Tag: Divine Knights

25 FAVOURITE ITALO DISCO TRACKS

The recent documentary ‘Italo Disco Legacy’ and its accompanying soundtrack allowed a much maligned if cultishly celebrated form of electronic pop to be artistically re-evaluated.

Arguably pioneered by Italian producer Giorgio Moroder via his various projects using the then-new sequencer technology, Italo Disco coincided with the growing use of synthesizers, vocoders and drum machines within dance music and became a distinct sub-genre with its own electro heart.

Despite its name, Italo Disco was not strictly a native affair; the form became a stylistic phenomenon in territories such as Spain, Greece and France, parts of the USA such as New York and Los Angeles, Sweden and Germany.

In fact, it was the German record label ZYX Music who coined the term and were particularly key in taking the music out of Italy, leading it to become a rogue gene in House music before eventually mutating into Eurodance.

One of the countries not to truly embrace Italo Disco was the UK where club audiences preferred the more soulful adrenalin rush of HI-NRG. However, it literally came in through the back door when it was a key influence in the music of PET SHOP BOYS and NEW ORDER, particularly in their use of very Eurocentric octave shift basslines and easy-to-dance-to beats.

Highlighting the British hypocrisy of only accepting Italo Disco provided it was fronted by the aloof cool of a Neil Tennant or a Bernard Sumner, in a 1986 issue of Record Mirror discussing PET SHOP BOYS’ ‘Suburbia’, the reviewer confessed: “Despite the fact that I love the PET SHOP BOYS as much as I loathe MODERN TALKING, I have to admit that musically, they’re not that different!”

One key aspect of Italo Disco was that the majority of its artists used very English names in an attempt to hide their origins. However, the charming accents often captured an amusing vocal detachment while the frequent “woah-oh” refrains, abundance of catchy melodies and timing mistakes also contributed to its escapist appeal.

Italo Disco went global with Laura Branigan whose two biggest hits ‘Gloria’ and ‘Self Control’ were covers of Italian artists UMBERTO TOZZI and RAF respectively, while Samantha Fox and Sabrina were two of the more noticeable figures in pop who used it as a springboard for their own high profile careers.

Providing the soundtrack to many a Mediterranean summer holiday, the zenith of Italo Disco’s ubiquity (and some would say banality) was probably BALTIMORA’s ‘Tarzan Boy’, the worldwide hit fronted by the late Northern Irish model Jimmy McShane, although the lead vocals were performed by one Maurizio Bassi in a practice that was exploited frequently by the sub-genre’s producers.

Longevity was very rare in Italo Disco, so its history is represented more by a number of great records rather than great artists, although several such as FANCY, SAVAGE, BOBBY O and RYAN PARIS have entered into music folklore.

Latterly, Anglo-Argentine duo HEARTBREAK revived the form with a much harder sound and KNIGHT$ has added his own Home Counties take on the form labelled as Britalo. Meanwhile Italo Disco’s continuing influence can be heard within most types of modern electronic music including Synthwave.

In these darker, more turbulent times, the sunnier disposition of Italo Disco is just what the Doctor Rhythm ordered. So here are 25 nominally Italo Disco tracks which have brought a smile to ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK’s face, with a restriction of one track per artist in chronological and then alphabetical order.


KLEIN & MBO Dirty Talk (1982)

KLEIN & MBO were formed by Italian producer Mario Boncaldo and American arranger Tony Carrasco. Like a blueprint of early house music, their rhythmically hypnotic neo-instrumental ‘Dirty Talk’ with its orgasmic vocal interludes by jazz singer Rossana Casale proved to be a big influence on NEW ORDER for ‘Blue Monday’. Meanwhile MISS KITTIN & THE HACKER covered the track for their ‘Champagne’ EP in 1998.

Available on the KLEIN & MBO single ‘Dirty Talk’ via Tirk Recordings

https://www.facebook.com/KleinMbo-90283074783/


BOBBY O I’m So Hot For You (1982)

Bobby Orlando is credited as one of the founding fathers of Hi-NRG dance music thanks to his work with DIVINE, but operating at a more disco friendly 122BPM, ‘I’m So Hot For You’ was ‘Don’t You Want Me?’ taken on a New York subway ride with its rolling bass lines and Latin beats. The track was later sampled in 2003 for ‘Da Hype’ by JUNIOR JACK.

Available on the BOBBY O album ‘The Best Of’ via High Fashion

http://www.bobby-orlando.de


THE FLIRTS Passion (1982)

THE FLIRTS were an interchangeable girl trio of one redhead, one blonde and one brunette under the control of Bobby Orlando, whereby those who did the personal appearances had no relation to those who had sang on the tracks. ‘Passion’ was a favourite of PET SHOPS BOYS so much so that it was the inspiration for ‘In The Night’ while FELIX DA HOUSECAT ripped it lock, stock and barrel for ‘Silver Screen – Shower Scene’.

Available on THE FLIRTS album ’10 Cents For A Dance’ via High Fashion

http://www.theflirtsband.com


GINO SOCCIO Remember (1982)

A Canadian disco producer of Italian heritage, Gino Soccio’s finest moment came with ‘Remember’, a pulsating sequencer assisted number featuring some vocoder augmentation and the sexy nonchalant voice of Marie-Line Vasseur over a fabulously retro-futuristic string machine. Ahead of its time, this was a forerunner of what was to emerge as Electroclash.

Available on the GINO SOCCIO album ‘Face To Face’ via Rhino Atlantic

https://www.discogs.com/artist/75922-Gino-Soccio


CHARLIE Spacer Woman (1983)

A project helmed by Maurizio Cavalieri who had been a member of the Italian group FIREFLY and co-written with Giorgio Stefani, ‘Spacer Woman’ featured a mysterious Gina X styled lead vocal over some electro break beats that unlike other Italo Disco recordings, used more colder synth sounds that were more associated with UK acts like THE HUMAN LEAGUE. Picked up by ZYX Music for international release, this was to be the only CHARLIE track released.

Available on the CHARLIE single ‘Spacer Woman’ via Mr Disc

https://www.discogs.com/artist/15971-Charlie


COREY HART Sunglasses At Night (1983)

Canadian Corey Hart is best known for ‘Sunglasses at Night’, a catchy tune with its characteristic synth arpeggio, rock guitar and cryptic lyrics apparently inspired by the studio personnel wearing sunglasses protect their eyes from the air conditioning positioned above the control desk! The song was covered in an Electroclash vein in 2001 by TIGA & ZYNTHERIUS, while the original made an appearance in an episode of ‘Stranger Things’.

Available on the COREY HART album ‘The Singles’ via EMI Music

http://www.coreyhart.com


MR FLAGIO Take A Chance (1983)

The project of Italian duo Flavio Vidulich and Giorgio Bacco (hence the moniker), the futuristic robotic vocoder opera of ‘Take A Chance’ had a subtle tinny banality that made it extremely appealing. PET SHOP BOYS borrowed its feel for the early B-side ‘A Man Could Get Arrested’ while it use of minimal rhythmic guitar and sequencers clearly had an effect on NEW ORDER’s Bernard Sumner.

Available on the MR FLAGIO single ‘Take A Chance’ via The Saifam Group

https://www.discogs.com/artist/15976-Mr-Flagio


IVAN Fotonovela (1984)

IVAN was the stage name of Spaniard Juan Carlos Ramos Vaquero and he naturally found a home for his music in Spanish speaking territories like Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador and Chile. The sunny octave vibe of ‘Fotonovela’ with its bells, strings and accordions was to be his greatest moment; indeed the Greek production duo who produce MARSHEAUX are named after this song.

Available on the IVAN album ‘Lo Mejor De’ via Sony Music

https://www.discogs.com/artist/81599-Ivan-4


P.LION Happy Children (1983)

Italian musician and singer Pietro Paolo Pelandi named himself P.LION thanks to only having Ps in his name while with his aristocratic background, his family coat of arms was a lion. The optimistic synth brass laden ‘Happy Children’ was to be his biggest song, becoming popular in France and later in the colder climes of Sweden where Italo Disco was to find an unexpected audience.

Available on the P.LION single ‘Happy Children’ via Nocolors

http://www.plionproject.com/English/New_Release.html


ALEXANDER ROBOTNICK Problèmes D’amour (1983)

Born Maurizio Dami, the Italian electronic musician was a founder member of the quirky art cabaret trio named AVIDA. ‘Problèmes D’amour’ with its clattering drum machine, swirling analogue synths and cutesy female voiced counterpoints found a cult audience. Later working in soundtracks and world music, Dami continues making electronic dance music in the present day under the ALEXANDER ROBOTNICK moniker, remixing ‘Stuck On Repeat’ for LITTLE BOOTS in 2009 along the way.

Available on the ALEXANDER ROBOTNICK single ‘Problèmes D’Amour’ via Materiali Sonori

https://www.alexander-robotnick.it


RYAN PARIS La Dolce Vita (1983)

While his real name was Fabio Roscioli, his huge hit ‘La Dolce Vita’ was written and produced for him by Pierluigi Giombini, who not only wrote songs exclusively in English but was keen to move the established Italian singer away from rock. Paris recently returned to the spotlight with ‘Love On Ice’ in collaboration with Johan Agebjorn and Sally Shapiro, a song from the soundtrack for the Swedish thriller ‘Videomannen’.

Available on the RYAN PARIS album ‘The Best Of’ via Dvmor

http://www.ryan-paris.com


SAVAGE Don’t Cry Tonight (1983)

Despite having a long music career which continues to this day, Tuscan native Roberto Zanetti is still best known for debut single ‘Don’t Cry Tonight’, a moody slice of disco lento that was hugely successful across Europe. One notable fan was Chris Lowe, who used the song to open his playlist in PET SHOP BOYS ‘Back To Mine’ mixtape collection in 2005.

Available on the SAVAGE album ‘Don’t Cry – Greatest Hits’ via ZYX Music

http://www.savage-music.it


VALERIE DORE Get Closer (1984)

The alluring tones of VALERIE DORE were actually masterminded by producer Roberto Gasparini and fronted by Monica Stucchi who lip-synched on public appearances to the vocals of Dora Carofiglio on the first two hits ‘The Night’ and ‘Get Closer’. Stucchi herself voiced her recordings after 1986 and continues performing as Valerie. Meanwhile ‘Get Closer’ itself was covered by Marc Almond with STARCLUSTER in 2016.

Available on the VALERIE DORE album ‘The Best Of’ via ZYX Music

http://www.valeriedore.it


FANCY Slice Me Nice (1984)

Under the stage name of FANCY, Manfred Alois Segieth cut a striking androgynous figure within Italo Disco, scoring an international hit with the extremely saucy ‘Slice Me Nice’. The German born Spaniard even made headway in the US Billboard Dance Charts in 1985 with ‘Chinese Eyes’ and ‘Come Inside’, while ‘Bolero’ hit the top spot in Spain. At the age of 70 in 2017, he took the Guinness world record for the highest ever pop concert in La Paz, Bolivia!

Available on the FANCY album ‘The Original Maxi-Singles Collection’ via Pokorny Music Solutions

http://fancy-online.com


OP.8 Butterfly (1984)

Originally released on Milan’s Discomagic Records, ‘Butterfly’ was Moroder influenced Italo Disco with an oriental flavour and a catchy refrain derived from Puccini. It’s so obscure that there is virtually no information about it, although it was written by Ronald Hanson, Michele D’Alessandro and Massimo Parretti while progammed by Piero Cairo. ZYX Music dug it out for a compilation in 2010.

Available on the OP.8 single ‘Butterfly’ via ZYX Music

https://www.zyxmusic.com/


RAF Black & Blue (1984)

Raffaele Riefoli actually lived in London before starting out his musical career. He scored a domestic hit with his co-write ‘Self Control’, but hit paydirt when it was covered by Italian pop enthusiast LAURA BRANIGAN. ‘Black & Blue’ was one of the highlights from his debut album called ‘Change Your Mind’ in most territories which featured slap bass and all the then-modern technological trimmings which wouldn’t have sounded out of place as a release on PET SHOP BOYS’ Spaghetti Records imprint.

Available on the RAF album ‘Self Control’ via East West Italy

http://www.raf.it


CLIO Faces (1985)

The vehicle of Italian singer Maria Chiara Perugini, the sophisticated and stylish aura of CLIO’s ‘Faces’ was written and produced by Roberto Ferrante who later founded Planet Records. With its pretty colourful melodies and punchy rhythms, it could have been mistaken for early MADONNA. The track was covered by Canadian synth duo ELECTRIC YOUTH in 2011.

Available on the compilation album ’80’s Dance Story Original Italo Hits’ (V/A) via Hot Hits

https://www.discogs.com/artist/154990-Clio


BRIAN ICE Talking To The Night (1985)

Singer and actor Fabrizio Rizzolo was the man behind the ice and ‘Talking To The Night’ was apparently composed and written in just a few minutes, using just about every Italo Disco cliché in the book, especially with its “woah-oh” vocals. A limited edition 12 inch issued on ZYX Music played from the label outwards! He later co-wrote ‘Never Be Lonely’ for Gloria Gaynor and continues a successful career in Italian TV and theatre.

Available on the BRIAN ICE album ‘Greatest Hits & Remixes’ via ZYX Music

http://www.fabriziorizzolo.it


GRANT MILLER Colder Than Ice (1985)

Sensing he could achieve another massive hit if the song had an extremely handsome frontman, FANCY made the idea reality when Indiana-born model Grant Miller-Benton was introduced to him by DIVINE. Produced by FANCY under his Tess Teiges moniker, Miller scored a debut hit in Germany when it was released by ZYX Music. A popular personality within the scene, a later single ‘Doctor For My Heart’ released in 1986 was produced by Dieter Bohlen of MODERN TALKING.

Available on the GRANT MILLER album ‘The Maxi-Singles Hit Collection’ via ZYX Music

http://grant-miller.blogspot.co.uk


CC CATCH Cause You Are Young (1986)

Caroline Catharina Müller was a German domiciled Dutch pop singer who was a member of the girl group OPTIMAL. Spotted by Dieter Bohlen of MODERN TALKING, he signed her to Hansa Records and launched her solo career. A breathy vocal and an enticing lead synth line plus a fabulous catchy chorus laced with orchestra stabs ensured that ‘Cause You Are Young’ was a big European hit.

Available on the CC CATCH album ‘The 80’s Album’ via Edel Records

http://www.cccatch.de


EDDY HUNTINGTON USSR (1986)

Hailing from Peterlee in County Durham, Cliff Richard fan and model Edward Huntington sought fame and fortune as a pop singer in Italy. Discovered by Baby Records, they took him to Milan to record the catchy ‘USSR’, written by the same production team behind DEN HARROW. Released in the rest of Europe by ZYX Music, the song unexpectedly became a hit in the Soviet Union. Huntington later returned to the UK to become a primary school teacher.

Available on the EDDY HUNTINGTON album ‘Bang Bang Baby’ via Baby Records International

https://www.facebook.com/Eddy-Huntington-Italo-Disco-138800969576918/


MODERN TALKING Cheri Cheri Lady (1986)

Comprising of ridiculously tanned singer Thomas Anders and musician Dieter Bohlen, MODERN TALKING’s overtly catchy melodic tunes like ‘You’re My Heart, You’re My Soul’, ‘Cheri Cheri Lady’ and ‘Brother Louie’ ensured they were simultaneously the most successful and most hated pop duo in West Germany. Bohlen later gained notoriety as a judge on ‘Deutschland Sucht Den Superstar’, taking on the role of Germany’s answer to Simon Cowell.

Available on the MODERN TALKING album ‘The Very Best Of’ via Sony Music

http://www.modern-talking-online.de


PAUL REIN Lady-O (1986)

Sweden’s Paul Rein was their home grown Italo Disco star and ‘Lady-O’ showed that cold weather and dark nights was no barrier to producing upbeat electronic dance music. He has since continued a career as a songwriter for artists like Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson and Mandy Moore, but perhaps as a reaction to his fame, his daughter Joanna is now making waves in EBM, having opened for DAF in 2016!

Available on the PAUL REIN album ‘Communicate’ via 22:22 Music

https://www.discogs.com/artist/116266-Paul-Rein


FRED VENTURA Wind Of Change (1986)

Italo Disco legend Federico Di Bonaventura began his music career with a 4 track cassette machine, a Roland Juno 60, an Oberheim DX and a passion for NEW ORDER. ‘Winds of Change’ was a rousing Italo Disco track with cowbells and big digital drums that brought him European success. He continues making music today with Paolo Gozzetti as ITALOCONNECTION who have remixed THE HUMAN LEAGUE, HURTS and KNIGHT$ amongst others.

Available on the FRED VENTURA album ‘Disco Modernism (1983 – 2008)’ via Clone Classic Cuts

https://www.facebook.com/italoconnection/


DEN HARROW Don’t Break My Heart (1987)

A play on the Italian word “denaro” meaning money, this project was the brainchild of producers Miki Chieregato and Roberto Turatti. Fronted by fashion model Stefano Zandri, it was however American singer Tom Hooker who provided the voice on the biggest hit ‘Don’t Break My Heart’. Despite Zandri admitting in 2012 that he did not sing on any of the records, he continues to make public appearances as DEN HARROW having taken singing lessons in 1998.

Available on the DEN HARROW album ‘I Miei Successi’ via DV Digital

http://www.denharrow.it


‘Italo Be Thy Name’, a Spotify Playlist compiled by ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK of related tracks can be listened to at: https://open.spotify.com/user/theelectricityclub/playlist/3uUHPnMSOsUegDSnnFr7Fn

The ‘Italo Disco Legacy’ soundtrack is released by Private Records as a 2LP + DVD package, available from https://www.juno.co.uk/products/italo-disco-legacy-soundtrack/672465-01/

https://www.facebook.com/ItaloDiscoLegacy/

http://www.italo-interviews.com/


Text by Chi Ming Lai with thanks to Grit Cheraka and Viola Anastasia
12th May 2018

ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK’s 30 SONGS OF 2012

It was a weak year musically overall, but a number of acts with great potential emerged.

However, in stronger years, a fair number of these acts would not have been shortlisted, it has to be said.  So here are ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK’s 30 Songs of 2012, listed in alphabetical order.

All have been released either in physical formats or digitally as purchasable or free downloads during the calendar year.

However, the list is limited to one song per artist. It also does not include tracks which are exclusive to streams and videos or DJs only promos like the remix of REPUBLICA’s ‘Christiana Obey’… so maybe next year perhaps?


AUTOMATIC WRITING Continuous

Consisting of the Merrick Brothers, AUTOMATIC WRITING are the angry OMD if you can imagine that! Their sombre, ENO influenced template is like Wirral’s finest have been given a contemporary anthemic facelift by having WHITE LIES Harry McVeigh recruited as lead vocalist! ‘Continuous’ whirs and spins while driven by mutant motorik beats and dysfunctional claustrophobia. The flip ‘Falling’ is a more mid-tempo cousin and is another worthy addition to the duo’s developing sound.

Available as a download single via http://automaticwriting.bandcamp.com/

http://www.facebook.com/automaticwriting


BRIGHT LIGHT BRIGHT LIGHT Immature

BRIGHT LIGHT BRIGHT LIGHT is Welsh songwriter/producer Rod Thomas who adopted his ‘Gremlins’ referencing moniker to prevent being mistaken for an acoustic act which he clearly now is not, despite his folkie roots. As the opener to the long awaited album ‘Make Me Believe In Hope’, ‘Immature’ is a great start as it rhythmically percolates in the manner of THE POSTAL SERVICE before a terrific synth section unexpectedly lifts the whole piece several notches. This is a superbly emotive and sensitive piece of pop.

Available on the album ‘Make Me Believe in Hope’ via The Blue Team/Aztec Records

http://www.brightlightx2.com/


CLAUDIA BRÜCKEN Everyone Says Hi

From ‘The Lost Are Found’ album produced by Stephen Hague which also features versions of songs originally by PET SHOP BOYS, DUBSTAR and STINA NORDENSTRAM among others, CLAUDIA BRÜCKEN’s lively reinterpretation of Bowie’s ‘Everyone Says Hi’ from ‘Heathen’ unveils a previously hidden heartfelt connection, a call for contact like Major Tom in ‘Space Oddity’. Dressed with catchy synth riffs and fuzzy shades, it combines ice maiden chill and organic warmth for an artful sound.

Available on the album ‘The Lost Are Found’ via There (there)

http://www.claudiabrucken.co.uk/


CHVRCHES Lies

ROBYN doing an electro cover of ‘The Whole Of The Moon’ may not sound immediately appealing in concept but that’s how this punchy number starts before elevating into a rousing, spirited synth anthem. CHVRCHES could become the next electro combo to shake up the mainstream pop world since LA ROUX. A great song with great melodies and weird noises, herein ‘Lies’ the bridge between leftfield and bubblegum pop. The follow-up ‘The Mothers We Share’  underlines this promising Glaswegian trio’s capability.

Available as a free download via Neon Gold

http://www.facebook.com/CHVRCHES


VINCE CLARKE Featuring ANE BRUN Fly On The Windscreen

Novelist Tonya Hurley commissioned her brother-in-law VINCE CLARKE to record a stark cover of his former band’s ‘Fly On The Windscreen’ with vocalist ANE BRUN as part of promotion for her literary trilogy ‘The Blessed’. While the guitar-like textures appear to have been borrowed from the original in an act of artistic continuity, the rest of the arrangement is quite different as the vulnerable feminine twist acts as the ‘Twilight’ Generation’s perfect introduction to DEPECHE MODE.

Available as a download single via iTunes and Amazon

http://www.vinceclarkemusic.com/

http://anebrun.com/


COMPUTE Light As A Feather

COMPUTE is Ulrika Mild, a Gothenburg girl who discovered synthpop via DEPECHE MODE’s ‘Speak and Spell’. ‘Light As a Feather’ is a bouncy but melancholic ditty which suggests a snow mountain of vulnerability. That is certainly apparent in Ulrika’s sweet, fragile voice. It’s beautifully sequenced with layers of eerie string machine for that distinctive Nordic chill.

Available on download album ‘The Distance’ via iTunes and Amazon

http://www.compute.se


CURXES Spectre

Roberta Fidora shows yet another fine turn of aggressive resignation like SIOUXSIE SIOUX in a padded cell while instrumentalist Macaulay Hopwood picks out his unsettling bass notes to full effect. While this CURXES tune is perhaps more guitar driven than what would normally be expected of most electronica, ‘Spectre’ is positively Spartan with symphonic synth stabs and industrial beat snaps…it’s the sound of the overground or Goth ‘n’ Bass…or even Gotham Bass; geddit? Simply exhilarating!

Available as a download single via Amazon and iTunes

http://www.curxes.com


DIVINE KNIGHTS Clouds (THE SANFERNANDO SOUND remix)

Goth laden PET SHOP BOYS from the theatrical Aussie duo dreamily remixed by THE SANFERNANDO SOUND. This is richly synthesized with lashings of atmosphere and accessible melancholy. The extrovertly camp pair have even subverted the realm of the talent show by getting into the semi-finals of ‘Australia’s Got Talent’. Dannii Minogue said: “I think DIVINE KNIGHTS are brave for coming on a show like this because not everybody is going to get them…but I really hope they do well!”

Available as a download single via Amazon and iTunes

http://www.divineknights.com.au/

http://www.facebook.com/thesanfernandosound


ELEVEN:ELEVEN No Words

Texan duo ELEVEN:ELEVEN comprise the feline vocals of Sicca with the instrumentation of Jake Childs and throw in a variety of influences including Italo Disco, Hi-NRG and Electroclash. ‘No Words’ recalls MISS KITTEN & THE HACKER, capturing a tense nightlife seediness. Short but sweet with a swirling middle section, who needs an extended dance mix when the point is made in two and a half minutes? ELEVEN:ELEVEN have proved danceable electronic pop music can be made that’s syncopated and subtle.

Available as a free download via http://weare1111.com/


GAZELLE TWIN Changelings (JOHN FOXX & THE MATHS remix)

Stark and mysterious, the living art of GAZELLE TWIN is the moniker of Elizabeth Walling, the Brighton based songstress whose brooding, unsettling Hauntronica has impressed in all the right circles. JOHN FOXX & THE MATHS’ version of one of her best tracks ‘Changelings’ sees Mr Foxx adding his own Cathedral Oceans sweeps to Benge’s Mathematical solutions. In an productive year profile wise, her music was used in the promotion for the film ‘Prometheus’.

Available on the album ‘The Entire City Remixed’ via Anti-Ghost Moon Ray Records

http://www.gazelletwin.com/


GRIMES Oblivion

GRIMES is the kooky Montreal sensation that is Clare Boucher and this LYKKE LI fronting KRAFTWERK tune is sumptuously infectious. Despite almost unintelligible vocals, ‘Oblivion’ is probably the most immediate track on the ‘Visions’ album although other tracks like ‘Genesis’ and ‘Be A Body’ explore similarly accessible synthesized avenues. ‘Oblivion’ is ideal for those looking for subtler percussive colours and synthesized tapestries in a leftfield lady meets pop princess fusion.

Available on the album ‘Visions’ via 4AD Records

http://www.grimesmusic.com


HUSKI Close To The Edge

HUSKI first came to public attention on the trendy Shoreditch electro scene back in 2007 with ‘Take Me Your Picture’.  The late lamented Word magazine described ‘Close To The Edge’ as sounding “not unlike how Clare Grogan might if she took a guest slot with THE HUMAN LEAGUE”. As both THE HUMAN LEAGUE and ALTERED IMAGES worked with the late Martin Rushent, that is not as peculiar as it first sounds and it brims with a cutesy allure.

Available on the album ‘H’ via Amazon and iTunes

http://www.huskimusic.com/


IAMAMIWHOAMI Drops

IAMAMIWHOIAMI is the enigmatic electronic multimedia project fronted by Jonna Lee. From her first full length album ‘Kin’, ‘Drops’ is uptempo but almost trancelike. The beats are subtle with just layers of ice and chill to compliment. The clattering fits of noise and metallic textures add to the hypnotism. Jonna Lee’s piercing larynx will polarise listeners but this is Nordic weirdness in all its wonderful glory.

Available on the album ‘Kin’ via To Whom It May Concern

http://www.towhomitmayconcern.cc/


INJE Kofein I CO2

Hailing from Belgrade and featuring the nucleus of vocalist Jelena Miletić and instrumentalist Jovan Vesić, INJE have had the pleasure of supporting HURTS and FAITHLESS in their home country. Their chromatic East European charge will almost certainly please followers of LADYTRON. The excellent ‘Kofein I CO2’ from their EP ‘Protok’ is sort of DUBSTAR in Serbo-Croat meets DAVID LYNCH soundtrack, possessing an aural magnetism that is gorgeously layered with an air of wispy innocence.

Available as a free download from http://inje.rs/


KOVAK Killer Boots

‘Killer Boots’ is cooing new wave electropop with an immediately catchy Italo vibe…think ‘Self Control’ or even ‘Touch Me’! Appropriately decadent and sexy, this catchy song is produced by GARY NUMAN collaborator Andy Gray. Colourful, energetic and glamourous, KOVAK are like BLONDIE meeting DRAGONETTE and GWEN STEFANI through a TUBEWAY ARMY voltage controlled filter.

Available as a download single via 74 Music

http://kovak.co.uk/


LITTLE JINDER Keep On Dreaming

Is it dubstep or is it electro? ‘Keep On Dreaming’ actually sounds more like the latter. When the half beat/two step influences kick in, luckily they do so without the irritating, skipping CD nightmares that devilishly plague most dubstep. But like with all crossover songs, it is the flavour rather than the full blown experience that often wins favour. Confused? Just enjoy… this number by young Stockholm songstress Josefine Jinder features lots of lovely synths!

Available as a download single via Trouble & Bass

http://www.facebook.com/littlejinder


LOVELIFE Brave Face

From the creative minds of former MIRRORS man Ally Young and Lee Newell from one-time indie darlings VIVA BROTHER, ‘Braveface’ is a chilling but uplifting piece of mood music which comes over like OMD fronted by HARD FI! With its Cool Britannia meets Synth Britannia fusion via the Big Apple, LOVELIFE’s genre blend may be confusing indie and electronic music fans alike but at least it’s different.

Available on the free download EP ‘El Regreso’ from http://www.lvlf.info/

https://www.facebook.com/LVLFinfo/


MIRRORS Between Four Walls

Since slimming down to a trio, MIRRORS have been heading for a sparser, textural direction which is perhaps less immediate than their debut album ‘Lights & Offerings’ but nevertheless rewarding with further listens. The beautifully stark drama of ‘Between Four Walls’ is sublime and full of post 3am drama. With echoes of OMD, CHINA CRISIS and THE BLUE NILE, it is high end atmospheric electronic balladry at its best. “Do you ever wonder how you’ll ever get there when you never turn back around?”

Available as a download single via http://mirrorsofficial.bandcamp.com/

http://www.facebook.com/theworldofmirrors


MODOVAR Clearly

Comprising of Glen Wisbey on synths and the suave persona of Christopher Beecham on vocals, MODOVAR’s most immediate number is the emotively rousing ‘Clearly’. Beecham is a man with a self-confessed admiration of ALISON MOYET so ‘Clearly’ connects as a song of love in the first degree. It is just one of their “melodic, anthemic, chorus led songs, lyrically focused on the undercurrents of love and the human condition”. Also check out their cover of ROXY MUSIC’s ‘Same Old Scene’.

Available on the download EP ‘Clearly’ via Amazon and iTunes

http://modovar.com/


MOTOR featuring MARTIN L GORE Man Made Machine

MOTOR’s electro stomper ‘Man Made Machine’ features vocals by DEPECHE MODE’s Martin Gore in a collaboration that sounds not unlike a camp IGGY POP being backed by an angry GOLDFRAPP. In the absence of DM material in 2012, this has been a worthy substitute with Gore luring nervously over the duo’s brand of harder edged techno electro. Incidentally, the same titled parent album also features guest such as GARY NUMAN and NITZER EBB’s Douglas J McCarthy.

Available on the album ‘Man Made Machine’ via CLR

http://www.wearemotor.com/


THE MYSTIC UNDERGROUND Remember Me

New York domiciled Anglophile duo THE MYSTIC UNDERGROUND’s make “pop songs for the disenchanted, disillusioned and disenfranchised”. Featuring Vladimir Valette on vocals and Benedetto Socci on keyboards, their “life…set to a dance beat” touches a nerve and now more so than the NEW ORDER influenced ‘Remember Me’. An emotive guitar assisted number in the vein of ‘Leave Me Alone’, it is slightly mournful and despaired but melodically secure.

Available on the download EP ‘Dreamers & Lovers’ via Stereosonic Recordings

http://www.themysticunderground.com


KARIN PARK Thousand Loaded Guns

BJÖRK goes synthy via THE KNIFE on ‘Thousand Loaded Guns’, a danceable tune that provides a degree of accessibility into the world of darker Nordic climes. Hailing from the forests of Djura in Sweden, KARIN PARK is yet another child of Drejer-Andersson, straddling between electropop and artier aspirations. Her sound is sonically awkward, albeit in a liberating artistic way. Scandinavia is a great place to be musically at the moment.

Available on the album ‘Highwire Poetry’ via State Of The Eye Recordings

http://www.karinpark.com/


QUEEN OF HEARTS Neon

Following her Arrival in 2011, QUEEN OF HEARTS graced the music world with a glitzy slice of electro schaffel appropriately entitled ‘Neon’. On first hearing this live, The Electricity Club gleefully pronounced that this managed to out Goldfrapp GOLDFRAPP. While this had the obvious hallmarks of Lady Alison’s glam stomp, Queenie added her own cooing poptastic flavour, recalling RACHEL STEVENS’ under rated and great lost album ‘Come & Get It’.

Available on the download EP ‘Neon’ via All Things Go Records

http://www.iamqueenofhearts.com/


RITUALS James

Hailing from downtown Los Angeles, RITUALS comprise vocalist Neil Popkin and electronic producer Julian Denis. ‘James’ is rousing neo-NEW ORDER meets THE BRAVERY (remember them?) stomper which is only slightly short of being outstanding due to its demo-ish production…but the song resonates with an appealing doom. ‘Walk Away’ from their 2011 debut EP is another fine example of their potential.

Available as a free download via http://ritualsla.bandcamp.com/

http://ritualsla.com/


SIN COS TAN Trust
SIN COS TAN is the new mathematically charged project of ace producer Jori Hulkkonen and VILLA NAH’s Juho Paalosmaa, “a synthesized duo of great promise, broken dreams, and long nights”. They have certainly delivered with ‘Trust’, all draped in melancholy with emotive vocals haunted by the ghost of Billy Mackenzie. This is subtle, hypnotic dance music with layered strings, sampled cimbalom and Cold War dramatics, it is one of the songs of the year.

Available on the album ‘Sin Cos Tan’ via Solina (Europe) and Sugarcane Recordings (Rest of World)

http://www.facebook.com/homeofsincostan


SINESTAR Hurricane

Bristol’s SINESTAR are a full blown five-piece band with drums, bass and guitar as well as synths and their MESH derived synthesized rock has the potential to crossover into several electronic sub-genres. With a so far small but impressive body of work as showcased on the ‘I Am The Rain’ EP, the terrific ‘Hurricane’ is like FAITHLESS gone rock! Catchy, tuneful and anthemic, they just need to work on the production.

Available on the download EP ‘I Am The Rain’ via Dead Rat Recordings.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sinestar/310216912403126


STRANGERS Safe/Pain

STRANGERS have been perilously close to COLDPLAY territory on occasions. But on ‘Safe/Pain’, a moody slice of sweeping synth noir with a lonely piano intro, the big surprise comes when a series of rave stabs cut in for the ultimate euphoric lift, crossed with a bit of dubstep! The BBC loved ‘Safe/Pain’ and used it for a clip of Team GB’s immense cycling achievements at the end of the London 2012 Olympics, while they got support slots with BLANCMANGE and CLAUDIA BRÜCKEN under their belt.

Available as a download single via Beatwolf

http://strangers.co.uk


TITANS It’s Dark

‘It’s Dark’ could be RAMMSTEIN reincarnated as DEPECHE MODE with fewer the flame throwers! TITANS’ vocalist Dan Von Hoyel sounds like a lower register Dave Gahan winning a fight with a less Teutonic Till Lindemann. In an electronic sub-genre known for its shouting, ‘It’s Dark’ manages to sound menacing without forcing the aggression. The edgy electronic backing from Fredrik Mattsson and Jimmy Svensson blends marvellously with the band’s doompop manifesto.

Available on the download album ‘For The Long Gone’ via Progress Productions

http://www.facebook.com/TitansOfficial


ULTRAVOX Live

There were so many songs that could have been chosen but with this opener from their err… Brilliant comeback album was ULTRAVOX’s optimistic message of intent. Musically, ‘Live’ is ‘Dancing With Tears In My Eyes’ without the imminent nuclear holocaust! The instrumental breakdown, which drops to a magnificent pulsing sequence, piano and lone bass drum before the climax, is pure LA DÜSSELDORF and really is something to be savoured.

Available on the album ‘Brilliant’ via Eden Recordings/EMI Records

http://www.ultravoxbrilliant.com/


SAORI YUKI Yoake No Scat (MARSHEAUX remix)

While recording their long awaited new album ‘Inhale’, MARSHEAUX added to their remix portfolio with a terrific reworking of a track dating back to 1969 by Japanese classic singer SAORI YUKI. Adding incessant beats, infectious pulsing synth and melancholic washes of sound to the more organic re-recording with PINK MARTINI from 2011, this brings Kayokyoku (a style of Japanese music thatabsorbs various Western styles) into the electro age with a Melody For a New Dawn.

Available as a download single via EMI Japan

http://ameblo.jp/saori-yuki

http://www.facebook.com/marsheaux


Text by Chi Ming Lai
12th December 2012

DIVINE KNIGHTS Clouds (THE SANFERNANDO SOUND Remix)

One track getting a lot of love following a preview on blogs such as Bop2Pop is DIVINE KNIGHTS’ ‘Clouds’ remixed by THE SANFERNANDO SOUND.

Dark and dramatic, there is less emphasis on dance and more on dreamy atmosphere with the track coming over like THE SOUND OF ARROWS meeting a gothic PET SHOP BOYS! THE SANFERNANDO SOUND aka Jason Persad told ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK about his collaboration with DIVINE KNIGHTS: “I remixed their track ‘Clouds’ sing only the vocals and adding all new synths. They liked it so much they have released it and made a video!”.

The accompanying video for ‘Clouds’ is suitably monochrome and theatrical. For this, DIVINE KNIGHTS happily lay on the slap…

Comprising Gerard Anthony and Beef, the Sydney based duo have been described as “the future of Australian pop”. Compared with their compatriots THE PRESETS, they are perhaps less full-on dance and not so Trans-Atlantic focussed. Indeed, an earlier DIVINE CLOUDS single ‘Storm’ from their debut album ‘Midnight’ indicates they are possibly the most European sounding act to have come from Antipodean shores with influences such as DEPECHE MODE, PET SHOP BOYS and BRONSKI BEAT whose ‘Smalltown Boy’ they have also covered.

Meanwhile, THE SANFERNANDO SOUND has been steadily building his portfolio with a number of remixes from his Manchester base including Matthew Duffy’s cover of Pete Shelley’s seminal MC8 driven tune ‘Homosapien’ and STARLINGS ‘Dark Arts’. What is refreshing about Persad’s remixes is that they manage to be danceable while not being overbearing and in-your-face which is one of the big headaches with modern dance oriented pop music right now.


DIVINE KNIGHTS ‘Clouds (The Sanfernando Sound Remix)’ is available via Amazon and iTunes

http://www.divineknights.com.au/

http://www.facebook.com/divineknights

http://www.facebook.com/thesanfernandosound

http://www.soundcloud.com/thesanfernandosound


Text by Chi Ming Lai
28th September 2012