One thing that Belgian duo METROLAND never disappoint with is a finely tuned concept.
For his first solo album as 808 DOT POP, Passenger S has ventured towards the science of physics for ‘The Colour Temperature’.
Defined as a characteristic of visible light that has important applications in lighting, photography, videography, publishing, manufacturing, astrophysics and horticulture, colour temperature is part of everyday life and measured in units of kelvins.
In tribute to his eponymous constant, the opening ‘Planck’s H’ is electromagnetic action expressed musically for that very intellectual topic of quantum mechanics, although the absence of elektronisches schlagzeug might confuse some.
‘Illuminants’ really wouldn’t sound of place on a METROLAND album, while ‘Radiaton Laws’ chordially appears to be a clean mechanised reworking of NEW ORDER’s ’Temptation’.
The sequence-laden overtures of ‘The Tungsten Filament’ naturally glow but ‘Blackbodies’ is melodic robopop with a feminine twist featuring vocals from Noemi Aurora of goth electro duo HELALYN FLOWERS.
Now imagine if KRAFTWERK fronted by a girl and we are not talking about Kylie in the ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’ video here.
The bubbling ambience of ‘Kelvin (2700)’ acts an interlude before the perky ‘Thermal Contact’ provides rhythmic relief with its clattering drum machine and snaps of synthesized noise, as does ‘Ultraviolet’.
‘The White Tone Of Lamps’ provides another lecture over an electronic backdrop, but much better is ‘Incandescent (Iridium)’ which delightfully expresses itself in a manner of a Vince Clarke and OMD collaboration with the virtual vox humana lady oddly providing both the science talk and the alluring heat.
‘Thermodynamica’ takes on a shadier approach into aurally illustrating the properties of matter with its knowledge essential to the generation of nuclear power; the late Florian Schneider once said “nuclear power is like a knife; it can be used for slicing bread or to stab you in the back”. Therefore, it is fitting that ‘Inside The Light Bulb’ closes ‘The Colour Temperature’ utilising the synthesised speech sound design reminiscent of the KRAFTWERK legend.
While not a radical departure from the template of METROLAND, ‘The Colour Temperature’ will satisfy the ears of their fans as well as those who might like a bit of ORBITAL or KOMPUTER.
So until Passenger S and Passenger A come back together to consider their next thematic concept, it’s time to 808 DOT POP.
To celebrate 60 years of THE RADIOPHONIC WORKSHOP, the pioneering collective held a pair of events within the plush confines of The British Library.
The first comprised of a panel discussion chaired by Louise Gray of The Wire, while the second was a surround sound concert with striking visuals directed by Obsrvtry, a collaboration between THE RADIOPHONIC WORKSHOP, Michael Faulkner and Ben Sheppee.
Gathered for the panel discussion were Paddy Kingsland, Roger Limb, Peter Howell and archivist Mark Ayers with special guest Martyn Ware who performed on their new album ‘Burials In Several Earths’; original member Dr Dick Mills joined the chat later on after being held up in London’s Friday rush hour.
Founded in 1958 by Desmond Briscoe and Daphne Oram, THE RADIOPHONIC WORKSHOP at the BBC was set up to provide “special sound” for radio and TV programmes.
They were inspired by studios set up by Karlheinz Stockhausen in Cologne for pure electronic sound exploration and Pierre Henry in Paris which had a more of a musique concrète remit.
So if a programme required a door opening or a car crash, a sound effects library could be used, but as Mark Ayres put it: “if you wanted a sound effect for a nervous breakdown, where would you go for that?”. Considered to be distinct from the corporation’s musicians and initially working with virtually zero budget, THE RADIOPHONIC WORKSHOP tended to rescue obsolete equipment that had been dumped by other departments.
Using and abusing technology to create new sounds, its members like the late Delia Derbyshire would be tasked with two hour programmes each week and had to work to deadlines, something which she often had trouble with and referred to as her “variable reluctance”.
Of course, working with early electronics was not straightforward. The tape machines of the day were very unreliable and Roger Limb talked of when THE RADIOPHONIC WORKSHOP started performing as a live act and using digital equipment, discovering “how surprisingly varied the tape machine output was”. He concluded that “what we like about analogue things is to do with the variance, stuff that you don’t immediately hear but is adding to the interest”.
Paddy Kingsland described how Delia Derbyshire and Brian Hodgson (who created the sound of the TARDIS by running a key along a bass string of a gutted piano before electronically treating it) were “into their happy accidents”. It was something that Roger Limb summarised as “something that’s actually wrong that suddenly becomes right”, like the BBC fire extinguisher that was found to be approximately in D# when struck!
The panel discussion also included a fascinating demonstration by Mark Ayres of Delia Derbyshire’s component parts for the theme of ‘Dr Who’. While the music was written by Ron Grainer, it was Derbyshire who orchestrated the arrangement, painstakingly recording short bursts of manually manipulated oscillator onto tape, cutting them up and splicing them together to form longer and more recognisably musical sections.
The bass was actually a plucked string, recorded and copied via tape loops onto another machine until a series of different pitches were made, with Ayres explained that “every one of those notes was a piece of tape cut together with a razor”. Roger Limb pointed out that the bassline which Derbyshire had constructed was even cleverer because “the attack only happens on the front of the phrase”.
The music had a profound impact when it was first aired in 1963 with Dr Dick Mills remembering people were intrigued and asking “WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?” because they couldn’t work out the instrumentation or how it was realised.
As Martyn Ware put it, “it promised you were going to be visiting worlds that you couldn’t possibly comprehend” while Peter Howell added “You were genuinely hearing things you had never heard before”.
Adventurous manipulators of sound who came up with instruments like the Wobbulator, Peter Howell had the view that “the equipment can either be our servant or our partner”.
While discussing these two approaches, he casually mentioned how an old BBC schools film he had made demonstrating the Fairlight CMI to children had been re-edited into a hilarious spoof YouTube video entitled ‘How Drum ‘N’ Bass Is Made’.
With the panel discussion over, THE RADIOPHONIC WORKSHOP moved over to the Entrance Hall for their two-part live performance.
With hardware such as an Arturia Matrixbrute, Korg MS20, Roland JX3P and Yamaha DX7 clearly in view, along with various laptops and controllers, the first section comprised of more progressive and lengthy ambient experimental pieces.
The impressionistic colours of ‘Picasso’ began the evening before the band settled into performing selections from ‘Burial In Several Earths’. Inspired by Sir Francis Bacon’s incomplete novel ‘New Atlantis’, Daphne Oram used a section of it as an electronic avant-garde manifesto for the workshop.
Her spirit could be heard within these watery overtures recalling Virgin era TANGERINE DREAM while in between these lengthy improvised soundscapes, Martyn Ware joined the band on a Roland Jupiter 8 for a rendition of the comparatively bite size interlude ‘Not Come To Light’.
During the interval, DJ Tom Middleton treated attendees to the spacey sounds of JEAN-MICHEL JARRE, TOMITA and VANGELIS.
So it was fitting that when THE RADIOPHONIC WORKSHOP returned to the stage, it was with ‘The Astronauts’, a pacey tune reminiscent of Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou. ‘Ziwzih Ziwzih 00-00-00’ from ‘Out of the Unknown’ was the first of the more Sci-Fi related compositions, a theme which continued with some music from ‘Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy’.
Meanwhile ‘Magenta Court’ from ‘Through A Glass Darkly’ explored more proggy territory. The multi-instrumental capabilities of the ensemble were astounding with the main players moving between synths, guitars, wind controllers and taking turns to address the audience.
One thing that has been lost since the advent of 24 hour television in the UK since 1997 is Test Card F. So when the iconic image of Carole Hersee playing noughts and crosses with Bubbles the Clown was projected, it saw the band to wig out in a Floydian style with a sample of its accompanying music.
A rendition of ‘Vespucci’ from ‘Fourth Dimension’ also ventured into cosmic territory while ‘Vortex’ kept the Sci-Fi fans happy,
But it was the brilliant new composition ‘eShock’ that was the revelation of the evening. With Roger Limb taking to the microphone to warn the audience that they were in a “high risk area” and vulnerable to electronic shock, what proceeded was a vibrant electronic piece aided by a live rhythmic backbone from Kieron Pepper. With a cacophony of blips and beats that would make ORBITAL proud, an intense frenzy of psychedelic guitar and Theremin from Paddy Kingland was the icing on the cake.
Dr Dick Mills joined his colleagues on stage to announce the final number which was naturally ‘Doctor Who’; he even took time to joke and thank the crew for not only helping with the equipment, but also several of the band up The British Library’s many stairs.
Beginning with the familiar Delia Derbyshire take, there was a building improv before a Schaffel flavoured rock out with Kieron Pepper respectfully adding percussive power without swamping his colleagues.
Pepper has also played for THE PRODIGY and he is an example to sticksmen like Christian Eigner as to how to properly mix live drums into electronic music.
Despite THE RADIOPHONIC WORKSHOP members now pushing 70 years of age or more, they possessed more vigour than many acts half their age.
They didn’t start play live together in a concert setting until 2009 and having been cooped up in Room 13 all those years ago, they are now relishing playing to appreciative audiences.
Call it ‘Maida Vale Social Club’ or ‘Last of The Summer Synths’, this whole evening was a moment to savour with electronic music’s elder statesmen giving a lesson to youngsters with their laptops as to how it’s all done.
‘12×12’ sees Belgium’s favourite passengers reach the five year mark in their musical journey…
It’s the story of METROLAND so far, celebrated in a lavish 4CD boxed set with 14 beautifully informative art cards and the carefully crafted conceptual presentation that came with their second album ‘Triadic Ballet’. It is a beautiful art piece on its own, but the music contained is of a high quality as well. The journey began when their mechanised synthpop impressed audiences via the debut long player ‘Mind The Gap’, so much so that unscrupulous Russians bootleggers pirated several of the tracks and attempted to pass them off as new KRAFTWERK demos on eBay!
This undoubtedly was a back-handed compliment, especially as fans of METROLAND included Ralf, Florian, Karl and Wolfgang aficionados like Andy McCluskey and Rusty Egan. Certainly with KRAFTWERK today seemingly residing in 3D electro-cabaret, Passenger A and Passenger S have certainly filled a gap in the market. But without doubt, METROLAND have proved themselves more than just KRAFTWERK imitators over the last 60 months.
With each of the 4CDs following a distinct curative path, the ‘12≠12’ volume compiles the radio edits and short versions for an easily digestible introduction to the Mechelen duo. One thing METROLAND have especially managed better than KRAFTWERK, even in full length album form, is an understanding that tracks do NOT necessarily have to go on for ages.
‘12≠12’ is ideal for a cautious introduction with a listen over a cup of hot chocolate with friends. Beginning with the brilliance of ‘The Passenger’, a robotic number inspired by the tune which the former James Newell Osterberg wrote and recorded with a certain David Bowie, this has to be heard to be believed.
The ‘small’ version of the most recent single ‘Cube’ proves that METROLAND have moved on with the spectre of ORBITAL looming, while ‘Re-design’ acts as a fine bite-size sampler of the epic three part 11 minute adventure of ‘Design’ from ‘Triadic Ballet’.
But the touching ‘soul mix’ of ‘Brother’ is where METROLAND reveal an unexpected emotiveness in a fine tribute to their departed engineer and friend Louis Zachert aka Passenger L, thanks partly to a manipulated voice sample with echoes of angels and ghosts…
The ’12×12’ disc collects the longer versions and assorted extended remixes. Particularly enjoyable is the 12inch ‘Subway version’ of METROLAND’s tribute to Harry Beck, the London Underground’s map designer, and the previously unavailable ‘Troisieme Etape’ take on ‘Thalys’. Meanwhile, the toughened up ‘Headphone’ mix of ‘Under The Roof’ provides a powerful accompaniment on any peak time commute.
Best of all, as far as the concept curation on ‘12×12’ goes, is the ‘12+12’ disc featuring various B-sides and non-album songs. Here, some of METROLAND’s bolder experiments outside of the long playing format come into play.
The haunting trauma of ‘The Hindenburg Landing’ contains the harrowing report by journalist Herbert Morrison recorded at the time of that fiery airship disaster in New Jersey.
Meanwhile the brilliant uptempo attack of ‘(We Need) Machines Without Romance’ imagines a fantasy collaboration between GARY NUMAN and KRAFTWERK.
Despite these darker offerings, METROLAND can do sunny side up too as on ‘Vers La Cote D’Azure’, while the brilliant non-album single ‘2013’ is embroiled in the bright and cheery optimism of a new annum.
‘See You’ is Passenger A and Passenger S having fun with electronic improvisations based around a vocal sample from a MARSHEAUX cover of the early DEPECHE MODE tune and while not strictly a B-side as such, the tightly packaged 7 inch version of ‘Inner City Transport’ is sheer synthetic joy.
The fourth disc bears the title ‘x+≠’ and features assorted rarities such as demo versions, unissued songs and unreleased remixes, all of which are only available in this physical format. The amusing ‘Smoking Is Not Permitted’ and the sparkling technopop of ‘The Elephant’ are among some of the great melodies previously discarded, while the more austere ‘Space Age’ offers a hazier approach that differs from what became ‘The Manifesto’.
Passenger S said: “We wanted to do something more than just a best of, we wanted to tell a story… and I hope we achieved what our fans expect from us, and that the compilation gets picked up by many others as well…”
Definitely more than just a best of, ’12×12′ presents an anthology with side anecdotes and “what if” scenarios. There is something for everyone who is a fan of European electronic music, especially those blessed with an appreciation for something more tangibly visionary.
Today, electronic instrumental music is everywhere, but often in the form of tedious dance tracks with no tunes all over Beatport and social media.
Luckily, there are still exponents of the classic synth instrumental, and thanks to the rise of the Synthwave sub-genre, there is currently a sympathetic environment for more esoteric and melodic musical offerings.
The key to a good instrumental is it either has to be very melodic to make up for the lack of vocals or very unobtrusive so that while the music is interesting enough to be listened to, it can also be ignored. Thus a Eurorack modular tutorial cannot credibly count as a valid release… 😉
As a follow-up to TEC’s 25 SYNTH INSTRUMENTALS Of The CLASSIC ERA, with a limit of one track per artist, ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK presents its 25 FAVOURITE SYNTH INSTRUMENTALS Of The 21ST CENTURY in chronological and then alphabetical order…
SYSTEM F Insolation (2000)
While Dutch producer Ferry Corsten hit paydirt with club hits such as ‘Out Of The Blue’ and ‘Cry’ as SYSTEM F, the debut album pointed towards the Trance’s link to electronic pop. As well as a collaboration with Marc Almond entitled ‘Soul On Soul’, the long player included the beautifully majestic classic instrumental ‘Insolation’ which took a breather from the usual four-to-the floor format.
PPK were a Russian trance duo comprising of Sergei Pimenov and Alexander Polyakov. The original melody of ‘ResuRection’ came from Eduard Artemyev’s synthesized theme from the epic 1979 Soviet movie ‘Siberiade’ which won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival. Easily mistaken for JEAN-MICHEL JARRE, the thrusting seven minute ‘Perfecto Edit’ in particular was like an exuberant rocket launch set to music.
Originally released by Perfecto Records, currently unavailable
With a piercing synthphonic riff, scat vocoder, robotic bass and a rigid programmed beat, ‘Turn It On’ saw LADYTRON take a bleep forward with an attempt at a KRAFTWERK track for the 21st Century via Liverpool, Glasgow and Sofia. But as it headed towards its final third, it detoured back to Liverpool and turned into ‘Electricity’ in a cheeky homage to Merseyside’s original electronic trailblazers OMD.
A Norwegian electronic duo consisting of Aggie Peterson and Per Martinsen, FROST released their second album ‘Melodica’ to a positive response, thanks to some production assistance by RÖYKSOPP on two tracks. The beautiful Arctic serenity of ‘Klong’ featuring local trumpeter Nils Petter Molvær alongside layers of gorgeous crystalline synths was one of the album’s highlights that easily outdid anything by GROOVE ARMADA and didn’t rely on using samples either.
Available on the album ‘Melodica’ via Frost World Recordings
‘Destroy Rock & Roll’ was the well-received debut album by Scottish DJ Myles MacInnes that alongside DAFT PUNK and BASEMENT JAXX, summed up the sample laden dance music that was prevalent at the time. Produced on a computer in his own bedroo, the album’s best track however was the more downtempo, MOBY-esque richness of ‘Emotion 96.8’ with its beautiful sweeping synth melodies and unobtrusive rhythm structure. A follow-up to the long player has yet to appear.
With a hypnotic Motorik rhythm, pulsating bleeps and spacey whirs driving a moodier template along the lines of cult German experimentalists EMAK, Phil and Paul Hartnoll continued their primarily instrumental template on their ‘Blue Album’, although SPARKS contributed vocals to a totally unrelated track called ‘Acid Pants’. The brothers split shortly after the long player’s release, but returned in 2009 to play The Big Chill Festival.
From ‘Hymn’ to ‘First Cool Hive’ to ‘A Seated Night’, the man born Richard Melville Hall is a master of the instrumental. The solemn ‘Homeward Angel’ closed MOBY’s comparatively conventional and sample-less ‘Hotel’ album with a solemn yet uplifting slice of mood music that in retrospect, was incongruous with the main act. However, since leaving Mute in 2008, his more recent self-released albums such as ‘Destroyed’ and ‘Innocents’ have displayed this more esoteric quality.
A ten minute instrumental epic, ‘Alpha Male’ came from RÖYKSOPP’s under rated second long player, one that moved away from the chill-out climes of ‘Melody AM’ into much darker sonic territory. The track’s lengthy ambient intro was interrupted by a mighty metronomic beat and the sort of progressive synth overtures that would have made JEAN-MICHEL JARRE proud.
Since his musical return in 1997 with ‘Shifting City’, JOHN FOXX has practically had albums coming out of his ears in song-based, ambient and soundtrack formats, both solo and in collaboration with other artists. The spacey mechanical Schaffel of ‘Kurfurstdendam’ came from an imaginary soundtrack he called ‘Tiny Colour Movies’, inspired by a friend’s birthday screening of a private film collection comprising of random surveillance clips and offcuts from Hollywood.
Few acts actually genuinely sound like their name… SISTA MANNEN PÅ JORDEN, which translates as “the last man in space”, is the solo project of Swedish synthpop trailblazer Eddie Bengtsson, he of PAGE and S.P.O.C.K fame. The frantic ‘Space-Elevator’ with its swimmy string synths and Sci-Fi derived melody acted as an effective Moroder-esque interlude on his excellent sixth album ‘Tredje Våningen’.
Borrowing the distinctive bassline from SIMPLE MINDS’ 1981 single ‘Love Song’, the British duo put together this lively danceable instrumental for their debut TENEK EP. With a modern mechanical groove coupled to their trademark synth rock, the almost funky ‘Ice Fields’ became an early live favourite, although the duo have focussed on more song based adventures for their three albums to date, ‘Stateless’, ‘On The Wire’ and ‘Smoke & Mirrors’.
In 2007, Andreas Kleerup, producer and one-time drummer for THE MEAT BOYS, undertook his first mainstream collaboration with fellow Swede ROBYN. The success of ‘With Every Heartbeat’ led to the recording of his self-titled debut album which featured a number of brilliant instrumentals. ‘Hero’ was its perfect start and with a solid bassline and strong choral timbres, it had the vibe of how OMD might have sounded if they had formed in the 21st Century.
While most of the ‘Tron Legacy’ soundtrack album was arranged and orchestrated by Joseph Trapanese, DAFT PUNK’s spiky electronics and drum machine were kept in alongside the epic strings for the end titles of the sequel to the 1982 movie ‘Tron’. There were nods to Wendy Carlos who composed the score to the original film, with Thomas Bangalter focusing on the heroic themes while Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo was more inclined to generating the darker elements.
Available on the soundtrack album ‘Tron Legacy’ via Walt Disney Records
Forming in 2001, Swedish duo 047 began their chiptune experiments thought a mutual appreciation of vintage video games. But after their debut long player, Peter Engström and Sebastian Rutgersson began to incorporate melodic song based elements and vocals into their music. The end results led to the impressive second album ‘Elva’, but they celebrated their chiptune influenced roots with the jolly YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA salute of ‘Kanpai!’
‘The E-Bay Queen Is Dead’ was collection of rarities from the MARSHEAUX archives. While Marianthi Melitsi and Sophie Sarigiannidou have done a fair number of cover versions in their time, they are not really known for doing instrumentals. But the electro-boppy ‘Now & Never’ was a very promising wordless demo that Vince Clarke would have approved of; as one of his former DEPECHE MODE colleagues once sang: “words are very unnecessary…”
Fusing Detroit techno with more European experimental forms, Patricia Hall and Ian Hicks’ second SOFT METALS album ‘Lenses’ featured the fabulous instrumental ‘Hourglass’. As Hall put it: “I really wanted to write lyrics for that one, but was never quite satisfied with what I came up with. I decided it would be better to let that one be an instrumental. I think it holds up on its own. It’s nice to give the listener a chance to interpret its meaning on its own rather than direct them with words”.
Available on the album ‘Lenses’ via Captured Tracks
Anais Neon and Martin Swan’s tribute to ‘Assault On Precinct 13’, ‘The future through a lens’ was a moody but booming instrumental that began their excellent debut longer player of the same name, which later netted a Schallewelle Award for ‘Best International Album’ in 2014. With their vast array of analogue synthesizers and exquisite taste for sound textures, it won’t be too surprising if VILE ELECTRODES aren’t offered some soundtrack opportunities in the near future.
Although making his name within EDM circles, the Norwegian producer born Todd Olsen paid a musical tribute to ‘Back To The Future’ and its futuristic gull-wing doored Delorean DMC-12 car with this suitably driving Synthwave instrumental. Unlike other so-called dance producers, Terje is conversant with electronic music history and possesses a wry sense of humour, as evidenced by the witty wordplay of track titles like ‘Inspector Norse’ and his own DJ moniker.
After the first phase of BLANCMANGE, Neil Arthur and Stephen Luscombe worked within the TV and film industry, scoring soundtracks and incidental music. Although best known for his voice, Neil Arthur’s instrumentals have been a continual form of expression. The brilliant ‘Cistern’ comes over like an imaginary Bond Theme for a retro-futuristic world. The wordless wonder that is the parent album ‘Nil By Mouth’ is an unsung masterpiece.
Adam Cresswell’s sombre vocals and the darker lyrical themes on his debut RODNEY CROMWELL album ‘Age Of Anxiety’ took a breather with the bright and breezy ‘Baby Robot’. With sweet synthesizer melodies, pretty glints of glockenspiel and a bouncy beatbox, the instrumental was inspired by birth of his son. “Yes, ‘Baby Robot’ is the one track on the album that’s 100% upbeat as it is about the experience of being a father” he gleefully said.
While Danish duo DARKNESS FALLS are better known for their melancholic Nordic vocals and neo-gothic overtones on songs like ‘The Void’, the dark synthy instrumental ‘Thunder Roads’ proved to be one of the most striking tracks on their second album ‘Dance & Cry’. With a punchy drum machine mantra and menacing reverberant sequence, it was augmented by guitar screeches and sombre six string basslines reminiscent of JOY DIVISION and THE CURE.
JEAN-MICHEL JARRE & BOYZ NOISE The Time Machine (2015)
JEAN-MICHEL JARRE’s first album for since ‘Teo & Tea’ in 2007 was a two volume opus entitled ‘Electronica’; it features collaborations with a number of synth pioneers and modern day dance artists including BOYZ NOISE aka Berlin DJ Alexander Ridha. This climactic track took on a new life as the set closer on the French synth maestro’s ‘Electronica’ world tour, with a lasered 3D visual feast that required no special glasses! BUT BEWARE OF FLASHING IMAGES! 😉
Available on the album ‘Electronica 1 – The Time Machine’ via Columbia Records
The horror film king recorded his ‘Lost Themes’ series in collaboration with his son Cody and his godson Daniel Davies as standalone pieces, without the pressure of having to put the music to moving images. The second volume was completed on a tighter schedule to accompany a world concert tour and thus replicated some of the challenging moods in his soundtrack work with tracks like ‘Utopian Façade’ recalling his classic movie soundscapes.
Dixon and Stein are members of the Texan group SURVIVE and their accompanying music to ‘Stranger Things’, a cross between ‘ET’, ‘The Goonies’ and ‘Alien’, sent electronic music fans into online meltdown with its use of vintage analogue synths. With a soundtrack influenced by the horror flicks of Dario Argento and of course John Carpenter, the one minute opening title music to the acclaimed drama series said all that was needed to be said in its brooding dissonant tones.
As would be expected from a title like ‘Klangfarben’, this vibrant instrumental from Dublin trio TINY MAGNETIC PETS is an enjoyable homage to Germanic music forms, with a loose percussive feel that still maintains that vital degree of Motorik. A word meaning “soundcolour”, it refers to a technique whereby a musical line is split between several instruments, rather than assigning it to just one instrument, thereby adding timbre and texture to proceedings.
“A cube is also a square parallelepiped, an equilateral cuboid and a right rhombohedron. A cube has 6 faces, 12 edges, and 8 vertices”
Belgium’s favourite passengers METROLAND are back to celebrate their fifth anniversary with a lushly packed, supremely designed 4CD boxed artefact entitled ’12×12′. To launch it, the duo have released the ORBITAL-like spy drama technopop of ‘Cube’ as a single. Captive in symmetry, ‘Cube’ comes with a corresponding video which director Passenger N says is “about how it’s useless to look around everywhere, all you have to do is to think about who you are and you’ll find people like you that will help you to be yourself”
Of the upcoming ‘12×12’ set, Passenger S said: “We toyed with a ‘best of’ for some time, but compilations tend to be boring, adding not much interesting to people who already know you as a band. And so we exchanged ideas for 8 months and the result is the 4CD box ’12×12’”.
Each CD will follow a concept, with ’12×12’ collecting the duo’s 12 inch versions, ‘12+12’ featuring various B-sides or non-album songs and ‘12≠12’ compiling radio edits. However, the 4th CD with the title ‘x+≠’ will feature rarities such as demo versions, unreleased songs and unreleased remixes that will be available in physical format only. That said, the download version will include three exclusive mixes.
Passenger S concluded: “we wanted to do something more than just a ‘best of’, we wanted to tell a story. This is something for the true fans…”