Tag: Years & Years

It Goes On – What’s Happened To Synthpop?

CHVRCHES-2015-01Today, CHVRCHES are perhaps the nearest thing to the ‘Synth Britannia’ tradition and have proved that there is an international market for synthpop.

With catchy melodies and riffs that work with vocal toplines rather than being swamped by them, they are presently the saviours of synthpop, bringing that sound to a new generation.

But elsewhere, acts like YEARS & YEARS and EKKOES are being championed by the mainstream press as synthpop when they clearly aren’t. As the Athens-based synth maidens MARSHEAUX recently put it to TEC: “For sure you can’t say that YEARS & YEARS are synthpop. Maybe the production is electronic, but the entire attitude is not.” 

In that case, why are so many modern acts being described in the mainstream as synthpop? These mis-sold products would surely be questioned under the Trade Descriptions Act, like PPI? It goes on, so what has happened to synthpop?

Back in the day following the paths laid by KRAFTWERK and JEAN-MICHEL JARRE, a new trend began as a riposte to angry punk music dominating the alternative charts… three keys versus three chords, why not?! Moog synthesisers on TUBEWAY ARMY’s ‘Are Friends Electric?’, which topped the UK charts in 1979, were to pave the way for cheaper, but perfectly usable Korgs or Rolands for THE HUMAN LEAGUE and OMD to play with to their hearts’ content.

But these first outings were more doom than pop, with some arguing that was exactly what electronica was supposed to be about. To this day, reluctant League fans quote ‘Reproduction’ and ‘Travelogue’ as their favourite albums. Philip Oakey preferred that pop factor, which he achieved with the recruitment of Joanne Catherall and Susanne Sulley.

Of course GIORGIO MORODER‘s take on synth has always been on the disco side, pleasing Oakey himself to oblivion ‘Together In Electric Dreams’, further disambiguating the meaning of the genre.

Erasure_7550With similar instincts, Vince Clarke cited “boredom with touring” in DEPECHE MODE, to abandon them for YAZOO and then the super poppy ERASURE. “He wanted to be the new ABBA” said John Fryer, co-engineer of those early DM recording sessions. Meanwhile, with Martin Gore as their chief songwriter, the Basildon lads gradually darkened and went off to achieve God like status across the globe.

For arguments sake, if ERASURE are pure, 100% synthpop, then DEPECHE MODE would be dark synthpop. But is every song with synths a synthpop song? Is TAYLOR DAYNE electronica, because the bassline for ‘Tell It To My Heart’ is produced on synthesizers? How about REAL LIFE with ‘Send Me An Angel’ or any WHAM! song for that matter? The obvious answer is no…

If the Musicians Union once tried to ban the use of the synthesizers during live performances and in studios, why has it become so important to jump on the synth bandwagon while doing, what can be described (at best) as mediocre pop?

Human League-1988Maybe it’s the simple passage of time, where things change with their natural flow and genres merge and mutate. THE HUMAN LEAGUE used to sing about Sci-Fi, but they’d never do that now. DEPECHE MODE’s ‘Construction Time Again’ was like a socialist manifesto… but Gore’s not really been political in a while. Instead of writing songs about electrical current, with ‘Tesla Girls’, OMD moved towards songs about attractive ladies using electrical current.

‘Synth Britannia’ suggested that while NEW ORDER and PET SHOP BOYS took synthpop into dancier territory, the meaningful, innovative electronic pop started to dwindle down with the likes of THOMPSON TWINS and HOWARD JONES.

With “too much synthpop being around”, the songs seemed to follow a more conventional template, even with the use of synthesizers. Post-‘Synth Britannia’ saw the dissolution of some bands and only a few managed to stay true to their roots and evolve around their electronic blueprint like DEPECHE MODE.

Fast forward to 2008 and what appeared to be a synthpop revival took to the stage. Artists like LADY GAGA, LA ROUX, LITTLE BOOTS and HURTS were branded synthpop. But were they? Or was it just simple pop with synth elements?

The abundance of synth dazzled on LADY GAGA‘s super pop songs, both ‘Poker Face’ and ‘Paparazzi’ include a fabulous mixture of electronic sounds. Whether it was a publicity stunt, or not, one could not deny the geniality in which way her songs were produced, and how synthy they sounded. But is that what synthpop was supposed to revive into?

LA ROUX was blatantly described as synthpop and commercially successful, but the remixes of her tracks were curiously done by dubstep producers. Some accused her of jumping on the synth as a fashion statement, especially when she described the genre as dead and unsurprisingly, the follow-up to her debut opus, contained less synth and more guitar. But redeeming action would seem to have taken place in 2015, when she lent her voice to a number of tracks on NEW ORDER’s comeback album ‘Music Complete’.

LITTLE BOOTS used synths more than competently and made headway on her debut ‘Hands’, although follow-ups ‘Nocturnes’ and ‘Working Girl’ ventured towards the less challenging territory of dance, despite her collaborating with JEAN-MICHEL JARRE in 2015.

HURTS-colourAlongside the girls were two boys, HURTS. They engaged in a well-designed commercial success story, being signed to a Sony subsidiary and involving themselves with big names like KYLIE MINOGUE. Packaged as synthpop, they quickly gained the trust of thousands of fans, particularly in Europe, and extensive gigging cemented HURTS’ success. If ‘Happiness’ had elements of electronica in it, they were carefully placed and adequately exploited to produce a very polished album with commerce in mind.

But by ‘Exile’, HURTS aspired to be stadium-era SIMPLE MINDS, while on their third album, the Manchester lads visibly “surrendered” their synth vision in favour of lukewarm pop with ‘Some Kind Of Heaven’ sounding no different to the blandness of SAM SMITH.

While today, Gaga is still active and using synths in her production, RiHANNA and KELIS have been at it too! And now TAYLOR SWIFT can be super electronic at times. But the majority of it is merely pop.

YEARS & YEARSBack in the day, most people got into synths through synthpop. The choruses were often not sung and comprised of catchy melodies, while counter-melodies provided an additional source of musicality; those very counter-melodies so often found with ERASURE aren’t really practised any more, even with acts like SHELTER who utilise the Clarke / Bell template. Still, SHELTER are more synthpop than YEARS & YEARS will ever be!

So why do the mainstream press feel the need to call a pop house act like YEARS & YEARS synthpop? To gain respect or pretend to be niche? It must be! No self-respectable VISAGE or BLANCMANGE fan would entertain the audacity of the comparisons. But for the casual music fan, it can be very misleading.

Eagerly described as electropop and synthpop, YEARS & YEARS have nothing to do with the synthesizer’s legacy. ‘King’ has a synthy bass line but that’s where it ends, other than the strategic positioning of a Moog Voyager in the video. The need to try and define it as synthpop is shameless.

The synthpop definition is causing much head scratching. Whatever, YEARS & YEARS are not KID KASIO; frontman Olly Alexander may be blessed with a soulful singing voice, but he has more in common with BROS than either YAZOO or early EURYTHMICS, two classic acts who successfully combined bluesier vocals with electronics.

MARSHEAUX_U5A3895With songs like ‘Don’t Go’ or ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)’, everyone remembers the synth riffs that dominate the intros as much as the vocal hooks. That in a nutshell could define synthpop. MARSHEAUX added: “Placing two synthesizers in front of a band doesn’t make them a synthpop band. ’Synthpop’ is a lot of other things than just a synthesizer. Apart from the music, there is also the attitude in a band”.

Meanwhile, Mark Brooks of NIGHT CLUB said: “YEARS & YEARS are almost like a RICK ASTLEY thing… you could say BRITNEY SPEARS is synthpop because it’s synthesizers, but what defines it as synthpop in that underground way is what NIGHT CLUB or CHVRCHES do”.

EKKOES ElekktricityEKKOES, despite being closer to the genre than YEARS & YEARS, still however feel more pop than necessary.

Even the title of their debut album ‘Elekktricity’ feels like a cynical marketing attempt to reflect synthpop’s quirky, maverick heritage without really truly understanding it. It goes back it to pure economics and lazy labelling, with the ideals of synthpop watered down to appear less threatening to gain sales. Like HURTS, what actually hides behind the surface is music that is pleasant and polite, but somewhat insipid.

And like most modern pop, the emphasis is on vocals rather than any synthesized lead lines or counter-melodies. The album’s first single ‘Heaven’ has a short instrumental break, but appears to be a more token act of “look, we’re synthpop!”. Meanwhile, ‘It Goes On’ is akin to a boyband ballad, but without the up-off-the-stools key change…

In a recent interview with John Doran of The Quietus, PET SHOP BOYS’ Neil Tennant said one of the problems in modern pop music is how everything revolves around the singer and their emotions. One of the key appeals of classic synthpop, be it ‘Are Friends Electric?’, ‘Mind Of A Toy’ or ‘New Life’ was that aspect of a role playing narrative and use of metaphors. Things were a lot more thought-provoking then but today, pop lyrics are generally far less complex…

EKKOESPerhaps in a dwindling market for purchasing music, the use of the term synthpop by the mainstream press is aimed at nostalgic 40-something adults with a disposable income, who still have an interest in tangible product. This strategy would counter Da Kids who might show up to a gig or buy a set of Beats headphones, but would not be caught purchasing a download, let alone buying a CD.

And when on further investigation, it is learnt that major record companies have a stake in several music magazines, the situation becomes a bit clearer. Those seemingly random five star reviews from clueless journalists who can’t tell their tape recorders from their drum machines reveal the media bias at large. There’s no conflict of interest there of course, in the rush to sell not only product, but advertising space too…

Kraftwerk-dusseldorf3The specialist electronic music outlets cannot be relied on either, with their over-intellectualisation of KRAFTWERK to validate a blinkered obsession with Detroit Techno and the belief that dance music is the only way.

Within this environment, one cult artist has felt the need to use the phrase dance in their new album’s title in order to gain traction, even though to all intents and purposes, it IS actually a synthpop album!

So the irony is, pop records are being sold as synthpop records, while synthpop records are being sold as dance records!! No wonder people are confused!

It’s interesting that some from the mature adult demographic still hang onto continued mainstream recognition as a measurement of value. They are waiting for THE HUMAN LEAGUE to be played on Radio1 again or DEPECHE MODE to be offered that coveted slot on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury, while eagerly hoping that GARY NUMAN, ULTRAVOX or OMD will again make it into the Top30. But it ain’t gonna happen! To still believe in charts, is to believe in fairies.

Night Club_2014_01Instead, the listener has to make more effort now and maybe seek out informed independent media for guidance, especially as independently-minded acts like KITE, VILE ELECTRODES, NIGHT CLUB, JOHAN BAECKSTRÖMMARSHEAUX,  KID KASIO and RODNEY CROMWELL work to keep the spirit of the classic era alive. But aside from CHVRCHES, quality synthpop in the traditional sense will not generally be championed by the mainstream press.

However, as with the shake-up within the music industry over the last ten years, the middle man can now by-passed. And that can only be a good thing for the true synthpop enthusiast.


Text by Monika Izabela Trigwell and Chi Ming Lai
11th August 2016

TEC’s 2015 End Of Year Review

There are no illegal connections…

System100 CakeThe user manual for the Roland System 100 semi-modular synthesizer profoundly stated “there are no illegal connections…”

And in modern electronic music, that is still the case with the accomplished artists of today very much connected to the synth pioneers of yesteryear like KRAFTWERK, OMD, DEPECHE MODE and THE HUMAN LEAGUE.

Belgian duo METROLAND would not exist without the tradition established at Klingklang, while EAST INDIA YOUTH’s interest in BRIAN ENO and Motorik beats curated a sound that has enabled parallels to be drawn with the artful template of the similarly influenced Paul Humphreys and Andy McCluskey.

GWENNO by Jacek Davis PhotographyAnd although SUSANNE SUNDFØR was already an established singer / songwriter in her homeland of Norway, attention was not fully drawn on her new synth based direction until she performed a sympathetic cover of ‘Ice Machine’ with RÖYKSOPP in late 2012. Even the exquisite lo-fi Welsh language electronica of GWENNO can be traced to Sheffield, thanks to the songstress’ previous pop excursions which involved working on an album with the late Martin Rushent.

As JEAN-MICHEL JARRE said: “Electronic music has a family, a legacy and a future…” so to deny the glorious heritage of electronic music when assessing new acts would be futile. Indeed, acknowledging history is very much part of The Electricity Club’s style and it appears to have been appreciated, especially in regard to the feature ‘Five Years of TEC: 30 Favourite Albums 2010 – 2014’, one of a quintet of special articles to celebrate the site’s fifth birthday in March…

“Huge thanks to The Electricity Club” said avid reader Hugh David, “A victory for well-written, artfully conveyed content curation once again… you knew exactly what to say to sell me on one artist or another. That rare ability of a reviewer to pinpoint the precise comparisons that enable me to decide to seek something out based on my own tastes is something lacking in so many other outlets; love that you’ve got that in spades”

Another reader David Sims added: “TEC is a great way of discovering artists you might not otherwise be aware of. A bit like when a friend used to come round your house clutching an LP or C90 saying ‘I really love this, have a listen’, introducing you to new music that makes your neck hairs stand up in ovation”

NEW ORDER2015-Roger Kamp-072014 was a comparatively lean 12 months, but this year found many veterans returning to the fold. NEW ORDER released ‘Music Complete’, a much discussed comeback that was not only the Mancunians’ first album for Mute, but also without estranged bassist Peter HookMARC ALMOND released ‘The Velvet Trail’, his first pop album for many years while ANDY BELL embarked on further solo adventures in support of ‘Torsten The Bareback Saint’.

SPARKS joined forces with FRANZ FERDINAND as FFS while telling everyone to ‘P*ss Off’ and proved that collaborations do work. Electronic music legend JEAN-MICHEL JARRE also went the collaborative root. His first album for several years ‘Electronica 1 – The Time Machine’ featured the likes of LITTLE BOOTS, JOHN CARPENTER, TANGERINE DREAM, AIR, ARMIN VAN BUUREN, GESAFFELSTEIN, MOBY, MASSIVE ATTACK and VINCE CLARKE.

Wolfgang Flur 2015Another legend GIORGIO MORODER made his statement of intent with ‘74 Is The New 24’ and released ‘Déjà Vu’, a disco pop record featuring the likes of SIA, BRITNEY SPEARS, FOXES and KYLIE MINOGUE.

Meanwhile, his artier counterpart ZEUS B HELD gave us some ‘Logic of Coincidence’ and WOLFGANG FLÜR made his solo debut with ‘Eloquence’, his first length album project since 1997.

Liverpool duo CHINA CRISIS delivered ‘Autumn In The Neighbourhood’, their first original material since 1994’s ‘Warped By Success’ while HOWARD JONES showed he could still innovate at 60 years of age when he launched ‘Engage’, “a highly interactive live experience designed to immerse audiences in an audio / visual feast”. A-HA came back after disbanding in 2010 with ‘Cast In Steel’ and DURAN DURAN recruited an all-star cast that included Nile Rodgers, John Frusciante, Kiesza and Lindsay Lohan for the rather disappointing EDM blow-out ‘Paper Gods’.

MG-PRBLANCMANGE’s ‘Semi Detached’ was Neil Arthur’s first without long-time partner Stephen Luscombe and he even found time to release a wonderful instrumental collection entitled ‘Nil By Mouth’. Indeed, there were quite a few instrumental opuses in 2015, with GHOST HARMONIC’s wonderful ‘Codex’ featuring JOHN FOXX and the electronic pioneer’s own glorious ‘London Overgrown’. TUXEDOMOON joined forces with CULT WITH NO NAME for ‘Blue Velvet Revisited’ while not wishing to be left out, DEPECHE MODE’s Martin Gore released the tutorial for his new Eurorack modular system as the simply titled ‘MG’.

2015 saw the 25th anniversary of DEPECHE MODE’s ‘Violator’ and to ignore its significance, as some DM fan related platforms did, would have been incredibly short sighted. However, there was none of that from premier DM tribute band SPEAK & SPELL who played their biggest UK gig yet with a splendid boutique showcase of that landmark album at London’s Islington Academy.

camouflage1__12314_(Credit_Klaus_Mellenthin)CAMOUFLAGE, a band who started off very much under the influence of the Basildon boys, issued the mature statement of ‘Greyscale’ while continuing the DEPECHE MODE album theme, Athens based synth maidens MARSHEAUX gave a worthy of re-assessment of ‘A Broken Frame’ and procured a number of interesting arrangements for some under rated songs.

DIE KRUPPS got more metal than machine on their fifth opus ‘V – Metal Machine Music’. Fellow Germans BEBORN BETON made up for a ten year absence with ‘A Worthy Compensation’ while SOLAR FAKE and SYNTHDECADE also got in on the action too.

CHVRCHES-2015-02CHVRCHES continued their quest for world domination with something that LITTLE BOOTS, LA ROUX, LADYHAWKE and HURTS never managed… a decent second album. But PURITY RING, the Canadian act whose template CHVRCHES borrowed, must have looked over with a touch of envy at the Glaswegian’s success so responded with ‘Another Eternity’.

HANNAH PEEL released an interim mini-album ‘Rebox 2’ which blended centuries of music technology while VILE ELECTRODES came up with the gorgeous ‘Captive In Symmetry’, possibly one of the songs of 2015. EURASIANEYES heeded all the guidance available to them to produce their most accomplished song yet in ‘Call Your God’ and ANALOG ANGEL went on a well-received tour supporting Swedish veterans COVENANT with a message to listeners of ‘Don’t Forget To Love’.

RODNEY CROMWELL -NASAElsewhere in the British Isles, CIRCUIT3RODNEY CROMWELL and SUDDEN CREATION made their first excursions into the long player format just as KID KASIO and KOVAK each delivered album number two while Berlin based Brit EMIKA helpfully titled her third opus ‘Drei’.

“So, what’s so special about Sweden then?” someone once rather cluelessly asked TEC. Well, it is the modern hub of inventive, electronic pop. KARIN PARK offered her profanity laden fifth album ‘Apocalypse Pop’ while SAY LOU LOU finally gave the world their ‘Lucid Dreaming’. SISTA MANNEN PÅ JORDEN offered to ‘Translate’ while TRAIN TO SPAIN told the world ‘What It’s All About’. And this was without feisty youngsters like ME THE TIGER and comparatively experienced hands such as PRESENCE OF MIND, DESTIN FRAGILE, CLUB 8, 047 and HILTIPOP all entering the equation too.

Photo by Madeleine Berg

Still in Sweden, DAYBEHAVIOR went all female PET SHOP BOYS with the Italo flavoured ‘Cambiare’ and MACHINISTA followed up their debut ‘Xenoglossy’ with ‘Garmonbozia’. while there was also the unexpected return of alternative synthpopsters ASHBURY HEIGHTS. But best of all were the mighty KITE; their ‘VI’ EP was a masterclass in epic, majestic electronic pop.

In the rest of Europe, there was an influx of darker female fronted acts such as Hungary’s BLACK NAIL CABARET, Italy’s ELECTROGENIC, Greece’s SARAH P. and Germany’s NINA; the latter’s ‘My Mistake’ even ended up on a Mercedes TV advert. The male contingent did their bit too with Slovenia’s TORUL unleashing their second offering ‘The Measure’ while the prolific Finnish duo SIN COS TAN took things a little bit easier in their fourth year with just an EP ‘Smile, Tomorrow Will Be Worse’, having already released three albums since 2012.

SILVER GHOST SHIMMEROslo based studio legend John Fryer returned with two new projects, SILVER GHOST SHIMMER and MURICIDAE featuring vocalists Pinky Turzo and Louise Fraser respectively. Both reminded listeners of his work with COCTEAU TWINS and THIS MORTAL COIL, but with an Americanised twist. The Icelandic domiciled Denver singer / songwriter JOHN GRANT added some funkier vibes to his continuing electronic direction while IAMX moved from Berlin to Los Angeles, and did no harm to his art with the brooding ‘Metanoia’ album.

On the brighter side of North America, PRIEST’s self-titled debut long player became reality following their dreamy ‘Samurai’ EP, while HYPERBUBBLE made available their wacky award winning soundtrack to the short film ‘Dee Dee Rocks The Galaxy’ and joyous 2014 London show. And GRIMES caught the music biz on the hop when she released a new album ‘Art Angels’, having scrapped an album’s worth of material in 2014.

NIGHT CLUB Nov2015But despite North America itself being one of the territories flying the flag for the synth with acts like NIGHT CLUB, BATTLE TAPESAESTHETIC PERFECTION and RARE FACTURE all figuring, the worst single of 2015 actually came from the USA; decades of synth heritage were eminently obliterated in five soul destroying minutes… was this really what the Electronic Revolution was fought for? This is cultural history and it needs to be protected.

Although the year had flashes of brilliance, it was generally less impressive overall for fledgling electronic artists, with a number forgetting that all important factor of a good tune! Eddie Bengtsson of SISTA MANNEN PÅ JORDEN remarked last year that synthpop was becoming a dying art.

And in 2015, synthpop’s credibility was further tarnished with lazy use of the term by the mainstream press for acts like YEARS & YEARS; one could argue that TAYLOR SWIFT and her ‘1989’ opus is possibly more synthpop than YEARS & YEARS have ever been! In a market where EDM appears to be king and clubbers are happy to witness DJs miming their two hour sets, there is clearly something wrong. Things were not helped by certain media outlets insisting that dance music was the only way; it was as if electronic music had somehow managed to jump from KRAFTWERK to Detroit techno with nothing happening in between.

jarre clarkeAnd then, there were those who had never particularly enjoyed music from that key Synth Britannia period, who were trying to dictate how modern electronic music was being presented and pretending it had popped out of thin air! Some bands were not doing themselves any favours either, showing little empathetic connection to the history of electronic music in their deluded optimism that they were crafting something completely new! As JEAN-MICHEL JARRE amusingly quipped to Sound-On-Sound magazine: “Lots of people in America think that electronic music started with AVICII and it’s not exactly the truth…”

The lack of accuracy in a number of publications over the last 18 months was also shocking, particularly within magazines and online media that continued to employ writers with a history of not knowing their tape recorders from their drum machines. This simply proved the old adage that just because someone is employed as a professional writer, it doesn’t actually mean they are a good writer!

MYSADCAT2015

Photo @MYSADCAT

The domestic live scene had its challenges too with slow ticket sales and a number of events cancelled. But even when some true legends in electronic music were booked, ticket sales could not be guaranteed and efficient promotion was needed to maximise potential.

Some observers were bemoaning a lack of support for the scene, but if line-ups are not particularly appealing, then audiences cannot be expected to invest time and money to attend.

A number of organisational infrastructures also lacked credibility; if a promoter doesn’t have at least some idea if they’re going to sell fifty tickets or five thousand, then they really shouldn’t be in the business! The question that has to be asked then is, has anybody actually learnt from the Alt-Fest debacle of 2014?

ES2015-Marsheaux+TrainToSpainWhile ‘A Secret Wish’ and SOS#2 were a couple of the year’s better UK events, Europe showed once again how things should be done. Electronic Summer in Gothenburg and the Electri_City_Conference in Düsseldorf were two of the most notable electronic music events of 2015; the inherent knowledge and sense of understanding in both differed immensely to some British promoters. This perhaps could explain why electronic pop has generally flourished more in territories across the North Sea.

Electronic pop needs to continue to develop, but quality control must be maintained to ensure the genre is not publically misrepresented. SOFT CELL once sang about ‘Monoculture’ while KID MOXIE declared how everyone was just content with ‘Medium Pleasure’. If all that’s heard is the best of a bad bunch, then younger listeners (and therefore potential future synth oriented musicians) will not be inspired. That is why it is important that CHVRCHES and EAST INDIA YOUTH consolidate their positions as modern electronic pop’s representatives in the mainstream.

Rusty vs Andy - Chi Ming LaiIt is not good practice to support mediocre music just because it happens to be electronic. The finest examples need to be set so as to show what can be achieved; now if that means possibly referencing back to the golden age of synthpop, then so be it. Only then will the synth baton be able to taken up by a new generation who can then truly reinvigorate it.


PAUL BODDY

Best Album: EAST INDIA YOUTH Culture Of Volume
Best Song: NEW ORDER Restless
Best Gig: EAST INDIA YOUTH + HANNAH PEEL at London Village Underground
Best Video: BATTLE TAPES Valkyrie
Most Promising New Act: BATTLE TAPES


DEB DANAHAY

Best Album: IAMX Metanoia
Best Song: KITE Up For Life
Best Gig: NODE at The Royal College of Music
Best Video: IAMX Oh Cruel Darkness Embrace Me
Most Promising New Act: KITE


IAN FERGUSON

Best Album: EAST INDIA YOUTH Culture Of Volume
Best Song: KITE Count The Days
Best Gig: ASSEMBLAGE 23 at SOS#2 Festival
Best Video: VILE ELECTRODES Captive In Symmetry
Most Promising New Act: RODNEY CROMWELL


MONIKA IZABELA GOSS

Best Album: SILVER GHOST SHIMMER Soft Landing
Best Song: IAMX Happiness
Best Gig: IAMX at London Koko
Best Video: TORUL The Balance
Most Promising New Act: SYNTHDECADE


SIMON HELM

Best Album: LAU NAU Hem Någonstans
Best Song: ME THE TIGER As We Really Are
Best Gig: SISTA MANNEN PÅ JORDEN at A Secret Wish
Best Video: JUNO Same To Me
Most Promising New Act: REIN


CHI MING LAI

Best Album: SUSANNE SUNDFØR Ten Love Songs
Best Song: KITE Up For Life
Best Gig: FFS at The Troxy
Best Video: VILE ELECTRODES Captive In Symmetry
Most Promising New Act: RODNEY CROMWELL


RICHARD PRICE

Best Album: EAST INDIA YOUTH Culture Of Volume
Best Song: NEW ORDER Plastic
Best Gig: EAST INDIA YOUTH + HANNAH PEEL at London Village Underground
Best Video: VILE ELECTRODES Captive In Symmetry
Most Promising New Act: KITE


Text by Chi Ming Lai
16th December 2015