Tag: Heartbreak (Page 1 of 3)

SNS SENSATION Same River Twice

“Love not war, art not invasion, inspiration not fear” is the message of ‘Same River Twice’, the sixth single by SNS SENSATION, the ice cool minimal Italo-influenced project of Sebastian Muravchik who is best known as the charismatic front man of HEARTBREAK who have shared stages with THE PRESETS, LA ROUX, LITTLE BOOTS, ITALOCONNECTION and BLANCMANGE.

While rooted in synthpop and swathed in a monochromatic sepia, ‘Same River Twice’ takes a more baroque direction compared with previous SNS SENSATION releases, outlining how a relationship can embody the metaphysical questions of change and permanence.

Sebastian Muravchik chatted to ELECTRICITYCLUB.BO.UK about the more cerebral philosophical approach to the genesis of ‘Same River Twice’, both aurally and visually…

‘Same River Twice’ is a very on point phrase right now, but what had been your original intent with the song?

I can’t speak of intent, but I can say the process involved looking deeper into Parmenides (which is quoted in the lyrics), and looking a bit further into transcending the binary opposition between being and becoming (between Parmenides and Heraclitus, as it seems to be widely understood). I’m trying to work out the idea that everything is always changing and you cannot step into the same river twice (Heraclitus) and that at the same time there is no “twice” because time is an illusion and it’s all “being” (Parmenides).

The point that has been made before and I am building on is that we can look at the beauty of an idea and decide to take it on the basis of its beauty alone. So two beautiful ideas such as these two can be both true even if supposedly opposed. Beauty overrides exclusivist binarisms.

Of course looking into what beauty means is important here, and I suppose the best way to explain it is in relation to flow and freedom, which is not the same as excitement (neo fascists get excited about their ideas but these are not beautiful ideas; the excitement is the energy of trauma repressed in the subconscious and coming out as fresh repressive violence to try and control the repressive mandates that have oppressed the fascist himself as he was traumatised and then developed his sociopathy). Liberation is key here. That is, not the identification with the oppressor that imprisons so many people, but the awareness of our oppressor inside. When those repressive mandates are silenced, I believe the beauty available to you glows like nothing else in this life; but it is a long journey that many people choose not to undertake unfortunately. SNS SENSATION is all about that journey: music and art are as effective conduits to liberation and the ideal state of permanent flow as you’re going to get.

But as I was writing the song, a story of disappointment and alienation also filtered through. Time was already a key theme but now it was about time and distance, and how time destroys hope and connection between people (perhaps as much as it helps develop it, or that might be how it feels now, with the end of humanity looming on different fronts).

And yet in this story of increasing alienation and oblivion, I found a sense of infinity which I hear a lot in disco music but not as much in synthpop. That’s why the song fades out, because at that point in the song I believed it deserved to reach out to the infinite; this song did not need to end, it needed to merge into the silence of infinity (which incidentally befits both being and becoming).

I think this is one of my favourite songs of mine, it feels as if I’ve really found my fog. Infinite flow glows in this fog as it takes me with it wherever the wind may blow.

Was the video inspired by any particular artists or film directors?

I think late Beckett is usually important (‘Not I’ in particular, but also ‘Rockaby’). But also, interestingly, talented DJ and drone artist Xen Von Katz mentioned the music video for ERASURE’s ‘Blue Savannah’ – as a fellow ERASURE fan I was so pleased to discover that subconscious influence in this project.

The split face has a scary Impressionism, what the thinking behind this imagery?

I guess I have now reached the point where I get to see these images for what they are in themselves, their potential for meaning a mere aspect of their constitution – that is, seeing them as potential rather than as embodying a definitive intent. So in effect I know as much about the thinking of it as anyone else, and so the intent is multiplied.

Now that you ask, though, my interpretation of this might be that there has to be an element of that being-becoming dichotomy. But also, there’s an element of breaking, of breakdown, of crisis but also of liberation and multiplication somehow.

Like if you’re sad then you need to think about how you think about your sadness. Sadness in itself can be very beautiful, but it must be dealt with appropriately to avoid anxiety and panic. I wish this culture of ours focused less on money and power and fetiche, and more on the complexities of flow. In flow we can experience life as creation, and we are unburdened from notions of ownership. Like Moria Casán said “si queres llorar, llorá”.

We have been aided, multiplied, write Deleuze and Guattari on transcending the binary. I guess I hope this music video works as the cracked mirror inside of us, burning, splintering and synthesised in the same way the infinite and oblivion join forces in the ether of music, the only version of the absolute idea that seems to work for me.


ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its warmest thanks to Sebastian Muravchik

‘Same River Twice’ is released as a download single direct from https://wearesns.bandcamp.com/track/same-river-twice

https://www.facebook.com/wearesns/

https://twitter.com/sns_wave

https://www.instagram.com/sns_discopop_noir/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1pgg7obJpfQdaCvw_bwuXA

https://open.spotify.com/artist/77pgZLgAxmVYtNaJm96m7P


Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
11th March 2022

ALI RENAULT Nawce Blizzard

Margate-based producer and DJ Ali Renault has been releasing music since 2003, but he is perhaps best known as being a member of the Italo-flavoured electronic pop duo HEARTBREAK with Sebastian Muravchik.

After HEARTBREAK went into hiatus in 2011, Ali Renault released his debut self-titled album and has since followed up with a variety of dance 12” singles and EPs including on his own Cyber Dance Records and Vivod imprint. With HEARTBREAK having reformed and set to release a second album in 2022, he releases ‘Nawce Blizzard’ in memory of the late Chester DJ Pete Mangalore with whom he co-founded the Human Shield Record Company.

On the opener ‘Northdown Acid’, a sinister bass pattern penetrates in sync with dirty phat beats within a grey-stoked backdrop. While faster paced, ‘Imminent Salad’ is less intense and exhibits more of a club groove with spacey strings providing atmosphere and texture. But with an elegiac ambience, ‘Peter Summoning’ is Ali Renault’s musical tribute to his late friend.

Deeper in mood, the lengthy ‘Forbidden Mind’ moves in slower motion but having played this 33RPM release at 45RPM by accident, it actually kicks quite well at the faster tempo like Lil’ Louis!!! Reverberating with a pulsing hypnotism, ‘Nawce Blizzard’ presents an electronic chill as the title suggests over stuttering rhythms, but the infinite motorbike engine in the run-off groove will catch listeners out… only it’s not a motorbike but a pitch shifted cat purr!!

Ali Renault said “It’s been an emotional ride getting this together and feels right to be drawing a line under it finally…”

An absorbing mini-album of IDM, ‘Nawce Blizzard’ is adorned with charming foggy windswept imagery that illustrates its contents, a respectful beat-driven reflection and remembrance of a departed friend.


‘Nawce Blizzard’ is released by Vivod as a 12” vinyl EP and download, available from https://www.phonicarecords.com/product/ali-renault-nawce-blizzard-ep-vivod/176708

Digital variant available at https://alirenault.bandcamp.com/album/nawce-blizzard

https://www.facebook.com/Ali-Renault-134906283231577

https://twitter.com/VivodAli

https://www.instagram.com/ali_renault/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
29th October 2021

BLANCMANGE + HEARTBREAK Live in Tunbridge Wells

The leafy Kent town of Royal Tunbridge Wells was the location for first night of the BLANCMANGE tour rescheduled from 2020.

Originally intended to coincide with the 12th full length BLANCMANGE long player ‘Mindset’, Neil Arthur recorded another album ‘Commercial Break’ during lockdown while also preparing a soon-to-be-released collaboration with Finlay Shakespeare who will be the support act from Colchester Arts Centre onwards.

But tonight at The Forum, which was chosen to be a sort of warm-up to get BLANCMANGE back into the ritual of live performance after a gap of almost two years, the opening act was the energetic Anglo-Argentine electro duo HEARTBREAK. Comprising of charismatic vocalist Sebastian Muravchik and thoughtful instrumentalist Ali Renault, HEARTBREAK toured with the likes of LA ROUX and LITTLE BOOTS in support of their 2008 debut album ‘Lies’ before they went into hiatus for nearly a decade and re-emerging in 2018.

Muravchik has been making music as SNS SENSATION while Renault recently issued an instrumental solo mini-album ‘Nawce Blizzard’, but there is a new HEARTBREAK album on the way and it was with one of the new numbers ‘1888’ that they began their uptempo set. From ‘Lies’ came the modern Italo romp of ‘Akin to Dancing’ and the falsetto charged ‘Regret’ before Muravchik announced how the fall out between himself and Renault (which put HEARTBREAK on the backburner) had been channelled into another new song called ‘This Battle’.

Having regrown his moustache especially for this occasion, Muravchik busted some Latin lothario moves and beckoned the now warmed up audience to dance to HEARTBREAK’s appropriately titled signature song ‘We’re Back’ and the frenzied ‘My Tears Electro’.

The most enthusiastic of the participants was undoubtedly Renault’s primary school aged daughter who was totally thrilled with seeing her father perform for the very first time and assiting on vocoder.

To very bright stage lights, long standing BLANCMANGE live keyboardist Ogoo Maia and electronic percussionist Liam Hutton took their places as they awaited the arrival of Neil Arthur to launch into the ‘Mange Tout’ favourite ‘Game Above My Head’.

With a set divided equally divided between classic material and 21st Century BLANCMANGE works, the marvellous robopop of ‘In Your Room’ from 2018’s ‘Wanderlust’ and songs off the ‘Mindset’ album, such as the title song and ‘Clean Your House’, showed that Arthur was still pushing forward artistically. But surprises also came with the 1985 single ‘What’s Your Problem?’ and ‘I Prefer Solitude’ from the FADER collaboration with producer Benge.

‘I Can’t Explain’, ‘Waves’ and ‘I’ve Seen The Word’ highlighted that for those in attendance, the 1982 debut ‘Happy Families’ is still a record held with great affection by many while there was also space for the topical wordplay of ‘This A State’ from the upcoming ‘Commercial Break’ album.

However, during a lone ivory version of ‘The Day Before You Came’, Arthur got knocked off focus by those who were talking quite loudly during this key set-piece.

Asking Maia to stop, the Lancastrian made his thoughts known in his deep dry tone about the lingering chitter-chatter and said he would prefer it if people sang along instead. This prompted some to visit azlyrics.com on their phones and as Arthur continued with his rendition of his favourite ABBA song, he had to contain his laughter as most present joined in!

Heading for the home straight, ‘Living On The Ceiling’ prompted the now-customary massed chant of the song’s main instrumental while ‘Feel Me’ and ‘Blind Vision’ closed proceedings with a welcome Saturday night disco. “It’s been hard work in rehearsals and the first show proper after around 2 years is quite a challenge” Neil Arthur said to ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK afterwards, “In a good way.”

As the most prolific artist of the Synth Britannia generation and one who has toured every year since as BLANCMANGE’s comeback in 2011 up to and including 2019, Neil Arthur’s return to the live stage is an important symbol that gives hope after a difficult 21 months.

Certainly those present at The Forum seemed happy to be out with their friends for some live music and a drink or three, even if not all were necessarily paying attention to what they had paid their hard earned money to see.


With thanks to Joe Pidgeon at AGMP and Chris Pritchard at The Forum

‘Commercial Break’ is released by Blanc Check on 17th September 2021 in CD, vinyl LP and digital formats, available from http://blancmange.tmstor.es/

BLANCMANGE 2021 live dates include:

Colchester Arts Centre (16th September), Norwich Arts Centre (17th September), Birmingham Institute 2 (18th September), Gloucester Guild Hall (23rd September), Exeter Phoenix (24th September), Nottingham Rescue Rooms (25th September), Blackburn King George’s Hall (29th September), Newcastle Riverside (30th September), Edinburgh Liquid Room (1st October), Glasgow Oran Mor (2nd October), Southampton The Brook (13th October), Bristol Fleece (14th October), Northampton Roadmender (22nd October), Manchester Club Academy (27th October), Leeds The Wardrobe (28th October), Liverpool Grand Central Hall (29th October), Brighton Concorde 2 (17th November), Harpenden Public Halls (18th November), Cardiff Portland House (25th November), London Under The Bridge (26th November), Shrewsbury Buttermarket (27th November)

BLANCMANGE will also be opening for ERASURE on 17th October 2021 and London O2 Arena

http://www.blancmange.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/BlancmangeMusic

https://twitter.com/_blancmange_

https://www.instagram.com/blancmange_music/

https://www.facebook.com/Heartbreak-14224761975


Text and Photos by Chi Ming Lai
13th September 2021

SNS SENSATION Mirror Radio

The third installation in the SNS SENSATION lockdown series, ‘Mirror Radio’ is a fuzzier, more aggressive synthpop number than its two predecessors, for whom the detuned bells toll.

Although not part of the trilogy, there was a hint of this upcoming change in mood on ‘Discoboom’, a throbbing dance metal hybrid from the ‘Trans-Global Excess Volume 1’ compilation recently issued by Specchio Uomo.

While ‘Small World’ captured panic and ‘Your Door’ was swathed in sadness, ‘Mirror Radio’ channels anger with a harder industrial edge at the powers that be and their response to the pandemic.

Argentine-born Sebastian Muravchik is the man behind SNS SENSATION; he is best known as the front man of HEARTBREAK who shared stages with THE PRESETS, LA ROUX and LITTLE BOOTS. Some of HEARTBREAK’s horror electro-rock elements as heard on ‘Destroy All Power’ from their appropriately titled ‘Deceit’ EP have found their way into ‘Mirror Radio’.

Reflecting the new single’s fractured if surreal tone, the accompanying video, set in the world of the mind and reflecting it on a TV screen, takes inspiration from Samuel Beckett’s ‘Not I’ and ‘Quad’, Lucio Fulci’s ‘The House By The Cemetery’, and Ingmar Bergman’s ‘Winter Light’.

Sebastian Muravchik said: “The challenge with this song was to convey that industrial anger with 808 sounds as the starting point. Despite the electro funk element in rhythm terms on this song, I wanted the 808 to howl”.

As with many intuitive artists, laying down restrictions aided the production process. “What I seem to be doing is limiting my sound sources as a starting point and keeping an eye on where flow finds a deterritorializing avenue of some sort” he added, “There’s a time stamp, desaturated and blurred by the damage the years have done since the initial firm grip on the statement. This is where I see the ideological grounding of my sound production is rooted”.

Having captured the claustrophobic solitude of lockdown with ‘Small World’, Muravchik’s voice evokes a frustration that will no doubt gain further enhancement with a remix by the mysterious industrial electro personality of MANASYt whose career of nearly 20 years has produced music that described as “what exactly hostile aliens would listen to while attacking Earth”!


‘Mirror Radio’ is released as a download and cassette single, available direct from https://wearesns.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/wearesns/

https://twitter.com/sns_wave

https://www.instagram.com/sns_discopop_noir/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1pgg7obJpfQdaCvw_bwuXA

https://open.spotify.com/artist/77pgZLgAxmVYtNaJm96m7P


Text by Chi Ming Lai
12th February 2021

25 SYNTH B-SIDES OF THE 21ST CENTURY

There is nothing like the other side of life. As a companion to its favourite 25 Classic Synth B-sides, ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK presents a listing looking at the 21st Century equivalent.

B-sides often take on a cult following, provoking discussions among fans about why they might have missed inclusion on the parent album.

On why artists occasionally overlook a track when it is clearly good enough, Richard Silverthorn of MESH said “Sometimes you can’t see the wood for the trees”.

Then there are the occasional abstract studio experiments which often fail but occasionally work and the occasional cover versions which don’t always find favour with some listeners but are infinitely more preferable over pointless remixes of the A-side!

But how is a modern B-side been defined? There is a wider definition now due to digital and streaming formats, so they can include flipsides of vinyl, bonus tracks on CD singles and non-album tracks released as part of a download single or EP bundle. Despite all this, the term “B-side”, like “album” and “video”, still remains.

So for the purposes of this listing as before with the 25 Classic Synth B-sides, B-sides featured on the original issue of a full length album, or subsequently included on a new one are NOT included. However, those added as bonus tracks on later reissues, deluxe editions or compilations are permitted. Rules are good, rules help control the fun! ?

So with a restriction of one track per artist moniker, presented in date and then alphabetical order within, these are ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK’s 25 Synth B-Sides Of The 21st Century…


LADYTRON Oops Oh My (2003)

LADYTRON surprised their audiences during live shows in support of the ‘Light & Magic’ album by closing with a feisty synthpunk cover of TWEET’s ‘Oops Oh My’. Co-written by Missy Elliot, the Timbaland produced original with a DEVO sample had been a hip-hop favourite but the aggressive Riot Grrrl styled take on this risqué song about self-love with lyrics like “There goes my skirt, droppin at my feet” added a rockier edge to their sound.

Available on the LADYTRON single ‘Evil’ via Telstar Records

http://www.ladytron.com/


CLIENT Can’t See Me Now (2003)

“This was written in response to the Iraq War” said Sarah Blackwood aka Client B, “I remember endless discussions with Toast Hawaii boss Fletch about whether it was the right decision and with heavy hearts, watching endless shelling and firefighting, from the 24 hour news coverage on far flung European hotel TVs. It was the first time I had felt that disconnection and frustration with my home country, the ‘not in my name’ ringing loudly in my ears. Bit late to the party but that’s the story of my life.”

Available on the CLIENT single ‘Here & Now’ via Toast Hawaii / Mute Records

https://www.facebook.com/ClientMusic


GOLDFRAPP Gone To Earth (2004)

The eloquence and surreal atmospheres of the first GOLDFRAPP album ‘Felt Mountain’ may have taken a back seat on its follow-up ‘Black Cherry’ but the experimentation continued on the B-sides of the album’s singles. ‘White Soft Rope’ combined the unsettling imagery of bondage with a chorus sung a school choir, but ‘Gone To Earth’ was even more otherworldly. The reverberating bassline combined with swirling synths and dreamy glides while Alison’s alternate cosmic language startled with a spacey hypnotism.

Available on the GOLDFRAPP single ‘Black Cherry’ via Mute Records

http://goldfrapp.com/


THE MODERN Model #426 (2005)

Nathan Cooper who was in THE MODERN said: “The inspiration came from ROXY MUSIC’s ‘In Every Dream Home A Heartache’ which was about a blow up doll, we took that a step further and Model# 426 is about some kind of sex droid!! ‘Model #426’ was always the song that would get the audience talking because singer Emma would open a trunk on stage and lead a gimp out on a collar into the bemused looking audience!! I think it was actually that stunt that got us signed to Universal!”.

Originally on THE MODERN EP ‘Eastern Bloc’, now available on the album ‘Life In A Modern World’ via Pie & Mash Recordings Ltd

https://www.themodernband.com/


PET SHOP BOYS Party Song (2006)

Interpolating KC & THE SUNSHINE BAND’s ‘That’s The Way (I Like It), the self-produced ‘Party Song’ was naturally a throbbing disco driven affair outshone the horrendous Diane Warren penned ballad ‘Numb’ which comprised the main act. Lyrically inspired by the classic Joan Collins and Leonard Rossiter fronted Campari adverts that, it began life as a dance cover of NIRVANA’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ suggested by Elton John and intended as a single for a new PET SHOP BOYS ‘Greatest Hits’!!

Originally the B-side of ‘Numb’, now available on the PET SHOP BOYS album ‘Format’ via EMI Music

https://www.petshopboys.co.uk/


ARTHUR & MARTHA Japanese Kiss (2008)

‘Japanese Kiss’ was from the debut release on Happy Robots from Alice Hubley and Adam Cresswell. “This was the first track I wrote for ARTHUR & MARTHA” he recalled, “mostly recorded in the bedsit I’d moved into after splitting up with my girlfriend. I was absorbed in self-pity, comforting myself with Japanese-horror movies and the company of my ARP Quartet, Moog Rogue and the DR-55. Living my best life!”; 11 years later as Rodney Cromwell, Cresswell did a NEW ORDER inspired ‘KW1’ remix.

Available on the ARTHUR & MARTHA single ‘Autovia’ via Happy Robots

https://www.facebook.com/arthurandmarthaband


MARSHEAUX Bizarre Love Duo (2008)

Basing its title on the well-known NEW ORDER tune, as with a number of the B-sides listed here, ‘Bizarre Love Duo’ outshone the main act ‘Ghost’. It all began with a pitch shifted groan sample repeated with hypnotic effect over some squelchy backing. But during the second half, the track built itself to a fabulous but abstract electrodisco number with a marvellously catchy refrain. While not quite a song and not quite an experiment, ‘Bizarre Love Duo’ was enjoyable tune in the MARSHEAUX canon.

Originally the B-side of ‘Ghost’, now available on the MARSHEAUX album ‘E-Bay Queen Is Dead’ via Undo Records

https://www.facebook.com/marsheaux


ANTHONIO Angel Face (2009)

A cover of a cover, namely SHOCK’s take on THE GLITTER BAND’s 1974 Top5 hit; playing the role of the Latin lothario in response to the Annie song ‘Anthonio’, Sebastian Muravchik of HEARTBREAK and now SNS SENSATION remembered:Richard X produced this version of ‘Angel Face’ as a side B in his single ‘Annie’. I sang both sides, which kind of shows two sides of Anthonio’s personality in a way. It was a fantastic experience – Richard is a great guy and über pro, so really a win-win.”

Available on the ANTHONIO single ‘Annie’ via Pleasure Masters ‎

https://www.facebook.com/wearesns


LITTLE BOOTS Catch 22 (2009)

“Positive and negative can only attract” sang Victoria Hesketh on the bouncy ‘Catch 22’, a lesser known LITTLE BOOTS track which initially only appeared on the 7 inch single of ‘Earthquake’ in the UK. Gloriously synthpoppy, in hindsight along with other songs that did not make it onto the final tracklisting of her debut album ‘Hands’, it highlighted a possible direction that could have been taken, but which was ultimately watered down for wider acceptance after she was named BBC Sound Of 2009.

Originally the B-side of the single ‘Earthquake’, now available on the LITTLE BOOTS deluxe album ‘Hands’ via On Repeat Records

https://www.littlebootsmusic.co.uk/


VILLA NAH Benny’s Burning (2010)

Continuing a great tradition among the synthpop acts of the past, VILLA NAH had ‘Benny’s Burning’ and ‘Daylight’ as part of their B-side armoury as well as the brilliant debut album ‘Origin’. Highlighting the inherent talent of Juho Paolosmaa and Tomi Hyyppä, ‘Benny’s Burning’ was a smoother and more atmospheric side of VILLA NAH compared with the uptempo technopop impressions of its A-side ‘Rainmaker’. The Helsinki duo later opened for OMD during the UK leg of 2010’s ‘History Of Modern’ tour.

Available on the VILLA NAH single ‘Rainmaker’ via Keys Of Life

https://www.facebook.com/villanah


ERASURE Never Let You Down (2011)

Produced by Vince Clarke, ‘Never Let You Down’ was free of the many autotune treatments that Frankmusik had applied when helming the disappointing ‘Tomorrow’s World’ album in his attempts to make ERASURE sound more modern and contemporary. As a result, that heartfelt soul often associated with Andy Bell made its presence felt over a glorious galloping synthpop tune in the classic ERASURE vein, especially during the middle eight section in Spanish.

Available on the ERASURE single ‘Be With You’ via Mute Artists

http://www.erasureinfo.com/


MIRRORS Falls By Another Name (2011)

In their short career, MIRRORS left not only a great album in ‘Lights & Offerings’ but a body of wonderful B-sides too. Any number of them are worthy of mention but the nod goes to ‘Fall By Another Name’ as it was accessible enough to have been an A-side. Not as dense as MIRRORS’ usual pop noir hence its likely relegation to flipside, the bright pulsing melodies and James New’s Dave Gahan impression made this sound rather like a quality outtake from DEPECHE MODE’s ‘Speak & Spell’.

Available on the MIRRORS single ‘Into the Heart’ via Skint Records

https://www.facebook.com/theworldofmirrors


APOPTYGMA BERZERK Dead Air Einz (2013)

While the A-side was a faithful cover version of Peter Schilling’s anthemic ‘Major Tom’, ‘Dead Air Einz’ was a self-composed song by APOPTYGMA BERZERK mainman Stephan Groth that was eagerly welcomed at the time, thanks to it being his first original new track for four years. Utilising distorted radio broadcasts in its backdrop, it also featured some Korg MS20 from Jon Erik Martinsen and was something of a grower with its steadfast drum machine shuffle.

Available on the APOPTYGMA BERZERK single ‘Major Tom’ via Pitch Black Drive Productions

http://www.theapboffice.com/


CHVRCHES Now Is Not The Time (2013)

Making their initial impression with the mighty ‘Lies’ in 2012, Glasgow trio CHVRCHES actually became the mainstream saviours of synthpop that LITTLE BOOTS and LA ROUX had promised but ultimately failed to deliver on. ‘Now Is Not The Time’ was a fantastic midtempo tune with a great chorus that like ‘The Mother We Share’ sounded like Taylor Swift gone electro. However, it got relegated to B-side status despite being superior to several songs on their debut long player ‘The Bones Of What You Believe’.

Available on the CHVRCHES single ‘Recover’ via Virgin Records

https://chvrch.es/


DEPECHE MODE All That’s Mine (2013)

In a pattern similar to the ‘Sounds Of The Universe’ boxed set only track ‘Oh Well’, the best song from ‘Delta Machine’ sessions was left out of the main act. ‘All That’s Mine’ featured a tightly sequenced backbone, electronically derived rhythms and a gloomy Eurocentric austere, all the perfect ingredients for a classic DM tune! While it was no doubt rejected for not fitting into the faux blues aspirations of modern DEPECHE MODE, it made up for the dreary notions of the A-side ‘Heaven’ which were more like hell…

Originally the B-side of the single ‘Heaven’, now available on the DEPECHE MODE deluxe album ‘Delta Machine’ via Columbia Records

http://www.depechemode.com/


OMD Time Burns (2013)

OMD’s twelfth album ‘English Electric’ was notable for combining conceptual art pieces alongside supreme electronic pop in a manner reminiscent of their fourth long player ‘Dazzle Ships’ and KRAFTWERK’s ‘Radio-Activity’. Although four of these concepts made it onto the final running order of the album, one that didn’t was ‘Time Burns’, a intriguing sound collage comprising of clock movements, chimes and digital watch alarms over rumbles of sub-bass and profound computer generated speech.

Originally the B-side of the single ‘The Future Will Be Silent’, now available on the OMD EP ‘Night Café’ via BMG

http://www.omd.uk.com/


QUEEN OF HEARTS United (2013)

A stomping electro disco number produced by Mark Reeder and Micha Adam, Elizabeth Morphew’s cooing Bush-like howls and breathy euphoria are a total delight to the ears while the mighty cavernous sound provided the heat! However, ‘United’ has ended up as the B-side. Reeder said ”I saw a piece posted on ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK about QUEEN OF HEARTS and I was curious. I really liked Elizabeth’s voice from the moment I heard the first couple of tracks.”

Originally the B-side of ‘Secret’, now available on the QUEEN OF HEARTS deluxe album ‘Cocoon’ via Night Moves

http://iamqueenofhearts.com/


VILE ELECTRODES Little Death Capsule (2013)

With an alluringly haunting vocal from Anais Neon, the eerily stark ‘Little Death Capsule’ saw VILE ELECTRODES tell the story of early space travel when these primitive craft were sent out of the earth’s atmosphere effectively sitting on inter-continental ballistic missiles, with burning up also a possibility on return. With pulsing instrumentation from Martin Swan, it featured the sort of sterling analogue treatments that would make KRAFTWERK and YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA proud.

Available on the VILE ELECTRODES EP ‘The Last Time’ via Vile Electrodes

http://www.vileelectrodes.com/


JOHAN BAECKSTRÖM Synth Is Not Dead (2015)

A touching tribute to Messrs Clarke, Gore, Hütter and Schneider with hints of YAZOO’s ‘In My Room’, Johan Baeckström said of ‘Synth Is Not Dead’: “I guess I just wanted to reflect on the fact that there still IS a synthpop scene with some really great bands, both old and new. In another way, the song is sort of my ‘thank you’ to some of the artists that inspired me for several decades – some of them are mentioned in the lyrics, but far from all of course”.

Available on the JOHAN BAECKSTRÖM single ‘Come With Me via Progress Productions

https://www.facebook.com/bstrommusic/


METROLAND (We Need) Machines Without Romance (2015)

METROLAND’s second album ‘Triadic Ballet’ was a triumphant electronic celebration of the Bauhaus, art movement led by Walter Gropius. Gropius theorized about uniting art and technology and on the B-side of its launch single ‘Zeppelin’, METROLAND worked towards the 21st Century interpretation of that goal. Now imagine if Gary Numan had actually joined KRAFTWERK in 1979? Then the brilliantly uptempo ‘(We Need) Machines Without Romance’ would have surely been the result.

Originally the B-side of ‘Zeppelin’, now available on the METROLAND boxed set ’12×12′ via Alfa Matrix

http://www.metrolandmusic.com/


MESH Paper Thin (2016)

Of the superbly rousing ‘Paper Thin’, Richard Silverthorn of MESH recalled: “Mark Hockings presented me with a demo at the time we were writing material for ‘Looking Skyward’. On first listen, I wasn’t too sure about the track as I thought it didn’t really fit with the overall feeling of the album so it kind of got shelved. The record company asked ‘what about the B-side?’ so Mark suggested ‘Paper Thin’ again. The bassline, drums and many other lines were changed and the new version came to life.”

Available on the MESH single ‘Kill Your Darlings’ via Dependent Records

http://www.mesh.co.uk/


KNIGHT$ So Cold (2017)

After SCARLET SOHO, James Knights busied himself with a new Britalo inspired solo project. With hints of NEW ORDER’s ‘Subculture’ and found on KNIGHT$ debut EP ‘What’s Your Poison?’, he said “’So Cold’ is the second or third song I wrote as KNIGHT$. It’s a little darker than my other material, and the only song I’ve recorded using a marxophone (a fretless zither which I borrowed from my friend Alun Davies). It didn’t make it onto my debut album, but it’s still a song the audience enjoy, as do I.”

Available on the KNIGHT$ EP ‘What’s Your Poison?’ via Speccio Uomo ‎

https://knights101.com/


PSYCHE Truth or Consequence (2017)

PSYCHE co-founder Darrin Huss said of ‘Truth Or Consequence’: “It started out under the title ‘Life On Trial’ and was about the Bradley Manning (now Chelsea) situation. It’s about the NSA surveillance, whistleblowers, etc. It’s also about the confusion between what is Truth, and what are the consequences of telling it, living it? Do we have safety in numbers? etc. It’s all in the lyrics. It’s a very PSYCHE song with even a nod to ‘The Brain Collapses’ with our use of that song’s drum machine the Oberheim DMX.”

Available on the PSYCHE single ‘Youth Of Tomorrow’ via Artoffact Records

http://www.psyche-hq.de/


SOFT CELL Guilty (2018)

That Marc Almond and Dave Ball reunited for a farewell gig and new material was a pleasant surprise. The frustration and anger expressed in ‘Guilty (Cos I Say You Are)’ with the lines “I can denounce you just because I can, I didn’t have the life I wanted, I didn’t do the things I dreamed” saw SOFT CELL continue where they left of in 2003. With dark resonances like ‘The Omen’ gone disco, its eerie gothique countered the celebratory electro-soul of A-side ‘Northern Lights’

Originally the B-side of ‘Northern Lights’, now available on the SOFT CELL album ‘Keychains & Snowstorms – The Singles’ via Universal Records

https://www.softcell.co.uk/


INTERNATIONAL TEACHERS OF POP Another Brick In The Wall – Remoaner mix (2019)

Inheriting the mantle of THE HUMAN LEAGUE in the modern synthpop stakes, INTERNATIONAL TEACHERS OF POP impressed with their self-titled debut album. With the single release of ‘The Ballad Of Remedy Wilson’ was a timely Remoaner mix of PINK FLOYD’s ‘Another Brick In The Wall’ sung in German that made a bold musical and political statement. Headteacher Adrian Flanagan said: “I hope that statement is ‘I hate PINK FLOYD but love KRAFTWERK’ and / or – ‘I hate you but love the EU’”.

Available on the INTERNATIONAL TEACHERS OF POP single ‘The Ballad Of Remedy Nilsson’ via Desolate Spools

https://www.facebook.com/internationalteachersofpop


Text by Chi Ming Lai with thanks to all the artists who contributed
19th July 2020

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