Tag: Pawws

The Electricity Club’s 30 SONGS OF 2014

wasp TECWith a less intense release schedule than last year, it was a bit more straightforward for The Electricity Club to choose its songs of 2014.

Whereas 2013 had a short list of 45 songs, 2014 was closer to 35 although not the struggle to find 30 as was the case in 2012. So just missing out are CLIENT, KLEERUP and TODD TERJE featuring BRYAN FERRY, although not by much.

As usual, they are listed in alphabetical order and all have been released either in physical formats, or digitally as purchasable or free downloads during the calendar year. Thus although the excellent video for LIEBE’s ‘I Believe In You’ gained traction on MTV Europe in 2014 as well as being a favourite at TEC HQ, the song was actually released in 2013.

Tracks which are exclusive to streams, videos or DJ only promos are also not included; so QUIETER THAN SPIDERS ‘The Land Of Lost Content’ is not eligible. Limited to one song per artist moniker, here are TEC’s 30 Songs of 2014…


ANALOG ANGEL The Last Time

Analog Angel trinityThe transformation of Glaswegians ANALOG ANGEL in the last 18 months has been startling. From their third album ‘Trinity’, its closer ‘The Last Time’ was a big surprise, featuring a cinematic arrangement involving an orchestra cascading into an epic Pan-European journey heading eastwards. Recalling THE SISTERS OF MERCY’s ‘This Corrosion’, the virtual symphonic strings and gothic choirs gave an indication as to what OMD might have sounded like if Jim Steinman had been producing!

Available on the download album ‘Trinity’ via http://analog-angel.bandcamp.com/

http://www.analog-angel.com/


MARGARET BERGER Scream

Margaret-Berget-Scream‘Scream’ launched MARGARET BERGER’s first album ‘New Religion’ since 2006’s ‘Pretty Scary Silver Fairy’ although as yet, the new opus has yet to emerge. The Norwegian Idol finalist effectively revived her career with ‘I Feed You My Love’ which came fourth in Eurovision 2013. ‘Scream’ saw her continuing the ROBYN meets DEPECHE MODE template of her Eurovision smash and possessed an inherent industrialised darkness in an approach to quality pop that set itself apart.

Available as a download single via iTunes Norway through Macho Records

http://www.margaretberger.com/


CLAUDIA BRÜCKEN Nevermind

CLAUDIA BRUCKEN-NevermindThe original first lady of cinematic electronic pop surprised everyone when she appeared on the cover of her third album ‘Where Else…’ with a guitar strapped to her back. But while the record had a folk and blues influence, the synthesized textures that Ms Brücken has been best known for were still very much part of the package. The launch single ‘Nevermind’ could be seen as a musical reply to OMD’s ‘Stay With Me’. A lovely mix of electronics and acoustic, she appears to be driven by a new artistic zest.

Available on the album ‘Where Else…’ via Cherry Red Records

http://www.claudiabrucken.co.uk


DAVIDGE featuring EMI GREEN Sleepwalking

DAVIDGE SleepwalkingDAVIDGE is best known for his work with MASSIVE ATTACK and has been involved in game and film soundtracks for many years. His first solo album ‘Slo Light’ was an impressive debut, containing many of the elements that marked his work with the Bristolian triphoppers. ‘Sleepwalking’ was a haunting number beautifully voiced by EMI GREEN which recalled the ethereal quality of COCTEAU TWINS’ Elizabeth Fraser and the electronically assisted Weimer Cabaret of ‘Felt Mountain’ era GOLDFRAPP.

Available on the album ‘Slo Light’ via 7Hz Recordings

http://www.neildavidge.com/


ERASURE Be The One (Paul Humphreys Remix)

ERASURE VioletFlameFollowing the disappointment of 2011’s FRANKMUSIK driven ‘Tomorrow’s World’, ‘The Violet Flame’ produced by Richard X saw ERASURE express an infectious zest for the future. The songs began with pre-recorded dance grooves from Vince Clarke as represented by the euphoric opening track ‘Dead Of Night’. The best number from the package turned out to be a ballad remixed by Paul Humphreys who added some of the beautiful Synth-Werk magic that characterised OMD’s ‘English Electric’ to ‘Be The One’.

Available on the boxed set edition of ‘The Violet Flame’ via Mute Artists / Pledge Music

http://www.erasureinfo.com


FEATHERS Wild Love

FEATHERS Only OneReleased in time for their DEPECHE MODE support tour in Europe, ‘Wild Love’ was far more dance-oriented than anything FEATHERS attempted on their debut album ‘If All Now Here’. While a heavy beat dominated, the essential component of a song remained, building to a suitably epic chorus providing that euphoric lift. The gated trance elements in the second chorus were a particular highlight, especially when backed by a screeching falsetto counterpoint. But just as it got going, it faded out!

Available on the download EP ‘Only One’ via http://feathers.bandcamp.com/album/only-one

http://www.feathers.fm/


GAZELLE TWIN Exorcise

GAZELLE TWIN Unflesh artThe moniker of Elizabeth Bernholz, GAZELLE TWIN has acquired an impressive host of admirers including JOHN FOXX, GARY NUMAN and CLINT MANSELL. Her second album ‘Unflesh’ has allowed the Brighton based songstress to extract her demons with some artistic violence. One of the highlights ‘Exorcise’ was an impressively aggressive cross between PINK FLOYD’s ‘One The Run’ and KRAFTWERK’s ‘Home Computer’. Its uneasy resonance was aided by Bernholz’s harsh, deadpan commentary.

Available on the album ‘Unflesh’ via Anti-Ghost Moon Ray

http://www.gazelletwin.com/


GIRL ONE & THE GREASE GUNS No Longer Spellbound

GIRLONE-no-longer-spellboundThis mysterious combo with their lo-fi noise and motorik beats have revealed a series of energetic singles over the past two years including ‘Jessica 6’, a frantic salvo sounding like THE PIPETTES fronting an OMD assisted JOY DIVISION. But GIRL ONE & THE GREASE GUNS revealed a much softer side with ‘No Longer Spellbound’. With its beautiful atmospheric quality smothered in icy synth strings and grainy vox samples, if ‘Twins Peaks’ had been set in The Lake District, then the theme tune might sound a like this.

Available on the download EP ‘No Longer Spellbound’ via Squirrel Records

http://www.squirrelrecords.co.uk/girl-one-and-the-grease-guns/


HERCULES & LOVE AFFAIR feat JOHN GRANT I Try To Talk To You

HERCULES & LOVE AFFAIR I Try To Talk To YouImagine Jim Morrison getting it on down at The Danceteria circa 1982! ‘I Try To Talk To You’ featuring the expansive baritone vocals of JOHN GRANT combined the best of classic New York electro disco and grand piano theatrics with an emotively soulful vocal. The courageous lyrics found Grant recalling when he discovered he was HIV positive. “I asked John to dig deep with his lyrical contribution” recalls HERCULES & LOVE AFFAIR mainman Andy Butler, “I had no idea he would dig so deep”.

Available on the album ‘The Feast Of The Broken Heart’ via Moshi Moshi

http://herculesandloveaffair.net/

http://johngrantmusic.com/


HUGH I Can’t Figure You Out

HUGH_ART_APPROVED‘I Can’t Figure You Out’ sounds like another product of Scandinavia but in fact, HUGH hail from South London. The captivating, naive lead vocal from Izzy Brooks states “you know just how I feel” as she makes handle with care pleas like “don’t toy with me” and “careful with my heart” while the intensity builds like a pressure cooker. And this is all before a time signature change and some frustrating despair is released with her spirited jazzy refrain of “No, I can’t figure you out!” Now, who hasn’t been here before?

Available on the download EP ‘I Can’t Figure You Out’ via Hughlovehugh

http://hughmusic.co.uk/


IAMAMIWHOAMI Hunting For Pearls

iamamiwhoami-Hunting-for-Pearls-2014-300x300IAMAMIWHOAMI, the electronic multimedia project fronted by Jonna Lee and produced by Claes Björklund returned with their second opus ‘Blue’. ‘Hunting For Pearls’ featured wonderfully pulsing sequences and trancey atmospheres, coupled with a beautifully rich vocal from Lee. With a mysterious falsetto reach, the air may be cold outside but inside, things are warm. If KATE BUSH made a modern electronic dance record at ABBA’s Polar Studios, it would probably sound like this.

Available on the album ‘Blue’ via towhomitmayconcern

http://www.towhomitmayconcern.cc/


I AM SNOW ANGEL Let Me Go

iamsnowngel_360Deep from within the Adirondack Mountains comes the beautifully gentle electronica of I AM SNOW ANGEL. The self-produced vehicle of singer / songwriter Julie Kathryn, the music evokes images of icy landscapes and crystalline hydro basins. The best track from her debut EP, ‘Let Me Go’ is rich in understatement and a Nordic styled tour de force swathed in melancholy, full of dreamy escapism. The full length album ‘Crocodile’ released in the Autumn did not disappoint either with its quietly subversive nature.

Available on the download EP ‘I Am Snow Angel’ via Amazon

http://iamsnowangel.com/


KID MOXIE Lacuna

Kid-Moxie-1888With a breathier, more continental direction towards cinematic pop, The Kid effectively grew up with her second album ‘1888’. KID MOXIE’s widescreen soundscapes and dreamy demeanour saw a much more focussed work. ‘Lacuna’ means “an empty space” yet this song is filled with an enigmatic mystery as Elena Charbila applied some of the je nais se quoi first piloted on 2008’s ‘La Romance D’Hiver’ to the drifting, almost abstract electronic soundscape… and then there’s the pretty isolated piano ending!

Available on the download album ‘1888’ via Undo Records

http://www.facebook.com/kidmoxie


KLEERUP featuring SUSANNE SUNDFØR Let Me In

Having delivered one of the best synth based debut albums in recent years, any new KLEERUP recording now lives with a high degree of expectation. ‘Let Me In’ featuring SUSANNE SUNDFØR, who voiced several tracks on RÖYKSOPP’s ‘The Inevitable End’ album, came over like KARIN PARK if she had joined latter day ROXY MUSIC. Retaining the original appeal of KLEERUP’s debut, ‘Let Me In’ was brilliantly classic and yet modern with its more organic template and even funky template.

Available on the download EP ‘As If We Never Won’ via Warner Music

http://kleerup.net/


MACHINISTA Pushing The Angels Astray

Xenoglossy_coverMACHINISTA’s pairing of John Lindqwister and Richard Flow specialise in synthpop with a rock’n’roll edge. Their best offering from their debut album ‘Xenoglossy’ was the schaffel propelled ‘Pushing The Angels Astray’. Despite discussing the spectre of immortality, the sombre aura was balanced with a marvellous melodic line and fabulous chorus like ALPHAVILLE in their prime. The Nordic region continually shows how electronic music is done and many could do a lot worse than to observe how MACHINISTA go about their craft.

Available on the download album ‘Xenoglossy’ via Juggernaut Music Group

http://www.machinistamusic.com/


MARNIE Wolves

marnie_wolves_rsReleased in the week of the Scottish Independence Referendum, MARNIE’s ‘Wolves’ was an appropriately soaring anthem “for anyone that doesn’t believe in sticking with the status quo, for anyone who has the heart to try and make a difference”. Certainly, the positive response she received for her debut long player ‘Crystal World’ and a return to her homeland has no doubt inspired her own independence. But with MARNIE due to release a second solo album in 2015, what does this all mean for LADYTRON?

Available as a download single via Les Disques du Crépuscule

http://www.helenmarnie.com


METROLAND Thalys

thalys‘Trans Europe Express’ 21st Century style as Belgium’s favourite passengers METROLAND embarked on a maroon coloured rail journey through France and Germany via the Benelux basin on ‘Thalys’. The full length 11 minute version rhythmitised metal on metal while there were also London, Paris and Düsseldorf edits in this musical tie-in with the Thalys high speed train operator.

Available on the download EP ‘Thalys (London)’ via Alfa Matrix

http://www.metrolandmusic.com/


NIGHT CLUB She Wants To Play With Fire

NIGHT CLUB Black Leather Heart_Cover_finalFrisky vocalist Emily Kavanaugh and moody producer Mark Brooks began writing songs as NIGHT CLUB with the goal of creating dark – yet commercially accessible – synthpop. Developing on the Britney gone electro goth sound of their glorious 2013 single ‘Poisonous’, ‘She Wants To Play With Fire’ treaded on the darker, sleazy side of life and dysfunctional relationships with Kavanaugh out to take on her demented love rival.

Available on the download EP ‘Black Leather Heart’ via Gato Blanco

http://www.nightclubband.com


KARIN PARK Look What You’ve Done

KARIN PARK Look What You've DoneIssued as a trailer for her new album ‘Apocalypse Pop’, ‘Look What You’ve Done’ is a feisty development of ‘Restless’ from KARIN PARK’s previous album ‘Highwire Poetry’. Wrestling within a fiery glam schaffel and a catchy chorus like an angry GOLDFRAPP, with THE KNIFE venturing into more uncompromising climes, the ‘other’ Karin ably fills the void now left vacant by the Drejers in avant pop. ‘Look What You’ve Done’ is a fine example of the Swede’s ambition to fit into both pop and experimental worlds.

Available as a download single via State Of The Eye Recordings

http://www.karinpark.com/


PAWWS Give You Love

pawws-sugarWith LITTLE BOOTS having gone dance and LA ROUX veering away from synthpop, there is now a vacancy for a new kooky homegrown female synth talent. One of the possible candidates is PAWWS, otherwise known on her passport as Lucy Taylor. She has labelled her music “upsetting disco” and ‘Give You Love’ lives up to that description. Certainly those who prefer their music with rough edges and are averse to female fronted synthpop will have their touch paper lit even further with this exquisite pop number.

Available on the download EP ‘Sugar’ via Best Fit Recordings

https://www.pawwsmusic.co.uk


HANNAH PEEL Fabricstate

HannahPeel-FabricstateSince playing with JOHN FOXX, HANNAH PEEL’s own music has used more electronics alongside her beloved violin, musicbox, piano and trombone. ‘Fabricstate’ starts as a beautiful understated number before being bolstered by an unexpected but amazing whirring synth solo around a series of percussive clusters. When the warmth of the synthesizer is exploited and coupled with a classically trained background, the hybrid can result in a quietly subversive organic and technological fusion.

Available on the download EP ‘Fabricstate’ via My Own Pleasure

http://www.hannahpeel.com


FIFI RONG Next Pursuit

FifiRong-nextpursuitOne musician taking electronic music into some intriguing fusions is Beijing born FIFI RONG. ‘Next Pursuit’ crosses the vocal mystery of KELLI ALI and the quirkiness of MOLOKO while throwing in a touch of LANA DEL REY and MAZZY STAR too. Crucially, the intriguingly soulful ‘Next Pursuit’ also adds in rhythmical variation as the rhythms click into action during the higher register vocal refrains while the verses are held together with a smokey allure.

Available on the download EP ‘Next Pursuit’ via Ditto Music

http://www.fifirong.com


ROBYN & RÖYKSOPP Monument (The Inevitable End Version)

ROYKSOPP ROBYNEdited and rethought for ‘The Inevitable End’ album, ‘Monument’ was originally a spacey 10 minute epic now tightened to a more bite size and dare one say it, more enjoyable format sans saxophone over a hypnotic two chord structure. As usual, ROBYN’s vocals are edgy and nonchalant while RÖYKSOPP’s electronic soundtrack ably hit the spot with its energized octave-jumping bassline.

Available on the album ‘The Inevitable End’ via Dog Triumph / Cooking Vinyl

http://royksopp.com/

http://robyn.com/


SIN COS TAN Love Sees No Colour

SIN COS TAN Love SeeWith their third album in as many years, Finnish duo SIN COS TAN went the concept album route for ‘Blown Away’, a midlife crisis story of a man who becomes a drug courier and goes on a journey of excess, fast money and hedonism. First single ‘Love Sees No Colour’ dressed NEW ORDER’s love technique in an OMD stylee with the result being a kaleidoscopic tune that managed to mix sunshine with melancholy.

Available on the album ‘Blown Away’ via Solina Records

http://sincostan.net/


SUSANNE SUNDFØR Fade Away

Susanne Sundfør - fade awayThe Nordic vocalist of the moment has to be SUSANNE SUNDFØR who has worked with M83 and KLEERUP. But she is probably best known for her work with fellow Norwegians RÖYKSOPP. Propelled by a pulsing electronic backbone, ‘Fade Away’ from Sundfør’s forthcoming album ‘Ten Love Songs’ sees her in rousing form with a tune that at times sounds almost like Scandinavian gospel. Meanwhile, a fabulous synth solo gets thrown into the bargain too.

Available as a download single via Sonnet Sound / Kobalt

http://susannesundfor.com/


TRUST Peer Pressure

Rescue, Mister TrustOne act establishing themselves in 2014 were TRUST from Toronto. Led by the polarising “Eeyore gone goth” moodiness of Robert Alfons, the ironically titled ‘Joyland’ was a excellent second album that captured the sleazy nature of a 21st Century SOFT CELL and attached it to the grumpiness of LEONARD COHEN. ‘Peer Pressure’ was a frantic but funky uptempo number featuring Alfon’s trademark vocal pitch shift technique that proved misery and dancing could actually go together.

Available on the album ‘Joyland’ via Arts & Crafts

http://ttrustt.com/


TWINS NATALIA Set Love Free

TWINS NATALIA The Destiny RoomTouchingly melancholic with classic Weimar Cabaret melodies and vibrant Kling Klang interplay, TWINS NATALIA conjured up memories of holiday romances with pretty German frauleins and flirty French mademoiselles. Debut long player ‘The Destiny Room’ was many years in the making and did not disappoint. With the PET SHOP BOYS styled neo-orchestrated statement of ‘Set Love Free’, the song theatrically climaxed like a pomped up ‘Rent’ as a wonderful slice of joie de vivre to finish the main act.

Available on the album ‘The Destiny Room’ via Anna Logue Records

http://twinsnatalia.blogspot.de/


MIDGE URE Dark, Dark Night

MIDGE URE fragileWhile the romantically uptempo ‘Become’ was inevitably the focal point of MIDGE URE’s ‘Fragile’ album, there were other songs that were easily its equal. The most notable of these was ‘Dark, Dark Night’, an online collaboration with MOBY. Though derived from ‘Rockets’ on MOBY’s ‘Destroyed’ opus, Ure exploited the original’s rich symphonic string sounds and chilled vibes. Building to an amazing climax with melodic screeches and a tremendous guitar solo from Ure, this was a partnership made in heaven.

Available on the album ‘Fragile’ via Hypertension Music

http://www.midgeure.co.uk/


VILE ELECTRODES Pandora’s Box

VILE ELECTRODES Pandoras BoxVILE ELECTRODES capitalised on their profile from supporting OMD’s German tour in 2013 by snaring prestigious Schallwelle Awards for Best International Act and Best International Album for their debut ‘The future through a lens’. ‘Pandora’s Box’ was an excellent previously unreleased song full of wobbling analogue vigour that initially came with the lavish ‘Pack Of Wolves’ three CD package and set the scene for a much anticipated follow-up long player.

Available on the download EP ‘Empire Of Wolves’ via http://vileelectrodes.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/vileelectrodes


WRANGLER Lava Land

WRANGLER-LaSparkWRANGLER’s manifesto is to harness “lost technology to make new themes for the modern world”. And their signature track is ‘Lava Land’, a superb cross between CABARET VOLTAIRE and prime ‘Metamatic’ era JOHN FOXX but with a modern twist. Stephen Mallinder’s voice manipulations range from demonic gargoyle to stern drowning robot. The frantic pace is strangely danceable, but the mood is distinctly unsettling and dystopian when the screeching steam powered Logan string machine kicks in.

Available on the album ‘LA Spark’ via MemeTune

https://www.facebook.com/mallinderbengewinter


Text by Chi Ming Lai
Wasp photo by Chi Ming Lai
15th December 2014

THE BEAUTY OF THE SYNTHESIZER

Following the publication of a ‘25 Frontwomen That Defined Britpop Beauty’ list by fashion blog Never Under Dressed, The Electricity Club pondered as to what a synthpop list would look like…

The Electricity Club readily admits it features a significant number of new female fronted synth acts. In TEC’s opinion, many of these artists are pushing the genre forward in directions that have not been pursued previously.

In the Synth Britannia heyday, other than Alison Moyet, Annie Lennox, Gillian Gilbert, Claudia Brücken and Terri Nunn, there were very few women involved in electronic pop music as equals.

Of course, today it is very different. Portable music technology accessible via laptops and compact keyboards such as the MicroKorg has opened up endless possibilities for the independent female musician. So when a classic styled synthpop track has feminine voices and talent driving it, there is a freshness to the approach that manages to avoid sounding completely retro. With so much being hung on a so-called synth revival, there are a number of male dominated acts that are quite clearly pastiches of key bands from back in the day.

So in alphabetical order and confined to women who front primarily electronic acts and / or play synths in the new millennium, here are The Electricity Club’s choices to represent The Beauty Of The Synthesizer…


MIRA AROYO

While LADYTRON are very much a quartet musically, imagewise it has been the band’s female pair who have been the focal point. When Mira Aroyo first appeared on the scene, her icy East European demeanour suited the band’s dark terrorist chic meets the catwalk. With a look akin to the notorious Baader-Meinhof gang, Mira was armed with a Korg MS20 as her weapon of choice. As well as DJing, other projects have included her stark deadpan presence on the appropriately dystopian ‘Watching A Building On Fire’ with JOHN FOXX & THE MATHS in 2011.

http://www.ladytron.com/


AU REVOIR SIMONE

AuRevoirSimone2014It’s triple keyboard action with Brooklyn’s studious librarians whose shows are a bit like musical slumber parties. No-one in the band is called Simone; there’s Erika Forster, Annie Hart and Heather D’Angelo who each have their own sweet sense of style while handling an assorted array of synths including the Nord Electro2, Roland Juno 60, Casiotone MT70 and ubiquitous MicroKorg. With four albums to their name, AU REVOIR SIMONE are still very much considered hipster faves although they are a symbol of how the synthesizer can be universally integrated.

http://aurevoirsimone.com/


SARAH BLACKWOOD

sarah-blackwood_2010The charming, down-to-earth lass from Halifax has been a stylish presence since first hitting the mainstream with DUBSTAR in 1995, who managed to combine synth melodies with the more guitar laden manifesto of Britpop. Sarah Blackwood’s girl-next-door charm has always been her appeal but when she formed CLIENT with Kate Holmes to adopt a harsher electronic sound complimented by the duo’s uniformed Cold War chic, Sarah’s position as a modern day synth icon was assured.

http://www.eblackwood.com/


FEATHERS

Feathers-AnastasiaDimouThe all female Texas based quartet feature a flexible line-up, but the one constant in FEATHERS is singer / songwriter / programmer Anastasia Dimou. As one can expect from a lady of Greek ancestry, Anastasia has an enigmatic Goddess-like quality about her that with her bandmates, results in a mysterious odyssey best exemplified by the video to debut single ‘Land Of The Innocent’. Musically, FEATHERS’ sound could be likened to THE BANGLES fronting DEPECHE MODE. They supported Basildon’s finest on the final European leg of the ‘Delta Machine’ tour.

http://www.feathers.fm/


ALISON GOLDFRAPP

goldfrappModern electropop’s most influential chameleon. From thigh booted dominatrix, to unicorn tailed X-rated Kylie and even sexy pink jump suited alien, costume has always been a way of overcoming Miss Goldfrapp’s awkwardness with being a pop star. Her presentation sensibilities have ensured that all the looks have been alluring; “She’s got great legs!” observed Sarah Blackwood. Meanwhile, her on-stage antics using a portable Theremin have been unforgettable; “Every girl should have one” she cackled when GOLDFRAPP supported DURAN DURAN in 2004.

http://goldfrapp.com/


GRIMES

GRIMES-2014Montreal’s GRIMES aka Claire Boucher and her faithful Roland Juno G have provided some interesting hybrid electro influenced by K-Pop, New Age and R ‘n’ B. Her kooky charm, leftfield aspirations and macabre artwork have impressed both hipsters and old fashioned synthheads alike. Her new song ‘Go’ features perhaps a more soulful, laid back groove whilst still playing around with technologically manipulated sound sources as she prepares to deliver even further after her acclaimed album ‘Visions’ in 2012.

http://www.grimesmusic.com


PATRICIA HALL

Soft-Metals-korgSOFT METALS lead vocalist Patricia Hall has that look which wouldn’t be out of place in the Shoreditch set, but her willingness to join in the synth battles with her partner Ian Hicks makes her all the more appealing. Although she has described her look as being influenced by the timeless style Françoise Hardy and Jane Birkin, she has admitted that most of the SOFT METALS kitty ends up buying equipment rather than clothes. Her favourite synth happens to be the Roland Juno60, thanks to its patch memory and user friendly layout.

https://www.facebook.com/softmetals


IMOGEN HEAP

Imogen-HeapWith her eccentric professor persona, Ms Heap could be considered to be the female Thomas Dolby. As well as being a crowdfunding trailblazer, she has also been involved in the development of new musical interfaces like the MIDI Glove, which she describes as an extension of her “no smoke no mirrors” approach with her audience. And she’s not to be messed with either; when an advance promo copy of her 2009 album ‘Ellipse’ appeared on eBay, she rallied her loyal followers to sabotage the sale with bids of £10,000 and complaints to the online auctioneer.

http://www.imogenheap.co.uk/


I AM SNOW ANGEL

The location of the 1980 Winter Olympics, it is the apt that this village in the Adirondack Mountains should be at the heart of the beautifully gentle electronica of I AM SNOW ANGEL. The self-produced vehicle of the now Brooklyn based singer/songwriter Julie Kathryn, as can be imagined from the artist moniker, the music evokes images of icy landscapes and crystalline hydro basins. Proficient as a singer, songwriter, musician and producer, she adds some traditional Americana twang to the electronica aesthetic which in itself, is quietly subversive.

http://www.iamsnowangel.com


KID MOXIE

kid moxieBWThe stunning multi-talented Elena Charbila is a proficient bassist and programmer. Her abilities also extend into acting where she has appeared alongside Al Pacino and Malcolm McDowell. While her music has moved towards a cinematic electronic direction on her most recent offering ‘The Bailor’ the Greek born beauty has a love of pop music in all its forms which feeds her artistic mindset. One of her favourite all-time records is ‘The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore’ by The Walker Brothers. Her second album ‘1888’ features contributions from Angelo Badalamenti.

https://www.facebook.com/kidmoxie


LITTLE BOOTS

Boots newWith her Korg Polysix, MicroKorg and Yamaha Tenorion, LITTLE BOOTS aka Victoria Hesketh perhaps represented what Joanne and Susanne from THE HUMAN LEAGUE would have done had they been teenagers in the 21st Century, ie get a laptop and take up the synthesizer themselves, rather than join a band of blokeys! She remains first and foremost, a musician / songwriter and whether she will ever recover from 679 / Atlantic Records attempt to turn her into the new Kylie Minogue remains to be seen.

http://www.littlebootsmusic.co.uk/


MARNIE

Marnie_pool

Photo by Lisa Devine Photography

If Mira Aroyo is the Anni-Frid Lyngstad of LADYTRON, then Helen Marnie is Agnetha Fältskog. The sweeter, more pop inclined of the pair, Helen certainly appeared at home with a more glamorous image when LADYTRON relaxed their uniformed stance after their third album ‘Witching Hour’. It was probably Helen who persuaded Mira Aroyo to sport swimwear on their 2003 DJ mix compilation ‘Softcore Jukebox’. She is obviously comfortable with that look as she has continued with the swimwear and gone for some glossy imagery in support of her pristine first solo album ‘Crystal World’.

https://www.facebook.com/helen.marnie.official


MARSHEAUX

MARSHEAUX-queensThe Athens based synth maidens borrowed their uniformed look from CLIENT, but have carved out their own wispy form of synthpop while performing in unison on a pair of MicroKorgs. Marianthi Melitsi is the Helen Marnie of the pair with her sweet vocals and porcelain looks. Meanwhile, Sophie Sarigiannidou is more akin to Mira Aroyo with a more smouldering demeanour which is deadpan in comparison. Their understated glamour has attained MARSHEAUX a cult following in Europe and gained admirers as diverse as OMD and 30 SECONDS TO MARS.

https://www.facebook.com/marsheaux


LAUREN MAYBERRY

Photo copyright of Vikki McCraw

Miss Mayberry looks like she would be ID-ed at every licensed venue she is due to be playing at. But behind the sweet Humanities undergraduate look is a strong minded writer and campaigner for women’s rights. Despite the serious misogynistic abuse she has had to confront since the success of CHVRCHES, she retains a terrific sense of humour while performing… well, she would have to every time Blokey steps up to the microphone and tries to upstage her! What must she be thinking from behind that Roland A800?!

http://chvrch.es/home/


ANAIS NEON

VileNeon2Anais Neon from VILE ELECTRODES is a synth nerd’s dream, she played the part of Gillian Gilbert in the NEW ORDER tribute band RE: ORDER. She was once mistaken for Hannah Peel… this was not an entirely ridiculous observation as both have long red hair, but this incident took place at a JOHN FOXX & THE MATHS concert while Hannah was on stage with the electro pioneer! When VILE ELECTRODES supported OMD in Cologne, Anais endearingly said the only phrase she knew in Deutsch was “Mein Kannichen ist töt”… now what’s the German word for “batteries” again?

http://www.facebook.com/vileelectrodes


SARAH NIXEY

sarah_nixey“I was brought up to the sound of the synthesizer, I learnt to dance to the beat of electronic drums” proclaimed Miss Nixey on the song ‘Andrew Ridgley’ in 2003. With BLACK BOX RECORDER, her sophisticated allure has probably been exasperated by her ice cold lack of availability. The sexy school headmistress fantasy was fully exploited on songs such as ‘The Facts of Life’and ‘The School Song’. “You lot need toughening up” she deadpanned on the latter as the order to dive into an outdoor swimming pool in the middle of February was given!

http://www.sarahnixey.com/


KARIN PARK

Karin-Park1The statuesque Swede has a towering, entrancing presence on stage with her animated stares and jerky movements. Between songs and offstage though, Karin Park is gregarious; quite the opposite of the other Karin (Dreijer-Andersson). An impressive multi-tasker who dabbles with a Korg MS20 and keytar as part of her act, she even succeeded in penning a credible Eurovision entry with the DM influenced ‘I Feed You My Love’ for Norwegian popstress Margaret Berger. Following the critical success of ‘Highwire Poetry’, her new album is eagerly awaited.

http://www.karinpark.com/


PAWWS

PAWWS_press_shot_credit-SIMON_WISBEYKnown to her parents as Lucy Taylor, the earthy flute playing North Londoner has done stints touring with MGMT, but having acquired a Roland JX8P and borrowed a Jupiter 8, her own sugary pop sound has been bolstered by a use of classic electronics. The Sunday Times described the title song from PAWWS‘ EP ‘Sugar’ as sounding “As if Kylie had worked with OMD” and as she finds her feet, she could fill the void left open by LITTLE BOOTS and LA ROUX for a UK synth songstress.

https://www.pawwsmusic.co.uk


HANNAH PEEL

Hannah Peel 2014If Berenice Scott is the sexy but strict school teacher of the list, then Hannah Peel is her sweet, smiling student counterpart. Known as part of JOHN FOXX & THE MATHS’ live presentation, the former Dennis Leigh described her look as being straight out the Andy Warhol ‘Exploding Plastic Inevitable’ scene. The multi-talented Hannah has the most captivating synth girl wiggle while playing along to tracks such as ‘Catwalk’. Her own burgeoning solo career has seen her experimenting more with synthesizers as heard on her ‘Fabricstate’ EP.

http://www.hannahpeel.com


QUEEN OF HEARTS

Queen-of-Hearts-1-431x655If Lauren Mayberry of CHVRCHES can sometimes sound like Taylor Swift gone electro, then our young royal looks like Taylor Swift gone electro via Queen Amidala. She once tweeted: “If it ain’t electro, I don’t wish to know x”. Her debut album ‘Cocoon’ has been a long time coming but she has been steadily carving out a elegant niche and even adding her own vocals to DAFT PUNK instrumentals from ‘Tron Legacy’. QUEEN OF HEARTS‘ cooing allure has won over many fans including Berlin based producer Mark Reeder, who has now worked with her on several occasions.

http://www.iamqueenofhearts.com/


FIFI RONG

FifiRong-01Beijing born Fifi Rong has taken music and fashion into some intriguing fusions. She first came to prominence as a member of THE TENORIONS, but has since embarked on a journey which has involved collaborations with TRICKY and releasing her first album ‘Wrong’ in 2013. With influences such as COCTEAU TWINS and MAZZY STAR, the development of her own traditionally inspired brand of crisp electronica has resulted in ‘Next Pursuit’, possibly her best work to date.

http://fifirong.com/


MARINA SCHIPTJENKO

Marina_pageThe ever smiling Maria Schiptjenko, along with Gillian Gilbert, was one of the first female synth players following the post-punk revolution as a member of Swedish duo PAGE, although their first album did not appear until 1991. Also a member of BWO, VACUUM and more recently JULIAN & MARINA, she has always possessed a European elegance that has served her well in all her projects, be they in music or art. Another exponent of the MicroKorg, Marina’s sophisticated poise has complimented the more intense, animated stance of PAGE partner Eddie Bengtsson on their recent live dates.

https://www.facebook.com/PageElektroniskPop


POLLY SCATTERGOOD

Polly-Scattergood-MuteWith key influences such as Bjork and Kate Bush, Polly Scattergood has combined jubilant experimental pop with her innocent, affected vocals. At times like GOLDFRAPP crossed with COCTEAU TWINS and rousing with an air of fragility, her kooky on-stage persona delightfully combines Sarah Brightman with Sally Thomsett. Meanwhile, her lyrical vulnerability, as best exemplified on her most recent album ‘Arrows,’ is perfect listening on those rainy winter nights. And she even has her own Polly Moog, a Little Phatty no less!

http://www.pollyscattergood.com/


BERENICE SCOTT

Photo by Richard Price

Berenice Scott is currently HEAVEN 17’s live keyboardist and a solo artist in her own right with a new album ‘Polarity’ having just been released. TEC once described Berenice as “possibly the sexiest lady ever to get behind a synthesizer”. With her synth of choice being the Roland Fantom G8, in her short skirt and high heels, her appeal is enhanced even further by the fact she reminds you of your favourite school teacher. This is especially evoked with her raised eyebrow and stern look of disapproval whenever Messrs Gregory and Ware are larking about in front of her ‘desk’! No, she doesn’t smile much on stage, but like any good teacher, she is fully focussed on her job.

https://berenicescott.com/


EMILIE SIMON

As referenced in the PET SHOP BOYS song ‘Opportunities’, Mademoiselle Simon studied electronic music at the Sorbonne and then later the IRCAM. There she found “Using the computer meant that I also felt very independent artistically”. With a Kate Bush influenced dynamic, she exudes Gallic beauty and charm in her one woman shows where the Yamaha Tenorion and Casio guitar synth feature in addition to her array of keyboards. She also has a device not unlike Imogen Heap’s MIDI Gloves, courtesy of a Steampunk styled arm controller developed by Cyrille Brissot.

http://www.emiliesimon.com/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
30th June 2014, updated 13th May 2017

Introducing PAWWS

PAWWS_press_shot_credit-SIMON_WISBEY

Photo by Simon Wisbey

With LITTLE BOOTS having gone dance and LA ROUX brandishing a guitar on her forthcoming second album, there is now a vacancy for a new kooky homegrown talent to take on the female electropop challenge laid down by Norway’s ANNIE back in 2007.

One of the possible candidates is PAWWS, otherwise known to her parents as Lucy Taylor.

PAWWS is what CHVRCHES would sound like if they were an all-female concern ie a blokey free zone. Throw in some Scandipop influences plus a dose of second hand Roland JX-8P and the end result is some sweet, sugary electronically driven pop.

Certainly those on a calorie controlled diet will need to be careful. Sparkling and sprightly, The Electricity Club was drawn to the coy, feline magnetism of ‘Slow Love’, a track that was the B-side of her 2013 debut single ‘Time To Say Goodbye’ while several of the team spotted her supporting HURTS.

Slightly moodier, ‘Time To Say Goodbye’ took on a more dramatic pace but was no less impactful, like LYKKE LI or IAMAMIWHOAMI on extra helium. Whether the classically trained North Londoner will last the course eventually to take on ROBYN and ANNIE or disappear into the wilderness like SUNDAY GIRL is not important right now. That her music exists and is good is all that really matters.

Her new EP ‘Sugar’ uses the short-chain, soluble carbohydrate as a metaphor for the pitfalls of love… after all, who hasn’t pursued something that may actually be harmful for you in the long term? The title track has been described “As if Kylie had worked with OMD” by The Sunday Times.

Meanwhile Lucy Taylor herself has labelled her music “upsetting disco” and ‘Give You Love’ from the EP lives up to that template. Certainly those who prefer their music with rough edges and have an aversion to female fronted synthpop will have their touch paper lit even further with the rich, smooth offerings that are ‘Sugar’ and ‘Give You Love’ 😉

‘Sugar’ is released on 16th June 2014 as a download EP by Best Fit Recordings but there will also be a limited edition 12” pink vinyl and most importantly, a CD… yes, at last, there is an artist and label who together are seeing sense and recognising there is still a demand for the silver digital discs!


The ‘Sugar’ EP is released by Best Fit Recordings

PAWWS plays The Lexington in London on Monday 12th May 2014

https://www.pawwsmusic.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/PawwsMusic

https://www.instagram.com/pawwslucy/

https://www.soundcloud.com/pawws


Text by Chi Ming Lai
9th May 2014, updated 7th July 2014