Tag: Psyche (Page 2 of 3)

RATIONAL YOUTH, PAGE + PSYCHE Live at Non Stop Electronic Cabaret

In recent times, there have been a number of music events where there have been so many acts of varying abilities on the line-up, the suspicion is that it’s a ruse to ensure that are actually people in the venue. Having more band members than punters does not make for a good music event…

Luckily, ‘Non Stop Electronic Cabaret’ in London hosted by music and culture blog Cold War Night Life managed to avoid all that. An event where quality prevailed over quantity, the sold-out show featuring an esteemed international line-up comprising of RATIONAL YOUTH, PAGE and PSYCHE was rammed from the minute that the opening act took to the stage of The Islington.

With SOFT CELL playing what was billed as their final concert at the O2 Arena the following day, dark Canadian / German synthpop duo PSYCHE paid tribute Messrs Ball and Almond by opening with a fine respectful cover version of ‘Martin’. Featuring Darrin Huss on vocals and Stefan Rabura on synths, there was passion from the former while aided by a high quality sound system, the latter was able to get to work on a variety of hand played synthetic inflections.

PSYCHE brought things up to date with their most recent single ‘Youth Of Tomorrow’ while the industrial Italo of ‘Uncivilized’ kept up the mutant dance tempos. Introducing ‘Truth Or Consequence’, the edgier B-side of ‘Youth Of Tomorrow’, Huss joked that it was getting more streams than the A-side, while an excellent reinterpretation of Q LAZZARUS’ ‘Goodbye Horses’ was appreciated by the PSYCHE faithful that had travelled over from Germany, Sweden, Finland and Italy for the event. A glorious ‘Unveiling The Secret’ from the 1986 album of the same name concluded a wonderfully engaging set.

Swedish poptronica exponents PAGE were making their return to London after a successful live debut in 2014. More recently, the duo of Eddie Bengtsson and Marina Schiptjenko have been exploring their inner Numan via the EP ‘Start’, while an enjoyable trilogy of albums ‘Nu’, ‘Hemma’ and ‘Det Är Ingen Vacker Värld Men Det Råkar Vara Så Det Ser Ut’ have maintained their cult standing.

Appropriately beginning with the ‘Start’ EP’s title song, the mash-up of ‘Tracks’ and ‘Metal’ partied like in was 1979. The catchy ‘Som Ett Skal’ from ‘Hemma’ and the glam Schaffel swing of ‘Ett S.O.S’ from ‘Nu’ kept the crowd moving while there was even a band clapalong on ‘Alla Som Väntar’. ‘Krasch’ kept up the thrusting Svensk elektronisk essence but closing their set early due to battery recharge difficulties, ‘Stör Ej’ took the Numan fixation to its zenith with the Compurhythm pattern from ‘Love Needs No Disguise’ appearing halfway through.

Canadian synthpop trailblazers RATIONAL YOUTH were making their first ever live appearance in the UK and mainman Tracy Howe was particularly fired up. Accompanied by his wife Gaenor on backing vocals and synths, the fitting political statement of ‘This Side Of The Border’ from 2016’s ‘Future Past Tense’ EP provided a poignant message for the multi-national crowd that was gathered. The stark ‘Dancing On The Berlin Wall’ from the ‘Cold War Night Life’ album (which the event hosts were named after) recalled a time when there really were divisive physical walls, while the midlife angst of ‘Here It Comes Again’ said it all!

Possibly RATIONAL YOUTH’s best known song, the intense electro drama of ‘Holiday in Bangkok’ provided one of the set highlights, although the sense of occasion got the better of Howe as he forgot some of the words. One-time member Dave Rout, now of TECHNIQUES BERLIN, joined the duo on synth for a rendition of their co-write ‘Energie’, while closing a spirited set, two ‘Cold War Night Life’ evergreens ‘City of Night’ and ‘Saturdays in Silesia’ more than satisfied the now very sweaty crowd who had danced from the beginning of the evening.

ELECTRITYCLUB.CO.UK often goes on about how the best electronic music events are curated by electronic music fans and Cold War Night Life did it again with their ‘Non Stop Electronic Cabaret’.

The lesson for other promoters? If the acts are of a sufficiently high quality and the bill has some appropriate fits, the rest will be then straightforward. And as Jim Morrison said in Wayne’s World 2’, “Book them and they will come…”


With thanks to Simon Helm at Cold War Night Life

https://rational-youth.com/

https://www.facebook.com/RationalYouth/

https://www.facebook.com/PageElektroniskPop

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

http://www.psyche-hq.de

https://www.facebook.com/Psyche/

http://www.coldwarnightlife.com/


Text and Photos by Chi Ming Lai
7th October 2018

RATIONAL YOUTH Interview

Montréal’s RATIONAL YOUTH were founded in 1980 by synth enthusiasts Tracy Howe and Bill Vorn.

Along with PSYCHE and MEN WITHOUT HATS, they were among the trailblazers for electronic pop in Canada, a country that has more recently produced acclaimed acts such as GRIMES, PURITY RING, AUSTRA, TR/ST, ELECTRIC YOUTH, PARALLELS, MECHA MAIKO and LOLA DUTRONIC.

Later joined by Kevin Komoda, RATIONAL YOUTH quickly made an impression and supported OMD at Auditorium Le Plateau in March 1982. Shortly after, the trio released ‘Cold War Night Life’, one of the first ever Canadian synthpop albums. It was later to became a cult favourite in Sweden where its influence was readily felt in their domestic electronic scene. Indeed, a 1997 RATIONAL YOUTH reunion concert with Howe and Vorn took place in Lund, Sweden.

Today, Tracy Howe remains the main man of RATIONAL YOUTH with his wife Gaenor ably augmenting the line-up for recordings and live shows.

Featuring ‘Here It Comes Again’, an EP of new material ‘Future Past Tense’ was released in 2016 and showcased ‘This Side Of The Border’, a burst of futuristic sci-fi electronica with a typically gloomy lyric from Howe that captured the tensions of the world’s current socio-political climate. It’s as if the fall of the Berlin Wall never happened and for that reason alone, RATIONAL YOUTH’s observational ethos is poignantly relevant again.

Meanwhile this year, RATIONAL YOUTH recorded a charming cover of ‘Flash In The Night’ for the ‘Night City Tribute’ album to the popular Swedish new wave pop band SECRET SERVICE, the 1982 original of which was a No5 in France.

RATIONAL YOUTH will be playing live in London for the first time at Non Stop Electronic Cabaret on Saturday 29th September 2018. Presented by Cold War Night Life, the triple header will also feature PSYCHE and Swedish poptronica veterans PAGE.

Tracy Howe kindly chatted to ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK following completion of this summer’s ‘Canadian Synth Legends Tour’ with PSYCHE…

‘Cold War Night Life’ is considered a landmark in Canadian independent music and now a number of the song’s themes have become relevant again?

Well they seem prophetic now because we seem to be at a similar point in history.

In 1982, it wasn’t just the Cold War, it was the Cold War being fought by Reagan, Brezhnev, Andropov and Chernenko. The doomsday clock was pretty close to midnight. It felt very much like it does now, you know, a sense of impending doom.

Now we seem to have some sort of coordinated US-Russia global push toward authoritarianism and nativism, and rule by oligarchs, and the whole post-World War Two international consensus is being blown to bits. It feels like we are on shaky ground. The ‘Cold War Night Life’ album was about trying to enjoy life under trying circumstances.

What bands most influenced the sound of RATIONAL YOUTH?

Obviously KRAFTWERK, because when we started there weren’t really many other models yet for an all synthesizer band; and also the early HUMAN LEAGUE, and post-punk artists like ULTRAVOX and MAGAZINE. We also liked KLAUS SCHULZE and TANGERINE DREAM, and projects like CLUSTER & ENO. Bill Vorn and I started the band because we both liked this music, and had synthesizers, and the idea was to combine some of the cool minimalism of KRAFTWERK with more specifically song-oriented composition and vocals.

What particular synthesizers were you using for the ‘Cold War Night Life’ album and how did you find them to use?

It’s quite a list. We had three Roland System 100s, and a Roland System 700. These were modular synths that were controlled by a Roland MC4 Micro-Composer, which was a digital sequencer that could output CV and gate to four monophonic synths.

So most of the sequenced stuff went through all that. We also had Roland and Korg analog sequencers that could be synched to that stuff too, and then we had a Roland CR78 first and then a TR-808 drum machine.

We also had a Roland SH5, Moog Source, a Pro-One, a Logan String Melody II and a Roland SVC350 vocoder. The sequencing with the MC4 was much more labour intensive and tedious than it is today with Logic or something, you basically entered the notes in one at a time with several steps involved in formatting that one note. On the other hand it was pre-MIDI so the clocks on those machines were fast and tight, really punchy.

As a one-time drummer, you must have found the Roland TR808 something of a revelation?

Well, I believe we bought one of the first ones to come into Canada. The programmability was mind-blowing, so intuitive, and it had a fair amount of storage. The CR78 had four memory presets and the rest was organ lounge accompaniment, so right away the 808 was liberating. The other thing was the sound, which we all know. I remembered how inspired we were when we got that thing. We plugged it in the first time and it blew our faces off it was so nasty. As time went on, we used Linns and so on, but now I keep coming back to 808 sounds. It kind of defined our sound in a lot of ways really.

Can you remember much about opening for OMD at Montréal’s Auditorium Le Plateau in 1982?

Yes, I remember being really nervous! It was a fairly large concert hall, a thousand seats or so, and this was going to be only our second-ever gig. I remember showing up while OMD’s sound check was going on and before that I thought you know “‘Enola Gay’, ‘Electricity’, it’s not THAT different from us”, but they had a live drummer and they were sound checking his kick drum and floor tom through this massive PA and it sounded like the hammer of Thor, and I thought “hello, we’re going to sound ridiculous next to this!”.

As it turned out, it went over really well and people seemed to react to us in a way that indicated that they’d never seen or heard anything quite like it, and we got mentioned in the daily press reviews of the concert positively, so it was really a thrill for us.

‘Holiday In Bangkok’ is considered by many to be one of RATIONAL YOUTH’s signature tunes but comes a few different versions, which one is the definitive one for you?

Arguably the first one from 1983, because it’s got a harder edge than the 1985 one. They’re essentially the same tracks, just mixed differently. I like the live version too.

The RATIONAL YOUTH back catalogue is rather awkwardly spread out over a number of labels, have you any thoughts on how the music industry has changed over the last 15 years in particular?

I honestly can’t moan about how things are now, because we were actively (and idealistically) promoting the sort of deconstruction of the record industry that we see the result of now from the moment we started.

The way we recorded was a precursor to the in-the-box home recording that has democratised everything to do with the way records are made now. We would come into a recording studio with half of the stuff already programmed, set up the gear, tell the guy to press record and hey presto, there’s half of the record recorded. They’d never seen that in Montreal before. It was already commonplace in London of course. And today, I’m very happy to be able to make a really decent record at home, and get somebody good to master it (and that process has changed too).

As for how it gets distributed, I suppose I am not thrilled about streaming, simply because of the miniscule remuneration artists get, but then I never made anything off records under the old model anyway, so what has changed? You know THE BEATLES’ royalty rate for their first Parlophone record was a PENNY (1d) a side.

A nice thing about the way things are now is it seems as though the vinyl revival is for real. So the reward for me is being able to make real records, they may not sell lots, but we can keep doing it, and to me a vinyl record is a real artefact, like when a painter does a lithograph and prints a certain number of copies. You feel more like you created something tangible than an audio file on the cloud somewhere.

Why have you recently decided not to play the US for the foreseeable future?

We live in Canada, only 45 minutes from the US border. I actually knew Canadians who died fighting for the US-led coalition in Afghanistan. We spent a lot of blood and treasure over the last century being good little allies to them. Now this Trump regime is attacking us in trade disputes because they have decided we are a security threat to the US, and accordingly their Department of Homeland Security is going hardcore on the border (not the one with Mexico, the one with us) and have been harassing Canadians trying to cross.

This has gotten worse since Canada legalised marijuana, and they have been banning Canadians for life if they say the wrong thing. But more than that, we just see them veering very close to all-out authoritarianism, and this is not just a sneaky coup, they are doing this daily, and it’s all out in the open.

The model appears to be something like Russia, where you have elections but you know, it’s an authoritarian regime in thrall to oligarchs. It seems obvious to me. Certainly there is some resistance, but apparently 40% of Americans are 100% per cent behind this racist, theocratic regime that above all else seems to be hell-bent on destroying the environment of this planet with their systematic dismantling of any standards they did have. 40% is a higher level of electoral support than Adolf Hitler had when he became chancellor of Germany in a hung parliament. Remember when we used to always wonder how the Germans let Hitler come to power? Well, now we know.

So I could say it’s like in the days of Apartheid South Africa and that “I ain’t going to play in Sun City”, or just say that, except for a few places on the two coasts where it might be nice to play, we can just as easily not go there, and go somewhere nicer.

‘This Side Of The Border’ from 2016 seems to have prophetically summed up this situation?

Yes, because we like to think that in Canada, we try to have an inclusive society which is more egalitarian, with a greater sense of collective responsibility, than on the other side of the border. And I’ll admit that we Canadians are second to none in the holier than thou department, but we have our own Boris Johnsons and Donald Trumps too, although they don’t hold sway yet. That’s why the song says “Maybe here on this side of the border, there is still a chance that things can change”.

‘Future Past Tense’ was the first longer form collection of all-new RATIONAL YOUTH material for many years, was it a cathartic experience to channel some of that midlife angst?

Oh yes, unquestionably. It really was very much that. And getting back to your very first question, it just feels right to be doing this now, whereas for many years it didn’t make any sense to me to do it.

Thank God people who always liked us stayed with us and were there to welcome us back.

Has the album as a vehicle had its day, are EPs and singles the way to go?

I’m not sure about that. I think in mainstream pop music albums are much less important now, especially since so much of it is consumed online, but for our sort of music I think all three formats have a place.

For me, if it’s an LP or an EP, it’s got to have a fully formed identity. Our last record was an EP, and we deliberately wanted it to be, so that it could be a 10 inch. We just really wanted a 10 inch record, so the form was important conceptually. The next one will most likely be a full-length LP, but that doesn’t mean we won’t do another EP. I’ve always loved EPs though. I have all these vintage EPs by THE SHADOWS, THE BEATLES and CILLA BLACK which are 7 inch 45s with four tracks on them.

RATIONAL YOUTH remain popular in Scandinavia, why do you think your music has an enduring appeal in that region?

Well that’s an easier question than how they latched onto us in the first place. I think the Swedes have a natural affinity for synth music, and pop music, and thus, synthpop. And for whatever reason, the generation who were in their teenage years in the 1980s have passed it on to their children. And the older ones are incredibly loyal, and if they loved you then they love you forever. And perhaps they relate to it because bands like COVENANT have always said nice things about us being an influence and that contributes to it. It’s really a second home for us.

What did you think of the ‘Heresy: A Tribute To RATIONAL YOUTH’ collection’ put together by the Cold War Night Light website which you also contributed to?

It was absolutely a treasure and such an honour, the sort of thing you would never imagine would happen.

And there were so many great versions of our songs, some of them were better than our version to be honest!

Just a lovely package too. We are not worthy.

How do you feel about playing in London for the first time alongside PSYCHE and PAGE this September?

I’ve dreamt of playing in the UK since I was a kid. I used to sit in school at the back of the class making up imaginary tours, where I’d be in a band playing such venues as De Montfort Hall in Leicester, The Cambridge Corn Exchange and Leeds Polytechnic *laughs*

Alas, RATIONAL YOUTH never made much of dent in the British market, but I’m absolutely thrilled that we’re finally coming, even for one show. I once told Robert Marlow that I was determined to sing in London one day, even if I had to bellow ‘My Yiddishe Mama’ out on the pavement in the Old Kent Road, so we’re really looking forward to this.

Of course, it’s always great to hook up with our pals from PSYCHE, and it will be great to see Eddie Bengtsson again. We’ve played with SISTA MANNEN PÅ JORDEN several times, but never with PAGE, so that will be a treat as well.

For those discovering you for the first time, what three songs you would suggest people check out to get a feel for what RATIONAL YOUTH are about and why?

I’d say ‘Coboloid Race’, which is from our first single in 1981 and shows that we sort of prophesied industrial synth music back then; ‘Saturdays In Silesia’ from ‘Cold War Night Life’ because it shows our pure synthpop side; and ‘This Side Of The Border’ from ‘Future Past Tense’ because it shows what we sound like now and how that stacks up against our older material.

What’s next for RATIONAL YOUTH?

We’re working on a new album, and it’s about half done. Then we have a very high resolution, multi-camera video of a show we did in Germany and we’re going to figure out some way of releasing it. A few years ago one would have thought a DVD but they probably don’t sell at all anymore, so maybe we’ll put it on iTunes or something. Then in the new year, we have a number of live things coming up.

We’re going to Mexico in March and there’s talk of expanding it to Peru and Colombia. Then we have some exciting things in Europe to come. Who knows, maybe somebody will want us to come back to the UK.


ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its grateful thanks to Tracy Howe

Special thanks to Simon Helm at Cold War Night Life

‘Future Past Tense’ is still available as a CD or download from https://rationalyouth.bandcamp.com/

RATIONAL YOUTH, PSYCHE + PAGE will play ‘Non-Stop Electronic Cabaret’ on Saturday 29th September 2018 at The Islington in London. Presented by Cold War Night Life – tickets available from https://billetto.co.uk/e/non-stop-electronic-cabaret-with-rational-youth-page-and-psyche-tickets-300983

https://www.facebook.com/RationalYouth/

https://twitter.com/tm_howe


Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
30th August 2018

PSYCHE Interview

Photo by Mark Greenmantle

PSYCHE are the acclaimed dark synthpop duo founded by the Huss brothers Darrin and Stephen from Edmonton in Canada.

They became influenced by the likes of SOFT CELL and FAD GADGET, developing their own special brand of horror electronics; the independently released 1985 debut album ‘Insomnia Theatre’ contained the raw mechanical menace of ‘The Brain Collapses’ and was a cult success in Europe.

A wider breakthrough came with their second long player ‘Unveiling The Secret’ in 1986 which included ‘The Saint Became A Lush’, a track that was to become a favourite of noted DJ Trevor Jackson who included the track on the second volume of his acclaimed ‘Metal Dance’ compilation series released by Strut Records.

PSYCHE’s third album ‘Mystery Hotel’ signalled a move towards synthpop while expanding on their Gothic EBM template with tracks like ‘Uncivilized’ and ‘Eternal’, but it also saw the departure of Stephen Huss due to illness. Although he returned for 1991’s ‘Daydream Avenue’ and 1994’s ‘Intimacy’, he was unable to continue with PSYCHE on a full-time basis and sadly passed away in August 2015.

Darrin Huss continued as PSYCHE with various collaborators over the years, with the most recent album of original material being 2005’s ‘The 11th Hour’ released by Artoffact Records which topped the German Alternative Charts.

Now based in Germany, Darrin Huss has focussed on touring with current musical partner Stefan Rabura rather than recording, although there have been collaborations with fellow Canadian trailblazers RATIONAL YOUTH and Belgian artist LUMINANCE, in addition to the 2011 covers album ‘Unknown Treasures’ featuring interpretations of songs made famous by SOFT CELL, THE CURE, DEPECHE MODE, YAZOO, VISAGE, KRAFTWERK and THE DOORS.

Photo by Simon Helm

But Autumn 2017 saw the surprise release of a brand new PSYCHE single in the shape of ‘Youth Of Tomorrow’ b/w ‘Truth Or Consequence’ as a trailer to a new full length album.

PSYCHE will be venturing to London for a special show presented by Cold War Night Life on Saturday 29th September 2018 with RATIONAL YOUTH and Swedish poptronica veterans PAGE.

Darrin Huss kindly chatted about his career to date after completing the ‘Canadian Synth Legends Tour’ of their home country.

It’s been 13 years since the last full length PSYCHE album ‘The 11th Hour’, but there’s been no shortage of demand for live appearances, have the last few years been gratifying in terms of recognition for your work?

Yes, even if it feels like starting over on occasion. We have a following that’s been with us since the beginning, but since the advent of the Internet, we are building a whole new audience often seemingly at random as people discover us through different eras of our songs. I’ve learned to wholly embrace this and not only make a linear projection with my output.

It was a pleasant surprise to get a new PSYCHE single ‘Youth Of Tomorrow’ in 2017, why had it taken so long?

I have felt that ‘The 11th Hour’ could be the last album as I had an inkling that I had reached a peak in my musical development, and themes that I wanted to cover with PSYCHE. I never wanted to repeat myself, and always looking for new experiences. I began to focus more on one-off events, collaborations and the occasional single release such as the JOY DIVISION cover of ‘Disorder’ 10 years ago.

Then came the thirty year wave with the re-releases of our first three albums, and just generally the enjoyment of performing my favourite songs in the PSYCHE repertoire.

The current situation in the world and following social developments globally has prompted new lyrics, and formed the need to make new music with my partner Stefan Rabura for the first time. I have things I feel need to be said, and I also think I need to prove to myself that despite all the different styles of electronic music out there, PSYCHE still has a unique voice and place among synthesists.

What was the inspiration behind ‘Youth Of Tomorrow’?

I just had this title in my head, and came up with a whole chorus part one day thinking about myself being older, and wondering what today’s youth have to look forward to. What did I even expect from the future when I was 17? No one can truly fathom these things. Also I was making a bit of a nihilistic dig at where we stand right now in terms of “the money’s all been spent” and “all gone, youth of tomorrow” meaning myself, and my generation, as well as the future for today’s teens. There’s also a bit about virtual reality, and societies becoming inhumane towards others, “watching holograms of future centuries” and how “we don’t recognise ourselves!”.

When I wrote it, I saw it as a bit of black humour, but occasionally I worry I was being a little cruel. Musically, I wanted it to sound like an 80s PSYCHE track, but with a few new beats and things. My favourite part is actually the wicked synth solo that Stefan came up with.

Photo by Rob Barriales

The excellent story video directed by Rob Barriales for ‘Youth Of Tomorrow’ was a homage to ‘Thriller’?

It was actually inspired by a fairly obscure arthouse horror film called ‘Nomads’ that was Pierce Brosnan’s movie debut in 1986. There’s a scene with street punks played by Adam Ant, Mary Woronov and other 80s personalities that I wanted to emulate the mysterious atmosphere of.

The ‘Thriller’ aspect came later as we realised that the group of people following me resembled that bit with the zombies. There’s no synchronised dancing though. So it’s more just the lighting, and mood that reminds people of that. Besides, not many people ever watched ‘Nomads’…

The B-side ‘Truth Or Consequence’ was a reflection of current worldwide political events?

It started out under the title ‘Life On Trial’ and was about the Bradley Manning (now Chelsea) situation. It took me five years to finish the thing. It’s about the NSA surveillance, whistleblowers, etc. It’s also about the confusion between what is Truth, and what are the consequences of telling it, living it? Do we have safety in numbers? etc. It’s all in the lyrics. It’s a very PSYCHE song with even a nod to ‘The Brain Collapses’ with our use of that song’s drum machine the Oberheim DMX.

Photo by Alain Duplantier

What other synths and equipment were you using when PSYCHE first started out?

The Korg Mono/Poly is very important. Then the Roland SH101, Roland Microcomposer, Sequential Circuits Pro One, Roland TR707. Later we had a Casio FZ1 as our first sampler. We are using these sounds again for our new album because I think they define PSYCHE’s overall sound. Much as the Linn Drum was important to THE HUMAN LEAGUE and BLANCMANGE at the time.

Who were PSYCHE’s main musical influences?

FAD GADGET, CABARET VOLTAIRE, THE CURE, BAUHAUS, GARY NUMAN, THE FLYING LIZARDS, NASH THE SLASH, RATIONAL YOUTH, ROUGH TRADE, and later YAZOO, VISAGE, EURYTHMICS, and most importantly SOFT CELL. Others include BLANCMANGE, CHRIS & COSEY, JOHN FOXX, early SIMPLE MINDS, as well as JEAN-MICHEL JARRE and TANGERINE DREAM. BLONDIE and even ZZ TOP factor in at odd moments as well.

‘Uncivilised’ was one of your notable earlier singles, how do you look back on it?

That was the odd ZZ TOP influence that I mentioned. I’ve seen people comparing it to BRONSKI BEAT’s ‘Hit That Perfect Beat’ on YouTube, but it was actually inspired by the sequence on ZZ TOP’s ‘Legs’!

I was writing about commercialism, and how everything is supposed to look and sound shiny, and clean, but we are still animals. When you look beneath the surface, and take away the house and suit, or have no money, people can be very uncivilized.


‘The Saint Became A Lush’ has become something of a signature song for PSYCHE. Do you remember much about the genesis of it and why do you think it still stands up today?

I’m not sure if it’s our signature song, we seem to have many iconic reference points depending on where you’re coming from. For some it’s ‘Eternal’, ‘Unveiling The Secret’, ‘The Brain Collapses’ or even ‘Misery’. The significance of ‘The Saint Became A Lush’ for me however is the idea of an eight verse poem inspired by HP Lovecraft overtop of a danceable Horror Movie-like soundtrack.

Yes, that is a fairly defining sound for PSYCHE, and I think it’s like the darker relative to ‘Unveiling The Secret’. Many think the main sequence sounds like ‘Tubular Bells’ from MIKE OLDFIELD, and there may be some element of that as it was used in ‘The Exorcist’ movie which my brother loved. It’s also inspired by JOY DIVISION, as I was really going for the sound of a world weary preacher, and channelling the voice of Ian Curtis for that.

The song was one of the first written for the second album as we were already performing it as early as 1986. The atmosphere of foreboding that it creates while still being danceable I think is what makes it stand out above the average so called Electronic Body Music Of The day.

Along with RATIONAL YOUTH and MEN WITHOUT HATS, PSYCHE were trailblazers for Canadian electronic pop, but Canada now appears to be the hotbed of electronic based talent. Have you had the opportunity to listen to artists like TR/ST, PURITY RING, AUSTRA, ELECTRIC YOUTH, PARALLELS and MECHA MEIKO?

I’ve heard TR/ST and AUSTRA, but to be honest many artists that came after the Witch House movement kind of lost me. I’ll have to check out the others you mentioned, but basically these days we are discovering news sounds on occasion through artists that open for us at certain events or by browsing Bandcamp and YouTube where I fell in love with ADAM USI, IN MIRRORS, and recently discovered CARLA DAL FORNO by accident while browsing in an alternative record store.

Most people may already know some of these people before I take notice. I have a love / hate relationship with most electronic newcomers especially whenever I’m told they’re the next big thing. PURITY RING actually wrote some songs for Katy Perry’s last album, so I’m a little sceptical of that!

Photo by Alain Duplantier

You covered ‘Ring The Bells’ brilliantly for the ‘Heresy: A Tribute To RATIONAL YOUTH’ album, why did you pick that song and how did you go about reinterpreting it?

I wanted to the album track that had the most melancholic mood. My choices were ‘I Want To See The Light’ or ‘Ring The Bells’ primarily. We actually had already covered ‘City Of Night’ for a US compilation, but I wanted a song that I could imagine as PSYCHE while paying homage to my feeling of hearing RATIONAL YOUTH for the first time.

To be honest, this was the first thing I recorded after my brother’s death. I had spent over half a year remastering our first three albums, and really didn’t want to think about doing new music for a while. Doing a RATIONAL YOUTH song was a relief and a catharsis for me. The lyrics also have nothing to do with this theme and yet I sang them with the loss of my brother in mind, and managed to give voice to my pain while honoring one of my favourite synth artists, and friend.

Photo by Simon Helm

Has social media been a blessing or curse for PSYCHE in the 21st Century?

Well as Napster and Soul Seek were some of the first things out there, it was pretty scary. Then Megaupload and Bit Torrent made it even more terrifying. These days the good and the bad between YouTube, Spotify, Amazon, iTunes, and Bandcamp keep a constant balance. I’d say I have slowly adapted starting with MySpace in 2004, and navigating through all the changes to stay on my path to date.

Ironically, this is the exact same period that I didn’t make a new album, so maybe it’ll all make sense by the time I do. I’ve had a good time with the vinyl trend, and started getting used to streaming to the point where I would say the curse has been lifted, and the DIY mentality of the early punk days has finally come of age through digital. I would say it that’s a blessing. The curse is only I fear no more iconic artists on the level of Madonna, or the likes of Leonard Cohen.

How are you psyched up about playing in London with RATIONAL YOUTH and PAGE this September? What sort of setlist are you planning?

I am thrilled that we are coming to London after such a long time, and especially on the eve of SOFT CELL’s farewell concert. I really hope the people appreciate what they’ll experience. We will be thinking of something special, and focusing on our 80s highlights. Wait and see…

For those who are curious and may be discovering PSYCHE for the first time, what would be the five songs you would suggest they check out and why?

1. ‘The Brain Collapses’ – this is obviously the roots of our sound, the dark side and yet a somewhat poppy chorus. The strings, the Korg Mono/Poly, driving bass sequences, dramatic vocals. A good start for the early PSYCHE styles.

2. ‘The Outsider’ / ‘Eternal’ – have to put them together as I feel they are essential highlights from ‘Mystery Hotel’, the softer, but somewhat psychedelic side of PSYCHE as Synthpop.

3. ‘Unveiling The Secret’ / ‘The Saint Became A Lush’ – also can’t decide. They are both defining styles for PSYCHE, and live from the main melodies with the poetic lyrics over the soundtrack atmospherics. A definitive part of the PSYCHE legacy.

4. ‘Goodbye Horses’ – I hate to admit it, but this particular cover version of Q LAZZARUS has expanded our audience and given another nuance to our repertoire.

5. ‘Youth Of Tomorrow’ – I am quite proud of our new song because I feel it contains all the elements of intrinsic PSYCHE. The lyrics, my singing style, and the arrangement are something that we do in a very special way, so I’d be just as happy to be discovered though this new song.

What’s next for PSYCHE?

We’re still working on new material. Either a new EP will come first and then an album, or other surprises and collaborations. I’m at the point where I like to let things happen, and see if we can explore new territories where people appreciate our music.


ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its warmest thanks to Darrin Huss

Special thanks to Simon Helm at Cold War Night Life

‘Youth Of Tomorrow’ and a selection of the PSYCHE back catalogue is available direct from https://psyche.bandcamp.com

PSYCHE, RATIONAL YOUTH + PAGE will perform at ‘Non-Stop Electronic Cabaret’ on Saturday 29th September 2018 at The Islington in London. Presented by Cold War Night Life – tickets available from https://billetto.co.uk/e/non-stop-electronic-cabaret-with-rational-youth-page-and-psyche-tickets-300983

http://www.psyche-hq.de

https://www.facebook.com/Psyche/

https://twitter.com/Psyche_HQ


Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
16th August 2018

TECHNOMANCER The Outsider EP

What do ZONE TRIPPER, LABORATORY 5 and TECHNOMANCER have in common? Simple, it’s the EBM / Futurepop producer Alyxx J Digre and her supercharged world of synthpopia.

Based in Sarpsborg, Norway, the Lady Of Darkness has always been into synths and guitars, and hell bent on making it big in the music industry, she kept perfecting her producing skills until she hooked up with Per Aksel Lundgreen (ANGST POP, APOPTYGMA BERZERK, CRONOS TITAN, CHINESE DETECTIVES, SHATOO) to produce ‘Ødipus Rex 2012’.

2013 saw the first album by TECHNOMANCER, and the continuous remixes with Lundgreen, but Digre also likes to work with the legendary Stephan Groth from APOPTYGMA BERZERK. And indeed, both electro kings are featured on the newest release from the cold Norway girl; ‘The Outsider’, where we are seeing a four song tribute to the acts that TECHNOMANCER and Co consider valid.

Previously released, ‘The Outsider’ is taken from ‘A Tribute To PSYCHE’ and ‘I’ve Got A Sister In The Navy’ comes from ‘Heredity – A Tribute To RATIONAL YOUTH’. Additionally we are served newly recorded cover versions of ULTRAVOX’s ‘Sleepwalk’ and a vintage DM classic ‘Puppets’.

The opening ‘Puppets’ features the synth magician Groth of APOP who eagerly participated; “I would love to be a part of this” he said, “I know just what to add”. Groth came up with additional synths and vocals as they agreed that “Depeche Mode have been done to death, but the idea was to do a cover of them from the time they were really good, and get that old feeling back!” – and they sure did.

ANGST POP features on the RATIONAL YOUTH favourite ‘Sister In The Navy’ and with its catchy hooks, is a classic return back to the synthesizer’s heyday. ‘Sleepwalk’ retains the classic ULTRAVOX vibe with an almost robotic voice and doesn’t go far from the original, which became the first single from the ‘Vienna’ album. Softly updated to a faster version it simply works.

PSYCHE’s cult hit ‘The Outsider’ takes a second viewing with a faster paced, busier rhythm, with added guitar and gritty synth, which detract from the super dark original, keeping in with the gloomy moods all the same.

Whether you like covers or not, TECHNOMANCER did their homework here, paying homage to in their minds, the greatest synth acts during their golden age, and if the whole thing manages it with APOP stamp all over it, then all the better!


‘The Outsider EP’ is released by Subculture Records and available via the usual digital platforms or direct from https://technomancer.bandcamp.com/album/the-outsider-ep

http://www.technomancer.no

https://www.facebook.com/technomancermusic/


Text by Monika Izabela Trigwell
Cover Artwork Photography by Petra Rönnholm
Live Photo by Steven Stieng
5th July 2018

30 Lost Obscure Alternatives Of The 45 RPM Era

Vinyl still holds a special affection with the emotional attachment given to a piece of music captured on bit of plastic almost unparralled.

So here are 30 synth friendly obscure alternatives from the era when vinyl was king, which for whatever reason, have been lost in the mists of time. These are great but obscure singles and album tracks from places as far flung as Australia, Japan and Canada that were overlooked at their time of release in the UK.

Please note that acts who nearly made it but have since been featured on ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK like B-MOVIE, BLUE ZOO, DRAMATIS, THE FALLOUT CLUB, FATAL CHARM, FIAT LUX, HARD CORPS,  THE MOOD, OUR DAUGHTER’S WEDDINGVICE VERSAVIENNA and WHITE DOOR along with solo artists Robert Marlow and Paul Haig have not been included on this list.

The songs which all deserve critical reappraisal are listed by year and then in alphabetical order…


PLASTIC BERTRAND Tout Petit La Planète (1978)

Although best known for his pseudo-punk hit ‘Ça Plane Pour Moi’, the Belgian BILLY IDOL recorded this superb electronic Eurodisco single with vocoders galore that would have done Giorgio Moroder and Cerrone and SPACE proud. ‘Tout Petit La Planète’ featured a template that would be later borrowed by many Italo disco records. Featuring Dan Lacksman of fellow Belgians TELEX on synths, they released their own robotic cover of ‘Ça Plane Pour Moi’ shortly after.

Available on the album ‘Greatest Hits’ via Horvergnugen Records

http://www.plasticbertrand.com


DALEK I Destiny (1980)

Pre-OMD, the synth duo on The Wirral was DALEK I LOVE YOU. However, by the time their debut album ‘Compass/Kum’pas’ was released, OMD were already having hits and keyboards man Dave Hughes left to join their live band. Shortening their name, ‘Destiny’ was their most accessible song with a precise KRAFTWERK percussive appeal, while Alan Gill’s vocals were eccentrically nasal. Hughes left OMD to form GODOT with Kevin Hartley who later joined DALEK I LOVE YOU!

Available on the album ‘Compass/Kum’Pas’ via Mercury Records

http://www.discogs.com/artist/Dalek+I


DIE DORAUS & DIE MARINAS Fred Vom Jupiter (1981)

The project of German musician Andreas Dorau, ‘Fred Vom Jupiter’ was a quirky curio released as a single in the UK by Mute, created during a project week at the Otto-Hahn-Gesamtschule in Hamburg. The then 16 year old Dorau composed the music while fellow students Natalia Munoz Valderrama, Nicole Kahl and Birgit Mensur provided the lyrics about a “very attractive and also very muscular” Kosmonaut; the vocals came from a quintet of school girls during a far more innocent time.

Available on the album ‘Hauptsache Ich – Retrospektive 1981-2014’ via Bureau B

https://www.facebook.com/andreasdorau/


FOX Electro People (1981)

FOX were Kenny Young and kooky Australian singer Noosha Fox. They had numerous hits like ‘S-S-S-Single Bed’ but disbanded in 1977. The pair reunited for ‘Electro People’, written as the theme music for ‘The Kenny Everett Show’ which came over like a quirky Middle Eastern flavoured synthpop take on ALTERED IMAGES in a tribute to Synth Britannia; altogether now: “Ultra-Human-Depeche Mode-Tubeway-Kraftwerk-Soft-Manoeuvres-Gary-Orchestal-Army-Duran-League”!

Available on the album ‘Images ’74-’84’ via Cherry Red

https://www.discogs.com/artist/356308-Fox-3


IPPU DO Time Of The Season (1981)

The success of the band JAPAN gave a number of opportunities for Japanese musicians to show off their talents. One was Masami Tsuchiya of IPPU DO whose eccentric wailing guitar style coupled with German electronic influences caught the attention of David Sylvian who invited him to join JAPAN for their final tour. ‘Time Of The Season’ is a brilliant pentatonic take on the old ZOMBIES hit with mad warbling vocals and frantic percussion to produce a startlingly original cover version.

Available on the album ‘Essence: The Best of’ via Sony Music Japan

http://lifeintokyo.net/familytree_tsuchiya.html


MATHÉMATIQUES MODERNES Disco Rough (1981)

Comprising of Claude Arto and Edwige Belmore, the pair emerged from the Parisian club scene with their arty nouveau music. On ‘Disco Rough’, pulsing synths and staccato vocals were punctuated by unusual stabs of sax. Their only album ‘Les Visiteurs Du Soir’ fused filmic strings and brass sections with electronic backing and baroque melodies. Sadly both Arto and Belmore have passed away, but have left their mark via Gallic tinged duos STEREO TOTAL and MISS KITTIN & THE HACKER.

Available on the album ‘Les Visiteurs Du Soir’ via Celluloid Records

https://www.discogs.com/artist/45920-Mathématiques-Modernes


JAH WOBBLE, JAKI LIEBEZEIT & HOLGER CZUKAY How Much Are They? (1981)

Although dominated by PUBLIC IMAGE LIMITED refugee Wobble’s full-on bass, his icy synth flourishes alongside Czukay’s chattering beatbox and Dictaphone were essentials to the wonderful machine dub of ‘How Much Are They?’ while Liebezeit added some abstract avant garde trumpet. Originally featuring on the ‘Trench Warfare’ EP, the music was dedicated to JOY DIVISION’s Ian Curtis and a fitting instrumental celebration of his enigmatic aura.

Available on the album ’12” 80s Alternative’ (V/A) via UMC

http://jahwobble.com/

http://www.czukay.com/


E.M.A.K. Filmmusik (1982)

E.M.A.K. stands for Elektronische Musik Aus Köln and was a technology based sound project by Kurt Mill and Matthias Becker using a similar visual aesthetic to NEU!  Using strict motorik rhythm programming and incessant pulsing sequences, ‘Filmmusik’ was a fine example of the instrumental blueprint of Michael Rother and Klaus Dinger synthesized for the new decade. This template was later borrowed by SIMPLE MINDS on ‘Androgyny’ and ORBITAL on ‘Pants’.

Available on the album ‘A Synthetic History Of’ via Soul Jazz Records

http://www.discogs.com/artist/EMAK


PETER GODWIN Images Of Heaven (1982)

A member of the group METRO, Peter Godwin was well placed for success as a regular visitor to The Blitz Club and mate of MIDGE URE who produced his debut solo single ‘Torch Songs For The Heroine’. ‘Images Of Heaven’ was a big potential hit single with chunky synths and dominant Simmons drums from ULTRAVOX’s Warren Cann. Despite not reaching the charts, Godwin had his bank balance enhanced in 1983 when David Bowie covered his song ‘Criminal World’ on the ‘Let’s Dance’ album.

Available on the album ‘Images of Heaven’ via Phoenix Recordings

http://www.facebook.com/PeterGodwinFans


IGNATIUS JONES Like A Ghost (1982)

Despite Australian Top 5 success in JIMMY & THE BOYS, Ignatius Jones went solo and released ‘Like A Ghost’. Like Gary Numan lost in the Outback,  the song was written by Steve Kilbey of THE CHURCH whose ‘Walking Under The Milky Way’ appeared on the ‘Donnie Darko’ soundtrack. He also recorded a cover of Jules Shear’s ‘Whispering Your Name’ which was a hit for Alison Moyet in 1994. Latterly, Jones directed the closing ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Originally released as a single by WEA Records, currently unavailable

http://www.discogs.com/artist/Ignatius+Jones


LEISURE PROCESS Love Cascade (1982)

Featuring Ross Middleton and Gary Barnacle with production by Martin Rushent, ‘Love Cascade’ is the missing link between PETE SHELLEY and THE HUMAN LEAGUE.  The vocals are virtually unintelligible as the clattering LinnDrum, pulsing synths, squawky guitar and sax merge together for a cool dancefloor friendly tune that’s full of the decadent spirit of the times. LEISURE PROCESS released three more singles on Epic Records before splitting.

12 inch version available on the album ‘Retro: Active Vol 5’ (V/A) via Hi-Bias Records Canada

http://www.discogs.com/artist/Leisure+Process


POEME ELECTRONIQUE The Echoes Fade (1982)

The project of David Hewson, POEME ELECTRONIQUE was very much a family affair, as it also involved brother Les Hewson  plus cousins Julie Ruler and Sharon Abbott. The spacey synthpop coupled to a vocal template crossing Grace Jones and ABBA caught the ear of John Peel. Returning in 2007, the material they recorded back in the day was finally issued, while members of the combo also appeared as part of Anglo-German collective TWINS NATALIA.

Available on the album ‘The Echoes Fade’ via Hwesonics

http://www.poeme-electronique.com/


SANDII &THE SUNSETZ  Living On The Front Line (1982)

Another Japanese act who got a leg up from David Sylvian was the beautifully voluptuous Sandii O’Neale and her band of men THE SUNSETZ whose first album together ‘Heat Scale’ was produced by Haruomi Hosono of YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA. Opening for JAPAN on their final tour in 1982, this dreamily percussive ditty featured Sylvian’s lyrics and vocals; when he harmonised with Sandii’s KATE BUSH-like tones, it was the ultimate marriage of West and East, both wonderfully cultured and coutured!

Available on the album ‘Immigrants’ via Alfa Records Japan

http://www.sandii.info


BOX OF TOYS I’m Thinking Of You Now (1983)

Like a cross between their Merseyside neighbours OMD and CHINA CRISIS, BOX OF TOYS were mix of synths and woodwinds with a prominent percussive attack. The majestic vocals have almost an English choir boy quality and dominate the track. A strange romantic warmth comes across with images of meadows, forests and blue skies. Its moody follow up ‘Precious In The Pearl’ almost 34 years on now sounds like the prototype version of MIRRORS!

Originally released as a single by Inevitable Records, currently unavailable

http://music-isms.blogspot.com/2008/01/box-of-toys-3d-light-1982-1986.html


CARE My Boyish Days (1983)

When THE WILD SWANS split, two thirds formed THE LOTUS EATERS while its singer Paul Simpson teamed up with producer Ian Broudie. Combining strummed acoustic guitars with strong synthesizer melodies and melancholic vocals, ‘My Boyish Days’ had a very traditional feel despite the incumbent technology. But the duo split before their debut album was completed. Simpson reformed THE WILD SWANS while Broudie became THE LIGHTNING SEEDS.

12 inch version available on the album ‘Diamonds & Emeralds’ via Camden/BMG Records

http://music-isms.blogspot.com/2007/12/care-singles-1983-1984.html


ENDGAMES Love Cares (1983)

The success of ABC and HEAVEN 17 heralded a new age of technologically enhanced blue-eyed soul. One band with aspirations in that field were ENDGAMES. The Glawegian combo had European support slots with Howard Jones and EURYTHMICS. ‘Love Cares’ was like a funky CHINA CRISIS walking into the recording of ‘The Lexicon Of Love’. By pure coincidence, singer David Rudden had a passing resemblance to CHINA CRISIS’ Gary Daly!

Originally released as a single on Virgin Records, currently unavailable

https://www.discogs.com/artist/50709-Endgames


MATT FRETTON It’s So High (1983)

Fans of DEPECHE MODE’s post Vince Clarke pop period may remember a skinny lad in a pink suit who was their support act through 1983 to 1984. ‘It’s So High’ was a catchy tune 6/8 time featuring a strong synth bassline, big band brass and backing vocals by Eddi Reader. Alas, Fretton was dropped by Chrysalis despite getting a Smash Hits front cover. He became a classical music promoter, but sadly took his own life in 2013 following the tragic passing of his partner Sussie Ahlburg.

Originally released as a single by Chrysalis Records, currently unavailable

https://www.discogs.com/artist/86051-Matt-Fretton


INDIANS IN MOSCOW Miranda (1983)

Led by the vivacious Adele Nozdar, INDIANS IN MOSCOW were a kind of TRANSVISION VAMP with synths. ‘Miranda’ was a macabre tale about a psychotic girl murdering her criminally minded father. A crisp production came from Nigel Gray who worked with THE POLICE and SIOUXSIE & THE BANSHEES. An irritating-to-the-point-of-catchy synth portamento combined with Adele’s ghoulish scream provided a unique if polarising take on electronic pop.

Available on the album ‘Indians in Moscow’ via Planet Of Sound

http://www.indiansinmoscow.com


THE LOTUS EATERS You Don’t Need Someone New (1983)

‘You Don’t Need Someone New’ was neither a hit nor originally included on THE LOTUS EATERS’ debut album ‘Sense Of Sin’. More synth dominated than ‘The First Picture of You’, it was produced by Alan Tarney who went on to work his magic on A-HA’s ‘Take On Me’ and ‘The Sun Always Shines On TV’. With hints of CHINA CRISIS, this was wonderfully light and even came in a picture disc with a real flower pressed into it! But the band wanted a purer sound and dropped Tarney as producer.

Available on the album ‘No Sense Of Sin’ via Cherry Red Records

http://thelotuseaters.com/


MARTHA Light Years From Love (1983)

The stunning Martha Ladly was more than just a pretty face; she was a musician, vocalist, artist and designer. Following her stints with MARTHA & THE MUFFINS, ASSOCIATES and doing paintings for Peter Saville’s NEW ORDER sleeve artwork, she teamed up with fellow Canadian Brett Wickens on this charming pop tune that echoed THE HUMAN LEAGUE’s ‘Open Your Heart’. Peter Hook provided his distinctive melodic six-string bass and dynamic production came from Steve Nye.

Originally released as a single by Island Records, currently unavailable

http://samemistakesmusic.blogspot.com/2009/01/charmed-life-of-martha-ladly_22.html


RATIONAL YOUTH Holiday In Bangkok (1983)

The classic RATIONAL YOUTH line-up of Tracy Howe, Bill Vorn and Kevin Komoda gained acclaim for their 1982 debut album ‘Cold War Night Life’, which became one of the biggest-selling Canadian independent albums at the time and secured a deal with Capitol Records. However, Vorn left to continute his university studies, but contributed synth programming to this typically overwrought warning about the dangers of drug running.

Originally released on the EP ‘Rational Youth’ by Capitol Records, re-recorded version available on the album ‘Heredity’ via Capitol Records

https://rational-youth.com/


SEONA DANCING More To Lose (1983)

Pre-fame Ricky Gervais with his university pal Bill McRae came up with a pretentious name, donned New Romantic togs and delivered the kind of stereotypical synthpop that was being satirised by ‘Not The Nine O’Clock News’. While it’s not exactly the most original work of the period, it fared well in the tuneage department and became a cult favourite in The Philippines! Comedian Paul Merton later sarcastically remarked to Gervais on ‘Room 101’: “David Bowie’s nicked all your stuff!”

Extended Mix available on the album ‘Retro: Active Vol 5’ (V/A) via Hi-Bias Canada

http://www.rickygervais.com/


S.P.K. Metal Dance (1983)

‘Blue Monday’ met EINSTÜRZE NEUBAUTEN in this electronic metal bashing extravaganza featuring vocals by Sinan Leong. Robotic sequencers and found objects were both equally prominent in the mix of ‘Metal Dance’. Much more musical than their German counterparts, this group of Aussies named after the radical Marxist group Sozialistisches Patientenkollektiv provided a danceable interpretation of musique concrete and collapsing new buildings. Stark and scary!

Available on the album ‘Trevor Jackson Presents Metal Dance’ (V/A) via Strut Records

https://www.facebook.com/SPKindustrial/


EYELESS IN GAZA Sunbursts In (1984)

Nuneaton’s artful musical duo of Martyn Bates and Peter Becker described their music as “veering crazily from filmic ambiance to rock and pop, industrial funk to avant-folk styles”. Always more of a cult proposition, ‘Sunbursts In’ was EYELESS IN GAZA’s most commercial offering, sounding like a cross between prime TEARS FOR FEARS and OMD. A synthetic brass riff compliments a strong if nasally vocal, driven by a stuttering drum machine sound.

Available on the album ‘The Cherry Red Vintage Collection’ on Cherry Red Records

http://www.eyelessingaza.com


THOMAS LEER International – Global Mix  (1984)

THOMAS LEER InternationalLeer was a reluctant electro pioneer who first came to prominence in 1978 with ‘Private Plane’. A song called ‘International’ was its B-side but this was a completely different composition altogether. ‘International’ appeared to be a pleasant song about jetsetting, but was actually a social commentary about the trafficking heroin across the continents, telling of “travelling across the world, selling it to boys and girls… a secret compartment holds the Chinese white”.

Available on the album: ‘Scale Of Ten’ via BMG Records

http://www.thomasleer.co.uk/


BILL NELSON Acceleration – US Remix (1984)

The former BE BOP DELUXE guitarist took an early interest in synths and drum machines after going solo and while he always had the legacy of David Bowie hanging over him, he was a fine exponent of the E-Bow. This allowed solos to merge in with electronics without standing out in a clichéd rockist manner. ‘Acceleration’ was his energetic flirtation with the dancefloor and benefited from this US remix by John Luongo.

Available on the album ‘Chimera’ via UMC

http://www.billnelson.com


VITAMIN Z Circus Ring (1985)

TEARS FOR FEARS and A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS had demonstrated that a rock guitar oriented sound seasoned by modern electronics could do wonders across the Atlantic on MTV. Sheffield’s VITAMIN Z were one of the bands who showed some spark, ‘Circus Ring’ sounding like a cross between TEARS FOR FEARS and ICEHOUSE. A support slot with Midge Ure raised hopes of success but it was not to be. However, vocalist Geoff Barradale now manages ARCTIC MONKEYS!

Available on the album ‘Rites Of Passage’ via Renaissance Records USA

http://pages.interlog.com/%7Edolphind/vitz.html


PSYCHE The Saint Became A Lush (1986)

Hailing from Ontario, darkwavers PSYCHE comprised of brothers Darrin and Stephen Huss who  were one of the main trailblazers for independent electronic music in North America. The magnificent sweeping blip drama of ‘The Saint Became A Lush’ was probably the pinnacle of their creative partnership with a suitably detached vocal performance from the older sibling. Stephen sadly passed away in 2015 but Darrin Huss, now based in Germany, continues as PSYCHE with Stefan Rabura.

Available on the album ‘Unveiling The Secret’ via Artoffact Records

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


TWO PEOPLE Heaven (1987)

An earlier single ‘Mouth Of An Angel’ had been produced by Martin Rushent, but TWO PEOPLE’s sound was more typical of a conventional duo dressed with synths like CHINA CRISIS. ‘Heaven’ sounded like THE LOTUS EATERS fused with THE TEARDROP EXPLODES. With punchy brass, aspirational lyrics and modern production by Chris Porter, this was a perfect pop song in anyone’s ears but failed to catch the imagination of the record buying public despite radio airplay.

Originally released as a single by Polydor Records, currently unavailable

http://www.discogs.com/artist/Two+People


WHEN IN ROME The Promise (1988)

WHEN IN ROME were vocalists Clive Farrington and Andrew Mann with keyboardist Michael Floreale. The oddly styled trio’s ‘The Promise’ was a glorious cross between ULTRAVOX and THE WALKER BROTHERS. It failed to gain a UK chart foothold, but was used in the 2004 cult movie ‘Napoleon Dynamite’. However, the renewed interest only heightened tensions between the estranged vocal and instrumental factions, with each laying claim to the name…

Available on the album ‘When In Rome’ via Virgin Records

https://www.facebook.com/FarringtonMannUK/

http://wheninrome2.com/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
14th September 2017

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