Tag: Jennifer Touch (Page 1 of 2)


Photo by Jori Hulkkonen

Just as it looked like it would be safe to come out to play, there was uncertainty within the music industry again.

What had become the artists’ favourite platform thanks to its low commission and 0% Fridays, Bandcamp was taken over by Epic Games in 2022 but then following a move by employees to unionise, was sold to Songtradr who immediately dismissed half of its staff… in hindsight, despite its proclamation that this platform cared about the music, it looked like this had been yet another start-up by tech venture capitalists. Just as many acts dropped their own websites in favour of Facebook over a decade ago but were then trapped into sponsored posts to reach the majority of their own fanbase, online shops had been dropped for Bandcamp. So, things are back to square one as many consider a rebuild of their web presence.

Meanwhile, Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino made a controversial declaration that concert ticket prices were generally too low and that artists could easily “charge a bit more”. While THE CURE notably refused to do this and capped their face value tickets at $20 for their US tour, the Live Nation sister outlet Ticketmaster applied excessive booking extras of more than $20 per ticket for a “service fee”, “facility charge” and “order processing”! With dynamic pricing in place at a number of high profile events and so-called VIP tickets on the rise (which didn’t actually include a meet ‘n’ greet but only a nearby bar and a lanyard), fans had their “FOMO” anxieties triggered and simply paid up!

Photo by Chi Ming Lai

Another artist who kept ticket prices low was Midge Ure who embarked on the successful ‘Voices & Visions’ tour after a year’s delay due to uncertainties over the Covid situation in 2022. Complimented by a straightforward but very effective light show and material from his second and third long players with ULTRAVOX ‘Rage In Eden’ and ‘Quartet’, it was a triumph. He was rewarded with a 70th birthday show celebrating his career at The Royal Albert Hall, which despite its plush surroundings was also kept affordable.

Who says an artist has no control over retail pricing? But one band who were shamelessly happy to charge more for concert tickets, more for merchandise and more for physical releases were DEPECHE MODE. For their first album and tour since the passing of co-founder Andy Fletcher in 2022, the remaining members played the death card with ‘Momento Bori’ and managed to plonk an even more underwhelming arena show into the stadiums of the world… at least the ‘Global Spirit’ tour featured risers!

With renowned UK venues such as Printworks and Moles closing down, as had already been highlighted by Juls Garat of US goth band PILGRIMS OF YEARNING via social media in 2022: “If you’re spending a kidney on DEPECHE MODE tickets and not attending a local show this weekend, I don’t wanna see you complaining that there’s no scene, local venues or new music anymore”. However, one seemingly oblivious Devotee said about the inflated ticket prices: “Really don’t know what the issue is. Happily paid £108.00 for a DM ticket. Would have paid more!!”. And therein lays the problem… DEPECHE MODE played a date at Stadion Wankdorf in Bern and that said it all! As the man who Devotees call a genius once wrote: “Some great reward will be coming my way…”

Photo by Chi Ming Lai

As The Devotees wallowed in their collective misery during 2023, the Stockholm Syndrome was stronger than ever. On the Bratislava leg at the National Football Stadium, one of The Black Swarm commented to ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK: “I was there… I must admit, a bit disappointed… but I still love them!!!”. It was business as usual for DEPECHE MODE, with “business” being the operative word. It was reported that so much money had been sucked out of the European alternative music market in particular that a number of acts had to schedule their planned tours to 2024, while others who had made good albums worthy of attention in 2023 got lost in the sea of DM propaganda on the web.

Despite increased ticket prices at all levels, gig etiquette declined to the worst possible standards with the constant chatter and bad manners among some attendees. Surely if you have paid upwards of £30 or more for a show, you might want to pay more attention and enjoy it? ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK has never seen it this bad in the 43 years it has been going to concerts, but this entitled arrogance to talk extremely loudly about total bollocks is a undoubted legacy of Brexit and Covid which in combination has normalised a lack of social graces in gathered environments… and when challenged, these total numbskulls become aggressive, pitifully unaware that they are ruining the evening of those around them.

Meanwhile, there was another undesirable element who only go to gigs to post selfies and badly distorted footage on their socials… these were often the sort of people who actually hated the band back in the day, but after 40+ years realised they like the song on the Vitality or Waitrose advert so are sudddenly giving it the big “I AM” about being a fan… but BECAUSE they are only there for one song, they then treat the rest of the gig like they were out with their mates in the pub! 🤬

Photo by Chi Ming Lai

The best live shows of the year came from PET SHOP BOYS and DURAN DURAN with their arena extravaganzas full of hits, classic fan favourites and great staging. Among the album celebrations, CHINA CRISIS ran through their second long player ‘Working With Fire & Steel – Possible Pop Songs Volume 2’ on tour to celebrate its 40th anniversary and founder bassist Peter Hook took the first NEW ORDER compilation ‘Substance’ out on the road to coincide with its expanded 4CD reissue.

“Sweden’s best kept pop secret” KITE impressed with an imitate headliner for their debut London gig and later at Cologne’s Amphi Festival to a much larger crowd, while the return of Ollie Wride to the London stage at The Scala illustrated why he has potential to be the next synthwave artist to crossover into the mainstream.

Photo by Ed Miles

‘Time’s Arrow’, LADYTRON’s second album since their return from hiatus proved to be something of a disappointment while fairing slightly better with its anti-Brexit sentiments, ‘Bauhaus Staircase’ was touted as the final album from OMD; now kissing the strict machine, having previously been supportive of new electronic pop via ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK championed acts MIRRORS, VILLA NAH, VILE ELECTRODES, METROLAND, TINY MAGNETIC PETS and SOFTWAVE, their choice of art glam hipsters WALT DISCO as opening act on the UK leg of the 2024 tour was symbolic of the general poor state of modern synthpop ie pop music using synths, particularly within the narrow-mindset of Brexit Britain.

Although the UK was continuing to party like it was 1933, the incendiary language that Cruella Braverman was using was so extreme that she was even dismissed from fronting the Conservative Party new wave covers band A FLOCK OF SIEG HEILS… as a trio of poets from South Yorkshire once said: “BROTHERS! SISTERS! WE DON’T NEED THIS FASCIST GROOVE THANG!”

Reflecting a wider issue, 2023 also saw ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK publish its fewest number of ‘Introducing…’ new artist articles since its inception in 2010 with only Brigitte Bardini and Madeleine Goldstein featured. There were a number of possible reasons…

Photo by Bella Salvatore

“The technology leads the art form and it always has” said veteran producer Steve Lillywhite on a recent Rockonteurs podcast, “if the technology allows you to reference other people’s records… you WILL do that!”. This was summed up by an Apple Mac advert featuring sample-based British pop singer PinkPantheress demonstrating how to have a hit by appropriating a topline from Kelly Rowland and plonking it into GarageBand before processing her voice through AutoTune and nabbing the intro of ‘Gold’ by SPANDAU BALLET… you said it yourself Miss Walker, IT SOUNDS LIKE GARBAGE!

While the accessibility, usability and sound quality of modern tech has totally democratised music making, as another veteran producer Stephen Hague put it to ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK “it’s made it far too easy”, with the end result being familiarity and imitation rather than innovation. Now that an acceptable sound is able to be obtained fairly quickly on software such as GarageBand, the level of songwriting has generally declined in many genres. Artists abstain from putting in the hard work towards the actual songcraft because they think their track is already great, as it sounds like someone they’ve based it on!

However, the misuse of “synth” as a description reached a new nadir in 2023. There were those using “synth” or “synthwave” in their brand identity who proudly revealed via their Spotify Wrapped that their Top Genre was actually rock or made bizarre comments like “What I like most about synthwave is the guitar solos”. Meanwhile one artist declared they were synthpop because they had spent their youth “listening to too much Madonna”! But synth music as an enduring form is ultimately doomed when social media platforms using “Synthpop” in their idents think that guitar-based bands like BIG COUNTRY and COCTEAU TWINS are part of it, or compile acoustic playlists!! 🤦‍♂️

“Synth” has now somehow become is a general term for any retro-flavoured pop with an element of shiny artifice whether synthesizers have been used or not! These artists and “content creators” are now too young to understand what “synth” in music actually once meant and probably think the term is short for “synthetic” as in clothes and hair products, as opposed to “synthesizer”.

That said, 2023 was not all bad and there was a lot of excellent music. The song of the year was by the unlikely synth hero in glum rocker Lloyd Cole; while guitars made a more prominent but limited return on his album ‘On Pain’ following 2019’s electronically-dominated ‘Guesswork’, the standout song ‘The Idiot’ saw him provide a touching narrative on the relationship between David Bowie and Iggy Pop as they relocated to Berlin in 1976.

Swedish veterans PAGE took the Numanisation of their poptronica to its zenith by bringing in former imperial phase Numan band members Chris Payne and RRussell Bell on their new album ‘En Ny Våg’. Across the Öresund Bridge, Danish synthpop couple SOFTWAVE showed the world the ‘things we’ve done’.

Photo by George Tripodakis

Another music veteran Ricky Wilde teamed up with NINA to reveal their ‘Scala Hearts’; full of classic pop references and a modern sheen, this was the record Wilde had wanted to make for a few years but hadn’t been able to with his sister Kim. Its creative drive showed and this was also the best long player that NINA had been part of since she launched her solo career in 2011. In a busy year, NINA also found time to satisfy many a red blooded fantasy by collaborating with Kid Moxie on the ‘Lust’ EP released by Italians Do It Better.

The Finns were strong too, with Jaakko Eino Kalavi and Jori Hulkkonen producing two of the best albums of 2023. The former’s eclectic ‘Chaos Magic’ featured Alma Jodorowsky, Mr Silla and Jimi Tenor as special guests while the latter’s ‘There Is Light Hidden In These Shadows’ brought in John Grant, Ralf Dörper, Jake Shears, Jon Marsh, Juho Paalosmaa and Tiga.

While maintaining his front man role in MESH, Mark Hockings presented his solo project BLACKCARBURNING in long playing form and was ‘Watching Sleepers’. Also going it alone, Alison Goldfrapp squarely hit the dancefloor via ’The Love Invention’ with Kylie Minogue’s similarly glitzy ‘Tension’ as its companion. But with ACTORS still busy touring the world, the planned long playing debut from LEATHERS was yet to emerge but there were two new singles in the interim.

METROLAND and side project 808 DOT POP ambitiously released albums in five different formats with exclusive tracks on each between them simultaneously, in a move that had not been seen since 1978 when all four members of KISS released solo records on the same day. Much more discretely, ITALOCONNECTION came up with ‘Nordisko’ which comprised of Nordic pop disco covers. More ambient experiments were served by John Foxx, Vince Clarke, Patricia Wolf, Johan Agebjörn and the late Ryuichi Sakamoto, while putting those ethereal textures into song was Hinako Omori with her appropriately named second album ‘stillness, softness…’

Germany’s BEBORN BETON offered bleak commentary on the state of the planet with ‘Darkness Falls Again’ but encouraged everyone to be dancers in the dark while Chinese band STOLEN highlighted this ‘Eroded Creation’. Within their ‘Circle Of Doom’, NNHMN had pressing matters closer to home while ZANIAS emerged from her ‘Chrysalis’. FERAL FIVE confronted and worked with AI to declare ‘Truth Is The New Gold’ and Finlay Shakespeare tapped into his ‘Illusion + Memory’.

Photo by Tim Darin

Among the promising emergent acts with debut EPs were NEU-ROMANCER and DIE SEXUAL while German solo artists Jennifer Touch and Laura Dre added to their long playing portfolios, as did OHNOTHING and BUNNY X. Fronted by respectively by John Grant and Neil Arthur, CREEP SHOW and THE REMAINDER outlined the benefits of collaboration while CAUSEWAY joined forces with R. MISSING for the single ‘Wear The Night Out’.

Despite having plied their trade for over 50 years, SPARKS continued to be as eccentric as ever and even had Cate Blanchett appear in the video for ‘The Girl Is Crying In Her Latte’. With ‘*Happiness now completed’ and Dave Ball returning to the live fold after a period of serious illness, SOFT CELL effectively issued another new album featuring a significant number of previously unreleased tracks including covers of Giorgio Moroder and X-RAY SPEX to provide a much more satisfying listening experience than the parent ‘*Happiness not included’ record. Then there was the unexpected recorded return of CLASSIX NOUVEAUX with their ‘Battle Cry’.

Veteran acts who ceased active operations many years ago got worthy boxed set treatments; TELEX provided ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK with the funniest interview of the year in support of their self-titled retrospective on Mute while LANDSCAPE were comprehensively catalogued by Cooking Vinyl. Not to be left out, the trusty Cherry Red via their Lemon imprint showcased how underrated NEW MUSIK and their leader Tony Mansfield were, especially with the latter’s sound clearly audible in today’s pop acts such as THE WEEKND.

Despite the return of Q, the jury was still out on whether music magazines are still desirable aside from their CD and vinyl artefacts. Meanwhile, music-based social media dumbed down its engagement to cut ‘n’ paste Wikipedia snippets accompanying archive photos or artwork, pointless 26th anniversary posts and non-significant birthday celebrations to attract likes. Comments from the public such as “My favourite album… I wish I still had it!” and saying “Happy Birthday” when the platform wasn’t even connected to the artist concerned only highlighted further the continuing inane nature of online interaction. And this was without those irritating “POV” reels and reaction videos on TikTok and Instagram which were unfortunately prevalent!

The less said about the right wing gammon infested sh*t show that Twitter has become, the better but on the new Threads platform intended to take it on, PENDULUM’s El Hornet remarked “omg threads is full of music industry self help w*nkers making lists about things nobody asked abort! ABORT!” 🤣

With such platforms also seemingly centred around the exposure of flesh with photos “just for fun” be the subject a golfer, gamer, painter, baker, comedian, hairdresser, photographer, psychologist, racing driver, book reviewer, poet, dating coach or Lego enthusiast, is it any wonder that several music artists resorted to setting up OnlyFans accounts to sell nude photos!

With pun totally intended, in this challenging climate for exposure, some acts simply got a bit too big for their boots and were unbearably conceited on their socials with their bragging and frivolous chatter to appease a needy flock who hung onto their every word, desperate to be seen to be “friends” of wannabe stars while crowdfunding towards their spa weekenders and vet bills for their cat… it was therefore ironic that one of these acts declared “Music isn’t a competition!” when it appeared that another band might be taking away some of their limelight! Well, stop acting like it’s a 24 hour edition of ‘The Apprentice’ then!!! 🙄

On the other side of the coin, one too cool for school band took a strange attitude to promotion by refusing to accept questions about their influences while trying to come over like total originals. Despite their inspirations being blatant and obvious to hear, they had a misguided self-belief that they were somehow speaking a new language! But everybody knows they started out by purchasing the sheet music to ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ from a New York thrift store! 😆

A few years ago, a lone British artist was complained about the lack of press attention for their new admittedly good album, but then proceeded not to answer emails containing interview pitches. Artists need to engage, no matter how much they say they hate doing promotion, they can’t have it both ways. The days of RADIOHEAD not doing interviews to promote a new album and letting the music speak for itself are long gone…

With the world now making up for lost time since 2020, it would be fair to say that 2023 has been something of a strange year!

Text by Chi Ming Lai
18 December 2023

CURSES Presents: Next Wave Acid Punx DEUX

Berlin-based musician and DJ Luca Venezia, better known as CURSES, presents ‘Next Wave Acid Punx DEUX’, his second curated compilation exploring the darker side of club music though the decades. The first volume had been a lockdown inspired exploration of his own record collection.

Released by Eskimo Recordings and featuring 49 tracks, the music is split into three distinct chapters with more than half being previously unreleased; “Many of these songs come from friends close of mine, or artists I perform with and tour with a lot, whose music and craft I admire and champion.” Luca Venezia told ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK about the set, “We are all making a very niche style of music, and everyone is approaching it in their own unique way, it is only natural we migrate to be friends and share the stage together… like a primal instinct.”

Conceived with his ideal night out in mind, compiling such an compilation was not without its headaches; “Fortunately with the help of Eskimo and N.E.W.S., the licensing team are an absolute powerhouse” recalled Venezia, “It wasn’t easy, especially the older material, like Malcolm McLaren’s ‘Madame Butterfly’… and yes, there was SO much music I wanted but couldn’t get the rights to. Not because the artists said no, but because it was impossible to find WHO owned the rights now. Members in bands split up, some pass away, some vanish… it’s a puzzle at times to license the 80s underground electronic gems”.

Chapter 1 contains the pioneering acts of the past that were occasionally signed to major labels and even flirted with the mainstream pop charts. The set opens with ‘Distant Dreams Pt 2’, a wonderful suitably obscure 1980 B-side from THROBBING GRISTLE, while another lesser known gem comes from BIG AUDIO DYNAMITE with ‘The Big V’, the instrumental variant of the 1986 single ‘V. Thirteen’.

The first name likely to be recalled when dark club music comes to mind, especially to Taylor Swift fans, are CABARET VOLTAIRE and they fit like a glove on this compendium with ‘Blue Heat’ from ‘Micro-Phonies’, as do Dutch band CLAN OF XYMOX with ‘Obsession’, an excellent example of classic electro-goth disco.

Of course, NITZER EBB are present and correct with ‘Hearts & Minds’ while DAF stand firm with their declaration as ‘Brothers’ in their appealing but less heralded English language disco phase.

Collecting superb tracks from various acclaimed cult acts, ‘The Murder Of Love’ by PROPAGANDA and the I Dream Of Jeanne Mix of ‘Modigliani (Lost In Your Eyes)’ by BOOK OF LOVE demonstrate how the developing digital technology enabled powerful sampled sounds effectively at the flick of a switch. However, best of all are former SOFT CELL backing singers VICIOUS PINK who really should have had a huge worldwide hit with the brilliant Tony Mansfield produced ‘Cccan’t You See’

Chapter 2 moves the night on starting with ‘Voloczny’, an unreleased song from back in day by BOYTRONIC towards the present with modern day electronic producers such as Jennifer Touch and Kris Baha. In a new 2023 version, THE KVB come over like THE JESUS & MARY CHAIN with synths on ‘Still Warm’ while YEARS OF DENIAL capture plenty of stark menace on ‘It Sucks.

Canadian wife-and-husband duo ESSAIE PAS provide enigmatic prose en Français over a cascade of pulsing synths on ‘Retox’ while Berlin-based trio DINA SUMMER update the gothic disco template on ‘Darkness’. Affirming the international cast of ‘Next Wave Acid Punx DEUX’, Spain’s DAME AREA go on a heavier industrial club excursion via ‘Buon Cittadino’ but on the opposite side of the coin and Atlantic, DESIRE offer enigmatic coyness on ‘Love Races On’ outside of their Italians Do It Better stable.

Chapter 3 is the part of the night you probably should go home but don’t… a wilder, harder and more aggressive energy is here if you so desire. There is naturally a Dark Remix of ‘Machina’ from BOY HARSHER with guest vocals by Mariana Saldaña. But utilising tense triplets and brassy melodramatic stabs, CURSES revamps J.W.B. HITS THE BEAT’s ‘Body On Body’. CURSES returns to remix NUOVO TESTAMENTO’s ‘Heartbeat’ and there is an enjoyable instrumental in ‘Non Fiction’ by SILENT SERVANT.

Two of the best tracks come via Australia; ‘Burning Eyes’ is a Hi-NRG romp with wispy voice ad-libs courtesy of NEU-ROMANCER and ZANIAS’ ‘Tryptamine Palace’ is a tremendous textural dance track. ANDI VS RANDOLPH & MORTIMER make their presence felt with big beats on ‘Formidable Truths’ while Michel Amato aka THE HACKER does not disappoint with the previously unreleased ‘Monopoly’. To end, Greek synth duo PARADOX OBSCUR make a beefy contribution in ‘Evo-Devo’ that recalls French art pop duo LES RITA MISOUKO.

On the spiritual and musical thread that helped make this cohesive collection, Luca Venezia surmised: “Every artist involved has their own personal and unique take on the timeless love affair between human and machine. All the music on ‘DEUX’ also embraces the punk and DIY raw energy of live music into electronic music; artists LIKE YEARS OF DENIAL, BOY HARSHER, NUOVO TESTAMENTO, NITZER EBB, BOYTRONIC and DINA SUMMER are all good examples of how the music is very personal, verse chorus verse song-based concert music, yet can also be DJ’d in a club at 4am in a dusty thriving warehouse rave.”

Music from the past and present can sit comfortably together in the same place and ‘Next Wave Acid Punx DEUX’ proves it.

With thanks to Luca Venezia and Mirren Thomson at Eclectica

‘Next Wave Acid Punx DEUX’ is released by Eskimo Recordings, available now as three separate chaptered double vinyl albums, a three chapter vinyl combo pack, a triple CD box set and high quality download direct from https://cursesforever.bandcamp.com/album/next-wave-acid-punx-deux-2








Text by Chi Ming Lai
7 November 2023

JENNIFER TOUCH Midnight Proposals

Jennifer Touch released her first album ‘Behind The Wall’ in 2020 as an autobiographical document of growing up in the DDR.

Having first released music in 2014, this Berlin-based daughter of flower-power children now issues her second full-length record ‘Midnight Proposals’, inspired by the John Steinbeck book ‘Grapes of Wrath’. The story of the migrant farmworkers during The Great Depression reminded Touch of her great grandparents’ own life and her own yearning for somewhere safe to settle. ‘Midnight Proposals’ is the mysterious yet hopeful manifesto that Jennifer Touch wants to present to the world.

Opening song ‘Summerchild’ has a stark intent, enigmatic while unsettling as a song born of frustration containing a narrative of powerlessness while seeking self-freedom. Inspired by Touch’s own childhood as were most of the tracks on Behind The Wall’, this acts as a bridge to ‘Midnight Proposals’ as it discards the shackles of adolescence.

The lo-fi avant-pop of ‘Rumor’ is accessible yet tinged with anguish and vulnerability. Buoyed by a new love, it is hazy happiness packed into a pop song although with the obligatory portion of darkness. ‘A Day’ utilises an expected jazz drum loop but with a randomised bleep n squelch collage, it is more abstract with a detached monologue about “unsaved legs, untouched lips” and “naked tits” while Duane Eddy inflections spring a surprise in the final section.

The sombre drone-laden ‘Prayer’ expresses different personalities within the same psyche, using a deep pitch shifts as another instrument, but the excellent ‘Sacred Type’ is like a synthpop Siouxsie while displaying a musical affinity with Berlin-based artist Zoe Zanias.

In a barrage of uneasy percussive noise, the deadpan ‘Gudrun’ pays tribute to Touch’s grandmother who was forced to abandon many of her own dreams while as the title suggests, ‘Twisted’ has this dissonance about it as elements fight against each other in disharmony and dislocation.

Recalling another Berlin-based act NNHMN, ‘Soft & Dark’ is another track that reflects its title with some icy pulsating Gothic disco manifestations. However the DIY austere of ‘Shot Shot’ is more obscure while ‘Already There’ offers an ambient guitar exercise with spoken word. With even more guitar, ‘Art’ echoes JOY DIVISION’s ‘Incubation’ but with vocals while with an ominous electronic squelch, ‘Sold Out’ is haunting, again recalling Zoe Zanias.

A counterpoint to the joy of the song ‘Rumors’, the closing number ‘Strings’ takes on the more melodic instincts of THE CURE and NIRVANA despite doomy bass inflections and although the Numan-esque synths are dreamlike, are they actually part of a nightmare?

Self-described as a “Post-Wave-Cold-Pop-Acid-Romance”, ‘Midnight Proposals’ packs a lot in although it perhaps tails off during the final third after a feisty engaging run off the starting blocks. However, it is a worthy accessible successor to ‘Behind The Wall’ and further establishes Jennifer Touch as an independently-minded artistic talent.

‘Midnight Proposals’ is released by FATCAT RECORDINGS in CD, red vinyl LP and digital formats, available from https://jennifertouch.bandcamp.com/

Jennifer Touch plays The Waiting Room in London’s Stoke Newington on Wednesday 8th March 2023




Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photo by Vinnie Liazza
16th February 2023


Born in Dresden, Jennifer Touch presented her first recordings in 2014 although only released her first album ‘Behind The Wall’ in 2020.

But the now Berlin-based daughter of DDR flower-power children presents her second album ‘Midnight Proposals’ in February 2023. Unlike her autobiographical debut, Touch was inspired by John Steinbeck’s book ‘Grapes of Wrath’ when she started to work on a follow-up.

The album’s first taster was ‘Summerchild’, a song born of frustration containing a narrative of powerlessness while seeking self-freedom. Although this track was inspired by Touch’s own childhood as were most of the tracks on Behind The Wall’, it acts as a bridge to ‘Midnight Proposals’ as it discards the shackles of adolescence. Meanwhile the second minimal industrial taster ‘Gudrun’ pays tribute to Touch’s grandmother, a child of the Second World War who was forced to abandon many of her own dreams.

With the newly issued Zanias like single ‘Sacred Type’ and the imminent release of ‘Midnight Proposals’, Jennifer Touch spoke to ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK about her career to date and the making of her “Post-Wave-Cold-Pop-Acid-Romance” opus…

Your 2020 debut album looked at your life ‘Behind The Wall’, how do you look back on the making of that record now?

It was a very important step for me as an artist to focus on selecting existing songs, and combining them with new ones. It was an intense and difficult project important to surrender to. I was searching for my very own artistic language that has started with the ‘Chemistry ‘EP, and I remember it being a time when I was stepping out of my normal social life to stay focussed and not influenced – for way too long. I was working so hard because I thought I had to give it all in order to reach the next level and to be a true artist. My album had to be done this way though. It was my idea of being an artist back then and it was authentic to me. Shortly after that, the pandemic happened, and as I had already spent months in isolation out of choice, I was just ready to get out again. Boom! You never know what’s happening tomorrow.

You were introduced to synthpop and new wave by your father, what artists inspired you?

There are always so many, across all the arts. Writing, painting, film and music, Elvis, Allen Ginsberg, Iggy Pop, Georgia O´Keeffe, Depeche Mode, PJ Harvey, Patti Smith, DAF, Cure, Madonna, Sonic Youth, Silvia Plath, Truman Capote, David Lynch, Anne Clark, Elastica, Cause for Alarm, Nirvana, Bikini Kill, old American Psychedelic Country and Folk Music, Gottfried Benn. And Lacrimosa. I was listening to them non-stop when I was 16, it was weird but so dark and romantic, perfect for my teenage heart. But I mixed it with punk rock and Siouxsie’s ‘Hong Kong Garden’. Mostly I´m inspired by a certain authenticity and a stoic but eclectic vibe that is definitely rare. People who just walk their path no matter what. That can also be normal people around me, people who I feel are artists, you know? The way they talk, look, create their own world. Today it’s so hard to stick to your authenticity with all this social media crap.

‘Chemistry’ could be considered your breakthrough song, what was that about?

This song is – surprise – about being in, and leaving an unhealthy relationship. I was sitting in my studio on a rainy Sunday when I wrote and recorded this song. It just happened, and there was a flow to it as if the sadness and anger were showing me the way. But I tried to keep the song as unemotional as possible, as to not just put my sh*t on to others. To keep a space for the listeners to sink into the song with their own thoughts and reflections. It’s interesting how people seem to love this song. I think it’s a nice one but not my best. But it’s a very honest piece of work, and people can always feel that.

You channelled good old Jim Osterberg in ‘Iggy’s Sight’?

I was messing with this bassline of ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’, that he must have taken from another song originally too. I just wanted to play around with it, and imagined Iggy as a woman, then the lyrics came to me. He is one of my guides in the art world, and def a future vision of how to become older and remain cool and musically interesting. He inspires me and I have a huge portrait of him in my studio. He watches over my work like: Are you sure?

They say the first album documents a lifetime up to that point, while the second album captures a much shorter period. So what is the concept behind ‘Midnight Proposals’?

The pandemic changed the whole production process, especially doing a vinyl, now labels now had to wait almost 8 months to receive their test pressings. I had to be quick and efficient if I wanted to release something the next year. For months I was not feeling creative at all, still exhausted from the Pandemic struggles. That was until I realised if I changed my work process I could create something really good.

The concept was to approach a good art piece in a more efficient way of creating, and to surrender myself to a fixed amount of time. To deliver a blueprint, an essence that shows my artistic language at exactly that moment, honest and clear. The pandemic changed me. Time has a new meaning to me. It’s a huge treasure and comes in boxes – a box of isolation, a box of freedom, a box of creation, a box of touring, a box of reflection.

I had a period of 4 months to create something, after the endless and numb isolation times of the pandemic, followed by an intense and busy summer. I hadn’t a single song finished (just one set of lyrics) before I started, so it really was a blank page. I was full of impressions and had a vision, so I had to trust myself that the good stuff will come together. I was determined to use my creation time differently, and to be more disciplined and clear with my output. Artists don’t need to spend a year in a bubble to make a good record. A good artist can drift in their own universe, but work efficiently and enjoy a social life simultaneously. That is the fuel and support. It took me 1 month to research the perfect equipment to stick to over the whole time of creating the album.

I already had a topic and feeling in mind, and I couldn’t sleep some nights because I was thinking of the perfect synths and drum machines that were also affordable. Because everything was limited, including time and equipment, so I had to be very picky and disciplined. The whole process was incredibly healing, and I love to work like that. Quick without being sketchy. That is my most important rule: To give in the very best you have – and to embrace it as it is, to let it breathe.

2019’s ‘Seven’ EP released after the first version of ‘Chemistry’ was a more techno-based offering, so how did you decide you wanted to continue with songwriting?

Over the years, songwriting became my favourite challenge as a musician, I’m much more interested in creating a good song than a cool techno track. An album for me is song work, because I consider myself to follow that musical tradition, also called Pop. I try to recreate and evaluate. I’m not very good at making longer dance tracks yet, but I’m more and more keen on nailing down the essence of a composition. Songwriting is a big effort, but it can be so rewarding. Like doing maths with your feelings. Creating a more open and longer dance track requires another way of dramaturgy that I’m just not so drawn to. Who knows what happens next though.

Many recent albums have just had 8 tracks on but ‘Midnight Proposals’ has 13, did you have a lot on your mind that needed expressing?

Yes I did and there is much more. Ultimately if the songs were crap there would be less, but all 13 songs (12 on the vinyl) are part of the story I want to tell. And two of them are more like interludes. The label picked them all. And the listeners should be able to spend some time with it, because they pay money for this artwork.

How has your writing and production process changed between the two albums, do you have any favourite synths and tools?

Besides the shorter amount of production time, I also changed my tools and equipped my studio with new stuff. Again, I worked mostly with machines and not so many plug ins: Drawmer 1970 Compressor, a Vermona Reverb, Doepffer Dark Time and Dark Energy, lots of analogue Guitar Delays and Reverbs, Guitar, Bass, Percussions (like a triangle, claves, bells), some Drum Machines (DDD-1, Alesis SR16, Kawai R100, Emu Drumulator Plug in) and a Poly Korg and Waldorf Blofeld Keys Synthesizer.

I was happy to use different microphones I borrowed from a friend. As I had to produce the record in a pandemic winter, I had to be more independent with my mixing techniques, I had no other options. The first album was finished at Devon Analogue Studios, where I could add some sounds and effects I didn’t have in my studio. This album is recorded, mixed and engineered entirely with my own equipment. For the very final mix, I went to a friend’s studio next door. He has these awesome analogue compressors, so I was able to do the final frequency tweaks. It’s always good to go somewhere else for the final touch, where you can hear another sonic spectrum of your work.

‘Rumors’ is an interesting track in that is it quite avant-pop, accessible yet tinged with anguish, how did this come together?

That’s a nice description. I don’t really know how this came together, I sing about this Pop-music-moment of a new relationship or love, that we can’t enter from a totally neutral place. We all have our experiences and worries, and it’s sometimes hard to believe something healthy and nice can just happen to us. I think the excitement that something great is happening to you, mixed with hazy hope and still one foot in the door makes this song so full of different vibes. Happiness packed in a pop song with a small portion of darkness, as always.

You have mentioned the “different freedom boys seemed to have”, do you think that is the case in music?

It´s the case everywhere. If you want be a free woman (or an as female identifying person) you still pay a price. Also for queer people or for any diversity, it´s still such a tough path. I can only speak from my experiences in music business as a straight, Cis woman, but you are always judged and compared to other women, whether it is your look or your content. You are not as good as ABC, or you are better than XYZ, but you are too old, too young, too sexy, not sexy enough, too pretty, too weird… you know.

It never changes, and girls are raised with this competitive state of mind, where it becomes normal to question ourselves and others constantly. It’s just what we have to deal with. Why can’t we just do our thing and exist NEXT to each other, instead of ABOVE or BELOW. This sucks and has nothing to do with artistic development, trial and error. Society has to develop an eye for the little details, take a closer look and give us a break. Put in some effort. Question your boxes. Actually I made a song about this feeling called ‘A Day.’ It’s on ‘Midnight Proposals.’

You play with different vocal styles and tones on the album, from sung, spoken and shouted with ‘Prayer’ using a deep pitch shift?

Yeah, it was fun. I wanted all the different personalities that exist in my voice, and the different shades. After years of singing I feel more free to use my voice. It´s an instrument, influenced and inspired by so many great female vocalists.

‘Sacred Type’ is like synthpop Siouxsie but also shows a musical affinity with Berlin-based artist Zoe Zanias, do you feel any kinship with other female electronic artists in the city?

I feel a kinship with any woman out there, especially in music and the arts because it´s a tricky area as mentioned above.

My songs have been created in a very intimate and safe environment, but they will undoubtedly be compared to songs by other women. I just respect these women and celebrate them for what they achieved, because we all stand for any other woman out there. However, I rarely follow them as I try to do my thing.

‘Twisted’ has this great dissonance about it with these eerie harmonics?

Yes, totally, it’s a twisted song. The elements fight against each other but come together as well in a weird way. The synth sound bothered me, but after some struggles, it worked out so I kept it. It shows the theme of the song. It’s imperfect and there is disharmony. So it is human and I love that.

The closing track ‘Strings’, musically it’s like THE CURE meeting Gary Numan?

I feel it’s such a 90s ballad, more NIRVANA or something like that. I´m sure the guitar line is not new, but my focus was on my voice and recreating a song that probably never existed, but has been stuck in my head since I was a teenager. It’s the counterpoint to the song ‘Rumors’. The ending of the story that started with song 2.

Do you have any particular favourite tracks ‘Midnight Proposals’, if so, why?

I think ‘Prayer’ and ‘Gudrun’ are my favs atm but I really love every song.

Who do you hope that ‘Midnight Proposals’ will appeal to? How do your techno fans react to the song-based material?

I have no idea. I also don’t think I have techno fans at all. My music has always been something between a track and a song. I always tried to write songs, even when it was music for the club. The songs are what appealed to me in this moment, and I think this is my most authentic work to date. I´m very proud of this record, but also super nervous how it will be received. The songs are my babies and I want them to be enjoyed, accepted and seen without being judged or in comparison.

What is next for you?

I really hope that I can go on tour with this album, so at the moment I am working on my live set and some merch. I’m also dreaming of setting up a Jennifer Touch live band in the future, to go on tour together. And I would love to work with artists from other areas, like painters, writers, film makers, maybe in a residency in another part of the world.

Next to making music I’m also kind of a writer, and I often think about publishing a lyric book. But I try to keep the flow with things, I don’t want have too many fixed ideas of what’s coming next.

There has been a lot of disappointment over the last years, but I’m cool with it now. As an artist you are that creative part of a society that has to adapt quickly, showing reflection but still sticking to your core values. If you can harness this and realise your own worth, it can be a very exciting path to walk.

ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its sincerest thanks to Jennifer Touch

Special thanks to Billy Williams Burrell at 9PR

‘Midnight Proposals’ is released on 17th February 2023 via FATCAT Records, pre-order from https://jennifertouch.bandcamp.com/






Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Vinnie Liazza
23rd January 2023


Jennifer Touch, the Dresden-born / Berlin-based producer and DJ makes her long-awaited album debut with ‘Behind The Wall’, having presented her first recordings in 2014.

Wearing a coat of many colours, Jennifer Touch is a developing talent who as happy with techno and industrial as she is with synthpop. It has been over 30 years since the fall of The Berlin Wall and it is not surprising that she has looked back to her time growing up in Communist East Germany as the catalyst for this long player released on the Brighton independent label Fatcat Records.

The daughter of DDR flower-power children, she was introduced to synthpop and new wave via her father’s extensive record collection which included THE HUMAN LEAGUE and DURAN DURAN. The joyful image of ‘Deutschland 83’ agent hero Kolibri hearing ‘Hungry Like The Wolf’ for the first time on a Sony Walkman is perhaps symbolic of how many young East Germans like her became enthralled and curious about life and culture on the other side of The Iron Curtain.

Taking in DAF, THE KLF and PJ Harvey along the way on the route to adulthood, this melting pot of tastes inspired her early music productions. The excellent ‘Chemistry’ was the track that launched it all to a wider listenership outside of club circles and it appears on ‘Behind The Wall’ in remixed form. Cleaner and tighter but still retaining the essence of the original, Touch conceived her baby while in a state of depression. “I knew I had the music inside me” she explained, “but it felt like I was stuck,”

But ‘Behind The Wall’ begins in a more abstract manner with ‘Imaginary Boys’, an art piece that acts as a building soundtrack to Touch’s commute through Berlin to the studio each day. While much of the city has been rebuilt, many aspects of its distinctive architecture remain and loom with a dark and powerful resonance.

The album’s emotional centre point is ‘Attic’, where stark electronics and metronomic beats echo EMIKA but built around a rigid if much colder foundation. A fight against a system of restricted surroundings, its feelings are relevant in the lockdown of today as they were more than three decades ago in Eastern Europe.

With a hypnotic DAF-like sequencer hook and a brooding metronomic mood, ‘Daria’ is sombre electro-punk, while the depressed aural symbolism of ‘The Wall’ sees Touch expressing her pain of confinement both physically or mentally.

The unsettling adrenaline rush ‘Teflon’ is a non-stick statement of resilience but also an adventure in industrial techno cabaret, with Touch’s role as a chanteuse veering between deadpan and distress also sharpening the Götterdämmerung austere.

The rhythmically dominant ‘I Love You, Let’s Go’ harbours thoughts of escape as the electronics throb and veer towards psychedelia, but ‘Iggy’s Slight’ does what it says on the tin and pays electro homage to Iggy Pop, in particular ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’ via the retention in spirit of its iconic bassline.

Meanwhile, ‘Flatlands’ beautifully takes a leaf from the songbook of fellow Berlin resident ZANIAS aka Alison Lewis of LINEA ASPERA both vocally and musically with its immersive minimal darkwave to provide an album highlight. With a gritty gothic resonance, ‘Supersize’ is the least electronic number of the collection although this is offset by radio signal swoops and a percussive noise rattle.

However, the mantric ‘Your Dawn’ takes the record down ohne schlagzeug with drones encapsulating a stark subterranean atmosphere which Touch says is “A rescue boat I wrote for a very close friend who was experiencing some dark and sad times. It’s an invitation to dance with me, a lullaby, a consolation”.

While there are stand-out tracks, overall ‘Behind The Wall’ does not quite reach the heights of more recent releases by EMIKA and ZANIAS, enough promise is revealed to indicate that Jennifer Touch could join their ranks in a few years. Whether she decides to expand on her song-based vision or ventures back to the purer techno-oriented productions of 2019’s ‘Seven’ EP remains to be seen.

‘Behind The Wall’ is released by FATCAT Records on 5th June 2020 in CD, red vinyl LP and digital formats, available from https://jennifertouch.bandcamp.com/





Text by Chi Ming Lai
1st June 2020

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