Tag: Marina Schiptjenko (Page 1 of 3)

PAGE Blutest Du? EP

While poptronica trailblazers PAGE have maintained an international cult following over the decades, apart from the occasional cover version like DEPECHE MODE’s Dreaming Of Me’ and OMD’s ‘Electricity’, or during live performance with ‘Lyssnade På Min Radio’ (Listening To My Radio)’ done in English for their first London show, they have always sung in Swedish.

But taking a leaf from the imperial phase of KRAFTWERK where songs were released in a variety of languages, the duo of Eddie Bengtsson and Marina Schiptjenko present a new EP with variations of their music in German and English.

Leading the ‘Bludest Du?’ EP is ‘Blöder Du?’ translated into German. Originally from the most recent album ’Fakta For Alla’, it means ‘Are You Bleeding?’ and takes things in a darker direction than PAGE have ever been in their long career. The use of German enhances the foreboding nature of the stark brooding electronic backdrop.

The effective video made by Mark Kjahart Pettersson gets around lockdown restrictions by having Bengtsson and Schiptjenko appear grainily on multiple vintage TV screens while a mysterious figure reveals an inner turmoil through implied physical disfigurement.

Also featuring on the EP are two tracks in English, ‘Start’ and ‘Tracks’, the Gary Numan song. ‘Start’ wears its Numanoid cosplay on its sleeve and pays tribute to a time before ‘Dance’ ever happened, with buzzing Minimoog basslines and swirling Polymoog strings coming over like a mash-up of ‘Metal’ and ‘Tracks’.

And speaking of the side two opener from ‘The Pleasure Principle’, PAGE’s 2017 album from ‘Det Är Ingen Vacker Värld Men Det Råkar Vara Så Det Ser Ut’ had already included a faithful version of ‘Tracks’ in Swedish as ‘Spår’, so the artistic fixation with the man who once called himself Valerian more or less comes full circle.

The fourth track on the ‘Blutest Du?’ EP is the mighty instrumental ‘Saint Anastase’; from the previous ‘Under Mitt Skinn’ EP, it channels a Vox ‘N’ Foxx cocktail with hints of ‘All Stood Still’, ‘I Remember (Death In The Afternoon)’ and ‘Swimmer’ over an incessant neo-motorik beat.

Those that may have been cautious about investigating PAGE in the past due to the language barrier will find the ‘Blutest Du?’ EP an ideal introduction. With electronic hooks and melodies in abundance that recall the best in Synth Britannia, there is now no reason not to.


‘Blutest Du’ is released by Energy Rekords as a CD EP, available direct from https://hotstuff.se/cdm-page-blutest-du-ep-limited-edition-300-copies-ercds178/78629

https://www.facebook.com/PageElektroniskPop

https://www.instagram.com/page_svensk_pop/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photo by Simon Helm
4th December 2020

PAGE Puls

Of late, Swedish poptronica duo PAGE have well and truly fallen under the spell of the imperial Synth Britannia era.

The releases in the last few years from Eddie Bengtsson and Marina Schiptjenko like ‘Det Är Ingen Vacker Värld Men Det Råkar Vara Så Det Ser Ut’, ‘Start’, ‘Fakta För Alla’ and ‘Under Mitt Skinn’ have clearly been influenced by imperial phase ULTRAVOX, TUBEWAY ARMY, VISAGE and DRAMATIS.

‘Puls’ (‘Pulse’), an energetic track from their most recent album ‘Fakta För Alla’, gets a period makeover in a new video clip complete with waveforms. Recorded at Gothenburg’s Sticky Fingers last fall, it is made up of out-takes from a forthcoming live DVD naturally entitled ‘Fakta För Alla Göteborg’.

The track itself drops in a higher glam quotient with a stomping rhythm line and saw waves lined up in catchy phrases. Strings and soaring synths point to Billy Currie as a source of inspiration, but there is nothing derivative about the stylings.

With PAGE very much in the Moog, the ‘Under Mitt Skinn’ EP issued in June included a cover of Gary Numan’s ‘Tracks’, a Swedish version of which was on ‘Det Är Ingen Vacker Värld Men Det Råkar Vara Så Det Ser Ut’. But the opening instrumental ‘Saint Anastase’ was fully in the vein of Vox ‘N’ Foxx.

Having adapted the ULTRAVOX B-side ‘Alles Klar’ as ‘Allt Är Klart’ previously with his SISTA MANNEN PÅ JORDEN project in 2007, these electronic pioneers are very much in the musical DNA of Eddie Bengtsson and this re-exploration of his roots has enabled him to produce some of the best work of his career which began with PAGE’s debut single ‘Dansande Man’ in 1983.


‘Puls’ is from the album ‘Fakta För Alla’ released by Energy Rekords as a CD and vinyl LP, available from https://hotstuff.se/page/x-7640

https://www.facebook.com/PageElektroniskPop

https://www.instagram.com/page_svensk_pop/


Text by Simon Helm and Chi Ming Lai
31st August 2020

PAGE Under Mitt Skinn EP

PAGE, the Swedish poptronica trailblazers are back with a new EP entitled ‘Under Mitt Skinn’.

Releasing their first single in 1983, the duo of Eddie Bengtsson and Marina Schiptjenko is seen as the classic incarnation despite the line-up variations over the decades. In between her stints, Marina Schiptjenko joined Alexander Bard from ARMY OF LOVERS in VACUUM and then BWO, while front man Eddie Bengtsson had his ongoing solo mission SISTA MANNEN PÅ JORDEN but initially found fame with S.P.O.C.K.

Often been considered as Sweden’s answer to Vince Clarke, in 2017 Eddie Bengtsson publically expressed his despair at the state of new electronic music and how it was not enough to have just a single good song on a full length album. So for his end of year listing, he celebrated his influences which he considered to have stood the test time such as TUBEWAY ARMY, ULTRAVOX, THE HUMAN LEAGUE and the lesser known Anglo-Irish combo CUDDLY TOYS.

PAGE’s album from that year ‘Det Är Ingen Vacker Värld Men Det Råkar Vara Så Det Ser Ut’ featured a musically faithful cover of Gary Numan’s ‘Tracks’ in Swedish as ‘Spår’; it planted the seed for a more Numanesque sound but it was 2018’s ‘Start’ EP and the 2019 album ‘Fakta För Alla’ that saw PAGE totally get in the Moog.

‘Under Mitt Skinn’ includes ‘Tracks’ but also five new songs, three remixes and a cover curio. The opening ‘Saint Anastase’ acts as a mighty instrumental prelude in the vein of Vox ‘N’ Foxx, with hints of ‘All Stood Still’, ‘I Remember (Death In The Afternoon)’ and ‘Swimmer’ driven by a frantic neo-motorik beat. Having adapted ‘Alles Klar’ as ‘Allt Är Klart’ with SISTA MANNEN PÅ JORDEN in 2007, Bengtsson does another fine tribute in acknowledgement of Synth Britannia.

‘Under Mitt Skinn’ and ‘Hoppet’ both continue the Numan fixation which PAGE have explored on ‘Fakta För Alla’ and ‘Start’ with propulsive monosynth riffs, immersive vox humana and precise uptempo structures. But ‘Ta Det Som En Man’ plays with the ivory motif of ‘The Damned Don’t Cry’ and amalgamates it with ‘Fade To Grey’ for the ultimate VISAGE homage på Svenska.

Held together by a metronomic Compurhythm backbone, the clean simplicity of ‘Panik’ is its key, with some simple piano derived melodies and uncluttered strings, but alien distortion counterpoints to add tension. Less derivative and more like classic PAGE, this is the best of the new songs on this collection, although a sneaky ULTRAVOX warble odyssey at the end just cannot be resisted.

Eddie Bengtsson has often remarked that ‘Fakta För Alla’ is possibly the best work of his career and two of its tracks are reworked by others. ‘Blöder Du’ is percussively remixed by Svein Welde but remains moody and doesn’t lose its mystery. Meanwhile the Hacienda redux by Pierre of ‘Ljuden I Ditt Rum’ adds a baggy wah-wah feel which parties like it’s 1991 and even threatens to turn into the final section of THE STONE ROSES ‘I Am The Resurrection’!

The Side Order family redux of ‘Som Ett Skal’ from ‘Hemma’ however could have done without its irritating glitch stutters and this effect spoils an otherwise acceptable remix of what is now considered modern day PAGE’s signature song.

As a novelty bonus, Swedish industrial band INDEPENDENT STATE featuring John Westlund and Den Där Killen offer a synth punk cover version of ‘Lägger Av’ from ‘Det Är Ingen Vacker Värld Men Det Råkar Vara Så Det Ser Ut’; it could be mistaken for a Nordic Plastic Bertrand and that more or less sums up its playfully enjoyable nature.

‘Under Mitt Skinn’ will more than satisfy PAGE fans and enthusiasts of elektronisk pop who have enjoyed the run of enjoyable releases since ‘Nu’ in 2010. But while the dynamic vintage overtures of Billy Currie, Gary Numan and John Foxx are still very much omnipresent on this EP, there are signs through the five new tracks that this influence may be steadily evolving into another phase for Marina Schiptjenko and Eddie Bengtsson.


‘Under Mitt Skinn’ is released by Energy Rekords as a CD, available from https://hotstuff.se/butik/cd-page-under-mitt-skinn-ep-foldout-digipack-cd-limited-edition-300-copies/76383

https://www.facebook.com/PageElektroniskPop

https://www.instagram.com/page_svensk_pop/

https://open.spotify.com/album/6joc62sEjHePUv0ZRncgN1


Text by Chi Ming Lai
6th June 2020

JULIAN & MARINA For Beautiful People Only

’For Beautiful People Only’ is the second full-length album from JULIAN & MARINA, the follow-up to 2014’s ’Absence & Distance’.

Comprising of Julian Brandt and Marina Schiptjenko, the couple are both veterans of the Swedish pop scene. Brandt was a member of BOBBY and is the current bass incumbent in LUSTANS LAKEJER while Schiptjenko is best known for her instrumental roles in PAGE and BWO.

The concept of JULIAN & MARINA is what can only best be described as crooner electro.

So imagine Matt Monro or Charles Aznavour over laid-back sophistipop backing utilising drum machines, synths and virtual orchestrations. Such are Julian Brandt’s loungey mannerisms, occasionally harmonised by Marina Schiptjenko’s larynx treatments, that the combination is strange and otherworldly yet ultimately romantic and classic.

It all begins with the ‘For Beautiful People Only’ title song, the song which is closest to being quite traditional sounding with its cinematic pomp and circumstance. ‘Someone To Cling To’ though recalls smooth PET SHOP BOYS ballads like ‘Liberation’ or even ‘Requiem in Denim & Leopardskin’ but with the orchestrated flavour of Percy Faith. Though ‘Vintage Wine’ follows a not entirely dissimilar feel, Brandt enunciates more like a Scandinavian Neil Hannon.

Heading to the South of France, ‘Destination Cannes’ is a great instrumental which captures exactly what it says on the tin while ‘Full Moon Over St Tropez’ conjures up that understated but catchy Gallic quality. The dashing ‘Hello Darling’ makes good use of synths and vocoders as well as adding a surprise rap from an alluring Schiptjenko.

But featuring a beautiful string line and a music box motif, ‘Girl In The Gallery’ could actually be about Schiptjenko herself, a playful celebration by Brandt of the enigmatic art curator with key changes to boot.

Brandt’s delivery recalls the late Liverpudlian crooner Michael Holliday on his hit ‘Starry Eyed’, a 1960 UK No1 co-written by Moog pioneer Mort Garson and later covered by CHINA CRISIS.

Despite its title, ‘Saddest Girl’ is enormously sunny and uplifting with hints of Hollywood Elvis, but ‘Love On A Summer Night’ offers a subtle disco duet which could be another PET SHOP BOYS collaboration with Patsy Kensit that also throws in a synthetic brass section for a more robotic style of ‘Domino Dancing’.

With a piano and soprano sax providing a twist in the electronic backdrop, ’Going To Nice’ closes the album with a happy optimistic vibe like all the good film romances should.

This is an enjoyable Eurocentric album with a sumptuous aural palette. If you can appreciate the guilty pleasures of classic easy listening, then on days like these , ‘For Beautiful People Only’ is the perfect escapist album for a trip along the Riviera.

Those wanting darkness, doom and edge though should turn away now…


‘For Beautiful People Only’ is available via the usual digital platforms

http://julianbrandt.com

https://www.facebook.com/JulianandMarina/

https://www.instagram.com/julianochmarina/

https://open.spotify.com/artist/3BzeqZj5Gziti68PyLLr4J


Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photos  by Pierre Björk and Conny Fornbäck
15th February 2020

PAGE Fakta För Alla

With the release of ‘Fakta För Alla’, PAGE have not only unveiled a candidate for the best album of 2019; they have sculpted some of the most mature and sophisticated sounds of their career.

It is nearly forty years since the first PAGE single was released, establishing them as the house band of the Swedish poptronica scene. ‘Dansande Man’ (‘Dancing Man’) became an instant cult classic, and each successive recording has raised their standing as the Nordic successors to ULTRAVOX, GARY NUMAN and SPARKS.

Where other Swedish bands have aped DEPECHE MODE and their changes of style, PAGE have struck a course firmly rooted in the spirit of 1979.

There have been some changes to the line-up over the years, but the original team of Eddie Bengtsson and keyboardist Marina Schiptjenko has been the core since 2010. With each album, their sound has been refined and polished, until what is left is a bank of Moog filters and patches underpinning Bengtsson’s characteristic melodies. The result is a set of songs that are the natural successors to DRAMATIS and VISAGE with a Swedish twist.

Bengtsson can’t help making catchy hooks, and ‘Fakta För Alla’ (‘Facts For Everyone’) doesn’t have a single filler track. It is hardcore poptronica, with sweeping filters and bubbling basses providing the bedrock for Bengtsson’s dynamic vocal lines. Their 2017 album, ‘Det Är Ingen Vacker Värld Men Det Råkar Vara Så Det Ser Ut’ suggested the direction that PAGE would be taking, but it didn’t prepare us for how good the songs would become.

The album opens with the title track, which draws upon Bengtsson’s love for English electronic music. He has previously covered Numan’s ‘Tracks’ (in Swedish as ‘Spår’) and the lightness and glam of Synth Britannia both find their way into the material. PAGE never bought into images of robotic alienation and having once covered SLADE’s ‘Coz I Luv You’, their upbeat style owes more to T-REX than JOHN FOXX.

‘Fakta För Alla’ is followed by ‘Puls’ (‘Pulse’), which takes the glam quotient higher with a stomping rhythm line and saw waves lined up in catchy phrases. Strings and soaring synths point to Billy Currie as a source of inspiration, but there is nothing derivative about the stylings.

‘Blöder Du’ (‘Are You Bleeding?’) takes proceedings in a darker direction. It is a classy, elegant track that growls and glowers with brooding synth lines.

Bengtsson ditched most of his keyboards for a collection of Moogs some time ago, and the familiar resonance of the company’s distinctive oscillators unites all of the songs on ‘Fakta För Alla’. There is something of ‘Vienna’-era ULTRAVOX in the sequencer line of ‘Första smällen’ (‘The First Punch’), but the noir spirit is warmed up by Bengtsson’s vocals. You don’t need to wear a trenchcoat or hang around Conny’s Studio to enjoy it, but it helps.

‘Klara Färdiga Gå’ (‘Ready Set Go’) takes the tempo up a notch with a track that is bound to become a live favourite. PAGE excel at simple, catchy and danceable poptronica, and the violin comes back here with purpose. That is followed by ‘Alla Ljuden I Ditt Rum’ (’All the Sounds in Your Room’), which finds PAGE at their most Numan-esque. The track’s low, electronic rhythms serve as the scaffolding for layers of atmospheric, gleaming pads and lead synths.

‘Glans & Gloria’ (‘Glory & Gloria’) is an instrumental that keeps the faith with the album’s 1979 vibe. It is inescapably Bengtsson’s music, but the addition of a virtual string section expands its sonic possibilities.

‘Kloner’ has Moog stylings galore. The technology sometimes leads to the song: just as it is hard to imagine ‘Cars’ without the Minimoog, it is also hard to imagine that someone wouldn’t have written ‘Cars’ once they had the keyboard in front of them. ‘Kloner’ wouldn’t sound the same with Roland or Yamaha instruments, but its dynamic, upbeat chorus wouldn’t have happened without Bengtsson’s natural gift for melody.

‘Okänd Man’ (‘Unknown Man’) starts with piano and violin under a sync patch from a Moog – a statement of intent drawn from the Billy Currie playbook, which leads into classic PAGE sounds.

One of Bengtsson’s achievements is to keep from sounding derivative of the classic electronic masters while borrowing some of their sounds and stylings.

The album wraps with two versions of ‘Maskin’ (‘Machine’) – the second a reprise. Previously, this is the kind of material that Bengtsson would reserve for his SISTA MANNEN PÅ JORDEN project, but it fits naturally into the structure of ‘Fakta För Alla’. It also shows that the band’s sound has outgrown any simple pop labels – this is Pagetronica, in a class by itself.


‘Fakta För Alla’ is released by Energy Rekords as a CD and vinyl LP, available from https://hotstuff.se/page/x-7640

Album audio preview at https://youtu.be/ha2cB7qgqrU

https://www.facebook.com/PageElektroniskPop

https://www.instagram.com/page_svensk_pop/


Text by Simon Helm
29th June 2019

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