Tag: Fragile Self

2019 End Of Year Review

2019 was a year of 40th Anniversaries, celebrating the synth becoming the sound of pop when ‘Are Friends Electric?’ reached No1 in the UK chart in 1979.

While GARY NUMAN opted for ‘(R)evolution’ and two of his former sidemen RRussell Bell and Chris Payne ventured solo for the first time, OMD offered a 7 disc ‘Souvenir’ featuring a whole album of quality unreleased material to accompany a concert tour to celebrate four decades in the business. That was contrary to DEPECHE MODE who merely plonked 14 albums into a boxed set in a move where the ‘Everything Counts’ lyric “the grabbing hands grab all they can” became more and more ironic… MIDGE URE partied like it was 1980 with the music of VISAGE and ULTRAVOX, while SIMPLE MINDS announced an arena tour for 2020 so that their audience could show Jim Kerr their hands again.

HEAVEN 17 announced some special showcases of the early material of THE HUMAN LEAGUE and got a particularly warm reception opening on tour for SQUEEZE as a trailer ahead of their own ‘Greatest Hits’ jaunt next year.

Celebrating 20 years in music, there was the welcome return of LADYTRON with a self-titled comeback album, while Swedish evergreens LUSTANS LAKEJER performed the ‘Åkersberga’ album for its 20th Anniversary and similarly GOLDFRAPP announced a series of shows in honour of their magnificent cinematic debut ‘Felt Mountain’.

Cult favourites FIAT LUX made their intimate live comeback in a church in Bradford and released their debut album ‘Saved Symmetry’ 37 years after their first single ‘Feels Like Winter Again’.

As a result, their fans were also treated to ‘Ark Of Embers’, the long player that Polydor Records shelved in 1985 when the band were on the cusp of a breakthrough but ended with a commercial breakdown.

Modern prog exponents Tim Bowness and Steven Wilson got back together as NO-MAN for their dual suite electronic concept record ‘Love You To Bits’, but an even more ambitious undertaking came from UNDERWORLD with their boxed set ‘Drift Series 1’.

Also making live returns were one-time PET SHOP BOYS protégé CICERO with a charity gig in his hometown of Livingston, WHITE DOOR with JOHAN BAECKSTRÖM at Synth Wave Live 3, ARTHUR & MARTHA and Mute Records veterans KOMPUTER.

After a short hiatus, the mighty KITE sold-out three gigs at Stockholm Slaktkyrkan and ended the year performing at an opera house, while GIORGIO MORODER embarked on his first ever concert tour where his songs were the stars.

Although their long-awaited-as-yet-untitled third album was still to materialise, VILE ELECTRODES went back on the road in Europe with APOPTYGMA BERZERK and THE INVINCIBLE SPIRIT. Meanwhile, Chinese techno-rock sextet STOLEN opened for NEW ORDER on their Autumn European tour and EMIKA performed in a series of Planetariums.

Despite the fall of The Berlin Wall 30 years ago, there were more evident swipes to the right than there had been for a long time, with the concept of Brexit Electro becoming a rather unpleasant reality. So in these more sinister times, the need for classic uplifting electronic pop was higher than ever.

To that end, three superb debut albums fitted the bill. While KNIGHT$ offered quality Britalo on ‘Dollars & Cents’, the suave presence of OLLIE WRIDE took a more MTV friendly direction with ‘Thanks In Advance’.

But for those wanting something more home produced, the eccentric Northern electronic pop of the brilliantly named INTERNATIONAL TEACHERS OF POP continued the artistic lineage of THE HUMAN LEAGUE.

QUIETER THAN SPIDERS finally released their wonderful debut album ‘Signs Of Life’ which was naturally more understated and Denmark had some worthy synthpop representation with SOFTWAVE producing an enjoyably catchy debut long player in ‘Game On’.

On the shadier side of electronic pop, BOY HARSHER achieved a wider breakthrough with their impressive ‘Careful’ long player but as a result, the duo acquired a contemporary hipster element to their fanbase who seemed to lack manners and self-awareness as they romped around gigs without a care for anyone around them. But with tongues-in-cheeks, SPRAY continued to amuse with their witty prankelectro on ‘Failure Is Inevitable’.

Photo by Johnny Jewel

Italians Do It Better kept things in house as CHROMATICS unexpectedly unleashed their first album for six years in ‘Closer To Grey’ and embarked on a world tour. Main support was DESIRE and accompanied on keyboards by HEAVEN singer Aja, the pair took things literally during their cover version of ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ with a girl-on-girl kiss in front of head honcho Johnny Jewel.

Other ITIB acts on the tour dependent on territory included DOUBLE MIXTE, IN MIRRORS and KRAKÓW LOVES ADANA. But the best work to appear from the stable came from JORJA CHALMERS who became ‘Human Again’.

There were a variety of inventive eclectic works from FAKE TEAK, MAPS, FINLAY SHAKESPEARE, ULTRAMARINE, TYCHO, THE GOLDEN FILTER, FRAGRANCE. and FADER. Meanwhile VON KONOW, SOMEONE WHO ISN’T ME and JAKUZI all explored themes of equality while BOYTRONIC preferred ‘The Robot Treatment’.

But expressing themselves on the smoother side of proceedings were CULT WITH NO NAME and notably SHOOK who looked east towards the legend of YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA.

Dark minimalism reigned in the work of FRAGILE SELF and WE ARE REPLICA while no less dark but not so aggressive, WITCH OF THE VALE cemented their position with a well-received opening slot at Infest.

Touring in Europe with OMD and MIDGE URE, TINY MAGNETIC PETS unleashed two EPs ‘The Politburo Disko’ and ‘Girl In A White Dress’ as fellow Dubliner CIRCUIT3 got political and discussed ‘The Price Of Nothing & The Value Of Everything’.

2019 was a year of electronic instrumental offerings galore from NEULAND, RICARDO AUTOBAHN, EKKOES, M83, RELIEF, FEMMEPOP and OBLONG, although ERIC RANDOM’s dystopian offering ‘Wire Me Up’ added vocoder while BRIAN ENO celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing ‘For All Mankind’.

The King of Glum Rock LLOYD COLE surprised all with an electronic pop album called ‘Guesswork’ just as PET SHOP BOYS set an ‘Agenda’. HOWARD JONES released his most synthy work for years in ‘Transform’ and while CHINA CRISIS acted as his well-received support on the UK leg of his 35th Anniversary tour, their front man GARY DALY ventured solo with ‘Gone From Here’.

Among the year’s best new talents were IMI, KARIN MYGRETAGEISTE and ALICE HUBBLE with their beautifully crafted avant pop.

And with the media traction of artists such as GEORGIA, REIN, JENNIFER TOUCH, SUI ZHEN, THE HEARING, IONNALEE, PLASMIC, ZAMILSKA, IOANNA GIKA, SPELLLING, KANGA, FIFI RONG and I AM SNOW ANGEL, the profile of women in electronic music was stronger than ever in 2019.

Sweden continued to produce quality electronic pop with enjoyable releases from the likes of MACHINISTA, PAGE, COVENANT, OBSESSION OF TIME and LIZETTE LIZETTE. One of the most interesting acts to emerge from the region was US featuring the now Stockholm-domiciled Andrew Montgomery from GENEVA and Leo Josefsson of LOWE, with the catalyst of this unlikely union coming from a shared love of the late country legend Glen Campbell. Meanwhile, veteran trio DAYBEHAVIOR made the best album of their career ‘Based On A True Story’.

However, Canada again gave the Swedes a good run for their money as ELECTRIC YOUTH and FM ATTACK released new material while with more of a post-punk slant, ACTORS impressed audiences who preferred a post-post-punk edge alongside their synths.

DANA JEAN PHOENIX though showed herself to be one of the best solo synth performers on the live circuit, but artistically the best of the lot was MECHA MAIKO who had two major releases ‘Okiya’ and ‘Let’s!’.

Despite making some good music in 2019 with their ‘Destroyer’ two-parter, the “too cool for school” demeanour of TR/ST might have impressed hipsters, but left a lot to be desired. A diva-ish attitude of entitlement was also noticed by ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK to be disappointingly prevalent in several fledgling acts.

Synthwave increased its profile further with the film ‘The Rise Of The Synths’ narrated by none other than John Carpenter. MICHAEL OAKLEY released his debut album ‘Introspect’, BETAMAXX was ‘Lost In A Dreamworld’, COM TRUISE came up with a ‘Persuasion System’ and NEW ARCADES were ‘Returning Home’.

Scene veteran FUTURECOP! collaborated with PARALLELS, COMPUTER MAGIC and NINA prior to a hiatus for the foreseeable future, while there were promising new talents emerging in the shape of POLYCHROME, PRIZM, BUNNY X and RIDER.

However, several of the sub-genre’s artists needed to rethink their live presentations which notably underwhelmed with their static motions and lack of engagement.

While promoters such as Outland developed on their solid foundations, others attempted to get too big too soon like the musical equivalent of a penis extension, leaving fans disappointed and artists unpaid. Attempting to turnover more than 10 acts during in a day with a quarter of an hour changeover has always been an odious task at best, but to try 15?!? One hopes the headliners were well paid despite having to go on at midnight when most of their supporters went home so as not to miss the last train…

Now at times, it was as if a major collective midlife crisis had hit independent electronic music in the UK during 2019. It was not unlike how “born again bikers” have become a major road safety risk, thanks to 40somethings who only managed Cycling Proficiency in Junior School suddenly jumping onto 500cc Honda CMX500 Rebel motorcycles, thinking they were Valentino Rossi.

Something similar was occurring in music as a variety of posturing delusional synth owners indulged in a remix frenzy and visions of grandeur, forgetting that ability and talent were paramount. This attitude led to a number of poorly attended events where attendees were able to be counted on one hand, thanks to clueless fans of said combos unwisely panning their video footage around the venue.

Playing at 3:15pm in an empty venue is NOT performing at a ‘major’ electronic festival… “I’ll be more selective with the gigs I agree to in the UK” one of these acts haplessly bemoaned, “I’ve played to too many empty rooms!” – well, could that have been because they are not very good?

Bands who had blown their chance by not showing willingness to open for name acts during holiday periods, while making unwise comments on their national TV debut about their lack of interest in registering for PRS, said they were going to split a year in advance, but not before releasing an EP and playing a farewell show in an attempt to finally get validation for their art. Was this a shining example of Schrodinger’s Band?

Of course, the worst culprits were those who had an internet radio show or put on gigs themselves so that they could actually perform, because otherwise external promotors were only interested in them opening at 6.15pm after a ticket deal buy on for a five band bill. Humility wouldn’t have gone amiss in all these cases.

It’s a funny old world, but as ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK comes up to concluding its tenth year as an influential platform that has written extensively about not one or two or three or four BUT five acts prior to them being selected to open on tour for OMD, luckily the gulf between good and bad music is more distinct than ever. It will be interesting to see if the high standard of electronic pop will be maintained or whether the influx of poor quality artists will contaminate the bloodline.

So ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK ends the decade with a complimentary comment by a punter after attending two of its live events: “You don’t put on sh*t do you…”

May the supreme talent rise and shine… you know who you are 😉


ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK Contributor Listings of 2019

PAUL BODDY

Best Album: UNDERWORLD Drift Series 1
Best Song: MOLINA Venus
Best Gig: RAMMSTEIN at Milton Keynes MK Bowl
Best Video: SCALPING Chamber
Most Promising New Act: SCALPING


IAN FERGUSON

Best Album: NO-MAN Love You To Bits
Best Song: NO-MAN Love You To Shreds
Best Gig: RAMMSTEIN at Stadion Slaski Chorzow
Best Video: RAMMSTEIN Deutschland
Most Promising New Act: IMI


SIMON HELM

Best Album: PAGE Fakta För Alla
Best Song: PAGE Fakta För Alla
Best Gig: LAU NAU at London Cafe OTO
Best Video: LAU NAU Amphipoda on Buchla 200 at EMS Stockholm
Most Promising New Act: THE HIDDEN MAN


CHI MING LAI

Best Album: KNIGHT$ Dollar & Cents
Best Song: OMD Don’t Go
Best Gig: KITE at Stockholm Slaktkyrkan
Best Video: NIGHT CLUB Your Addiction
Most Promising New Act: IMI


RICHARD PRICE

Best Album: KNIGHT$ Dollar & Cents
Best Song: OMD Don’t Go
Best Gig: MIDGE URE + RUSTY EGAN at The London Palladium
Best Video: IMI Margins
Most Promising New Act: PLASMIC


MONIKA IZABELA TRIGWELL

Best Album: MECHA MAIKO Let’s
Best Song: KANGA Burn
Best Gig: DANA JEAN PHOENIX, KALAX + LEBROCK at London Zigfrid von Underbelly
Best Video: IONNALEE Open Sea
Most Promising New Act: PRIZM


Text by Chi Ming Lai with thanks to Ian Ferguson
16th December 2019, updated 29th Janaury 2021

FRAGILE SELF Fragile Self

“Love and work are the cornerstones of our humanness”: Sigmund Freud

Exploring states of mind from madness to creativity, FRAGILE SELF are a minimal electronic duo aiming to create dark pop music to communicate the detachment often felt within the human condition.

Anil Aykan and Jonathan Barnbrook are FRAGILE SELF, thoughtful visual artists with a strong sense of partnership in music through their previous work with personalities as diverse as David Bowie, John Foxx, Hannah Peel and Rihanna.

Like a musical thesis on psychotherapy, the self-titled album is released on the 120th anniversary of the first publication of ‘The Interpretation of Dreams’ by Sigmund Freud.

Aykan had an early flirtation with Black Metal with her handling the poetry, she comes over like an existentialist cross between MISS KITTIN and Mira Aroyo of LADYTRON which suits the brooding and ritualistic exploration that is FRAGILE SELF.

Mixed by Erland Cooper and shaped by modular synthesis, Jonathan Barnbrook said ”The thing that interests me most about it is the changing of electronic voltage that affects pitch, timbre and time. It is like you are playing with the building blocks of the universe. The same thing that makes the sound of drum, drives the human heart to beat or fires neutrons in the brain that define consciousness.”

With an incessant mechanical rhythm and stark vocal phrasing, the opener ‘I Loved Alone’ takes on the fierce aura of GAZELLE TWIN and a detached expression of feeling within the language.

Beginning with a recorded quote from Fritz Perls who coined the term ‘Gestalt therapy’, ‘This Is My Existence’ is brutal with Aykan exclaiming “memory is cancer”, Barnbrook’s doomily emulates his hero John Foxx with an eerie synth theme over a minimal structure.

The art funk of ‘Bertha’ is mutantly danceable, the deadpan vocalisation does recall MISS KITTIN but compliments the stark electronic backing, especially when Aykan percussively slips into German to recall the attitude of Berlin punks MALARIA!

The eponymous title track squelches with bass rumbles and electronic chainsaws while ‘Patients’ does possess some unsettling rhythmic fervour in a white noise barrage and talk of “broken histories” before going aggressively militaristic.

The noise attack on ‘Deperson’ is the darkest track on ‘Fragile Self’, swoops and gongs do battle over an industrial backbone in eine eintürzende Wand aus Tönen. The reverberant cerebral concept piece ‘Surrogate’ hints at Wendy Carlos and dark Jean-Michel Jarre; aesthetically schizophrenic, it is also something which also shapes the sinister arpeggio and chant laden ‘Leon’.

A syncussive pulse soundtracks the horror mood of ‘Need For Sanctuary’ with creepy Theremin-like qualities for a slice of vibrato laden avant-wave. ’Journey Taken’ though is a battle of machines in alternate quartet bursts in all frequencies before unsettlingly ending on the doom of church bells affirming Sartre’s view that “Hell is other people”.

The debut offering from FRAGILE SELF is an intense uneasy listen, but it is a well-crafted and yes, impeccably designed art statement. There’s aggression and agitation but it is aurally cathartic and rewarding.

So if the idea of MISS KITTIN collaborating with GAZELLE TWIN in an experimental electronic backdrop appeals, then this record will help highlight how “Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strength”.


‘Fragile Self’ is released by Sugarcane Recordings / Daperson Society as a vinyl LP, CD and 480 page book with download code, available now direct from http://www.fragileself.com/vinylcdbookdownload

Download also available from https://fragileself.bandcamp.com/

http://www.fragileself.com

https://www.facebook.com/fragileself/

https://twitter.com/fragile_self

https://www.instagram.com/fragile_self/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Teri Varhol
11th November 2019

FRAGILE SELF Interview

Several years in the making, the first self-titled product from FRAGILE SELF is an ambitious statement on mental health and the human condition.

Released as a CD, vinyl album and a 480 page book which starts and ends with reconstructions of ‘before and after’ treatment for mental illness, the thoughtfully conceived project is the work of Anil Aykan and Jonathan Barnbrook.

The couple are best known for their iconic visual designs for DAVID BOWIE and JOHN FOXX. Among the subjects inspiring their music are Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis and Bertha Pappenheim, the first patient of psychotherapy.

While the music is by its nature, not an easy listen, over ten crafted electronic tracks, ‘Fragile Self’ is intense but ultimately compelling. Anil Aykan and Jonathan Barnbrook kindly chatted about their fragile selves…

How did FRAGILE SELF come about?

Jonathan: I love music, it’s the reason I design record covers, that emotional relationship between visuals and sound is something that has always fascinated me, so it got to the point where I felt that the next step to really push myself creatively was by controlling and experimenting with both music and visuals together.

Anil: FRAGILE SELF enabled me to communicate the things that are important to me, express parts of me which I believe others would find inadmissible. I have never had up until now a tool which has been so liberating. Even when I wasn’t actively making music I am inclined to sound; the expressive capacity of human voice; speaking words, tension in speech, muttered sentences, obsessively repeated words, speaking becomes singing… I always record or note down what I find interesting when I am on the bus or walk in the street.

The subject matter of the album – mental health is quite unusual, did you feel that electronic instrumentation was the most appropriate way to express this subject?

Anil: It is unusual subject matter, but I briefly studied Art Therapy, so I was naturally interested in the subject but the specific thing discussed in the songs is mental health in relation to creativity – how far do you go towards abnormality when you are being creative and at what point does it become madness? There is also the more classic side of the pain inherent in a love song. It is just that the love in the songs here is directed towards people who have mental disorders such as narcissism or borderline personality disorder. They are of course metaphors for any kinds of love though.

Jonathan: I’ve been obsessed with electronic music since about the age of 11. The thing that interests me most about it is the changing of electronic voltage that affects pitch, timbre and time. It is like you are playing with the building blocks of the universe. The same thing that makes the sound of drum, drives the human heart to beat or fires neutrons in the brain that define consciousness. Also you will guess of course, I share an interest with Anil in more unusual and extreme states of mind.

Who has influenced the music of FRAGILE SELF?

Anil: ‘Minimal Wave’ is a big influence, bands such as OPPENHEIMER ANALYSIS and DEUX. I also really like LADYTRON. COCTEAU TWINS are very important – not just because of the way Elizabeth Fraser uses her voice but also the way they played with language. English is not my first language so when I sing in English I feel I notice more the words as abstract sounds more – this is as important as the meaning of the lyrics I write.

Jonathan: You’ve probably guessed that I’m obsessed with JOHN FOXX, He creates quite experimental music but within the confines of ‘pop’ music and with a very singular view of the world, that’s inspiring for me. Also how could I not be influenced by Bowie, not just musically but also with the way he takes influences into his music from all areas of art.

Do you each have set roles?

Anil: I am responsible for all the lyrics and most of the melodies, drums etc, I used to be a drummer, so rhythm is very important to me.

Jonathan: I tend to centre more on the arrangements and sounds. I really like the technical side of electronic music, not just production but how you can for instance create complex sounds just using simple sine waves. I help a little on the words and also make some of the melodies, but the poetry and atmosphere are very much Anil.

You mention melodies, so is FRAGILE SELF very much ‘pop’ based as opposed to being experimental, because the ‘Minimal Wave’ sub-genre can be notorious for its lack of tunes?

Jonathan: It was important that the songs followed a traditional pop structure, but what we brought into that was quite avant-garde, be it sound generation or subject matter. So there is a lot of darkness and psychosis but it is contained within a format that we hope people find easy to access. Having said that after the album comes out we will be periodically releasing remixes – that are much more experimental which explore the psychology of the songs in a less structured form.

The inevitable question, have you gone the hardware or software route with FRAGILE SELF?

Jonathan: It’s interesting because we came to music from design, so we were very comfortable with using software for all of our creative works, however as we have progressed as FRAGILE SELF, particular on the later tracks, we have been using more and more hardware. Now we now have a huge Eurorack modular system which we experiment on a lot. A physical interface does make a real difference to the sounds you make and something generative like modular synthesis is really inspiring.

So as visual artists, how would you like to present your music?

Anil: For us the two absolutely go together, it’s not like we’ve finished the album and now it is onto the visual design. One influenced the other, the images changed the sounds we made, and the sounds had to have the exactly the right images to express them.

Jonathan: Actually It wasn’t like that in the beginning. Initially I was so desperate not to be dismissed as another “designer playing with his laptop”, that I didn’t want to do any visuals at all but it just developed naturally and we realised since we have control of the music and visuals this was the chance to do something quite pure, new and absolutely on our terms with the role the visuals had.

Anil: One of the album releases is a 480 page book and I think it is the best expression of FRAGILE SELF. It was a chance to show all of the influences on the songs, our thoughts around them. Where the lyrics are from. However we were quite careful not to say too often “this song is about this and this” but give a more poetic interpretation to give people room to create their own meaning and resonate in their own lives. That is very important.

The art funk of ‘Bertha’ interestingly utilises what sounds like a plucked sounding texture, how did the track come about?

Jonathan: There is a drastic change of sounds and rhythms throughout the song, I wanted to give it the feeling of classic German 1930s ‘cabaret’ like it was a theatrical event that you would see on stage where the performance would change melody or pace several times.

Anil: The song is about Bertha Pappenheim, one of the first patients of psychoanalysis, who was “treated” by Doctor Breuer and Freud. She was a highly intelligent and like all women at that time, she was repressed with no opportunity to be herself. She had a nervous breakdown at age 21 but emerged as a creative leader and social reformer eight years later. When I started making this song, I was in Istanbul, there must be an influence from being there. I think the best music scene of Turkey was the 70s funk that my father listened to. The juxtaposition of the heavy subject and funky groove just felt right for this song.

‘Patients’ does possess some unsettling rhythmic fervour?

Jonathan: The song uses lyrics taken out of a doctor’s handbook, so it was important that the singing had that unemotional, repetitive feeling that medical text has when dealing with things such as birth, death or madness. These are intense, hugely important events, but are treated in a very pragmatic way.

Anil: Our songs always start with a conversation between lyrics and drum beats – the emotion created between them and the way the change of rhythm can change the meaning. This is very different from the more conventional approach of drums providing a structure of the songs. To us they are everything, the melody and the development of the lyrics are usually a development or a variation of the rhythm.

To casual listeners, the deadpan vocalisation does recall MISS KITTIN but compliments the stark electronic backing throughout the album? Any thoughts?

Anil: I take your comment as a compliment! I find the tension between being very expressive with the voice and suppressing emotion in the voice really interesting. A lack of emotion can often just heighten the feeling when you are delivering lyrics which are full of pain or darkness. It can also have an interesting brutality which further pushes the emotion.

Jonathan: I love Anil’s voice. When we were recording the vocals it was very clear that Anil’s accent should come through. Meaning that if the words were not perfectly said, it added more authenticity about where Anil comes from and feeling to the songs. The accent and the deadpan vocals also the give the same feeling as when you hear NICO or GINA X PERFORMANCE – you immediately associate their accents with a certain dark psychology.

Which tracks are each your particular favourites on the album?

Jonathan: Well I really like the last 2 tracks, ‘Need For Sanctuary’ and ‘Journey Taken’, the way they end the album, they really do what I remember albums are supposed to do when you listen to them in their entirety – take you on a journey deeper into the psychology of the album. The dark sounds in particular on ’Need For Sanctuary’ are a sound palette I really love.

Anil: I like ‘Bertha’ – most because of the subject matter but also the sound. ‘Deperson’ is the most personal song on the album, after I recorded the lyrics I had to go out. When I was walking around I was still totally consumed by the music and the meaning of the words. I felt so alienated from my surroundings and saw the world in a very singular way. I think that is a good mark of creating a song that is honest and authentic.

Who do you think FRAGILE SELF will appeal to?

Jonathan: We don’t really know who the audience is, and in some ways it is important not to limit the project by worrying too much. Obviously there will be people who will be interested in the graphics work of the studio, but it is a serious attempt to show how visuals and music relate so we hope it will appeal to people outside that.

Anil: We might even get some psychotherapists interested too!

Is the concert aspect of presenting the work somewhere you would like to venture?

Anil: Definitely, we really want to see how people directly react to the music. Also being on stage and singing these songs is going to be a very emotional experience that I am keen to try.

Jonathan: It is another big project entirely though – how to translate all of this into a live form. Obviously people are expecting something visual from us on stage, so we are planning that right now, again something new and very exciting for us.


ELECTRICITY.CO.UK gives its grateful thanks to FRAGILE SELF

‘Fragile Self’ is released by Sugarcane Recordings / Daperson Society on 4th November 2019 as a vinyl LP, CD and 480 page book with download code, pre-order from http://www.fragileself.com/vinylcdbookdownload

Download also available from https://fragileself.bandcamp.com/

http://www.fragileself.com

https://www.facebook.com/fragileself/

https://twitter.com/fragile_self

https://www.instagram.com/fragile_self/


Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
2nd November 2019

Introducing FRAGILE SELF

Inspired by Jean Paul Sartre and expressing the need to be isolated, moving away from other people because they are the cause of mental and emotional pain, FRAGILE SELF are a minimal electronic duo aiming to create dark pop music to communicate the detachment often felt within the human condition.

Like a musical thesis on psychotherapy, the subject matters of their songs range from narcissism to Gestalt therapy.

Comprising of Anil Aykan and Jonathan Barnbrook who each have graphic design backgrounds, their ethos sees the music and visuals work in tandem.

Inspired by the 1968 Ingmar Bergman 1968 film ‘Hour Of The Wolf’, their just unveiled track of the same name is enigmatic, brooding and ritualistic like the recent ‘Pastoral’ work of GAZELLE TWIN whose artwork incidentally involved Barnbrook, best known for his visual presentations of icons such as David Bowie and John Foxx.

He told ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK: “The idea behind the lyric video was to see if it were possible not to have the words just coming up along with the singing but to see if we could keep the all of the words on the screen all of the time.”

Exploring “The hour between night and dawn… when most people die, sleep is deepest, nightmares are most real”, ‘Hour Of The Wolf’ exploits the fine art of the modern modular synthesizer with Noise Engineering’s Basimilus Iteritas Alter, Hexinverter drum modules and the Befaco BF22 filter being the main modules used.

With their forthcoming eponymous album mixed by Erland Cooper whose credits have included Hannah Peel, FRAGILE SELF are cerebrally out there, exploring sonic clusters for the mind. Live performances are planned.


‘Hour Of The Wolf’ is from the modular synthesizer compilation album ‘Modularism 2: Noises Off’ released by Law & Auder Records and available now on all major streaming platforms, further information at https://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/modularism-2-noises-off

http://www.fragileself.com

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https://www.instagram.com/fragile_self/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
28th February 2019