my creative output and so aids artistic development.

How do you look back on the making of ‘Latent Whispers’ and how it was received?

I am proud of what we created. It was an honest reflection of that moment in time and to me that is the holy grail of creating anything.

I am exceedingly grateful for the reception the album received, the shows we were invited to play and all of the opportunities we obtained via it. We were lucky to do some incredible things off the back of it and meet some amazing people. It is always an honour to receive a positive review from any platform, but I try very hard to be honest with myself about the creative output first and foremost.

It takes courage to release any form of art and you hope people react to it in a positive way, but that is ultimately a subjective thing over which you have no control. As an artist of any medium, I think it’s vital to strive for that kind of one step removal, however impossible that may ultimately be. Otherwise your future output, your voice, becomes less genuine as external factors inevitably influence you, one way or another.

Was the gestation time for the album quite long due to all the various other commitments?

In short, yes. But from my part that was something I took on board willingly from the off because I knew that’d be the case and I fully believe in the project. Also, everything happens for a reason and had things rolled sooner, some of the incredible things that did happen quite simply would not have come into being.

‘Transition’ appears to be the one that has crossed over into various audiences?

Yes, and I am profoundly happy about that because lyrically and sonically, it was the track that I felt best reflected upon what was actually happening in real time on a personal level. I guess you could say it was the most mindful track, as opposed to reflective or something. That immediacy and honesty was important for me.

Which tracks still remain favourites for you from the record and why?

‘Dadum’; it was the first demo I wrote and the first track that Ayşe and I subsequently worked on together as KITE BASE. It also marked a turning point for me in that the melody came to me in quite an inopportune moment – at the start of a gig and I knew I’d lose it if I didn’t run outside into the snow (it was winter) and quickly record some teeth chattering, melodic babbling into my phone. I absolutely detest the cold, so it really tested my mettle. Life has a way of doing that, doesn’t it? It puts hurdles in your way by method of measuring how much you want a thing, I believe…! That was the first time I’d harnessed that philosophy and it has since become a vital method of writing for me.

Your cover of NINE INCH NAILS’ ‘Something I Can Never Have’ has opened a few doors for you, what’s the story behind KITE BASE reinterpreting it?

I had been listening to LAURIE ANDERSON’s incredible ‘O Superman’ on repeat for days. I find walking helps generate creative catalysts, and I was playing about with that addictive, repetitive staccato vocal in my head on my way in to work one day. Then a counter melody appeared over the top of it and I couldn’t quite place it at first, so I let it unfold and eventually cottoned on that it was the opening piano riff for ‘Something I Can Never Have’ by NIN.

I’ve always loved that song because of its honesty, but also because I felt that there was an intense beauty in the hope I read as being hidden there in the lyrics too – in that regardless of something feeling hopelessly out of reach, it doesn’t stop you wanting it and therefore hoping for it to happen…

I let the melody roll in my head as I often do when working out harmonies and then I realised you could take that incredible theme from ‘The Fragile’, the melody found in the track ‘La Mer’, and place it over the top too allowing the different time signatures to double helix a bit… that was when I got excited and called Ayşe to explain the idea and sense check if I had lost my marbles!

I visualise sounds in that way a lot, as a first port of call when writing – I studied photography for my degree and that visual training had a profound effect on the way I approached music afterwards.

I try to hear what I can imagine seeing and I find it a useful writing aid to ask myself questions like what shape I want a part of a song to be as a result of the emotion of a lyric, noise, sound, overriding concept. Then the melody follows that.

As for the vocal harmonies, I’ve been singing with my dear friends Grace, Theresa and Eve since we met in a local choir aged about 10! All of them are professional singers now, and I was so happy they agreed to collaborate on this as I really had them in mind to perform it, having sung with them as a female barbershop group for fun for years. And of course the two basses… Ayşe and I often fondly refer to each other as ‘yin yang’ in that we have contrasting but complimentary ways of playing bass.

Ayse’s is fantastically heart felt, no nonsense, wallop and mine is less immediate, but more planned out – I like to think “what am I trying to achieve here?”, mull it over and then play. It’s the balance between those two styles that gives KITE BASE its voice, I’d say. We owe a huge debt of thanks to Giorgio Testi and Simone Pellegrini and their incredible team for directing and shooting that video and Dan Conway’s outstanding visuals. Without them, the track would have been half of a whole. You need the gift of sound and vision.

John Fryer, the original producer of ‘Something I Can Never Have’, asked you to sing on first ‘Warning Sign’ and then ‘This Kind Of Road’ for his BLACK NEEDLE NOISE project, how was that?

That was a wonderful experience and I was thrilled to have been asked to collaborate. John had written the music and he gave me free reign to write whatever vocal melodies and lyrics I wanted in reaction to the tracks. It was a real treat because I could just focus purely on the vocal and the words and push that communication. I’d not done that before, purely focus on just those elements, and was happily surprised to find it all flowed very quickly. When you’ve already got a great foundation to build upon, the rest is a joy!

Then KITE BASE actually get invited to open for NINE INCH NAILS on selected dates on the Autumn US tour… have you taken it in yet and are you ready?

We are still pinching ourselves and I don’t think it has quite sunk in yet for either of us! This has been a pipe dream for us both since we discovered NIN in our teens… it’s beyond an honour to have been asked and a massive great big deal for us both personally.

Are we ready?! YES! We cannot bloody wait to get out there! Nerves kind of haven’t come into it because it’s all so wonderfully, David Lynch level beautiful / surreal. A place we are both very happy to be in.

How will you approach playing considerably larger venues than maybe you’ve played in the past?

Turn it up to 11 and dig out the miniature Stonehenge props! No, in all seriousness, it’ll be great to have a bit more space on stage! We are usually on top of our 8×10’s blasting out a whole spectrum of shades of distorted bass frequencies… try pitching to that! Ha! Smaller stages are hugely challenging for that reason and we usually get that AND low ceilings… you’re basically in the epicentre of a giant sonic bass whirlpool in those situations, and although that can feel cool as heck, it will be great to have some space on stage.

Will you have any new music to release? Are you taking KITE BASE into any different directions?

It’s well underway and we have demos. We would love to work with a producer this time around… I don’t want to repeat old ground and have been exploring ways to revise the current set up. As much as I love Alan the Tempest, there obviously are other pieces of hardware out there requiring different technical approaches that would therefore lead to new creative outcomes. Superbooth this year was choc full of incredible new machines – that MFB Tanzbar 2, oooh…!

Also, I like the idea of the possibility of putting my bass down here and there, in favour of adopting a bass synth, for example. That’d stay true to the ‘two basses’ idea then, but move it into different territory, generate new sounds and create fresh areas to explore sonically.

You’ve got into the physical act of synth building with soldering and all that, how did this all come about?

That was a moment of amazing serendipity; I am ridiculously lucky to have been taken under the wing of ‘The Prof’, Steve Thomas at Digitana. Along the lines of thought of investigating new synths and hardware to use in KITE BASE, I’ve always been very keen on the idea of building my own DIY electronics, directly inspired by artists like Chris Carter of THROBBING GRISTLE, Oliver Ackermann of DEATH BY AUDIO / A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS, Guido and Kyle of VACTROL PARK etc.

I just think it’s insanely cool to be able to make and use your own pieces of kit in addition to bought hardware and I’d been hunting for a teacher for a while with the hope of following along in those footsteps. I was relaying this to my dear friend and awesome film and TV composer, Carly Paradis, and she said “you need to meet Steve from Digitana”.

Steve was about to visit her to showcase the prototype of a new analogue synth he’d built called the SX-1 as a collaboration with THE FUTURE SOUND OF LONDON, so Carly very kindly invited me along too.

I couldn’t believe how awesome the SX-1 was, the sounds, the build quality, the classic EMS aesthetic… We all got on like a house on fire, and, it transpired that Steve was looking to train someone up to join the team. (I know how unbelievable this all sounds and no, I cannot believe my luck!)

Since then, I have been trained up on a number of awesome things and I am currently soldering and wiring the looms for the licensed EMS Synthi Hi-FLi, whilst my fellow team mate Alina Kalancea, who is an incredible electronic artist in her own right, works on the SX-1. It is beyond a perfect role because it’s a truly wonderful company, motivated by excellence and craft – Steve is as much a genius as he is a genuinely lovely guy and an outstanding teacher (he is a head of PHD physics!).

Everything is designed by him and every item is built and made by hand by Digitana. I get to learn about synthesis as well as electronics and Steve fully supports our work as musicians also, making it as flexible as possible so we can still write and play.

Will this possibly spark an interest in hardware like modulars? We’ve discussed Alan but what other equipment are you looking at for your music?

Yes! Just before landing my role at Digitana, I undertook a short evening course at London Modular, an introduction to modular synths. I love that store! It was excellent as it gave a thorough overview into Eurorack systems and basic patching. We mainly used modules by Doepfer and Make Noise, but I just couldn’t keep my eyes off the alluringly sci-fi looking Buchla 222e control surface in the corner of the room.

Buchla is just something else. It feels like a classical instrument in every way to me; learning wise, sound quality wise… price wise… I’d long been a fan of Buchla artists like SUZANNE CIANI, ALESSANDRO CORTINI and REED & CAROLINE but Buchla has always seemed to be that unreachable, shiniest star over yonder for a number of reasons.

Until I met Alina at Digitana, that is, who I am excited to say has literally just sold me two of her second hand 200e modules! I’m due to receive them in the next couple of weeks and I cannot wait to fall down that rabbit hole. Bang goes any social life I had! Oh well! And yes, I’ve already named it – it’s a she and she is called ‘Pris’. After all, Pris did rock Buchla blue as eye make-up so very well!

What else are you up to musically at the moment?

KITE BASE and I SPEAK MACHINE have collaborated on the soundtrack for Matt Harlock and Krent Able’s short horror ‘Deep Clean’, which should hopefully be released soon! I LOVED working with Tara Busch from ISM, she is such a fabulous musician.

And personally, I’ve been working on something that I am exceedingly proud of and excited by; I’ve been doing musical sound design for Carly Paradis on the score for the new and forthcoming Netflix series ‘The Innocents’ which is due to air this summer.

I’ve been using the FSOL / Digitana SX-1 and Tempest Alan to make sounds for some of the best briefs I’ve ever seen; emotive, dark, alluring, sci-fi, thriller sounds – everything that is totally my cup of tea!

Working with Carly has been an absolute dream and it’s a wonderful pairing for me in that I make the raw sounds and send them over to her to be incorporated into her score writing per scene. It has been incredible to see the journey of these sounds unfold. To make something and have it illustrate stunningly beautiful cinematography like that and to collaborate with an artist like Carly has been one of my proudest achievements to date and it is something that I very much hope will continue.


The Electricity Club gives its sincerest thanks to Kendra Frost

‘Latent Whispers’ is still available as a CD, vinyl LP and download via https://kitebase.pmstores.co/

KITE BASE appear as part of Robert Smith’s Meltdown Festival on Sunday 24th June at London’s Southbank Centre on the Sunday Surprises stage – it is a free show with the duo performing a half hour set at 1.00pm

They will play the following Autumn 2018 dates with NINE INCH NAILS + THE JESUS & MARY CHAIN:

Washington The Anthem (9th – 10th October), New York Radio City Music Hall (13th October), New Orleans Saenger Theatre (23rd – 24th November)

http://kiteba.se/

https://www.facebook.com/kitebasemusic/

https://twitter.com/KiteBaseMusic

https://www.instagram.com/kiteba.se/

http://www.synthi.co.uk


Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
Photos courtesy of Kendra Frost
9th June 2018

KIRLIAN CAMERA Interview

If you’re looking at all things Italian, why not combine delicious food, beautiful cities, stunning countryside, friendly locals with some eloquent electronica from the heart of the quaint city of Parma.

KIRLIAN CAMERA have been active in the dark synth genre since 1979, when Angelo Bergamini set off to create a project, which has lasted decades and gained fans with every release.

With very promising beginnings as the first ever Italian band signed to Virgin Records, the group went from strength to strength, but with the rightful addition of Elena Alice Fossi, the success has been complete.

With the recent opus ‘Hologram Moon’, a No1 in the German Alternative Charts, Bergamini and Fossi have really proven that KIRLIAN CAMERA still have it very much in them. Angelo Bergamini and Elena Alice Fossi chatted about their latest musical adventure with The Electricity Club.

Parma, a beautiful town that seems almost too quaint to produce such talent. What was the music scene like over there post-punk?

Angelo Bergamini: Well, I don’t remember so much about such a period, thanks to a memory blackout I did get in 2002. But I can recall something hazy about a very productive situation. I remember bands such as PALE TV, T.A.C, EAST WALL, RAW POWER, KOTO, BLITZ and so on, all more or less linkable to the city in question… Anyway, Parma didn’t offer that much to one who actually wanted to become a skilled alternative musician.

How can I say… I think the city is really beautiful, but my heart was and is elsewhere. I feel more “connection” to Germany, Tuscany and… Florida, for example. I’m not able to speak German (just a few words!) but always I appreciated their country and their culture, then Elena increased such a sensation, as she really loves those places and German people.

Being the first Italian act to be signed to Virgin Records must have been a big deal… what happened?

Angelo Bergamini: It was strange. One day before I was told that at Virgin they would like to offer me an agreement… it was impossible to even daydream about it, for any group, at the time!!! Impossible dreams, you know. Then… the day after, one of my collaborators came out with such news. My reaction was even weirder: I didn’t react. I was cold. Cold as an ice cube. Don’t know the reason why. Strange life, indeed…

You’ve changed labels on many occasions with your latest release outed on Dependent…

Angelo Bergamini: Yes, we feel like we are gypsies, AH AH AH!!! Some labels we worked with in the past, such as Out Of Line, Trisol and Virgin Records, offered us a kind of artistic freedom and some promotion, so I couldn’t tell anything so negative about them, but… well, now Elena has signed to SPKR, a Los Angeles-based entity managing Dependent and, once again, we’re just trying to do the best we can, offering our deepest soul to the audience. Then, who knows?

Keeping up this agreement with Dependent might turn out to be a good decision, you know. Sometimes, working with us is not that simple, as we perfectly know all of the possible mechanisms market and mafia offer, so… sometimes a label manager might feel “too observed”, kind of not at ease, you understand? They don’t realize we couldn’t give a damn about their manoeuvres and rackets. Simply, we are not dumb, come on! Really we are not. Label managers are often looking for idiots… and so many bands are there to offer such a precious quality…

Angelo, you had a very successful project of your own with HIPNOSIS, what made you drop that? The ‘Hologram Moon’ idea is of a conspiracy…

Angelo Bergamini: HIPNOSIS was a cover band, in its very early life, so in a way I had been feeling strangled, I suppose. Then, all in all, I perceived KIRLIAN CAMERA was kinda my life. HIPNOSIS got platinum discs and many awards, but I wanted KC to become even bigger, somehow or other.

Elena Alice Fossi: The idea behind ‘Hologram Moon’ turns out to be a metaphor, as I actually couldn’t realize whether the Moon is a hologram, an abandoned planet, an abandoned spacelab, or it’s simply a small planet looking like a bizarrely perfect sphere…

The curious thing is that many people out there “know” what it is. In fact, some say it’s a hologram, some say it is not, some are losing their mind desperately trying to prove that satellite is real and they even quote scientists becoming embarrassingly purple in the attempt to discredit other people. I’m talking about “persons” who know absolutely nothing and never will know anything at all. I know nothing, but I’m looking for truth. Simple.

In the meantime, OASIS’ Noel Gallagher is coming out with an album titled ‘Who Built The Moon?’, more or less regarding the same theme and… the question, as we notice, is just interesting an increasing number of people. We’ll be soon asking Noel whether he has got any news in regard to such a matter…

So on the new album, Eskil Simonsson visits to help out too!

Elena Alice Fossi: Collaborating with Eskil is not a casual fact, as well as he is not casual. He is not a casual being. I actually feel that giving life to the songs we worked on together was coming out from a combination of natural factors. We are so delighted with this result.

We first met in Magdeburg on the occasion of a charity festival in 2014, as I decided to perform there with some friends; Angelo suggested me to invite a guest, giving me the name of Eskil. It was just a perfect idea, as I think KIRLIAN CAMERA and COVENANT both belong to a cold romantic / dramatic electro world. I feel there is some kind of sense of loss often crossing the music lines of both projects.

Yes, that’s pop and I do not want to dignify mainstream at all costs, but… the point is that – whether we want it or not – our electro pop music is not regular mainstream, you know. It may turn out to be a boom or a boomerang… but we could not care less about that, as we love it , so won’t stop dreaming through those melodic humanoids we are creating. Creating ourselves. Recreating ourselves on new birth days, along with different parents and friends…

You never felt really aligned with a dark synth genre, you just like doing your own thing?

Angelo Bergamini: Our music is made of several layers, various echoes, shreds of movie soundtracks and it’s often crossed with different mood. Depends on when it’s been composed. Not seldom does it evoke dramatic visions, but couldn’t disdain humourous inputs and alien needs!

While working on a new KIRLIAN CAMERA album, we happen to create a single for the African rising star FAKEBA, a very determined singer, then we happen to listen to THE ELECTRIC PRUNES or THIRD EAR BAND and go back to Ligeti or the Strauss’ waltzes. Out of the blue, we might happen to make a dance track, just for fun… as even fun is important, in music!

We recently have been asked to sell our sounds to a sampling company, for example and it may happen we find ourselves working on a laughing gnome who has to kill a dragon!!!

You will easily understand that one genre in particular couldn’t be our fixed cup of tea, then we like to bring our musical ideas into several areas.

No, we definitely are not so linkable to an exact scene, although Elena in particular feels special love for electronic music, so our last performances are giving massive room to synthetic sounds and I think such trend will be even increased and developed.

We must follow our own visions, regardless of what is the “right thing”, as we suppose the right thing comes out when you couldn’t give a damn about mere nostalgia and assembly line standard music. Listeners are increasingly looking for straight atmospheric works, they want “that” exact product without any complications and so creativity ain’t that necessary, as no real variation will be admitted! Today’s listeners are making me nostalgic of the progressive era!!!

Are the side projects now retired?

Elena Alice Fossi: We are now on the STALINGRAD VALKYRIE project, once called STALINGRAD, kind of martial music sometimes being crossed with some “distant humour”. Angelo is daydreaming about a new SPECTRA PARIS chapter, as he is the glamour entity here, but I think such an idea will turn into a strange collection being filled with unreleased material. KIRLIAN CAMERA is anyway requiring relatively long lead times, due to particular love involved!

Elena, you’re doing famously well with SPECTRA PARIS…

Elena Alice Fossi: Thank you, Monika! SPECTRA PARIS gives me a lot of satisfaction, whether it becomes something bigger than now, or it remains trapped into a dark pop limbo being reserved for the few! This is because every time I get into the “Spectra-spaceship”, then I have a sensation I am growing up a bit. Maybe it happens because I let a good amount of time pass between one album and another, so whenever I approach a new work, my mind no longer is in the same place it was at the time of the previous album.

This doesn’t mean I deny the older solutions, although I admit I notice a kind of naivety in my old treatments. And yet, such a mechanism generates a kind of space-time map of my life and each album, like a magnetic point, tries to tell me who I was, who I am and where I’m going. However, ‘Retromachine Betty’, the latest album I released, gave me a safer journey, where I feel good in a most synthetic and electronic side which always belonged to me, but I never had managed to express with such naturalness before.

I don’t know the reason why – strange magic or pure nonsense – the sounds of machines have always moved me, so, in this album that has been recently by Dependent Records, I wanted to introduce my own computer-creature, giving it a name, a sensitivity, an identity, even a sexual one. I wanted it to be born in the beginning of the ‘80s and to visit future places and ages, like a time machine, through an evolutionary system that goes beyond our days.

Both of you have worked with the legendary John Fryer… Angelo, your collaboration dates back a while…

Angelo Bergamini: Yes, we met in London at Blackwing Studios, January 1988, kinda sanctuary as far as Mute and 4AD were concerned. Everything was so filled with enthusiasm and on that occasion, I had a chance to collaborate with Suzanne Reddington-Gardner a very talented singer, as our vocalist was… lost somewhere!

John’s co-production succeeded in giving us some more spotlight, even if our label at the time managed to mess everything up. Let’s say some press focused on us a little more, after paying dues for eight years, surrounded by some hostile silence, in Italy. So, we definitely set route to another area, after some confused stories with Virgin and EMI.

John Fryer was particularly popular, those exact days, as his single as M/A/R/R/S ‘Pump Up The Volume’ was about to become a massive hit. He wasn’t one of those guys who are obsessed with a particular genre. That’s the best starting point, when one goes to work with KIRLIAN CAMERA, especially nowadays.

And Elena, you lent your vocal wizardry on John’s own project BLACK NEEDLE NOISE…

Elena Alice Fossi: It was a nice moment of fun for me, as well as a real pleasure! Experiences like those can only enrich, both as a musician and humanly, because they leave an indelible mark inside. And I must admit that I feel proud to take part in such a big party, in fact I couldn’t help noticing how each singer perfectly fits in her/his own role, thanks to John’s skilful orchestration

How difficult is it to sell music now, comparing to back then?

Angelo Bergamini: I must say it’s always been an uneasy deal, when one doesn’t go to agree with certain tyranny created by some ludicrous label managers. Then, working along with women in a band turns things even more complicated! I mean… when you’re working with and for a beautiful woman. Explaining what I mean would be nothing but stupid. Everybody knows everything, although many would like to prove times are changing. So, given I like challenges, I love to work with beautiful and talented women, kind of love for suicide!!!

Joking aside, you know that today music has become a sort of background to distract listeners. So, given that I love challenges (part 2), I love making pop music to be possibly listened to with attention!!! So when you decide you wanna sell your music you’re just going to hit the jackpot, especially when you come from some real low-life. Selling – real – music in the 80s was less complicated, thanks to the New Wave support and a relatively new adventure into the underground maze.

I must add that label managers and operators in general are grumbling about poor sales since… time immemorial! So, I don’t know whether anything actually changed. OK, now you sell less physical material but you can sell yourself, your identity, your social one.

One will value whether that’s good or not, then… and as for Kirlians, once again… you know we love challenges (part 3)!!!

Having gained cult status, do you expect your releases to be an instant success?

Elena Alice Fossi: We never expect anything particular, even though we always have natural high hopes once we start again working on a new chapter! Many people like to say “better the devil we know”, but I don’t seldom accept facing new adventures, even when some clouds are peeping over the horizon. Now, this moment looks notably crowded with good sensations and we so often have a chance to perceive some real good feeling coming out of the audience’s hat!

We are veterans without nostalgia; we never give up, always feeling glad to be on stage, even when performing mini clubs in front of, say, 200 fans! Well, 2000 are similarly welcome, you know… we always try turning listeners’ enthusiasm on, till reaching together a magical place, so far from any standard and lifeless performance! A party aboard a spaceship surrounded by millions stars might give you the gist.

Angelo Bergamini: Elena is a real force of nature on stage! Difficult to see anything like that, today in particular, as she’s completely involved in a trance, a trance that rules out mummy-like fixedness, though! She intensely lives a sort of personal drama, up there. She smiles, cries, laughs, gets serious, runs, gets down on the floor. Some teardrops probably appeared in her eyes, during a concert when playing ‘Sky Collapse’ and the tears she was perhaps holding back choked her throat, and I must say that Elena is not a whiner at all!

Intensity is the word, during Elena’s performances, so I’m sure she’s able to spread such sensations, doing that by means of the most genuine, honest and potent language. KC need it! That’s what we like to call success!

Then, if God or whoever wants us to take the place of Rihanna by playing our music instead of bare mainstream pop, well… we’re ready!!!

How’s Italy treating electronic music these days? Apart from a handful of bands hailing from the Tricolore, the synth scene seems to be rather shy there?

Elena Alice Fossi: Italy… Italy! You can come to Italy to eat, enjoy the morning sun at the end of May, admire the sea that bathes that picturesque boot, but please, if you want to listen to good music, run away as far as you can!

Move your ass away, hurry up and don’t look back! Just like KIRLIAN CAMERA did! Beloved Germany welcomed us, adopted us… but also a lot of other countries have been able to show actual sympathy for this musical genre.

Even in Senegal, when we performed our music to open the way to European electronica for the first time in the West Africa history, doing that for two years in a row, we could see an interest and a warmth for that synth pop essence that maybe was new to them, it being sometimes dark, dreamy, sometimes danceable, so different from their great rhythms… yet they have listened, danced, understood, in spite of the fact they never attended any concert like that before. But Italy, damn… have I already told you that there are some beautiful sunsets?

Are you likely to play live in the UK to promote ‘Hologram Moon’?

Elena Alice Fossi: Live shows are my natural element; it’s kind of absolutely vital point, where I feel in my actual home. Oh yes, how much I love performing on stage! And, as for UK goes, we notice an increasing interest, for the first time, something special, I mean, so, I know some ideas concerning touring your country are taking shape, little by little. It’s a question of selecting requests and considering some new ones, then we’ll come there with pleasure. Electropop and electronica are living quite a good moment, in GB too, so… hopefully, it’ll be happening soon!


The Electricity Club gives its warmest thanks to KIRLIAN CAMERA

Special thanks to Gary Levermore at Red Sand PR

‘Hologram Moon’ is released by Dependent Records, also available from https://kirliancamera.bandcamp.com

KIRLIAN CAMERA headline Synthetic Orange at Substage Café in Karlsruhe on Saturday 14th April 2018, tickets available from https://www.reservix.de/tickets-synthetic-orange-kirlian-camera-in-karlsruhe-substage-am-14-4-2018/e1171967

http://www.kirliancamera.com

https://www.facebook.com/kirliancamera.official/

http://en.dependent.de/artists-dependent/kirlian-camera/

https://soundcloud.com/kirliancamera


Text and Interview by Monika Izabela Trigwell
Photos by Studio Migliorini and Angelo Bergamini
7th March 2018

TWIN PEAKS & FRIENDS: Introducing The Weird & Wonderful Musical World of David Lynch

Photo by Mark Berry

“My childhood was elegant homes, tree-lined streets, the milkman, building backyard forts, droning airplanes, blue skies, picket fences, green grass, cherry trees. Middle America as it’s supposed to be. But on the cherry tree there’s this pitch oozing out – some black, some yellow, and millions of red ants crawling all over it. I discovered that if one looks a little closer at this beautiful world, there are always red ants underneath. Because I grew up in a perfect world, other things were a contrast”.

And so we are invited to go in; into the mysteriously twisted, sickening at times, never straightforward world of David Lynch. One likes the arts and photography, another excels in music, or vocals, few make good films, while the rest write or paint; Lynch has done it all. Having introduced his unparalleled strangeness into American film making and being true to his own ideas, the “madman” (as Mel Brooks called him), even refused to direct ‘The Return Of The Jedi’, claiming that Lucas would do it better his way.

Meeting Angelo Badalamenti, while filming his hugely successful ‘Blue Velvet’, proved to be the start of a captivating musical relationship, which Lynch has proven to treasure till today.

Angelo Badalamenti, whose superlative musical understanding led to various working relationships with many a pop and rock band, with Pet Shop Boys, Orbital, Tim Booth, Anthrax, Marianne Faithful and others, all creating electrifying soundscapes with a little help of the virtuoso.

As Lynch’s films gained critical acclaim worldwide, his musical interests and collaborations grew in parallel.

Who directed a 2011 Duran Duran gig streamed live from Mayan Theater in LA? Lynch did…

Who collaborated with Interpol on ‘I Touch a Red Button Man’ animation? Lynch did…

Who directed Nine Inch Nails’ ‘Came Back Haunted’ video? Lynch did… (incidentally striking a further musical pact with Reznor)

Photo by Michel Delsol/Getty Images

As it often appears, happenstance creates the optimal conditions for working relationships, and that’s exactly what happened with Lynch and Cruise.

The ethereal sounding, dainty Julee may have never worked with the visionary, if it wasn’t for the fact that Lynch couldn’t use Tim Buckley’s ‘Song To The Siren’ covered by This Mortail Coil in a key scene of ‘Blue Velvet’. As an alternative, he commissioned Badalamenti to compose a song of similar feel, with lyrics by Lynch.

As someone had to sing ‘Mysteries Of Love’, Badalamenti recommended Cruise, known for her sublime voice. Recently the rather talented Kid Moxie re-visited the tune with Badalamenti , putting her own spin onto the Badalamenti/Lynch hit.

And so enter ‘Twin Peaks’; first aired in 1990 on ABC, later being taken off air due to dwindling popularity, the series was far more than the crime drama with a twist, expected by the fans of Lynch. Having teamed with Mark Frost, the master created a cult program, which is often described as one of the best TV series ever.

The story of the death of young and beautiful Laura Palmer, set in idyllic landscapes of rural Washington state, and the search for her murderer has, for years, evoked fear, lust, wonder and interest into the metaphysical and mystical.

Needless to say, a correct musical setting was necessary to depict the uncertainty, terror and weirdness of the events unfolding in, otherwise, quiet town of Twin Peaks.

A quiet town… at least that’s what one expects on the surface; but Twin Peaks has its own dark secrets. The horrors and wrongdoings that underline the death of Laura Palmer are palpable and Lynch made sure that his take on the human immorality is fully stamped on his characters.

Cruise was again chosen to perform a number of songs, and Badalamenti provided the musical mysticism, resulting in a multi-million selling soundtrack to the series, even with the tracks being largely instrumental.

But within those magical non word pieces, lay three acutely polished gems, all performed by Cruise. ‘Falling’, acting as the theme tune, must be, by far, one of the most recognised songs that go with any TV series.

Cruise further benefitted from the Lynch/Badalamenti collaboration by releasing her first album ‘Floating Into The Night’, which housed ‘Falling’, ‘Into The Night’ and ‘Nightingale’, all used in ‘Twin Peaks’.

‘Rocking Back Inside My Heart’ is one of the songs performed by Cruise live on stage at the Twin Peaks bar everyone gathers at, with most of the young female characters singing to it.

‘Falling’ has been so popular, that a number of artists decided to cover it, and further inspirations appeared by Apoptygma Berzerk, Bright Light Bright Light, The Joy Formidable, The Wedding Present and many others. The latest cover is, interestingly enough, performed by Chrysta Bell, who appears in the Twin Peaks revival series, and has been involved in working with Lynch for many years.

Joined by LA based music magician and celebrated producer John Fryer, Bell provides a synthy rendition, which is a true testament to the song’s longevity and prowess.

Lynch and Badalamenti also produced ‘Summer Kisses Winter Tears’, which, originally by Elvis Presley, was covered by Cruise and featured in ‘Until The End Of The World’ movie. A wonderfully presented come back of the 50s, with dreamy guitar and lazy piano, floating over the consciousness, not without an underlying uncertainty, however.

Chrysta Bell met Lynch in 1999 and the pair have collaborated since, with the master co-writing two of her albums. Her stunning song written with the director himself, ‘Polish Poem’, was featured in the closing scenes of ‘Inland Empire’. Not only is it hauntingly beautiful, but depicts the end of the movie in a sublime manner.

But Lynch sings himself too, oh yes! ‘Good Day Today’ is minimal electro, breaking into the popular culture, with heavily melodyned vocal pleading for the want of having “a good day today”. The lensman wants to be sent an angel, and complains of tiredness over a fast paced, catchy beat; all this happening against a back drop of a disturbingly Lynchian video.

Karen O joins the magician on ‘Pinky’s Dream’, which has been skilfully remixed by Trentemøller into an electronic burst of metallic beats and heavy bass. Together with ‘Good Day Today’, both taken from ‘Crazy Clown Time’, the first album by Lynch, the tracks have been described as having serious electro pop influences.

‘I’m Waiting Here’, performed by the Swedish singer and songwriter Lykke Li, found itself on Lynch’s second album ‘The Big Dream’. Featuring a video, which could have been taken from any of Lynch’s productions, the dreamy arrangement gets abruptly cut off by unexplained noise and the uncertainty is ushered, breaking off the waltzing style of the music. This is what David is about; nothing is ever perfectly straightforward.

He remixes too… ‘Evangeline’ by John Foxx and Jori Hulkkonen was masterfully adapted by the filmmaker. It’s gritty, dirty and fragmented: mechanical in texture. It feels like observing the intricate workings of a Swiss watch, while on blow, being surrounded by robots.

Moby has collaborated with the master for years too. This includes video directing, interviews and remixes. ‘Go’ was largely influenced by the Twin Peaks theme, which is sampled here, and it sold a staggering two million copies. And now Richard Melville Hall stars as the guitar player in Rebekah Del Rio’s band, performing live in Part 10 of ‘Twin Peaks’ Revival.

The Lynch collaborations are endlessly eclectic when it comes to genre and style. From ambient, pop, rock, via synth, classical and experimental. The working relationship with Marek Zebrowski, a Polish-American composer, also started during the production of ‘Inland Empire’, part of which was shot in Łódź. As both displayed interests in musical experimentation and improvisation, a concept evolved under the name of ‘Polish Night Music’.

More recently the hungry fans of the original ‘Twin Peaks’ series have been in for a treat. Lynch has always stressed that the story of Laura Palmer wasn’t complete and this year has seen the revival series hit the television screens. When Julee Cruise happily took to the stage in the original series, dazzling with a plethora of eerie, ethereal notes and semi-shy demeanour; the Revival brings plenty of musical surprises, inviting different performers to do their own sets in The Bang Bang Bar, a roadhouse in Twin Peaks. Each episode features a live performance from handpicked musicians, many of whom have a long history of association with the film master.

First off, Chromatics showcase ‘Shadow’, the video to which reminds of the Black Lodge’s red curtains. The Portland based band has undergone many a member change, but ‘Shadow’ certainly proves that the current set up is perfect. The track is Badalamenti dreamy, still bearing the electronic sounds of the now, and as an opener to the newest of the tales of the sleepy Washington town, it blends in nicely.

Au Revoir Simone from New York picks up the baton in Part 4, following The Cactus Blossoms. ‘Lark’ keeps in with the intangible atmosphere, leading through to Trouble’s ‘Snake Eyes’. An Americana rock and roll style, with added sexy saxophone and jazzy influences, this instrumental track leads into Part 6, with Sharon Van Etten’s ‘Tarifa’. With the copious amounts of folksy soothing day dream, the quirky vocal and bluesy elements, at times a la Fleetwood Mac, it’s a perfect summer evening track.

None other than Lynch’s old collaborator Trent Reznor comes back to mingle with the master yet again, after having worked on the score for ‘Lost Highway’, and Nine Inch Nails’ video for ‘Came Back Haunted’. This time taking the role of a goth band frontman, the leather clad Reznor and co, take to the Roadhouse stage to deliver ‘She’s Gone Away’.

As the first band to be actually introduced by an MC, NIN hauntingly induce their semi psychedelic, disturbingly mish-mashed track full of guitars over Reznor’s seductive male interceptions. Backing vocals are provided by Mrs Reznor, Marqueen Maandig.

Hudson Mohawke takes the DJ reins on ‘Human’ in Part 9, while Au Revoir Simone returns in the same episode with ‘A Violet Yet Flammable World’, which begins with a similar beat to Depeche Mode’s classic ‘Ice Machine’, to develop into an all girl extravaganza of voice and purely electronic sound, reminiscent of Marsheaux.

Rebekah Del Rio delivers memorable rendition of ‘No Stars’ written by Lynch. The Latin-American songstress has been a muse for the filmmaker for years, providing a cameo appearance in ‘Mulholland Drive’ to perform a Spanish a cappella performance of Roy Orbison’s ‘Crying’. In ‘Twin Peaks’, she is seen in a dress with a pattern reminiscent of the Black Lodge floor, ushers in a stunning vocal, both in English and Spanish. Yet another classic ‘Twin Peaks’ track.

What follows in Part 11, is a twist: a beautifully composed piano piece ‘Heartbreaking’ performed by Count Smokula.

Chromatics return in the next episode with instrumental ‘Saturday’, while the ominous number 13 brings the original series’ familiar James Marshall with ‘Just You’, which also appears on ‘Twin Peaks Music: Season Two Music and More’.

Folksy Lissie performs ‘Wild West’, just where David Bowie appears for the first time in Cole’s dream as Phillip Jeffries of ‘Fire Walk With Me’ movie.

Bowie moves back in in Episode 15, which is wrapped up by The Veils performing ‘Axolotl’. The London based indie band has been yet another of Lynch’s favourites chosen to perform live in Twin Peaks and they don’t disappoint with the quasi electronic, gripping tune, which injects a further dose of fear and uncertain weirdness so typical of Lynch’s disciples.

Number 16 showcases none other than Pearl Jam’s finest, Eddie Vedder, introduced as Edward Louis Severson with ‘Out Of Sand’. The fact that Vedder had been listed as a cast member well before the episode aired, created a stir and many fans eagerly awaited his performance at the Bang Bang Bar. Although the tune had been available prior to the premiere of Part 16, EV toned it down to acoustic guitar as the only instrument accompanying his hauntingly hungry voice.

Interestingly enough Vedder isn’t in the closing titles; Audrey Horne gets to perform ‘Audrey’s Dance’ once more, with a more sinister ending however.

The real treat wraps up Episode 17, with none other than Julee Cruise returning beautifully to finish the part, where Cooper and co go back to the past to try and save Laura Palmer. Julee’s second to none, ethereally magical voice on ‘The World Spins’ is an ultimate tribute to the whole of the series, with Number 18 (being the last) stripped off the, now familiar, musical end.

If anyone wanted answers in the Revival series, they’re probably banging their heads against the wall (or are getting tangled in the Black Lodge curtains), because more questions were introduced and the aura of weirdness has been intensified to almost mystical levels. Has the evil been eradicated? We don’t think so.

Have we got a happy ending? Certainly not so.

But isn’t that what Lynch is all about?

Riddles, riddles, riddles…

And what’s next for the genius? More music perhaps? Who knows, but with the wealth of experiences from the master over the years; musical or visual, haven’t we all been in for a treat?

ELECTRICITY ELECTRICITY


‘Twin Peaks (Music from the Limited Event Series)’ and ‘Twin Peaks (Limited Event Series Soundtrack)’ are available now via Rhino Records

http://www.sho.com/twin-peaks

https://www.facebook.com/TwinPeaksOnShowtime/

https://twitter.com/SHO_TwinPeaks

https://www.instagram.com/twinpeaks/


Text by Monika Izabela Trigwell
Original photos courtesy of Showtime execpt where credited
8th September 2017

SPECTRA PARIS Interview

Elena Alice Fossi has her fingers in so many pies.

One wonders where the multitalented singer, model and producer finds the time to oscillate between her front woman job for KIRLIAN CAMERA, her side project STALINGRAD with band mate Angelo Bergamini and SIDEARCTICA.

Then, there’s her two own enterprises SPECTRA PARIS and ALICE NEVE FOX.

With her latest release as SPECTRA PARIS, the brilliant supersonic gem ‘Retromachine Betty’, proved that Fossi has many faces and is truly capable to bending genres in the directions suitable for her palate.

The Italian songstress kindly chatted to The Electricity Club about her busy, busy life…

It’s truly amazing as to how many projects you’re involved with…how do you keep up?

Headache, headache, headache…!!!! Well, joking aside, passion for music is just something like a boa serpent, positively said. My dreams never stop recreating themselves and Angelo, my comrade, is just a dreamer like me! Together we have created a real different world into which it’s possible to resist to the world, as well as to our fierce sensitivity!

Coming out from the working class gave us the tools to generate everything starting at level zero, so everything is today a an actual alternative universe, as told before. Strange dimensions being totally opposite to – say – people’s concept of time, so believe me…. my/our stress is even larger… but this is not enough to make us defeated….!!!

Would you say it’s true to state that being involved in so many different projects fulfils your chameleon nature?

Yes, that’s the point! It is not my fault if I love rainbows… I’m aware that’s not the most popular attitude today, despite many people are posing that way, trying to convince other people they’re cool and inspired… I think I like chameleons and shapeshifters more than ever, as they’re just the last resources of an era having no real identity nor will. So, in spite of the fact I’m shyer than a shrinking violet, I try to stay strong and go… the joy of music is stronger than any inner block…

It’s been a good few years since you joined KIRLIAN CAMERA, would you say that move opened many doors for you?

KIRLIAN CAMERA is a strange alien thing. Really. It doesn’t remind me of anything like, willy-nilly. It manages to open and close doors at once! I only know it was my favourite band ever, so I guess I didn’t even realize what had been happening at the time when I was asked to join the project.

It has never been a picnic, for me. Always I had to go over myself, never giving up, never running away, always accepting to having to deal with a glorious past. Now it is my home, the one I live along with that magic person that’s Angelo Bergamini or Hal Bergmann, whatever his real name is!! All in all, today I don’t know whether KC opened any doors, but it led to an audience I love and have a great relationship with, at last!

Very few electronic pop acts emerge from Italy… why do you think that might be?

Italy, Italy… Italians are not seldom working against themselves. I actually couldn’t know why electronic acts don’t come out in a country that gave life to so many techno, disco, electropop projects (some names: Giorgio Moroder, Benny Benassi, Krisma!). Musical brainwashing got some real success in Italy, I’m sure. Sense of defeat seems to always lurk around behind the corner.

But I still try to paddle upstream even on this field and so I’m planning a whole album based on Italian lyrics. It’ll be our first time. I feel that exciting, although many people are looking perplexed. Anyway, I think that mixing technology and love for machines to that beautiful language won’t be but a fascinating story!

You had Susanna Rigacci who worked with Ennio Morricone as your vocal trainer, that sounds impressive. What a start to a whirlwind singing career…

I got lucky, that’s true. Some years back in time, my first singing teacher – a great person with a great voice – told me time had come to take it to the next level! She took me to the Conservatory that Lady Rigacci was teaching and where I had to audition to be accepted. I honestly must admit I didn’t know who Susanna was and what awards she would have gained in the future. But already I had a sensation that I found myself walking into something special, surrounded by a shiny light, no matter what way I would go after it… as already I was aware classical singing was a means and not an end, as for myself.

Often singers, especially in the lyrical music field, tend to confuse their empty seriousness with professionalism. Fortunately, Susanna does not have this attitude. So, she transmitted me that kind of purity in music.

Do you think a gothic electronic reinterpretation of ‘The Ecstasy Of Gold’ with your vocal would ever work?

I think that kind of music Ennio Morricone works on is suitable to being reinterpretated via darker ways. It’s powerful, epic, sometimes positively decadent and filled with nostalgic mood. It may evoke melancholic ghosts. So, what may I ever do with my voice? A fine colourful cemetery!!!

Let’s talk a little about ‘Retromachine Betty’, what gave it the base?

At some point, I realized that the adventure of SPECTRA PARIS was not exactly over. For a long time I was surrounded by images of old robots, small shattered computers and so much music from the 80s was floating in the air of that black bunker in which I live!

I started thinking that trying to recreate a retro-electronic, romantic, almost adolescent music world and blend it with new technologies, new softwares, and so much “passion for the future”… could give some push to an interesting formula, far from any wide nostalgia ending in itself, as well as from advanced technology used too coldly.

Toys, in my mind I saw so many colored musical toys scattered on the ground, all to be reshaped with a new sound spirit, something that was not necessarily already heard, although it draws from the past, as far as “poetic” reference is concerned, rather than music itself.

It would be strange to define this work as a New-Wave or even 80’s Disco thing! This work comes out from a dusty workshop, which has now been restored after having got a big injection of futuristic design!

Imagine the world in 2037: well, an apocalyptic scenery is an acceptable projection and I’m supposedly there, now, but… I can listen to some pop music as well, instead of depressive tunes, even though I’m surrounded by zombies and hallucinated smurfs!!! I started with such a basic idea for “Betty”. If the base is good, then with such energy… even an old android can become the winner of the Olympic Games of Mars! So, I started working with those little old android toys and the story started…

‘Star Bubbles’ features an interpolation of ‘Moonlight Shadow’. So Mike Oldfield and Maggie Riley did something right back then?

Bubbly, lively, enthusiastic… there’s something vital in this track. It’s like a joyful energy… Mike Oldfield too makes sure his audience is not used to repetitions!

The album in itself is fairly eclectic, would you say?

And to think I was afraid of having written an excessively amalgamed work! That’s my fault, especially once one is going to analyze today’s music scene: chameleons are taken for lunatics! It actually looks like there’s no effective chance to be freely creative, as the audience are getting step by step unpracticed in getting the music they like.

Many people are listening to the music with electroshocked ears, those artificial ears they’ve given by this new little bunch of overpaid morons who are managing digital distributions, publishing companies and so on. Real creativity is a young alien child; she shouldn’t be surrounded by stoned geezers and pedant hamburgers on two legs… We should probably try to wean her off humans!

What are your own favourites from ‘Retromachine Betty’ and why?

I love that lost world wrapping the album into a kind of funny nostalgia.

I love such future-retro stories being told by “wise devices”, kind of naive pioneers coming from the past, who are just enchanting little children with their anedoctes, now in this 2017’s prehistorical future world!

So, I feel some special love for ‘Star Bubbles’ as it never bores me, as I find it fresh, light-hearted, mindless of painful moments. It gives me hope.

‘Ludovico Tecnique’ is just another chapter I particularly like, with its electronics filled with some glitter-esque glamour. ‘Lux Industries’ was born in a world orbiting between SPECTRA PARIS and KIRLIAN CAMERA, as you’ve noticed. I love its hypnotising and motionless character, as it takes me to some kind of ecstatic dream, a little like ‘Universal’ is doing.

The last song of the SPECTRA PARIS album is a strange cover of ‘Una Furtiva Lagrima’ taken from the opera ‘L’Elisir D’Amore’ by Gaetano Donizetti, written in 1830 approximately. The voice one listens to is a non-human synthetic sound. It’s kind of an unpretentious and relaxed homage to Wendy Carlos…

You like to work with the best, including COVENANT or John Fryer, it must be great to pick from the best?

I think the electronic scene is a bit too overcrowded with “casual musicians”, so working with artists who put some real spirit and enthusiasm into their work is just an essential, unavoidable necessity. Both John Fryer and COVENANT are perfectly going to hit that special target. It’s just a question of natural magic, I think. They’ve got some special purity, a purity that goes to be added to ability, experience and anti-trivia bombs! I feel that need in music, in them, so yes, I feel at home and happy like a child-machine!

John Fryer invited you do quite a few songs for his own latest project BLACK NEEDLE NOISE, you must be his favourite? How would you describe your collaboration dynamic?

Well, John was just at work on the SPECTRA PARIS album, when he asked me to collaborate to a song then called ‘Behind the 4th Door’. I guess he wasn’t too disappointed about the result, as a few days later he told me he had in mind a further collaboration, driving more to that more glamorous Spectral-zone I was just working on… He had something in mind regarding a ‘Naughty Girl’, so we started writing down some funny words, always trying to keep two worlds – disquiet and humour – well balanced as much as possible. I think that’s a simply fantastic cocktail.

Our collaboration is relaxed and filled with ideas at once… I never perceived any bad mood’s ghost in the air… That’s special! So, John, Angelo and myself are just starting to work together again on the new KIRLIAN CAMERA album and singles, these days, with some help from COVENANT on a couple tracks! Italy – California – Sweden is today a quite easy route, fortunately!

You list GOLDFRAPP’s ‘Felt Mountain’ as one of your top albums, what is special about it for you and what do you think about their latest album ‘Silver Eye’?

GOLDFRAPP never wallow in the past, they so often went to totally disorientate the lazier part of their audience, so that’s just the most admirable attitude in an artist, in my opinion. I love the vast richness of the first album. It really brought something absolutely personal to the surface, in that period overfilled with trip-hop, lounge, cocktail, jazzy music.

Elegance, yes… they’ve got such an elegance! They keep on spreading it everytime they produce a new work. This new album is the one I love mostly, along with their debut work, exactly. Strange, they sometimes remind me of some John Fryer’s atmospheres, that’s natural, I think… I love GOLDFRAPP ‘s last album, yes… I want to collaborate with her!!! I’m sure!!!!! No possible doubt… It is written, you know…

Sometimes I feel like I’m living into a mental clinic crowded by comics, or into a scene of the flick ‘Angel Heart’, but… I know what I say!

What is the immediate future for all your projects?

I’ll start performing new live shows during summertime. By the way, SPECTRA PARIS will make its “new debut” at the CSD Gay Festival (Gay Pride) on August 26th in Magdeburg, Germany.

In the meantime, Angelo, John Fryer, Eskil from COVENANT and I are working intensively on ‘Hologram Moon’, the new album from KIRLIAN CAMERA.

It’s a very special chapter, for us… something that will definitely mark our love for electronic music and “other worlds”, having no need to exploit old paths. Many songs, there are many tunes, in the forthcoming work. Less guitars, more synths and more “space beat”. 100% KIRLIAN CAMERA improved style, without any waste of time nor fillers: it’s a very concentrated album, no doubt. However, I feel 2018 will take us by the hand, leading us to a totally different life…


The Electricity Club gives its warmest thansk to Elena Alice Fossi

Additional thanks to Stefan Herwig at Dependent Records

‘Retromachine Betty’ is released by Dependent Records in CD and digital formats, available from http://en.dependent.de/artists-dependent/spectra-paris/spectra-paris-retromachine-betty-cd-digipak.html

https://www.facebook.com/spectraparis.official/

http://en.dependent.de/artists-dependent/spectra-paris/


Text and Interview by Monika Izabela Trigwell
7th June 2017

SPECTRA PARIS Retromachine Betty

SPECTRA PARIS is a side project of the multitalented Elena Alice Fossi, also known as the enigmatic singer of the celebrated Italian act KIRLIAN CAMERA and Alice Neve Fox.

Fossi, born in Miami but bred in Tuscany, was vocally trained by the Oscar-winner Ennio Morricone’s most famous singer, soprano Susanna Rigacci.

Well known for her collaborations, among them is the legendary producer John Fryer on whose eclectic collection of tunes for BLACK NEEDLE NOISE she featured no less than three times.

As a result, the accomplished artist invited Fryer to be in charge of the executive production of her third album ‘Retromachine Betty’. The long player promises to “breathe and live the spirit of 80ies electronic Pop and Wave and the almost forgotten vibe of bands like VISAGE or DESIRELESS”.

Opening the outing, ‘Star Bubbles’ is sweet and light happy German disco pulled away from the retro synth era. Featuring a sample from Mike Oldfield and Maggie Reilly’s ‘Moonlight Shadow’, it must be the definite return to the good old classic era!

‘Alice (Geistersterne)’ changes the tempo, into a subdued, mystical number to start off with, blossoming into a fast paced extravaganza of house synth with vocal a la FIFI RONG. A heavy change is brought about with ‘Ludovico Technique’, which is bass and guitar loaded and more reminiscent of Fossi’s projects with KIRLIAN CAMERA.

While ‘Machinedream’ is indeed dream inducing, ‘Universal’ is a captivating disco visit, with vintage electronica references, embedded into the curious use of vocals and mantra-like sequences. ‘Lux Industries’ slows the flow once again, leading into a sci-fi cover of THE KINKS’ ‘You Really Got Me’. Interestingly enough, the techniques used on this one resemble ERASURE’s ‘Rock Me Gently’ synth and the added ominous use of guitars make it a worthy, if not quirky cover of the classic.

‘Metrolynx’ brings about the heavy electro pop darkness once again, with vocals resembling a fusion between vintage MADONNA and GOLDFRAPP. Is that because ‘Felt Mountain’ is one of Fossi’s top ten albums? Either way, this is a true example of Spectra’s abilities; a real artistic chameleon.

The metallic qualities and sparse noises of ‘E-Girl Song’ could have been easily practised before by GAZELLE TWIN, before we enter the boot stomping territory of industrial beats and the closing ‘E-Kitsch Souvenir Of Italy’, with its paralysing weirdness, sums up the long player.

To say that Fossi has many faces would be an understatement; she’s fearless and endlessly talented, tackling many a genre change and surfing through the rough waters of today’s music industry.

‘Retromachine Betty’ is “a retrospective of excitement and familiarity, old memories and young melodies with its retro-kitsch catchyness”. Joining the likes of GRIMES, the Italian songstress shows off quite how electronic music can be bent to suit all palates.

It’s effortlessly perfect.


‘Retromachine Betty’ is released by Dependent Records in CD and digital formats on 12th May 2017, pre-order from http://en.dependent.de/artists-dependent/spectra-paris/spectra-paris-retromachine-betty-cd-digipak.html

https://www.facebook.com/spectraparis.official/

http://en.dependent.de/artists-dependent/spectra-paris/


Text by Monika Izabela Trigwell
4th May 2017

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