After several years of travel restrictions, it is time to be passengers again.

For Belgium’s favourite passengers METROLAND, not only is there a new album ‘0’ but simultaneously, their Passenger S presents his second solo record as 808 DOT POP entitled ‘Pop Radio’. While not quite the same as when all four KISS members issued solo albums on the same day in September 1978, with the online music world saturated with product, one release has the potential to fall into the cracks of the listening sofa.

While METROLAND have gone for the countdown concept, 808 DOT POP celebrates the joy of the airwaves with three different radio band variants with ‘AM 1350’ and ‘FM 88.2’ in continuous compact disc formats and ‘MW 720’ as a digital download with tracks as separate entities. So welcome to 808 pop radio…

With a celebration of radio reminiscent of KRAFTWERK and OMD, the sound is naturally vintage electronic music with key analogue melodies. The ‘Pop Radio’ show idea was seeded when Passenger S sought permission from Andy McCluskey to cover ‘Radio Waves’ from OMD’s ‘Dazzle Ships’; but the reworking was dropped in favour of material inspired by it. Among the themes are crystal radios, noted radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi, Heinrich Hertz who discovered radio waves and the voice of Radio België, Jan Moedwil.

All formats begin with variants of ‘Pop Radio’, a call sign à la ‘Radio Prague’ off ‘Dazzle Ships’ but across the concept, ‘Marconi’, a girly techpop excursion courtesy of Lis van den Akker hails the joy of transmission via melodies and morse in radioland.

Not a KRAFTWERK cover, ‘Antenna’ bases itself around sparse circular structures and vox humana synthesis although an extended uptempo motorik passage provides a nice surprise. Celebrating the ‘Cat’s Whisker’ semi-conductor diode in crystal radios, this track similarly plays with pulsing tempo variation over a lengthy excursion with echoes of the late Klaus Schulze and his ‘Crystal Lake’ on its conclusion.

In ‘Modulation’, there is a touching homage to ‘Europa Endlos’ reworked with ‘Expo 2000’ in mind while danceable hypnotic resonances and retro-futuristic votrax colour ‘Syntonic Telegraphy’. ‘Shumann Resonanz’ rumbles across many frequencies but there’s a pulsating Open University lecture in ‘Crystal Radio’ that requires “no batteries or amplifier”.

‘Capacitor’ sparkles in its arpeggios at the start before a darker speedy mutation segues into the bubbling Industrielle Volksmusik of ‘Distant Voices’ earthily voiced by Lis van den Akker. Dealing with noise and interference, ‘Sinpo’ takes a more sombre tone with gothic choirs in evidence alongside the sparkles.

A highlight of ‘Pop Radio’ but exclusive to the ‘AM 1350’ set, the infectious ‘AM/FM’ gets the robo-funk on to an electro beat while also only available in AM, ‘Radio Waves’ comes over like DIE KRUPPS offshoot and Alfa Matrix label mates DIE ROBO SAPIENS in places. There’s also the propulsive ‘Jan Moedwil (Radio België)’ but ‘The Detector’ sees another honest and delivery from Lis van den Akker while the track itself recalls the YAZOO inspired Swedish duo ALISON.

Exclusive to ‘FM 88.2’, the photoelectric ‘Heinrich Hertz’ is from a similar lineage to METROLAND’s ‘Harry Beck’ but countering it, ‘Österreich 3’ has more eerie atmospheres to accompany its beats. There is certainly a lot of music to get through on ‘Pop Radio’ and with a METROLAND album too, enthusiasts of Passenger S have got themselves a boxed set in all but name this Spring.

‘Pop Radio’ is released on 25th March 2023 by Alfa Matrix in ‘POP.823 – FM 88.2’ or ‘POP.824 – AM 1350’ CD and ‘POP.822 – MW720’ download variants

The 808 DOT POP / METROLAND 4CD bundle including the FM and AM variants of ‘Pop Radio’, ‘0’ + the ‘X’ megamix collection is available from

Text by Chi Ming Lai
23rd March 2023