Tag: Near Future (Page 1 of 2)

NEAR FUTURE Ideal Home

Neil Arthur and Jez Bernholz are NEAR FUTURE, a project featuring the BLANCMANGE front man and the Brighton based artist who also co-founded the Anti Ghost Moon Ray art collective that spawned GAZELLE TWIN , ROSEMARY LOVES A BLACKBERRY and ANNEKA.

Their debut album ‘Ideal Home’ has been several years in the making, constructed through the modern medium of remote collaboration, although the pair have shared a stage on numerous occasions, notably on BLANCMANGE’s Semi Detached’ tour.

With both Arthur and Bernholz being vocalists as well as musicians, the pair experiment with voice-derived textures in NEAR FUTURE perhaps more than with their other work. Opening with the delightfully sombre ‘Ideal Home’ title track, it is a fractured number which takes a detached dual vocal into Eno-produced TALKING HEADS territory with a gently tribal rhythmic feel and asks “should I be full of regret?”

Meanwhile, ‘Field This’ is centred around a hypnotic bass mantra and a bleeping backbone surrounded by an impressionistic fourth world choir, as Arthur points to a period “pre-Madonna” while surreal lyrics recall “I remember when you were freshly peeled” before asking to “try semaphore”.

‘Overwhelmed’ captures shrill strings cocooned in an aural cavern with a claustrophobic Neil Arthur lead vocal that while recognisable, is quite different from anything by BLANCMANGE. The appropriately titled ‘Thought Terminating In Your Night’ sees Arthur’s voice raw and exposed before an eerie metronomic backdrop builds around him. The instrumental ‘Come And Play’ adopts a quite menacing atmosphere of synthetic chorals.

Based around a repetitive synth line, the spoken word art piece ‘Dawn’ features a skewed Bernholz reciting images of “coffee headaches” over sustained guitar sweeps and a building percussive rumble alongside uneasy thoughts of “teeth that felt like glassware”. But there’s the most amazing and chilling lead shimmer on ‘Gap In The Curtain’; driven by a primitive drum box, it comes over slightly like a contemplative OMD reimagining ‘Sad Day’… yes “you couldn’t make it up”.

Another spoken-word piece ‘Kites Over Waitrose’ is almost poetry over electronic backing with some exotic acoustic sounding Oriental textures where Arthur talks of the “scattering masses”, before closing with the sub-drone drama of ‘Bulk Erase’. Laced with a melancholic droll where “so much needs fixing but so little time”, Arthur takes the Eno-esque atmosphere into his own green world for “one thing at a time”, with the closing synthesized heartbeat echoing ULTRAVOX’s ‘Just For A Moment’.

‘Ideal Home’ is a fine debut record from NEAR FUTURE, and it’s one that sits well next to Neil Arthur’s BLANCMANGE and FADER as well as Jez Bernholz’s own brand of eccentric pop. It’s an extremely prolific period for Neil Arthur and with another BLANCMANGE album ‘Wanderlust’ on the way in the Autumn, there will be even more escapist expressionism to come.


‘Ideal Home’ is released by Blanc Check Records on 25th May 2018, available in vinyl LP and CD formats, pre-order from https://nearfuture.tmstor.es

A NEAR FUTURE live show plus Q & A with Neil Arthur and Jez Bernholz takes place at The Institute of Light, 10 Helmsley Place, London E8 3SB on Thursday 6th September 2018

https://www.facebook.com/futureisnear/

https://twitter.com/_nearfuture


Text by Chi Ming Lai
15th May 2018, updated 20th May 2018

NEAR FUTURE Interview

Photo by James Styler

Swelling in sonic density, NEAR FUTURE’s ten-track debut album ‘Ideal Home’ is an enjoyable experimental collection of songs and soundscapes.

From the art pop of the album’s title track and the serene ‘Gap In The Curtain’, to spoken word set pieces like ‘Dawn’, all blended in with assorted field recordings and neo-instrumentals, the album showcases the music combination of Neil Arthur and Jez Bernholz.

Arthur is best known as the front man of BLANCMANGE, while Bernholz will be remembered by some as the opening act on 2015’s ‘Semi Detached’ tour, having issued his first long player ‘How Things Are Made’ the year via the Anti Ghost Moon Ray art collective he co-founded with GAZELLE TWIN.

Having been involved in five albums since 2015, Neil Arthur is probably at the most prolific stage of his career. As well as juggling BLANCMANGE, there has also been FADER with Benge, resulting in the ‘Ideal Home’ album being several years in the making.

NEAR FUTURE kindly took time out to chat about their first full length fruit of labour and described how their partnership has allowed each of them to think outside of their regular artistic boxes to produce a quite unusual but accessible body of work.

Photo by GMB18

How would you each describe NEAR FUTURE compared with other projects you’ve been involved in?

Neil: Freeform. Good to share the work load. Half the pain, twice the gain!

Jez: Definitely. It’s been freeing as well, from a songwriting perspective. A lot less pressure than I put on myself as a solo artist.

You’ve shared live bills together but how was the bones of this album constructed? Has it been a lot of remote work?

Jez: I felt that it evolved from the email exchanges and anything goes approach, to when we prepared for our first live performance at Sensoria. Those rehearsals cemented everything for me, it gave the songs more structure and coherence.

Neil: Mainly by remote, with other parts on our meetings. The Sensoria cementing experience, followed by a trip to the home of gravity.

Being musicians of different generations, where did you find your common ground in influences and motivations?

Neil: No boundaries, anything goes. Discussions on lack of sleep and emergency repairs. Mundane everyday tasks, often became the detail of our focus I think.

Jez: The lyrics for me, ending the poetry in the everyday. We exchanged music by others and I discovered something new. I felt that subliminally we were both thinking of Michelson, NEU! and HARMONIA, but we never explicitly talked of other artists, it seemed to just gel naturally. Maybe I shouldn’t think too hard for fear of breaking the magic!

Photo by Richard Price

With you both being vocalists as well as musicians, how did you decide who would sing lead on particular tracks?

Neil: I think we only once discussed who would do the vocals on one song, ‘Dawn’.

We’d send ideas to each other, eventually it’d be time for a voice and somehow one appeared. A bit like choosing another synth sound really, oh yes, except there’s the words too.

Jez: My own view originally was that whoever wrote the music, the other person would eventually add a vocal to it. It didn’t quite end up that way but it definitely started in that way. I actually remember the track ‘Ideal Home’ coming more musically from Neil as a starting point and I finished it with the lyrics and vocals. ‘Overwhelmed’ came more from an inspired Neil vocal in response to some music that I had written. But in the end, it was just going instinctively with what felt right and trying out different things.

As a result of that, there appears to be a lot more experimentation in NEAR FUTURE with vocal texturing and processing?

Jez: Without any pressures with this project, I was definitely a chance to take that process further. I enjoyed the idea of Neil’s voice being so familiar to so many people and perhaps producing it in a way that would be totally unexpected, like on the track ’Thought Terminating’ where, as Neil says, it definitely fits with the music and the lyrics.

Neil: It seemed to fit not only the music and field recordings, but also the lyrics on some tracks.

The album’s title track ‘Ideal Home’ was also the first single, what do you remember of its genesis?

Neil: Jez started this idea off and wrote the lyrics. I chopped stuff up and moved the arrangement around a bit to fit the sounds added. Oh hold on… scrap that, it must have been another song. I’ll have to look through my hard drive, to find the origins of this. No doubt the title would have been changed knowing me.

Jez: I remember it completely the other way around! This was the first project that we did together and Neil had the basis track written and I did chop it up a lot and added the vocals and lyrics. Neil responded by adding his vocal and some other synth parts.

Neil: I found it. Of course, Jez is correct, I started it off and it was called ‘Pallet’ and stuck in my BLANCMANGE hard drive.

Photo by Richard Price

There’s a tribal rhythmic feel on a number of tracks?

Neil: As Jez mentions, it just felt right. Sometimes as you listen through to the song or parts that make up the track, you start to hear other stuff, that isn’t physically recorded, but is suggested by the interplay of what has been printed.

Jez: I think it just felt right, particularly on ‘Dawn’, like an angry pagan army coming over the hills with the sunrise behind them, some kind of reckoning; it somehow seemed appropriate.

You got a most amazing and chilling lead shimmer on ‘Gap In The Curtain’?

Jez: It’s a very, very heavily stacked combination of sounds from a PSS-170, about 40 different layered guitars, sax and a synth made from vocals and it just keeps building. Lots of reverb too. It really turned out nicely and it’s one of those elements that keeps the track unique to us, I don’t think it would be easily replicated.

‘Kites Over Waitrose’ is a great title and almost poetry over electronic backing, what inspired that?

Neil: Pincer movement panic buying! Jez sent some music over and we weren’t sure if it would be best left as an instrumental as I thought it worked without words. A while later, rifling through notes, I had these words and tried it out with the music, and our field recordings.

Jez: I love Neil’s lyrics for this. Again, I think he just captures the poetic mundanity of these otherwise forgettable moments. The title really does capture the duality of that.

Another spoken-word piece is ‘Dawn’…

Neil: I couldn’t sleep, so went to do some writing and heard this amazing early dawn chorus, that I recorded on the phone.

When I listened back to it, there in the background was this mechanical throbbing rhythm. I enhanced that with synths, then Jez took over and came back with these wonderful words. Last, we added the feedback sounds.

Jez: I’d had some words for a while which I could never really make fit without them sounding rushed.

When I saw Neil’s working title ‘Dawn’ for the music, it made me think about how my life had changed since the birth of my son, and I revisited those words with more clarity about what they meant, added more to them referring not only the past, but also the near future. The pace of the music gave me the impetus to speak slowly, and they worked nicely.

‘Field This’ has a quite mechanical backbone, is the “prima-donna” referring to anyone in particular and where is this “car park” that was?

Neil: Ha ha! Yes well, last thing first, the car park was in Leeds and first thing last, the story line is set in the time before Madonna. So it’s pre-Madonna. Not though, pre-Maradonna!

The neo-instrumental ‘Come & Play’ has a quite claustrophobic atmosphere?

Jez: It is definitely about that, like being allured to stay somewhere that’s maybe not quite right, there’s something sinister underneath it all.

Is NEAR FUTURE likely to hit the road alongside your other commitments?

Neil: No doubt.

Jez: ASAP.


The Electricity Club gives its grateful thanks to NEAR FUTURE

Special thanks to Steve Malins at Random PR

‘Ideal Home’ is released by Blanc Check Records on 25th May 2018, available in vinyl LP and CD formats, pre-order from https://nearfuture.tmstor.es

https://www.facebook.com/futureisnear/

https://twitter.com/_nearfuture


Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
28th April 2018

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING RECORD – VOLUME 2

With a manifesto that “explores common ground in a strong aesthetic approach towards art, film, music, technology, science, and nature”, the Brighton based artistic co-operative Anti-Ghost Moon Ray founded by GAZELLE TWIN, BERNHOLZ, ACQUAINTANCE and GREAT PAGANS have released a new compilation of music made by themselves and like-minded friends, entitled ‘Annual General Meeting Record – Volume 2’.

‘Volume 1’ was in aid of Médecins Sans Frontières, raising £535 and ‘Volume 2’ proceeds will go to Refugee Action (UK) who provide advice, support and guidance to refugees and asylum seekers in the UK. The international cast contribute 14 tracks emcompassing dark electronica, lost soundtracks and field recording experiments.

ITAL TEK’s ‘To Dust’ provides a deep synthy rumble as an introduction to proceedings while Russian artist ROSEMARY LOVES A BLACKBERRY offers ‘Play or Pay’, a slice of screechy Euro-rythmics that comes over like an artier LADYTRON circa ‘604’

TIMERON’s ‘Risers’ blips and swirls in an enjoyable experimental cocoon, but it’s I SPEAK MACHINE and ‘Blood From A Stone’ that is possibly the highlight of the collection, the mysterious workshop electronica recalling the eerie overtones of early GOLDFRAPP. The project of Tara Busch, the track is perhaps nearer to the song based solo work of her excellent ‘Rocket Wife’ EP than the other material on her soon-to-be-released soundtrack to ‘Zombies 1985’.

The wacky LONE TAXIDERMIST does her bit on the scary avant house of ‘Red Kiss’ with a mixture of weird noises and horror film vocal stylings coupled to a 4/4 beat. Much gentler, ‘These Lands’ by ANNEKA showcases the glorious vocal talents of the young songstress with a quality equal to a Morricone soundcsape in the vein of ‘Ecstacy Of Gold’.

Adding some supernatural spectres, Anti-Ghost Moon Ray’s best known artist GAZELLE TWIN contributes the ritualistic ‘Smash’ which recalls a more electronic RAIN TREE CROW, while FOG SCHOOL’s ‘You Were Born for Chilling Deeds’ with its ghostly voice pitch shifts is self-explantory.

The lengthy ‘We’ve Got to Have Some Music On The New Frontier’ from ACQUAINTANCE and the woodwind laden ‘Sweetness’ from GREAT PAGANS’ Alex Painter both explore more artier climes.

Following a similar path, ‘Divides At’ is a stark railroading instrumental from NEAR FUTURE, the duo comprising of BLANCMANGE’s Neil Arthur and BERNHOLZ; the latter also provides his own solo experiment ‘58’ which sits comfortably with the aural sculpture of LIGHGHT’s ‘Gutter’. Closing with soundtrack composer Nick Sutton and the uneasy ambience of ‘Prayer’, ‘Annual General Meeting Record – Volume 2’ is another inventive and well curated collection.

It showcases some varied interpretations of electronic music, providing an assorted degree of cerebral fulfilment while also supporting a highly worthy cause.


‘Annual General Meeting Record – Volume 2’ is released by Anti-Ghost Moon Ray as a digital download and limited edition cassette in aid of Refugee Action (UK), available exclusively from https://antighostmoonray.bandcamp.com/album/annual-general-meeting-record-vol-2

http://www.antighostmoonray.com/

https://www.facebook.com/antighostmoonray/

http://www.refugee-action.org.uk/our-services/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
9th June 2017

TEC’s 2016 End Of Year Review

What In the World…

tec2016review-mopho2016 will forever be remembered as the year when a significant number of cultural icons and popular musical figures left us; DAVID BOWIE, PRINCE, TOMITA, PETE BURNS, COLIN VERNCOMBE, KEITH EMERSON, DON BUCHLA and LEONARD COHEN were just some of the names who sadly departed.

But despite sadness that loomed, the year did produce some good music, particularly in the second half of the year.

GARY NUMAN launched an ambitious Pledge Music campaign and released some excellent collaborations with JOHN FOXX & THE MATHS, JEAN-MICHEL JARRE and TITÁN. But with his retrospective tour of material from his three most popular albums taking up much of his year, his new crowdfunded album did not meet its planned October release deadline.

jarreyello2016Meanwhile JEAN-MICHEL JARRE had an excess of material and issued the second volume of his ‘Electronica’ project which also featured YELLO and PET SHOP BOYS, plus a third instalment to his classic opus ‘Oxygène’.

YELLO and PET SHOP BOYS also released new albums to a positive reception, proving again that partnerships featuring personnel over the age of 60 can still create music that is fresh and relevant.

Incidentally, one of YELLO’s young vocalists FIFI RONG continued to maintain her artistic profile with successful campaigns for her releases ‘Forbidden Desires’ and ‘Alone’.

Hannah-Peel-2016-042016 saw two concept albums emerge in ‘The Ship’ from BRIAN ENO, a solemn art piece with poignant anti-war messages and ‘Awake But Always Dreaming’, a very personal musical statement by HANNAH PEEL on the traumas of dementia. It was a busy year for Miss Peel with her also contributing her voice to BEYOND THE WIZARDS SLEEVE and JOHN FOXX & THE MATHS, as well as showcasing her own MARY CASIO side project.

WRANGLER released a new album ‘White Glue’ which exuded a less rigid format compared to its predecessor ‘LA Spark’ and collaborated with JOHN GRANT at the Rough Trade 40 live celebrations, while the prolific Neil Arthur issued another new BLANCMANGE album in ‘Commuter 23’ while also launching a new side project NEAR FUTURE with BERNHOLZ.

midgerusty-2012The Manchester veteran ERIC RANDOM issued ‘Words Made Flesh’, the second album of his recent return to the music while RUSTY EGAN finally presented ‘Welcome To The Dancefloor’ which despite its title, was actually a collection of classic styled synthpop. After many years of trials and tribulations for the co-founder of VISAGE, the long player featuring MIDGE URE, TONY HADLEY and CHRIS PAYNE who co-wrote ‘Fade to Grey’ exceeded expectations.

Space travel and synths were just made to go together, so JØTA and VANGELIS conceived projects covering The Cold War space race and the more recent Rosetta probe respectively. Meanwhile, WHITE LIES again showed they are as synthy as they are guitary on their ‘Friends’ album, and even started to sound like A-HA!

Fellow blog Cold War Night Life released ‘Heresy: A Tribute to RATIONAL YOUTH’ which featured PSYCHE and MACHINISTA as well as the Canadian trailblazers themselves. Meanwhile Ireland staked its claim as a new territory for synthpop talent; CIRCUIT3 ‘siliconchipsuperstar’, TINY MAGNETIC PETS ‘The NATO Alphabet’ and EMBRACE THE CRISIS ‘Black Heart’ were good examples of what was on offer from the Emerald Isle.

Over in the UK, VILE ELECTRODES, SPRAY and ANALOG ANGEL all released new albums. There were long awaited long players too from SHELTER and SINESTAR, but these suffered when compared to respective acts from Sweden, JOHAN BAECKSTRÖM and PRESENCE OF MIND.

So again, Sweden still proved it was special with SILENT WAVE and MY GOD DAMN TERRITORY exhibiting varying degrees of potential. But it was REIN in particular who was causing a stir within the ranks of EBM, while the country’s best kept secret KITE toured North America and Asia. However, neither of these two latter artists figured in the line-up of Gothenburg’s Electronic Summer 2016 festival.

VILLA NAH2016-01The Nordic region saw the welcome return of VILLA NAH with the album ‘Ultima’ after a five year absence, while TRENTEMØLLER made the case again as to why he is still the perfect producer for DEPECHE MODE with his new long player ‘Fixion’.

However, Norwegian acts APOPTYGMA BERZERK and ELECTRO SPECTRE ensured the Swedes, Finns and Danes did not have it all their own way.

Greece was still the word with LIEBE, KID MOXIE and MARSHEAUX all presenting brand new releases, while SARAH P. maintained her profile with a series of inventive promo videos highlighting the ongoing issues of equality for women within the music industry. Embracing the same issue on the other side of the Atlantic, I AM SNOW ANGEL immersed herself in setting up the FEMALE FREQUENCY collective while also releasing her own music.

2016 was a good year for female acts with EMIKA, KALEIDA, ANI GLASS, THE HEARING, KITE BASE, KATJA VON KASSEL, HOLOGRAM TEEN and VOI VANG among those making a positive impression. There was also ‘SVIIB’, the final album from SCHOOL OF SEVEN BELLS and the emergence of CHRISTINE & THE QUEENS, while LADYHAWKE remembered what a good album sounded like with ‘Wild Things’.

night-club-requiem-for-romance-2016Over in LA, NIGHT CLUB developed on the promise of their EP trilogy and got a bit heavier on their debut long player ‘Requiem For Romance’, ending up sounding not unlike Britney fronting NINE INCH NAILS in the process!

After gestation periods of nearly six years, both EKKOES and THE MYSTIC UNDERGROUND finally released their debut albums.

Meanwhile the instrumental front, Texan couple HYPERBUBBLE provided some ‘Music To Color By’, Brussels duo METROLAND touchingly paid tribute to their late friend Louis Zachert with ‘Things Will Never Sound The Same Again’ and ULRICH SCHNAUSS went ‘No Further Ahead Than Today’. And MOBY offered a gift to profound relaxation with his free ‘Long Ambients 1: Calm. Sleep.’ download package.

PERTURBATOR James Kent - Photo David FittPERTURBATOR’s ‘The Uncanny Valley’ became a flag bearer for the synth wave movement, along with the acclaimed soundtrack by SURVIVE members Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein for the absorbing Netflix drama ‘Stranger Things’.

Less well-received though was ‘2Square’ by VINCE CLARKE & PAUL HARTNOLL with its banal experiments in electro swing.

This was a supposed new dance sub-genre that in reality was just computerised jazz… nice! But one artist who did manage to pull off fusing synthpop and jazz successfully was DISQO VOLANTE.

New material from veterans MESH, AESTHETIC PERFECTION, ASSEMBLAGE 23, DE/VISION, IAMX, COVENANT and ROTERSAND kept the black clad European audiences happy, while MARI KATTMAN and BLACK NEEDLE NOISE added some trip-hop and rock edges respectively to their already dark templates. Expressing slightly less intensity were two surprise packages in Germany’s DAS BLAUE PALAIS with ‘Welt Am Draht’ and Canada’s DELERIUM with ‘Mythologie’.

marc-almond-blueBut totally unexpected was ‘Silver City Ride’, a full length electro album from MARC ALMOND in collaboration with STARCLUSTER featuring his most synth laden body of work since SOFT CELL.

The biggest surprise of 2016 was ‘Fly’ the soundtrack souvenir to ‘Eddie The Eagle’, the light hearted biopic of the bespectacled Olympic ski jumper; featuring new material by members of FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD, SOFT CELL, SPANDAU BALLET, ULTRAVOX, ERASURE and OMD in collaboration with TAKE THAT’s Gary Barlow, this looked like a terrible idea on paper.

But it was brilliantly executed and the resultant album was a largely enjoyable collection of retro flavoured pop.

Electronic acts actually got to headline the Glastonbury Festival in 2016, albeit on The Other Stage as opposed the main event; NEW ORDER and CHVRCHES wowed the crowds when they shared the bill on the Saturday night. There were rumours that KRAFTWERK and DEPECHE MODE might feature in 2017 but this was not to be, although both acts sent social media into overdrive when they announced major tours.

Among those accorded career spanning multi-disc boxed sets were ERASURE, MARC ALMOND, DEAD OR ALIVE and THE HUMAN LEAGUE. Somehow though, SIMPLE MINDS managed to milk a six disc variant of ‘New Gold Dream’ in the third of their classic album deluxe box editions; it was an amazing feat seeing as only ten songs were completed during the original sessions! The collection boasted no less than twelve takes of the aptly titled ‘Promised You A Miracle’; but the latest incarnation of the Glaswegians combo’ first big hit with KT TUNSTALL for their ‘Acoustic’ album proved to be one version too many.

Associates-dempsey-mackenzie-rankine-getty2Much better value for the money for the discerning music fan were the four ASSOCIATES double CD reissues, supervised by Alan Rankine and Michael Dempsey. Based around their first three albums and a ‘Very Best Of’ compilation, each additionally featured a plethora of rare and previously unreleased songs; they were a fitting tribute to the late Billy MacKenzie.

Nostalgia was very much a part of 2016, with HEAVEN 17, OMD and PETER HOOK & THE LIGHT all touring popular albums. And following the success in recent years of retro festivals such as ‘Rewind’ and the strangely named ‘Let’s Rock’, classic synthpop finally found itself part of the holiday camp circuit.

Part of the Butlins Music Weekender series, ‘Electric Dreams’ featuring OMD, MARC ALMOND, HEAVEN 17, BLANCMANGE and HOLLY JOHNSON almost went badly off-piste with the addition of GO WEST and THE ZOMBIES (!?!) to the programme. But the organisers pulled an unexpected surprise and booked modern synth acts like MARSHEAUX and AVEC SANS to support the bill.

avec-sansHardened retro festival goers are notorious for not embracing new music, but this ethos has to be welcomed and could provide an interesting new model for the future of event based entertainment. However, based on photographic evidence, the presence of inflatable pink flamingos and coloured wigs indicated the crowd atmosphere might have been no different to any of the usual nostalgia outings, but with a roof and central heating added!

Elsewhere, the second ELECTRI-CITY CONFERENCE in Düsseldorf boasted yet another impressive line-up that read like a ‘Who’s Who?’ of electronic music with JOHN FOXX, DANIEL MILLER and MARK REEDER among those taking part in talks. One of the highlights of the weekend came with Mr Foxx chatting about working with the legendary Conny Plank.

And while TEC004 featuring MARSHEAUX, KID KASIO and RODNEY CROMWELL was not in the same league, it was a fine showcase for the best in independent synthpop.

john-foxx-marsheauxBoth events proved again that the best electronic music events are those actually curated by electronic music enthusiasts, something that is not the case with several other events.

In all, 2016 was not a vintage year for electronic pop. If there was a lesson this year, it’s been to cherish and appreciate great life’s moments where possible, especially with the number of music figures that have been lost in the last 12 months.

Things cannot go on forever sadly…


PAUL BODDY

Best Album: PERTURBATOR The Uncanny Valley
Best Song: SOULWAX Transient Program for Drums & Machinery
Best Gig: JEAN-MICHEL JARRE at London O2 Arena
Best Video: BATTLE TAPES featuring PARTY NAILS Solid Gold
Most Promising New Act: VOX LOW


IAN FERGUSON

Best Album: VILE ELECTRODES In The Shadows Of Monuments
Best Song: ASSEMBLAGE 23 Barren
Best Gig: ASSEMBLAGE 23 at Denver Oriental Theatre
Best Video: I AM SNOW ANGEL Losing Face
Most Promising New Act: VOX LOW


SIMON HELM

Best Album: ERIC RANDOM Words Made Flesh
Best Song: RATIONAL YOUTH This Side Of The Border
Best Gig: Troika! featuring KITE BASE, HANNAH PEEL + I SPEAK MACHINE at Shacklewell Arms
Best Video: I AM SNOW ANGEL Losing Face
Most Promising New Act: ZANIAS


CHI MING LAI

Best Album: VILLA NAH Ultima
Best Song: VILE ELECTRODES The Vanished Past
Best Gig: JEAN-MICHEL JARRE at London O2 Arena
Best Video: BEYOND THE WIZARD’S SLEEVE Diagram Girl
Most Promising New Act: ANI GLASS


STEPHEN ROPER

Best Album: MARSHEAUX Ath.Lon
Best Song: RODNEY CROMWELL Baby Robot
Best Gig: GARY NUMAN at Norwich UEA
Best Video: MARSHEAUX Like A Movie
Most Promising New Act: DISQO VOLANTE


MONIKA IZABELA TRIGWELL

Best Album: APOPTYGMA BERZERK Exit Popularity Contest
Best Song: KID KASIO Full Moon Blue
Best Gig: SPEAK & SPELL at Islington Academy
Best Video: BLACK NEEDLE NOISE featuring JENNIE VEE Heaven
Most Promising New Act: JOHAN BAECKSTRÖM


Text by Chi Ming Lai
17th December 2016

BLANCMANGE Red Shift EP

blancmange-red-shift“BLANCMANGE are probably the most under-rated electronic act of all time” said MOBY recently.

The new ‘Red Shift’ EP is released to coincide with BLANCMANGE’s upcoming live dates with THE HUMAN LEAGUE features four vocals tracks from this year’s ‘Commuter 23’ album.

All re-worked by Neil Arthur, the tracks also feature David Rhodes, BLANCMANGE’s long-time guitarist who can also count PETER GABRIEL, KATE BUSH, GRACE JONES, JAPAN, TALK TALK and NEW ORDER among his long list of credits.

On the ‘Red Shift’ title track, Rhodes adds his impenetrable touch, but the track is also notable for Neil Arthur’s revoicing of the song, which harks back to the booming eccentric style he employed on earlier BLANCMANGE recordings like ‘Feel Me’ and ‘Blind Vision’.

The brilliantly titled ‘Judge Mental’, one of the highlights from ‘Commuter 23’ is also included, while Rhodes’ enhanced guitar contributions on the avant reggae of ‘Jack Knife’ make it sound like it could have come from ENO’s ‘Taking Tiger Mountain (With Strategy)’ sessions.

A pulsing reconfigured ‘Last Night (I Dreamt I Had A Job)’ with new vocals closes the EP which provides a bite size insight into the current artistic mindset of Neil Arthur, who has been extremely prolific of late, having released the albums ‘Semi Detached’ and ‘Nil By Mouth’ in just 2015 alone.

2017 promises more new music from Neil Arthur including a collaboration with BERNHOLZ under the moniker of NEAR FUTURE who made their debut live performance at the Sensoria Festival in Sheffield last month.


blancmange-red-shift-epThe ‘Red Shift’ EP is released digitally by Blanc Check on 2nd December 2016 and available as a signed promo CD-R from https://blancmange.tmstor.es/

BLANCMANGE’s 2016 live shows with THE HUMAN LEAGUE: Bournemouth International Centre (25th November), Sheffield Arena (3rd December), Brighton Centre (9th December), Birmingham Barclaycard Arena (10th December)

http://www.blancmange.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/BlancmangeMusic/

http://www.davidrhodes.org/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
16th November 2016

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