Tag: Sacred Bones Records (Page 1 of 3)

HILARY WOODS Birthmarks

Sacred Bones artist Hilary Woods has documented the intensity of giving life and the labour of childbirth in her latest album ‘Birthmarks’ as a metaphor for the human condition.

Recorded during the winter of 2019 in Galway and Oslo in collaboration with experimental Norwegian producer Lasse Marhaug while heavily pregnant, it is the former JJ72 bassist’s second long player.

Written over the course of two years, as the title suggests, ‘Birthmarks’ deals with revisiting and caressing wounds left by the memory of their scars. If its predecessor ‘Colt’ was mysterious, then ‘Birthmarks’ is something much stranger, a cryptic alchemy with Woods pushing boundaries, using her voice beyond the song format with stark minimalist electronic sounds and dark atmospheres creeping in from time to time.

Comparatively conventional songs begin the process with the heavily volatile tension of ‘Tongues of Wild Boar’ sounding almost ritualistic compared to the downbeat folkisms of ‘Orange Tree’ with its air of MAZZY STAR landing in Twin Peaks. Despite the sense of solemn foreboding, there is beauty in their soundscapes.

With a haunting cello-enhanced gothique, Hilary Woods herself said “For me, ‘Tongues of Wild Boar’ is fierce, pliable and incessant. Navigating emotionally charged states of discomfort and becoming, it is a song deeply lodged in the body that yearns to surface for air and escape its own shadow.” Meanwhile, the more personal ‘Orange Tree’ deals with that dreaded fear of the unknown.

Introducing itself with an understated rumble, ‘Through the Dark, Love’ utilises a primarily acoustic base with a string section and an alluringly understated vocal from Woods that lifts with a beautifully simple piano middle section. ‘Lay Bare’ is more drifting and ethereal, while the sax inclined ‘Mud & Stones’ morphs into something of a collage experiment, ditto with the uneasy distorted overtures of ‘The Mouth’.

Quite unsettling, ‘Cleansing Ritual’ comes over as a cathartic slice of musique concrète with foggy ship klaxons recalling OMD’s ‘Dazzle Ships’ before rumbling into motorised drones. Ending with ‘There Is No Moon’, a forlorn piano, treated keys and some enigmatic whispers provide some comparative lighter relief after the fractured nature of the pair of tracks before it.

‘Birthmarks’ is nowhere near as straightforward listen as ‘Colt’, but with its introspection and mistier field of view, it will find appeal for those who like to be musically challenged, with the degree of difficulty increasing as the album progresses.


‘Birthmarks’ is released on 13th March 2020 via Sacred Bones in CD, vinyl LP and digital formats

Hilary Woods plays London Cafe Oto on Monday 18th May 2020

http://www.hilarywoods.com

https://www.facebook.com/HilaryWoods.Musician.Artist/

https://twitter.com/_hilary_woods

https://www.instagram.com/_hilary_woods/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photo by Joshua Wright
11th March 2020

JENNY HVAL The Practice Of Love

‘The Practice Of Love’ is Norwegian songstress JENNY HVAL’s seventh album and the opposite of its self-explanatory predecessor ‘Blood Bitch’ which included stark confessionals such as ‘The Great Undressing’ and ‘Conceptual Romance’.

Now with her anger more subdued, in conceiving her new album’s aural palette, Hval got nostalgic. “I kept coming back to trashy, mainstream trance music from the ’90s” she said, while “writing something that was multi-layered, a community of voices, stories about both myself and others simultaneously…”

Released on Sacred Bones Records, home of ZOLA JESUS and THE SOFT MOON, ‘The Practice of Love’ is quietly subversive like I AM SNOW ANGEL, a body of gentle and mature synthy pop with an ethereal quality which challenges the concept of conventional personal relationships without getting angry.

Featuring friends and collaborators Vivian Wang, Laura Jean Englert and Felicia Atkinson on additional vocals or sections of recorded conversation, it asks “What is our job as a member of the human race? Do we have to accept this job, and if we don’t, does the pressure to be normal ever stop?”

Lightly percussive loops, album opener ‘Lions’ featuring a monologue by Vivian Wang is an exotic pulsing number with Hval’s angelic vocal tones gaining great exuberance as the song progresses asking “Where is God?” in a Scandi-Gaelic styled vocal cross.

With more rhythmic looping and gated synths, ‘High Alice’ exudes a widescreen hypnotism with the surprise of slinky sax and a dreamy understated voice embroiled in optimism declaring “We are something better”. With sparkling arpeggios, the gorgeous ‘Accident’ comes over like a Nordic KID MOXIE, with harmonies, ethnic choir samples and more brass concocting some deep forest escapism.

An ambient spoken word art piece, ‘The Practice Of Love’ title track sees Laura Jean Englert and Vivian Wang expressing their thoughts on being childless. Making valid existential statements, it questions “What does it mean to be in the world? What does it mean to participate in the culture of what it means to be human? To parent (or not)? To live and die? To practice love and care?”

Recalling ‘He Said’, the gorgeous collaboration between Michael Rother of NEU! and Sophie Williams from 2004, the dreamy but solemn ‘Ashes To Ashes’ with its gorgeous swathes of synths has a subtle metallic backbone to contrast the mood. It steadily builds for a resigned acceptance of mortality as “I am digging my own grave / in the honeypot / ashes to ashes / dust to dust.”

Beginning like an avant-jazz jam, ‘Thumbsucker’ also has folky overtones but sounds unusual with a subtle electronic arpeggio figuring in the interesting hybrid of styles. The spacey ‘Six Red Cannas’ sees Hval’s friendship trio all together within a metronomic dance enhanced backdrop of trancey sequencer driven synths that still maintains a feminine mystery.

Closing with the layered hush of ‘Ordinary’ with whispers, gongs and synthetic raindrops drifting into a transcendental climax, Hval accepts “We don’t always get to choose / when we are close / and when we are not.”

A thoughtful celebration of female empowerment and the human condition, despite being only eight tracks in length, it does feel a lot longer though. Not for everyone, the lyrical expression and spiritual air may require additional investment. But for those who open-minded enough get both the sound and the sentiment, the enlightenment will undoubtedly prove rewarding.


‘The Practice Of Love’ is released on 13th September 2019 in vinyl LP, CD and digital formats via Sacred Bones Records, available from https://jennyhval.bandcamp.com/

http://jennyhval.com/

https://www.facebook.com/jennyhval/

https://twitter.com/jennyhval

https://www.instagram.com/jennyhval/

https://www.sacredbonesrecords.com/collections/jenny-hval


Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Lasse Marhaug
6th September 2019

Lost Albums: MORT GARSON Mother Earth’s Plantasia

Released on the short-lived Homewood Records in 1976, ‘Mother Earth’s Plantasia’ by Mort Garson became one of those rare sought after albums, thanks to the fact that most of the copies pressed had actually been given away for free by its esteemed creator.

With its inventive use of the Moog IIIC modular synthesizer with a plethora of cosmic textures, it possessed a transcendental quality that was the antithesis of the FM rock that was dominating the American airwaves at the time like THE EAGLES and FLEETWOOD MAC.

The book ‘The Secret Life of Plants’ by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird theorised that plants could hear prayers, predict natural disasters and receive signals from outer space. It led to a boom in indoor horticulture, while Stevie Wonder provided a soundtrack for the accompanying documentary and HRH Prince Charles enthused about how he talked to his plants.

The late Mort Garson was a composer best known for orchestrating arrangements with Doris Day but most notably, the strings on Glen Campbell’s ‘By The Time I Get to Phoenix’, one of a number of great songs made famous by the Country legend which were written by Jimmy Webb.

However, one day Garson met Robert Moog demonstrating the Moog IIIC at the Audio Engineering Society’s West Coast convention in 1967 and entered a brave new world. Garson’s electronic work was to be used as incidental music during the television transmissions of the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969. But as a man who lived and breathed music, making an album for plants to enjoy and grow to was a natural progression and right up his allotment.

‘Mother Earth’s Plantasia’ was weird, wonderful and tuneful. John Foxx once described musician Tara Busch aka I SPEAK MACHINE as “Doris Day in outer space” and Garson’s seedling was not far off that in terms of template, something exemplified by ‘You Don’t Have To Walk A Begonia’, something of a novelty show tune but without the vocals.

In common with his Japanese counterpart Isao Tomita, Garson loved constructing piercing whistles on his Moog with engineer Eugene L. Hamblin III, while the synthfluence of Wendy Carlos who found fame with ‘Switch On Bach’ also loomed. Together with a suitably psychedelic vibe, this all came together on the pieces like ‘Plantasia’ and ‘Symphony For A Spider Plant’, the latter also adding an ARP Solina string machine.

Jazzier overtones made their presence felt on the bouncy ‘Baby’s Tears Blues’ and the self-explanatory auto-rhythmed ‘Swingin’ Spathiphyllums’, while ‘Rhapsody In Green’ naturally borrowed a title from George Gershwin, although its spacey atmospheres ensured it sounded nothing like it.

Gently percussive, the swoops on ‘Ode To An African Violet’ were melodically otherworldly, less threatening than the ‘Fourth World’ overtures of Brian Eno and Jon Hassell which while inventive, were not always comfortable listening. And that was the thing about ‘Mother Earth’s Plantasia’, it WAS a very comfortable listen, with tracks like ‘Concerto For Philodendron And Pothos’ photosynthesizing a sweetness for those moments when some sugar was desired.

In amongst all the brightness though was the comparatively sombre ‘A Mellow Mood For Maidenhair’ which came over more like a spy drama theme, while closing the short 30 minute suite was ‘Music To Soothe The Savage Snake Plant’, a beautifully classically-derived chocolate selection box piece in the vein of Erik Satie.

Perfectly timeless lounge synth music with an enjoyable connective AIR (see what The Electricity Club did there?), ‘Mother Earth’s Plantasia’ fits right into the 21st Century despite being 45 years old. It is an album that very much subdues aggression in a world that very much needs that ethos right now.


‘Mother Earth’s Plantasia’ is released in various coloured vinyl LP formats and CD by Sacred Bones Records on 21st June 2019, pre-order from https://www.sacredbonesrecords.com/products/sbr3030-mort-garson-mother-earths-plantasia

Digital download available now from https://mortgarson.bandcamp.com/album/mother-earths-plantasia

The whole album can be previewed in full at https://youtu.be/SZkR3PyHTs0

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mort_Garson


Text by Chi Ming Lai
14th June 2019

SPELLLING Mazy Fly

“A winged spirit” moving through SPELLLING’s new album is ‘Mazy Fly’. Chrystia Cabral, known as SPELLLING, is based in the Bay Area and her musical concoctions are born within the sanctuary of her Berkeley studio.

Having started sound experimentation in 2015, to follow in the creative footsteps of a lost love, Cabral’s objective was merely to preserve and further the artistic legacy of someone who could no longer do so. Her first long player ‘Pantheon of Me’ in 2017 was drawn from images in her dreams, making her vision as unique as it is ubiquitous.

‘Mazy Fly’ follows in the footsteps of dream imagination, combining the elements of fear of destruction and the thrill of the exploration of the unknown. Enter the bizarre slurred tones of the opening ‘Red’, texturally evoking images from David Lynch’s Twin Peaks Black Lodge. What’s not backward comes forward, vividly leading into the curious mind of SPELLLING’s.

Dark and gloomy images of the passage of slave ships into the colonial worlds over the ‘Haunted Water’ float vividly over sequenced melodies, offering vocals that John Fryer would gladly accept for his BLACK NEEDLE NOISE projects, where Cabral sounds like Jarboe meets Zia.

The deeply personal ‘Hard To Please’ marries catchy synth bass with layered vocals, which fly away into the atmosphere, breaking away into the great wide universe, meeting the unthinkable in the process. The beautifully presented ‘Golden Numbers’ is relentlessly captivating with the extraordinary organ arrangement, but in itself, it’s just a pop song with a twist, or she will have you think…

Don’t let the ‘Melted Wings’ slow you down, for this celestial offering holds you close to ‘Under The Sun’, which is “a cosmic prayer for good fortune that sees the potential for radical newness in our own lives in the births of stars”.

Who’s having the ‘Real Fun’? The aliens, of course! They have travelled to Earth to sample the musical genius of SPELLLING, as if enclosed in a bubble, which rolls and rolls uncontrolled across the world, showcasing the samples of humanity, all for the extra-terrestrials to witness. And they’re experiencing the best she has to offer; epic synthy cinematic soundscapes and voices that defy all logic.

Can Cabral’s music be taken to the ‘After Life’? With the captivating riffs of bluesy guitar and operatic singing, she’s in for the win again. Angels chanting above, while she’s floating into the misty air, fulfilled and appreciated. Just for a second, let’s go back to the glorious psychedelic era and sample the drugs that will make everything good again, as presented in ‘Dirty Desert Dreams’, oh she’s luscious.

But beware from pulling on the ‘Secret Thread’, as that’s where ‘Mazy Fly’ flirts with the sky at night. A more delicate, almost of the dainty qualities of Fifi Rong, this gentle ballad is like a giant blanket. Everything will be all right in the world, so don’t fear of ‘Falling Asleep’ with its wholesome textures of regenerating and restoring qualities.

Cabral’s offerings are certainly not for general consumption, and she’s far from craving such.

Her imaginary world craves a better tomorrow and ponders human progress, trying to digest how technologies and inventions gave the mankind endless possibilities, at the same time driving towards total devastation.

‘Mazy Fly’ isn’t gloomy in its persuasion though; it’s actually an optimistic journey towards the hopefully better unknown.


‘Mazy Fly’ is released by Sacred Bones Records on 22nd February 2019 in Vinyl LP, CD and digital formats, pre-order from https://www.sacredbonesrecords.com/products/sbr221-spellling-mazy-fly

https://www.facebook.com/SPELLLING/

https://www.instagram.com/spellling/

https://spellling.bandcamp.com/


Text by Monika Izabela Trigwell
Photos by Catalina Xavlena
18th February 2019

TEC’s 2018 End Of Year Review

2018 saw JEAN-MICHEL JARRE celebrate 50 years in the business and whether the world really needed another of his compilations, ‘Planet Jarre’ was probably one of the better collected representations of his work for casual admirers.

But not standing still and releasing his fourth new album in three years, ‘Equinoxe Infinity’ continued the story as the French Maestro tuned 70.

SOFT CELL made a totally unexpected return for a huge one-off farewell gig at London’s O2 Arena; and with it came a boxed set, the ‘Northern Lights’ single and other new recordings which have raised hopes for a new album.

From the same era, FIAT LUX announced plans for their debut album ‘Save Symmetry’ with an excellent lead track ‘It’s You’, while B-MOVIE came up with their most synth-propelled single yet in ‘Stalingrad’.

But one act who actually did comeback with a brand new album in 2018 were DUBSTAR; now a duo of Sarah Blackwood and Chris Wilkie, as ‘One’ they reminded audiences as to why they were the acceptable face of Britpop with their bridge to Synth Britannia.

IONNALEE finally released her debut opus ‘Everyone Afraid To Be Forgotten’ and her tour which included choice cuts from IAMAMIWHOAMI, proved to be one of the best value-for-money live experiences in 2018, one that was even endorsed by Welsh songstress Charlotte Church.

CHVRCHES offered up their third album ‘Love Is Dead’ and continued their role as international flagwavers for quality synthpop, while EMIKA presented her best album yet in ‘Falling In Love With Sadness’, an exquisite electronic record with a Bohemian aura.

JOHN GRANT was on an artistic roll both solo and in partnership with WRANGLER as CREEP SHOW with two new albums. However, he was beaten by Neil Arthur who managed three albums over a 12 month period as NEAR FUTURE and BLANCMANGE including ‘Wanderlust’, possibly the latter’s best body of work in its 21st Century incarnation.

It was a busy year for STEVE JANSEN with a new solo ambient work ‘Corridor’, the well-received vinyl reissue of JAPAN’s two Virgin-era studio albums and his epic, more organically flavoured band project EXIT NORTH with their debut long player ‘Book Of Romance & Dust’.

SARAH NIXEY went on some ‘Night Walks’ for her best solo album yet, a wonderful collection of everything she had ever been musically all wonderfully rolled into one.

Meanwhile TRACEY THORN went back to the ‘Dancefloor’ with her ‘Record’ which content wise was right up there with some of ALISON MOYET’s electronica output from the last five years.

Those who liked their electronic music darker were well served with NINE INCH NAILS, IAMX, KIRLIAN CAMERA and HELIX, but after experimenting with the single only format for a few years, Daniel Graves announced he was taking the plunge again with a new AESTHETIC PERFECTION album.

The Sacred Bones stable provided some quality releases from THE SOFT MOON, HILARY WOODS, ZOLA JESUS and JOHN CARPENTER. Meanwhile, providing some fierce socio-political commentary on the state of the UK was GAZELLE TWIN.

Hungary’s BLACK NAIL CABARET offered some noirish ‘Pseudopop’ and promising Norwich youngsters LET’S EAT GRANDMA got more deeply into electronica without losing any of their angsty teenage exuberance on their second album ‘I’m All Ears’.

Less intense and more dreamy were GLASSHOUSE, the new duo fronted by former TECHNIQUE singer Xan Tyler.

Aussies CONFIDENCE MAN provided some wacky dancey glitz to the pop world and after nearly four decades in the business, Canadian trailblazers RATIONAL YOUTH finally played their first ever concert in London at ‘Non Stop Electronic Cabaret’ alongside dark wave compatriots PSYCHE and Numan-influenced Swedish poptronica exponents PAGE.

Sweden was again highly productive with KARIN PARK, JOHAN BAECKSTRÖM, TRAIN TO SPAIN and VAL SOLO while Norway took their own approach with FARAOSOFT AS SNOW and ELECTRO SPECTRE setting their standard. Veteran Deutschlanders THE TWINS and PETER HEPPNER returned with new albums after notable recorded absences while next door in Belgium, METROLAND presented themselves as ‘Men In A Frame’.

While the new HEAVEN 17 album ‘Not For Public Broadcast’ is still to be finished, Glenn Gregory teamed by with live keyboardist Berenice Scott as AFTERHERE. Their long-time friend Claudia Brücken performed as xPROPAGANDA with Susanne Freytag and partnered up with one-time TANGERINE DREAM member Jerome Froese, releasing the ‘Beginn’ album in the process.

It was a year of interesting collaborations all-round with UNDERWORLD working with Iggy Pop, U96 linking up with Wolfgang Flür for an excellent single called ‘Zukunftsmusik’ and German techno pioneer CHRIS LIEBING recruiting POLLY SCATTERGOOD and GARY NUMAN for his Mute released album ‘Burn Slow’.

Based in Berlin, THE KVB offered up some brooding gothic moods with ‘Only Now Forever’ while Valerie Renay of NOBLESSE OBLIGE released her first solo album ‘Your Own Shadow’.

Highly appealing were a number of quirky Japanese influenced female artists from around the globe including COMPUTER MAGIC, MECHA MAIKO and PLASMIC. But there were also a number of acts with Far Eastern heritage like STOLEN, FIFI RONG, DISQO VOLANTE and SHOOK who continued to make a worthy impression with their recorded output in 2018.

Heavy synth rock duo NIGHT CLUB presented their ‘Scary World’ on the back of tours opening for COMBICHRIST and A PERFECT CIRCLE while also from across the pond, NYXX and SINOSA both showcased their alluring potential.

At the poppier end of the spectrum, Holger Wobker used Pledge Music to relaunch BOYTRONIC with their most recent vocal incumbent James Knights in an unexpected twist to once again prove the old adage to “never say never” as far as the music industry is concerned.

Meanwhile, Chris Payne co-wrote and co-produced the excellent ‘Walking In West Berlin’ EP with KATJA VON KASSEL while also revealing plans for an autobiography and opening for his old boss…

The surprise album of the year was CHRIS CARTER with his ‘Chemistry Lessons Volume One’ while using a not dissimilar concept with their second album ‘Hello Science’, REED & CAROLINE took their folk laden synthpop out on a US tour opening for ERASURE.

IMMERSION provided a new collection of their modern Motorik as SHRIEKBACK, FISCHERSPOONER, THE PRESETS, HEARTBREAK and QUEEN OF HEARTS all made comebacks of varying degrees with audiences still eager for their work.

STEVEN JONES & LOGAN SKY harked back to the days when GARY NUMAN and OMD would release two albums in one year by offering ‘Hans Und Lieselotte’ and ‘The Electric Eye’ in 2016. Those veteran acts themselves celebrated their 40th anniversaries by going orchestral, something which SIMPLE MINDS also did when they opted to re-record ‘Alive & Kicking’ for the ’80s Symphonic’ collection although Jim Kerr forgot how a third of the song went!

With SIMPLE MINDS also performing a horrible and barely recognisable ‘Promised You A Miracle’ during BBC’s ‘The Biggest Weekend’, making up for the live joke that his former band have become was one-time bassist Derek Forbes with the album ‘Broken Hearted City’ as ZANTi with Anni Hogan of MARC & THE MAMBAS fame. Other former members of high-profile bands were busy too with Ian Burden, formally of THE HUMAN LEAGUE returning with the Floydian ‘Hey Hey Ho Hum’ while A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS reformed briefly for an orchestral re-run of their catalogue.

With the release of their second album ‘Kinetik’, EKKOES handed over THE HUMAN LEAGUE support baton to SHELTER who came up with their best body of work yet in the more introspective shades of ‘Soar’

That darker approach manifested itself on singer Mark Bebb’s side project FORM with Keith Trigwell of SPEAK & SPELL whose debut long player ‘defiance + entropy’ also came out in 2018.

Having been championed by RÖYSKSOPP, Wales’ MAN WITHOUT COUNTRY returned with ‘Infinity Mirror’ while riding on the well-deserved momentum from opening for OMD, Ireland’s TINY MAGNETIC PETS embarked on their first headlining tour. Representing North of the border were RYAN VAIL and HANNAH PEEL, but hailing from Scotland were WITCH OF THE VALE who proved to be one of the most interesting new acts of 2018 having supported ASSEMBLAGE 23 on their most recent UK visit.

There was a good showing from UK acts in 2018 with RODNEY CROMWELL, ANI GLASS, THE FRIXION, NEW ARCADES, OLLIE WRIDE and FAKE TEAK all issuing some excellent synth tinged songs for public consumption. However, the side was let down by the conveyor belt of lame profanity laden offerings from a number of British acts afflicted with deluded normality.

NINA’s long awaited debut album ‘Sleepwalking’ was a fine hybrid of synthpop and the currently fashionable Synthwave aesthetic; her live double billing with Canadian synthpopsters PARALLELS was one of the hottest tickets of the year. The sub-genre was indeed making waves and there were some very enjoyable artists coming out of it like GUNSHIP, DANA JEAN PHOENIX and MICHAEL OAKLEY.

However, the endless AOR excesses, moonlight sax breaks and highly unimaginative band monikers using numbers between 80 to 89 affixed to an archaic technology reference, illustrated by yet another neon sunset, VCR grid and Lamborghini, were becoming tiresome.

As Synthwave cynics, The Electricity Club’s touch paper was being lit big time! The whole point of the synthesizer’s role during the Second British Invasion of the US was to fight against the insipid overtures of AOR like TOTO, CHICAGO and JOURNEY, NOT to make music coated with its horrid stench as THE MIDNIGHT did in 2018 with their long player ‘Kids’.

But there was naivety within some quarters too; electronic music did not begin in 2011 with ‘Drive’, an above average film with a good if slightly over rated soundtrack. However, its cultural influence has led to a plethora of meandering tracks made by gamer boys which sounded like someone had forgotten to sing on them; perhaps they should have gone back to 1978 and listened to GIORGIO MORODER’s ‘Midnight Express Theme’ to find out how this type of instrumental music should be done?

Many of the newer artists influenced by Synth Britannia that The Electricity Club has featured have sometimes been accused of being stuck in the past, but a fair number of Synthwave acts were really taking the soggy biscuit with their retro-obsession.

Rock band MUSE’s use of glowing artwork by Kyle Lambert of ‘Stranger Things’ fame on their eighth album ‘Simulation Theory’ sent sections of the Synthwave community into meltdown. There were cries that they had “stolen the aesthetics and concept” and how “it’s not relevant to their sound”! But WHAM! had Peter Saville designed sleeves and never sounded like NEW ORDER or OMD, while electropop diva LA ROUX used a visual stylisation for ‘In For The Kill’ that has since been claimed by Synthwavers as their own, despite it being from 2009 when Ryan Gosling was peddling graveyard indie rock in DEAD MAN’S BONES 😉

This was one of the bigger ironies of 2018, especially as MUSE have always used synths! One of Matt Bellamy and co’s biggest musical inspirations is ULTRAVOX, indicating the trio probably have a better understanding of the fusion between the synthesizer, rock and classical music, as proven by the ‘Simulation Theory’ bookends ‘Algorithm’ and ‘The Void’, than any static laptop exponent with a Jan Hammer fixation.

It is interesting to note today how electronic music has split into so many factions, but there’s still the assumed generalisation that it is all one thing and that synthpop fans must also like Synthwave, Deep House, EDM, Industrial and those tedious beach chill-out remixes.

Back in the day and even now, some fans of THE HUMAN LEAGUE didn’t like OMD, DEPECHE MODE fans only liked DEPECHE MODE and rock fans had a token favourite electronic band. Out of all the synth based pop acts of the Synth Britannia era, The Electricity Club had very little time for THOMPSON TWINS despite their huge international success, but their leader Tom Bailey’s 2018 solo recorded return ‘Science Fiction’ was warmly received by many.

Just as COLDPLAY and SNOW PATROL fans don’t all embrace ELBOW, it is ok to have preferences and to say so. Not liking the music of an artist does not make you a bad person, but liking everything does not make you a better person either… in fact, it shows you probably have no discerning taste! In 2002, SOFT CELL warned of a ‘Monoculture’, and if there is no taste differentiation in art and music, it will spell the end of cultural enhancement.

Taste is always the key, but then not everyone who loves chocolate likes Hersheys… and with that analogy, The Electricity Club bids farewell to 2018 and looks forward to a 2019 that includes the return of TEARS FOR FEARS and the first full live shows from GIORGIO MORODER, plus new releases by VILE ELECTRODESKITE, VILLA NAH, I AM SNOW ANGEL and LADYTRON.


THE ELECTRICITY CLUB Contributor Listings of 2018

PAUL BODDY

Best Album: MAN WITHOUT COUNTRY Infinity Mirror
Best Song: MAN WITHOUT COUNTRY Lafayette
Best Gig: TANGERINE DREAM at London Union Chapel
Best Video: THE SOFT MOON Give Something
Most Promising New Act: VOX LOW


IAN FERGUSON

Best Album: BLANCMANGE Wanderlust
Best Song: ELECTRO SPECTRE The Way You Love
Best Gig: OMD at Glasgow Kelvingrove Park
Best Video: NYXX Voodoo
Most Promising New Act: WITCH OF THE VALE


SIMON HELM

Best Album: DUBSTAR One
Best Song: PAGE Start (Poptronica Version)
Best Gig: DIE KRUPPS + FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY at O2 Academy Islington
Best Video: FIFI RONG Horizon
Most Promising New Act: ZANTi


CHI MING LAI

Best Album: EMIKA Falling In Love With Sadness
Best Song: FIAT LUX It’s You
Best Gig: SOFT CELL at London O2 Arena
Best Video: FAKE TEAK Bears Always Party The Exact Right Amount
Most Promising New Act: WITCH OF THE VALE


MONIKA IZABELA TRIGWELL

Best Album: GUNSHIP Dark All Day
Best Song: SHELTER Karma
Best Gig: IAMX at London Electric Ballroom
Best Video: JUNO REACTOR Let’s Turn On
Most Promising New Act: MECHA MAIKO


Text by Chi Ming Lai
8th December 2018

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