Tag: Rotersand

NTTX Of Beauty & Chaos

Deep into his love of EBM, the Toronto based Gord Clement, known as NTTX, has made a comeback to follow up his first EP, ‘Objective’.

Known to the die-hard fans of DEPECHE MODE for his infamous cover of ‘New Dress’, with its beefed up, stomp beats and a politically charged change of lyrics (this time it’s Princess Kate, with an adequate video for good measure), the Canadian, formerly the singer and songwriter of ATOMZERO, ushers in some more heavy sounds on newly released ‘Of Beauty & Chaos’.

Since his departure from ATOMZERO, Clement has been utilising his strong vocal over some FRONT 242 inspired tunes, and the present offering is a good example of his harsher ear teasers.

The opening ‘Move Dark’ brings out the Doc Martens and isn’t at all suitable for the gentle synth lover. ‘Prey’ continues with a further dose of the “to be used responsibly” on the dance floor; it has some interesting elements to it, similar to the following ‘True’, which bears more refined concepts, along with almost vintage electronica in the choruses.

The EP’s gem however, is the slower tempo ‘Earth’. A synth ballad of sorts, not shying from a gentle guitar, it’s almost like AND ONE on ‘Virgin Superstar’. It’s as if Clement spent a month at a German retreat with Steve Naghavi, the latter playing the role of the master.

Enter ROTERSAND on the rework of ‘Falls Beautiful’. Clement’s voice on this one feels more redirected and manly, and it raises in line with the upward feel of the track. NITZER EBB-y in places, PRODIGY-like in others, this truly is a fascinating mix of what can be achieved when working outside of the otherwise laborious EBM genre.

Clearly loving his covers, the closing rework of the FM rock biggie ‘Eye Of The Tiger’ begs the question as to “why?”

Not the classiest of renditions, because the SURVIVOR’s version can’t be beaten, certainly not when bumped up to the industrial status, but clearly Clement had some fun there.

If you love your EBM, you’ll love this, but the feeling persists that NTTX may be a little more than an industrial monkey; the clear examples being ‘Earth’ and ‘Falls Beautiful’.

A very strong vocal presence and some interesting ideas place the man from Toronto well above many, and perhaps on the next outing, the audiences will hear something spectacular. After all, the Canadians have a long history with the good old synth…


‘Of Beauty & Chaos’ is released by WTII Records as a download EP, available from https://wtiirecords.bandcamp.com/album/of-beauty-and-chaos-2

http://www.nttxmusic.com/

https://www.facebook.com/nttxmusic/

https://twitter.com/nttxmusic


Text by Monika Izabela Trigwell
5th August 2017

2016 End Of Year Review

What In the World…

tec2016review-mopho2016 will forever be remembered as the year when a significant number of cultural icons and popular musical figures left us; DAVID BOWIE, PRINCE, TOMITA, PETE BURNS, COLIN VERNCOMBE, KEITH EMERSON, DON BUCHLA and LEONARD COHEN were just some of the names who sadly departed.

But despite sadness that loomed, the year did produce some good music, particularly in the second half of the year.

GARY NUMAN launched an ambitious Pledge Music campaign and released some excellent collaborations with JOHN FOXX & THE MATHS, JEAN-MICHEL JARRE and TITÁN. But with his retrospective tour of material from his three most popular albums taking up much of his year, his new crowdfunded album did not meet its planned October release deadline.

jarreyello2016Meanwhile JEAN-MICHEL JARRE had an excess of material and issued the second volume of his ‘Electronica’ project which also featured YELLO and PET SHOP BOYS, plus a third instalment to his classic opus ‘Oxygène’.

YELLO and PET SHOP BOYS also released new albums to a positive reception, proving again that partnerships featuring personnel over the age of 60 can still create music that is fresh and relevant.

Incidentally, one of YELLO’s young vocalists FIFI RONG continued to maintain her artistic profile with successful campaigns for her releases ‘Forbidden Desires’ and ‘Alone’.

Hannah-Peel-2016-042016 saw two concept albums emerge in ‘The Ship’ from BRIAN ENO, a solemn art piece with poignant anti-war messages and ‘Awake But Always Dreaming’, a very personal musical statement by HANNAH PEEL on the traumas of dementia. It was a busy year for Miss Peel with her also contributing her voice to BEYOND THE WIZARDS SLEEVE and JOHN FOXX & THE MATHS, as well as showcasing her own MARY CASIO side project.

WRANGLER released a new album ‘White Glue’ which exuded a less rigid format compared to its predecessor ‘LA Spark’ and collaborated with JOHN GRANT at the Rough Trade 40 live celebrations, while the prolific Neil Arthur issued another new BLANCMANGE album in ‘Commuter 23’ while also launching a new side project NEAR FUTURE with BERNHOLZ.

midgerusty-2012The Manchester veteran ERIC RANDOM issued ‘Words Made Flesh’, the second album of his recent return to the music while RUSTY EGAN finally presented ‘Welcome To The Dancefloor’ which despite its title, was actually a collection of classic styled synthpop. After many years of trials and tribulations for the co-founder of VISAGE, the long player featuring MIDGE URE, TONY HADLEY and CHRIS PAYNE who co-wrote ‘Fade to Grey’ exceeded expectations.

Space travel and synths were just made to go together, so JØTA and VANGELIS conceived projects covering The Cold War space race and the more recent Rosetta probe respectively. Meanwhile, WHITE LIES again showed they are as synthy as they are guitary on their ‘Friends’ album, and even started to sound like A-HA!

Fellow blog Cold War Night Life released ‘Heresy: A Tribute to RATIONAL YOUTH’ which featured PSYCHE and MACHINISTA as well as the Canadian trailblazers themselves. Meanwhile Ireland staked its claim as a new territory for synthpop talent; CIRCUIT3 ‘siliconchipsuperstar’, TINY MAGNETIC PETS ‘The NATO Alphabet’ and EMBRACE THE CRISIS ‘Black Heart’ were good examples of what was on offer from the Emerald Isle.

Over in the UK, VILE ELECTRODES, SPRAY and ANALOG ANGEL all released new albums. There were long awaited long players too from SHELTER and SINESTAR, but these suffered when compared to respective acts from Sweden, JOHAN BAECKSTRÖM and PRESENCE OF MIND.

So again, Sweden still proved it was special with SILENT WAVE and MY GOD DAMN TERRITORY exhibiting varying degrees of potential. But it was REIN in particular who was causing a stir within the ranks of EBM, while the country’s best kept secret KITE toured North America and Asia. However, neither of these two latter artists figured in the line-up of Gothenburg’s Electronic Summer 2016 festival.

The Nordic region saw the welcome return of VILLA NAH with the album ‘Ultima’ after a five year absence, while TRENTEMØLLER made the case again as to why he is still the perfect producer for DEPECHE MODE with his new long player ‘Fixion’.

However, Norwegian acts APOPTYGMA BERZERK and ELECTRO SPECTRE ensured the Swedes, Finns and Danes did not have it all their own way.

Greece was still the word with LIEBE, KID MOXIE and MARSHEAUX all presenting brand new releases, while SARAH P. maintained her profile with a series of inventive promo videos highlighting the ongoing issues of equality for women within the music industry. Embracing the same issue on the other side of the Atlantic, I AM SNOW ANGEL immersed herself in setting up the FEMALE FREQUENCY collective while also releasing her own music.

2016 was a good year for female acts with EMIKA, KALEIDA, ANI GLASS, THE HEARING, KITE BASE, KATJA VON KASSEL, HOLOGRAM TEEN and VOI VANG among those making a positive impression. There was also ‘SVIIB’, the final album from SCHOOL OF SEVEN BELLS and the emergence of CHRISTINE & THE QUEENS, while LADYHAWKE remembered what a good album sounded like with ‘Wild Things’.

night-club-requiem-for-romance-2016Over in LA, NIGHT CLUB developed on the promise of their EP trilogy and got a bit heavier on their debut long player ‘Requiem For Romance’, ending up sounding not unlike Britney fronting NINE INCH NAILS in the process!

After gestation periods of nearly six years, both EKKOES and THE MYSTIC UNDERGROUND finally released their debut albums.

Meanwhile the instrumental front, Texan couple HYPERBUBBLE provided some ‘Music To Color By’, Brussels duo METROLAND touchingly paid tribute to their late friend Louis Zachert with ‘Things Will Never Sound The Same Again’ and ULRICH SCHNAUSS went ‘No Further Ahead Than Today’. And MOBY offered a gift to profound relaxation with his free ‘Long Ambients 1: Calm. Sleep.’ download package.

PERTURBATOR James Kent - Photo David FittPERTURBATOR’s ‘The Uncanny Valley’ became a flag bearer for the synth wave movement, along with the acclaimed soundtrack by SURVIVE members Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein for the absorbing Netflix drama ‘Stranger Things’.

Less well-received though was ‘2Square’ by VINCE CLARKE & PAUL HARTNOLL with its banal experiments in electro swing.

This was a supposed new dance sub-genre that in reality was just computerised jazz… nice! But one artist who did manage to pull off fusing synthpop and jazz successfully was DISQO VOLANTE.

New material from veterans MESH, AESTHETIC PERFECTION, ASSEMBLAGE 23, DE/VISION, IAMX, COVENANT and ROTERSAND kept the black clad European audiences happy, while MARI KATTMAN and BLACK NEEDLE NOISE added some trip-hop and rock edges respectively to their already dark templates. Expressing slightly less intensity were two surprise packages in Germany’s DAS BLAUE PALAIS with ‘Welt Am Draht’ and Canada’s DELERIUM with ‘Mythologie’.

marc-almond-blueBut totally unexpected was ‘Silver City Ride’, a full length electro album from MARC ALMOND in collaboration with STARCLUSTER featuring his most synth laden body of work since SOFT CELL.

The biggest surprise of 2016 was ‘Fly’ the soundtrack souvenir to ‘Eddie The Eagle’, the light hearted biopic of the bespectacled Olympic ski jumper; featuring new material by members of FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD, SOFT CELL, SPANDAU BALLET, ULTRAVOX, ERASURE and OMD in collaboration with TAKE THAT’s Gary Barlow, this looked like a terrible idea on paper.

But it was brilliantly executed and the resultant album was a largely enjoyable collection of retro flavoured pop.

Electronic acts actually got to headline the Glastonbury Festival in 2016, albeit on The Other Stage as opposed the main event; NEW ORDER and CHVRCHES wowed the crowds when they shared the bill on the Saturday night. There were rumours that KRAFTWERK and DEPECHE MODE might feature in 2017 but this was not to be, although both acts sent social media into overdrive when they announced major tours.

Among those accorded career spanning multi-disc boxed sets were ERASURE, MARC ALMOND, DEAD OR ALIVE and THE HUMAN LEAGUE. Somehow though, SIMPLE MINDS managed to milk a six disc variant of ‘New Gold Dream’ in the third of their classic album deluxe box editions; it was an amazing feat seeing as only ten songs were completed during the original sessions! The collection boasted no less than twelve takes of the aptly titled ‘Promised You A Miracle’; but the latest incarnation of the Glaswegians combo’ first big hit with KT TUNSTALL for their ‘Acoustic’ album proved to be one version too many.

Associates-dempsey-mackenzie-rankine-getty2Much better value for the money for the discerning music fan were the four ASSOCIATES double CD reissues, supervised by Alan Rankine and Michael Dempsey.

Based around their first three albums and a ‘Very Best Of’ compilation, each additionally featured a plethora of rare and previously unreleased songs; they were a fitting tribute to the late Billy MacKenzie.

Nostalgia was very much a part of 2016, with HEAVEN 17, OMD and PETER HOOK & THE LIGHT all touring popular albums. And following the success in recent years of retro festivals such as ‘Rewind’ and the strangely named ‘Let’s Rock’, classic synthpop finally found itself part of the holiday camp circuit.

Part of the Butlins Music Weekender series, ‘Electric Dreams’ featuring OMD, MARC ALMOND, HEAVEN 17, BLANCMANGE and HOLLY JOHNSON almost went badly off-piste with the addition of GO WEST and THE ZOMBIES (!?!) to the programme. But the organisers pulled an unexpected surprise and booked modern synth acts like MARSHEAUX and AVEC SANS to support the bill.

avec-sansHardened retro festival goers are notorious for not embracing new music, but this ethos has to be welcomed and could provide an interesting new model for the future of event based entertainment. However, based on photographic evidence, the presence of inflatable pink flamingos and coloured wigs indicated the crowd atmosphere might have been no different to any of the usual nostalgia outings, but with a roof and central heating added!

Elsewhere, the second ELECTRI-CITY CONFERENCE in Düsseldorf boasted yet another impressive line-up that read like a ‘Who’s Who?’ of electronic music with JOHN FOXX, DANIEL MILLER and MARK REEDER among those taking part in talks. One of the highlights of the weekend came with Mr Foxx chatting about working with the legendary Conny Plank.

And while MARSHEAUX, KID KASIO and RODNEY CROMWELL in Norwich was not in the same league, it was a fine showcase for the best in independent synthpop.

Both events proved again that the best electronic music events are those actually curated by electronic music enthusiasts, something that is not the case with several other events.

In all, 2016 was not a vintage year for electronic pop. If there was a lesson this year, it’s been to cherish and appreciate great life’s moments where possible, especially with the number of music figures that have been lost in the last 12 months.

Things cannot go on forever sadly…


ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK Contributor Listings 2016

PAUL BODDY

Best Album: PERTURBATOR The Uncanny Valley
Best Song: SOULWAX Transient Program for Drums & Machinery
Best Gig: JEAN-MICHEL JARRE at London O2 Arena
Best Video: BATTLE TAPES featuring PARTY NAILS Solid Gold
Most Promising New Act: VOX LOW


IAN FERGUSON

Best Album: VILE ELECTRODES In The Shadows Of Monuments
Best Song: ASSEMBLAGE 23 Barren
Best Gig: ASSEMBLAGE 23 at Denver Oriental Theatre
Best Video: I AM SNOW ANGEL Losing Face
Most Promising New Act: VOX LOW


SIMON HELM

Best Album: ERIC RANDOM Words Made Flesh
Best Song: RATIONAL YOUTH This Side Of The Border
Best Gig: Troika! featuring KITE BASE, HANNAH PEEL + I SPEAK MACHINE at Shacklewell Arms
Best Video: I AM SNOW ANGEL Losing Face
Most Promising New Act: ZANIAS


CHI MING LAI

Best Album: VILLA NAH Ultima
Best Song: VILE ELECTRODES The Vanished Past
Best Gig: JEAN-MICHEL JARRE at London O2 Arena
Best Video: BEYOND THE WIZARD’S SLEEVE Diagram Girl
Most Promising New Act: ANI GLASS


STEPHEN ROPER

Best Album: MARSHEAUX Ath.Lon
Best Song: RODNEY CROMWELL Baby Robot
Best Gig: GARY NUMAN at Norwich UEA
Best Video: MARSHEAUX Like A Movie
Most Promising New Act: DISQO VOLANTE


MONIKA IZABELA TRIGWELL

Best Album: APOPTYGMA BERZERK Exit Popularity Contest
Best Song: KID KASIO Full Moon Blue
Best Gig: SPEAK & SPELL at Islington Academy
Best Video: BLACK NEEDLE NOISE featuring JENNIE VEE Heaven
Most Promising New Act: JOHAN BAECKSTRÖM


Text by Chi Ming Lai
17th December 2016

ROTERSAND Capitalism TM

rotersand-capitalism-tm“ROTERSAND is a friend who has been accompanying you for a whole decade on your nocturnal hunt’s Post-Industrial amusement. ROTERSAND is the beast right beside you – twitching, stomping, finally leaping upon you and clinging to you. Want to take us home? The beast can also purr like a black cat if it wishes. The beauty and the beast: an insuperable antagonism? In ROTERSAND both melt into one with complex elegance.” says ROTERSAND’s website, enticing the listener to dive into their twisted world.

The enterprise came into existence in Germany in 2002, when Rascal Nikov joined forces with musician and producer Gunther Gerl.

It wasn’t until the duo expanded into a trio, with the inclusion of techno and electro underground producer Krischan Wesenberg, that their sound really came into its own. The first album, ‘Truth Is Fanatic’ quickly established the notorious threesome alongside ASSEMBLAGE 23, COVENANT and VNV NATION as the core of electro industrial genre. ‘Welcome To Goodbye’, ‘1023’ and ‘Random Is Resistance’ followed, each expanding and enriching ROTERSAND’s style, accompanied with their legendary live performances, which, to some, are the best on the scene.

Here comes the poignantly titled ‘Capitalism TM’, sporting a front cover of cryptic messages, including “you dwell in our matrix”, “like monkeys in a tree”, “controlled by informatics”, and “believing that you’re free”; each describing the realities of modern human existence in the controlled environment of today.

Indeed the single heralding the long player is the politically induced ‘Torn Realities’. While the anthemic production is larger than life, one cannot escape the signature Virus TI patch, which was previously used by DEPECHE MODE on ‘A Pain That I’m Used To’. That aside, the track is a perfect introduction to big sounding numbers present on this outing, like ‘Monopole’, reminiscent of vintage AND ONE, ‘Disagree’, being a traditional ROTERSAND, or the opener ‘Not Alone’, starting off gently just to open into a full-on trance extravaganza.

‘Hey You’, nautically oriented in texture, which incidentally pairs excellently with the latest album from COVENANT, ‘The Blinding Dark’ released on the same day as ‘Capitalism TM’, brings memories of PET SHOP BOYS’ productions, with an immense club feel and enticing synth.

rotersand‘It’s About Us’ attacks from the beginning, with infectious hooks and foot stomping qualities, mixing classic EBM and melodious details, canvassing the lyrical message of a “shift of paradigm”. The sound of the month, accented by randomised filter sequence on the title track again, this time boasts with influences going towards AND ONE again, ‘Virgin Superstar’-style. The cryptic messages from the album’s cover are included in the track, pointing again to its political context.

‘Welcome Home’ slows the tempo somewhat, with gloomy lyrical content and Numan-esque vocals, accompanied by exquisite drum rolls and systemic synth, igniting this otherwise calmer feel of the production.

The closing ‘Überload’ shows that the best has been saved for last. The digital age love story is unfolding upon us with harsh beats from the onset, intertwined with a gentle melody and more synth hymn-like qualities.

ROTERSAND have done what ROTERSAND do best. Larger than life anthems, stomping beats and trance induced comas are to be expected from the beginning to the end of ‘Capitalism TM’.

Who said a political message couldn’t be equally entertaining?


‘Capitalism TM’ is released by Trisol Records

http://rotersand.net/

https://www.facebook.com/rotersand/


Text by Monika Izabela Trigwell
9th November 2016