Tag: Arthur & Martha (Page 1 of 4)

RODNEY CROMWELL Interview

Indie synth veteran Adam Cresswell is back as Rodney Cromwell with his second full length long player under that nom de théâtre, having recorded and released albums over the last two decades as a member of SALOON and ARTHUR & MARTHA.

Issued on Cresswell’s own boutique label Happy Robots Records, the enjoyably hazy 12 track work is entitled ‘Memory Box’.

In this bizarre post-truth world where hypocrisy is rife and blatant lies are not questioned, where those who complained about fake news on mainstream media then celebrated the 40th Anniversary of DEPECHE MODE’s ‘Speak & Spell’ album on the incorrect date of 5th October 2021 and some who dismissed the music of the 80s are now writing about the music of the 80s, ‘Memory Box’ is timely.

The follow-up to the acclaimed debut ‘Age Of Anxiety’ from 2015, Adam Cresswell chatted at length to ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK about the making of his new opus.

What is the theme of the ‘Memory Box’ album and then specifically, the title song?

Well I guess it’s the ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ of concept albums; it’s a concept album where the listener finds the concept that works for them.

The title came about half way through making it. I’d always planned to record an album in 2020, I just hadn’t thought I would write it locked in my tiny loft room in a pandemic. For most of my career I’ve been writing about our dystopian future, and then when it felt like it had finally arrived, I really didn’t want to write about it. So rather than looking outward, on what was going on around us, I looked inward; drawing on experiences and relationships from my past in order to look towards the future, digging deep into my own creative memory box.

There are on the album moments where I consciously pillage ideas from other records I’ve released over the last 20 years. ‘Fluctuations’ nods towards ‘Happy Robots’ from the second SALOON album. ‘Waiting Room’ leans towards ‘Kasparov’ from ARTHUR & MARTHA’s ‘Navigation’ and so on. It is full of Easter Eggs that only about three people might understand.

The song ‘Memory Box’ is about not trusting the world around you, or at least your perception of it. It’s the moment in the album when we fall into the psychological rabbit hole and it goes from being a straight synthpop album into something a bit more cerebral and psychedelic.

It’s been 6 years since ‘Age Of Anxiety’, how is it to actually create a traditional full length body of work as an independent artist and to ensure it is of the highest quality?

I’m not going to lie, it was really hard and I had to dig really deep. Even at my most proficient, I’ve rarely written more than four songs a year. I spent over a year making the ‘Rodney’s English Disco’, EP and at least three months on the remix for Alice Hubble alone. Perhaps if I taught myself to use a modern DAW and I bought sample packs and all that stuff, it would be easier, but I’ve chosen to work in this very old-school analogue way.

The big difference between writing ‘Memory Box’ and ‘Age of Anxiety’ was that I knew that people would be listening this time, some of whom will be wanting me to fail. I had none of that pressure with ‘Age Of Anxiety’ because I genuinely thought no-one would care. So I put the hours in, working with people I could trust and whose advice I would act on.

Rich Bennett who produced the album would keep pushing me throughout. Every time he said “it’s good, but you should add some harmonies”, I wanted to cry but it was worth it. And the other key collaborator was Martin J Langthorne, who played most of the guitar parts and who did all the design work on the campaign. He was coming up with these outlandish design ideas, sitting somewhere between Kafka and psychedelia, and they definitely pushed my writing in a more colourful direction.

Fifi Rong talked about being distracted from focussing on an album by the streaming metrics which favour single songs and remixes…

Yeah, playing the streaming game of releasing a rush of singles for the one-in-a-thousand chance of getting in a curated playlist is a massive distraction. I made my priority making a record that would sound great on vinyl. That’s why the songs are shorter than on ‘Age of Anxiety,’ to fit them on a single LP without compromising the sound, while at the same time breaking the mould of making a 10 track LP like all my previous studio albums.

Is radio play still important or is it about getting onto playlists and podcasts now? But with so many platforms, doesn’t it all get a bit saturated but ultimately fragmented now?

I guess radio play is really important, because no hipster Spotify playlisters will stick me in their playlists anyway. Ha! I can get great reviews in blogs or printed magazines, but can I persuade somebody on SubmitHub to drag-and-drop my song into a playlist with 200 other songs – nope. It’s a bit depressing. Being on BBC 6 Music though is always very special, not least because I can listen back on the ‘big telly’ in the living room, which even impresses my wife and kids… a bit.

This album appears to have a more vintage psychedelic presence than your previous work, as indicated by the instrumentals like ‘Cloud Catalogue’, ‘Butterflies In The Filing Cabinet’ and ‘Calculations’ which use Mellotron-derived sounds?

Yeah I mean that was partly to do with the fact when the pandemic started, I went back to listening to some of the bands that I really love – BROADCAST, SILVER APPLES, THE BEATLES and hauntological electronica like PYE CORNER AUDIO and FOCUS GROUP. While writing I also had a few run-ins with characters on the ‘synth scene’ and I just wanted some space from that. But by the end of last year I got over that, mainly through listening to NATION OF LANGUAGE and PEAKES on repeat, who reminded me how much I love synth music.

I didn’t buy a load of new synths to find those more esoteric sounds though; the Mellotron came from digging-deep into the MicroKorg. I also recorded a lot of stuff hot through effects pedals, I have more of a gear-fetish for pedals than synths these days

You’re not really known for buying lots of new toys and tend to stick with your trusted gear, but has there been any tech, either software or hardware that has proved crucial in the making of this album?

People do say when my stuff comes on the radio that they quickly recognise it as a Rodney Cromwell record and I like to think that’s because my arsenal of five synths and assorted toys have been my sound since at least the ARTHUR & MARTHA album.

My favourite new toy is probably my iZettle card reader, which brings me endless joy on the merch stall, but that’s probably not the answer you are after.

Did you binge watch THE BEATLES’ ‘Get Back’ documentary series earlier in the year? Your thoughts?

Of course, I insisted my wife used her Tesco Clubcard points for our Disney subscription. It goes without saying that ‘Get Back’ is brilliant; it sounds great, it looks great and it’s just wonderful seeing the creative process, even if they are playing ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’ at the time. I’m a terrible BEATLES bore, I think on one trip back from Glasgow, Martin and I talked solidly about THE BEATLES for the whole journey. ‘Cloud Catalogue’ on this album is my attempt at re-imagining ‘Flying,’ had The Fabs written it on entry-level synths after listening to a lot of STEREOLAB.

There is quite a bit of vocoder like on the opener ‘Intercom’ and ‘Wristwatch Television’, as the tech pre-dates the Second World War, it does fit in with the whole ‘Memory Box’ vibe…

The lo-fi vocoder-voice has become one of my trademark sounds, along with ARP strings, DR-55 drums and the melodica. I usually use the vocoder when I’ve written a song in a key that I struggle to sing in, like ‘Comrades’ on the last EP which always sounds like the world’s worst ACTORS impression if I don’t use the vocoder.

‘Intercom’ was a pain because I recorded it in 2020, a year later I decided to change two lines of the lyrics. I originally sung “Now I’m a populist, it’s easy”, which was of course meant ironically, but then after reading theUwe Schütte book on KRAFTWERK (which you gave me – thanks for that), I was reminded of the whole ‘Radioactivity’ furore and how people just don’t get irony in pop, so I changed the line to “Now I’m a nihilist” which is a bit closer to my real position anyway. I then had to spend hours trying to replicate the vocoder sound which didn’t work and I had to re-record the whole thing. It wasn’t quite like when MY BLOODY VALENTINE had to re-record all the guitars on ‘Loveless’ because they’d forgotten what tunings they’d used, but it didn’t feel far off.

‘The Department Of Public Tranquility’ sounds like something you might have done in ARTHUR & MARTHA?

I hadn’t really noticed that similarity, but it was an attempt to break the synthpop mould by writing something in 3/4 with a weird key change.

The file corrupted while I was writing it so Rich had to retrieve it and rebuild it, so I’m not entirely sure what is me playing and what is him. Apparently I’m playing bass on that one, but I don’t believe him, it sounds too well played to be me.

While you are pursuing a slightly different direction on this album, there’s still some Motorik beats on ‘Fluctuations’ and ‘The Winter Palace’?

Ha – of course I love it who doesn’t love that beat. In 2020 I played as part of Damo Suzuki’s backing-band with Alice Hubble and I would have happily had us just play that beat for the whole set.

With every album, I dream of writing a Motorik track that’s as good as ‘Isi’, ‘Mother Sky’ or ‘We’re Not Adult Orientated’. Of course that is never going to happen, but it does mean a lot of my songs start off with the apache beat; songs like ‘Autovia’, ‘Barry Was An Arms Dealer’, ‘Squarewave To Heaven’. I find that it absolutely captivating, like a clear natural high. Beats sniffing glue.

After years of imitating Peter Hook musically, you finally do a Bernard Sumner impersonation on ‘Opus Three’?

I don’t know, I think I’ve been channelling Bernard for years in my melodica playing. But yeah I was getting fed up that every time someone asked me to do a collaboration or a remix they’d say “just put some Hooky bass on it”. So that’s why there isn’t much chorused bass on this album. Hooky is still the real-deal and he’s playing all the time, so you don’t need me doing my ‘Stars In Their Eyes’ bit anyway.

Do you have any particular favourite tracks?

‘Waiting Room’ because it’s a proper love song about someone I actually love rather than another song about fictional unrequited lover. I was listening to a lot of ‘McCartney One’ when I penned that one.

Aside from the ‘Memory Box’ album, you have released a limited edition of some unreleased instrumentals ‘Get Me To Prague’ and ‘Radagast The Brown’?

Yeah the idea of releasing some really old stuff as part of this campaign seemed to resonate with what ‘Memory Box’ is all about; looking backwards to look forward.

Also there are a bunch of great electronic artists out there making vintage sounding instrumentals, that sit somewhere between the ambient and hauntology spaces getting lots of acclaim. They are usually using modern DAWs to replicate a vintage sound, and I guess this was my way of saying “hey guys I’ve been making that sort of stuff for the last 20 years!”; I’m not sure anyone got the memo though.

You been quite vocal about the lot of the independent label and how the physical editions of their releases are in a very big queue behind major labels with their coloured vinyl reissues of ‘Rumours’ and the like? How are things looking for Happy Robots Records?

I’ve been as guilty as anyone of buying re-issues and totally inessential live-albums over the last few years so I can’t preach too much. The label though is doing pretty well, I’m steadily building up a great customer base of supportive fans. I can’t say I’m making a great deal of money, but our infrastructure is improving; I’ve got Martin doing the design work, we’ve signed a publishing deal alongside our distribution deal with Cargo, we’re investing in a few ads, it’s coming together. The biggest risk in terms of single-point-of-failure though, is that so-much rests on my shoulders. I am probably going to have to take a sabbatical, at some point to recharge by batteries, do bit of decorating and hopefully find the next brilliant new act to join the family.

What about live gigs and possibly venturing into post-Brexit Europe?

Who knows! We had a show booked in Düsseldorf for February but we had to pull it because of Covid. I’ve also been talking about going to Paris. Let’s see. I love playing live, but at the moment the UK looks like the safer bet, unless a European booking agent wants to get in touch and take a punt. Cough, anyone?…

Your hopes and fears as we aim to “stay negative to be positive” in 2022 to quote Mark Reeder?

Right now I think if we can avoid World War 3 I’ll be quite happy. The world doesn’t feel like it’s in a great place, but saying that it was a great Eurovision result, so who knows, perhaps the tide is turning!


ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its grateful thanks to Adam Cresswell

‘Memory Box’ is released as a yellow vinyl LP by Happy Robots Records, available via https://www.happyrobots.co.uk/product-page/rodney-cromwell-memory-box-12-coloured-lp-bot33 ordirect from https://rodneycromwell.bandcamp.com/album/memory-box-2

Rodney Cromwell opens for BLANCMANGE on the ‘Private View’ 2022 tour for the following dates:
Exeter The Pheonix (4th November), Southampton The Brook (5th November), Diss Corn Hall (17th November)

Before that, Rodney Cromwell will be the special guest of Gemma Cullingford at Bristol Crofter’s Rights on 29th October 2022

https://www.happyrobots.co.uk/rodney-cromwell

https://www.facebook.com/rodneycromwellartist/

https://twitter.com/robot_rocker

https://www.instagram.com/robot_rocker/


Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Alison Ahern
25th May 2022, updated 21st June 2022

RODNEY CROMWELL Memory Box

Intended as a soundtrack to a sadly post truth world, Rodney Cromwell returns with his second album ‘Memory Box’.

Behind the persona of Rodney Cromwell is Adam Cresswell who said: “For most of my career I’ve been writing about our dystopian future, and then when it finally arrived, I really didn’t want to write about it. So rather than looking outward, on what was going on around us in the landscape of the pandemic, I looked inward; drawing on experiences and relationships from my past in order to look to the future. I essentially dug deep into my own creative memory box.”

A very different album to the melancholic but upbeat synthpop sensibility of 2015’s ‘Age Of Anxiety’, ‘Memory Box’ is a much hazier record presented with cerebral impressionistic qualities. It all begins with the motorik buzz ‘n’ bleep fest of ‘Intercom’ with vocoders that sound like ‘Trans’ era Neil Young if he had a more indie bent.

Then after years of imitating Peter Hook musically, ‘Opus Three’ sees Cresswell do his best Bernard Sumner impression in his very own ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ if ever there was one, although with its charming Stylophone solo, the homage is perhaps isn’t quite as blatant as NATION OF LANGUAGE’s ‘On Division Street’!

Meanwhile, the ‘Memory Box’ title song is an appealing metronomic number that reflects frustration and resignation about how truth and honesty are of so little worth in modern society, especially with the likes of Boris Johnson exploiting their posh boy privilege with blatant lies and being applauded for it!

Taking its lead from STEREOLAB, the grim moods of ‘Fluctuations’ are made more haunting by spacey keyboard swirls while the neo-acoustic ‘Waiting Room’ takes its lead from in ‘Kasparov’, one of Cresswell’s past musical adventures in ARTHUR & MARTHA.

The interlude ‘Butterflies In The Filing Cabinet’ utilises Mellotron-derived sounds for some uneasy psychedelic overtures but imagining ‘Tanzmusik’ from ‘KRAFTWERK’s ‘Ralf & Florian’ album meeting THE BEATLES ‘Flying’, the wonderful ‘Cloud Catalogue’ provides a catchy cosmic instrumental journey. Swung in 6/8 with catchy keyboard arpeggios, ‘The Department Of Public Tranquility’ also references ARTHUR & MARTHA with Theremin tones and sombre vocals encapsulating an aura of hopelessness.

Despite its electro-glam backbeat, ‘Wristwatch Television’ still fits with the tribulations of the ‘Memory Box’ concept, highlighting the wider public tunnel vision of not accepting the bigger picture when acquiring news from Martin on Facebook who has suddenly become an expert on vaccines and an authority on synthpop despite dissing THE HUMAN LEAGUE only four years before!

More stringy Mellotron-derived sounds come with the wordless ‘Calculations, but ‘The Winter Palace’ is a wonderful icy closer that is classic Rodders embracing motorik mechanisation within a hypnotic electronic backdrop and providing a glorious synth solo for an hopeful uplift to savour.

With the past two years seeing the circuit schematics of a Boss guitar pedal being viralled by anti-vax conspiracy theorists as the 5G chip sitting within the Covid vaccine and accepted as fact, where Devotees still think DEPECHE MODE’s ‘Speak & Spell was released on 5th October 1981 despite archive sales evidence to the contrary, where surreal distortion is starting to become reality, ‘Memory Box’ is a fine Kafkaesque concept album for exhausted souls to dance to as an imploding disaster awaits…

But what’s that No-Vacs Djokovic, you’re happy to forgo a few more Grand Slam titles at the height of your tennis career in order to maintain your stubborn stance? Don’t look up!


‘Memory Box’ is released as a yellow vinyl EP by Happy Robots Records on 18th March 2022, pre-order available from https://www.happyrobots.co.uk/product-page/rodney-cromwell-memory-box-12-coloured-lp-bot33

Pre-order the digital download in the usual formats via https://rodneycromwell.bandcamp.com/album/memory-box-2

RODNEY CROMWELL, SPRAY and CIRCUIT3 play The Cavendish Arms, 128 Hartington Rd, London SW8 2HJ on Saturday 19th March 2022 – tickets available in advance from https://www.happyrobots.co.uk/tickets

https://www.happyrobots.co.uk/rodney-cromwell

https://www.facebook.com/rodneycromwellartist/

https://twitter.com/robot_rocker

https://www.instagram.com/robot_rocker/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Alison Ahern
1st March 2022

A Short Conversation with ALICE HUBBLE

Synth earth mother Alice Hubble recently returned to follow-up her acclaimed 2019 album ‘Polarlichter’ with the similarly inspired ‘Hexentanzplatz’.

Previously best known for fronting cult favourites ARTHUR & MARTHA and COSINES, she has presented another mix of the forlorn avant pop and endearing instrumentals that characterised her debut, but with an expanded textural palette.

Released by Happy Robots Records, tracks from ‘Hexentanzplatz’ have already secured BBC radio airplay from the likes of Janice Long, Lauren Laverne, Cerys Matthews and Steve Lamacq. From auroras to mountains, ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK spoke to Alice Hubble about the making of ‘Hexentanzplatz’ and retaining that mystic but accessible air within her work.

Judging by album titles, was ‘Hexentanzplatz’ very much a variation on the theme of ‘Polarlichter’?

I didn’t set out for the album to have a German title, it just sort of happened! I like the way the words feel in your mouth. The name of a mountain translates to mean “the Witches Dance Floor”, it was so perfect in its nature / disco / witchy connotations that I couldn’t help be drawn to it.

So it’s “a beautiful mountain” but did you actually get to visit Hexentanzplatz?

In Summer 2020, I was lucky to take a visit to Germany. As with everything in the pandemic, it was quite an ordeal getting there, our flights were cancelled three times, so when we got there I couldn’t quite believe it and it was quite a surreal visit. One day in our trip, we visited the Harz mountains to go to the Unicorn Cave, mainly because they filmed some of the TV series ‘Dark’ at the cave, but also I like a good cave (see ‘Ruby Falls’…) as much as I like a good mountain. This is where the back cover photo of the LP was taken.

On the drive to the cave, I learnt of Hexentanzplatz, the mountain is an old Saxon cult site known for its Walpurligsnacht celebrations. We were hoping to visit this summer but our visit is now planned for December. I’m so excited to visit the mountain, but I’m prepared for the reality to be a bit different to the mystical wonderland inclusive disco party I’ve imagined!

How was your overall approach to ‘Hexentanzplatz’ compared to ‘Polarlichter’?

A few tracks were started before, but the majority of the LP was written during the first lockdown. Though none of the tracks were explicitly about lockdown, I feel the anxiety of the time is so clearly captured in the music. With the first LP, I was working out what Alice Hubble is, whereas with ‘Hexentanzplatz’, my overall writing approach was more focussed and confident.

I went to the recording studio last October and I spent 10 days in Ramsgate working on additional recording and mixing with Mike Collins at Big Jelly Studios. It was really nice to have this concentrated time to focus on the record.

Did you have any new or different toys at your disposal? How was the recording process this time round?

I bought a Roland RS202 string machine which is quite prominent on some tracks. With this LP, everything happened a lot quicker and the record sounds more spontaneous as a result. With the first LP, I felt the need to be very much in control in every creative decision. With this record I felt a lot free-er and relaxed in working with a producer and open to external suggestions.

Your trusty Moog Prodigy still make a fabulous noise…

Of course ??

You’ve continued to combine standalone instrumentals like ‘West Reservoir’ and ‘Gleichfalls’ alongside your songs, do you have any particular artists whose work is primarily instrumental that you have been inspired by?

Manuel Göttsching and Laurie Spiegel who have been big influences on my instrumental work. I’ve also been listening to Kitaro and early 80s library music records which my partner plays at home a lot.

The first single from ‘Hexentanzplatz’ was ‘Power Play’, how do you feel about recent events closer to home which have made the lyrical content even more poignant?

The lyrics to ‘Power Play’ were sparked from reading an article about the mass hex of Brock Turner, but also my comment on what happens in a post #metoo world, when the news stories have been had.

I’m not sure what particular recent events you’re referring to (there are sadly so many), but I think the whole system of sexual assault trials and convictions needs a reform, the “innocent until declared guilty” track doesn’t support victims in any way and one of the reasons why a lot of cases get dropped or don’t get to court in the first place.

‘Projections’ recalled NEW ORDER’s ‘Love Vigilantes’ with a quite rousing chorus?

This is probably the oldest song on the LP, it’s probably at least 5 years old, and was a song that I wrote to confront myself regarding past affections with woefully inappropriately located men. A lot of the time you write these songs and they’re actually too personal to put out there at the time. Having some distance from the song definitely helped me.

NEW ORDER was definitely a reference, though the ‘Republic’ era was what I was going for. ‘Love Vigilantes’ has definitely been a favourite through over the years though. The track also has a guitar solo on it, which feels quite adventurous for an Alice Hubble track!

You had an opportunity to reflect on your late parents with ‘My Dear Friend’ while the music was reminiscent of the earthier moods of LADYTRON when they made ‘Gravity The Seducer’?

I’m ashamed to say I don’t know that LADYTRON album, however ‘Witching Hour’ is definitely an LP I referenced a lot when making ‘Hexentanzplatz’. I do gravitate music that mixes the synthetic with the organic, ‘Seventh Tree’ is my favourite GOLDFRAPP LP.

Which tracks on ‘Hexentanzplatz’ are your own favourites?

Oh my it’s hard to say, I love ‘Make Believe’ cause it sounds so unsettled and heavy, and ‘Gleichfalls’, I know I made all the sounds on that record happen, but I’m still not sure how it happened!

You’ve expanded the line-up for your concerts, do you feel more confident with the challenges of live performance?

I’m glad I did play solo, but being the only person on stage is a lot for anyone to take on. I’d be trying to perform but also then would be worrying about all the tech stuff too, it was fun, but at times quite stressful, especially with a laptop which is on the brink of death!

Bringing in Tom Hilverkus to the live band was a natural choice, he’s already in the Hubble Bubble (he’s my partner), but also is a great musician and has a real calming influence on me and can look after some of the techy stuff. This gives me more mental space to focus on performing and also gives us more flexibility to make the live show more interesting sonically.

What’s next for you?

Looking to next year, there’ll be some UK and German dates and festival shows. There’s another EP at some point and I also need to find space to write some new tracks.


ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its sincerest thanks to Alice Hubble

‘Hexentanzplatz’ is released by Happy Robots Records in vinyl LP and digital formats, available direct from https://happyrobotsrecords.bandcamp.com/

https://www.happyrobots.co.uk/alice-hubble

https://www.facebook.com/alicehubblemusic/

https://twitter.com/alice_hubble

https://www.instagram.com/alice_hubble/


Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Adrian Hextall
11th November 2021

ALICE HUBBLE Hexentanzplatz

Literally meaning “Witches’ Dance Floor” in German, ‘Hexentanzplatz’ is the evocative title of the second album from Alice Hubble, formally of ARTHUR & MARTHA and COSINES.

Channeling her inner Delia Derbyshire, Daphne Oram and Sally Oldfield, ‘Polarlichter’ was a fine avant pop debut that captured an earthy musical aurora. Named after a mountain located just over 70km south west of Magbeburg located in what was the former DDR, ‘Hexentanzplatz’ begins with a gorgeous filmic set piece entitled ‘West Reservoir’ that could be best described as a watery wash of aural morning dew.

But the album gets serious with ‘Power Play’, an statement on the #MeToo movement reflecting Alice Hubble’s embracement of collective digital activism and serves as an electro-organic protest song.

With a subtle similarity in theme but bursting with assorted electronic moods and rhythmic pulses, the ‘Hexentanzplatz’ title song recalls some of the more recent work of Sarah Nixey on ‘Night Walks’, while our heroine stares in awe at the named mountain and surroundings, although using the view as a metaphor about fighting the patriarchy.

One of the glistening highlights on ‘Hexentanzplatz’ comes with the rousing indie synthpop of ‘Projections’, successfully combining emotive Mellotron strings and a catchy countrified chorus like NEW ORDER’s ‘Love Vigilantes’ but without the ghostly war story, instead a love song for the confused.

The laid back ‘Summer Smoke’ provides another of Alice Hubble’s earthy yet otherworldly offerings, while ‘Make Believe’ plays within a magical cavern of its own that is all strange off-beats and wobbling synths.

Another highlight comes with the optimistically romantic ‘My Dear Friend’ where subtle drums and a whirring cacophony of varyingly tuned synths recalls LADYTON and ‘Mirage’ in particular.

Meanwhile, ‘Numb’ musically comes over like a carousel ride run by The Brothers Grimm before the closing instrumental ‘Gleichfalls’ motorises itself into an enjoyably frantic NEW ORDER stylisation.

A worthy follow-up to her similarly Pagan spirited ‘Polarlichter’, Alice Hubble has immersed herself in the mystic air of the old Saxon cult site that is ‘Hexentanzplatz’ and emerged with a melancholic but positive body of work celebrating nature, inclusivity and acceptance.


‘Hexentanzplatz’ is released by Happy Robots Records in vinyl LP and digital formats on 10th September 2021, available from https://happyrobotsrecords.bandcamp.com/album/hexentanzplatz

Alice Hubble 2021 live dates include: London Folklore (7th October), Nottingham Old Cold Store (8th October), Leeds Wharf Chambers (15th October), Brighton West Hill Hall (23rd October), Cardiff The Moon (31st October)

https://www.happyrobots.co.uk/alice-hubble

https://www.facebook.com/alicehubblemusic/

https://twitter.com/alice_hubble

https://www.instagram.com/alice_hubble/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
4th September 2021

ALICE HUBBLE We Are Still Alone

One of ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK’s Songs Of 2019 was ‘We Are Still Alone’ by ALICE HUBBLE and it is now released in its own right as a single by Happy Robots Records.

The solo vehicle of Alice Hubley, best known for fronting ARTHUR & MARTHA and COSINES, her synth earth mother persona embraces the endearing instrumental influence of Delia Derbyshire and Daphne Oram with the forlorn vocal style of Sally Oldfield.

With a lilting bass and elegiac transistorised melody, ‘We Are Still Alone’ was the highlight of ‘Polarlichter’, a debut album with an avant pop heart swathed in wonderful musical aurora. With synthetic strings recalling ASHRA and OMD, Hubley is sadly resigned that she “couldn’t find the way to make me better”. Although originally released in 2019, in the context of 2020, ‘We Are Still Alone’ now reflects the fears and anxiety of isolation prevalent in the minds of many.

The suitably complementary video accompaniment, directed by Alicia Britt and edited by Hubley herself, beautifully uses stark shadow puppetry techniques. It was inventively realised at Britt’s home using a white bed sheet and two spotlights attached to wardrobe doors to create a shadow studio.

In keeping with the aura of varying colour and complexity hinted at by its title, over eight tracks, ‘Polarlichter’ was a soundscape of pastoral solace. “The whole ALICE HUBBLE process has been a dream, being solo means you can work at your own pace and can be quick at making decisions” said Hubley, “It can get lonely at times, but I make a point of working with people I enjoy being around and try to have fun with it.”

The five track download bundle includes two sub-50 second ‘Theme’ reworkings of ‘We Are Still Alone’ by Happy Robots Records label mate Roman Angelos whose album ‘Spacetronic Lunchbox’ was released earlier in the year and a remix by PYE CORNER AUDIO.


‘We Are Still Alone’ is released by Happy Robots Records as a download bundle on 27th November 2020, available direct from https://happyrobotsrecords.bandcamp.com/album/we-are-still-alone

‘Polarlichter’ is available as a vinyl LP, CD and download from https://happyrobotsrecords.bandcamp.com/album/polarlichter

https://www.happyrobots.co.uk/alice-hubble

https://www.facebook.com/alicehubblemusic/

https://twitter.com/alice_hubble

https://www.instagram.com/alice_hubble/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
25th November 2020

« Older posts