Tag: Westbam

The Electricity Club’s 30 SONGS OF THE DECADE 2010-2019

To narrow down ten years of electronic pop to 30 songs was always going to be a challenging task, but The Electricity Club has given it a go to offer its own subjective twist.

As the decade started, female artists like LITTLE BOOTS, LA ROUX and LADYHAWKE had appeared to have been making in-roads into the mainstream as new flag bearers for the synthesizer.

But it proved to be something of a false dawn and while those artists continue today, the music that has made the most lasting impact between 2010-2019 has been made by evergreens from Synth Britannia whose talent has not subsided or independently minded musicians who focussed on art over commerce but didn’t forget to throw in a tune along the way.

As per usual, The Electricity Club’s lists are all about rules. So this one has not only been restricted to one song per artist moniker but also to one vocalist. Hence SIN COS TAN just get the nod over VILLA NAH, while MIRRORS take preference over James New’s guest slot for FOTONOVELA on ‘Our Sorrow’ and the Midge Ure vocalled ‘Glorious’ has been chosen instead ULTRAVOX’s ‘Live’.

Presented in alphabetical order, here are The Electricity Club’s 30 SONGS OF THE DECADE 2010-2019…


AESTHETIC PERFECTION featuring NYXX Rhythm + Control – Electro Mix (2017)

With alternative songstress NYXX on additional vocals, ‘Rhythm + Control’ saw Daniel Graves take his industrial pop to the next level. The magnificent Electro Mix successfully realised an oddball blend of Darren Hayes, Britney Spears and Marilyn Manson. With a mightily elastic bassline, when asked whether The Electricity Club had gone crazy coming up with the comparison, Daniel Graves replied “God no. Spot on, guys!” adding “The goal was to cram as many features into one song and have fun with it as possible.”

Available as a download single via https://aestheticperfection.bandcamp.com/album/rhythm-control-out-of-control-mixes

http://aesthetic-perfection.net/


JOHAN BAECKSTROM Synth Is Not Dead (2015)

‘Synth Is Not Dead’ is a song close to the heart of The Electricity Club with its solidarity to the synth. A touching tribute to Messrs Clarke, Gore, Hütter and Schneider, Johan Baeckstrom said: “I guess I just wanted to reflect on the fact that there still IS a synthpop scene with some really great bands, both old and new. In another way, the song is sort of my ‘thank you’ to some of the artists that inspired me for several decades – some of them are mentioned in the lyrics, but far from all of course”.

Available on the EP ‘Come With Me’ via Progress Productions

https://www.facebook.com/bstrommusic/


KARL BARTOS Without A Trace Of Emotion (2013)

‘Without A Trace Of Emotion’ saw Karl Bartos conversing with his showroom dummy Herr Karl and confronting his demons as an ex-member of the world’s most iconic electronic group. But whereas his former colleague Wolfgang Flür vented his spleen in book form with ‘I Was A Robot’, Bartos took a more ironic musical approach with the line “I wish I could remix my life to another beat” summing up a wry reference to ‘The Mix’ project which drove him out of Kling Klang!

Available on the album ‘Off The Record’ via Bureau B

http://www.karlbartos.com/


BEYOND THE WIZARD’S SLEEVE featuring HANNAH PEEL Diagram Girl (2016)

BEYOND THE WIZARDS SLEEVE’s ‘Diagram Girl’ was the work of Erol Alkan and Richard Norris of THE GRID. Featuring the unisex vocals of Hannah Peel, a deeper pitch shift provided a psychedelic out-of-this-world feel which bizarrely fitted in alongside the songstress’ dreamily breathy tones.  “They wanted me to sound like a man!” she remembered. Meanwhile the pulsing electronic soundtrack had surreal echoes of OMD, in particular their lesser known minor hit ‘Secret’.

Available on the single ‘Diagram Girl’ via Phantasy Sound

https://www.facebook.com/beyondthewizardssleeve/


CHROMATICS Shadow (2015)

Muscian, producer and Italians Do It Better head honcho Johnny Jewel, has lways been into all things Lynchian. So when CHROMATICS released the dreamy Badalamenti-inspired ‘Shadow’, it instantly recalled The Black Lodge’s red curtains in that sleepy Washington town. With Ruth Radelet’s wispy vocal and an eerie string machine for the main melodic theme, the ghostly wistful tune later came to further prominence thanks to its inclusion in ‘Twin Peaks: The Return’ in 2017.

Available on the album ‘Twin Peaks (Music from the Limited Event Series)’ (V/A) via Rhino Records

https://www.facebook.com/CHROMATICSBAND/


CHVRCHES Clearest Blue (2015)

CHVRCHES stuck to the synthpop template of their 2013 debut and as a result, delivered what LITTLE BOOTS, LA ROUX, and LADYHAWKE and HURTS all failed to do… a decent second album! The propulsive four-to-the-floor action of ‘Clearest Blue’ was wonderfully held in a state of tension before WHACK, there was a dynamic surprise in the final third that recalled the classic overtures of Vince Clarke. The song was electronic pop magnificence embroiled.

Available on the album ‘Every Open Eye’ via Virgin Records

http://chvrch.es/


RODNEY CROMWELL Black Dog (2015)

RODNEY CROMWELL is the alter-ego of Adam Cresswell, formally of ARTHUR & MARTHA. ‘Black Dog’ recalled the pulsing post-punk miserablism of SECTION 25 and was embellished by some Hooky styled bass. As with NEW ORDER’s ‘Temptation’, despite the inherent melancholy, there was an optimistic light at the end of the tunnel that made ‘Black Dog’ a most joyous listening experience despite its very personal themes of love, loss, depression and redemption.

Available on the album ‘Age Of Anxiety’ via https://www.happyrobots.co.uk/botshop

http://www.happyrobots.co.uk/


DURAN DURAN Being Followed (2011)

The ‘All You Need Is Now’ album saw DURAN DURAN cyclically return to the funk-led syncopated pop of their first two classic albums. A superb sequencer assisted disco number with a tingling metallic edge, ‘Being Followed’ hinted at THE CURE’s ‘A Forest’ while Nick Rhodes’ vintage string machine captured the tension of post 9/11 paranoia. Simon Le Bon gave his wayward all and while he has technically never had a great voice, what he delivered was unique AND untouchable…

Available on the album ‘All You Need Is Now’ via Tape Modern

http://www.duranduran.com/


EAST INDIA YOUTH Carousel (2015)

Despite EAST INDIA YOUTH being no more as a project, the debut long player ‘Total Strife’ pointed towards William Doyle’s potential to pen sublime pop, and with the follow-up ‘Culture Of Volume’, the album’s centrepiece was ‘Carousel’. It imagined OMD’s ‘Stanlow’ reworked during Brian Eno’s sessions for ‘Apollo: Soundtracks & Atmospheres’. With no percussive elements and over six minutes in length, Doyle gave a dramatic vocal performance resonating in beautifully crystalline melancholy.

Available on the album ‘Culture of Volume’ via XL Recordings

http://eastindiayouth.co.uk/


RUSTY EGAN featuring MIDGE URE Glorious (2016)

‘Glorious’ not only reunited Midge Ure with Rusty Egan but also Chris Payne who co-wrote ‘Fade To Grey’; Ure told The Electricity Club: “I liked the music, but I didn’t think the song / melody / lyrics were strong enough, so I rewrote all of that in my studio. I stripped the demo down to the basic track, edited it down into a more ‘song like’ format and started working on a glorious melody. I added the main melodic synth line and layered guitars over it, ending with the ‘hopefully’ uplifting solo over the outro”.

Available on the RUSTY EGAN album ‘Welcome To The Dance Floor’ via Black Mosaic

http://rustyegan.net/

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


EMIKA Promises (2018)

With ‘Falling In Love With Sadness’, EMIKA produced one of the best electronic albums of 2018. The record was a concept album of sorts, a musical reflection on generations of sadness within the Anglo-Czech musician’s family. The pacey ‘Promises’ made the most of her lower and higher vocal registers, providing an eerie cascading harmonic with some rumbling dubby tension and booming stabs driving Eastwards with solemn spine tingling qualities.

Available on the album ‘Falling In Love With Sadness’ via Emika Records

http://emikarecords.com


JOHN FOXX & JORI HULKKONEN Evangeline (2013)

John Foxx and Jori Hulkkonen had worked together previously on singular songs like ‘Dislocated’ and ‘Never Been Here Before’, but never before on a body of work with a conceptual theme. ‘European Splendour’ took on a grainier downtempo template and the lead track ‘Evangeline’ was all the more beautiful for it. Full of depth, coupled with an anthemic chorus and vibrant exchange of character throughout, this rousing yet soothingly futuristic number was quite otherworldly.

Available on the EP ‘European Splendour’ via Sugarcane Records

http://www.metamatic.com/

http://www.jorihulkkonen.com


FIAT LUX It’s You (2018)

Releasing their first new material in over three decades, FIAT LUX returned with the most splendid ‘It’s You’. As well as the bassline and harmony from David P Crickmore, the sax style was a fitting tribute to the sadly departed Ian Nelson. Singer Steve Wright said: “Lyrically, I hope, it expresses feelings that possibly everyone can relate to…” in this gloriously optimistic tune about finding love again in midlife. Their long awaited debut album ‘Saved Symmetry’ finally came out in 2019.

Available on the album ‘Saved Symmetry’ via Splid Records

http://www.fiat-lux.co.uk


GOLDFRAPP Dreaming (2010)

As the title suggested, the gorgeous and sophisticated ‘Dreaming’ adopted a distinctly European flavour compared with the mid-Atlantic AOR focus of songs like ‘Rocket’, ‘Alive’ and ‘Believer’ on the ‘Head First’ album. Alison Goldfrapp’s voice resonated angelically with beautiful high-register chorus alongside the with pulsing sequences and string machine washes of Will Gregory’s primarily electronic arrangement complimented by Davide Rossi’s cinematic orchestrations.

Available on the album ‘Head First’ via Mute Records

https://www.goldfrapp.com/


IAMX Ghosts Of Utopia (2011)

The Berlin period of IAMX has maintained a special quality in that Chris Corner captured an electro Gothic aesthetic that combined the theatrics of Weimar Cabaret with themes of sex, alienation and dependency. Despite the lyrical content, Corner’s songs were always strongly melodic with an accessible grandeur. ‘Ghosts Of Utopia’ had instant appeal for a dance in the dark with exhilarating mechanical drive. His scream of ”this is psychosis” was wholly believable!

Available on the album ‘Volatile Times’ via Orphic

http://iamxmusic.com/


IAMAMIWHOAMI Hunting For Pearls (2014)

As IAMAMIWHOAMI, Jonna Lee and Claes Björklund offered icy musical art. ‘Hunting For Pearls’ featured wonderfully pulsing sequences and trancey atmospheres, coupled with beautifully rich vocals. With a mysterious falsetto reach, the air might have been cold outside but inside, things were warm if delightfully odd. If Kate Bush made a modern electronic dance record at ABBA’s Polar Studios, it would probably have sounded like this. Jonna Lee continues the artistic adventure now as IONNALEE.

Available on the album ‘Blue’ via towhomitmayconcern

http://www.towhomitmayconcern.cc/


KITE Up For Life (2015)

Sweden’s KITE are probably the best synth act in Europe right now. Nicklas Stenemo and Christian Berg’s wonderfully exuberant array of sounds and rugged majestic vocals certainly deserve a much larger audience. Issuing only EPs and never albums, the magnificent progressive electronic epic ‘Up For Life’ was a two-part nine minute masterpiece, the passionate and sublime first half mutated into a beautifully surreal journey of VANGELIS-like proportions for its second.

Available on the EP ‘VI’ via Progress Productions

https://www.facebook.com/KiteHQ


KATJA VON KASSEL Someday (2018)

Asking if “it is foolish to dream”, ‘Someday’ saw Katja von Kassel questioning a moment of passionate haste. “The phrase ‘Someday’ just opened it all up and everything else just fell into place.” the chanteuse said. Capturing the beautiful melancholy of Billy Mackenzie, the doomed romantic tragedy of the sadly departed Scot was echoed by the chanteuse’s deep forlorn delivery, accompanied by Chris Payne’s hypnotic bassline and haunting vox humana treatment over a simple rhythmic loop.

Available on the EP ‘Walking In West Berlin’ via https://katjavonkassel.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/KatjavKassel/


LADYTRON Ambulances (2011)

The beautiful ‘Ambulances’ was totally different to anything LADYTRON had done before, almost in te vein of SIOUXSIE & THE BANSHEES. Moving at a much slower pace, Helen Marnie’s voice adopted an unexpected angelic falsetto over the lush spacious mix featuring dramatic strings, synthetic timpani and an almost random hi-hat pattern. Daniel Hunt said he “wanted it to sound ethereal and otherworldly” and with a glorious crescendo, ‘Ambulances’ was certainly something to be to be savoured.

Available on the album ‘Gravity The Seducer’  via Nettwerk Productions,

http://www.ladytron.com/


MARSHEAUX Monument (2015)

A worthy of re-assessment of DEPECHE MODE ‘A Broken Frame’ was long overdue and MARSHEAUX have certainly gave a number of its songs some interesting arrangements. Their version of ‘Monument’ borrowed its bassline from latter day DM B-side ‘Painkiller’. Combined with the wispily resigned vocals of Marianthi Melitsi and Sophie Sarigiannidou, it provided a tense soundtrack. It’s not often that cover versions are better than the originals, but this was one of them.

Available on the album ‘A Broken Frame’ via Undo Records

https://www.facebook.com/marsheaux


MIRRORS Ways To An End (2010)

With their smart suits, MIRRORS presented an intense and artful approach to electronic pop that recalled Dindisc era OMD. With a dense synthetic chill and pulsing effects dominating this brilliantly uptempo electro number, ‘Ways To An End’ came over like TALKING HEADS ‘Crossed Eyed & Painless’ given a claustrophobic post-punk makeover. Sadly, MIRRORS were to only make the one album ‘Lights & Offerings’ which although under-appreciated on release, is now acknowledged as a classic of the decade.

Available on the album ‘Lights & Offerings’ via Skint Entertainment

https://www.facebook.com/theworldofmirrors/


ALISON MOYET Alive (2017)

Having worked successfully in 2013 with Guy Sigsworth on ‘the minutes’, which saw Alison Moyet return to the synthesized music forms to compliment her powerful and self-assured voice, the follow-up ‘Other’ was a natural progression. The startling orchestrated electro-dub drama of ‘Alive’ gave Moyet’s two former classmates in DEPECHE MODE a stark lesson in how to actually fully realise electronic blues. Indeed, it was ‘In Chains’, the lame opener from ‘Sounds Of The Universe’ gone right…

Available on the album ‘Other’ via Cooking Vinyl

http://alisonmoyet.com/


NEW ORDER Plastic (2015)

After the guitar dominated proceedings of the last few NEW ORDER albums, Bernard Sumner promised a return to electronic music for the Mancunians’ first album of new material without estranged founder member and bassist Peter Hook. That was certainly delivered on with ‘Plastic’, a full-on throbbing seven minute electro number mixed by Richard X with blippy echoes of ‘Mr Disco’. Dealing with the issue of superficiality, it declared “this love is poison, but it’s like gold”… beware of anything plastic and artificial!

Available on the album ‘Music Complete’ via Mute Artists

http://www.neworder.com/


GARY NUMAN And It All Began With You (2017)

With a lot less goth metal guitar and much more prominent use of synths, the ‘Savage’ album successfully outstripped ‘Splinter’. And it was the haunting ‘And It All Began With You’ that stopped all in its tracks, with an exposed and soulful vocal. Borrowing Chris Isaak’s ‘Wicked Game’ for its chorus, the subtle orchestrations and a gentle shuffling beat coupled to a steadily discordant electric piano riff to close, it beautifully brought out the best in classic Gary Numan while maintaining forward momentum.

Available on the album ‘Savage (Songs From A Broken World)’ via BMG

http://www.garynuman.co.uk/


OMD Don’t Go (2019)

OMD began their recorded career with a KRAFTWERK homage in ‘Electricity’ and four decades on, they came full circle. A great grandchild of Klingklang and cousin of ‘Metroland’ from ‘English Electric’, ‘Don’t Go’ captured the essence of OMD’s enduring electronic appeal. With crystalline synths and a spirited vocal delivery attached to a hypnotic Synthanorma backdrop, OMD continue to produce quality avant pop tunes, using beautiful melodies to tell terrible things…

Available on the album ‘Souvenir: The Singles Collection 1979 – 2019’ via Universal Music

http://www.omd.uk.com/


SIN COS TAN Trust (2012)

SIN COS TAN was the new mathematically charged project of producer Jori Hulkkonen and VILLA NAH vocalist Juho Paalosmaa. “A synthesized duo of great promise, broken dreams, and long nights”, they have certainly delivered with ‘Trust’, all draped in melancholy with emotive vocals haunted by the ghost of Billy Mackenzie. With driving hypnotic, layered strings, sampled cimbalom and Cold War dramatics, this was as Jori Hulkkonen put it: “Disco You Can Cry To”…

Available on the album ‘Sin Cos Tan’ via Solina Records

http://www.facebook.com/homeofsincostan


STOLEN Turn Black (2018)

Chinese six-piece STOLEN are reckoned by Berlin-based producer Mark Reeder to be the most exciting band since NEW ORDER and they closed the decade opening for them on tour in Europe. Certainly their debut album ‘Fragment’ was impressive with ‘Turn Black’ being one of its standout tracks. “I like the idea of mixing of rock with techno…” said growly lead vocalist Liang Yi, “we are very proud that we don’t sound like any of the other Chinese bands.”

Available on the album ‘Fragment’ via https://mfsberlin.com/

https://www.facebook.com/strangeoldentertainment/


SUSANNE SUNDFØR Fade Away (2014)

The Nordic vocalist of the decade has to be Susanne Sundfør who worked with M83, KLEERUP and RÖYKSOPP as she built her international profile as a solo artist. Propelled by a pulsing electronic backbone, ‘Fade Away’ from Sundfør’s breakthrough album ‘Ten Love Songs’ caught her in rousing form with a tune that came over like Scandinavian gospel. Meanwhile, a fabulous polyphonic synth solo inspired by QUEEN’s ‘I Want To Break Free’ added another dimension.

Available on the album ‘Ten Love Songs’ via Sonnet Sound / Kobalt

http://susannesundfor.com/


VILE ELECTRODES Deep Red (2013)

First appearing online as a video exclusive in 2010, ‘Deep Red’ was inspired by Dario Argento’s ‘Profondo Rosso’. A gorgeous seven and a half minute funeral ballad that came over like CLIENT fronting classic OMD, this was tremendously dramatic stuff from Anais Neon and Martin Swan. It caught the ear of a certain Andy McCluskey who was perusing The Electricity Club and later invited VILE ELECTRODES to open for OMD in Germany during their 2013 ‘English Electric’ tour.

Available on the album ‘The future through a lens’ via https://vileelectrodes.bandcamp.com/

http://www.vileelectrodes.com/


WESTBAM feat RICHARD BUTLER You Need The Drugs

Techno DJ WESTBAM celebrated 30 years in music with an intriguing mature collection of songs under the title of ‘Götterstrasse’. While the theme of the album centred on the joy and euphoria of underground nightlife, he said ‘You Need The Drugs’ was “the first explicit electronic appeal AGAINST the use of drugs with a clear message: drugs are a bore!”. Voiced brilliantly by Richard Butler of THE PSYCHEDLIC FURS’, it featured prominently in Mark Reeder’s film ‘B Movie: Lust & Sound in West-Berlin 1979–1989’.

Available on the album ‘Götterstrasse’ via Warner Music

http://www.westbam.de/dt/en/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
28th December 2019

A Beginner’s Guide To NEW ORDER Collaborations + Projects

Photo by Glenn A Baker

Like PET SHOP BOYS, NEW ORDER collaborated with other artists from quite an early stage in their career, as well as later working on their own various projects during the band’s recurring hiatuses.

Even in the JOY DIVISION era, Ian Curtis, together with manager Rob Gretton produced ‘Knew Noise’ by SECTION 25 in 1979.

Following the passing of the charismatic front man, NEW ORDER underwent a well-documented musical transformation, aided by the advancements in music technology.

While NEW ORDER began with electronic instruments such as the Doctor Rhythm DR-55 drum machine, ARP Quadra and Sequential Pro-One, their synth armoury would expand to a Moog Source, Emulator, several Prophet 5s and an Oberheim DMX.

Bernard Sumner in particular relished the opportunity to further his craft by recording with other artists. Although more naturally inclined to the live environment, Peter Hook did bring his experience into the studio as well, while Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert primarily found an outlet for their knowhow within television. The compilation boxed set ‘NEW ORDER Presents Be Music’ released on Factory Benelux gathered many of these works.

Photo by Donald Christie

But there are still a significant number of tracks which featured the artistic input and involvement of a NEW ORDER member that are worthy of discovery and recognition.

So here are 20 tracks which encapsulate the spirit of NEW ORDER through the medium of collaboration and joint working, restricted to one track per project and presented in chronological order.


MARTHA Light Years From Love (1983)

Martha Ladly was already part of the NEW ORDER family having produced the paintings for the Peter Saville Associates artwork of ‘Temptation’ and the ‘1981-1982’ EP. Formally of MARTHA & THE MUFFINS, she teamed up with fellow Canadian Brett Wickens on this charming pop tune that echoed THE HUMAN LEAGUE’s ‘Open Your Heart’. Peter Hook provided his distinctive melodic six-string bass and dynamic production came from Steve Nye. The promo video was directed by Midge Ure and Chris Cross of ULTRAVOX.

Originally released as a single on Island Records, currently unavailable

http://samemistakesmusic.blogspot.com/2009/01/charmed-life-of-martha-ladly_22.html


52ND STREET Cool As Ice (1983)

While the trailblazing electro of ‘Cool As Ice’ was solely produced by Donald Johnson, Bernard Sumner contributed the synth basslines which were from a Moog Source run from a Powertran 1024 sequencer; it was to become the trademark feature on many of the NEW ORDER front man’s productions. The hybrid of authentic Manchester soul courtesy of Beverley McDonald’s vocals and New York urban influences was unsurprisingly a cult success across the Atlantic.

Available on the compilation boxed set ‘‘NEW ORDER Presents Be Music’ (V/A) via Factory Benelux

https://www.discogs.com/artist/11896-52nd-Street


MARCEL KING Reach For Love (1984)

One of Bernard Sumner’s productions for Factory with Donald Johnson, ‘Reach For Love’ featured the late Marcel King who was a member of SWEET SENSATION, a vocal group who won ‘New Faces’ and had a No1 with ‘Sad Sweet Dreamer’. With its distinctive Moog bassline programming, this was a vibrant electro disco tune that couldn’t have been more different. Shaun Ryder of HAPPY MONDAYS remarked that if this had been released on a label other than Factory Records, it would have been a hit!

Available on the compilation boxed set ‘NEW ORDER Presents Be Music’ (V/A) via Factory Benelux

https://www.discogs.com/artist/36617-Marcel-King


NYAM NYAM Fate/Hate (1984)

Despite Peter Hook’s more rock inclined sympathies and productions for acts like STOCKHOLM MONSTERS and THE STONE ROSES, he showed that he knew his way around the dancefloor as well with this Moroder-esque offering by Hull combo NYAM NYAM which he produced. Featuring a Roland TR808 plus NEW ORDER’s Emulator and Prophet 5 amongst its instrumentation, ‘Fate/Hate’ certainly today deserves to be as lauded as SECTION 25’s ‘Looking From A Hilltop’.

Available on the compilation album ‘NEW ORDER Presents Be Music’ (V/A) via Factory Benelux

http://www.ltmrecordings.com/nyam_nyam.html


SECTION 25 Looking From A Hilltop – Restructure (1984)

In a change of direction where founder member Larry Cassidy stated “you can’t be a punk all your life”, Factory Records stalwarts SECTION 25 recruited vocalist Jenny Ross and keyboardist Angela Cassidy to go electro. Produced by Bernard Sumner and Donald Johnson, the clattering drum machine accompanied by ominous synth lines and hypnotic sequenced modulations dominated what was to become a much revered cult club classic.

Available on the SECTION 25 album ‘From The Hip’ via Factory Benelux

http://www.section25.com


PAUL HAIG The Only Truth (1984)

Possibly the best NEW ORDER song that NEW ORDER never recorded, although ex-JOSEF K front man Paul Haig demoed the song to an almost complete standard, when as Haig told The Electricity Club: “Bernard Sumner and Donald Johnson started adding more to it like extra guitar, bass and percussion. We spent a long time on the sound of the percussion” . ‘The Only Truth’ was like a brilliant cross between ‘Blue Monday’ and ‘Temptation’, and the 12 inch version was almost as long!

Available on the PAUL HAIG album ‘At Twilight’ via Les Disques Du Crepuscule

http://www.rolinc.co.uk


SHARK VEGAS You Hurt Me (1986)

Mark Reeder moved from Manchester to Berlin in 1978 having become fascinated by the artistic diversity of the city and was for a time Factory Records’ representative in Germany. Reeder often sent records to Bernard Sumner from the emerging electronic club scenes around the world. His own Deutsche musical journey started with DIE UNBEKANNTEN, who mutated into SHARK VEGAS; the sequencer heavy ‘You Hurt Me’ was produced by Sumner at Conny Plank’s studios near Cologne.

Available on the MARK REEDER album ‘Collaborator’ via Factory Benelux

https://www.facebook.com/markreedermusic/


REVENGE Jesus I Love You (1989)

The aptly named REVENGE was Peter Hook’s response to Bernard Sumner’s ELECTRONIC. Comprising of Hook, Dave Hicks and Chris Jones, the  single ‘Seven Reasons’ backed with the edgy gothique of ‘Jesus I Love You’ got in the shops a few weeks before ‘Getting Away With It’. Coming over like early SISTERS OF MERCY with some extra raw power, it was a promising calling card. However, as things progressed, the output of REVENGE was not particularly well-received by the music press.

Available on REVENGE album ‘One True Passion V2.0’ via LTM Recordings

http://www.ltmrecordings.com/revenge.html


THE BEAT CLUB Security – Remix (1990)

Miami duo THE BEAT CLUB were the husband and wife team of producer Ony Rodriguez and singer Mireya Valls. The Bernard Sumner remix of ‘Security’ was the first ever release on Rob’s Records, the imprint of Rob Gretton. Sumner’s creative additions saw an overhaul of the original version with the crucial addition of his own vocal contribution, giving it an unsurprisingly NEW ORDER-like feel along the lines of a more fully realised ‘State Of The Nation’.

Available on the compilation boxed set ‘NEW ORDER Presents Be Music’ (V/A) via Factory Benelux

http://www.ltmrecordings.com/the_beat_club.html


808 STATE Spanish Heart featuring BERNARD SUMNER (1991)

Having been largely instrumental and sample based on their debut ‘90’, the Manchester dance collective used guest vocalists on their more melodic second long player ‘Ex:El’; while Björk contributed to ‘Ooops’, Bernard Sumner added his voice to the dreamy Balearic of ‘Spanish Heart. A less frantic cousin of ‘Mr Disco’ from ‘Technique’ with its holiday romance subject matter, ‘Spanish Heart’ had a blissful feel not too distantly related to ELECTRONIC’s ‘Some Distant Memory’.

Available on the 808 STATE album ‘Ex:El’ via ZTT Records

https://www.808state.com


ELECTRONIC Some Distant Memory (1991)

Frustrated with the conflicts and confines within NEW ORDER, Bernard Sumner had planned a solo album. But on bumping into Johnny Marr who had just departed THE SMITHS, it was turned into a collaborative project with the occasional guests including Neil Tennant, Chris Lowe and later Karl Bartos. It was ELECTRONIC not just in name but also in nature. The beautiful closing section of ‘Some Distant Memory’ featuring the oboe of Helen Powell enhanced the string synth melancholy.

Available on the ELECTRONIC album ‘Electronic’ via EMI Records

http://www.electronicband.com/


THE OTHER TWO Tasty Fish (1991)

Having done the music for the BBC shows including ‘Making Out’ and ‘Reportage’, Gillian Gilbert and Stephen Morris began turning their stockpile of unused material into songs when NEW ORDER went into hiatus. The original singer slated as the vehicle for these tunes was Kim Wilde, but when this fell through, Gilbert took over on lead vocals. Amusingly titled after a fish and chip shop near Stockport, ‘Tasty Fish’ was a catchy electropop single that should have been a big hit.

Available on THE OTHER TWO album ‘And You’ via LTM Recordings

http://www.ltmrecordings.com/the_other_two.html


A CERTAIN RATIO Shack Up – Radio Edit (1994)

Smoother, tighter, speedier and dancier plus more ELECTRONIC in both name and nature, A CERTAIN RATIO reconfigured and re-recorded their 1980 signature cover with Bernard Sumner and Johnny Marr at the production controls, all as part of a 1994 updates retrospective for Creation Records. Originally a rare groove track by BANBARRA from 1975, this new version was popular with those who had not previously enjoyed the Mancunian band’s earlier industrial funk exploits.

Available on the A CERTAIN RATIO album ‘Looking For…’ via Creation Records

https://acrmcr.com


MONACO What Do You Want From Me? (1996)

With the demise of REVENGE and seemingly NEW ORDER, Peter Hook regrouped with guitarist David Potts to form MONACO, a combo very much in the mould of the latter. Proudly embracing his signature melodic bass sound, the first single ‘What Do You Want From Me?’ sounded like it could have come off ‘Technique’, with Hook’s Curtis-like baritone and Potts’ Sumner-esque refrain enabling a prompt audience acceptance for the duo.

Available on the MONACO album ‘Music For Pleasure’ via Polydor Records

http://peterhook.get-ctrl.com/#/


THE CHEMICAL BROTHERS featuring BERNARD SUMNER Out Of Control (1999)

‘Out Of Control’ was THE CHEMICAL BROTHERS’ sonic template actually fulfilling its potential within a song based format with Bernard Sumner as the willing conspirator. With echoes of NEW ORDER’s 12 inch only excursions like ‘Blue Monday’, ‘Confusion’ and ‘Thieves like Us’, ‘Out Of Control’ had everything from a bombastic backbeat, cerebral sequences and bizarre lyrics, especially when Sumner resigned to the fact that “Maybe my moustache is too much…”

Available on THE CHEMICAL BROTHERS album ‘Singles 93-03’ via Virgin Records

http://www.thechemicalbrothers.com/


BLANK & JONES featuring BERNARD SUMNER Miracle Cure (2008)

Having worked with Robert Smith of THE CURE, German trance duo Piet Blank and Jaspa Jones had Bernard Sumner high on their list of singers for their album ‘The Logic Of Pleasure’, which also featured Claudia Brücken. The track managed to fill the electronic dance gap that had opened up with NEW ORDER’s more rock focused albums ‘Get Ready’ and ‘Waiting For The Siren’s Call’, while the single release came with excellent remixes  from Mark Reeder and Paul Humphreys from OMD.

Available on the BLANK & JONES album ‘The Logic Of Pleasure’ via Soundcolours

http://www.blankandjones.com/


FACTORY FLOOR A Wooden Box – STEPHEN MORRIS remix (2010)

Some say the music of FACTORY FLOOR is genius, others a load of repetitive bleeping to an incessant four-to-the-floor beat. Stephen Morris was a fan, hearing kindred spirits in their use of sequencers next to live drums and guitars, sometimes on the brink of post-industrial noise chaos. With his remix of ‘Wooden Box’, Morris brought out its more tuneful elements and added some vocoder processing. He continued to work with the band as the producer of 2011’s ‘(Real Love)’.

Available on the FACTORY FLOOR single ‘A Wooden Box’ via Blast First Petite ‎

https://www.facebook.com/factoryfloor/


WESTBAM featuring BERNARD SUMNER She Wants (2013)

Techno DJ WESTBAM celebrated 30 years in the music business with an intriguing mature collection of songs under the title of ‘Götterstrasse’ which featured Iggy Pop, Brian Molko and Hugh Cornwall as guest vocalists. ‘She Wants’ saw the return of Bernard Sumner on a new electronic recording. With the guitar driven BAD LIEUTENANT having been his main vehicle over the intervening years, it was great to hear him on something approaching the classic sound of synth-centred NEW ORDER again.

Available on the WESTBAM album ‘Götterstrasse’ via Vertigo Germany

http://www.westbam.de/dt/en/


NEW ORDER featuring BRANDON FLOWERS Superheated (2015)

Brandon Flowers named THE KILLERS after a fictional band in the ‘Crystal’ video while his own combo covered the JOY DIVISION standard ‘Shadowplay’ for the ‘Control’ film. So a collaboration was not totally unexpected in this union of the sorcerer and the apprentice. A Stuart Price production featuring Flowers on the chorus, ‘Superheated’ was a slice of supreme pop which despite the frantic drum ‘n’ bass elements, sounded more like THE KILLERS than it did NEW ORDER.

Available on the NEW ORDER album ‘Music Complete’ via Mute Artists

http://www.neworder.com


KOISHII & HUSH featuring GILLIAN GILBERT Lifetime – FM ATTACK Remix (2016)

Simon Langford and Alex Sowyrda are the British-Canadian duo KOISHII & HUSH whose tracks have featured unusual vocalists ranging from DURAN DURAN’s John Taylor to actress Joanne Whalley. Gillian Gilbert lent her voice to ‘Lifetime’, sounding not unlike Sarah Blackwood who incidentally sang on their 2015 offering ‘Rules & Lies’. The remix from FM ATTACK aka Canadian synthwave exponent Shawn Ward added a serene crystalline quality to proceedings.

Available on the KOISHII & HUSH single ‘Lifetime’ via Grammaton Recordings

http://www.koishiiandhush.com


RUSTY EGAN featuring PETER HOOK The Other Side (2017)

With the opening salvo ‘The Otherside’ featuring Peter Hook on Rusty Egan’s debut solo album, sonic comparisons with NEW ORDER were inevitable and the song’s melodic basslines showed how much his sound was a vital part of the band. The Bass Viking’s vocals also exuded a vulnerability that listeners could empathise with. But with Hooky touring the JOY DIVISION and NEW ORDER back catalogue, new material from him has been rare.

Available on the RUSTY EGAN album ‘Welcome To The Dance Floor’ via Black Mosaic

http://rustyegan.net


FREEBASS You Don’t Know This About Me – Remix Instrumental (2017)

A Mancunian supergroup of three bassists Hooky, Mani and Andy Rourke that spent five years in gestation before imploding. Producer Derek Miller aka OUTERNATIONALE was a fan and told The Electricity Club: “Really liked this song despite Hooky’s project falling apart on him! As you know, I’ve started and thought it deserved a proper release, albeit belatedly! So, I’ve been back in the studio with it and totally overhauled it sonically. There’s also a surprisingly punchy instrumental mix now”

Available on the FREEBASS single ‘You Don’t Know This About Me’ via 5 Pin Din Recordings

http://www.5pindinrecordings.co.uk


Text by Chi Ming Lai
24th March 2017

A Beginner’s Guide To MARK REEDER

Guide To Mark ReederMark Reeder has carved out an impressive reputation for his catalogue of fine remixes.

When Mark Reeder spoke to The Electricity Club in 2011 about his remixing style, he said: “I’m old school. I like to still be able to hear the song, but give it my own signature and atmosphere, while at the same time use as many of the original elements as possible”.

He had moved to West-Berlin from Manchester in 1978, having become fascinated by the artistic diversity of the city and was Factory Records representative in Germany between 1978 to 1982. He is credited with introducing Bernard Sumner to the world of electronically propelled dance music, thus being instrumental in the development of NEW ORDER’s influential hybrid sound.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Reeder had great success with his electronic dance music record label Masterminded For Success (MFS). For the last few years, Reeder has been heavily involved in a documentary film about his adopted home city:

mark reeder photos - DTH in East Berlin“’B-Movie (Lust & Sound in West-Berlin)’ is about the forgotten city of West-Berlin during the 80s. When the Berlin Wall fell in November 1989, not only did communist East Germany cease to exist, but the walled-in island of West-Berlin did too. Most people have forgotten, or have no idea how the city was back then. In ‘B-Movie’, I guide the viewer through this decade, but as the film is also about my life in this city too, I show you some of the things I saw and experienced during the 1980s, while participating in what has now become, the legendary subkultur of West Berlin.”

In a break from his hectic worldwide schedule promoting ‘B-Movie (Lust & Sound in West-Berlin)’, Mark Reeder kindly gave The Electricity Club an insightful commentary into the tracks that shaped his own musical career.


DIE UNBEKANNTEN Radio War (1981)

DIE UNBEKANNTEN EPReeder formed DIE UNBEKANNTEN with Alistair Gray when he settled in West-Berlin.

We were actually given the name DIE UNBEKANNTEN by a journalist, who saw our feeble first gig at the SO36. That gig was supposed to have been just a one-off, but he was surprisingly impressed and thought we were very avant-garde and apparently enjoyed our miserable performance.

In his magazine review of the event, he just called us two unknown Englishmen and from then on, people just called us DIE UNBEKANNTEN (“The Unknown”). A few weeks later, we played at the Genial Dilletanten Festival and were inadvertently presented as ‘Necropolis’, which was actually the title of our intro track. A while later, after Elisabeth Recker of Monogam Records witnessed what was probably our most chaotic performance – we were on acid – she believed we would fit perfectly with the abstract style of the rest of the artists on her record label.

Shark-Mark1984Our Swiss friend Thomas Wydler became our drummer and we recorded a three track EP featuring ‘Radio War’, ‘Poseidon’ and ‘Casualties’.

The record not only sounded nothing like any of Monogam’s previous releases, but it also caused a lot of controversy because of my design for its front cover image (a photo depicting three East German border guards) and the striking Germanic style of type face which I had chosen.

Our second, and final DIE UNBEKANNTEN record, was much more electronic. By this time, Thomas had left us and joined DIE HAUT and we had gone back to using a drum machine and had also acquired some more electronic instruments. Our friend, Adrian Wright from THE HUMAN LEAGUE gave us a brand new drum computer to test for him.

He had actually been asked to try out a very early prototype Roland TR606, but couldn’t be bothered and so he gave it to us to trial for him, so along with the Transcendent 2000 (the very same one which Bernard Sumner had played in JOY DIVISION with) and a Moog that Klaus Schulze had also given us, we immediately went into the studio and recorded ‘Don’t Tell Me Stories’ for our ‘Dangerous Moonlight’ EP. This became the first record to feature a Roland TR606.

Available on the album ‘B-Music: Der Soundtrack zum Film B-Movie’ (V/A) via DEF Media

https://www.facebook.com/lustandsoundinwestberlin/


MALARIA! Geld (1982)

Malaria - Emotion LPOne of the bands who grabbed Reeder’s attention in West-Berlin were the uncompromising all-female combo MALARIA!

I already knew Bettina Koester and Gudrun Gut from their first band MANIA-D. Musically, their approach was so different from anything I had ever heard before, as the conventional rules of male dominated rock and roll didn’t apply to the way these girls made music at all and that was what made them so exciting.

They were no virtuosos, but that didn’t matter one bit, because it was exactly that ingredient which made their music so interesting. After Beate Bartel left MANIA-D to form LIAISONS DANGEREUSES, Gudrun and Bettina formed MALARIA! a five piece all-girl band and quite an international one too, being a mixture of German, American and Dutch.

B-MOVIE MalariaTheir striking, on-stage image, all dressed in black with bright red lips, is considered a Goth image nowadays; but back in the 80s, MALARIA! did it first, and after their debut appearance in London with THE BIRTHDAY PARTY, this image was obviously hi-jacked from them for the Robert Palmer video ‘Addicted To Love’, even to the point of making the emphasis that the girls in his video also couldn’t play their instruments.

At some point very early on, I became their manager. At that time, I was the only man allowed into their sphere, and because I knew what the band wanted to sound like live, I also became their sound engineer too and naturally, as I also had my own band, DIE UNBEKANNTEN, we became their support band.

The girls trusted me, they knew I understood their ideology and I liked their music and most importantly, I didn’t interfere.

Available on the album ‘B-Music: Der Soundtrack zum Film B-Movie’ (V/A) via DEF Media

http://www.m-enterprise.de/malaria.html


SHARK VEGAS Love Habit (1986)

mark reeder photos 1) glienicker bruckeReeder’s own musical journey has to an extent, mirrored that of Bernard Sumner’s. DIE UNBEKANNTEN morphed into SHARK VEGAS to become a more electronic and disco friendly proposition.

After performing for nearly four years as DIE UNBEKANNTEN, we were asked by NEW ORDER if we would like to accompany them on their European tour after the success of ‘Blue Monday’.

We decided this would be a good moment to change our name and musical style, especially after adding two new members to our band. Besides, after our first disastrous London performance in the Barracuda Club, I thought DIE UNBEKANNTEN was much too difficult to pronounce outside of Germany, as people thought we were called DIE UNBEKANNTEN as in “Death Unbekannten” and so we urgently needed a new name and image.

Me and my partner-in-crime, Alistair Gray just threw a few ideas together one night and SHARK VEGAS became our name. I wanted something obscure sounding that didn’t actually mean anything apart from it being our band name.

shark vegas liveAl and I were huge fans of pulsating electronic dance music – most probably since ‘I Feel Love’ – and the small Berlin underground gay-disco scene, which ran parallel to the abstract avant-garde scene, was the place to go and always a great way to spend a late Friday and Saturday night, before finally crashing and burning in the Risiko club.

Besides, musically, DIE UNBEKANNTEN had already been moving away from being depressive and miserable and had become much more electronic high energy disco too, so this tour proposal presented itself as a welcome opportunity to literally, regroup.

Bernard & MarkDuring a short break in the NEW ORDER tour, we went into Conny Plank’s studio with Bernard Sumner and recorded our first single ‘You Hurt Me’, but the session was a bit of a disaster, as the studio engineer had a slipped disc and was in terrible pain. He had to lie on a camp bed in front of the mixing desk and shout instructions up to us, while Conny Plank spent all his time playing table tennis in the yard outside. That single became FAC111.

‘Love Habit’ was one of the tracks we initially recorded during the session for the FacUS ‘Young, Popular & Sexy’ compilation. We were asked to perform ‘Love Habit’ for a video, for a special Berlin edition of ‘Music Box’, Britain’s first cable TV music show and using my US Army AFN contacts, I managed to get permission to make our video on the divided Glienickebrücke (the so-called ‘Bridge of Spies’). In the video, we appear as beaten up and tortured spies in raincoats, as if we had just been let out of an East German prison.

Unfortunately, the US army forgot to inform the Soviet Army that we were making a video on the bridge and so, on the East side there was a right flap on. They sent out East German patrol boats to find out what we were doing on the bridge. I guess they thought we were trying to provoke World War III. ‘Love Habit’ was intended to be an album track, but it became one of the last songs we recorded as SHARK VEGAS and it was never released, at least not until we included it on the recent ‘B-Movie’ soundtrack.

Available on the album ‘B-Music: Der Soundtrack zum Film B-Movie’ (V/A) via DEF Media

https://www.facebook.com/markreedermusic/


DIE VISION Love By Wire (1990)

die vision tortureReleased on East German state label AMIGA, DIE VISION’s ‘Torture’ was the last album to be recorded in communist East Berlin in 1989 and featured Reeder as producer.

I was invited by the band to be the producer for their debut album. At first it seemed incredible that they had actually managed to get the AMIGA to agree, as no-one from the West had ever been allowed in their state-run recording studio, let alone produce an album there.

It transpired that because the band were allowed officially to sing in English(ese), they agreed to let them have an English-speaking producer too. In reality, I later discovered, the STASI wanted to know what kind of subversive activity I was involved in, especially after helping to arrange two illegal and meanwhile legendary secret gigs with West German punk band DIE TOTEN HOSEN in East Berlin. So I guess this was their brilliant plan to keep a close watch on me.

DIE VISION - band-02DIE VISION’s singer Uwe, was studying English at the Humbolt University – to be able to do that, you had to speak fluent Russian too – and he was so very insistent that I come over and produce their album. So I did. What an opportunity. Now, forming a band in communist East Germany was very, very difficult. It was nothing like forming a band in the West.

You couldn’t just go into a shop and buy a guitar, bass and drums and bash away. Everything was controlled by the Communist state, especially music. Before you could play to the public, your ability was first considered, then your song lyrics scrutinised to see if there were any subversive hidden anti-state messages and even getting electric instruments was difficult, you needed permits to first buy and then one to play, an electric guitar in public.

DIE VISION - bandThen as a band, you performed before a group of people, who would assess your proficiency. This determined if, when, or where you might be able to play, eg youth clubs and how much you would get paid. DIE VISION had quite a sudden rise in popularity in the East and rather than ban them, the Authorities decided to sign them, that way everything would be under control. That is, until I came along…

As we were making this album, the GDR was literally falling apart. It was very difficult making this album with a feeling of imminent doom hanging over the studio and with constant power fluctuations, people fleeing to the West and general grumbling unrest. I called the album ‘Torture’ because it was exactly that to make!

Available on the DIE VISION album ‘Torture’ via AMIGA / Zong & Vulture Records

https://www.discogs.com/artist/114367-Die-Vision


PAUL VAN DYK Words – Original Version radio edit by Paul van Dyk, Wolfgang Ragwitz + Mark Reeder (1996)

Paul Van Dyk WordsIn 1990, Reeder established MFS and discovered Trance DJ PAUL VAN DYK…

One of my first artists on MFS, COSMIC BABY made some great records, but DJs kept complaining that they couldn’t play them because he always had DJ-unfriendly intros. I suggested he find a DJ who could help him to construct DJ friendly intros to his tracks.

One night, Cosmic was performing live in the Turbine club. One of the warm up DJs was a young lad called PAUL VAN DYK. The two hit it off almost immediately and I suggested that Paul come to the office the following Monday to discuss working with Cosmic. Paul told me he was from Hamburg, but it later turned out he was originally from Eisenhuettenstadt in deepest East Germany, but had moved to East Berlin before applying to leave East Germany for Hamburg shortly before the wall came down.

MFS logoI was actually very happy to hear he was from East Germany, because that was my initial intention with MFS to create a platform for young Eastie kids; he was my first. One night, he came to me while I was working in my bar and begged me to help him to become a professional DJ.

He was working as an apprentice carpenter at that time and absolutely hated it. I told him, if he would promise me that he would work hard to be the best DJ in the world, then I would help him to achieve his goal. I told him there were no prizes for second best.

I put him in the studio with Cosmic and they recorded two amazing singles together as THE VISIONS OF SHIVA. Then I let him remix HUMATES’s track ‘Love Stimulation’ and that remix attracted a lot of attention. I knew from the start that he could do it simply because he was ambitious enough. He didn’t know it at that time of course, because his talent had to be coaxed out of him. By giving him a platform and motivation and the help of Johnny Klimek’s studio, he was able to discover his own music making talent.

paulvandyk_1996Of course, I believed absolutely in Paul and invested everything, love, creativity, all my time and effort and all I had in propelling him onto an international stage. I guided and advised him, compiled and mastered his records, designed his covers and basically created the legend of PAUL VAN DYK. I used my contacts and credibility to get him high profile remixes, such as ‘Spooky’ by NEW ORDER and even answered his interviews, anything which would enhance his credibility, profile and status.

Sadly, once he had reached the brink of DJ superstardom, he decided he no longer needed me and ditched me without a word of thanks.

Available on the PAUL VAN DYK single ‘Words – Part 2’ via MFS

http://www.paulvandyk.com/


SAM TAYLOR-WOOD & PET SHOP BOYS I’m In Love With A German Filmstar – Stuck In The 80s remix (2008)

Sam TaylorWood+PetShopBoysThe ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’ film director recorded a number of covers with her favourite pop duo like ‘J T’aime… Moi Non Plus’, ‘Love To Love You Baby’ and this new wave classic…

Neil and Chris asked me to do this remix after hearing the mix I had made of ‘Miracle Cure’ featuring Bernard Sumner for BLANK & JONES. It was quite thrilling being asked to do this song, as I’ve always loved the original.

The PET SHOP BOYS / SAM TAYLOR-WOOD version was more minimalistic and techno sounding though, so I thought I would make mine more retro-modern-disco sounding.

fbn111cdstwI thought, as its going to be released on Kompakt, they are probably going to have banging techno remixes done anyway. I know they were completely surprized at the label to hear it, because they really expected me to make some sort of cheesy trance mix. It is such an iconic and mystical song though, and I was worried I would be able to do it justice as a dance track. I made three different versions, a long mix and two shorter mixes and all in 5.1 surround sound, which I put on ‘Five Point One’.

I was very pleased when Sam said she thought it was “wicked” and totally relieved that the Boys also liked it too. But when THE PASSIONS contacted me themselves, to tell me that they really loved it, well, that was like a stone being lifted from my heart.

Available on the MARK REEDER remix album ‘Five Point One’ via Kennan Limited

http://petshopboys.co.uk/


BLANK & JONES, MARK REEDER Manifesto – Save Yourself Mix (2009)

Reeder collaborated with popular German dance duo BLANK & JONES on a restyling project entitled ‘ReOrdered’ which featured Bernard Sumner, Robert Smith and Claudia Brücken. But one of the album’s highlights was ‘Manifesto’ featuring Vanessa Daou.

‘Manifesto’ was actually the third track of Vanessa’s that I reworked for ‘ReOrdered’. The first was ‘Consequences’.

I really liked her voice and her lyrics though and I asked BLANK & JONES if I could rework another track, that was ‘Heart Of Wax’. After that, the idea for ‘ReOrdered’ was born and I would go on to rework all BLANK & JONES’ vocal-dance tracks into songs, it was a bit like back engineering a remix. The first two tracks were quite soft, so I wanted ‘Manifesto’ to be a little tougher and sound more like a nu-beat track with trippy elements.

Available on the BLANK & JONES, MARK REEDER album ‘ReOrdered’ via Soundcolours

http://www.blankandjones.com/


BAD LIEUTENANT Sink Or Swim – Rettungstring Radio remix (2010)

BAD LIEUTENANT Sink or SwimPrior to the recent return of NEW ORDER sans Hooky, Bernard Sumner had an interim, guitar led project BAD LIEUTENANT. However, many followers of NEW ORDER missed the sound Sumner had become synonymous for.

After Hooky decided to leave NEW ORDER, I think Bernard needed some distance and formed BAD LIEUTENANT, together with Jake Evans and the remaining members of NEW ORDER.

Jake is such a talented person and a brilliant guitarist – he’s definitely one to watch in the future. I really liked the parent album ‘Never Cry Another Tear’, it’s a wonderful summer album and I think it is very underrated.

badlieutenant1I was given the opportunity to do some remixes for them and decided to rework their guitar tracks into electronic dance versions. ‘Sink Or Swim’ was the first and I think I made about six different versions of this track, Bernard took the piss out of me for the amount of mixes we made. The song had been performed live and so the tempo varied within the song from the start to finish, which made it a bloody nightmare to mix into a 4/4 dance track.

To make it sound organic, we had to take all the instruments and slice them up and then carefully put them back together again by hand. It was a mammoth task and at the time, I thought “I never want to have to do that again”.

After ‘Sink Or Swim’, we mixed ‘Twist Of Fate’, which I also made about four or so mixes. The same time consuming slice and move ritual applied as with ‘Sink Or Swim’. As the remixes were only released digitally, I decided to include some of them on my ‘Five Point One’ album, and later, ‘Collaborator’.

Available on the MARK REEDER remix album ‘Collaborator’ via Factory Benelux

https://www.facebook.com/badlieutenantmusic/


JOHN FOXX Underpass – Sinister Subway remix (2010)

JOHN FOXX MetatronicReeder’s reworking of JOHN FOXX’s calling card was mighty and he relished the challenge.

JOHN FOXX was putting together the ‘Metatronic’ compilation album and I was in contact with his manager about something different entirely. During our conversation, he told me about the compilation and I said jokingly that I could do a remix perhaps, as a bonus track.

Well, after they had listened to a few of my remixes, he called and asked me if I would like to remix ‘Underpass’. My studio partner Micha Adam and I couldn’t believe it. It was a dream come true. No-one had ever been allowed to remix this legendary song before and so it was such an honour. Then the reality set in. If I balls this up, the fans will lynch me.

Being a huge fan of the song myself, I decided I could only do it as I would want it to sound myself. Yet I didn’t want to drive too far away from the original though either and wanted to keep as many elements in there as possible.

I was sent the parts, eight tracks in all… but that iconic massive synth riff was missing. All I had been given was the riff, played by a small tinny sounding synth. Well, that was it. I realised, the huge reverb sound was added live, during the mix-down and so we had to reconstruct it.

I recalled what kind of instrumentation and effects they might have used back then and dug out my old Space Echo. Once we had reconstructed the original version, we made a 5.1 mix of it (it is a hidden Easter Egg on ‘Five Point One’). Then, I remixed it. I made three versions, a short radio mix in stereo and 5.1 plus a longer Sinister Subway mix for the ‘Metatronic’ compilation album.

Available on the JOHN FOXX album ‘Metatronic’ via Metamatic Records

http://www.metamatic.com/


ANNE CLARK If – Seemingly forever remix (2011)

five-point-oneCult goth icon ANNE CLARK is an English poet, who sets her poems to music and is probably more well-known outside of the UK.

Anne is truly a great artist. I first met her when she played in Berlin after recording ‘Sleeper In Metropolis’ with David Harrow, who lived in Berlin at that time. This timeless track is one of my all-time favourite 80s songs and it became almost like an anthem to the divided city, especially so to the kids in the East.

anne clarkShe was (and still is) absolutely adored in the East, mainly because her dark and descriptive poetry set to music, clearly struck a chord with them and it was something they all could identify with. Side two of her first album was recorded with Vini Reilly of THE DURUTTI COLUMN.She kept with the electronic side and made her second album with JOHN FOXX. Over the years, she has cultivated her poetry with a wide variety of musical sounds from Synthetic to Rock to Classical.

After a chance meeting a few years ago, when she performed in the Russian embassy in Berlin, I reworked the track ‘The Hardest Heart’ she had made for BLANK & JONES for our ‘ReOrdered’ album and then I remixed two of her tracks ‘Full Moon’ and ‘If’ in 5.1 surround sound for my ‘Five Point One’ album,

Available on the MARK REEDER remix album ‘Five Point One’ via Kennan Limited

http://anneclarkofficial.com/


DEPECHE MODE Sweetest Perfection – Sweetest Conception remix (2011)

depeche_mode__violatorReeder was given the opportunity to rework a track from the iconic ‘Violator’ album by Daniel Miller.

Like ‘Underpass’, this was almost reverential territory. Depeche were putting together the ‘Remixes 2 81-11’ compilation and Daniel asked me if I would like to do a remix for it. By the time I had received the list of possible tracks to remix, all the most popular songs had been taken and so I was left with songs no-one dared to touch.

‘Sweetest Perfection’ was always one of my favourite tracks though and I thought it would be a real challenge to remix. Not only in terms of actually attempting to remix it, but with the thought that as a fan, how would I want it to sound and if I f*cked up, I would probably have to leave the planet.

We already had a really short deadline to finish the remix on and only three days into the mix, I got a call from my mother telling me that my dad had been rushed to hospital with a broken hip after being pushed over. The situation looked very serious, he was a very old man and the doctors didn’t give him much chance of survival. I had to down tools and fly over and consequently, I missed the deadline for submitting my remix for the DM album.

depeche-mode-bum-byAntonCorbijnFortunately, I was in the process of putting ‘Five Point One’ together and decided to finish the remix anyway and asked Daniel if I could license it for my album. He spoke with the band and they said I could (I was told it was the first time a previously unreleased DM song had ever appeared on another album) and as we were looking for images to accompany the 5.1 mixes, Anton Corbijn kindly gave me one of his old, unseen photos of the band for me to use.

I wanted my remix to retain as many of the original elements as possible, but I added extra strings, more swirling synths and a real bass guitar, as well as my own little riff with a broken piano which I hoped would make it sound a bit more Eastern European.

Available on the MARK REEDER remix album ‘Five Point One’ via Kennan Limited

http://www.depechemode.com/


ELECTROBELLE Falling – In Your Heart remix (2011)

ELECTROBELLE FallingReeder took a liking to stop / start Midlands duo ELECTROBELLE and delivered an edgier reimagining of ‘Falling’ before they belatedly got round to releasing it themselves officially in 2012!

I heard ‘Mirrorball’ by ELECTROBELLE on the 2009 ‘Electronically Yours’ compilation released by Undo Records. I really liked Charlotte’s vocal style and so I asked them if they would like to contribute a track to my ‘Five Point One’ album.

They sent me the parts of a demo track they had made and this became ‘Falling’. The idea for the ‘Five Point One’ album was to include remixes I had made for famous artists, coupled with lesser known ones and mix them all in 5.1 Dolby surround sound.

Available on the MARK REEDER remix album ‘Five Point One’ via Kennan Limited

https://www.facebook.com/electrobelle/


MARSHEAUX So Close – So Close remix (2011)

marsheaux-inhale-remixesWhile busy remixing legends in synthesized pop, Reeder also kept an eye on newer acts that were emerging from Europe…

I had been a fan of Undo records, FOTONOVELA and MARSHEAUX for a while and after The Electricity Club posted a link to one of their tracks, I asked Chi if he could hook us up, as I thought that ‘So Close’ would fit in well on my ‘Five Point One’ album and asked them if I could remix it.

‘So Close’ had a melancholic element, but I wanted to give the song a more filmic feeling and make it even more melancholic, with sweeping strings and added bass guitar. Filmmaker Paul Morgens heard the track and immediately loved it. He made a great video for it made up of old footage he had found in his aunties archive.

Available on the MARSHEAUX deluxe album ‘Inhale’ via Undo Records

http://www.marsheaux.com/


DIE TOTEN HOSEN Disco – Lange Hosen remix (2011)

Die_Toten_Hosen_-_In_Aller_StilleDüsseldorf punk veterans DIE TOTEN HOSEN have maintained a long standing kinship with Mark Reeder.

I have a long, close connection with Die Hosen. I first met Campino in Bochum. MALARIA! were playing a gig there and he was allocated as my driver. He told me about his new band DIE TOTEN HOSEN and about their hideous, but hilarious high-waisted flared trousers, which they bought by the kilo.

A couple of months later, I became their live sound engineer, and together with my rebelliously minded Eastie friends, I managed to help organise a very secret gig with them in an East-Berlin Church. It was disguised as a religious church service, a so-called Blues Mass. Although heavily monitored, the East German clergy was seen as a passive resistance movement against the communist government and although not officially acknowledged, they were tolerated and thus had a certain amount of flexibility within the system. That way we could arrange our secret gig there using this loophole.

DIE UNBEKANNTEN went on tour with DIE TOTEN HOSEN and one of the highlights was performing in the Kogasz club, in the Karl-Marx-University in Budapest. It was supposed to have been a top secret gig in the Young Artists club to a few music lovers, organised by photographer Janos Veto, but so many people eventually wanted to see the gig, that it was moved to the University.

4.1.1

During this tour we had many problems with our car. DIE TOTEN HOSEN were so sceptical our car would even survive the trip, they bet us a crate of beer, that we wouldn’t make it to Budapest.

We did, but had such a horror trip trying to get there, as our car kept breaking down. Upon our arrival in the University, Janos told us we couldn’t play!

The authorities had decided the gig was illegal and it had officially been pulled, but we thought we have come all this way so f*ck them and we did the gig anyway. After we had performed, someone stole our drum computer. We were paid in beer vouchers (Hungarian Forints) and had so much of it, we invited everyone in the YAC for drinks, as we couldn’t take the cash out of the country… I don’t remember much about that night after that.

‘Disco’ was a track off the DIE TOTEN HOSEN album ‘In Alle Stille’ and I thought it would be fun to make an Italo disco sounding mix of this track. The original is a fast paced, rock song and when we received the parts, we discovered there were about 40 guitar tracks. We had to apply the same procedure as with BAD LIEUTENANT in slicing and moving all the elements so that they would fit into the new tempo and yet still sound organic.

Available on the MARK REEDER remix album ‘Five Point One’ via Kennan Limited

http://www.dietotenhosen.de/


KOISHII & HUSH featuring JOHN TAYLOR C’est Tout Est Noir – Black Night Remix (2013)

KOISHII & HUSH featuring JOHN TAYLOR C'est Tout Est Noir‘C’est Tout Est Noir’ was the DURAN DURAN bassist’s best lead vocal since his solo single ‘I Do What I Do’ in 1986.

KOISHII & HUSH had made a remix for BAD LIEUTENANT’s ‘Twist of Fate’ and after telling me how much they liked my version, they asked me if I would like to remix their track ‘C’est Tout Est Noir’ which they had made together with DURAN DURAN bassist John Taylor.

At first, I thought he would be playing bass guitar on the track, but then to my surprise he was the vocalist. He has a great voice and I really liked the track. The original is quite trancey, so I wanted to make it more cinematic and add some guitar and extra bass. John loved it and immediately used my rough demo as his soundtrack to a vlog he’d made flying from Austria to LA.

Available on the MARK REEDER remix album ‘Collaborator’ via Factory Benelux

http://www.koishiiandhush.com/


QUEEN OF HEARTS United (2013)

QUEEN OF HEARTS Cocoon2CDA stomping electro disco number produced by Reeder, Elizabeth Morphew’s cooing Bush-like howls and breathy euphoria were a total delight to the ears while the mighty cavernous sound provided the heat!

I saw a piece posted on The Electricity Club about QUEEN OF HEARTS and I was curious. I really liked Elizabeth’s voice from the moment I heard the first couple of tracks.

Chi thought we might make a nice collaboration and so I got in touch with her to compliment her and she asked me to remix ‘Neon’ which eventually ended up on ‘Collaborator’. We then made a cover version together of Chris Isaak’s ‘Wicked Game’. I then wrote two songs ‘Suicide’ and ‘United’ for her debut album ‘Cocoon’.

Available on the QUEEN OF HEARTS deluxe album ‘Cocoon’ via Night Moves

http://iamqueenofhearts.com/


WESTBAM featuring BERNARD SUMNER She Wants – Old School remix (2013)

WESTBAM She wantsTechno legend WESTBAM made his return with the impressive ‘Götterstrasse’ which featured Iggy Pop, Hugh Cornwell, Brian Molko and Lil Wayne. Naturally, Reeder reworked an excellent track featuring the vocals of Bernard Sumner.

My relationship with WESTBAM goes back to the early days when he was trying to establish himself as a DJ in Berlin. He played in the Metropol disco and towards the end of the 80s in the UFO club.

His involvement in the evolution of the Berlin Techno scene is reluctantly accepted, but arguably without his engagement, many things probably wouldn’t have happened. He was a vital participant in parties and events and was the first Berlin DJ to play in the Soviet Union.

FBN112CD_12pp_bookletWhile we were putting ideas for songs for ‘B-Movie’ together, he gave us a demo of ‘You Need The Drugs’ featuring Richard Butler of THE PSYCHEDLIC FURS. It was a great track and we all immediately loved it. He said he was making a songs album and would love to make a track with Bernard Sumner on vocals. He sent Bernard the demo and he really liked the track and agreed to do it. As thanks, I was given the opportunity to remix it which was perfect timing, as I was in the process of putting together my ‘Collaborator’ compilation for Factory Benelux and we could therefore give it a physical release on CD.

Available on the MARK REEDER remix album ‘Collaborator’ via Factory Benelux

http://westbam.com/


MODERN FAMILY UNIT Mmh Mmh Aahh – Eyy & Aarrgghh remix (2015)

MFUReeder went back to Manchester to rework the local electro wave duo MFU and added some Berlin Burlesque groove.

Dave Haslam told me about MFU and that they would like a remix. They sent me ‘Mmh Mmh Aahh’ and I loved it. I don’t know why, but it reminded me somehow of early ROXY MUSIC. I wanted to make it a bit dancier, but retain its overall atmosphere and add a little bit of Berlin mystique with the zither.

Available on the single ‘Mmh Mmh Aahh’ via GaS Records

http://www.modernfamilyunit.co.uk/


MARK REEDER Mauerstadt (2015)

B-MUSICFrom the soundtrack to Reeder’s film ‘B-Movie’, it enabled him to soundtrack his memories of the divided city with a 21st century outlook. Modern technology helped the process…

During the ‘B-Movie’ editing process, we wanted to use the DAF track ‘Kebab Träume’ for the burning of the Berlin Wall birthday sequence, but after long and rather unproductive negotiations, they wouldn’t let us have it.

So I decided I would write a track myself, using only a couple of analogue sequencers and synths to accompany this great piece of footage by the incredible Knut Hoffmeister.

Available on the album ‘B-Music: Der Soundtrack zum Film B-Movie’ (V/A) via DEF Media

http://www.b-movie-der-film.de/


NEW ORDER Singularity – Duality Remix (2016)

NEWORDER singularity-12When NEW ORDER made their recorded return with ‘Music Complete’, Reeder was given the opportunity to rework some tracks and indirectly became part of their new live show.

I was asked if I would like to remix a track from the latest NEW ORDER album so I chose one of my favourite songs ‘Academic’, as it seemed like it was up for the challenge, being mainly a traditional style guitar track.

But while I was in Bucharest with ‘B-Movie’ and hanging out with CROWD CONTROL, I got an urgent call asking if I would be able to make a quick remix of ‘Singularity’. I raced back home and immediately started work on it.

B-MOVIE Mark+BernardIt’s a great track and I really enjoyed remixing it. Which is fitting, Bernard was also so impressed with my ‘B-Movie’, that he asked me if NEW ORDER could use some footage for their backdrop video in their live shows.

This was so well received, that it then became the promo video clip for the ‘Singularity’ single. The even faster-cut images and theme of the song work really well together with the music.

When NEW ORDER performed recently in Berlin, I was very pleased to have the honour of introducing the band.

Available on the single ‘Singularity’ via Mute Artists

http://www.neworder.com/


The Electricity Club gives its grateful thanks to Mark Reeder

The film ‘B-Movie (Lust & Sound in West-Berlin)’ is available now on DVD, Bluray and download

http://www.5point1.org/info.html

https://twitter.com/markreedermfs


Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
26th March 2016, updated 5th July 2020

MARK REEDER Collaborator

MARK REEDER has carved out an impressive reputation for his catalogue of fine remixes since the success of his electronic dance music record label MFS which launched the careers of internationally renowned DJs such as PAUL VAN DYK and COSMIC BABY.

Mark Reeder FBN112He had moved to Berlin in 1978 having become fascinated by the artistic diversity of the city and was Factory Records’ representative in Germany between 1978 to 1982.

He also worked with bands such MALARIA! and DIE TOTEN HOSEN while simultaneously being part of cult duo DIE UNBEKANNTEN who later morphed into SHARK VEGAS and toured Europe with NEW ORDER.

His passionate attention to detail gained many notable admirers within the music industry.

So when Reeder focused on remixing at the start of the new century with his studio partner Micha Adam, he was given the opportunity to work with major artists such as JOHN FOXX, PET SHOP BOYS, DEPECHE MODE and BLANK & JONES.

As the man credited for introducing NEW ORDER to electronically propelled dance music, when MARK REEDER spoke to The Electricity Club in 2011, he said: “I’m old school. I like to still be able to hear the song, but give it my own signature and atmosphere, while at the same time use as many of the original elements as possible”. Reeder’s visceral approach provided a developmental enhancement to the music while retaining an all important degree of familiarity and accessibility. A number of these results ended up on his lush surround sound compilation package ‘Five Point One’ in 2011.To follow-up ‘Five Point One’, the revived Factory Benelux label have issued ‘Collaborator’, a new compendium of remixes and collaborations by the still Berlin-based Reeder.

fbn111cdblA significant number of tracks feature his long-time friend Bernard Sumner who appears vocally in four guises with the songs reworked in a classic electronic style not really heard since NEW ORDER’s ‘Here To Stay’ in 2002 and ELECTRONIC with Johnny Marr. First, there are Reeder’s versions of BAD LIEUTENANT singles ‘Sink Or Swim’ and ‘Twist of Fate’ which are without doubt, more enjoyable that the guitar driven originals.

Meanwhile, the wonderful ‘Miracle Cure’ helmed by dance merchants BLANK & JONES could easily be mistaken for a NEW ORDER dance track in its Reeder interpretation. Best of all though is ‘She Wants’, Sumner’s most recent collaboration with WESTBAM – given an Old School Remix by Reeder, it does what its says on the tin.

However, the previously unreleased demo of ‘Crystal’ which Sumner first recorded with Reeder and Corvin Dalek is perhaps less essential but welcome, giving as it does, a very different Deep House view of the song from its ‘Get Ready’ rock out. But how marvellous it is to hear Sumner being given a synth driven backbone again? Now while his guitar has always been an essential ingredient to NEW ORDER, his tracks on ‘Collaborator’ are evidence if any that should the Manchester brand ever record new material again, not only should the direction be electronic but also, MARK REEDER should be behind the mixing desk as well.

fbn111cdqoh‘Collaborator’ also highlights Reeder’s love of female fronted synthpop. Reeder’s So Close Remix of MARSHEAUX’s ‘So Far’ and a smooth Euro styled Sweet & Sticky rework of MARNIE’s ‘Sugarland’ both display an affinity with The Electricity Club’s own tastes. But things are then taken to the next level with his remix of QUEEN OF HEARTS’ ‘Neon’; TEC is pleased to say it assisted in bringing the two parties together and the resultant Electrically Excited Remix is a rich slice of euphoric electro schaffel that has been well worth the creative intervention.

The remaining collaborations are an interestingly eclectic bunch it has to be said. How many compilations can claim to bring together post-punk veteran Anne Clark, DURAN DURAN bassist John Taylor AND artist Sam Taylor-Wood?

fbn111cdstwClark cuts her stern poetry on ‘The Hardest Heart’, a track originally reconfigured for Reeder’s ‘Reordered’ project with BLANK & JONES while Sam Taylor-Wood teams up with old pals PET SHOP BOYS for an extended retro restyling of THE PASSIONS’ I’m In Love With A German Film Star’.

John Taylor’s ‘C’est Tout Est Noir’ however is more intriguing being a recent offering with KOISHII & HUSH and the first lead vocal from the David Beckham of New Romantic since his solo single ‘I Do What I Do’ from the ‘9 ½ Weeks’ soundtrack in 1986.

Reeder’s Black Night Remix improves on the original, bringing with it a body of stark musicality as well as bringing out the moodier aspects of the song.

The conclusion of the album completes the circle of Reeder’s musical journey and goes back to DIE UNBEKANNTEN’s ‘Radio War’ from 1982 and SHARK VEGAS’ 1986 Factory Records release ‘You Hurt Me’. This pair of archive recordings actually shows how Reeder’s own musical journey has to an extent, mirrored that of Sumner’s.

Photo by Carlos Heinz

Photo by Carlos Heinz

‘Radio War’ is more like JOY DIVISION, all doom laden, bass heavy and claustrophobic while ‘You Hurt Me’ produced by Bernard Sumner is characterised by the sort of New York disco sequence programming that made NEW ORDER famous. Both are interesting curios in the story of how Reeder has arrived here today.

In the excellent interview by John Cooper featured within the booklet liner notes, Reeder says: “I always want my remixes to be as recognisable as their original song. This is always my concern when making a remix”.

This CD only package (please take note record labels – vinyl is NOT everything!) is a fine catalogue of MARK REEDER’s career to date covering key aspects of classic and contemporary electronic pop.

‘Collaborator’ proves that the modern day club remix doesn’t have to be death by four-to-the-floor and can be a song oriented art form in itself.


With thanks to James Nice at Factory Benelux

‘Collaborator’ is available now on CD only via Factory Benelux from Amazon and other retail outlets

http://factorybenelux.com/mark_reeder_collaborator_fbn111cd.html

http://www.5point1.org/

https://www.facebook.com/markreedermusic


Text by Chi Ming Lai
Album Cover Photo by Katja Ruge
19th May 2014

WESTBAM Götterstrasse

WESTBAM GötterstrasseGerman techno DJ legend WESTBAM celebrates 30 years in the music business with an intriguing mature collection of songs under the title of ‘Götterstrasse’.

Literally translated as ‘Gods Street’, the 14 tracks feature a varied and impressive cast of vocalists.

These include THE PSYCHEDELIC FURS’ Richard Butler, NEW ORDER’s Bernard Sumner, IGGY POP, Brian Molko of PLACEBO, ex-member of THE STRANGLERS’ Hugh Cornwell and even rappers such as KANYE WEST and LIL’ WAYNE!

‘Götterstrasse’ sounds heavenly and while the theme of the album centres on the joy and euphoria of underground nightlife, it also reflects on the consequences of comedown. Indeed, the album’s magnificent launch single ‘You Need The Drugs’ voiced brilliantly by Richard Butler is not actually celebration of illicit substance use.

“There’s been practically no interview in the last 30 years in which I wasn’t asked about drugs” said WESTBAM, real name Maximilian Lenz. “So the song ‘You Need The Drugs’, sung by Richard Butler, vocalist of new wave band Psychedelic Furs, is the first explicit electronic appeal AGAINST the use of drugs, with a clear message: drugs are a bore! Drugs destroy relationships! Drugs are always counterproductive!”

‘Kick It Like A Sensei’ featuring Lil’ Wayne follows and the sparse soundtrack held together by symphonic bursts of synth strings and metronomic rhythms provides a dramatic listen. The New Orleans hip-hop star’s “Like a Sensei” mantra becomes quite hypnotic and draws the listener in. Meanwhile, Katt Rockell provides a raspy and soulful feminine edge to yet another metronomic percussive base on the superb ‘Rebel Heart’ which musically builds with tinkling sequences and further synth string stabs.

Whereas the diverse selection of vocalists make on paper an unlikely cohesive album, WESTBAM keeps the musical thread together with a consistent adventure in sound. Instrumentally the songs are the same, yet different and the singers have been given the freedom to shape the songs melodically to provide the necessary variation. Interestingly, dominant staccato bass pulsing is largely absent from proceedings as are banging beats; this in turn makes ‘Götterstrasse’ sound almost cocoon-like.

Iggy Pop’s baritone provides an album highlight with ‘Iron Music’, the tense militaristic framework being highly Teutonic as the former James Newell Osterberg recalls his own period in Cold War Berlin with echoes of ‘Aisha’ his 1999 collaboration with DEATH IN VEGAS.

It all sounds strangely like JOY DIVISION gone techno, so the track which pops up next is highly appropriate.

‘She Wants’ sees the return of Bernard Sumner on a new electronic dance composition and it’s great to hear him in fine voice again on something approaching the sound of synth centred NEW ORDER.

Meanwhile, more sombre synthetic strings decorate the beautiful ‘Götterstrasse No 1’ which sees Ina Humpe’s vocals sampled and scatted over a suitably abstract slice of dance art. Humpe’s other contribution ‘To The Middle of Nowhere’ provides a gently autotuned sheen to the pretty Eurocentric backing.

Unsettling Wagnerian overtones dominate ‘Sick’ with Brian Molko and ‘Radio Siberia’ with Kanye West. While Molko gives it some angsty Gothic gloom, West is more typically urban with the expected “MF” profanities throughout. After an impressive eight track run of consistent quality, it is from here that ‘Götterstrasse’ starts to flounder a little.

A change in the instrumental timbre comes with some bass guitar on ‘We Feel Love’ featuring Afrika Baby Bam but this, like ‘Radio Siberia’ suffers from comparison with the first half of the album.

‘Solid Sound’ featuring Southern Blues singer/songwriter Andrew Tyler returns to the template set earlier on ‘Götterstrasse’ but by now the momentum is lost and in retrospect, the following downtempo ‘Where We’re From’ with Katt Rockell sounds really out of place.

However, ‘Götterstrasse’ snaps back to the wondrous feel of its first half with an appearance by Hugh Cornwall on the penultimate offering ‘A Night to Remember’. It’s the most frantic track of the collection but that’s not to say it doesn’t have a serene quality, the metallic textures are complimented by piano and soothing ARP Solina reminiscent of the close of ROXY MUSIC’s ‘If There Was Something’. The ambient instrumental ‘Reprise’ brings the set to its conclusion.

Overall, ‘Götterstrasse’ is a fascinating listen, full of character if just a bit too long. A fabulous 9-10 track album nests within its steadfast beats, melancholic strings and vast array of singers. The deluxe 2CD edition incidentally features the dub mixes where the comparative simplicity of the backing tracks is highlighted. It has to be said that while the album’s rhythms are repetitive, they are unobtrusive and compliment the various stages carrying the lead characters.

Haunting, lively and enigmatic, some of the best electronic music of 2013 can be found on ‘Götterstrasse’.


With thanks to Mark Reeder

‘Götterstrasse’ is released by Vertigo / Universal Germany as a CD, deluxe 2CD and download

http://www.westbam.de/dt/en/

http://www.facebook.com/westbam


Text by Chi Ming Lai
6th May 2013