Tag: S.P.O.C.K. (Page 1 of 2)

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

S.P.O.C.K Live at Slimelight

Captain’s log, Stardate 020220…

STAR PILOT ON CHANNEL K, otherwise known as S.P.O.C.K beamed down to London to mark 25 years of Steve Weeks as a resident DJ at Slimelight, the world’s longest running alternative-dark scene nightclub. However, a transporter malfunction and a change in the law of physics meant that their Federation uniforms ended up in Copenhagen.

It had already been traumatic time for the Swedish landing party of Android, Val Solo and Yo-Hann, what with the UK leaving the EU and cavity checks by hand now in place at the border instead of swift tricorder readings. Heading straight to H&M, the trio opted to temporarily join NASA.

While there were no Orions inhabiting Electrowerkz, Slimelight’s homebase since 1987, the regular bevvy of goths, cyberpunks with lasers, Lara Croft cosplayers, Tank Girls and emos were joined by a few rogue S.P.O.C.K fans. Happily dancing away together to APOPTYGMA BERZERK and their apocalyptic gothic rave tune ‘Until The End Of The World’, they were all about to witness the first UK live performance of S.P.O.C.K in 17 years.

Novelty act or not, S.P.O.C.K are a party band if nothing else, albeit one that has been carefully conceived for Trekkie conventions.

Opening appropriately with ‘Borg’ and ‘Mr. Spock’s Brain’, Android’s overwrought deadpan vocals with tongue firmly in cheek and playful stage manner were signs that proceedings were not intended to be taken too seriously.

The space electro of ‘Astrogirl’ was weirdly NEW ORDER-like as Android camped it up, but S.P.O.C.K beamed back up to the USS Enterprise for some amusing renditions of ‘Doctor McCoy’ and ‘Trouble With Tribbles’.

‘ET Phone Home’ told of nice aliens but as the space tug Nostromo found out, ‘All ETs Aren’t Nice’ and ‘In Space No One Can Hear You Scream’! An ‘Alien Attack’ is never welcome but when it is full of catchy electronic melodies, it can be rather fun.

Ending the main set with the frantic optimism of ‘Out There’, Android joined the Slimelight regulars on the dancefloor and fronted the cheerleading for the fake encore.

For it came ‘Star Pilot On Channel K’ which took the crew back to their Space 1999 flirtation with EBM, the electronic body of “duff-duff” and shouting outlining a Stellar phenomenon known as S.P.O.C.K ‘N’ Roll!

Concluding their 14 song set with ‘Never Trust A Klingon’, an alternative club favourite in both Sweden and Germany from 1992, this genius combination of bubbling synthpop and detached warnings about “evil barbarians”, who “if you ever give them a helping hand… can be sure they’ll chop off the arm”, is still their crowning moment.

And as the crowd unified with a smiling Android to chant the message loud and clear, it was time for him, Val Solo and Yo-Hann to re-energise in their quarters with a game of Tri-Dimensional Chess and some Romulan ale for medicinal purposes.

S.P.O.C.K originally formed to perform some ‘Star Trek’ themed songs at a birthday party.

And with what was an enjoyably illogical and escapist 14 song set, that essence still runs true on what has now become their 32 year mission.

Live long and prosper 🖖


‘The Best Of The Subspace Years’ is available as a CD and download album via Artoffact Records ‎

https://www.facebook.com/StarPilotOnChannelK/

https://www.instagram.com/starpilotonchannelk/

https://subspacecommunications367416693.wordpress.com/s-p-o-c-k/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Simon Helm and Chi Ming Lai
6th February 2020

A Beginner’s Guide To EDDIE BENGTSSON

Eddie Bengtsson has been a trailblazing presence on the Swedish electronic music scene.

While best known for his involvement in PAGE and S.P.O.C.K, there have also been his solo adventures SISTA MANNEN PÅ JORDEN and THIS FISH NEEDS A BIKE as well as various productions, collaborations and remixes. Inspired by Synth Britannia, two of Bengtsson’s most notable influences have been Vince Clarke and Gary Numan, with ’Dreaming Of Me’ and ’Tracks’ among the cover versions he has recorded over the years. Meanwhile, THE HUMAN LEAGUE, OMD and ULTRAVOX also loom heavily within Bengtsson’s concepts and sound.

Indeed, the moniker SISTA MANNEN PÅ JORDEN, translated from Swedish as “last man on earth”, came from Phil Oakey’s spoken introduction on the latter’s original Fast Product version of  ‘Circus Of Death’.

Eddie Bengtsson had actually started out as a drummer but dumped his kit for synths after hearing the ‘Music For Parties’ by  SILICON TEENS, convinced they were a real band. As a indirect result, the music of Eddie Bengtsson has always been rhythmic and bursting with synth melodies, continuing to maintain a cult following both at home and in Europe.

Although having played their farewell concert in 2000, PAGE has become Bengtsson’s most comparatively prolific outlet since reuniting with Marina Schiptjenko in 2010 for the album ’Nu’.

With a independent zest and focus despite having made music for nearly four decades, 2013 and 2017 saw the respective releases of ’Hemma’ and ’Det Är Ingen Vacker Värld Men Det Råkar Vara Så Det Ser Ut’ by PAGE.

Meanwhile 2019 will see the release of a brand new PAGE long player; entitled ’Fakta För Alla’ (translated as ”Facts For All”), Bengtsson reckons ”It’s the best I have ever done and that says alot. Heavely influenced by my favourite albums, it’s the songs NumanVox never did”. From it, the first single will be ‘Kloner’.

So as a Beginner’s Guide to his vast catalogue of work under his many different guises, The Electricity Club presents eighteen songs which are decisively ‘Just Like Eddie’ with commentary from the man himself…


PAGE Dansande Man (1983)

Originally comprising of Eddie Bengtsson, Marina Schiptjenko and Anders Eliasson, PAGE brought the more purer form of poptronica to Sweden. Their debut single ‘Dansande Man’ was a frantically percussive excursion suitable for dancing to as the title suggested. Bengtsson recalled it as: “One of the only songs I have co-written with somebody else, maybe the only one in fact. I haven’t decided if the song is a blessing or a curse. If this is the only song you’ve heard by PAGE, then it’s sad”.

Originally released as a PAGE single via Eskimo Records, currently unavailable

https://www.facebook.com/PageElektroniskPop/


PAGE Som Skjuten Ur En Kanon (1986)

Eddie Bengtsson has often been referred to as the Swedish Vince Clarke, he confessed: “I had a YAZOO-period once…” when describing the second PAGE single ‘Som Skjuten Ur En Kanon’. Taking their time with releasing a debut album, ‘Hallå! (Var Tog Månbasen Vägen?)’ was recorded by Bengtsson and Schiptjenko as a duo and eventually emerged in 1994. Meanwhile 1992’s interim ‘Page’ collection gathered various tracks and remixes from 1984-1991 as a clearing of the vaults.

Originally released as a PAGE single via Accelerating Blue Fish, currently unavailable

https://www.discogs.com/artist/60354-Page


S.P.O.C.K Never Trust A Klingon (1992)

In parallel with PAGE, Bengtsson joined vocalist Alexander Hofman  to write and perform some ‘Star Trek’ themed songs for a friend’s Trekkie themed birthday party. ‘Never Trust A Klingon’ is still their crowning moment, a genius combination of deadpan vocals, bubbling electronics and samples from Captain James T Kirk himself. “I wanted to make something ‘hard’ and mechanical for S.P.O.C.K. Maybe this is their ‘Dansande Man’ in a way. A timeless song I think”.

Available on the S.P.O.C.K album ‘Five Year Mission’ via Energy Rekords

https://www.facebook.com/StarPilotOnChannelK


PAGE Electricity (1995)

‘Electricity’ was how many in the UK first heard of PAGE as the track was bootlegged for various OMD covers compilations. Bengtsson remembered: “We did this for an album featuring covers of classic electronic pop songs. Some songs you shouldn’t make covers of, because they are perfect as they are. Just as ‘Electricity’ is by OMD. Therefore I wanted it to sound as close to the original as I could”. Meanwhile, S.P.O.C.K contributed a detached reinterpretation of DURAN DURAN’s ‘Planet Earth’.

Available on the compilation album ‘‘To Cut A Long Story Short – A Tribute To The Pioneers Of Electronic Pop’ (V/A) via Energy Rekords ‎

http://www.energy-rekords.se/


S.P.O.C.K E.T. Phone Home (1997)

For their third album, the S.P.O.C.K acquired a new crew member in Johan Billing. Inspired by the Extra-Terrestrial’s growly catchphrase, despite once stating ‘All E.T:s Aren’t Nice’ Bengtsson was pumped and energised: “Maybe my favourite song of all the songs I wrote for S.P.O.C.K. And the only one I wrote the lyrics for to”. But despite this artistic high, he departed the Federation Starship via its transporter room at the end of his five year mission following ‘Assignment: Earth’.

Available on the S.P.O.C.K ‎ album ‘Assignment: Earth’ via SubSpace Communications AB

http://www.subspace.se/spock/


SISTA MANNEN PÅ JORDEN En Blå Planet (1998)

Although initially a collaboration with Matts Wiberg, SISTA MANNEN PÅ JORDEN was effectively Bengtsson’s solo vehicle. A glorious love song to Mother Earth, ‘En Blå Planet’ was a delightful drumbox waltz with haunting echoes of OMD’s ‘International’ that even had him soaring to falsetto. With grainy synthetic strings and becoming more percussively militaristic as it progressed, this was according to Bengtsson: “The first SMPJ song with lyrics. Still as beautiful as it was ‘then’”.

Available on the SISTA MANNEN PÅ JORDEN EP via ‘Först I Rymden’ via SubSpace Communications AB

http://www.moonbasealpha.space/


PAGE Som Det Var (1999)

“PAGE had a ‘gitarr-pop’ period” lamented Bengtsson, “Marina wasn’t in the band anymore and I made the mistake of continuing with the name. Shouldn’t have done that. The interesting thing is I made a whole PAGE album where the synths sounded so very much like guitars, the listeners really thought they were. ‘Too much guitars some said’ and the ordinary pop people said ‘too much synths’. Those two albums were really good, but didn’t really reach anyone, which is sad!”

Available on the PAGE single ‘Som Det Var’ via SubSpace Communications AB

https://subspacecommunications367416693.wordpress.com/page/


SISTA MANNEN PÅ JORDEN Leonov (2001)

‘Leonov’ was a fine tribute to Alexey Leonov, the legendary Voskhod 2 cosmonaut who became the first man to walk in space in 1965 and also took part in the 1975’s joint US / Soviet Apollo Soyuz Test Project. With its spacey floating vibe, it more than fitted in with regular space travel and Sci-Fi themes of SISTA MANNEN PÅ JORDEN. “I wanted to get the feeling of a big spaceship, down in the machine room, a bit Russian and all. An SMPJ favourite” said Bengtsson, “The video made for this, was totaly weird!”

Available on the SISTA MANNEN PÅ JORDEN ‎album ‘Ok, Ok, Ok’ via SubSpace Communications AB

https://subspacecommunications367416693.wordpress.com/sista-mannen-pa-jorden/


THIS FISH NEEDS A BIKE Do It (2004)

Having sung in Swedish for most of his career, Bengtsson looked to the language of the electronic pop that had emerged from British post-punk. While ‘Putting My Suit On’ could have been PAGE or SISTA MANNEN PÅ JORDEN, ‘Do It’ had a deeper aggressiveness to its texture: “From another CD that kinda just passed by. THIS FISH NEEDS A BIKE is / was my English project. I wanted to do some kind of Punktronica. The whole album is very good!”

Available on the THIS FISH NEEDS A BIKE album ‘Between A & B’ via Energy Rekords

https://www.discogs.com/label/3287-Energy-Rekords


SISTA MANNEN PÅ JORDEN Allt Är Klart (2007)

‘Allt Är Klart’ was an ULTRAVOX tribute and effectively a Swedish vocal version of the instrumental B-side ‘Alles Klar’. The hard staccato bassline was borrowed from the original, but the track was bolstered by some superb whirring synths in the tradition of Billy Currie’. “I told Christer Hermodsson (the other part of SMPJ and stage keyboardist) to make this ULTRAVOX sounding song even more ULTRAVOX sounding.” Bengtsson recalled, “ Christer is a big ULTRAVOX fan, and he made this so very cool”.

Available on the SISTA MANNEN PÅ JORDEN album ‘Tredje Våningen’ via Energy Rekords

https://www.discogs.com/artist/119968-Sista-Mannen-På-Jorden


PAGE Ett S.O.S (2010)

Having departed in 1996 and found European success in BWO, Marina Schiptjenko returned to PAGE in 2010; Bengtsson was very pleased to see her back: “From the album ‘Nu’ and that was PAGE’s ‘Marina is back again in the band’ album. New sound but still very PAGE”. With its electro Schaffel stomp, ‘Ett S.O.S’ allowed Bengtsson to freely exploit his Glamtronica instincts, something very much in evidence on PAGE’s 2012 cover of SLADE’s ‘Coz I Luv U’ for ‘The Seventies Revisited’ tribute compilation.

Available on the PAGE album ‘Nu’ via BAM

https://www.discogs.com/artist/760463-Eddie-Bengtsson


ROBERT MARLOW The Future – Glamtronica Redux By Eddie B (2013)

For ‘The Future’, Eddie Bengtsson took his Glamtronica ethos to Basildon for his treatment of the Essex new town’s often forgotten trailblazer, best known for being a former bandmate of Alison Moyet and the best friend of Vince Clarke who produced his best known tune ‘The Face Of Dorian Gray’: “Well, that song really got so much cooler after my Glamtronica treatment. But still, Marlow is Marlow and what he does, it’s what he should sound like, and that cool enough”. 🙂

Available on the ROBERT MARLOW ‎album ‘The Future Remixes’ via Electro Shock Records

https://www.facebook.com/MarlowandStarky/


PAGE Lyssnade På Min Radio (2013)

The warm reception for ‘Nu’ and the remergence of electronic pop led to PAGE following up with ‘Hemma’. Beginning with a sampled burst of THE SEX PISTOLS ‘Holidays In The Sun’ before revealing a distinctly Clarkean spirit deep inside the song’s genetic make-up, ’Lyssnade På Min Radio’ was something of an angry musical rant with Bengtsson’s observations on the awfulness of modern radio shows: “A classic pop song, about all the crap music that gets played on radio. This song never did”.

Available on the PAGE album ‘Hemma’ via Wonderland Records

https://www.instagram.com/page_svensk_pop/


MY GOD DAMN TERRITORY Beyond TQ (2014)

Stockholm duo Kajsa Olofsson and Mark Pettersson were already veterans of five more conventionally minded albums and initially influenced by Grunge. But for their sixth long playing offering ‘Kajser Und Marit’, they wanted  a fresh electronic touch. Enter label mate Eddie Bengtsson as collaborator and producer: “MY GOD DAMN TERRITORY, probably Sweden’s coolest most fresh indietronica band. A bit sad they opted for making a vinyl instead of a CD. Should have been huge, this band”.

Available on the MY GOD DAMN TERRITORY album ‘Kajser Und Marit’ via Energy Rekords

http://www.mygoddamnterritory.com/


SISTA MANNEN PÅ JORDEN Stadens Alla Ljus (2014)

“The newest song from SMPJ. I really love it. Gives me goose bumps when I hear it” says Bengtsson. Originally released as a single domestically in Swedish, the sparkly atmospheric pop of ‘Stadens Alla Ljus’ was given an English language treatment by Simon Helm of Cold War Night Life as the lyrically darker ‘All The City Lights’ for a special ‘Translate’ EP made available exclusively to attendees of SISTA MANNEN PÅ JORDEN’s debut London performance at The Lexington in 2015.

Available on the SISTA MANNEN PÅ JORDEN single ‘Stadens Alla Ljus’ via Club Electro Sound Sweden Records

http://hotstuff.se/sista-mannen-på-jorden/x-9189


THE VOLT Thirteen Men (2016)

“THE VOLT, with me and Ulrika Mild from COMPUTE did this one single…” said Bengtsson, “there was plans for more, maybe still are. Played a lot of ‘Fallout 3’ when I made this and of course it is a cover”. Written by jazz guitarist Dickie Thompson as ‘Thirteen Women & One Man’ and made famous by Elvis Presley’s unrequited crush Ann Margret, Mild gave her own seductive Bassey-like vocal treatment over the drum machine laden backing in this saucy ode to post-apocalypse permissiveness.

Available on THE VOLT single ‘Thirteen Men’ via Energy Rekords

https://www.facebook.com/computopia/


PAGE Start (2018)

After ‘Lyssnade På Min Radio’, Bengtsson found solace in ‘The Pleasure Principle’ and ‘Vienna’: “I have really found how I want PAGE to sound like, this is it. I built some ‘walls’ to shut out all the music that don’t interest me. Inside the walls I have my favourite albums. I listen to them alot, and almost only them. I get a kick from that and lots of inspiration. It’s a model I recommend to anyone. We can call it the Eddie-modell and I can explain it better some other time”.

Available on the PAGE EP ‘Start’ via Energy Rekords

https://hotstuff.se/cdm-page-start-ep-digipack-limited-edition-300-copies/68573


ANYMACHINE featuring JEDDY 3 To See A Man Like Me Go Down (2018)

A sombre number laced with the darker side of early OMD in its gothic overdrones for a collection of modern electronic pop inspired by John Hughes and The Brat Pack, ‘To See A Man Like Me Go Down’ saw Bengtsson dust off his JEDDY 3 moniker used in 2006 for the one-off ‘Another Day’: “ANYMACHINE is the very talented Ulf Persson from ARACHNOPHOBIA, it’s just that he doesn’t know how talented he is. This is his song that I wrote the lyrics and the song melody for. A nice collaboration”.

Available on the compilation album ‘Romo Night Records Vol 1’ (V/A) via Romo Night Records

http://www.romonightrecords.com


Text by Chi Ming Lai with thanks to Eddie Bengtsson
Additional thanks to Simon Helm
23rd March 2019

VAL SOLO Songs From Another Time… And Space

If you describe your influences as the “softer” side of synthpop and cite NIK KERSHAW, HOWARD JONES, YAZOO, HEAVEN 17, together with ABBA and ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA as your inspirations and have been making popular synth music since 1983, the good chance is that your name is VAL SOLO.

Valdi Solemo started up in Sweden in a Malmö band POP-OUT, before deciding to relocate to Bulgaria to work with some of the cream of local musicians, producing and writing there.

The music hungry sound shifter produced DR. FONKENSTEIN, before coming back home after ten years to join S.P.O.C.K. Now, VAL SOLO presents his “alone” project, with the exception of remixes from such recognised figures as Johan Baeckström of DAILY PLANET and NASA’s Patrik Henzel in charge of mastering.

‘Songs from Another Time… And Space’ can be best described as a younger brother to the UK’s own KID KASIO, where the prevailing love affair with the synth during its most prolific era is the theme.

The album cover features the music magician surrounded by good old vintage cars depicted in black and white, where Val looks into the future, preserving the feel of the times when life was simpler.

If you’re after a sophisticated, masterfully poignant electronica, you won’t find it here. If however, you’re looking for a cheery, uncomplicated and easy listening pieces to take you back in time, ‘Songs From Another Time… And Space’ are for you.

Is it the super vintage ‘Why Would You Tell Me’, the era love affair of ‘Dream Girl (Purple Eyes)’, or the ‘Star Wars’ inspired ‘Party Like A Stormtrooper’ with its synths a la AND ONE, there’s something for everyone here. The latter even bears the musical blueprint of Essex boys MODOVAR.

‘I’m In Space (Cabdriver Dreams)’ is a perfect disco track with its mantric refrain and fun execution in such a way, there’s nothing left to do but let your hair down and party.

The opening ‘Why Don’t You Talk To Me’ with its additional three remixes, notably one by Johan Baeckström, is the most accomplished number on the opus, reminiscent of YAZOO and early DEPECHE MODE.

Who says synthpop has to be serious… VAL SOLO proves that having fun isn’t a bad thing, especially in the world of today, where we are all bombarded with negativity, politics and dystopian ideas.

Solo’s “solo” is unostentatious, modest and not at all fussy. It’s music for those willing to be transported to much simpler times, with much purer ideas and uncomplicated rhythms.

‘I Believe’ it’s vital to shed the shackles of the ordinary existence and let yourselves go… “let it happen, life is just what you want it to be”.


‘Songs from Another Time… And Space’ is released by Zoolemo Music and available as a download or CD from https://valsolo.bandcamp.com

https://www.facebook.com/ValSoloPop/


Text by Monika Izabela Trigwell
6th January 2018

Lost Albums: S.P.O.C.K Five Year Mission

During their ‘Star Trek’ careers, both William Shatner and the late Leonard Nimoy made various excursions into the musical world with mixed responses. Nimoy gave the world ‘The Ballad Of Bilbo Baggins’, while Shatner’s melodramatic cover of Elton John’s ‘Rocket Man’ had to be heard to be truly believed.

But one noted musical offshoot inspired by the long running franchise were a bunch of Swedes who traded under the moniker of S.P.O.C.K – alongside bands such as PAGE, ELEGANT MACHINERY and SISTA MANNEN Å JORDEN, they were to become key players in the Swedish electronic pop scene.

The project started in 1988 when Eddie Bengtsson of Svenske synth trailblazers PAGE put together some ‘Star Trek’ themed songs for his friend Finn Albertsson to perform at his birthday party; another friend Alexander Hofman provided the vocal accompaniment.

Calling themselves MR SPOCK, the performance was well-received and unexpectedly led to further local live bookings with Bengtsson now also incorporated into the line-up. Formal approaches were made to Paramount Pictures to use the name of the Vulcan Science Officer, but unable to reach agreement with the studio giant, the trio opted to call themselves STAR PILOTS ON CHANNEL K, otherwise abbreviated to S.P.O.C.K.

Releasing their debut single ‘Silicon Dream’ in 1990, the S.P.O.C.K crew adopted character personas with Hofman, Bengtsson and Albertsson calling themselves Android, Captain Eddie B Kirk and Cybernoid respectively to fully immerse themselves into their conceptual vision.

1992 saw the release of their signature song ‘Never Trust A Klingon’ on Energy Rekords. A frantic robotic synthpop number with a hypnotic dance feel, Hofman’s detached but theatrical vocal style told the message loud and clear. A magnificent blip splurge in the middle eight was further enhanced with samples of Captain James Tiberius Kirk from ‘Star Trek III: The Search for Spock’.

‘Never Trust A Klingon’ bordered on nerdiness, but presented with a straight face and accompanied by a brilliant synthetic backing track, it strangely came over as a work of genius even with lines about “evil barbarians” who “if you ever give them a helping hand… can be sure they’ll chop off the arm”. Klingons on the starboard bow? THE FIRM’s 1987 novelty hit ‘Star Trekkin’ this most certainly wasn’t and ‘Never Trust A Klingon’ became an alternative club favourite in both Sweden and Germany.

The parent long player ‘Five Year Mission’ appeared in 1994. Predominantly based around the cult of ‘Star Trek’, it began by exploring the ‘Neutral Zone’ in a steadfast ERASURE-ish recollection of a mission where the USS Enterprise responded to a distress call sent from the no-man’s land dividing The Federation from The Klingon Empire.

Continuing the Trekkie theme, ‘Mr Spock’s Brain’ utilised Android’s processed Numan-esque drone with some enjoyably daft lyrics, while the bleeps and chattering drum machines on ‘Charlie X’ accompanied the story of a disturbed teenager who appeared in a first season episode causing mayhem aboard the Enterprise while stalking one of the female crew members. But it was a story that could be related to any aspect of society, not just in outer space.

The deadpan drama of ‘Black Hole’ saw the USS Enterprise trying to get more warp speed to prevent being sucked into oblivion, while ‘Edge Of Forever’ with its distinctive tones of mechanical vocal expression was great spacey Eurocentric synthpop.

Despite the concept of ‘Five Year Mission’, not all the tracks were based around ‘Star Trek’ but most were still Science Fiction based.

‘Space Race’ borrowed from Vince Clarke-era DEPECHE MODE and S.P.O.C.K were later to pay tribute to Basildon’s most famous sons when they recorded ‘Ice Machine’ for the Svenske DM tribute ‘Sometimes I Wish I Was Famous’.

Meanwhile ‘E-Lectric’ celebrated future technologies in a typically Kling Klang fashion and the HG Wells inspired ‘Time Machine’ told of a trapped time traveller whose survival supplies were running on empty.

‘Five Year Mission’ ended appropriately enough with ‘Last Man On Earth’, a dystopian doomscape about machines taking over the earth. “The robots are now out of control” muttered Android dispassionately in a tone that could have easily come from TUBEWAY ARMY’s ‘Replicas’.

S.P.O.C.K’s music could on first impression be seen as bordering on parody. But expanding on the sly deadpan humour of KRAFTWERK and combining it with Bengtsson’s melodic synth laden compositions, S.P.O.C.K’s music possessed enough authentic weight to complement Hofman’s amusing wordplay.

In a period when the UK had more or less given up on synthpop and Britpop was rearing its ugly head, Sweden and Germany were still keeping the genre alive on ‘Planet Earth’. Rather fittingly, the inter-galactic adventures of S.P.O.C.K would later lead them to reinterpret that same titled DURAN DURAN track for the ‘To Cut A Long Story Short’ synthpop covers collection in 1995 alongside ELEGANT MACHINERY and PAGE.

In the end, everyone comes back down to earth…


‘Five Year Mission’ was released as a CD by Energy Rekords

http://www.subspace.se/spock/

https://www.facebook.com/StarPilotOnChannelK


Text by Chi Ming Lai
9th August 2017

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