Tag: MFS (Page 1 of 3)

ALANAS CHOSNAU & MARK REEDER Children of Nature

Mark Reeder first met Alanas Chosnau at the Lithuanian International Film Festival in 2015.

Chosnau was born to a Lithuanian mother and Iraqi-Kurdish father, growing up in Baghdad before returning to Lithuania to be raised by his grandparents in what was then part of the Soviet Union.

When The Iron Curtain came down, he became the singer of the DEPECHE MODE influenced duo NAKTINĖS PERSONOS before embarking on a successful solo career and becoming a national celebrity.

Meanwhile Reeder’s musical past of bringing JOY DIVISION to perform at Kant-Kino in Berlin, introducing NEW ORDER to electronic dance music, co-managing DIE TOTEN HOSEN and establishing the MFS label which introduced Paul Van Dyk to the club masses is well documented.

Attending the screening of Reeder’s documentary film about his life before the fall of the wall ‘B-Movie (Lust & Sound in West Berlin)’, Chosnau connected with what he saw and sharing some common ground, the two discussed working together.

Reeder remembered: “Alanas wanted to make an album in English, an album that reflected upon a time when he was a kid growing up in the Soviet Union, and not able to absorb the sounds of synthpop coming from the West”. So the pair conceived to make a retro-modern sounding album evoking an illusion of a creative music era that was initially denied to Soviet citizens, while simultaneously presenting a record for today. That record being ‘Children of Nature’.

‘How Do You Feel?’ is a fine start, with cimbalom samples amongst the steadfast programmed electronics for an authentic Eastern European flavour. Hinting at a circus of death with its stark rhythmic swing punctuated by white noise, ‘Fade On’ comes over as more texturally resonant than much of DEPCEHE MODE’s output in the 21st Century.

Reflecting the worldwide lockdown, ‘All Alone’ uses a classic four chord progression shaped by sequencers, chilling string synth and a midtempo Compurhythm. And when Chosnau emotively asks “Does anybody feel the same way like me?” in a chillingly forlorn manner recalling Peter Heppner of WOLFSHEIM, it captures the physical and mental emptiness of solitude.

Raising the tempo, the ‘Children of Nature’ title song uses a lively percussive lattice for some appealing Europop with a spy drama edge bolted on, thanks to some NEW ORDER derived six string and trancey keyboard stabs.

Meanwhile, bathing in an atmospheric lake of OMD allows Chosnau to provide what can only be described as a heroic start to ‘Drowning in You’. As the Synare lightning crashes point south of Berlin to Vienna, it all paces up with a splendidly uplifting second half that vocally recalls ‘I Feel It’ by LORRAINE, a lost Norwegian band whose artwork was designed by Peter Saville.

The guitar based intro to ‘Stand Up’ provides a chromatic spin and Chosnau’s diction suits the dark but rousing backdrop that could be interpreted as a call to arms for resistance. Despite some sparkling synths, ‘Tonight’ though doesn’t quite hit the heights of the impressive run of tunes gathered in the first half of the album.

But Reeder revisits his SHARK VEGAS past by dusting off ‘I Can’t Share This Feeling’, a previously unreleased number from a period when his combo opened for NEW ORDER; with a solemn electronic bassline and minimal fretwork, it rings with a nostalgic air of longing despite a wall blocking the passage of love.

‘It’s Who You Are’ sees Chosnau in a spiritually majestic mood with Reeder’s sparse synth and guitar backing not that far off Brian Eno-produced U2 numbers such as ‘With Or Without You’ or ‘Promenade’.

Hypnotically rigid, ‘Love of My life’ is perhaps more typical of Mark Reeder’s ‘Reordered’ restylings for BLANK & JONES and perfect for a European dancefloor.

Continuing the club friendly vein, ‘Heavy Rainfall’ could be a grooving NEW ORDER disco number with Reeder’s rhythm guitar syncopating off an exquisite range of electronic patterns while some spacey magic flies within the soundspace.

With a further reflection on the worldwide lockdown, ‘Losing My Mind’ is the cinematic number that Chosnau and Reeder contributed to the French Cold War movie ‘Le Chant Du Loup’. Its sonic arrangement wouldn’t have sounded out of place on a Bond film soundtrack, especially with the virtual brass ensemble and string cascades. And when the cimbalom solo kicks in, a widescreen vision of Maurice Binder’s iconic title sequences cannot be avoided.

After Chosnau announces “Everybody wants to feel love”, ‘A Loving Touch’ has looming vocal topline references to Shannon’s ‘Give Me Tonight’, while its catchy tech-house template is not unlike the work of the Hungarian DJ Corvin Dalek, a past collaborator and close associate of Reeder.

Chosnau offers some confessional yearning on ‘Heartburn’ to close and the entry of piano motifs over a minimal arpeggio and sparing guitar before synthetic strings sweep towards the horizon with the sombre demeanour of a less apocalyptic take on Gary Numan’s ‘My Last Day’.

As Mark Reeder and Alanas Chosnau have outlined, ‘Children of Nature’ is a reflection of their personal experiences and hopes for the future. But while the album has a melancholic air, it is optimistic and hopeful. It is a record that does not hide its multi-generational influences, but uses them to present quality songs with superlative vocals and sympathetic instrumentation, marrying East and West European approaches.

Surmising the context, Reeder concludes that: “Over the decades, solitary dancing in a club has become the norm. After months of isolation, to be dancing and the desire to hold and touch each other is probably even greater than before. Dancing on your own is no longer an attractive prospect and that will change once the clubs reopen again. Maybe people will appreciate what that feeling is like to actually hold someone in your arms on the dancefloor?”

Because this album has been made by two people who personally experienced the divisive spectre of the Cold War head on, ‘Children Of Nature’ symbolically captures that emotion of desiring love and intimacy in isolation, something that is very relevant in these strange times.


‘Children of Nature’ is released by MFS on the usual digital platforms including direct from Bandcamp at https://markreeder.bandcamp.com/album/children-of-nature

https://alanaschosnau.com/

https://www.facebook.com/alanaschosnau/

https://www.instagram.com/alanaschosnau/

https://www.facebook.com/markreeder.mfs/

https://twitter.com/markreedermfs

https://www.instagram.com/markreeder.mfs/

https://mfsberlin.com/

https://open.spotify.com/album/6QinQBH8STYT86s59YRO8t


Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Martyn Goodacre
26th May 2020

ALANAS CHOSNAU & MARK REEDER All Alone (Single Mix)

The worldwide lockdown has produced a number of fitting and poignant musical responses from muscians and artists.

SNS introspectively told of their ‘Small World’, while Zachery Allan Starkey was much fiercer in his appraisal as he reflected in collaboration with Bernard Sumner on how New York had become ‘Fear City’

The latest song on the topic is ‘All Alone’ by Lithuanian-Kurdish singer Alanas Chosnau and Berlin-based producer Mark Reeder. Following on from the equally relevant ‘Losing My Mind’, a cinematic number that Chosnau and Reeder contributed to the French Cold War movie ‘Le Chant Du Loup’, ‘All Alone’ comes from the pair’s upcoming album ‘Children of Nature’.

Co-produced by Mark Reeder with his regular studio partner Micha Adam, ‘All Alone’ uses a classic four chord progression shaped by sequencers, chilling string synth and a midtempo Compurhythm.

Meanwhile, Chosnau projects the solemn vocal air of Peter Heppner of WOLFSHEIM as he emotively asks “Does anybody feel the same way like me?”. ‘All Alone’ of course comes in a single mix because as can be seen in the striking video crafted by award winning director Aleksandras Brokas, he is in on his own…

Reeder first met Alanas Chosnau at a film festival and have put together a collection of retro-modern love songs which now feel prophetic in the current situation, so much so that they probably could have named their project CORONA CRISIS.

Alanas Chosnau was born to a Lithuanian mother and Iraqi-Kurdish father, growing up in Baghdad before returning to the then Soviet-governed Lithuania to be raised by his grandparents. After the fall of communism, he became the singer of the domestically popular DEPECHE MODE influenced duo NAKTINĖS PERSONOS. He said: “We had no idea what was to come, but it seems we touched on a frequency from the future and the song appears to have been derived from a deep, inner-feeling we both had at the time”.

Dedicated to all currently living a life in lockdown, Mark Reeder told The Electricity Club: “I’ve been in isolation-lockdown for 59 days now. I’ve actually not been outside at all in this time, except for the occasional quick breath of fresh air on the balcony. I’m treating this like being in a spaceship. As if I was on my way to a new world.”


‘All Alone (Single Mix)’ is released digitally by MFS on 18th May 2020

https://alanaschosnau.com/

https://www.facebook.com/alanaschosnau/

https://www.instagram.com/alanaschosnau/

https://mfsberlin.com/

https://www.facebook.com/markreeder.mfs/

https://www.instagram.com/markreeder.mfs/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Martyn Goodacre
16th May 2020

STOLEN Lockdown Live From Chengdu

With the release of their excellent breakthrough album ‘Fragment’ on MFS in Autumn 2018, STOLEN solidified their position leading the new generation of Chinese artists combining East and West.

‘Fragment’ was produced by Mark Reeder and Micha Adam in Berlin. Their Sinomatic techno-rock sound impressed NEW ORDER enough to invite the Chengdu sextet to open for them in Europe during Autumn 2919.

STOLEN were due to open for NEW ORDER again in Spring 2020 in Japan but with the escalating corona crisis, these dates along with an extensive tour of China were cancelled and the band was forced into lockdown for over six weeks.

After the restrictions were lifted in China, the moment that the band were allowed to go out, they immediately went to their practice studio and performed an live internet lockdown gig, in solidarity with all those people still in lockdown, or at worst, facing the prospect of one.

Led by the growly vocal presence of Liang Yi, songs from the NEW ORDER support set like the KRAFTWERK inspired ‘Why We Chose to Die in Berlin’, the mighty PINK FLOYD gone Techno of ‘Turn Black’, the buzzy extended jam of ‘The Loop Sin’ and the band’s hypnotic signature tune ‘Chaos’ were performed.

Other tracks featured included the poignant electro-metal rush of ‘Why We Follow?’ and the Middle Eastern flavoured ‘Aamir’ from their debut record ‘Loop’ which may appeal to modern day Numanoids. But proceedings were emotively concluded with the haunting Eno-esque ‘Drown With Me’.

The hour long set was broadcast live on 16th March 2020 and attracted over 200,000 viewers worldwide on social media. With virtually the whole world now in a state of isolation, this show has now been made available for all to stream via YouTube. Capturing aspects of the exhilarating audio-visual nature of their live presentation, it acts as a fine introduction to those who are curious about STOLEN.

With 2020 being the 40th anniversary of his passing, the late Ian Curtis of JOY DIVISION eerily captured the current situation in the lyrics of ‘Isolation’: “In fear every day, every evening – He calls her aloud from above – Carefully watched for a reason – Painstaking devotion and love – Surrendered to self preservation from others who care for themselves – A blindness that touches perfection but hurts just like anything else”

Stay safe everyone 😷👍


‘Fragment’ is released by MFS as a double vinyl LP, available from https://mfsberlin.com/

Digital formats available now direct via https://stolenmusic.bandcamp.com/album/fragment

https://www.facebook.com/STOLENfromChina/

https://www.instagram.com/stolen_official/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
29th March 2020

Ten Years Of TEC: BIRTHDAY GREETINGS FROM SOME PEOPLE WHO YOU MIGHT KNOW…

Over the last 10 years, The Electricity Club has been a voice for the discerning enthusiast of electronic pop.

With a balancing act of featuring the classic pioneers of the past alongside the emergent new talent for the future, The Electricity Club has become well known for its interviews and reviews, asking the questions people have always wanted to ask while celebrating the continuing development of the synthesizer in popular music. All this while holding to account those who deliver below expectations, assuring the listener that if they are perhaps not hearing the genius that some devoted fans are declaring, then The Electricity Club is there to assist in affirming or denying that assessment.

But when artists do deliver, they tend to build a strong relationship with The Electricity Club. So with the site celebrating its first 10 years, presented here are greetings and messages from some people who you might know…


Rusty Egan, VISAGE

TEC is 10 years old with the synth knowledge of a 50 year old. If I can’t remember something electronic I don’t Google, I TEC!


Glenn Gregory, HEAVEN 17

The Electricity Club and its wonderful leader Chi is like the League Of Super Heroes for Electronic Music. Our future is safe in his hands.

I have been involved in electronic music making for 40 years, yet one half hour conversation with Chi makes me realise how little I know. From then to now, he’s knows!


Neil Arthur, BLANCMANGE

Chi has been brilliantly supportive of BLANCMANGE, for which I am very grateful. We’ve always managed to have a good laugh during our interviews, as he would ask me about the darkness and gloom lying within a given BLANCMANGE song! I look forward to our next chat.

The Electricity Club has a very important place and a role to play, in spreading the news of electronic music, new and old, far and wide. Here’s to the next ten years. Well done and good luck.


Gary Daly, CHINA CRISIS

Thanks for all your wonderful support Chi, so glad someone has taken the time to ask some great questions…


Sarah Blackwood, DUBSTAR

I love The Electricity Club website. It’s a treasure trove of informative articles, both a very readable historical archive and a forward looking platform for encouraging new talent. In what can be traditionally and lazily categorised as a very male dominated scene, Chi encourages great music regardless of gender and I enjoy the updated Spotify playlist if I’m ever stuck for what to listen to whilst running.

As regards interviews, it’s always enjoyable – Chi is a bit too easy to talk to and his passion for music and synth geekery shines through – heaven forbid you try sneaking a (cleared) sample past him, he will spot it!

Is it 10 years already? Happy birthday TEC!


Chris Payne, DRAMATIS

With 18,000 likes and 12,000 Facebook followers; The Electricity Club under the guidance of its purveyor Chi Ming Lai, has become the leading place for the Electronic Music fan. Intelligent, well written and well researched journalism with a great team of writers presenting an array of brilliant fascinating new acts (and some older ones as well!), hopefully it will continue for at least another 10 years.


Tracy Howe, RATIONAL YOUTH

Congratulations to The Electricity Club on ten years of brilliant reporting of, and support to, the electronic pop scene. TEC is the authoritative publication “of record” for fans and makers of synthpop alike and is the international rallying point and HQ for our music. We look forward to many more years of in-depth interviews and probing articles, all in the beautifully written TEC style. Happy birthday TEC!


Mark White, ABC + VICE VERSA

Chi Ming Lai and Paul Boddy are two of the most learned, nay, erudite music journalists I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, a rare experience indeed to be quizzed by a pair who know their onions. And unusual integrity. Chi promised me if we asked, he would turn off the tape recorder and it would never appear in print. And has been true to his word. This has literally never happened in my career. Also these two chaps are bloody good fun. I laughed til I cried. Go see the movie!


Rob Dean, JAPAN

10 years of The Electricity Club? Only one for me (yes, I know…), but it’s heartening to know that Chi and the crew have created a site so cutting edge for us die-hard fans of electronica. Having read the highly entertaining VICE VERSA chaps interview, I was delighted to be asked to do my own, confident that the questions would be thoughtful and intelligent and yes, a little bit probing too. Here’s to the next 10 and thank you!


Richard Silverthorn, MESH

On several occasions I have done interviews for The Electricity Club. Every time I felt like they actually cared about the music and scene and put some educated thought into the questions. It’s good to feel that enthusiasm.


Tom Shear, ASSEMBLAGE 23

Congratulations on 10 years of covering and supporting the scene! Here’s to another 10 and beyond…


Sophie Sarigiannidou, MARSHEAUX

I first met Chi at Sparrowhawk Hotel, Burnley in November 2000 for an OMD convention. It took me 13 hours to reach by train to Burnley from London due to bad weather.

I saw him playing live (!!!!) with his covers band THE MESSERSCHMITT TWINS, they were having their time of their life, dancing and singing, so so happy! Us too of course!! From that moment on we became friends.

Then he supported our band MARSHEAUX from the very early beginning and I thank him a lot for that! It’s always great having Chi asking questions for interviews . We as a band had our best interviews with The Electricity Club! We spent a lot of hours talking about the history of electronic music and the future of synthpop. My favourite articles on TEC are the “A Beginners Guide To…” series, you have a lot to learn from these pages!!! Happy Anniversary Chi, we’ve indeed had 10 amazing years with TEC. I hope and wish the next 10 to be even better.


Erik Stein, CULT WITH NO NAME

The Electricity Club elected not to review earlier CWNN albums, so we just had to keep making better and better records until they would finally relent. They finally gave in from album number 7 onwards, and it was well worth the wait. The writing was spot on and not a single DEPECHE MODE reference in sight.


Mark Reeder, MFS BERLIN

Congratulations and a very Happy 10th Birthday TEC! Over the past 10 years, The Electricity Club website has developed into becoming the leading website for all kinds of electronic synthpop music. It has become a familiar friend, because it is something I can personally identify with, as it is maintained by fans, for fans.

However, it is not only commendable, but can also be quite critical too, and that is a rare balancing act in the contemporary media world. It has been a great source of regular electronic music information. I have discovered and re-discovered many wonderful electronic artists, and regularly devour the in-depth interviews and features.

Through TEC, I have been introduced to and worked with some of the wonderful artists presented on your pages, such as QUEEN OF HEARTS or MARSHEAUX and in return, it has supported my work, my label and my artists too, and I thank them for that! We can all celebrate ten years of TEC and together, look forward to the next 10 years of inspiring electronic music.


Per Aksel Lundgreen, SUB CULTURE RECORDS

The Electricity Club is a highly knowledgeable and very passionate site! They are digging out rarities from the past as well as exploring and discovering new acts, giving them attention and writing about them often before anybody else around have even heard of them.

This makes TEC a very interesting page to follow, as their in-depth stories about older bands “missing in action” as well as the latest stuff “in the scene” gets perfectly mixed together, giving you all you want basically in a one-stop-site for everything electronic. I also love the way they give attention to unsigned / self-released bands and small indie-labels, giving everybody a fair chance as long as the music is good enough. Congrats on the 10th Anniversary, well deserved!


Jane Caley aka Anais Neon, VILE ELECTRODES

When VILE ELECTRODES were just starting out, we heard through the Facebook grapevine about a new electronic music blog called The Electricity Club. We had a London gig coming up, and had recently made a promo video for our song ‘Deep Red’, so we dropped them an email about both, not expecting to hear back, since we were virtually unknown. However it transpired they really liked our sound, likening us to “Client B born and raised in the Home Counties fronting Dindisc-era ORCHESTRAL MANOEUVRES IN THE DARK”.

The Electricity Club subsequently gave this very description to Andy McCluskey, which piqued his interest such that he checked out our music. We were invited to tour Germany with OMD as a direct result!


George Geranios, UNDO RECORDS

Chi is a really rare quality of a man. He is passionate about music which is so obvious of course while reading The Electricity Club. Through our mutual love for OMD, we discovered that we have the same musical taste. TEC helped us promote all of Undo Records projects and finally we ended collaborating and releasing this brilliant TEC double CD compilation! Chi, I wish you health and to continue writing the best music texts in the industry!!


Adam Cresswell, HAPPY ROBOTS RECORDS

Some people say The Electricity Club doesn’t support the scene but I’ve not found that to be the case; having been a part of two TEC gigs and the recent CD, I know how much blood, sweat and tears they put into what they do. TEC might get a few people’s back-up, but they know their stuff when it comes to synth-driven music and I’m massively grateful that they have supported so many Happy Robots artists since 2010.


Stuart McLaren, OUTLAND

It’s no secret that the burgeoning new synthwave genre shares a common history with the great synthesizer acts and pioneers of the 80s, like Dolby, Jones, Luscombe, Wilder, Daly et al who created new soundscapes with what we now define as vintage synths.

These sounds are brought back to life by pioneers in their own right like FM ATTACK, GUNSHIP, ESPEN KRAFT and BETAMAXX to name a few.

The Electricity Club and Chi Ming Lai have always been at the forefront of championing, interviewing and reviewing the luminaries of this great instrument past to present, and are likely to remain the de facto voice of the synth scene well into the future… we agree on one thing and that is FM-84’s singer Ollie Wride is deffo one to watch as a star for the future!


Paula Gilmer, TINY MAGNETIC PETS

Happy Birthday TEC. thank you for your support. You never fail to impress with your encyclopedic knowledge of synthpop. Here’s looking forward to 10 more!


Mr Normall, NUNTIUS

I’ve been following most of my favourite artists since they were brand new and often this means 30+ years, yet reading articles and interviews by The Electricity Club, I have learned every time something new about of my favourites.

Following The Electricity Club have made me paid attention to several new acts that I would likely know nothing about if they hadn’t appeared on the page.


Catrine Christensen, SOFTWAVE

An outstanding magazine supporting new and upcoming artists whom they choose carefully as they have great taste of music regarding to their huge knowledge within the synthpop genre, when it comes to their writing and promotion – there’s no one like them. Happy birthday 😘


Elena Charbila, KID MOXIE

Happy 10th birthday TEC! Your love and commitment to the synth community is unparalleled and your support has meant a lot to me on a professional but also on a personal level. Here’s to the next 10 years! 😘


Alexander Hofman aka Android, S.P.O.C.K

I’m a fan of The Electricity Club for several reasons. You showed up when I perceived the majority of the electronic scene had turned more and more harsh; as much as I can appreciate an occasional emotional outburst, I’m a happy guy and thus I’m into pop – TEC showed, and still shows me that there’s still electronic pop music being made. Good electronic pop! Which makes me glad, as I find the greater part of the generally popular darker scene to be of lower musical quality.

Moreover, TEC writes in an amazingly happy tone – remember, I’m a happy guy, so it’s right up my alley. Add the fact that TEC regularly publishes interesting articles, using intelligent and varied vocabulary, shows enormous knowledge and interest of the theme, the style, the scene – and I’m hooked. Thanks for being around – keep up the good work, it’s much needed! And congratulations – let’s grab a beer again! 🍻


Text compiled by Chi Ming Lai
15th March 2020

STOLEN Enter The Gap

Along with FIFI RONG and Re-TROS, STOLEN are part of a new generation of Chinese creatives combining East with West.

Having released their excellent breakthrough album ‘Fragment’ last year and undertaken a successful domestic live tour, the Szechuan six-piece consolidate with a new single ‘Enter The Gap’.

Recorded and produced by Mark Reeder and Micha Adam, while ‘Copyshop’, ‘Turn Black’ and the self-explanatory ‘Why We Chose To Die In Berlin’ have exemplified STOLEN’s hybrid sound, their post-punk techno rock takes a breather on the whispery and almost psychedelic ‘Enter The Gap’.

A moody Sinomatic piece that showcases STOLEN’s musical diversity, ‘Enter The Gap’ has a visual presentation written and directed by Formol. Using the mysterious twist of the band’s distinctive red logo as an inquisitive focal point, it makes a symbolic statement on the clash between traditional values and capital growth, capturing the nature of modern China.

China’s Szechuan province is an area that specialises in some of the world’s hottest cuisine, thanks to their locally grown peppercorns. And now in STOLEN, the region has the hottest band in South East Asia.

STOLEN confess to being influenced by the likes of JOY DIVISION, PORTISHEAD, BLUR, MASSIVE ATTACK, KRAFTWERK, NEW ORDER, RADIOHEAD, DEPECHE MODE and APHEX TWIN.

But as Liang Yi, the growly charismatic lead singer of STOLEN said to The Electricity Club during an 2018 interview: “It is our basic principle to try and separate our sound from other music. We can let others hear our influence, but we don’t want to become a ‘copy shop’ ourselves! We are trying to inspire others to join us and create our own Sino-sound.”


‘Enter The Gap’ comes from the album ‘Fragment’ released by MFS in vinyl LP and digital formats, available from https://mfsberlin.com/

STOLEN open for NEW ORDER on the following European live dates:

Prague Lucerna Praha (3rd October), Munich Philharmonie Im Gasteig (5th October), Berlin Tempodrom (7th October), Paris Le Grand Rex (11th October), Brussels Forest International (14th October), Amsterdam AFAS Live (17th October)

https://www.facebook.com/STOLENfromChina/

https://www.instagram.com/stolen_official/

https://twitter.com/KAIGUANCULTURE


Text by Chi Ming Lai
12th May 2019, updated 21st June 2019

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