Tag: Softwave (Page 1 of 4)


Making up for lost time and revenue since 2020, the music industry really went to town on their various income streams in 2023…

Albums were being released in multiple coloured vinyl editions with the same content, sometimes as many as eight versions… while this helped in inflating physical chart positions for marketing purposes, it also gave an incorrect perception of success. As Stephen Morris from NEW ORDER once remarked to Smash Hits back in 1983: “If you believe in the charts, then you may as well believe in fairies…”

With Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino declaring that concert ticket prices were generally too low and that artists could easily “charge a bit more”, this was exactly what quite a few did and there was a noticeable price hike observed across all levels over the year.

But what about the music? This year’s song listing was quite straightforward to compile, with a smaller shortlist compared to previous years with DURAN DURAN, KITE, PISTON DAMP, LEATHERS, DELERIUM and LADYTRON missing the final 30.

Just a note that ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK has never compiled an albums list, due to long form releases now having a much longer gestation period than in the past. Therefore, songs are a much better representation of the music from a calendar year. If you like the song, then check out the parent album or EP if applicable via your chosen music platform…

Selected from tracks available on the usual online retail platforms with a restriction of one song per artist moniker (so yes NINA, John Grant,  Finlay Shakespeare and Laura Bailey each appear twice but in different combinations), here are the ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK’s 30 SONGS OF 2023 listed in alphabetical order…


Hailing from Melbourne in Australia, Brigitte Bardini is the latest artist to embrace her dark side having begun as an acoustic singer songwriter. Moving away from the dreampop and shoegaze of her earlier material, ‘Start A Fire’ captured an alluring gothique on top of a gritty dance tempo while simultaneously haunting and melodic. The stylised rage was sinister stuff but aurally and visually absorbing.

Available on the BRIGITTE BARDINI single ‘Start A Fire’ via Ruby Valley Records


BEBORN BETON Dancer In The Dark

Not a rework of Bruce Springsteen, the brilliant ‘Dancer In The Dark’ saw BEBORN BETON managing to out Camouflage CAMOUFLAGE with an infectious pop sensibility that more than likely came from front man and lyric writer Stefan Netschio’s love of DURAN DURAN. With another Cold War looming as if The Berlin Wall never fell, ‘Dancer In The Dark’ was a message to remain positive in the face of adversity.

Available on the BEBORN BETON album ‘Darkness Falls Again’ via Dependent Records



A product of lockdown, BLACKCARBURNING is the solo vehicle of Mark Hockings with the lead singer of MESH taking on multiple roles including programming and production. The spikey throbbing energy of ‘The Mirror’ provided a dark disco highlight away from the parent band’s template. “I’m just generally a fan of arpeggiated bass lines” he said, “I don’t think you can go far wrong with a repetitive sequence and a Roland drum machine”.

Available on the BLACKCARBURNING album ‘Watching Sleepers’ via COP International



With Lloyd Cole “excited to still be finding new methods, new perspectives, new sounds”, the standout song ‘The Idiot’ from his Chris Hughes’ produced album ‘On Pain’ gave a touching synth-laden narrative on the relationship between David Bowie and Iggy Pop as they relocated to Berlin in 1976 in an imagined conversation as the pair escaped their narcotic dependency while cycling to the studio and discothèque.

Available on the LLOYD COLE album ‘On Pain’ via earMUSIC


CREEP SHOW The Bellows

A supergroup comprising of John Grant and the trio WRANGLER comprising of Stephen Mallinder, Ben Benge Edwards and Phil Winter, CREEP SHOW released their acclaimed debut album ‘Mr Dynamite’ in 2018. Utilising a punchy backing track, ‘The Bellows’ was like a blippy PET SHOP BOYS with layers of treated and vocodered vocals before being countered by enticing Middle Eastern resonances in the synth solo.

Available on the CREEP SHOW album ‘Yawning Abyss’ via Bella Union


DAWN TO DAWN Seventh Floor

Their first new track from DAWN TO DAWN since their 2022 debut album ‘Postcards From The Sun To The Moon’, the Montreal trio of solo artist Tess Roby with THE BEAT ESCAPE’s Adam Ohr and Patrick Lee conjured images of headlights on night drives with the shimmering story of love and lust that was ‘Seventh Floor’. With dreamy synthscapes and hypnotic drum machine, this was a wonderfully understated dance number.

Available on the DAWN TO DAWN digital single ‘Seventh Floor’ via SSURROUNDSS



Creating their own “Feraltropolis”, the palette of tools on ‘Truth Is The New Gold’ saw FERAL FIVE use traditional instruments, electronica and AI voicing in a quirky but accessible fashion for a commentary on today’s strangely dystopian post-truth world. Exploring the theme of light pollution, the fine squelch laden ‘Silver Sky’ saw great vocals and backing reminiscent of INTERNATIONAL TEACHERS OF POP and DUBSTAR meeting GOLDFRAPP.

Available on the FERAL FIVE album ‘Truth Is The New Gold’ via Reckless Yes


FRAGRANCE. Much More Like A Wave – M!R!M Remix

Matthieu Roche is the enigmatic Parisian behind FRAGRANCE. whose debut ‘Dust & Disorders’ was expanded in 2023 with five new tracks. The first remix from it came in the shape of an excellent ‘Much More Like A Wave’ rework by London-based Italian producer M!R!M. “I love his take on the song” said Roche, “I always felt that the chorus of this song could work as an anthem and he definitely achieved that with his remix”

Available on the FRAGRANCE. digital single ‘Much More Like A Wave – M!R!M Remix’ via Sugarcane Recordings


GLÜME Dangerous Blue

Following the acclaim for her debut ‘The Internet’ and her first liev appearences, the second Glüme album ‘Main Character’ with high profile guests such as Sean Ono Lennon and Rufus Wainwright was set to elevate her to the next level. However, things did not quite work out that way with health and financial concerns by the end of the year. ‘Dangerous Blue’ was one of the sparkling highlights despite its cooing melancholy.

Available on the GLÜME album ‘Main Character’ via Italians Do It Better



Formally of synth-tinged Portland band FRINGE CLASS, Madeline Goldstein presented her best single yet in ‘Seed Of Doubt’ to launch her ‘Other World’ EP. With a wider narrative on “the restlessness of alienation and isolation, the longing to move, to feel power, and to flee”, ‘Seed Of Doubt’ was a brooding slice of gothwave in a manner tinged with some ghostly allure thanks to a haunting soprano delivery.

Available on the self-released MADELINE GOLDSTEIN EP ‘Other World’


JORI HULKKONEN featuring JOHN GRANT I’m Going To Hell

“For my 50th birthday I wanted to do something a bit special” said Jori Hulkkonen, “however, the list of realistic projects quickly narrowed down on yet another album. I did manage to invite some friends and heroes to be featured on it, though.” The album assembled an impressive supporting cast; displaying his love of PET SHOP BOYS, hearing John Grant with his rich baritone on a house-driven pop track like ‘I’m Going To Hell’ was pure joy.

Available on the JORI HULKKONEN album ‘There Is Light Hidden In These Shadows’ via Blanco & Tinto Recordings



ITALOCONNECTION’s long player ‘Nordisko’ came with a twist by paying tribute to pop from the Nordic region via a collection of cover versions. Written by Jay-Jay Johanson, his marvellous 2002 tune ‘On The Radio’ was given an airy feminine disco makeover featuring Jaia Sowden on vocals. With absorbent sequences and glistening keys, it was a fine disco friendly shapeshift from the artpop original.

Available on the ITALOCONNECTION album ‘Nordisko’ via Mordisco / Blanco Y Negro



Athens-based Finn Jaakko Eino Kalevi sought to find beauty in the chaotic nature of the everyday on his new double album ‘Chaos Magic’. One of its many highlights ‘The Chamber Of Love’ bore a resemblance to WHAM! “I wrote the song before I ever heard ‘Everything She Wants’ but the arrangement was different” the Finn said, “I love ‘Everything She Wants’ so I arranged this song sounding more like that. It is more electronic now…”

Available on the JAAKKO EINO KALEVI album ‘Chaos Magic’ via Weird World / Domino Recording Co



When artists are mutual fans, it can lead to collaborative possibilities and even ‘Lust’. KID MOXIE and NINA teamed up via Italians Do It Better to capture a seductive film-noir tension within a fantasy world with the EP launched by a cover of ‘Waiting For The Night’, a song made famous by Jennifer Lopez. With a cool air of enigmatic mystery, the downtempo synthwave treatment on ‘Lust’ exuded a sensual anticipation of consummation in their duet.

Available on the KID MOXIE & NINA EP ‘Lust’ via Italians Do It Better



KNIGHT$ What Planet Did You Come From?

The first new music from KNIGHT$ since 2021, the vibrant hook-laden Eurobeat of ‘What Planet Did You Come From? (Baby)’ threw in the kitchen sink with synth, sax and vocoder. With shades of Patrick Cowley’s work for Sylvester and Bobby Orlando’s Divine productions, it affirmed that James Knights’ Britalo was just the tonic in these difficult times despite highlighting existential issues closer to home.

Available on the KNIGHT$ EP ‘$auna Mu$ik’ via Specchio Uomo



From their third album ‘Strange Disciple’ themed around “toxic infatuation”, the fittingly titled ‘I Will Never Learn’ summed up life’s trials and tribulations in a wonderful example of why NATION OF LANGUAGE appeal so much in their glorious mix of synths, live bass, sequencers and electronic percussion. A haunting girly falsetto howl provided a beautiful touch alongside their usual NEW ORDER, OMD and ULTRAVOX influences.

Available on the NATION OF LANGUAGE album ‘Strange Disciple’ via PIAS



Having impressed with her first NEU-ROMANCER EP ‘Neue Romantika’ earlier in 2023 while touring the world with ZANIAS, Berlin-based Australian Laura Bailey ended the year with the cowbell heavy Hi-NRG romp ‘Burning Eyes’ on CURSES’ enjoyable album ‘Next Wave Acid Punx DEUX’ compilation. It made use of both her vocal and bass prowess which were less prominent on her largely instrumental debut release.

Available on the compilation album ‘Next Wave Acid Punx DEUX’ (V/A) via Eskimo Recordings


NNHMN Soldier of Beauty

As NNHMN, wife and husband “non-humans” Lee Margot and Michal Laudarg have been encapsulating these unsettling times in music. Adapting their dark electronic body style with more varied dance elements on their appropriately titled ‘Circle of Doom’ album, courtesy of a particularly hypnotic bassline, the wonderful serene glory of ‘Soldier of Beauty’ gave the viewpoint that the only honest thing to fight for is peace.

Available on the NNHMN album ‘Circle of Doom’ via Young and Cold Records


OMD Look At You Now

Derived from a Paul Humphreys demo with the working title of ‘Zimmer Frame for Andy’, this came bursting with the usual OMD hooks and was perhaps only missing a Paul Humphreys lead vocal. Lyrics such as “When the energy is gone and the feeling is just wrong” and “The power in your hand is pouring out like sand” pointed towards the ‘Bauhaus Staircase’ album’s political themes on the blind stupidity of Brexit.

Available on the OMD album ‘Bauhaus Staircase’ via 100% Records


PAGE Det Här Är Mitt Sätt

Although the ‘En Ny Våg’ album title song took the PAGE “Numanisation” process to its zenith by featuring Chris Payne, outstripping it was the excellent jaunty robopop of ‘Det Här Är Mitt Sätt’. Within its four chord progression, there were catchy riffs and some fabulous vintage Moog soloing in what was originally conceived as a homage to ‘Fade To Grey’, song which Payne co-wrote.

Available on the PAGE album ‘En Ny Våg’ via Energy Rekords


THE REMAINDER Broken Manhole Cover

As well as Neil Arthur, THE REMAINDER also comprises Liam Hutton and Finlay Shakespeare, both members of the live BLANCMANGE family. The excellent dance friendly ‘Broken Manhole Cover’ recalled LCD SOUNDSYSTEM and it was all intentional as Neil Arthur told ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK “you’ll hear me singing via a gated tremolo FX the words ‘LCD SOUNDSYSTEM’ most of the way through the song.”

Available on THE REMAINDER album ‘Evensong’ via by Blanc Check Ltd




R. MISSING All Alone With Seas

Fronted by enigmatic Sharon Shy, having released enough singles this year to make up an album, R. MISSING are in danger of falling under the radar with the bubbly electronic pop noir of ‘All Alone With Seas’ almost passing by unnoticed despite being one of their best songs of late. A long playing release, while old fashioned and not playing the modern streaming algorithms, may provide the focal point that the New York-based duo deserve.

Available on the R. MISSING single ‘All Alone With Seas’ via Terminal Echo



Covered by acts as diverse CARTER THE UNSTOBBALE SEX MACHINE and Liza Minnelli, the latest interpretation of PET SHOP BOYS stark narrative of a kept woman came via this wispy account by Swedish duo SALLY SHAPIRO. Keeping the original theme of relationship dependency close to its heart but offering an icier Nordic vision from a female perspective, Neil Tennant said “We’ve heard it! The chorus in particular sounds good”.

Available on the SALLY SHAPIRO single ‘Rent’ via Italians Do It Better


DIE SEXUAL Bound, I Rise

From out of the shadows to under the strobe lights, DIE SEXUAL are the Los Angeles-based wife-and-husband duo of Rosselinni and Anton Floriano, the latter part of BLACK LIGHT ODYSSEY who remixed the DEPECHE MODE bonus track ‘Oh Well’. Their dark electronic influences examine themes of domination and submission with the seductive ‘Bound, I Rise’ seeing the bottom switch to the top in a hypnotic EBM friendly stomper.

Available on DIE SEXUAL EP ‘Bound’ via A System Exclusive / Hush Ltd.



“It’s an absolute rip off of OMD’s ‘2nd Thought’!” admitted Finlay Shakespeare of his glorious ‘Illusion + Memory’ album highlight ‘Ready Ready’. Almost Motorik in presence with a wonderfully pulsing drive and gorgeous synth tones, our hero doesn’t refrain from thoughts about “feeling at home through just a voice on the shortwave, when in fact you don’t know where you are and you could be in the crosshairs at any time and place.”

Available on the FINLAY SHAKESPEARE album ‘Illusion + Memory’ via Alter


SIERRA Stronger

Parisian producer Annelise Morel has been quietly impressing audiences over the past few years as SIERRA with her brand of intriguing darkwave. After several EP releases, her debut album ‘A Story Of Anger’ was a major artistic leap forward. Including collaborations with Carpenter Brut and HEALTH, the standout track was her autobiographical statement ‘Stronger’.

Available on the SIERRA album ‘A Story Of Anger’ via Universal Music


SOFT CELL The Day The World Turned Day-Glo

Always adept at doing covers having had hits with ‘Tainted Love’ and ‘What’, SOFT CELL presented a brilliant electro tribute to Poly Styrene with ‘The Day The World Turned Day-Glo’. Taking a musical leaf out of ‘Sex Dwarf’ with Dave Ball making his syndrums and synths sound so menacing yet accessible, while Marc Almond delivers a vocal recalling the anguish of ‘Martin’ with sleazy sax passages resonating with the dystopian lyrics.

Available on the SOFT CELL album ‘*Happiness now completed’ via BMG


SOFTWAVE Taking Life For Granted

Despite its positive pop sound, the reflective lyrics on the second SOFTWAVE album ‘things we’ve done’ highlighted the challenges of living in a modern world full of dualities. ‘Taking Life For Granted’ saw the Danish duo of Catrine Christensen and Jerry Olsen go all ABBA-esque with someone “lacking gratitude” under attack, although the rousing chorus and a particularly joyous instrumental break gave the infinite hope.

Available on the SOFTWAVE album ‘things we’ve done’ via Electro Shock Records



A fabulous cover of the Italo flavoured Kim Wilde B-side to ‘The Second Time’ from 1984, the throbbing ‘Lovers On A Beach’ is NINA sounding sexier than ever before. Ricky Wilde said “I just thought there was a little bit more that it needed that I maybe wanted to add back in the day”. With sharp spikey edges boosting the trancey template, he provided a superb extended end section that paid homage to Giorgio Moroder in the best way possible.

Available on the RICKY WILDE X NINA album ‘Scala Hearts’ via New Retro Wave



ZANIAS Lovelife

Following one of the most traumatic periods of her life, Alison Lewis returned as her solo alter-ego Zoe Zanias to present ‘Chrysalis’.  As the title suggests, it was a rebirth. With glorious arpeggios and lush synth strings, ‘Lovelife’ was bolstered with bass guitar by live bandmate Laura Bailey aka NEU-ROMANCER while an array of pitch-shifted voice samples acted as an abstract lead vocal before the actual one kicked in.

Available on the ZANIAS album ‘Chrysalis’ via Fleisch


A selection of ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK’s favourite music of 2023 featuring 230+ tracks has been compiled for its ‘Initial After Brilliance’ playlist

Text by Chi Ming Lai
7 December 2023


As the Yule Tide season gets into full swing, ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK presents a collection of modern seasonal tunes with a more artful slant…

With a song to play on each of the 25 days in December until Christmas, some are covers with a modern approach while others gather their thoughts and emotions into original compositions. But each has their own take on the holiday period, whether happy or sad or both.

Synths at Christmas are not entirely new; ‘Last Christmas’ by WHAM! was primarily made with a Roland Juno 60 while BAND AID’s ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas? was dominated by PPG Wave 2.2 with a percussive sample taken from ‘Memories Fade’ by TEARS FOR FEARS also being key to the intro.

However the traditional nature of Christmas often dictates traditional instrumentation in its songs, which means that Christmas synth songs are comparatively uncommon and a more recent phenomenon.

Whatever your plans whether with the family or in the studio, please remember, a synth is for life and not just for Christmas… may it bring you lots of cheer! The 25 songs are presented in yearly then alphabetical order within…

BE MUSIC Rocking Carol (1982)

A Be Music production given away as limited edition flexi-disc of 4400 given away at The Haçienda on Christmas Eve 1982, with the greeting “Merry Xmas From The Haçienda And Factory Records”, this was NEW ORDER covering the traditional Czech seasonal tune also known as ‘Jesus Sweetly Sleep’ and ‘We Will Rock You’ as a robotic electronic tone poem.

Available on the compilation album ‘Ghosts of Christmas Past (Remake)’ (V/A) via Les Disques du Crépuscule


EURYTHMICS Winter Wonderland (1987)

Recorded as part of an album on behalf of Special Olympics that featured U2, Madonna, Whitney Houston, Bruce Springsteen, Bryan Adams and Alison Moyet among others, EURYTHMICS’ glistening electronic take on romance during the winter season was cited by ASCAP as now the most played version of the song which was made famous by Darlene Love.

Available on the compilation album ‘A Very Special Christmas’ (V/A) via Universal Music


S.P.O.C.K White Christmas (1992)

Originally recorded by S.P.O.C.K for Energy Rekords’ ‘Virtual X-Mas 92’ EP and then a bonus song on their 1995 compilation ‘A Piece Of The Action’, this cover of the Irving Berlin standard made famous by Bing Crosby was suitably melodramatic as the holiday season was celebrated in The Neutral Zone while under threat of an alien attack.

Available on the compilation album ‘Virtual 2020 X-Mas’ (V/A) via Energy Rekords


SAINT ETIENNE Featuring TIM BURGESS I Was Born On Christmas Day (1993)

Delightfully catchy with a house-laden bounce, ‘I Was Born on Christmas Day’ was written in acknowledgement of band member Bob Stanley’s birthday for an EP ‘Xmas 93’. Featuring a duet between Sarah Cracknell and special guest vocals by Tim Burgess from THE CHARLATANS, the joyful narrative saw the couple elope, confusing some fans and press.

Available on the SAINT ETIENNE album ’A Glimpse Of Stocking’ via PIAS


DEAD OR ALIVE Blue Christmas (2000)

Originally recorded as a sparse ballad for the B-side of 1990 single ‘Your Sweetness Is Your Weakness’, Pete Burns’ foray into the music for holiday season was given a dancier makeover in 2000 and in hindsight, now sounds like a stylistic blue print for PET SHOP BOYS ‘It Doesn’t Often Snow At Christmas’. The two would later work together on the excellent ‘Jack & Jill Party’ in 2004.

Available on the DEAD OR ALIVE album ‘Fragile’ via Demon Music Group


SALLY SHAPIRO Anorak Christmas (2006)

With their naïve wispiness, understated cinematics and disco beats, if there act who are ably suited to Christmas pop music, it is Swedish duo SALLY SHAPIRO. A cover of a song by fellow Swede Nixon, the lines “The first time that I saw your face on a cold December night, it was a Tuesday on a gig with a band that we both liked” captured an innocent romance and the aural warmth of the named apparel.

Available on the SALLY SHAPIRO album ‘Disco Romance’ via Paper Bag Records


PET SHOP BOYS It Doesn’t Often Snow At Christmas (2009)

Pet_Shop_Boys_-_ChristmasOriginally recorded in 1997 for an exclusive fan club single but remixed in 2009, ‘It Doesn’t Often Snow At Christmas’ was a suitably cynical offering. Famous for keeping THE POGUES ‘Farytale Of New York’ off the 1987 UK Christmas No1 spot with their cover of ‘Always On My Mind’, while this didn’t hit those commercial heights, it provided a very PET SHOP BOYS take on the madness of the festive season.

Available on the PET SHOP BOYS EP ‘Christmas’ via EMI Records


CHEW LIPS When You Wake Up (2010)

CHEW LIPS might have disbanded but in 2010, on the back of their only album ‘Unicorn’ and its subsequent tour, they were on a productive high. ‘When You Wake Up’ was a bonus tune recorded and given away as a Christmas gift to fans at the end of that very successful year. Delivered with lead singer Tigs’ usual feisty panache, listening back only highlights how much CHEW LIPS are missed.

Originally released as a free download


HURTS All I Want For Christmas Is New Year’s Day (2010)

Hurts-christmasWith their TAKE THAT dressed as ULTRAVOX template, Theo Hutchcraft and Adam Anderson turned their attentions to memories of “the worst Christmas of our lives”. In true Bros Go To Bavaria style, despite the mournful start, ‘All I Want For Christmas Is New Year’s Day’ transformed itself into a hopeful anthem with a big chorus and lashings of tubular bells.

Available on the HURTS album  ‘Happiness’ via Major Label / RCA


LOLA DUTRONIC Another Christmas Without Snow (2010)

Lola Dutronic-Christmas without snowIn the UK, a wet Christmas is always more likely,  but LOLA DUTRONIC’s ‘Another Christmas Without Snow’ resonated with its melancholic yet pretty demeanour. The project of Canadian producer Richard Citroen and using a flexible roster of wispy female vocalists, the tones of Lola Dee came over all dreamy like SAINT ETIENNE and conveyed the season’s mixed emotions.

Available on LOLA DUTRONIC single ‘(Another) Christmas Without Snow’ via Lola Dutronic


ERASURE Gaudete (2013)

ERASURE GaudeteAndy Bell and Vince Clarke’s version of this traditional Ecclesiastical Latin carol continued an ERASURE tradition that had begun with ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’ for the CD edition of the ‘Crackers International’ EP in 1988. With a precise electronic backbeat, ‘Gaudete’ was taken from its 16th Century origins and thrown into the new millennium with a cheeky ‘Ice Machine’ reference for good measure.

Available on the ERASURE album ‘Snow Globe’ via Mute Artists


HYPERBUBBLE A Synthesizer for Christmas (2013)

HYPERBUBBLE A Synthesizer for ChristmasWhether it was a Casio, Yamaha or Roland, everyone wanted ‘A Synthesizer For Christmas’. Texan couple HYPERBUBBLE took that enduring memory and turned it into a delightful synthpop ditty that could resonate with electronic geeks from 8 to 80 the world over. Short but sweet, it was another joyous “cartoon automaton symphony” from Jess and Jeff.

Available on the HYPERBUBBLE single ‘A Synthesizer For Christmas’ via Socket Sounds


VILE ELECTRODES The Ghosts Of Christmas (2013)

VILE ELECTRODES The Ghosts Of ChristmasIf ‘Twin Peaks’ met ‘Leader Of The Pack’ under the mistletoe, it would sound like this. Possibly the best Christmas tune of the last 10 or so years, VILE ELECTRODES’ harrowing tale of a departed loved one is strangely enticing, with the beautifully haunting echoes of Julee Cruise’s ‘The Nightingale’ lingering over the frozen lake.

Available on the ILE ELECTRODES EP ‘The Ghosts Of Christmas’ via Vile Electrodes


HANNAH PEEL Find Peace (2014)

HANNAH PEEL Find Peace‘Find Peace’ was a Christmas song longing for the cold but merry winters of yesteryear under the modern day spectre of global warming, armed conflict and political tension. The off-kilter analogue buzzing and almost random sequences made for a striking listen as a frantic percussive death rattle and an emotive synth drone take hold to provide an appropriate backdrop for the eerie but beautiful voice of Hannah Peel.

Available on the HANNAH PEEL single ‘Find Peace’ via Snowflakes Christmas Singles Club


MARSHEAUX We Met Bernard Sumner At A Christmas Party Last Night (2015)

GHOSTS-OF-CHRISTMAS-PAST-twi158cd‘We Met Bernard Sumner At A Christmas Party Last Night’ was a wonderfully whispery synthpop number that was classic MARSHEAUX. The lyrics were constructed from the song and album titles of NEW ORDER to provide an imaginary narrative on Marianthi Melitsi and Sophie Sarigiannidou surreally bumping into the Manchester combo’s lead singer at a Yule Tide function.

Available on the album ‘Ghost Of Christmas Past (Remake)’ (V/A) via Les Disques du Crépuscule


SPARKS Christmas Without A Prayer (2015)

SPARKS Christmas Without A PrayerOn 1974’s ‘Kimono My House’ album, the Mael brothers recorded a song called ‘Thank God It’s Not Christmas’, a typically perverse SPARKS romp that had nothing to do as such with the holiday season. After their FFS collaboration, Russell and Ron ended the year with ‘Christmas Without A Prayer’, a fitting offering which also amusingly outlined that albums by WINGS were actually unwanted gifts.

Available on the SPARKS single ‘Christmas Without A Prayer’ via Lil’ Beethoven Records


VICE VERSA Little Drum Machine Boy (2015)

“A twisted cover of a cover of a cover”, this synth laden reinterpretation of the tune based on a traditional Czech carol made famous by a bizarre but highly enjoyable version by David Bowie and Bing Crosby, saw former ABC stalwarts Mark White and Stephen Singleton reconvene as  VICE VERSA to wax lyrical about 303s, 808s, 909s and a “shiny new Roland toy”. It was a fabulous combination of sleigh bells, squelching arpeggios and of course, drum machines…

Available as a free download via Soundclod


ASSEMBLAGE 23 December (2016)

When you’ve had enough of Christmas shopping and the in-laws, there’s probably nothing better to let off steam than a bit of ASSEMBLAGE 23. While not exactly seasonal, Tom Shear’s Futurepop discoscape captured many of the mixed emotions endemic with the final month of the year, all “Silent and alone, trying to make sense”.

Available on the ASSEMBLAGE 23 album ‘Endure’ via Metropolis


SIN COS TAN Dead By X-Mas (2016)

A cover of Finnish metal glamsters HANOI ROCKS, this take on ‘Dead By X-Mas’ from the nocturnal synth duo SIN COS TAN aka Juho Paalosmaa and Jori Hulkkonen came over a bit like Billy Idol gone electro, but with an elegiac twist. Bizarrely in 2006, the former William Broad issued his own collection of seasonal themed tunes entitled ‘Happy Holidays’ … it’s a nice day for a ‘White Christmas!

Available as a free download via Soundcloud


FERAL FIVE I Want U (2017)

With female empowerment lyrics like “I don’t need any money or a new handbag, I just need a kind of thing I’ve never had, who says you have to have some shabby gifts”, FERAL FIVE attacked tacky commercialism in a sonic cacophony of crunchy bass guitar, big beats, sparkling electronics and chilling string machines for an alternative take on festivities.

Available on the FERAL FIVE single ‘I Want U’ via Primitive Light Recordings


CIRCUIT3 I Believe In Father Christmas (2018)

Made famous by Greg Lake, CIRCUIT3 used analogue synths such as a Sequential Pro-One, Roland JX10, Korg Wavestation and Moog Sub37 to add an eerie chill to the already cynical song protesting at the commercialisation of Christmas. The lyricist was Peter Sinfield who later wrote the words to BUCKS FIZZ’s No1 ‘The Land Of Make Believe’ which warned against the evils of Thatcherism.

Available on the CIRCUIT 3 single ‘I Believe In Father Christmas’ via Diode Records


WAVESHAPER Walking In The Air (2020)

Written by Howard Blake for the 1982 animated film ‘The Snowman’ which later added a cameo intro by David Bowie, ‘Walking In The Air’ became a hit for Aled Jones although the original version was actually sung by choir boy Peter Auty. Tom Andersson is the Swedish synthesist and retro gamer known as WAVESHAPER and his symphonic instrumental synthwave cover was both respectful and beautiful.

Available as a free download via Soundcloud


RODNEY CROMWELL Cold Christmas (2022)

If ACTORS did Christmas songs, then it would have probably sounded like this gothic motorik number from the ever cheerful Rodney Cromwell. Written for by Cherryade Records’ ‘A Very Cherry Christmas’ compilation, its chilling ARP synth strings and driving bass guitar was in total antithesis to Cliff Richard with bleak observational lyrics “like ‘Eleanor Rigby’ turbo-charged for 2022”.

Available on the RODNEY CROMWELL single ‘Cold Christmas’ via Happy Robots Records


SOFTWAVE featuring Barney Ashton-Bullock Will It Ever Be Christmas Again? (2022)

Presented as “Probably the first synthpop Christmas song in Danish music history”, SOFTWAVE provided a hopeful message to hold back on overindulgence. ‘Andy Bell Is Torsten’ writer Barney Ashton-Bullock made a cameo as Santa Claus to remind everyone that “Self-service, doesn’t mean self, self, self…” and that joy comes from being able to give to others.

Available on the SOFTWAVE single ‘Will It Ever Be Christmas Again?’ via Softwave


GEMMA CULLINGFORD In The Bleak Midwinter (2023)

Something of a tradition having covered ‘Walking In The Air’, ‘Lonely This Christmas’ and ‘Deck The Halls’ in previous years, Gemma Cullingford took Christina Rossetti’s poem and Gustav Holst’s musical arrangement of ‘In The Bleak Midwinter’ into darker and colder electro dance territory, reflecting today’s divided world in a cost of living crisis.

Available on the GEMMA CULLINGFORD single ‘In The Bleak Midwinter’ via Elmo Records


A further varied collection of seasonal synth based tunes compiled by ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK can be listened to at: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/7vIIjZkGd3cVOSarUPvX85

Text by Chi Ming Lai
2 December 2023

SOFTWAVE: An interview about the things we’ve done…

SOFTWAVE, the Danish duo comprising of Catrine Christensen and Jerry Olsen who opened for OMD in 2020 have finally become sophomores.

With the worldwide pandemic along with outsiders keen to have an influence on the duo’s direction triggering something of an existential crisis, SOFTWAVE have come out the other side more determined than ever to determine and secure their own future, for better or for worse.

The end result is ‘things we’ve done’, an honest electronic pop album which while being reflective, is an uplifting and motivational experience much in the vein of their heroes ERASURE. Having remixed Andy Bell’s solo material for the ‘Club Torsten’ collection and more recently, the PET SHOP BOYS produced David Cicero, the pair have been able to analyse the work of the best and learn from them.

Catrine Christensen and Jerry Olsen spoke to ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK about the things they’ve done for album number two and more…

These are the ‘things we’ve done’, how does it feel to finally get your second album out?

Catrine: Thanks for asking! The first time I finally got time to reflect on that. I’ve never felt more tired. This one was tough. Felt like we were in a second-album-crisis, haha! Maybe because we’ve been told that the second album is the most difficult album to finish. Well, I agree! But hey! “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” 😉

Jerry: It feels like a relief because it was much harder this time around. The composition process was slower and more thorough.

You released 5 songs on the ‘Aspire’ EP in 2022 and these appear in some shape on ‘things we’ve done’, had that always been the intention?

Jerry: No it wasn’t. I have never really wanted it as I’m an old school album-kind-of-guy. It was mainly the idea of our former management to actually divide the whole thing into 3 EPs or waves. The intention was to get more content out in smaller portions so that fans were fed something the whole time instead of just an album and that was it… a bit unwillingly, I agreed to the 2 part split… we will never do this again though. It has been a complicated and cumbersome process merging the different tracks, both production and admin-wise.

Catrine: I agree with Jerry. If we should do this again, a label has to take over. The whole DIY admin and social media part is simply taking too much of my time – way too many people to communicate with. I mean, we only have 24 hours a day, and I need 48 or more sometimes. Haha! It’s not a bad thing, cos I feel like “things” come easier to us, a lot of great and bigger things are happening even before the release. It all feels totally different from previous release strategies we had. But at the same time – that’s what I like about the music industry. It’s constantly dynamic and unpredictable.

From a writing and production point of view, how did ‘things we’ve done’ differ from ‘Game On’?

Jerry: The reason why it was harder this time, is because we have been more quality conscious on this album. We know that the second album is the critical one so we wanted 10 tracks that really lived up to our own expectations. Personally we think we succeeded to bring about an album which is better sounding and a bit more mature than the debut one. And at the same time staying true to our genre, but that must be up to our fans to decide…

Catrine: I would like to add this… when Jerry says “quality”, he’s also talking about the sound layers. We’ve always been struggling not to add too much sounds and vocals into each song. This time we managed to add more space into the songs, so that it doesn’t feels like Jerry and my ideas are constantly competing with each other. I really do hope our listeners can hear how much we’ve done to improve ourselves. Or else we might have call the next album ‘things we’ve done better’… ha ha!

You go quite ABBA-esque’ on ‘Taking Life For Granted’, how did that song come together?

Jerry: I didn’t realise that ha ha! But now you mention it, I guess I can relate to that. Maybe It’s because of the main bass tone is on top of the kick instead of on the offbeat in the choruses, it gives it a different feel. Don’t know why I did that, I just felt it sounded good because it’s the most common thing to lay it on the offbeat.

Catrine: Well, I never thought of that either. But I can tell, from the very first draft of this song’s production we kind of knew, that it would be a strong one. Therefore we waited till the end to finish it. I believe we didn’t work on it for a year or so, simply to avoid messing it up. Ha ha!

‘Supernova’ pays tribute to Andy Bell, what inspired you to write a song about him?

Catrine: When I was about to write ‘Supernova’, we just did the Andy Bell remixes, therefore it came naturally to me, calling this song ‘Supernova’ as I was in the perfect mood of thanking my idol for being so inspiring “since the very beginning”. But to be honest, I don’t really want people to reflect too much on my story. The song seeks to inspire the listeners to look into themselves and think of any person in their lives who in any matter is or have been an idol to them – and THANK THEM while they are still here.

To my ears, ‘The Deepest Love’ reminds me of ERASURE’s ‘I Bet You’re Mad at Me’, was this intentional?

Jerry: Not at all. The thing is that ‘The Deepest Love’ was the last song we finished for the album and as the preceding tracks were more serious and somewhat darker in a pop kind of sense, like ‘Never Gonna Let You Down’ and ‘Through Open Eyes’, I wanted a track that felt synthpop in a more traditional and happier way. But I will say that you are right in the assumption that it’s heavily inspired by ERASURE. I guess I can’t help myself! Ha ha!

How is ‘This World’ for you now?

Jerry: Like a memory of a place we absolutely have no interest in revisiting…

Catrine: All the ‘things we’ve done’ during the years building up SOFTWAVE, our dream, our passion, our purpose, our baby, was suddenly taken away from us. So was hope. Glad we got it back! I’m not sure about ‘This World’ has turned into anything better, but at least I feel better so that I can continue during my thing – spreading positive vibes out to the people. “People – let’s stick together” – in my World, it’s all about love to one another that makes ‘This World’ a better place.

Much of this album was put together during the pandemic and lockdown, now we are out of it, how have things changed for SOFTWAVE in the music business since and has it affected your approach?

Jerry: We felt we were on the brink of success when we toured with OMD and then lockdowns came. The next 2 – 3 years passed and nothing really happened both in the music business and with us producing music. It was so strange, like time stood still. Now we feel the emergence of good energy and the desire to get out and perform again.

Catrine: Well, I’m just happy that I trusted my instincts telling me not to follow the steam. I decided not to focus much on social media and concerts to finish the album with Jerry. And I’m glad we did, cos now the eagerness to perform live has never been bigger. It feels fantastic and people have been so supportive and patience with us ❤️ We have never been stronger!

What are your favourite songs on ‘things we’ve done’?

Jerry: ‘Taking Life For Granted’ because I think it’s the most catchy song, it’s the banger of the album. And then I also very much like ‘Never Gonna Let You Down’ and ‘Through Open Eyes’ because they are more mature and sound a bit different from the typical SOFTWAVE tracks.

Catrine: I agree, but it’s always difficult selecting favourites. Some faves from my end would be ‘Don’t Bully Me Again’ due to the whole story behind it and the strong melodies. ‘This World’ because it’s something completely different, I love testing my darker skills as well and that happened well in this one I think. ‘I’ll Be Your Safe’ has a deeper message and I like to sing it live. ‘Through Open Eyes’ is my absolutely favourite, because it might have the best composition and was very easy to finish. Everything about the song was without struggling. Live-wise I think it will perform extremely well!

What is next for SOFTWAVE?

Catrine: Here’s the list 😉

Our remix of ‘Love is Everywhere’ by David Cicero is now released, but then there is the digital release of the ‘things we’ve done’ album first before the CD a week later. The ‘things we’ve done’ CD release party takes place at Last Orders in Germany, followed by a Halloween Party at Operaen Christiania in Denmark, support comes from OHNOTHING. Then we are playing ElectriXmas 2023 in Sweden before the ‘things we’ve done’ tour continues in 2024 with a vinyl release TBC.

ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its grateful thanks to SOFTWAVE

‘things we’ve done’ is available on digital platforms via https://softwave.lnk.to/softwave

The CD is available https://softwave.bandcamp.com/

SOFTWAVE play the *Depeche Mode & More* Party at the Last Orders Pub in Neubrandenburg, Germany on 21 October 2023

SOFTWAVE also host their own Halloween Party at Operaen Christiania in København, Denmark with special guests OHNOTHING on 28 October 2023 – tickets available from https://billetto.dk/e/softwave-live-pa-christiania-halloween-party-billetter-865714

SOFTWAVE will perform at ElectriXmas 2023 in Malmö at Inkonst, Sweden on 9 December 2023 alongside SIERRA – tickets available from https://electrixmas.org/tickets/





Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Krestine Havemann
20 October 2023

SOFTWAVE things we’ve done

Since the release of their debut album ‘Game On’ in 2019, a lot has happened to the Danish synthpop couple SOFTWAVE.

Catrine Christensen and Jerry Olsen opened for OMD on their 2020 Scandinavian dates while they have crafted remixes for Andy Bell of ERASURE and one-time PET SHOP BOYS protégé David Cicero.

Following the release of the ‘Aspire’ EP in 2022, its 5 tracks are carried over to ‘things we’ve done’, the follow-up long player to ‘Game On’. In amongst the positive pop sound are lyrics highlighting the challenges of living in a modern world full of dualities. A number of these songs document the couple’s own existential crisis during the worldwide lockdown while seeking to motivate others to achieve new goals.

Recalling a phrase that the Northern English philosopher Rick Astley once sang, ‘Never Gonna Let You Down’ is a song of friendship and solidarity that makes optimistic opener as “that’s what friends are for”. But ‘Taking Life For Granted’ goes all ABBA-esque with someone “lacking gratitude” under attack, although the rousing chorus and a particularly joyous instrumental break provides the infinite hope.

More rugged, ‘Supernova’ is in the classic SOFTWAVE vein, with uplifting verses and choruses over a backing track rich in counter melodies akin to ‘Something Is Missing’ from ‘Game On’; dedicated to Andy Bell himself as a one of a kind worth looking up to, ‘Supernova’ ably captures the bubbly poise of ERASURE. There’s a change of pace with the more sedate ballad ‘I’ll Be Your Safe’ but ‘Wake Up’ plays with rhythm variation to reinforce its tension and hits highs, poignantly declaring “we’ve run out of fuel”.

The bouncy ‘Thank You For Breaking My Heart’ reflects on the positives coming at the end of a toxic relationship, with Christensen declaring “Without you there’s no dark” as light shines again with relief through Olsen’s Vince Clarke-inspired interventions. ‘Through Open Eyes’ takes a darker route for SOFTWAVE, but is still rich in brighter synth motifs.

Fighting back, ‘Don’t Bully Me Again’ gets its message across in a midtempo number seeking détente while the lively yet atmospheric ‘The Deepest Love’ provides a yearning ERASURE-ish anthem with lovely shades of Clarke and Bell’s ‘I Bet You’re Mad at Me’. Ending with maturer austere than previous SOFTWAVE songs, ‘This World’ provides depth in a call to action to encourage people not be afraid of the dark and to stick together in the face of adversity.

For SOFTWAVE, these are the “things we’ve done”, their positive demeanour and pursuit of setting examples as good human beings won’t be for everybody. But with their synthpoptastic drive, there is optimism and a “feel good” factor in their female-fronted ERASURE template as escape from a dour world full of warmongers, conspiracy theorists, narcissists and heartless decision makers.

‘Things We’ve Done’ is released to digital platforms on 13 October 2023, pre-save at https://softwave.lnk.to/softwave

The CD is released on 20 October 2023 with the vinyl LP sometime in 2024, available from https://softwave.bandcamp.com/

SOFTWAVE play the *Depeche Mode & More* Party at the Last Orders Pub in Neubrandenburg, Germany on 21 October 2023

The duo also host their own Halloween Party at Operaen Christiania in København, Denmark with special guests OHNOTHING on 28 October 2023 – tickets available from https://billetto.dk/e/softwave-live-pa-christiania-halloween-party-billetter-865714

SOFTWAVE will perform at ElectriXmas 2023 in Malmö at Inkonst, Sweden on 9 December 2023 alongside SIERRA – tickets available from https://electrixmas.org/tickets/





Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Krestine Havemann
10 October 2023


As the title of the new SOFTWAVE EP suggests, every song on it has an aspiring story.

‘Aspire’ is the Danish synthpop duo’s first new body of work since they opened for OMD at the start of 2020 on the Scandinavian leg of their ‘Souvenir’ greatest hits tour.

The inspiration came after Catrine Christensen and Jerry Olsen were chosen to remix a couple of track for Andy Bell of ERASURE’s ‘Club Torsten’ collection. These songs document their own existential crisis over the lockdown period while seeking to motivate others to achieve new goals.

Opening ‘Aspire’ with the bittersweet superpop of ‘Thank You For Breaking My Heart’, it reflects on the positives of a toxic relationship ending, with shackles unlocked and new opportunities beckoning. Embracing the glistening shades of vintage ERASURE, this solo Christensen composition declares “Without you there’s no dark” as light shines again through this catchy Eurodisco with Olsen’s Clarkean interventions.

More rugged, ‘Supernova’ is the classic SOFTWAVE vein, with rousing verses and uplifting choruses over a backing track rich in counter melody akin to ‘Something Is Missing’. Dedicated to Andy Bell himself as a one of a kind worth looking up to, it also ably captures the bubbly poise of ERASURE.

With a fight back, ‘Don’t Bully Me Again’ gets its message across in a midtempo number seeking détente, while ‘Wake Up’ plays with rhythm variation to reinforce its tension, poignantly declaring “we’ve run out of fuel” as a challenging winter looms.

Ending with ‘This World’, this number is a highlight as it presents a darker austere than previous SOFTWAVE songs, with a depth that could point to a future direction. “We want people to go deeper and reflect on how they see the world today” said Christensen, “We just want people to think themselves”. Despite the sombre feel, it is a call to action that fits with the aspirational aims of this EP to encourage people not be afraid of the dark and to stick together.

As strange times continue, despite the adversity, there is always hope and it is a message that SOFTWAVE have provided clearly with ‘Aspire’.

‘Aspire’ is available digitally from https://softwave.bandcamp.com/






Text by Chi Ming Lai
14th October 2022

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