In the forest of independent music where trolls can spring from isolated rocks and mountains, it is refreshing for gatekeepers to allow through the spirit of an understated musical Seonaidh.
So from the serene shores of Loch Lomond and the remote Outer Hebridean Isles, come WITCH OF THE VALE. Comprising of the folk inspired stylings of Erin Hawthorne and the stark instrumental structures of her husband Ryan Hawthorne, their music possesses some Pagan fervour like GAZELLE TWIN meeting ‘The Wicker Man’ and ‘Twin Peaks’.
Despite being largely unknown within general electronic music circles, the couple’s musical potential have certainly been noticed and rewarded with support slots for CLAN OF XYMOX, SOLAR FAKE and ASSEMBLAGE 23.
Beginning their debut four song EP ‘The Way This Will End’ with the unsettling ritualistic overtures of ‘Fever’, a stark percussive lattice and drone laden backdrop holds together a sinister Celtic beauty through Erin Hawthorne’s treated vocals.
With another alluringly timeless vocal, the traditional overtures of ‘Your Voice’ take a gentler pace over a simple triple backbone. Meanwhile ‘Deathwish’ does what it says on the tin, as heavy stuttering beats and distorted synths take hold; again it’s all threaded together by an enticing high register gothique.
Closing the EP with ‘The Way This Will End’ title track, an angelic air is offered within a backdrop that has a beautiful music box quality complimented by solemn strings, capturing a wonderful melancholic airiness.
This fine debut EP from WITCH OF THE VALE is a total pleasure. Totally captivating while maintaining an important air of mystery, Erin and Ryan Hawthorne are most definitely an act to keep an eye on for the future.
“Seonaidh, I give thee this cup of ale, hoping that thou wilt be so good as to send us plenty of seaware for enriching our ground during the coming year.”
Following the success of her highly acclaimed ‘Unflesh’ album, Elizabeth Bernholz made her conceptual art as GAZELLE TWIN complete, with its continuation in ‘Out Of Body’ originally commissioned by the London Short Film Festival in 2015.
But the elusive artist saw a string of life changing events, one of them being her move “far out of the city”. Relocating to the good, old England countryside, would seem the right move to enjoy more pastoral matters, the joys of quaint, idyllic countryside, while residing amongst animals and flowers, knitting and making jam.
Of course GAZELLE TWIN would do none of the above. Instead she nitpicked on the absurdity of our existence, no matter where we are located. And her latest long player ‘Pastoral’ says it all, from the striking Deutsche Grammophon referencing artwork co-conceived with Jonathan Barnbrook and beyond.
Elizabeth Bernholz chatted about her “deranged, absurd reflection of deranged and absurd times” in deepest Old England.
The four years since ‘Unflesh’ was a rather busy period for you…
Yes it was, much of that time was spent touring the ‘Unflesh’ album worldwide and working on new or offshoot projects in between. It was a fantastic two years of adventure and fun, and then I fell pregnant towards the end of 2015 with the plan to take break to write for a couple years.
If ‘Unflesh’ shocked, ‘Out Of Body’ only cemented the feeling, aren’t you worried some will simply not get you?
No. Being understood has never been a concern of mine, least of all with what I create.
You like a bit of dystopia, as shown in ‘Kingdom Come’?
A brief look into the history of art, literature, or film shows us that fictional projections of dystopia often prove to be like prophecies. Ballard was known as “the seer of Shepperton” for just that reason. I wouldn’t say I like dystopian ideas, but that I feel that there is great truth in them.
So there was the big move out of Brighton? Why was this purely for domestic reasons or had there been artistic motivations too?
The decision was purely financial, if we didn’t move out of Brighton, we would not be able to tour ‘Unflesh’ around America, Canada or elsewhere and still keep our day jobs going or our rent paid. It was that simple!
And it was an opportunity that we did not feel we had much to lose on, as we thought we could easily move back to Brighton should we wish to. Ha! No chance now.
And in the depths of the idyllic countryside, are you still “hypersensitive to everything around (you) all the time”?
Yep. It’s just the person I am. It’s useful for a creative sensibility, as I don’t need to look very far for inspiration. I can literally find it anywhere! It’s all about being able to tune in (or out).
How are you observing the state of the country post-Brexit and the shenanigans in the US of A?
People are still people, they flock together with others they feel safe to be neighbours with, and those boundaries get more and more protected when people feel afraid or threatened by something. That is happening on a mass scale right across USA and Europe, and it is alarming to see the way that people are responding, but I don’t think it’s anything new.
And the red and white 21st century jester outfit just sums it all up…
The idea is that the Jester is the base figure upon which there are layers of traditional clichés and modern clichés applied. It’s no singular thing. The Jester adopts different characters, it caricatures, it imitates and mocks and mongers fear… that is how I see the red imp. It’s a multi-puppet.
The football mascot twist adds an extra sinister quality, is this a statement on mob mentality?
Not specifically no, but of course there is a lot of meaning behind those aspects and they are there to make a point – my focus here is on contemporary clichés, and the demographics that are pandered to but also scapegoated by the tabloid press, depending on their agenda.
‘Better In My Day’ and ‘Little Lambs’ are just fierce, even more aggressive than anything that was on ‘Unflesh’?
I very much wanted there to be a sense of mania and relentless energy running through the album. I think it’s important to have that rhythmical hook for live performance, but also to be able to work up a frenzy. It’s all part of the mood I’m trying to create and get myself and the audience completely immersed in.
‘Glory’ comes over like creepy GOLDFRAPP, how did that shape up in the studio?
I would say that the musical influences prevalent in ‘Glory’ are pretty far away from GOLDFRAPP to be honest, they are not a band I really have ever listened to at all. What I had in mind on this particular song was something closer to Scott Walker or even Bowie on ‘Low’. I wanted to harness a kind of towering, God-like voice. The barebones of the track was actually an unused demo for ‘Unflesh’. I think I started with a bassline and built from there, I hadn’t really planned on making a song in that style, for this album at all. I felt very far away from melodic drama at that point but the song just sort of grew into itself and worked as the centrepoint of the record.
You continue with the heavy vocal processing on ‘Pastoral’, what decides the tone of voice for each track and what effects to use?
Vocals often come last in the production chain, so it usually depends on the theme and the mood of the song and what I feel it needs texturally or rhythmically… whatever I can bring to it through vocal technique and / or manipulation I do as much or as little as needed.
You continued the experimentation with the musical side of things, from medieval instrumentation to rave culture… how did you come to experience these two very different forms originally?
Early music seems to have always been a part of my musical education and palette, but I think this is probably the first project where I felt it was truly relevant to the themes I was working within. The rave culture, or more specifically – house and techno influence really came from being a younger sibling to a brother and two teenaged sisters growing up in the 1990s when illegal raves were happening all over the countryside near where we lived. My experience of that was secondhand, but nevertheless quite memorable. The music frightened me, because it was all very alien at the time.
How will the upcoming ‘Pastoral’ live presentation differ from ‘Unflesh’ and ‘Kingdom Come’?
In terms of production value, the ‘Pastoral’ tour is not so different from the ‘Unflesh’ set-up. It is simple and direct, noisy and strange. But there’s more smiling 🙂
What are your hopes and expectations for ‘Pastoral’?
Well I am already pretty blown away by the response to the album.
I never expected to sell out of vinyl and CDs within the first week of release but just that has happened, and I am stunned and exceptionally happy.
The last four years has been a really long and rocky journey full of dramatic life changes, and there have been plenty of times where I felt I may never return to touring, or get the opportunity to release music in the way I was able to in 2014. I am pleased I have been able to do all the things I set out to do with this concept and that it has already been so well received.
I hope that there will be a great run of live shows worldwide this coming year and beyond and that I can hopefully open up some more opportunities for making new projects.
ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its grateful thanks to Elizabeth Bernholz
Warsaw New Theatre (3rd October – ‘Kingdom Come’ performance), Manchester Soup Kitchen (5th October), Brighton Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts (11th October), London Somerset House Lancaster Rooms (16th November)
As innocent and idyllic as the new album title from GAZELLE TWIN sounds, those who are well familiar with Elizabeth Bernholz’s previous output, won’t be fooled.
The queen of all things weird and wonderful is back after the highly acclaimed ‘Unflesh’.
‘Pastoral’ should be glorifying her new found life in the depths of Old England, a move amidst other life changing events; instead, it “exhumes England’s rotten past, and shines a torch over its ever-darkening present”.
No matter what century we live in, the evil, greed and consumption have gone full circle, no matter “What species is this? What century? What atmosphere? What government?”, as questioned with choral voices in the opening ‘Folly’, with the intro like DEPECHE MODE’s ‘The Great Outdoors’ played backwards.
If things were indeed ‘Better In My Day’, which is proposed in a house / rave notion with the additional twists from frenzied electronics, then “the world with jobs, no foreigners, no locked doors and kids full of respect” was “much better in my day”.
The tribal sounds of what promised to be lovely and cuddly in ‘Little Lambs’ is nothing of the kind. Almost ritualistic, the mantric rhythm sounds scary, and the “little lambs” are us: the little island dwellers, fed lies and distractions to keep us away from the bigger picture. “Save yourselves” the synthesised voice warns, before ‘Old Thorn’ ushers the “multi-gender voices, in vernaculars old and new” as if.
‘Dieu Et Mon Droit’, sung with a KATE BUSH poise, crown the otherwise sad state of affairs described here. Bernholz’s vocal goes male on ‘Throne’ in monophonic rhythm, spitting out words with disgust: “Scratching, Picking, The wound, Bleeds, Pus, Flows, Sticks, Stinks”.
‘Mongrel’ describes a new breed of humans and the new behaviours which are ridden with self-assurance, opinionated yet easily offended over nothing, but it suits them. The opening questions from ‘Folly’ return, “What species is this? What century?”
The glorious Old England won’t come back as in ‘Glory’, delivered in the style of ZOLA JESUS goes mediaeval.
The Wiccan imaginary beaten out of the drum ritual sees new found sounds and experiences Eastern influences in the plethora of styles, each as distant from each other, as they are close.
The meeting in the good Old English ‘Tea Rooms’ won’t bring the illusion of “pastoral picture”; the reality is far uglier than the idyllically drawn “hedgerows and steeples” or “cattle, tearooms”, because there’s also the “roadkill” and the village square sees executions as well as happy country summer fetes.
‘Jerusalem’ mocks the “ideal citizen”, with the sneer from the riddler, while ‘Dance Of Peddlers’ utilises early instrumentation in the form of recorders intertwined with courtly jester music, spitting out the truth at once: “It’s the Middle Ages, But with lesser wages”.
The first single from ‘Pastoral’, ‘Hobby Horse’ is as deranged and as mysterious as any work of GAZELLE TWIN, but this time she spells it out: “Pack on the loose but I can’t let them in here, My fears are growing, My wounds are showing, My time is up I want to get the f*ck out of here NOW”. She mocks ‘Ye Olde’ and ‘The Everyman’ of the English cliché, brandishing a sneer and a hobby horse.
Certainly not the ‘Sunny Stories’ expected by the title, it’s “All your history’s happened now”, mystically performed with a compelling, eerie vocal, whistling in the country winds and reverberating in the darker skies, with no stars present. Darkness, just darkness out there…
Maybe a better life lies ‘Over The Hills’, a happy country song delivered while riding and we are back to the “good old days”, where “King George commands and we obey”, and there are still “Flanders, Portugal and Spain”, even if they’re getting further and further.
Elizabeth Bernholz hasn’t disappointed in the “deranged, absurd reflection of deranged and absurd times”. Her village square isn’t a source of empty joys, her country cottage isn’t the perfect, magical place and her Old English neighbours aren’t the friendly country folk, ready to help in need.
No, there is horror in every idyll, and danger lurking beyond the ‘quaint’ and she’s not fooled. She will sit there in her red 21st century jester outfit on and make you laugh!
I’m sorry, did I say laugh!? No, she’ll make you reflect and cry over the state of affairs, but only if you choose to see it.
Gent Vooruit (20th September), Station Narva Festival (22nd September), Warsaw New Theatre (3rd October – ‘Kingdom Come’ performance), Manchester Soup Kitchen (5th October), Brighton Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts (11th October), London Somerset House Lancaster Rooms (16th November)
For the lovers of all things weird and wonderful, electronica style, here’s LOTIC with their debut ‘Power’.
Choosing Berlin as their abode, the new album by Texan born artist is an “expansive exploration of the many ways in which power can be expressed and experienced”.
Few years ago, LOTIC ventured into the world of quirky electronica with two EPs, ‘Heterocetera’ and ‘Agitations’, but it’s on this long player ‘Power’ that they introduce vocal experimentations for the first time.
The self-confessed lovers of pronounced beats and drums, LOTIC wanted to bring into being, an album of empowerment which became a plethora of various colours of strength, and in few instances, weakness.
Even though the artist found it tricky to call themselves a musician, which may sound strange, coming from someone who studied electronic music composition and saxophone and who’s probably more trained classically than most of electronic artists in Germany and the rest of the world has to offer, LOTIC manages to intertwine tenderness and the power of survival in many shapes.
‘Hunted’, which heralds the outing, was one of the first born tracks designed for the long player, with whispered messages over the primal, found sounds and bouncy rhythm to leave the survival imprint; it is accompanied by an insidious video, shot on a beach in Majorca.
‘Love & Light’, although tentatively starting like what it says on the tin, has the undertones of menace and uncertainty, veiled under delicate bells almost like a music box, while ‘Bulletproof’ has the messy qualities of BJÖRK meets IAMX.
‘Distribution of Care’ shows off the drums as if straight from the marching band, and one can just imagine the stepping routines, which the artist recognises as “so black”.
In order to survive in the polarising world of today, one needs ‘Resilience’, served on a plate of gritty synth with a sprinkling of tubular bells, as the ‘Fragility’ doesn’t always pay off. What a way to shape shift from two opposites!
The voice comes back on ‘Nerve’, which is an amalgamation of New York rap, quirky sounds reminiscent of GAZELLE TWIN and everything in between. Further experiments are palpable on ‘Heart’ with an urgent musical message and ‘Solace’, which closes the eclectic mix of tunes.
To juxtapose the meanings, ‘Power’, sitting towards the end of the opus, falls like gentile musical droplets from the sky of abundance, but what is the sky abundant with?
Sudden noises, confusion, non-descript shots of powerful synth, followed by drilling sounds, a mish-mash of bizarre elements to serve brutality, only to be followed again by delicate bells and mesmerising melody.
After ‘Agitations’ where LOTIC set out to be purposefully aggressive and ostentatiously dark, ‘Power’ is to simply empower using any means disposable. It is commanding to discover a debut album not weary of experimentation and not directed for an instant commercial success, even if it means to be more niche with the audience.
Following in the steps of GAZELLE TWIN, the American in Berlin isn’t opposed to mad musical professor trials, if it means they achieve their own personal work of art, their realisation and their freedom, sounding like anything between BJÖRK, THE KNIFE, FEVER RAY and AUSTRA.
If you’re in the market for the unusual electronica taken to the limits, search no further.
“The medium of reinterpretation” as HEAVEN 17 and BEF’s Martyn Ware once put it, is still very much present in the 21st Century.
There have been albums of cover versions from the likes of SIMPLE MINDS, ERASURE, MIDGE URE and CLAUDIA BRÜCKEN celebrating their influences, as well as numerous various artists collections paying tribute to particular acts.
However, a newish phenomenon of covering an entire album has appeared in more recent years, something which MARSHEAUX, BECKY BECKY and CIRCUIT 3 have attempted on works by DEPECHE MODE, THE KNIFE and YAZOO respectively.
On the other side of the coin in recognition of the cultural impact of the classic synth era, the Anti-Christ Superstar MARILYN MANSON covered SOFT CELL’s cover of ‘Tainted Love’ but added more shouting, while DAVID GRAY took their own ‘Say Hello Wave Goodbye’ and turned it into a lengthy Dylan-esque ballad.
There has also been a trend for girl groups to cover songs from the period with GIRLS ALOUD, THE SATURDAYS and RED BLOODED WOMEN being among those introducing these numbers to a new younger audience.
So as a follow-up to the 25 Classic Synth Covers listing, here is a selection taken from reinterpretations recorded from 2000 to the present day, restricted to one song per artist moniker and presented in chronological order.
SCHNEIDER TM va KPTMICHIGAN The Light 3000 (2000)
Morrissey was once quoted as saying there was “nothing more repellent than the synthesizer”, but if THE SMITHS had gone electro, would they have sounded like this and Stephen Patrick thrown himself in front of that ten ton truck? Germany’s SCHNEIDER TM aka Dirk Dresselhaus reconstructed ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’ to a series of minimal blips, blops and robotics to configure ‘The Light 3000’ with British producer KPTMICHIGAN.
A breathy Euro disco classic made famous by sultry Spanish vocal duo BACCARA, Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory’s take on this cheesy but enjoyable disco standard came over like The Cheeky Girls at The Nuremburg rally! Now that’s a horrifying vision! All traces of ‘Yes Sir I Can Boogie’ apart from the original lyrics were rendered missing in action as the stern Ms Goldfrapp played the role of the thigh booted dominatrix on this highly original cover.
When BLACK BOX RECORDER went on hiatus, Sarah Nixey recorded a beautifully spacey cover of JAPAN’s Ghosts with INFANTJOY whose James Banbury became her main collaborator on her 2007 debut solo album ‘Sing Memory’. Meanwhile the duo’s other member was none other than ZTT conceptualist Paul Morley. A POPULUS remix appeared on the ‘With’ revisions album while MIDI-ed up and into the groove, Nixey later also recorded THE HUMAN LEAGUE’s ‘The Black Hit Of Space’.
Of this mighty industrialised cover, Ralf Dörper said: “When I first heard ‘The Anvil’ (‘Der Amboss’) by VISAGE, I thought: “what a perfect song for DIE KRUPPS” – it just needed more sweat, more steel. And it was not before 2005 when DIE KRUPPS were asked to play a few 25-year anniversary shows that I remembered ‘Der Amboss’… and as I was a big CLIENT fan at that time, I thought it would be a good opportunity to ask Fräulein B for assistance in the vocal department”.
Available on a self-released CD single for the band’s 25th anniversary tour, currently unavailable
Comprising of Aggie Peterson and Per Martinsen, FROST have described their music as “upbeat space-pop”. Much of their own material like ‘Klong’, ‘Alphabet’ and ‘Sleepwalker’ exuded a perfect soundtrack for those long Nordic nights. Meanwhile their ultra-cool cover of OMD’s ‘Messages’ embraced that wintery atmosphere, while providing a pulsing backbone of icy synths to accompany Peterson’s alluringly nonchalant vocal.
In this “Pink Floyd Goes To Hollywood” styled rework, Claudia Brücken revisited her ZTT roots with this powerful and danceable version of Roger Waters’ commentary on music business hypocrisy. ‘Have A Cigar’ showed a turn of feistiness and aggression not normally associated with the usually more serene timbres of Claudia Brücken and Paul Humphreys’ ONETWO project. But by welcoming pleasure into the dome, they did a fine cover version.
Budapest’s BLACK NAIL CABARET began life as an all-female duo of Emese Illes-Arvai on vocals and Sophie Tarr on keyboards, with their first online offering being a darkwave cover of RIHANNA’s ‘Umbrella’. Already very synthy in the Barbadian starlet’s own version, it showcased their brooding form of electro which subsequently impressed enough to earn support slots with COVENANT, DE/VISION and CAMOUFLAGE while producing three albums of self-penned material so far.
Liverpudlian easy listening crooner Michael Holliday was the second person to have a UK No1 written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, the first being Perry Como with ‘Magic Moments’. His second UK No1 penned by Earl Shuman and Mort Garson was a romantic guilty pleasure. CHINA CRISIS pledged their Scouse Honour with this jaunty synth / drum machine driven rendition of ‘Starry Eyed’ layered with reverbed synthbass warbles and harmonious vocals from Messrs Daly and Lundon.
LITTLE BOOTS gave a dynamically poptastic rendition of Giorgio Moroder and Freddie Mercury’s only collaboration from 1984, retaining its poignant melancholic quality while adding a vibrant and danceable electronic slant. The recreation of Richie Zito’s guitar solo on synths was wondrous as was the looser swirly groove. While Victoria Hesketh didn’t have the voice of Mercury, her wispy innocence added its own touching qualities to ‘Love Kills’.
Yuck, it’s Chris Martin and Co but didn’t Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe do well? Merging possibly COLDPLAY’s best song with the synth riff from their own Latino disco romp ‘Domino Dancing’, ‘Viva La Vida’ was turned into a stomping but still anthemic number which perhaps had more touches of affection than PET SHOP BOYS‘ marvellous but allegedly two fingers Hi-NRG rendition of U2’s ‘Where The Streets Have No Name’. So altogether now: “Woah-oh, ooh-ooah!”
No strangers to raiding the Bowie songbook having previously tackled ‘Fame’ in 1981, DURAN DURAN however blotted their copy book with their 1995 covers LP ‘Thank You’. They refound their stride with the return-to-form album ‘All You Need Is Now’ but just before that, this superb reinterpretation of ‘Boys Keep Swinging’ reconnected them to their New Romantic roots with washes of Nick Rhodes’ swimmy Crumar string machine, held down by a danceable beatbox and John Taylor’s syncopated bass runs.
This frantically paced cover of controversial neofolk band DEATH IN JUNE was recorded for the LADYTRON ‘Best Of 00-10’ collection and purposely uncredited. The antithesis of the midtempo atmospherics of ‘Gravity The Seducer’, this cutting four-to-the-floor romp was the last of the quartet’s in-yer-face tracks in a wind down of the harder ‘Velocifero’ era. With the multi-ethnic combo subverting the meaning of ‘Little Black Angel’, it deliberately bore no resemblance to the acoustic laden original.
‘The Eternal’ from ‘Closer’, the final album by JOY DIVISION, was one of the most fragile, funereal collages of beauty ever committed to vinyl. But in 2011, Brighton based songstress GAZELLE TWIN reworked this cult classic and made it even more haunting! Replacing the piano motif with eerily chilling synth and holding it together within an echoing sonic cathedral, she paid due respect to the song while adding her own understated operatic stylings.
On their only album ‘Lights & Offerings’, MIRRORS revealed an interesting musical diversion with this haunting take of a rootsy country number originally recorded by Karen Dalton. Written by the late Dino Valenti of psychedelic rockers QUICKSILVER MESSENGER SERVICE, ‘Something On Your Mind’ was a touching ballad with its tortured yearning suiting the quartet’s pop noir aspirations. Ally Young said: “It was very nice for us to be able to apply our aesthetic to someone else’s song.”
Indie stoners THE XX had a minimalist approach to their sound which Andy McCluskey said was “really quite impressive”. This bareness made their material quite well suited for reworking in the style of classic OMD. ‘VCR’ had Paul Humphreys taking charge of the synths while McCluskey dusted off his bass guitar and concentrated on vocals. McCluskey added: “People go ‘how did OMD influence THE XX?’… but have you listened to ‘4-Neu’? Have you listened to some of the really simple, stripped down B-sides?”
Available on the EP ‘History Of Modern (Part I)’ via Blue Noise
As I SPEAK MACHINE, Tara Busch has been known for her haunting and occasionally downright bizarre live covers of songs as diverse as ‘Cars’, ‘Our House’, ‘The Sound Of Silence’ and ‘Ticket To Ride’. For a JOHN FOXX tribute EP which also featured GAZELLE TWIN, she turned ‘My Sex’, the closing number from the debut ULTRAVOX! long player, into a cacophony of wailing soprano and dystopian synths that was more than suitable for a horror flick.
Available on the EP ‘Exponentialism’ (V/A) via Metamatic Records
French theatrical performer Valerie Renay and German producer Sebastian Lee Philipp are NOBLESSE OBLIGE. Together, they specialise in a brand of abstract Weimer cabaret tinged with a dose of electro Chanson. Their lengthy funereal deadpan cover of THE EAGLES’ ‘Hotel California’ highlighted the chilling subtext of the lyrics to its macabre conclusion! The synthesizer substitution of the original’s iconic twin guitar solo could be seen as total genius or sacrilege!
I AM SNOW ANGEL is the project of Brooklyn based producer Julie Kathryn; her debut album ‘Crocodile’ was a lush sounding affair and could easily be mistaken as a product of Scandinavia were it not for her distinctly Trans-Atlantic drawl. Already full of surprises, to close the long player, out popped a countrified drum ‘n’ bass take of BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN’s ‘I’m On Fire’! Quite what The Boss would have made of it, no-one is sure but it was quietly subversive and it certainly delivered the unexpected.
Reinterpreting any Bowie number is fraught with the possibility of negative feedback and MACHINISTA’s take on ‘Heroes’ set tongues wagging. Recorded as the duo’s calling card when experienced Swedish musicians John Lindqwister and Richard Flow first came together, electronic pulses combined with assorted synthetic textures which when amalgamated with Lindqwister’s spirited vocal, produced a respectful and yes, good version of an iconic song.
Comprising of frisky vocalist Emily Kavanaugh and moody producer Mark Brooks, NIGHT CLUB simply cut to the chase with their enjoyable electronic cover of INXS’ ‘Need You Tonight’. Here, the familiar guitar riff was amusingly transposed into a series of synth stabs before mutating into a mutant Morse code. It wasn’t rock ‘n’ roll but we liked it! Purists were horrified, but history has proved the best cover versions always do a spot of genre and instrumentation hopping.
The MARSHEAUX reworking of DEPECHE MODE’s second album ‘A Broken Frame’ shed new light on Martin Gore’s first long form adventure as songwriter and affirmed that numbers such as ‘My Secret Garden’ and ‘The Sun & The Rainfall’ were just great songs. But ‘Monument’ was an example of a cover outstripping the original and given additional political resonance with the economic situation close to home that the Greek synth maidens found themselves living in at the time of its recording.
Needing to be heard to be believed, this rather inventive and charming cover of THE CURE’s ‘Close To Me’ by Belgium’s favourite passengers METROLAND utilised a selection of male and female computer voice generators to provide the lead vocal, in a move likely to upset the majority of real music purists. Meanwhile, the hidden melodies shone much more brightly than in the goth-laden original, thanks to its wonderful and clever electronic arrangement.
One of DAILY PLANET’s main inspirations was cult UK synth trio WHITE DOOR, who released just one album ‘Windows’ in 1983. So when their chief synthesist Johan Baeckström was needing tracks to include on his ‘Like Before’ EP, the almost choir boy overtures of ‘Jerusalem’ was a natural choice for a cover version. Of course, this was not the first time Baeckström had mined the WHITE DOOR back catalogue as the more halcyon ‘School Days’ adorned the flip of his debut solo single ‘Come With Me’.
Forming in 2016, seasoned vocalist Gene Serene and producer Lloyd Price’s combined sound delightfully borrowed from both classic synthpop and Weimar Cabaret on THE FRIXION’s self-titled EP debut. From it, a tribute to The Purple One came with this touching take of his ‘Under The Cherry Moon’, highlighting PRINCE’s often hidden spiritual connection to European pop forms and recalling ‘The Rhythm Divine’, YELLO’s epic collaboration with Shirley Bassey.
Moody electronic duo KALEIDA first came to wider attention opening for RÓISÍN MURPHY in 2015. Covers have always been part of Christina Wood and Cicely Goulder’s repertoire with ‘A Forest’ and ‘Take Me To The River’ being among them. KALEIDA’s sparse rendition of NENA’s ‘99 Luftballons’ earned kudos for being very different and was included in the soundtrack of the Cold War spy drama ‘Atomic Blonde’, hauntingly highlighting the currently relevant nuclear apocalypse warning in the lyric.