Author: electricityclub (Page 2 of 405)

“I don’t like country & western, I don’t like rock music… I don’t like rockabilly! I don’t like much really do I? But what I do like, I love passionately!!”: CHRIS LOWE

“Good taste is exclusive”: NICK RHODES

Introducing MINDREADER

If ACTORS were fronted by DLINA VOLNY and went to a horror flick all-nighter with BOY HARSHER, that would be a good way to describe MINDREADER.

Like ACTORS, MINDREADER are from Canada, a Montreal-based quartet comprising Valerie Kirkwell, Edward Scrimger, Bryan Greenfield and Alexandre Duguay; their tagline is “Can’t spell MINDREADER without dread”. Since forming in 2023, MINDREADER have been developing their sound and visual aesthetic under the radar. Creating an air of mystique, they have also limited their social media presence as an antithesis to the “LOOK AT US! WE’VE AWESOME!” attitude of many of today’s fledgling acts.

With a stark propulsive tension, EP opener and MINDREADER’s first single and ‘The Kill’ really does put ACTORS, DLINA VOLNY and BOY HARSHER into an enticing melting pot of synths and effected guitar. Adopting a template of deep resonance, the superb gothic techno of ‘Leviathan’ points towards the alternative dancefloor menace of European acts such as NNHMN and MINUIT MACHINE.

‘Parasite’ explores more post punk territory with SIOUXSIE & THE BANSHEES being the obvious template here vocally while rhythmically, it is more JOY DIVISION. Recalling LINEA ASPERA, the more artful ‘Soft Pull’ returns to the dancefloor with it buzzy doom disco and haunting storytelling before with a more funereal skip, ‘Outsider’ brings in a unusual cross of fleeting dubstep rhythms, scratchy art funk six-string and bass drones to close.

With the familiar themes of loss, despair, and empowerment, nostalgia is a coat that MINDREADER unashamedly wear in their take on post-punk, synth and darkwave. But already with this debut EP, the quartet have shown with songs like ‘Leviathan’ and ‘Soft Pull’ that they are more than comfortable to musically twist and turn as they attempt to present “their unique version of the genre to life”.

‘Cope With Me’ is self-released as a digital EP, available on the usual online platforms and direct from

Text by Chi Ming Lai
10 May 2024

BLANCMANGE Everything Is Connected

Celebrating 45 years of BLANCMANGE, ‘Everything Is Connected’ is a new career-spanning “best of” collection curated by co-founder and front man Neil Arthur covering between 1979 to 2024.

With Neil Arthur being one of the most prolific artists in the UK and BLANCMANGE having now released more albums since 2011 than in their hit heyday, it is appropriate that this compilation is a double and split into two distinct chapters.

The first half gathers tracks from when BLANCMANGE were originally a duo comprising of Arthur and Stephen Luscombe. They self-released their first EP ‘Irene & Mavis’ in 1980 where the duo took on the personas of the pensioners pictured on the artwork. Experimental in nature and very lo-fi, it is appropriate than a Eno-esque instrumental ‘Just Another Spectre’ ends this section.

But starting is Chapter One is their breakthrough ‘Sad Day’; a solemn instrumental with an almost-countrified guitar line and a bassline borrowed from Brian Eno’s ‘The Fat Lady Of Limbourg’, it was far more hook-laden than anything on ‘Irene & Mavis’. Pointing to how BLANCMANGE were developing, it was chosen for inclusion on the now-seminal ‘Some Bizzare Album’ which also showcased other then-unknown acts such as SOFT CELL, THE THE, B-MOVIE and DEPECHE MODE. It was support tours with the latter and JAPAN that led to BLANCMANGE signing to London Records in 1982.

Photo by Paul Slattery

The London Records phase is more than well documented, leading to three albums ‘Happy Families’, ‘Mange Tout’ and ‘Believe You Me’ as well as a string of hit singles. ‘Living On The Ceiling’ and ‘Don’t Tell Me’ brought in exotic Eastern flavours thanks to Luscombe’s love of music from the Indian sub-continent having lived in the London’s Southall.

‘Feel Me’ and ‘Blind Vision’ crossed TALKING HEADS with disco, the former remixed in 12 inch form by American dancefloor specialist John Luongo and the latter produced by him. Famously ‘Waves’ allowed Neil Arthur to indulge in his Scott Walker fantasies complete with string backing and drove Julian Cope round the bend in the process!

Photo by Deb Danahay

Meanwhile having immersed themselves in a cassette of ABBA’s ‘The Singles – The First Ten Years’ that Vince Clarke’s girlfriend had brought along while they were all holidaying in Tenerife, Arthur and Luscombe hit on the idea of covering the penultimate track; achieving a higher UK chart position than the original ABBA single, ‘The Day Before You Came is included on ‘Everything Is Connected’ in its superior 7inch single version produced by Peter Collins.

To put things into context, ABBA were considered passé at the time and not treated with the reverence they are today. BLANCMANGE’s take had more of a groove and added some cheeky Northern English melodrama. In some ways, this 1984 can be seen as the seed of the upturn in ABBA’s credibility and Clarke himself was to cover ‘Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!’ with his new project ERASURE in 1985.

Arthur and Luscombe decided to amicably disband BLANCMANGE in 1986 and while both continued in music, it wasn’t until 2011 that a new album they had quietly made together ‘Blanc Burn’ was released; from it ‘Drive Me’ and ‘The Western’ showed the duo had not lost their touch. But almost immediately, Stephen Luscombe had to leave due to health reasons, unable to tour or work. It was mutually agreed that Arthur would continue with BLANCMANGE solo and so began Chapter Two.

The main selling point for fans here is the inclusion of ‘Again, I Wait For The World’, a song written in 1979 by Arthur’s art-school band L360; a vibrant slice of synth punk, it is a worthy addition to the BLANCMANGE tradition. Another treat is the previously unreleased ‘Wish’. The highlight though is 2018’s ‘Distant Storm’, an unusual but brilliant tune with its incessant dance beat, reverberant Moog bassline and dreamy processed vocoder aesthetic presenting an almost spiritual quality.

This solo phase of BLANCMANGE actually began with 2015’s ‘Semi Detached’ album, Neil Arthur’s first new material recorded without Stephen Luscombe and from this technostalgic offering is ‘The Fall’ which actually references Mark E Smith’s cult combo. Coming off 2020’s ‘Mindset’, ‘This Is Bliss’ provides a variety of percolating patterns and a deeper trance bass resonance with a repeated ranting chorus.

In 2022, BLANCMANGE returned home to London Records with 15th long player ‘Private View’ and this occasion is best represented by ‘Reduced Voltage’; echoing CAN in its groovy kosmische precision, although sequencer driven, the guitars get turned up during the second half.

Since the hiatus between 1986 to 2011, Neil Arthur has issued 12 albums as BLANCMANGE, while also undertaking side projects such as NEAR FUTURE, FADER and THE REMAINDER; ‘Everything Is Connected’ provides a chance for those who liked BLANCMANGE’s hits back in the day to catch up with those 21st Century songs, while it also acts as an entry point into the highlights of the back catalogue for younger listeners. That this compilation is able to be a packed double CD is a wonderful achievement.

‘Everything Is Connected’ is released by London Records on 10 May 2024 as a 38 track double CD, 38 track download + 10 track coke bottle green vinyl LP, available from

BLANCMANGE 2024 UK tour with support from THE REMAINDER:

Newcastle-upon-Tyne Wylam Brewery (16 May), Glasgow Saint Luke’s (17 May), Birmingham O2 Institute (18 May), Nottingham Rescue Rooms (23 May), Leeds Brudenell Social Club (24 May), Manchester Academy 2 (25 May), Colchester Arts Centre, (26 May), Bristol Trinity Arts Centre (31 May), London Islington Assembly Hall (1 June), Hove Old Market (2 June), Southampton 1865 (3 June)

Text by Chi Ming Lai
7 May 2024


The best album of 2019, ‘Dollars & Cents’ by KNIGHT$ gets the 5 year edition treatment with two bonus tracks including a Flemming Dalum Remix of ‘Gelato’ on pistachio coloured vinyl.

Also featuring ‘What’s Your Poison?’, ‘Alligator’, and the vibrant title track, ‘Dollars & Cents’ showcased James Knights brand of vibrant Britalo in a long playing format to the wider public. With the involvement of Fred Ventura and Paolo Gozzetti of ITALOCONNECTION in the production and mix of three tracks, it was granted disco authenticity. Meanwhile, co-produced by Martin Dubka, ‘Hijack My Heart’ allowed KNIGHT$ to tighten his trousers for a rousing floor-filler to rival BRONSKI BEAT.

To celebrate 5 years of ‘Dollars & Cents’, KNIGHT$ will be undertaking a number of shows performing the album in full including a London date on Thursday 23rd May 2024 at The Fiddler’s Elbow in Camden. Special Guests will be modern day New Romantic duo Steven Jones & Logan Sky; the pair had been introduced by the late Steve Strange of VISAGE and over the 10 years since, have recorded six albums of moody Eurocentric art pop overtures, the most recent being ‘Sacred Figures’.

James Knights, Steven Jones and Logan Sky got together for a chat with ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK ahead of their London show.

How did you become aware of each other?

James Knights: I think I first met Logan when HEARTBREAK reformed and performed at the Moth Club with ITALOCONNECTION in 2018. I performed my song ‘Alligator’ with ITALOCONNECTION that night and we started talking after the show.

Logan Sky: Before I started working with Steve Strange, VISAGE and Steven Jones, I was making tracks, with an Italo vibe. Listen to my first albums and also my latest subscriber-only cassette. I remember that KNIGHT$ were supporting HEARTBREAK (a dark Italo duo) and both acts filled the room with so much energy and got the crowd dancing. I picked up a vinyl of KNIGHT$ ‘Alligator’ EP at the performance and met James for the first time. I’ve seen KNIGHT$ play a few more times, supporting A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS and had good chats at each and we’ve kept in touch.

You are very influenced by Europe, although Steven and Logan are very Mittel Europa while James in more Mediterranean, how did the fascination with across the channel begin with you all?

Steven Jones: The Mittel Europa thing has its roots in my teenage suburban daydreams. I was into the novels of Christopher Isherwood and Stephen Spender (who offered snapshots of chic Bohemia). I watched French and German films, beguiled by their glamour and emotional complexity. Time spent in Düsseldorf at the age of 16 infused me with a sense of romantic possibility. German radio stations played electro pop hits I’d never heard before that left indelible imprints on my mind. On spontaneous trips to Paris (thank you, Charlotte!), I leafed through magazines effortlessly blending music, fashion and sex. I formed a habit for cafes and French torch songs. My fantasy Europe was grand, artistic, sexy, and colourful. Its smells were of coffee, cigarettes and cold sunlit beers. It was art and night-trains, girls called Kirsten, boys called Klaus. Its love affairs were volatile and sure to end badly. It was stylish, heartbreaking and a million miles away from my mundane English routine.

James Knights: Hard to say really. I’d never performed abroad until 2006! I always knew I wanted to perform my music there, since I studied Italian in secondary school and dreamt about this magical place I saw in all the books. In the early days, SCARLET SOHO used to go on stage to ‘Europe Endless’ by KRAFTWERK, the build is so good and it made for some positive tension before we went on stage.

What’s your favourite song that captures the essence of your love of Europe and why?

James Knights: Well I already mentioned ‘Europe Endless’, but there are some fun ones too and really too many to mention. Righeira ‘Vamos A La Playa’ from 1983, Sandy Marton ‘People From Ibiza’ from 1984. I always loved ‘To Germany With Love’ by ALPHAVILLE too, 1984. Of course everything by BOYTRONIC and THE TWINS.

Steven Jones: I could write a long list so I’m gonna choose two. A song that really captures this feeling for me is ‘Summer In Berlin’ by ALPHAVILLE. The sweetly evocative electronics, the yearning vocal, the imagery of a hot Berlin afternoon, the heavy machine, the sweaty body. All combine to evoke the complicated ambience of my Mittel Europa. Dark and light. Ominous and sunlit. A more contemporary expression of this sentiment is ‘Kisses’ by SLOWDIVE. Shimmering and impressionistic, it’s full of abstract longing and is accompanied by a video shot in night-time Naples in Midsummer.

The usual question, what is your favourite track by the other and why?

James Knights: ‘Summer Herz’ I think. I always love a trumpet or sax somewhere in the mix, and the track reminds me a bit of THE BELOVED vocally.

Logan Sky: ‘What’s Your Poison?’ is a stonker of a track, but I still have fond memories of ‘Alligator’ and love the lime green vinyl!

What is the plan for the upcoming London show at The Fiddler’s Elbow, what can attendees expect?

James Knights: I’ll perform the whole of the ‘Dollars & Cents’ LP, plus my other songs. It’s a huge celebration, and it’s going to be hot! Everyone’s welcome to come and party at The Fiddler’s Elbow on May 23rd and let off steam. The anniversary vinyl will also be available at the show.

Steven Jones: Logan and I have been recording and performing together for 10 years so we’ll be selecting some of our favourite songs from our entire catalogue, old and new. The gig offers an opportunity to let them manifest again in the live setting. It’s a good feeling to look back at all the songs we’ve written and perform some of them in a friendly low-key atmosphere. It’s also great to perform together again after a hiatus of several years. Expect style, irony and some smoulder!

What is next for you?

James Knights: In May, I will play at the Wave Gotik Treffen in Leipzig. It’s my third time there with numerous projects and always a great gig. I’m going to Munich to record a new song this summer, it’s called ‘Supernatural Lover’, I’m very happy with it. Then in the Autumn I will tour the UK with 80s legends CHINA CRISIS, and hit Europe again with TRANS-X. Looking forward to going to some new places like Odense, and Bury!

Steven Jones: That’s a deep and enigmatic secret. Obviously. But I can hint at a retrospective collection of our best songs and the early stages of some new material. There will be some artistic surprises too! Lately we’ve been collaborating with some of the luminaries of the dance music scene. We’ve released ’Come Back Tonight – The Remixes’ on Jaime Alguasuari’s label Anims. So expect more club orientated collabs and re-inventions.

ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its warmest thanks to Steven Jones and Logan Sky

KNIGHT$ plays The Fiddler’s Elbow, 1 Malden Road, London NW5 3HS on Thursday 23rd May 2024 with special guests Steven Jones & Logan Sky – tickets available from

KNIGHT$ ‘Dollars & Cents’ is available as a pistachio coloured vinyl LP, CD + download from

Steven Jones & Logan Sky ’Come Back Tonight – The Remixes’ is available at while their back catalogue including the albums ‘Sacred Figures’ and ‘European Lovers’ is available from

Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
4 May 2024


John Carpenter is back-back-BACK! The Horror Master and his regular collaborators Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies, son of THE KINKS’ Dave Davies, present the fourth instalment of the ‘Lost Themes’ series.

Very few have had a successful career as a film director while also soundtracking their own work like John Carpenter has, with ‘Assault on Precinct 13’, ‘Halloween’, ‘The Fog’, ‘Escape From New York’, ‘Big Trouble in Little China’, ‘Prince Of Darkness’ and ‘Village Of The Damned’ to name just a few…

A family unit of father, son and godson, the trio were inspired by a book of stills from noir films and their titles; John Carpenter’s wife Sandy King gave him the book one Christmas. While these are “soundtracks for the movies in your mind”, whereas the original scores for these noir films were largely orchestral, the trio interpreted the images with their usual synthesizer and guitar template.

The opener ‘My Name is Death’ offers gothic Spaghetti Western resonances before climaxing with a blistering guitar solo picturing the standoff. Despite opening with a stark piano motif surrounded by sweeping synths, ‘Machine Fear’ morphs into a percussive death rattle enhanced heavy guitar riffage, while inside a desolate apocalyptic backdrop, ‘Last Rites’ offers a sense of foreboding in its ragged metal.

A complete contrast, ‘The Burning Door’ could be music to a Cold War spy drama with its haunting East European mood. Meanwhile, with classic keyboard runs augmented by some six string menace, when ‘He Walks By Night’ drops to a church organ, it becomes even more sinister before reprising itself powerfully.

With a slight pentatonic flavour, ‘Beyond The Gallows’ is not surprisingly embroiled in fatalistic tension but galloping along with a compelling electronic bass sequence, ‘Kiss The Blood Off My Fingers’ is ominous although synths do also creep in. ‘Guillotine’ sits in a solemn bed but as it rocks up, it drops back to its spacier beginnings that recall Avro Part before heading back to where it left off.

‘The Demon’s Shadow’ is unsettling as it should be based on its title alone but to close, ‘Shadows Have A Thousand Eyes’ is a hypnotic metronomic closer that brings together strung textures, sparkling arpeggios, power chords and electronic drums inside a cocoon of reverb.

‘Lost Themes IV: Noir’ is the first one in this series to be billed as a John Carpenter, Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies collaborative record. But while Davies makes his presence felt on his guitar and the younger Carpenter provides his schooled musicality, the end result is characteristic John Carpenter.

“I’m the experience. I’ve done music for movies before” said The Horror Master about his role in the collaborative process. For that reason alone, ‘Lost Themes IV: Noir’ will delight John Carpenter fans and those who favour the rockier end of synthwave to be shown how it’s done.

‘Lost Themes IV: Noir Out’ is released on 3 May 2024 by Sacred Bones via

Format variants include:

• Sacred Bones exclusive Red splatter on Clear (Silver foil), with poster and a clear 7” with exclusive bonus track ‘Black Cathedral’ and screen printed B-Side
• Sacred Bones Society exclusive black and white splatter on Clear (Silver foil), with poster and a clear 7” with exclusive bonus track ‘Black Cathedral’ and screen printed B-Side
• All retail Transparent Red (Gold Foil) with poster
• All retail tan and black marble (Gold Foil), with poster and a clear 7” with exclusive bonus track ‘Black Cathedral’ and screen printed B-Side
• Rough Trade exclusive Oxblood red and black marble with splatter (Gold Foil), with poster and a clear 7” with exclusive bonus track ‘Black Cathedral’ and screen printed B-Side
• Shout exclusive Black and clear cloudy (Gold Foil), with poster and a clear 7” with exclusive bonus track ‘Black Cathedral’ and screen printed B-Side
• Black LP (Gold foil) with poster
• CD
• Cassette

Text by Chi Ming Lai
30 April 2024

Lost Albums: JYL Jyl

After decades of composing lengthy synth symphonies, there must have been times when Jean-Michel Jarre must have just wanted to do a four minute pop tune. The France maestro managed this in a quirky collaboration with Cyndi Lauper on ‘Swipe To The Right’ in 2016.

But before that there was Peter Baumann producing a whole long player for Leda in 1978 while a few years later in 1984, another former TANGERINE DREAM member and fellow Berlin School legend Klaus Schulze did a co-production for the only album by Jyl, released on his label Inteam GmbH.

With Donna Summer teaming up with Giorgio Moroder on ‘I Feel Love’ in 1977, a new trend was set to accompany female vocalists with artful electronics. While Peter Baumann’s production ‘Welcome To Joyland’ for Leda saw him conflicted about the more commercial ethos of the concept, Gina Kikoine and Zeus B Held had a colder vision and achieved acclaim for their first album ‘Nice Mover’ as GINA X PERFORMANCE.

The vehicle of American avant-songstress Jyl Porch who wrote the majority of the lyrics to nine of the self-titled album’s songs, the music was composed and arranged by Ingo Werner who had been a member of cult German band MY SOLID GROUND before fronting his own project BABA YAGA; his wife Angela, a Neue Deutsche Welle artist in her own right, provided lyrics to two songs and backing vocals.

Born in California, Jyl Porch went to Europe to work as a dancer and model, before ending up in Germany. Here she was introduced to Ingo Werner who was looking for a performance artist to collaborate with on some electronic compositions he was developing. Recorded over a period of about 5 years, Jyl saw lyrics as pictures which suited the predominantly electronic backdrop, creating a character for each song.

The opener ‘Mechanic Ballerina’’ featured glassy PPG textures and a scary gothic male choir while a nonchalant spoken lead vocal came in the verses; there was drama and even a salvo of rock guitar from Leo Leonhardt of JOST BAND. A sexy love song in outer space, ‘Universe’ took on an ominous funereal pace with deep and kooky Lene Lovich stylings in the chorus that captured a Fantasia presence.

Chugging along with something of a disco military march and not a KRAFTWERK cover, ‘Computer Love’ saw Jyl playing the part of an operatic robot programmed to please and with Gallic expression from Helene Vernant, it was one of the album’s highlights. The playful ‘Position’ was shaped by pretty pulses and appealing sweeps for a wonderfully saucy spoken and sung number on carnal preferences, although its actual lyrical gist was of fighting patriarchy and breaking with traditions

Hopping over to 6/8 with figures reminiscent of Giorgio Moroder’s ‘Ivory Tower’ including Euro-rock interventions from noted studio engineer Frank Wolf’s guitar, the Anglo-French ‘Dance & Death’ naturally provided sinister yet seductive contrasts.

Back onto technological themes and digital chimes, ‘Computer Generation’ was pacier and percussive with delightful varispeeded voices; predicting today’s world with ”we are the computer generation – time time time – new technology – hit hit hit -high activity -s um sum sum – computer memory – trigger trigger trigger- machine authority”, it was ahead of its time.

With a pulsing synthbass as its backbone, ‘Animation’ was shrouded in a Trans-Atlantic rock flavour despite being all electronic with musical pointers to WHITE DOOR who issued their debut ‘Windows’ album the year before. Meanwhile with the spectre of Gina Kikoine looming, the spacey influence of the New York electro scene was clearly behind ‘Silicon Valley’ although the mighty synth solo would have appealed to old school Berliners; Jyl proclaimed “A brand new world future age in the heart of the valley” but countered about its “future rage”.

Continuing the New York influence with synthetic claps and Christoph Haberer’s timbale rolls thrown into the bargain, the female empowering ‘Electric Lady’ saw our heroine declaring “I’ll ride your rocket”; quite art school in its approach with an unusual beat, however it appeared that things were running out of steam as it did not hit the heights of the rest of the album. Closing the album and more new wave than electronic, guitars were the dominant feature on ‘I’m A Machine’ along with drowning vocals; undoubtedly the outlier on the record, it was result of a jam at the end of the recording sessions.

Despite its Klaus Schulze credentials, ‘Jyl’ did not capture the public imagination when released but over the years, the recorded has become something of a lost classic with its prophetic themes adding to its legend. ‘Jyl’ was remastered and reissued in 2020 by Veronica Vasicka’s Minimal Wave Records and now being enjoyed by electronic music enthusiasts who were not aware of it previously. Ahead of its time, it can now been seen as yesterday’s tomorrow coming true.

Klaus Schulze would undertake further adventures in pop, working with ALPHAVILLE on a 1988 remix of ‘Big In Japan’ before producing their 1989 album ‘The Breathtaking Blue’. Meanwhile the classically schooled Ingo Werner would venture into classical electronic, new-age and soundtrack music.

Jyl Porch would co-write and provide vocal contributions on the Angela Werner tracks ‘Fantasy’ and ‘Gotta Little Love’ also from 1984. While she would not make another record of her own, she did make an eventual impact amongst the electronic cognoscenti with her enchanting collection of futuristic songs.

‘Jyl’ is available via Minimal Wave Records as a vinyl LP with 12 page booklet insert from or

Text by Chi Ming Lai with thanks to Jeff DeCuir
24 April 2024

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