Blaine L Reininger is the noted American singer and multi-instrumentalist who crossed the Atlantic with TUXEDOMOON and eventually settled in Europe.
Initially finding a home in post-punk Brussels, he now happily resides in Athens, an environment that has provided him with the freedom to compose genre-crossing works, both solo and with his iconic band.
Casual music observers may know Blaine L Reininger for the TB303 driven cinematic synthpop of ‘Mystery & Confusion’ from 1984.
But his latest collection ‘Commissions 2’ released by Les Disques du Crépuscule gathers soundtrack music made for theatre and dance productions staged between 2015-2019. It follows-up his previous soundtrack anthology from 2014.
These include ‘Angels’, ‘Caligula’, ‘The Kindly Ones’, ‘Reigen’, ‘Master & Margarita’, ‘Picnic With the Devil’ and ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’ with the pieces ultilising a variety of textures including synthesizers, piano, guitar, string bass, cimbalom, ukulele, choirs and Reininger’s ever faithful violin.
The works range from atmospheric and eerie to grand and gothic, but despite their experimental nature, are mostly highly listenable in their own right. Opening the package, ‘Im Eiswind’ from ‘The Kindly Ones’ manages to mix all of the attributes afore mentioned, with the violin working well alongside various Mellotron sounds.
‘Atomium Sunrise’ is more ambient in tone while ‘Cold Song’ is appropriately dominated by an ominous synthbass, as is the dramatic ‘Krakenangriff’ from ‘Master & Margarita’,
Meanwhile ‘Alter Ego’ also off ‘Master & Margarita’ unexpectedly brings in vocoder and apes classic DEPECHE MODE.
But ‘Petao, Petao’ plays with arpeggios and haunting choirs while ‘You People Amaze Me’ uses a lot of reverse treatments over a solemn repeated organ.
Beginning disc two which has a more arthouse approach, the Eno-esque ‘Because It’s Me’ from ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’ pulses along with soothing understated electronics and vocoder treatments next to slightly detuned chimes which combine for a fabulously spacey effect.
Both ‘Betweenspace’ and ‘Mauthausen Girls’ offer a more acoustic outlook within a uneasy schizophrenic cocoon, but ‘Novvy Kover’ crosses accordion with synths in a manner that is more like an aural collage.
The accordion-laden Terrible Father’ from ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’ springs a surprise with a spirited vocal from Reininger, while the self-explanatory ‘Rilke Elegy’ from Reigen’ sets the tone with thoughtful lyrics.
‘Where Did They Take Him?’ from ‘The Kindly Ones’ is understandably sombre in tone, highlighting the more traditional format that dominates disc two, although ‘Happy New Year, Dorothy’ is a lively rhythmic piece with a most beautiful fiddle hook.
A fine collection of accessible soundtrack works with disc two being of a more avant garde bent, those new to the work of Reininger will find a nice entry point in disc one, while TUXEDOMOON fans will relish what is presented on disc two.
‘Commissions 2’ is thus a win-win for anyone with an interest in quality soundtrack compositions .
Essex duo Paul Hammond and Ian Cooper recently returned as ULTRAMARINE with their ‘Signals into Space’ album.
Initially part of A PRIMARY INDUSTRY, the pair have guided ULTRAMARINE on an eclectic musical pathway taking in along the way folk, acid house, Latin, jazz and techno influences.
Paul Hammond and Ian Cooper kindly spoke to The Electricity Club about their new album, their musical history together and the experience of working with SOFT MACHINE’s Robert Wyatt.
A PRIMARY INDUSTRY were quite a different musical beast to what would eventually end up as ULTRAMARINE, what made you both move on and explore different musical territories?
Ian: There was a transition rather than any kind of break musically. Some of the first ULTRAMARINE tracks were actually recorded at A PRIMARY INDUSTRY sessions, so it’s a bit muddled.
Paul: I don’t recall any deliberate change in direction between the two groups. I can’t really remember if we had a general game plan at that point, or even how we saw ourselves fitting in to the wider musical world. We were feeling our way, going from project-to-project rather than having an overall concept of what we were doing.
Who were your initial influences when you decided to put together ULTRAMARINE?
Paul: In the late ‘80s, our influences were fairly contemporary I think; we weren’t really digging that far back except for classic ambient music like Brian Eno’s Obscure label which I remember picking up on in the mid-80s. Some of the Factory artists were still an influence; DIF JUZ and the 4AD aesthetic; 23 SKIDOO, CABARET VOLTAIRE, Adrian Sherwood and On-U Sound. And in particular a lot of music on the Crépuscule and Crammed labels from Brussels.
The albums that Steven Brown made with Benjamin Lew were certainly a reference point for ‘Folk’ plus TUXEDOMOON, Wim Mertens and Anna Domino.
Your debut album ‘Folk’ sounds like an act finding its feet, when you listen back to it now, what are your thoughts on it?
Ian: I look back at it fondly. We had some basic songs pulled together in the back room of a village hall in Essex and were then let loose in a Brussels studio to record with the help of a couple of great guest musicians.
Paul: It’s a slightly odd mix of styles but I like some of it a lot; particularly the more acoustic, less groove-based tracks like ‘Lobster’ and ‘Bronze Eye’. ‘Lobster’ has an interesting palette and sounds surprisingly sophisticated to me; live percussion, clarinet, accordion, bass guitar and Sequential Circuits Pro-One synth. It’s intriguing for me listening back to that record; I can’t really recall much of the thinking behind it.
There is a huge jump in progression from ‘Folk’ to ‘Every Man & Woman Is A Star’ in what was quite a short time period… what would you attribute this to?
Ian: Very simply, it was the Akai S900. Having sampling capability at home; to be able to experiment and write loop-based tracks opened new worlds of possibilities for us. We could gather ‘70s west coast musicians for an acoustic backing track and write synth melodies on top whilst never leaving the bedroom in New Cross. Almost all of the tracks on ‘Every Man…’ are based on sampled loops.
The two exceptions are ‘Stella’ and ‘Gravity’; they have earlier origins and use samples but not full bar-long rhythmic loops.
Paul: We’d used a sampler, sequencer and analogue synths in the studio on the later A PRIMARY INDUSTRY records and on ‘Folk’ so we were gradually introducing electronic instruments and treatments. We worked with an excellent engineer and co-producer around that time called Colin James (who was part of the original MEAT BEAT MANIFESTO line-up) and he introduced us to some of the technology.
A PRIMARY INDUSTRY had been a four or five-piece but reduced to just the two of us after ‘Folk’, so I think Ian and I must have made a decision to make it more machine-based then. After ‘Folk’ we released a couple of more House-like 12”s for Crépuscule and Brainiak and that was the bridge into ‘Every Man & Woman Is A Star’.
When samplers did eventually become omnipresent, many UK acts started sampling, using New Age and World Music loops which rapidly became clichéd, what is your approach when looking for loops and sounds?
Ian: In the early ‘90s, we scoured second hand record shops for interesting looking cheap albums to see what loops we could create.
These were then used as starting points for tracks. Sometimes the original samples ended up in the final track, possibly cut-up, disguised or reworked somehow, and sometimes they just got us up and running with a track and were then removed. We haven’t been so reliant on samples since ‘A User’s Guide’. If we use samples nowadays, it’s more as a textural element.
Paul: Our original approach to sampling was to deliberately use music that was very different in style to our own. We were looking for acoustic textures mainly; not so much sampling other electronic music, ambient or new age music.
There has always been large played element to ULTRAMARINE, do you sometimes end up sampling yourselves?
Paul: We don’t really sample the live elements as such but we certainly do a lot of editing and rearranging of recorded live material. On most of our albums, including ‘Signals Into Space’, we’ll record other musicians in the studio, playing in a fairly loose or improvised way, and then edit those recordings and work them into the arrangement. On ‘This Time Last Year’ and ‘Signals Into Space’, Ian and I played a lot of the parts live (synths, guitar, bass etc) and those performances formed the basis of the tracks. On ‘Signals Into Space’, we wrote some of the sax parts for Iain Ballamy and other parts are his improvisation. The approach is quite free and not really bound by any rules as to how we do or don’t treat recordings.
Moving on to the ‘United Kingdoms’ album, how did the link-up with Robert Wyatt come about?
Paul: We approached Robert through Geoff Travis at Rough Trade. We were signed to the Warners sub-label Blanco Y Negro that Geoff A&R’d and Robert was on Rough Trade at the time, so it was a pretty easy connection.
What was it like working with Wyatt?
Paul: It was a fantastic experience. We’d been into Robert’s music since his early ‘80s recordings for Rough Trade but were too young to have been familiar with his earlier work and SOFT MACHINE. We didn’t discover Kevin Ayers and the wider Canterbury Scene until the early ‘90s; a result of sample digging in secondhand shops. We bought Kevin’s album ‘Whatevershebringswesing’ and completely fell in love with it, even to the extent that we went to Majorca to try to track him down and ask him to work with us!
How did the track ‘Happy Land’ come together?
Paul: We started to develop the concept of ‘United Kingdoms’ being a kind of homage to the Canterbury Scene; Kevin Ayers and Robert in particular. While in Majorca, we were listening to the TRAFFIC song ‘John Barleycorn (Must Die)’ and had the idea of doing something similar; reusing the words of a traditional folk song. ‘Happy Land’ and the track ‘Kingdom’ came out of that.
We found the words to both songs (which were political street ballads) in the library of the English Folk Dance & Song Society at Cecil Sharp House and gave Robert the words and instrumental demos to work with. He wrote the vocal melodies and arrangements at his piano at home, playing along to our demos. We then went to a studio with him to record his vocals. He was a joy to work with; very generous and modest.
With the folk elements replaced by jazzier ones, ‘Bel Air’ was another big shift in direction, what prompted this?
Paul: With ‘Bel Air’, we wanted to do something more exotic sounding and were becoming influenced by Latin music. The working method for the two albums was the same. ‘Bel Air’ was more a shift in palette and musical references than being a big change in direction as far as we were concerned. I think ‘Bel Air’ is more adventurous and experimental in terms of production than ‘United Kingdoms’; more fluid and sensuous. We were getting more confident in the studio and ‘Bel Air’ was the first record we recorded completely on our own. It was quite a creative and transitionary period for electronic music I think; the technology was starting to become a little friendlier and programming techniques were getting more sophisticated. We were listening to more contemporary music and picking up little tips from that.
The Roland TB303 remains a reliable constant in your tracks, what made you originally use one and why are you continually inspired by it?
Paul: We originally used it hooked up with a TR808 so it was just born out of messing around with that. Our TB303 isn’t in great shape at the moment and we haven’t actually used it on the last couple of albums, although there are other synths playing those kinds of parts. In retrospect, we used it like a voice on the earlier records – it fulfils that sort of role on some tracks – sitting in the middle of the sound and carrying the main melody in quite a lyrical way.
In true KRAFTWERK style, you took a 15 year hiatus between ‘A User’s Guide’ and ‘This Time Last Year’; what caused this and did you still keep making music individually?
Ian: We’d run out of funds and had to get other work. We were very pleased with ‘A User’s Guide’ but there didn’t seem to be an audience out there for it.
After a while, Paul carried on with some solo work and started the label Real Soon. We were still meeting up and discussing what we’d like to do together musically.
This would turn out to be a way of working that was more open to improvisation and performance. The talking went on for a while before we started messing around with instruments again to see what might happen.
Paul: At the end of the ‘90s we were a bit bruised by the major label experience and weren’t enjoying the business aspect of things. After a couple of years break, I started Real Soon which focussed on the more experimental end of the House music spectrum, putting out my own projects but mainly releasing music by other artists. I did an album and a few other releases on my own but always missed the interaction of working with Ian. The label has been really fun and I’ve learnt a lot from doing that.
How was the experience of making the current album ‘Signals into Space’?
Ian: We started writing the tracks in 2016 in our old basement studio surrounded by fields near to an estuary and completed the remaining writing and recording in the following two years in a rehearsal space on a light industrial estate near a busy A-road.
The new space worked out far better than it sounds. It allowed us to get completely absorbed with the music with no distraction.
Paul: This album has been a very enjoyable experience. We’d started a particular way of writing with the previous album ‘This Time Last Year’ and developed it further for the new record. Our working method is based around us each having a small portable set-up (rather than our own studio) and around performance and improvisation. It’s much more about recording, editing and arranging than programming. It’s totally refreshed our feeling about making music I think. It’s much more instinctive and immediate than any way we’ve worked previously.
The general idea is to capture the essence of the tracks as quickly as possible and, although the arranging, final production and mixing processes are inevitably quite drawn out, the music retains a freshness for us as a result. We’ve also started working with other people again on this album and that’s been a lot of fun. We mixed the album with Andy Ramsay (STEREOLAB) who was great and seems to be on the same wavelength as us!
The vocal based tracks with Factory / Crépuscule artist Anna Domino are superb, particularly ‘Spark from Flint to Clay’; she appears to have been pretty reclusive over the last few years, how did you go about tempting her back into the studio?
Paul: We politely asked her and she said “yes”! Anna has been fantastic on this project; she gave a lot of time to it and really engaged with the tracks. We built up those particular songs with her over quite a long period so the music and vocal ideas have developed together and Anna’s lyrical themes have seeped into the album in general.
What are your favourite tracks from the album and why?
Ian: Anna’s vocal on the title track is wonderful. It’s been a very special experience listening to her vocals work their way into our music. I would also want to single out ‘Du Sud’ and ‘Sleight of Hand’. The parts for both tracks came together very quickly and are very simple. ‘Du Sud’ is one of a few tracks that started life in our old basement studio and is very evocative. I love where the vibraphone runs come in and out. Iain Ballamy’s sax on ‘Sleight of Hand’ is a single take with live effects, grabbed immediately before he had to dash off to catch a train. It’s a great performance.
Paul: I’m very attached to ‘$10 Heel’; one of the songs with Anna. It was a difficult song to put together – really tricky to arrange. One of our reference points for it was the RAINCOATS track ‘Animal Rhapsody’ which was mixed by Dennis Bovell. We wanted ‘$10 Heel’ to have the same kind of pop-dub feel, with woody percussion and delayed piano parts. The final section really gets it I think; just what we were aiming for.
You have toured as support for BJÖRK and ORBITAL, how did you find life on the road and was technology reliable for you back then?
Ian: Our first US tour was with MEAT BEAT MANIFESTO, ORBITAL and Communion DJs from New York. MEAT BEAT MANIFESTO had a great crew and they looked after our sound and set-up really well. We had way too much gear but had nothing go wrong. Well, we had a stuck MIDI-note in San Francisco and just had to reload. The audience were patient. That tour was great fun.
Paul: That tour and the BJÖRK US and European tours were wonderful, unforgettable experiences. We loved playing every night. The technology was remarkably solid actually; probably more so than it would be nowadays!
You did a recent album launch event at Sounds Of The Universe, what kind of set-up did you use for this show?
Ian: That was as stripped down as it gets. Paul had a laptop with Logic music software and a couple of small hardware synths. I had the kalimba, some loops and effects pedals. It left a lot of room for experimenting.
Paul: That wasn’t really what I’d consider to be a live set; more live-lite! When we do a full show nowadays we don’t use a laptop.
Ian and I have separate set-ups; me with a hardware sequencer / sampler, drum machine and a few analogue synths and Ian with a guitar, soft synths and a load of effects pedals and bits and pieces. We want it to be quite loose; free in terms of the arrangements and completely open to improvisation.
Are there any more live performances on the horizon?
Ian: There are a few discussions underway. We would certainly like to play live both as a duo and as part of a fuller line-up with musicians from the album.
If you could select one ULTRAMARINE track to introduce a new listener to the act, which one would you choose?
Paul: That’s difficult as there’s quite a bit of variety in what we’ve done. At this point, I’d choose ‘Breathing’ from the new album. It’s quite a simple, understated track in some ways but I think it captures a mood that we’ve had across quite a few things over the years.
Ian: I’d go for ‘Equatorial Calms’. It has multiple sections to it and is grounded in studio improvisation. It starts with a guitar and bass dream state, followed by drum machine and synths, then ending up with lo-fi soundtrack.
The Electricity Club gives its warmest thanks to ULTRAMARINE
Special thanks to James Nice at Les Disques du Crépuscule
Essex duo ULTRAMARINE are probably best known for their 1991 album ‘Every Man & Woman is a Star’.
Arguably Paul Hammond and Ian Cooper pioneered the Folktronica genre including an eventual collaboration with SOFT MACHINE’s Robert Wyatt on their 1993 ‘United Kingdoms’ album. ‘Every Man & Woman Is A Star’ melded a disparate mix of lo-fi drum machines, electric piano, jazz inflections and squelchy Roland 303s. It was a sound that on paper shouldn’t have really worked, but when it hit its peak, comfortably matched acts like THE ORB at their finest, albeit less self-indulgently.
After a fourteen year hiatus, the duo returned with a pair of singles in 2011 and this has led to ULTRAMARINE’s ‘Signals Into Space’, their first full length album since 2013’s ‘This Time Last Year’. This time around there are collaborations with vocalist Anna Domino who contributes to four tracks, plus percussionist Ric Elsworth and sax player Iain Ballamy from LOOSE TUBES.
Album opener ‘Elsewhere’ provides a dark electronic opener with an eclectic mix of twittering bird song, echoed TANGERINE DREAM-influenced sequencer part and retro analogue drum machine which has its lo-fi congas pitched up and down through the track. Ambient guitar and Juno-style synth layers work brilliantly on the piece; the only criticism is that the track ends too soon and could have quite comfortably been extended by another couple of minutes.
‘Spark from Flint to Clay’ is the first song to feature the vocals of Anna Domino and is the kind of piece that fans of AIR’s ‘Moon Safari’ and ZERO 7 will really get excited by; a Kaoss Pad manipulated 303 makes its first appearance alongside another retro 808-style drum machine and echoed guitars and vibes create a beautiful, drifting and luxuriant soundscape.
‘Breathing’ stretches to an epic 7 minutes and is the first track on the album to feature a combination of trademark off-kilter ULTRAMARINE sounds, improvisation and a far jazzier aesthetic.
‘Breathing’ is not a foreground piece, but it would provide a superb ambient accompaniment to drift along to with Ballamy’s sax providing the main musical content.
‘Arithmetic’ ups the tempo and could quite easily have appeared on ‘Every Man & Woman is a Star’; live percussion, electric piano and another 7 minute running time allows it to ebb and flow with a combo of electronics and live elements drifting in and out. Again, Anna Domino provides the main vocal hook for a song that wonderfully conjures images of far-off beaches and tropical climates.
‘If Not Now When?’ indirectly take its cues from JON & VANGELIS’ ‘State of Independence’ with a modulated Yamaha CS80-style bassline whilst ‘Equatorial Calms’ (could there be a more ULTRAMARINE song title?) evokes some distant arid and dusty landscape with heart-rate slowing sounds and cross delayed drum sounds. The album closer and title track finishes with another Anna Domino vocalled-piece; combining found sound ambience and a heartbeat pulse.
The fact that only a third of ‘Signals into Space’ feature vocals means that the album works best as “put on, zone out” work and it accomplishes that exceedingly well; once you become locked into it, it does a superb job of transporting the listener to a variety of sonic-inspired landscapes.
For those that have previously delved into the world of ULTRAMARINE, there are no radical departures, reinventions or surprises here; over 30 years Hammond and Cooper have carefully cultivated their own sound that combines their source material beautifully.
For this reason there appears no motive to deviate too far from a tried tested template and fans of the duo will welcome ‘Signals into Space’ with open arms.
Sitting on the sofa with my now thirteen year old daughter, who over the years has acquired a rather sarcastic sense of humour (who on Earth does she get that from?!) and pondering how to approach this task of reviewing ‘The Electricity Club’ compilation, makes us both burst out with hearty laughter.
After all, she wants to rise to the occasion properly, and review things “just like Mummy does”, or maybe not, as “Mummy always says it as it is!”
Children have the innate ability to always tell the truth; my daughter, however, has an uncontrollable need to please people, so this could really go either way. She will either be pulling her disgusted face, saying “what a load of rubbish!”, or candidly praise, without certainty.
My own adventure with music dates back many years indeed. I was brought up within, what they used to call in communist Poland, “an intelligence family”, meaning both my parents were white collar workers, rather than working class.
My father, a respectable judge, had loved his music greatly and was an avid guitar player himself, while my mum, a teacher, enjoyed listening to pretty much anything within the popular genre (usually via her radio, which, to this day, is always on).
Recalling the baby book entry, which my mum recorded when I was at the tender age of five, saying “Monika loves listening and dancing to records, she could spend all day doing so”, makes me try and remember the old record player and hundreds of vinyl albums which my parents owned.
All this said, I hold my older by ten years brother solely responsible for my eventual music choices. As I was growing up, I just had to endure what he was listening to (at great volume, may I add!).
As legal copies of western music were incredibly hard (or, simply, impossible) to get, his room was full of pirate cassette tapes of everything from THE HUMAN LEAGUE to MICHAEL JACKSON and anything and everything in between.
He would take great pride in inviting me into his musical cave and fed me with DEPECHE MODE, ERASURE, ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA and OMD.
And all this worked… during his absence, I’d sneak in and put my favourites on, which would primarily include the works of DEPECHE MODE, with the vinyl of ‘Black Celebration’ and maxi-single vinyl of ‘Stripped’ being the firm first choices. And that’s how I acquired the electronic music bug. From then on, not much else mattered but coming home from school and playing the entire back catalogue of the Basildon boys, dotted with the works of YAZOO and ERASURE.
My Allie has had little choice, since her musical adventure dates back to being in my womb. At the age of three she would sing ERASURE’s ‘You Surround Me’ on top of her little baby voice, and her sweet childish vocal was sampled and recorded by a well-known UK electronic duo.
Her first gig was at the age of five, and she went to see ERASURE at six and DEPECHE MODE twice at the grown-up age of seven, keenly taking part in the experience.
Although since she’s found love for KATIE PERRY, ARIANA GRANDE and TAYLOR SWIFT, and electronic music hasn’t been on her radar much lately, she absolutely loved ASHBURY HEIGHTS’ ‘The Looking Glass Society’. She also has a lot of vintage DEPECHE MODE on her Spotify playlist, interestingly enough none of it past ‘Songs Of Faith & Devotion’, and plays it at least twice a week.
Having heard that, I would include her opinion in the tongue-in-cheek review of The Electricity Club compilation, she keenly decided to be a serious contributor, and so it goes…
MAISON VAGUE Synthpop’s Alive
Allie: I don’t like it but I like it…
Mon: Bit GARY NUMAN this is! But a tad laboured and rough and ready.
Allie: I like the synth sounds, the voice sounds a bit weird.
KID KASIO Full Moon Blue
Mon: Ah, my favourite of Nathan’s! Love it, love it, love it!
Allie: I like the sounds, the first bit sounds a bit like DEPECHE MODE!
Mon: Yeah, a tribute to ‘Two Minute Warning’!
Allie: That’s it! I like it a lot. I like his voice.
ELECTRONIC CIRCUS Roundabout
Allie: Oh my God! Rubbish!
Mon: Why? *cannot contain the laughter*
Allie: It’s just rubbish!
Mon: Erm, the synth is good, not sure about the vocal…
DAYBEHAVIOR It’ s A Game – Marsheaux remix
Mon: I like this, analog synth! Lovely…
Allie: I like it, like the vocal, but it’s not something I’d listen to if I had a choice.
Mon: Oh, I would. Very good song and well produced by MARSHEAUX.
MARNIE The Hunter
Allie: Reminds me of something but I don’t know what. I like it, love the vocal.
Mon: I hear a bit of LADYTRON, BJÖRK and MARSHEAUX. It’s fresh and enticing.
Allie: Yes, LADYTRON! That’s it!
NIGHT CLUB Cruel Devotion
Allie: Ohhhh, I like that!
Mon: You’ve met them last year Allie! Very good!
Allie: Oh yes, I do like this! I like the background sound and the vocals. I’d play that in my room… She doesn’t sound American! Is she American?
Mon: Yes! *laughs*
Allie: I’d make music like that!
ELEVEN ELEVEN Through The Veil
Mon: I like the beginning, bit of KYLIE there.
Allie: I don’t know who that is! I like the vocals!
Mon: I like the sound! (Note to self: “must educate Allie on KYLIE”).
QUEEN OF HEARTS United
Mon: Oh I’m liking this, fat synth and decent voice…
Allie: I like it, both synth and the vocal.
KATY PERRY Hot N Cold – Marsheaux remix
Allie: It’s KATY PERRY! I like this! I like this remix, it’s different from the original! *singing out loud*
Mon: I never liked the original and this doesn’t do it for me either.
Allie: What?! I love it! But her voice is a bit screechy, like on the normal version!
ERASURE Be The One – Paul Humphreys remix
Allie: Sounds like ERASURE…
Mon: It is!
Allie: Ah, I knew it! Is it a remix?
Allie: I love ERASURE, this is lovely.
Mon: Totally agree.
KID MOXIE The Bailor
Allie: I don’t like her vocals.
Mon: I do, it’s a good song.
Allie: I like the music, the melody is nice.
Mon: It’s a grown up song, very atmospheric and cinematic. Great use of synth. My kind of electronica.
KEEP SHELLY IN ATHENS Oostende
Allie: I like it! The vocals are great. I’d listen to it in the car.
Mon: Yes, it’s good, both vocally and musically.
FOTONOVELA featuring JAMES NEW My Sorrow
Allie: I’ve heard it before.
Mon: Really? I haven’t! You must be thinking of something else.
Allie: It’s ok, reminds me of something you’ve played before.
GIRL ONE & THE GREASE GUNS Jessica
Allie: I don’t like it, vocals aren’t great, don’t like the music.
Mon: It’s not my cup of tea either, but I’m sure it’ll appeal to few people.
AUTOMATIC WRITING Continuous
Mon: Interesting start! It’s different, I shouldn’t like it but I do.
Allie: It’s ok, again, it reminds me of something.
METROLAND Thalys – London edit
Mon: Oh I like that. Simple arrangement and that’s all you need. Not sure about the voice sample though.
Allie: It’s very robotic, like science fiction. It’s like something from another planet. It’s KRAFTWERK!
RODNEY CROMWELL Black Dog
Allie: Yeah! That’s ok! *does a little dance*
Mon: Hmmm, not sure. It’s not unpleasant.
SIN COS TAN Trust
Allie: Don’t know, not sure about that one.
Mon: It’s ok.
Allie: Bored now!
POLLY SCATTERGOOD Other Too Endless – Vince Clarke remix
Mon: Good synth on this one. Liking this a lot. Competent vocals and arrangement, a real stand out.
Allie: Not my cup of tea.
TENEK What Do You Want?
Allie: Is that MESH? Sounds like it!
Mon: No, it’s not, it’s TENEK. It’s a good song.
Allie: Yes, I really like it. I like the instruments.
ANALOG ANGEL We Won’t Walk Away
Allie: It’s fast. Not my kind of thing.
Mon: It’s very well written. It needs more oomph! Very OMD.
ARTHUR & MARTHA Autovia
Allie: It’s not in tune… I don’t know, I don’t like it.
Mon: It’s different, not me either…
MARSHEAUX Suffer The Children
Mon: A cover. Good.
Allie: It is good, bouncy.
SECTION 25 My Outrage
Mon: Oh dear, messy! Too candied for me, bit all over the place.
Allie: Yes, I don’t think it’s good. I can’t describe it but it’s not something I’d listen to.
047 featuring LISA PEDERSEN Everything’s Fine
Allie: Clubby! Like it. Yes, I do! *bounces away*
Mon: Good, isn’t it? I like the club feel to it. A good dance song.
TAXX Is It Love?
Mon: Oh yes, good stuff! Progressive. Decent vocal too.
Allie: It’s ok, but I wouldn’t listen to it in the car. At a disco, maybe…
LIEBE I Believe In You
Allie: You know the ding-ding sounds? They remind me of PET SHOP BOYS!
Mon: “Ding-ding sounds!” To me the vocal technique resembles NEW ORDER. It’s good.
QUIETER THAN SPIDERS Shanghai Metro
Mon: It’s ok.
Allie: Too poppy, way too poppy. Chow mein? *laughs*
iEUROPEAN feat WOLFGANG FLÜR Activity Of Sound
Mon: That’s it! The synth is all there. Semi-modular synth? Very tidy!
Allie: I do actually like it! It’s club but different.
TWINS NATALIA Destiny
Mon: Not me vocally but decent synth I suppose.
Allie: I like the vocals! I don’t know, all confused now, too many songs!
Mon: No, that’s awful.
Mon: YAZOO cover Allie!
Allie: I knew that I knew it! Is that MESH?!
Allie: Thought so. I like anything MESH!
Mon: Now, there’s a surprise!
Allie: You know me!
MIRRORS Between Four Walls
Allie: Like this one, nice music.
Mon: Bit laboured… it’s not bad though.
OMD Time Burns – Fotonovela rework
Allie: Very robotic.
Mon: Not me!
VILE ELECTRODES Deep Red
Allie: I like the vocals, sounds a bit like Sarah Blackwood!
Mon: It’s Jane actually!
Allie: Ahhhh! Doh! I like that a lot. It’s slow! *laughs*
Mon: It is good, but no surprise there.
Allie: Is that the last song?!
Allie: Thank god, I’m tired now!
She will sleep well! I have to say, she did surprise me with some songs and disappointed with others but that just proves to me, that tastes do indeed vary, and even if I’m vehemently against something, others will find it enticing.
‘The Electricity Club’ compilation is a marvellous collection of tunes, and that’s a given. There’s something for everyone here and what a cross-section of all electronica. Still, I come to conclusion that thirteen year olds are probably not mature enough to fully appreciate certain synth music…
Will she follow in my steps? Not for a while… if ever! The one thing we certainly have in common: WE SAY IT AS IT IS!
‘The Electricity Club’ is released on 3rd December 2018 by Amour Records / Minos EMI / Universal Music in collaboration with Undo Records as a 34 track 2CD set in a deluxe 6 panel digipak with track-by-track commentary and ‘O’ card; the compilation can be pre-ordered from the following retailers:
Amour Records / Minos EMI / Universal Music in collaboration with Undo Records are to release a 2CD compilation compiled by The Electricity Club.
Capturing its ethos to feature the best in new and classic electronic pop music, this compilation is the culmination of a period which has seen the resurgence of the genre. Over the years, The Electricity Club appears to have reflected the interests of people who love the Synth Britannia era and have a desire to hear new music seeded from that ilk.
Little did The Electricity Club know when it launched on 15th March 2010, it would go on to interview many of the key players in Synth Britannia, get granted an audience with two former members of KRAFTWERK and be influential in helping some of the best new synthesizer talents gain a profile within a reinvigorated scene. So it is highly apt that WOLFGANG FLÜR should make an appearance on this collection.
The Electricity Club is pleased to showcase its ethos in the form of this tangible audio artefact. Among the impressive cast, there are prime movers from the classic era like PAUL HUMPHREYS and VINCE CLARKE. Without the influence of the bands they respectively co-founded, OMD and DEPECHE MODE, electronic pop as The Electricity Club likes it would not exist.
Meanwhile the next generation are represented by acts such as KID MOXIE, NIGHT CLUB, RODNEY CROMWELL and VILE ELECTRODES. Incidentally, the latter were invited to support OMD on their 2013 German tour following ANDY McCLUSKEY’s discovery of the duo while perusing The Electricity Club’s virtual pages. The bloodline from ‘Radio-Activity’ to ‘Romance Of The Telescope’ and then to ‘Deep Red’ is easily traceable and deeply omnipresent.
The Electricity Club has always relished its diverse taste credentials. It doesn’t do retro or contemporary, just good music. No other compendium could dare to include the spiky post-punk of GIRL ONE & THE GREASE GUNS and the rousing electro-rock of MESH alongside pop princesses such as QUEEN OF HEARTS or KATY PERRY. Be it Glasgow’s ANALOG ANGEL and MARNIE, Manchester veterans SECTION 25 or Essex boys TENEK, it all fits into The Electricity Club’s avant pop playground.
With international representation also from Gothenburg’s DAYBEHAVIOR and 047, Shanghai synthpoppers QUIETER THAN SPIDERS, Texan dance duo ELEVEN: ELEVEN, Belgium’s own passengers METROLAND and the self-explanatory KEEP SHELLY IN ATHENS, the tracks gathered capture a special moment in time where innovative musical aspirations and good tunes have again manifested themselves in the same context.
The collection features a number of covers including MESH’s take on YAZOO’s ‘Tuesday’ and MARSHEAUX’s reinterpretation of TEARS FOR FEARS’ first single ‘Suffer The Children’. In addition, tracks such as MARSHEAUX’s stomping remix of KATY PERRY’s ‘Hot ‘N’ Cold’ and MIRRORS’ ‘Between Four Walls’ make their premiere in CD format.
The tracklisting is:
01 MAISON VAGUE Synthpop’s Alive
02 KID KASIO Full Moon Blue
03 ELECTRONIC CIRCUS Roundabout
04 DAYBEHAVIOR It’s A Game (Marsheaux remix)
05 MARNIE The Hunter
06 ELEVEN:ELEVEN Through The Veil
07 NIGHT CLUB Cruel Devotion
08 QUEEN OF HEARTS United
09 KATY PERRY Hot ‘N’ Cold (Marsheaux remix)
10 ERASURE Be The One (Paul Humphreys remix)
11 KID MOXIE The Bailor
12 KEEP SHELLY IN ATHENS Oostende
13 FOTONOVELA featuring JAMES NEW Our Sorrow (Original mix)
14 GIRL ONE & THE GREASE GUNS Jessica 6
15 AUTOMATIC WRITING Continuous
16 METROLAND Thalys (London Edit)
17 RODNEY CROMWELL Black Dog
01 SIN COS TAN Trust
02 POLLY SCATTERGOOD Other Too Endless (Vince Clarke remix)
03 TENEK What Do You Want? (Alternate TEC version)
04 ANALOG ANGEL We Won’t Walk Away
05 ARTHUR & MARTHA Autovia
06 MARSHEAUX Suffer The Children
07 SECTION 25 My Outrage
08 047 featuring LISA PEDERSEN Everything’s Fine
09 TAXX Is It Love?
10 LIEBE I Believe In You
11 QUIETER THAN SPIDERS Shanghai Metro
12 iEUROPEAN featuring WOLFGANG FLÜR Activity Of Sound
13 TWINS NATALIA Destiny
14 MESH Tuesday
15 MIRRORS Between Four Walls
16 OMD Time Burns (Fotonovela rework)
17 VILE ELECTRODES Deep Red
‘The Electricity Club’ is released by Amour Records / Minos EMI / Universal Music in collaboration with Undo Records as a 34 track 2CD set in a deluxe 6 panel digipak with track-by-track commentary and ‘O’ card; the compilation be purchased from the following retailers: