Tag: Maps (Page 1 of 3)

KID MOXIE Better Than Electric

For Elena Charbila, the talent behind KID MOXIE, her new album ‘Better Than Electric’ is a statement of personal and emotional liberation while also “a blending of everything I love to listen to, every song is a cinematic scene, and the lyrics are there to ideally serve the picture”.

With two albums ‘Selector’ and ‘1888’, several EPs including ‘Perfect Shadow’ and ‘Love & Unity’ plus the soundtrack for ‘Not To Be Unpleasant, But We Need To Have A Serious Talk’ which included a stark cover of ALPHAVILLE’s ‘Big In Japan’, ‘Better Than Electric’ is her most honest work to date.

Developing on her brand of continental cinematic pop, ‘Better Than Electric’ is more inspired by Charbila’s adopted home of Los Angeles and its Downtown skyline, an imagining of night calls in a retro-futurist setting where unrequited and forbidden love finally get to be realised.

Compared with previous KID MOXIE’s works, there are darker and harder aesthetics at play and these are all epitomised by the opener ‘Shine’ in collaboration with German EBM producer FADERHEAD. Declaring that “I’m taking the lead in the back seat” in a fine homage to DEPECHE MODE’s ‘Never Let Me Down Again’, the mood is assertively provocative.

Issued as the first single from the album, the ‘Better Than Electric’ title song in collaboration with James Chapman of MAPS (who can be very audibly heard harmonising) is in retrospect, something of a red herring.

Reflecting on the distance that can keep lovers apart, it reimagines the Roy Orbison song ‘A Love So Beautiful’ and Puccini’s ‘Nessun Dorma’ for a trip to Twin Peaks.

With a driving gothic allure, ‘At The End Of The Night’ channels THE CURE with THE KILLERS’ cover of JOY DIVISION’s ‘Shadowplay’ while something of a sister song to ‘Shine’, ‘Unbroken’ thrusts and stutters delightfully. The filmic glory of ‘Thunderstruck’, a cover of the AC/DC rocker, mesmerises with virtual pizzicatos and even tinges of psychedelia but adopting an uptempo electro flavour with cutting strings and sombre voice samples, the instrumental ‘Miss Robot’ is ultimately hypnotic.

Industrialised to the core, ‘Lost In Time’ sees KID MOXIE in previously uncharted territory with what is more of a thumping and throbbing art piece than an actual song, while thematically acknowledging her Greek roots, ‘Odyssey’ is a tense but euphoric declaration of love and finding the one with a meaty synthy cascade full of aggro and the knowledge that she may never be let down again. Like THE SISTERS OF MERCY but without the scary baritone, the drum machine propelled ‘Black Flower’ plays with some guitar intervention as the anxiety of nightfall is accompanied by haunting pitch shifted voices.

Way down the lane away and living for another day, Charbila takes on the role of the world’s sexiest Uber driver as ‘On A Sunday Night’ takes the nocturnal synthwave route. As the droning engine throbs in time to a beating heart while roaming the neon-lit sidewalks of Hollywood, this is a shimmering ode to Tinseltown and yearning. She said “this is my version of ‘Together In Electric Dreams’, both in context and in feeling… I’m definitely channeling my most romantic 80s neon-self in this one … one of my favourite videos and concepts of the 80s is ‘The Chauffeur’ by DURAN DURAN and in this video, I found a way to recycle it in a more colourful, playful, Hollywood way…”

Something of an empowering record, ‘Better Than Electric’ is the best KID MOXIE album yet, one that realises Elena Charbila’s vision of combining her emotional and sonic sensibilities into one lush opulent sonic sandwich. The kid has now come of age…

‘Better Than Electric’ is released by Pasadena Records as a CD and download on 10th June 2022, available from https://kidmoxie.bandcamp.com/





Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Neil Kryszak
9th June 2022


Wolfgang Flür is best known as one of the two electronic percussionists in the classic line-up of KRAFTWERK that gave the world ‘Radio-Activity, ‘Trans-Europe Express’, ‘The Man Machine’ and ‘Computer World’.

But despite what has been close to a five decade recording career,  Wolfgang Flür releases what is only his second full-length collection under his own name. Flür’s first album on departing Kling Klang was ‘Time Pie’ issued in 1997 under the moniker of YAMO, but ‘Magazine 1’ follows up 2015’s ‘Eloquence’ which collected a range of solo tracks and collaborations recorded since 2002.

‘Magazine 1’ also does this to a lesser extent by featuring ‘Zukunftsmusik’ with U96 which first appeared on the dance combo’s 2018 ‘Reboot’ collection and reappeared in edited form on the collaborative album ‘Transhuman’ in 2020. This is an excellent track but here it is again in its third long playing incarnation. This Teutonic “future music” with Flür’s distinctive vocal remains equal to ‘Activity Of Sound’, his 2014 collaboration with Ireland’s iEUROPEAN.

However, things are not all up to the standard of ‘Zukunftsmusik’; using an array of robotic voice treatments, the opening ‘Magazine’ song featuring Ramón Amezcua is frankly a mess as it moves between its metronomic and shuffling beat sections. Again with U96 and Flür rapping, ‘Best Buy’ distorts its robotics in a KRAFTWERK vein and promises Kling Klang aesthetics, but things are more ‘Tour De France Soundtracks’ than even the best material on ‘Electric Café’ with the middle eight speech dialogue being particularly irritating as the track morphs into another mess.

Released in 2021 by BAND ELECTRONICA, the new electronically focussed project of Midge Ure, ‘Das Beat’ was a glorious slice of robopop in collaboration with Flür with “Beats through wires, beats through walls”. Unfortunately in his own ‘Magazine 1’ version, things that were good about the song like the blisteringly catchy synth hook in the classic KRAFTWERK tradition have been watered down into a mush with a new melody that is nowhere near as appealing. Meanwhile the icy motorik bossa nova inexplicably has incongruous sections of electro beats thrown in.

With cutting Numan-esque synth riffs and the cast involved, the pulsating ‘Birmingham’ featuring Claudia Brücken on lead vocals duetting with Flür’s vocodered presence and Peter Hook on his low-slung bass should have been a highlight, but disappoints due to its lack of structure. Also using similar Numan keyboard stylings, ‘Night Drive’ features Anushka who adds a soulful tone of voice to the strident electro backdrop, recalling the dancefloors of New York like The Danceteria with an enjoyable club friendly excursion although halfway through, it adopts a darker cutting tone.

‘Electric Sheep’ with Carl Cox and U96 possesses a childlike quality that will polarise listeners but ‘Billionaire (Symphony Of Might)’ with Juan Atkins is the sort of generic techno that Flür often plays in his DJ sets which he misleadingly passes off as concerts. Closing the album with ‘Say No!’, the lengthy MAPS collaboration points to where ‘Magazine 1’ could easily have gone, utilising a Flür anti-war monologue with choral and vocoder interventions over an absorbing midtempo electronic soundscape that evolves into a wonderful Germanic crescendo.

A true mixed bag of an album, two of the best tracks have already come out while several of the collaborations do not live up to their potential. But for KRAFTWERK fans seeking new material from members of the classic line-up, ‘Magazine 1’ will be welcomed, providing flashing reminders of a pioneering era that will act as an escape from the disorientations and uncertainties of the present day.

‘Magazine 1’ is released by Cherry Red Records on 4th March 2022 in CD + vinyl LP formats




Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Markus Luigs
3rd March 2022

KID MOXIE & MAPS Better Than Electric

Long distance relationships are never the easiest, even at the best of times.

But the new KID MOXIE single ‘Better Than Electric’ encapsulates the melancholically longing and the ultimate joy with an arrangement like the Roy Orbison song ‘A Love So Beautiful’ (itself based on Puccini’s ‘Nessun Dorma’) reimagined for ‘Twin Peaks’ soundtrack.

Fittingly written by Elena Charbila as a remote collaboration with James Chapman of MAPS who also provides chorus harmonies, the lyrics reflect on a distance that keeps two lovers apart. Charbila said “Is there anything more powerful than Electricity? It has the power to instantly connect things and people and it is a force so powerful yet it’s something you don’t see, you only feel it.”

Directed by Joe Rubinstein and embroiled in an exquisite sexual tension, the ‘Better Than Electric’ video stars Charbila and Russian dancer Olka Sokolova. “This is a very emotionally raw and honest love song and video, about longing for someone who is far away” added Charbila, “the video, this otherworldly girl and I become one. We improvised a lot of the movement and choreography which really worked in terms of producing a very natural and real connection between us.”

“Tonight this city breathes with me, she makes me dream big” Charbila sings in a gorgeously haunting soprano, before declaring with love that “you and I, are better than electric”. After all, electricity cannot exist unless there is a connection.

Following up the previous KID MOXIE single, a cover of ALPHAVILLE’s ‘Big In Japan’ and the dance flavoured ‘Love & Unity’ EP with LUXXURY, ‘Better Than Electric’ comes from the new KID MOXIE album out in 2022.

‘Better Than Electric’ is released by Pasadena Records and available via the usual digital platforms









Text by Chi Ming Lai
9th November 2021


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo by Johnny Jewel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK Contributor Listings of 2019


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

MAPS Live at The Southbank Centre

MAPS gigs are as rare as hen’s teeth (especially in the capital) and tonight’s gig at The Southbank Centre attracted a bit of a Mute Records “who’s who” with DEPECHE MODE producer / engineer Gareth Jones and Polly Scattergood both in the audience.

The man behind MAPS, James Chapman recently released his fourth album ‘Colours. Reflect. Time. Loss’ which saw a massive direction change from the electronics-based ‘Vicissitude’; the new work seeing the synths and drum machines being mainly replaced by live drums, strings and brass.

There was an expectation that tonight’s sound would be dictated by the new MAPS aesthetic. But from the off, it was apparent that this was going to be a ‘rock’ gig with the orchestral instrumentation being absent, Chapman’s live synth / Korg Electribe / guitar set-up was augmented by drums, bass and ably flanked by Cecilia Fage (vocals + percussion) and Rachel Kenedy (vocals + synth).

The Southbank set spanned three of MAPS’ four albums with ‘Turning the Mind’ being the only work to be overlooked. Kicking off with ‘Surveil’ and ‘Both Sides’ from ‘Colours. Reflect. Time. Loss.’, Chapman created a carefully controlled wall of sound with the newer tracks arguably sounding even stronger than their recorded versions.

The show’s psychedelic visuals were worthy of a mention with microphone stand mounted mini-camera feeds being warped in real-time and projected onto the screen behind. MAPS debut Mercury Prize nominated album was well represented with ‘So Low, So High’ getting an early airing; listening to this track now, it still sounds like a Glastonbury anthem waiting to happen and it would be a criminal shame if Chapman doesn’t get some festival appearances as a result of his performance here.

Midway through the main set saw two tracks back-to-back from ‘Vicissitude’, ‘I Heard Them Say’ and ‘You Will Find a Way’. Both tracks translated incredibly well to the live stage with Fage and Kenedy’s providing some quite beautiful harmonies to back up Chapman’s lead vocals which at times evoked those of THE STONE ROSES’ Ian Brown.

The looping shuffle of ‘It Will Find You’ climaxed what felt like an all-too short set and the band disappeared literally for a couple of minutes before returning for a two song encore. ‘Liquid Sugar’ and ‘In Chemistry’ drew the evening to a close and the Purcell Room crowd were left wanting more. Chapman appeared visibly moved by the reception and spent time after the show mingling with the audience and signing albums.

Even after thirteen years, MAPS still remain Mute Records best kept secret; criminally overlooked and deserving of a much wider audience. Hopefully the success of this show will see Chapman and his band taking to the stage far more frequently as he now has a band that is tailor-made to interpret his tracks live.

If you get a chance to catch MAPS in future, don’t pass up the opportunity to catch this consistently innovative and brilliant musician / performer.

Special thanks to Sarah Pearson at Wasted Youth PR

‘Colours. Reflect. Time. Loss.’ is released by Mute Artists in CD, white vinyl LP and digital formats






Text and Photos by Paul Boddy
7th July 2019

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