Tag: ADULT. (Page 1 of 3)

2022 END OF YEAR REVIEW

Photo by Tapio Normall

It was hoped to be a year of positive electricity but with the oddball burst of negative waves, 2022 was summed up by the title of its best album.

The product of Finnish duo SIN COS TAN, ‘Living In Fear’ captured the anxieties of living with The Bear Next Door in a post-pandemic world. With billionaires taking over social media with the intent of allowing the extreme right wing an increased voice, it was as if the lessons of Trump and Bolsonaro had not been learned.

‘The Wolves Are Returning’ warned xPROPAGANDA on a track from their excellent album ‘The Heart Is Strange’, the message coming from two Germans whose grandparents’ generation “did nothing” and had made the mistake of opening up the door to the Nazis was extremely poignant.

It was as if The Cold War had never ended; the poetry of one who has escaped ethnic genocide and been separated from next of kin as a refugee has substance. So for Alanas Chosnau on his second album with Mark Reeder, this was ‘Life Everywhere’ and provided a deeper statement on life during wartime. Meanwhile China’s STOLEN presented their ‘Eroded Creation’ and explained ‘Why We Follow’.

Battles both worldwide and personal were being reflected in music everywhere with ‘War’ by I SPEAK MACHINE being another example. Things did not get much cheerier with Rodney Cromwell whose long-awaited second long player ‘Memory Box’ provided commentary on a sadly post-truth world, the so-called “alternative facts” as Donald Trump’s extremely dim advisor Kellyanne Conway liked to put it.

The decade so far has not been a barrel of laughs and the likes of UNIFY SEPARATE, BOY HARSHER, O+HER, NNHMN, VANDAL MOON and ADULT. captured the zeitgeist of the past 3 years.

Meanwhile, MECHA MAIKO maintained it was still ‘NOT OK’, I AM SNOW ANGEL felt it was now a ‘Lost World’ and Swedish duo SALLY SHAPIRO made their comeback by reflecting on ‘Sad Cities’.

As sardonic as ever, DUBSTAR presented their second collection of kitchen sink dramas since they reconfigured as a duo with ‘Two’ and reunited with producer Stephen Hague for their most acclaimed record since their 1995 debut ‘Disgraceful’.

On a more optimistic note, Italians Do It Better brought their cinematic world to London with headline shows by DESIRE and MOTHERMARY who each had new long form releases to air, while shyness was nice for the most promising breakthrough act of the year Gemma Cullingford who got all ‘Tongue Tied’ on her second long player. Meanwhile DAWN TO DAWN, ULTRAFLEX and H/P offered electronically escapist solutions to the year,

But KID MOXIE was happy to ‘Shine’ with the best video of 2022 while CZARINA got mystical with ‘Arcana’, Karin Park looked back at her ‘Private Collection’ and Patricia Wolf explored ambience on ‘See-Through’. Other female talent that shone brightly in 2022 included Norway’s SEA CHANGE, Sweden’s Hanna Rua, Alina Valentina from The Netherlands, Mexican Valentina Moretti and Anglo-French avant songstress Julia-Sophie but sister / brother duos MINIMAL SCHLAGER and SPRAY proved siblings could continue to work well together in synth.

40 years after the release of their debut album ‘Happy Families’, BLANCMANGE returned home to London Records for a ‘Private View’ while mainman Neil Arthur was keeping himself busy with FADER too. Having being shelved for 30 years, the second ELECTRIBE 101 album ‘Electribal Soul’ finally saw the light of day. And some 39 years after it was first conceived, the lost Warren Cann and Hans Zimmer opus ‘Spies’ was released in a new 21st Century recording by the HELDEN Project’s lead vocalist Zaine Griff.

Although PET SHOP BOYS celebrated their career with the magnificent ‘Dreamworld’ tour for the best live event of 2022 and joined SOFT CELL in the ‘Purple Zone’, Marc Almond and David Ball presented the disclaimer ‘*Happiness Not Included’ before announcing that they would be performing at a run of outdoor events in 2023 despite having stated their 2018 O2 extravaganza would be their last.

Also having declared a final album in 2014, RÖYKSOPP returned with the triple volumed ‘Profound Mysteries’ that featured Susanne Sundfør and Alison Goldfrapp.

Veterans Howard Jones, William Orbit, Jean-Michel Jarre and Wolfgang Flür as well as long-standing Nordic combos LUSTANS LAKEJER and A-HA released new albums but while the quality across the releases was mixed, fans were loyal and happy. After various trials and tribulations, TEARS FOR FEARS returned with ‘The Tipping Point’ and erased memories of the lacklustre 2004 comeback ‘Everybody Loves A Happy Ending’, but the duo were unable to capitalise when the majority of the UK concert tour of stately homes was cancelled due to an unfortunate accident that befell Curt Smith.

Creating a dehumanised technologically dependent Sci-Fi world, DIE KRUPPS opted for more machine than metal under their EBM pseudonym DIE ROBO SAPIENS. With NASA making its first steps back to the moon with the Artemis project, fittingly Italian producer EUGENE spent ‘Seven Years In Space’ and Ireland’s CIRCUIT3 looked back at space travel’s past on ‘Technology For The Youth’. Back on earth, THE WEEKND was still being accused of stealing from synthwave while coming up with the song of the year in ‘Less Than Zero’. In the meantime, having infuriated audiences by saying “f*ck that ‘synthwave’ stuff as u name it” in 2018, KAVINSKY was ‘Reborn’ with a second album that had much less of the wave and expanded into broader electronically generated templates with the occasional funkier overtones.

Celebrating ‘40 Years Of Hits’ on a sell-out arena tour and issuing a new album ‘Direction Of The Heart’ which featured a guest appearance by Russell Mael of SPARKS on the single ‘Traffic’ with the obligatory ‘Acoustic Mix’, as the excellent book ‘Themes For Great Cities’ by Graeme Thomson highlighted, the best years of SIMPLE MINDS are now well behind them. They are a poor facsimile of the great band they once were and as a special Summer concert in Edinburgh in honour of ‘New Gold Dream’ proved, Jim Kerr and Co can’t even play their best album properly.

Music-related books continued to be popular with Martyn Ware and Karl Bartos respectively writing their memoirs ‘Electronically Yours Vol1’ and ‘The Sound Of The Machine’. In a wider historical context, that crucial 1978-1983 period where electronic pop was more or less invented got documented in the encyclopaedic ‘Listening To The Music The Machines Make’ by Richard Evans.

2022 saw several prominent figures depart for the jukebox in the sky; Vangelis, Manuel Göttsching, Angelo Badalamenti, Julee Cruise, Dave Smith, Herb Deutsch, Terry Hall, Robert Marlow and Andy Fletcher will be sadly missed but ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK was particularly devasted by the passing of German electronic legend Klaus Schulze only 4 days after he gave a rare interview to the site.

Meanwhile Dave Gahan and Martin Gore announced yet another tour of underwhelming arena shows plonked into stadiums for an as-yet-unfinished album that at least had a title ‘Momento Mori’. Ticketscalper took advantage with so-called dynamic pricing (or legalised touting) as hapless Devotees were fleeced thousands of dollars in North America… all this just to see a continually ungrateful frontman (who didn’t even sing is own words on a DEPECHE MODE song until 2005) gesture with a microphone in the air on a catwalk rather than actually singing on it and to possibly hear a pre-1985 song performed that will inevitably ruined by The Drumhead and The Noodler!

As Juls Garat of Massachusetts goth band PILGRIMS OF YEARNING observed via social media: “If you’re spending a kidney on DEPECHE MODE tickets and not attending a local show this weekend, I don’t wanna see you complaining that there’s no scene, local venues or new music anymore”. With the lack of curiosity amongst audiences who were content with nostalgia and the like, it was a difficult year for independent acts.

There is no easy answer and as the old saying goes, you can take a horse to water but you can’t force it to drink. But one promoter that did hit on an innovative idea was Duskwaves who came up with afternoon synth gigs. Hosted at various locations in the South East of England with the aim of drumming up daytime weekend business at venues, events started at 2.00pm and ended by 6.00pm to allow for an easy journey home or possibly dinner afterwards. Artists such as YOUNG EMPRESS, INFRA VIOLET, STRIKE EAGLE and AUW joined in the family friendly fun and while the concept was unusual, with classic synth audiences not getting any younger, it has potential.

While the worldwide situation remains uncomfortable and unsettling, for The Cold War generation, it all seemed strangely familiar. As Jori Hulkkonen of SIN COS TAN said in an interview with ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK recently: “It feels kind of comfortable to be back in that same state of mind that you grew up in!! It’s like you grew up in not a nice place, but you get 20-30 years out of it and then you get drawn back into The Cold War state of mind. It’s where I come from and there’s nothing good about it, but somehow feels very familiar so you can handle it in a different way”.

The Cold War inspired songs such as ‘Enola Gay’, ‘Fireside Favourite’, ‘All Stood Still’, ‘Let’s All Make A Bomb’, ‘I Melt With You’, ‘Dancing With Tears In My Eyes’ and ‘Five Minutes To Midnight’ which encapsulated the nuclear paranoia of the times. So if the current tensions go on any longer, how will artistic expression be affected and driven?

But as Synthesizer Patel actor Sanjeev Kohli wittily remarked of the UK’s 41 day Prime Minister aka Mad Lizzie following her successful leadership bid: “Liz Truss has now been trusted with the nuclear button. I honestly wouldn’t trust her with the bossanova button on a broken Yamaha keyboard”.

In a year which saw the bizarre scenario of a black vicar worshipping Enoch Powell on the repulsive gammon TV channel GB News and the truth about Tory PPE scandals becoming clearer, Richy Sunak, Ugly Patel, Cruella Braverman and Krazi Kwarteng continued to be the ultimate race traitors in their Westminster tribute band A FLOCK OF SIEG HEILS. Failing to look in the mirror, their role as collaborators was all as part of a wider self-serving mission to help keep the whites Reich and line the pockets of their already loaded banker mates instead of paying nurses a fair wage. Nurses are for life and not just for Covid. So what did happen to that £350 million promised for the NHS by that pompous lying posh boy Boris Johnson if Brexit happened? As Tim Burgess of THE CHARLATANS summed it all up rather succinctly on Twitter: “Worth remembering that the real enemy travels by private jet, not by dinghy” ✊😉


ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK’s 2022 playlist ‘Stay Negative To Be Positive’ playlist can be listened to at https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4Mw0Fn10yNZQcrGzod98MM


Text by Chi Ming Lai
22nd December 2022

A Short Conversation with ADULT.

With nine acclaimed long players to their name, ADULT. issued their most recent album ‘Becoming Undone’ as a doomy discordant statement capturing “something that’s falling apart”.

In a 23 year career, Adam Lee Miller and Nicola Kuperus first came to wider attention with ‘Hand To Phone’ in 2001. Presenting a stark response to their surroundings, the dystopian demeanour of ADULT. remains as vital as ever as their living art project continues to evolve.

Although 2013’s ‘The Way Things Fall’ possessed an unexpected accessibility and 2017’s ‘Detroit House Guests’ saw the Detroit synth-punk duo open their doors to outside collaborators, this new body of work is more personal, embroiled in pain and bereavement while created in isolation during a state of flux with a healthy acceptance of destruction.

ADULT. kindly took time out from a hectic and intense European live tour to have a quick chat with ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK about ‘Becoming Undone’ and the development of their dark dance aesthetic…

Thematically and conceptually, how does ‘Becoming Undone’ differ from previous ADULT. albums?

In working on a new album, we always try to approach the process differently. For instance, the last album ‘Perception IS/AS/OF Deception’ was written in a black void with minimal equipment at hand for the demos. ‘This Behavior’ was written in a remote cabin in the woods. ‘Why Bother?’ was more soundtrack oriented and based on serial killers and cult leaders.

In our latest album ‘Becoming Undone’, it was literally written out of pure necessity to try to emerge out of the liminal state we were put in through the pandemic. We did not control the concept on this record – the world did. So there is a lot more dissonance and looping motifs in this record, rhythm is stronger than melody as there was no harmony in the world as we wrote it. This album was a mirror to the world land life in general.

‘Becoming Undone’ has been described as capturing “something that’s falling apart”?

Well, we wrote the album during the pandemic when everything was falling apart. Massive amount of people were dying of the virus and Nicola‘s father passed away (not from Covid, but during the pandemic). We had lost all of our tours and all of our income. Then as we were trying once again to get into the writing process, the ex-loser President of the United States decided to try to do his big lie and steal the election, followed by the insurrection on the US Capitol – sooooo everything really was falling apart and we felt to album should mirror that.

As well as synths, ‘Becoming Undone’ sees vocal loop pedals added to the tech armoury, what attracted you to using these?

One of the main things we like about analog equipment (which is 97% of our studio) is the different interfaces they have and the different abilities to move between control and arbitrary experimentation. We both find vocal loop pedals very non-intuitive (as opposed to something from Roland, which we understand easily the way the gear works). So for us, the looper gave us a chance to not be in control, to come up with some layers or parts to songs that we normally would not come up with. It added randomness to the songs.

The music has ramped up percussively and ‘Our Bodies Weren’t Wrong’ comes with a fitting EBM backdrop, had there been any inspiration from having worked previously with Douglas J McCarthy of NITZER EBB?

NITZER EBB has always been a major influence for the both of us. It was one of the few bands when we met years ago that we really had in common. The music on the new album ‘Becoming Undone’ has become more and more percussive because we included electronic pads, not only to the writing process, but to the live set as well. This came out of many different reasons, but one was that we figured after the pandemic, people were going to be ready to rage and as London, Brussels, Berlin and other cities have proven – that is very true!

THROBBING GRISTLE have been cited as an influence on the album with ‘Normative Sludge’ examining the delusional nature of the Instagram / Tik Tok generation, why was this such an inspirational source for you?

THROBBING GRISTLE is one of our favorite bands and it not only comes down to the quality of the songs but also the way they do not fit into any single genre. They came up with a name for their own genre (Industrial) which must have been very liberating until it was stolen from them for idiots like Marilyn Manson. Going back to this idea of things falling apart, THROBBING GRISTLE is so good at having songs that sound like they’re falling apart. As we wanted to discuss the ideas of collapse, they were an obvious inspiration.

Although there is less melody this time round, do you think ‘Undoing / Undone’ and ‘I Am Nothing’ could be considered quite classic ADULT. songs?

The only way to know if something will be classic is to allow time to pass. For us, everything on this new album is too close to us right now to dissect.

Industrial S&M looms on ‘I, Obedient’, is society too submissive now?

Society is an awfully big word. Of course there are parts of society that are too submissive and there are parts of society that are resisting. Always resisting.

‘Teeth Out Pt. II’ is a doomy aural collage of drones like a symbol of decay, how did the track come together?

This is one of those magical tracks where we got the new looper and we had absolutely no idea how to operate it. Adam always reads manuals but Nicola never does and that brings two different approaches to the song writing process. So Nicola just started immediately working with the pedal and suddenly there were three or four really beautiful layers counterpointing each other. When we came back to the demo months later, we were shocked it was almost complete as it was. We even tried adding drum machines to the song but in the end it became our first song ever without any beats!

What are your hopes and fears for the future, you have talked about how “Humans have always been pretty terrible”?

We have no hopes for the future and we have many fears like everyone right now, but at the end of the day we just have to be present – at least try to. Living in the moment seems to be the most important thing right now. We played a pretty insane show in Brussels two weeks ago and there was this 9 year old girl that was the daughter of one of the volunteers at the venue that befriended us during the evening and after the show she came up to Nicola and said “Do you know what I liked about your show? You just went for it!” That’s our current motto for this time and place in time.


ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its warmest thanks to ADULT.

Special thanks to Kate Price at Stereo Sanctity

‘Becoming Undone’ is released by Dais Records, available in various formats from https://adultmusic.bandcamp.com

http://adultperiod.com

https://www.facebook.com/adultperiod/

https://twitter.com/adultperiod

https://www.instagram.com/adultperiod/

https://www.daisrecords.com


Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
8th April 2022

ADULT. Becoming Undone

Having made an impression in 2001 with ‘Hand To Phone’, Nicola Kuperus and Adam Lee Miller are back as ADULT. and 2022 sees the duo ‘Becoming Undone’. It captures in their own words “something that’s falling apart”.

Album number nine sees vocal loop pedals and percussion pads added to the ADULT. synth armoury to present a stark response to their surroundings.

Whereas 2017’s ‘Detroit House Guests’ saw ADULT. open their doors to collaborators such as Douglas J McCarthy from NITZER EBB, Michael Gira from SWANS and Shannon Funchess from LIGHT ASYLUM, this new body of work is more personal, with the state of the world and personal bereavement among the themes.

Opener ‘Undoing / Undone’ presents an electro-punk Siouxsie snarl over a metronomic setting that is not without threat. Energetic, aggressive and unsettling, ‘Our Bodies Weren’t Wrong’ comes with a suitably EBM backdrop.

‘Fools (We Are…)’ is a snuff movie in 5 minutes, screeching and stabbing with a more of a shout than a snarl, recalling ‘THROBBING GRISTLE’s ‘Persuasion’ but with beats. Continuing with the looming rumble of THROBBING GRISTLE, ‘Normative Sludge’ examines the delusional nature of the Instagram / Tik Tok generation with fits of white noise. The ironic ‘She’s Nice Looking’ covers a similar topic with its building rhythmic claustrophobia and schizoid delivery.

The thumping techno of ‘I Am Nothing’ is classic ADULT. with a penetrating sharpness and a fierce attacking crescendo while ‘I, Obedient’ is absorbing industrial S&M with Kuperus acting as a fitting dominatrix. Closing with ‘Teeth Out Pt. II’, this is a doomy aural collage of drones and voice… “what are we waiting for?” Kuperus asks in a symbol of desolate decay.

Despite having released music since 1998, ADULT. have shown that their dystopian demeanour remains as vital as ever and has not waned over the years as their living art project continues to evolve.

With a considered sonic cohesion that remains true to the spirit of the duo, ‘Becoming Undone’ does not disappoint and will keep the ADULT. faithful more than satisfied.


‘Becoming Undone’ is released on 25th February 2022 by Dais Records as a vinyl LP, CD and download, pre-order via https://smarturl.it/becoming-undone

ADULT. UK 2022 live dates include:

Bristol Thekla (7th March), Glasgow Slay (8th March), Manchester White Hotel (9th March), London Electrowerkz (10th March)

http://adultperiod.com

https://www.facebook.com/adultperiod/

https://twitter.com/adultperiod

https://www.instagram.com/adultperiod/

https://adultmusic.bandcamp.com

https://www.daisrecords.com


Text by Chi Ming Lai
23rd February 2022

BOY HARSHER Live at London Heaven

Since their debut long player ‘Yr Body Is Nothing’ in 2016, Massachusetts duo BOY HARSHER have become an acclaimed cult proposition.

But having opened for THE SOFT MOON on their tour of 2018, their initial aloofness has mutated into the zest and ambition of the recently released ‘Careful’. Possibly the first great album of 2019, it is a fine musical document confronting personal demons and traumas.

Beginning their London Heaven gig with foggy blocks of light, Jae Matthews on vocals and Augustus Muller on electronics built up the drama with the schizophrenic overtones of ‘A Realness’ from their debut. But getting the first big cheers of approval was ‘Fate’, its pulsing rhythmic mantra and eerie synthetic textures encouraging deviant dancing as Matthews’ expressed her shadowy discomfort. ‘Yr Body Is Nothing’ recalled the brooding drama of the same titled debut and was followed by the abstract hypno-drone of ‘Suitor’.

Drowned in shades of red, blues, yellows and greens, Muller stood mostly passively at the controls, banging the occasional drum pad while Matthews sang and shrieked with the air of a lower register Siouxsie Sioux gone darkwave.

‘Westerners’ offered some grainy orchestra stabs to the gothic disco motif, but things got more frantic with ‘Come Closer’, its threatening ADULT. backbone providing an unsettling slice of snuff movie HI-NRG!

Indeed, it was the new material from ‘Careful’ that stood out with its more focussed, less blurry vision as exemplified by the hypnotic industrial pop ‘Tears’, complete with a gloriously alluring delivery from Matthews.

Also from ‘Careful’, the brilliant sinister techno of ‘LA’ at times threatened to turn into DEPECHE MODE’s ‘Behind The Wheel’, although this was offset by Matthews’ mournful demeanour. However, show closer ‘Modulations’ probably attracted the biggest cheer of the evening from the raucous crowd, no doubt appreciating its synth-punk aesthetics.

Returning for an encore, ‘The Look You Gave (Jerry)’ summed up the substance in BOY HARSHER’s new music despite loosening their approach. Yes, it is synthpop because it has a tune, even if it is dressed an appealingly unconventional and morose manner. The lightshow was particularly effective here with melodic green penetrating against the moody blue.

Closing with the claustrophobic ‘Pain’ from the interim ‘Lesser Man’ EP, with a bassline not that far off from a wholly electronic version of JOY DIVISION, Matthews masochistically petered on the edge of implosion exclaiming “I love pain” before departing the stage.

Sadly, ‘Face the Fire’ was not included in the set but with this performance, BOY HARSHER successfully refined their approach without losing any of their artistic edge. Both passionate and cerebral, it was wonderfully tense and exhilarating.


Special thanks to Kate Price at Stereo Sanctity

‘Careful’ by Nude Club Records in neon orange vinyl LP, CD, cassette and download formats, available from http://www.boyharsher.bandcamp.com

http://boyharsher.com

https://www.facebook.com/boyharsher

https://twitter.com/boyharsher

https://www.instagram.com/boyharsher

http://www.nudeclubrecords.com/


Text and Photos by Chi Ming Lai
4th March 2019

BOY HARSHER Careful


BOY HARSHER formed through an urgent need to produce and consume, so by the winter of 2014, Jae Matthews and Augustus Muller started to experiment with sound, video and text.

With just a few synths, a drum machine and a laptop, their second full length album ‘Careful’ was conceived in Massachusetts, with the duo utilising their minimal electronics and intense demeanour to create a compelling narrative of a deteriorating family and a need to escape from it, expressing an understanding of love and loss, fear and joy, tenderness and pain.

An introductory mood piece ‘Keep Driving’ opens ‘Careful’ with a building percussive mantra, but the stark drama of ‘Face The Fire’ is eerie and unsettling while also accessible, with driving drum machine rhythms and cosmic synth hooks all present and correct, despite Jae Matthews’ expressions of discomfort. Meanwhile, ‘Fate’ is a brilliant sister song to ‘Face The Fire’, coming over like ADULT. meeting THE KVB with hints of SAVAGES too.

‘LA’ features a wonderfully incongruous mix of icy string synths and orchestra stabs for an enticing display of mutant electronic disco, but brilliantly sinister thanks to its varied use of effects and Matthews’ mournful demeanour. Things get even more urgent and frantic with the pulsating ‘Come Closer’, its rhythmically threatening backbone and fraught tension providing an uneasy but thrilling listen!

What is captivating about ‘Careful’ is the fabulous range of synthetic sounds on display, as exemplified by ‘The Look You Gave (Jerry)’, a perfect number for those seeking substance craving a darker edge to their synthpop… and yes BOY HARSHER are pop because they do have tunes, even if they dress them up in an appealingly unconventional and morose manner.

‘Tears’ follows the pattern laid down of ‘Careful’, strangely chunky and danceable with Matthews all deviantly alluring, while the more abstract ‘Crush’ takes proceedings down in a suitably claustrophobic manner. A steadfast hypnotism appropriately directs ‘Lost’ towards the final straight before a short cerebral conceptual piece for the closing title track.

With ‘Careful’, BOY HARSHER have refined their template without losing any of their unsettling edge. This is the first really great album of 2019, with the six song sequence from ‘Face The Fire’ to ‘Tears’ particularly outstanding.

With that, the final third does suffer slightly in comparison but this does not detract from what an excellent work this is, a fine musical document confronting personal demons and traumas.


‘Careful’ is released on 1st February 2019 by Nude Club Records in neon orange vinyl LP, CD, cassette and download formats, pre-order from http://www.boyharsher.bandcamp.com

BOY HARSHER play the following UK dates:

Bristol Lanes (24th February), Leeds Wharf Chambers (25th February), Manchester Soup Kitchen (26th February), London Heaven (27th February)

http://boyharsher.com

https://www.facebook.com/boyharsher

https://twitter.com/boyharsher

https://www.instagram.com/boyharsher

http://nudeclubrecords.com


Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photo by Nedda Afsari
21st January 2019

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