Tag: Softwave (Page 2 of 3)

10 Years of ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK – BIRTHDAY GREETINGS FROM PEOPLE YOU MIGHT KNOW

Over the last 10 years, ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK has been a voice for the discerning enthusiast of electronic pop.

With a balancing act of featuring the classic pioneers of the past alongside the emergent new talent for the future, the site has become well known for its interviews and reviews.

It asks the questions people have always wanted to ask while celebrating the continuing development of the synthesizer in popular music.

All this while holding to account those who deliver below expectations, assuring the listener that if they are perhaps not hearing the genius that some devoted fans are declaring, then ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK is there to assist in affirming or denying that assessment.

But when artists do deliver, they tend to build a strong relationship with ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK. So with the site celebrating its first 10 years, presented here are greetings and messages from some people who you might know…


Rusty Egan, VISAGE

ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK is 10 years old with the synth knowledge of a 50 year old. If I can’t remember something electronic I don’t Google, I visit ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK!


Glenn Gregory, HEAVEN 17

ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK and its wonderful leader Chi is like the League Of Super Heroes for Electronic Music. Our future is safe in his hands.

I have been involved in electronic music making for 40 years, yet one half hour conversation with Chi makes me realise how little I know. From then to now, he’s knows!


Neil Arthur, BLANCMANGE

Chi has been brilliantly supportive of BLANCMANGE, for which I am very grateful. We’ve always managed to have a good laugh during our interviews, as he would ask me about the darkness and gloom lying within a given BLANCMANGE song! I look forward to our next chat.

ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK has a very important place and a role to play, in spreading the news of electronic music, new and old, far and wide. Here’s to the next ten years. Well done and good luck.


Gary Daly, CHINA CRISIS

Thanks for all your wonderful support Chi, so glad someone has taken the time to ask some great questions…


Sarah Blackwood, DUBSTAR

I love the website. It’s a treasure trove of informative articles, both a very readable historical archive and a forward looking platform for encouraging new talent. In what can be traditionally and lazily categorised as a very male dominated scene, Chi encourages great music regardless of gender and I enjoy the updated Spotify playlist if I’m ever stuck for what to listen to whilst running.

As regards interviews, it’s always enjoyable – Chi is a bit too easy to talk to and his passion for music and synth geekery shines through – heaven forbid you try sneaking a (cleared) sample past him, he will spot it!

Is it 10 years already? Happy birthday ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK!


Chris Payne, DRAMATIS

With 18,000 likes and 12,000 Facebook followers; ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK under the guidance of its purveyor Chi Ming Lai, has become the leading place for the Electronic Music fan. Intelligent, well written and well researched journalism with a great team of writers presenting an array of brilliant fascinating new acts (and some older ones as well!), hopefully it will continue for at least another 10 years.


Tracy Howe, RATIONAL YOUTH

Congratulations to ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK on ten years of brilliant reporting of, and support to, the electronic pop scene. ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK is the authoritative publication “of record” for fans and makers of synthpop alike and is the international rallying point and HQ for our music. We look forward to many more years of in-depth interviews and probing articles, all in the beautifully written style. Happy birthday ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK!


Mark White, ABC + VICE VERSA

Chi Ming Lai and Paul Boddy are two of the most learned, nay, erudite music journalists I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, a rare experience indeed to be quizzed by a pair who know their onions. And unusual integrity. Chi promised me if we asked, he would turn off the tape recorder and it would never appear in print. And has been true to his word. This has literally never happened in my career. Also these two chaps are bloody good fun. I laughed til I cried. Go see the movie!


Rob Dean, JAPAN

10 years of ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK? Only one for me (yes, I know…), but it’s heartening to know that Chi and the crew have created a site so cutting edge for us die-hard fans of electronica. Having read the highly entertaining VICE VERSA chaps interview, I was delighted to be asked to do my own, confident that the questions would be thoughtful and intelligent and yes, a little bit probing too. Here’s to the next 10 and thank you!


Richard Silverthorn, MESH

On several occasions I have done interviews for ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK. Every time I felt like they actually cared about the music and scene and put some educated thought into the questions. It’s good to feel that enthusiasm.


Tom Shear, ASSEMBLAGE 23

Congratulations on 10 years of covering and supporting the scene! Here’s to another 10 and beyond…


Sophie Sarigiannidou, MARSHEAUX

I first met Chi at Sparrowhawk Hotel, Burnley in November 2000 for an OMD convention. It took me 13 hours to reach by train to Burnley from London due to bad weather. I saw him playing live (!!!!) with his covers band THE MESSERSCHMITT TWINS, they were having their time of their life, dancing and singing, so so happy! Us too of course!! From that moment on we became friends. Then he supported our band MARSHEAUX from the very early beginning and I thank him a lot for that!

It’s always great having Chi asking questions for interviews. We as a band had our best interviews with ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK! We spent a lot of hours talking about the history of electronic music and the future of synthpop. My favourite articles are the “Beginners Guide To…” series, you have a lot to learn from these pages!!! Happy Anniversary Chi, we’ve indeed had 10 amazing years with ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK. I hope and wish the next 10 to be even better.


Mark Reeder, MFS BERLIN

Congratulations and a very Happy 10th Birthday! Over the past 10 years, ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK has developed into becoming the leading website for all kinds of electronic synthpop music. It has become a familiar friend, because it is something I can personally identify with, as it is maintained by fans, for fans.

However, it is not only commendable, but can also be quite critical too, and that is a rare balancing act in the contemporary media world.

It has been a great source of regular electronic music information. I have discovered and re-discovered many wonderful electronic artists, and regularly devour the in-depth interviews and features.

Through ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK, I have been introduced to and worked with some of the wonderful artists presented on your pages, such as QUEEN OF HEARTS or MARSHEAUX and in return, it has supported my work, my label and my artists too, and I thank them for that! We can all celebrate ten years of ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK and together, look forward to the next 10 years of inspiring electronic music.


Per Aksel Lundgreen, SUB CULTURE RECORDS

ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK is a highly knowledgeable and very passionate site! They are digging out rarities from the past as well as exploring and discovering new acts, giving them attention and writing about them often before anybody else around have even heard of them.

This makes ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK a very interesting page to follow, as their in-depth stories about older bands “missing in action” as well as the latest stuff “in the scene” gets perfectly mixed together, giving you all you want basically in a one-stop-site for everything electronic. I also love the way they give attention to unsigned / self-released bands and small indie-labels, giving everybody a fair chance as long as the music is good enough. Congrats on the 10th Anniversary, well deserved!


Jane Caley aka Anais Neon, VILE ELECTRODES

When VILE ELECTRODES were just starting out, we heard through the Facebook grapevine about a new electronic music blog called ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK. We had a London gig coming up, and had recently made a promo video for our song ‘Deep Red’, so we dropped them an email about both, not expecting to hear back, since we were virtually unknown.

However it transpired they really liked our sound, likening us to “Client B born and raised in the Home Counties fronting Dindisc-era ORCHESTRAL MANOEUVRES IN THE DARK”.

ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK subsequently gave this very description to Andy McCluskey, which piqued his interest such that he checked out our music. We were invited to tour Germany with OMD as a direct result!


George Geranios, UNDO RECORDS

Chi is a really rare quality of a man. He is passionate about music which is so obvious of course while reading ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK. Through our mutual love for OMD, we discovered that we have the same musical taste. ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK helped us promote all of Undo Records projects and finally we ended collaborating and releasing this brilliant double CD compilation! Chi, I wish you health and to continue writing the best music texts in the industry!!


Adam Cresswell, HAPPY ROBOTS RECORDS

Some people say ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK doesn’t support the scene but I’ve not found that to be the case; having been a part of two gigs and the recent CD, I know how much blood, sweat and tears they put into what they do. ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK might get a few people’s back-up, but they know their stuff when it comes to synth-driven music and I’m massively grateful that they have supported so many Happy Robots artists since 2010.


Stuart McLaren, OUTLAND

It’s no secret that the burgeoning new synthwave genre shares a common history with the great synthesizer acts and pioneers of the 80s, like Dolby, Jones, Luscombe, Wilder, Daly et al who created new soundscapes with what we now define as vintage synths.

These sounds are brought back to life by pioneers in their own right like FM ATTACK, GUNSHIP, ESPEN KRAFT and BETAMAXX to name a few.

ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK and Chi Ming Lai have always been at the forefront of championing, interviewing and reviewing the luminaries of this great instrument past to present, and are likely to remain the de facto voice of the synth scene well into the future… we agree on one thing and that is FM-84’s singer Ollie Wride is deffo one to watch as a star for the future!


Paula Gilmer, TINY MAGNETIC PETS

Happy Birthday ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK. thank you for your support. You never fail to impress with your encyclopedic knowledge of synthpop. Here’s looking forward to 10 more!


Mr Normall, NUNTIUS

I’ve been following most of my favourite artists since they were brand new and often this means it’s a period of 30+ years, yet when reading articles and interviews by ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK, I have learned every time something new about of my favourites.

Following ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK have made me pay attention to several new acts that I would likely know nothing about if they hadn’t appeared on the page.


Catrine Christensen, SOFTWAVE

An outstanding magazine supporting new and upcoming artists whom they choose carefully as they have great taste of music regarding to their huge knowledge within the synthpop genre, when it comes to their writing and promotion – there’s no one like them. Happy birthday 😘


Elena Charbila, KID MOXIE

Happy 10th birthday ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK! Your love and commitment to the synth community is unparalleled and your support has meant a lot to me on a professional but also on a personal level. Here’s to the next 10 years! 😘


Alexander Hofman aka Android, S.P.O.C.K

I’m a fan of ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK for several reasons. You showed up when I perceived the majority of the electronic scene had turned more and more harsh; as much as I can appreciate an occasional emotional outburst, I’m a happy guy and thus I’m into pop – ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK showed, and still shows me that there’s still electronic pop music being made. Good electronic pop! Which makes me glad, as I find the greater part of the generally popular darker scene to be of lower musical quality.

Moreover, ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK writes in an amazingly happy tone – remember, I’m a happy guy, so it’s right up my alley. Add the fact that ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK regularly publishes interesting articles, using intelligent and varied vocabulary, shows enormous knowledge and interest of the theme, the style, the scene – and I’m hooked. Thanks for being around – keep up the good work, it’s much needed! And congratulations – let’s grab a beer again! 🍻


Text compiled by Chi Ming Lai
15th March 2020

On Tour with SOFTWAVE

As highly respected veterans with a career of over four decades and still able to fill concert theatres around the world, OMD have used their position and earned a fine reputation for providing opportunities to fledging electronic pop acts to shine in front of a sympathetic audience.

The latest beneficiary has been the Danish synthpop couple SOFTWAVE who were accorded the honour of opening for OMD in Oslo, Stockholm, Malmo and Copenhagen during the Scandinavian leg of their 2020 ‘Souvenir’ greatest hits tour.

A keen OMD fan from Germany, Anja Minnemann went to all four of these gigs and observed: “It was amazing to watch SOFTWAVE’s performances. They gave a very strong performance every time I saw them and they grew in confidence so much from the first gig too the last gig! When they performed in their own country Denmark, you would have thought they were the main event!”

Unlike Sweden and Norway, Denmark has not been known for a tradition in electronic pop, but maybe there was never been a group worthy enough in the past to lead and inspire? SOFTWAVE’s album ‘Game On’ featuring songs included in the live set like ‘Galaxy Of Stars’ and ‘Something Is Missing’ has been one of the best debuts to have emerged from the Nordic region in the last few years.

Without doubt, the pair have certainly been the most promising synthpop act from Denmark since TIGER BABY whose last album ‘Open Windows Open Hills’ came out in 2011. “The Scandinavian people are always a bit cool but Catrine and Jerry warmed them up massively” said Anja, “Her voice was clear and she had so much power in it. It seems she can’t stand still, the rhythm was her cardio. Jerry was the quiet guy behind her, dressed up in a PacMan suit 🙂

“They captivated the crowd and got them involved with chanting ‘OMD’” she added, “both the band and crowd were interacting with each other, which was an amazing feeling for both. One of the things I’ll always remember is, when the stage was dark and Catrine come onto it opening her arms and her ‘wings’ had lights on and she glowed in the dark, she looked like a massive butterfly. The reaction from the crowd was awesome! Songs like ‘No Need To Hide’ stay in your mind for a very long time”.

Enthusiastic UK-based Dutch OMD fan Marilyn Wilson remembered: “I first heard about SOFTWAVE in 2018 when Chi from ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK told me that both Catrine and I were going to be on the same 80s Throwback Floating Festival cruise and that we should meet each other. The ship was rather big and we were never in the same location, so that never happened unfortunately. I did follow Softwave on Facebook after I came back home from the cruise and really liked what I heard.”

ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK have often remarked how SOFTWAVE sound like Celine Dion fronting ERASURE and certainly the latter’s instrumental palette is a similarity that many have referenced.

“The sounds and melodies that Jerry uses remind me a bit of Vince Clarke’s work, and Vince is one of my musical heroes” Marilyn said, “Catrine’s voice is beautiful and powerful and compliments the synths wonderfully! I was so excited when I heard that SOFTWAVE were going to support OMD in Scandinavia, and their four performances certainly didn’t disappoint!”

With Catrine as SOFTWAVE’s vivacious front woman, she garnered the majority of the attention but she worked hard on her performance to maintain it, as the measure for support acts is not how many people are watching at the start of the set, but how many still remain at the end.

“Catrine is a natural on stage and presented all songs with lots of flair and humour” added Marilyn, “She was energetic, confident, interacted a lot with the crowd and managed to get lots of people, who had never heard the music before, to dance throughout the performance! That’s why it didn’t surprise me much when people queued up to meet the band after the gig. Both Catrine and Jerry also happen to be the loveliest friendliest people you could ever meet! My favourite song on the setlist was ‘Something Is Missing’. It’s so catchy I had in my head for days after the gigs.”

Seeing SOFTWAVE perform in Oslo and Stockholm, American music journalist and future music enthusiast Mary L Chang could not help but be impressed. “It’s a tall order, opening for an established band like OMD who have very devoted fans. From the very first song, the aplomb of Catrine Christensen set the stage for a spellbinding and energetic set. Whether in their Pac-Man-themed jackets or in Christensen’s case, lit up with a blue LED cape, SOFTWAVE gave an engaging, unforgettable performance.”

After the misstep of choosing the admittedly low maintenance LOVERS ELECTRIC to support on their comeback tour in 2007, OMD played it safe with the dependable CHINA CRISIS in 2008. However, they then took a greater interest in their special guests and a run of excellent up-and-coming synth acts have since been chosen for the coveted opening slot. Among those acts touring with OMD since 2010 have been VILLA NAH, MIRRORS, VILE ELECTRODES, METROLAND and TINY MAGNETIC PETS.

In a strange coincidence of synchronicity, all five of these acts had been featured on ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK previously and now SOFTWAVE were eagerly following in their footsteps as the sixth.

Catrine Christensen and Jerry Olsen spoke to ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK about their tour with OMD and what the future holds for SOFTWAVE following their successful four date Scandinavian run…

How did you receive the news that you would be opening for OMD?

Catrine: By e-mail. It was an ordinary day. I checked my inbox and there it was! We thought they would never answer – an email was received from OMD’s manager saying: “The band has agreed”.

Later we were told by Andy McCluskey himself in Oslo that we were personally chosen by OMD. It was a great start to begin the tour – we felt SO happy, they were really kind to us during the whole tour. We actually felt like we came closer for each place we played with them. And now I miss them and the touring life. I want more 🙂

So how was preparing for a four date touring different from a one-off show for you?

Catrine: OMG! Haha! As this was our biggest opportunity ever, I had to prepare more than I’m used to.

To our biggest surprise, preparing our show wasn’t the toughest. It’s no secret that I’m a perfectionist when it comes to planning things.

Every single detail was double checked several times, for example planning transport, flight, train, cruise, hotels and not to forget all the new contacts we had become from each venue promoters, production managers, bookers etc.

Jerry: It was all so big and new to us. So of course, we were both very frustrated in the beginning, because we knew this was big and it meant so much to us that we wouldn’t fail. We wanted to make a great impression on OMD and the audience to show them that this tour wasn’t just another show to us – but the biggest four shows we have ever done…

Catrine: …and maybe the door to future success – a dream would finally come true. We couldn’t be more happy – and GOD I so much wish for more of this to happen! Even though preparing was tough! But I believe everything new is difficult. We could easily do it again as we now know how it all works.

Were there any interesting dilemmas with choosing songs to perform for a 30 minute slot?

Catrine: Yes, sure. 30 minutes isn’t a whole album, so we had to remove some songs. What we didn’t expect was that we had to add an old song because Vega, the venue in Copenhagen decided to promote us by using the ‘On & On & On’ music video. So we chose to add that one too, replacing ‘Human Beings’.

How were rehearsals going, did you have a particular process? Voice exercises, run throughs etc??

Jerry: We did rehearsals one month before the first show and each day during the tour, even during the cruise to Oslo and at hotels.

Catrine: I did voice exercises each day for one month up to the first show, but that’s not more than I’m used to before a show.

I tried to keep my throat warm and healthy, it’s like going in a fitness centre, not before one month of training you can feel a difference. I drank tea each day up to and during the tour. I was very afraid of getting sick and not being able to sing. But I didn’t 🙂

You finally had a CD of ‘Game On’ available for sale…

Catrine: Yeah. We were not supposed to. But after receiving a lot of requests, we decided to produce some. Luckily we received support from DPA and KODA’s Cultural Funds, or else we couldn’t afford it. One month before the tour, we decided to release the CD together with the announcement of the 100 new copies of the ‘Game On’ vinyl, a “tour edition” in lime colour. Surprisingly we received many CD pre-orders, and I had to arrange all these to be shipped safely to the fans, all signed during the preparations for the tour. WOW! That was stressful. But after that, we could finally concentrate on the tour.

Jerry: The CDs sold well and 50% of them are gone already. So we’re very glad about our decision. But the vinyl sale went even better!

Your choice of stage clothes made a strong visual impact?

Catrine: Yes, it did. Every single detail was carefully chosen. The most popular visual impact was definitely the blue LED-wings I was wearing during ‘Guardian Angel’. Visuals and stage clothes are almost as important as the music when performing live. We want the audience to experience the music in another way than when listening at home.

As we don’t go on compromise on the quality of the music production, we feel the same live. To show that, we had to “show” it in a visual way.

Jerry: We both wore the PacMan suits as it’s related to the ‘Game On’ album. It’s not a permanent look though.

Catrine: Regarding the shows we did during the tour with OMD, it was my idea to spice up the show with a star, LED wings and my clothes which I changed a little at each show, but it still had the same main look. During all our shows, I was always wearing my wave-earring and wave-makeup. As something new, I added a Greek goddess hair-bracelet which I bought together with my Greek family in Athens. After the tour I found out that many people noticed these small details – so that made me very happy. It was all worth it 🙂

OMD souvenir tour – Behind the scenes

ATTENTION!Watch this video to have a closer look behind-the-scenes and to see how much we enjoyed touring with Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark.Interview by ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK "On Tour With SOFTWAVE":https://www.electricityclub.co.uk/on-tour-with-softwave/We are so pleased to have so many lovely people around us to support us during the whole tour experience ❤ THANK YOU ❤Playlist by OMD: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/3Pkycy3mykGmoiT3EVSpvy?si=vVCDmE6yRWmmkyzrNy01SwWatch FULL live show (VEGA): https://youtu.be/sg8FJ37vaSc

Posted by SoftWave on Wednesday, February 26, 2020

How was the first night in Oslo?

Catrine: As you say “the first night”. We didn’t know what to expect and what people would think of our show. Therefore we were both very excited and nervous at the same time. A strange but also an incredibly good feeling. (Watch behind-the-scenes video 🙂

We weren’t sure how much we could ask or if we were allowed to meet the band and talk with them backstage. So we kind of just followed the flow and suddenly we met Andy McCluskey and had a short chat.

Afterwards we said hi to Paul Humphreys and the other band members. We also had the pleasure of seeing their soundcheck along with the VIPs. They looked very curiously at us, as we were just standing there among the hardcore OMD fans, I had this feeling that they wasn’t used to that.

Jerry: After the show, something surprising happened, first of all we sold a lot of merchandise and many came to us to give us feedback. Some gave us high-five and one man told us that what we did was amazing. He said he had never seen an OMD support band like that before. He also added that Norwegians are normally very shy in nature, but we made them clap, jump, shout and smile 🙂

Even a video from an audience was uploaded to YouTube afterwards – and that’s a good sign…

You actually had some German and Dutch OMD fans there to cheer for you?

Catrine: Yes we had, Anja and Marilyn. They were amazingly supportive during the whole tour. We really needed them, so their presence meant a lot to us. At least one person to cheer you up is precious – but we were lucky to have at least two during all four places <3

The tour wouldn’t have been the same without them. But we must say that they maybe would not have known about us if it wasn’t because of our huge fan Shaun who couldn’t be there and told Anja to keep an eye on us.

What was the overall reaction in Oslo?

Jerry: It was impressive. They were all very supportive and cheered us up. We had so much great feedback. If this wasn’t the case, I’m afraid it would maybe have made me nervous for the other shows.

Catrine: We were told by Andy that they would come and see our show. So we were very excited to hear their feedback afterwards.

Then onto Stockholm, did the audience here differ?

Catrine: There were unbelievably so many photos taken here, it sure was the most beautiful venue we have ever played at. We would love to go there again. Even the backstage area and service was amazing. Sadly there wasn’t much videos posted by the audience. But we were lucky to find one:

Softwave – Something is Missing. 🎶😀

Posted by Tom Svendsen on Sunday, February 9, 2020

How was your relationship developing with the road crew?

Jerry: Step by step. We ended up having a very good time together, it felt like a small family. We really miss them.

Did you get to chat much to Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys during the tour?

Catrine: Yes. But it wasn’t easy. We were afraid it would never happen. So we stayed humble and didn’t want to demand them to have a chat with us, so we shared our wish with their manager and made it up to them to decide when and if they wanted to chat with us.

That was a good decision as we experienced they opened up more after each show. During the last show in Copenhagen, they came to us many times for a chat and we even had photos with them backstage. We also gave them and the rest of the band a copy of the lime vinyl including a personal message and signed of course 🙂

They seemed very happy about the gift and they also gave us great feedback on our performance, actually many times. They also said they were honoured to have us with them on tour – and we didn’t know what to say because we were the ones to be honoured to be chosen.

Right before we went to the stage in Vega, Andy told me that he was amazed by my way of performing. He said something like this: “…without looking nervous at all you just went on stage like a queen saying here I am…”. That really was a huge compliment. I hope to chat more with them, we had such a great time and even better, the same sort of humour.

Jerry: I had a nice producer-conversation with Paul before we entered the stage in Copenhagen.

We mentioned that we’re working on a cover version of ‘Souvenir’ which caught his attention right away. He asked me to send him a demo to his private email.

Malmö was heading towards home, were you getting into your stride by now?

Jerry: Yeah… we were definitely getting the hang of the touring life. It was a different place but everything remained the same. Every place, the schedule is exactly the same. That was actually a good thing because it made us relax more.

But you were most nervous for the Copenhagen show?

Jerry: Yes. Danes are not easily satisfied. They are often critical about new bands like us and can be very judging. But surprisingly, we were completely wrong about that.

Catrine: We had a huge queue at the merchandise stand. We were three people to help sell our stuff and it was lovely to have a good friend helping us out during the day. Copenhagen was a great success and a perfect end to the tour!

Over the four shows, which songs appeared to be getting the best reaction?

Jerry: Hard to say. Ask OMD’s fans 😉

But if I should mention one song – it must be ‘No Need To Hide’ as it was the last one on the setlist and worked as the perfect transition for OMD to take over the stage after us.

How were merch sales and the online reaction with regards social media and post-show steams?

Catrine: Just amazing. We couldn’t have asked for more. We sold way more than expected. Our lovely followers on social media kindly shared our posts and even OMD fans commented and uploaded pictures and videos. It was a great help to me, as I’m responsible for the promotional part. Only at Vega, we had our own film-production crew to film our show and a photographer. So we especially want to thank all people who took pictures and filmed our show in Oslo, Stockholm and Malmo and would like everyone to send us their files to contact@softwavemusic.com

What advice would you give to artists to be able to get into the position you managed to find yourself in?

Catrine: Be prepared, be yourself, produce great music and show you are proud of it. Don’t be afraid to move forward – just believe you will succeed and you will.

What are SOFTWAVE’s future plans, hopes and fears?

Jerry: We want to tour more for sure! It’s very sad that the tour with OMD is over already, and we fear a tour like this will never happen to us again. We feel very lucky and honoured to have experienced this. It feels like we have reached the top. So of course it’s always frustrating to think of the future after having such a great time in “tour-heaven”.

Catrine: It’s like having an “after-tour-effect”, some artists feel depressed. I have been told it’s normal, but I don’t feel that yet. I’m still very happy, but I have thought “So what will happen now?”... I believe the worst thing is to have to wait and stay patient.

As we didn’t know what would happen after this tour, we are still available for bookings during the whole summer. We hope to play in Germany and bigger venues and festivals in Denmark. But we’re not in a hurry as we’re planning a new album and another exciting side-project 😉

But there will be a full professional live show recording of the Copenhagen Vega show online soon.


ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its warmest thanks to SOFTWAVE

Special thanks to Anja Minnemann, Marilyn Wilson and Mary L Chang

‘Game On’ is released as a download album, available direct from https://softwave.bandcamp.com/album/game-on

For SOFTWAVE enquiries and bookings, please contact Stig Wintendorff of Town & Towers Group Music Management at booking@townandtowers.dkhttp://townandtowers.dk/

http://www.softwavemusic.com/

https://www.facebook.com/SoftWaveMusic/

https://twitter.com/SoftWaveMusic

https://www.instagram.com/softwave_music/

https://softwave.bandcamp.com/


Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Dag Stinus
5th March 2020, 23rd March 2020

SOFTWAVE To Open For OMD on 2020 Scandinavian Dates

Fresh from the acclaim for their debut album ‘Game On’ released this year, Danish synthpop couple SOFTWAVE will be opening for OMD on the Scandinavian leg of their 2020 ‘Souvenir’ tour.

Catrine Christensen and Jerry Olsen first met Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys on a cruise ship which OMD were playing and contacts were exchanged.

Catrine Christensen told ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK: “An email popped in my inbox; ‘The band have agreed’, I couldn’t believe it and showed it to Jerry before I really took it in. We both danced on the floor of happiness! This was the biggest thing ever!”

SOFTWAVE join an elite list of acts which includes VILLA NAH, MIRRORS, METROLAND, VILE ELECTRODES and TINY MAGNETIC PETS who have been championed by ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK and later secured the coveted support slot for OMD.

Since their debut EP ‘Together Alone’ in 2016, SOFTWAVE have been gaining notable endorsements from one-time members of THE HUMAN LEAGUE Jo Callis and Ian Burden, as well as former Numan sideman Chris Payne. So for the duo and their upward trajectory, it has certainly been ‘Game On’.

In November, SOFTWAVE performed live with a special designed lasershow to their biggest audience so far of more than 600 people at the Bremen Teater in central Copenhagen, with a live clip recently hitting the net sphere of the song ‘Something Is Missing’.

Buzzingly sub-ERASURE, it is an alluringly catchy and assured synthpop statement which Christensen revealed was inspired by her dog Nero: “The life before my dad got ill, I was spoiled. Apart from games, movies and toys, I always wanted a dog so badly, so he gave one to me. After 15 years with a lovely time with my dog Nero, he passed away. Therefore I named the song ‘Something Is Missing’.”

But she added: “it was important for other people without a dog-relationship to relate to it as well. Basically this song is dedicated to everybody who lost something or someone valuable in their lives.”

Meanwhile, the ‘Something Is Missing – Longdrink Reloaded’ extended version is now exclusively available on the label ZYX Music compilation ‘New Generation 15’ while a remix compilation ‘Game On 1Up’ is now available as a downaload via Bandcamp.


‘Game On’ and ‘Game On 1Up’ are released as download albums, available direct from https://softwave.bandcamp.com/

SOFTWAVE open for OMD on the Scandinavian leg of their 2020 ‘Souvenir’ 40 Years – Greatest Hits tour at the following dates:

Oslo Rockefeller Musichall (7th February), Stockholm Berns (9th February), Malmo KB (10th February), Copenhagen Store Vega (12th February)

http://www.softwavemusic.com/

https://www.facebook.com/SoftWaveMusic/

https://twitter.com/SoftWaveMusic

https://www.instagram.com/softwave_music/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
20th December 2019

2019 End Of Year Review

2019 was a year of 40th Anniversaries, celebrating the synth becoming the sound of pop when ‘Are Friends Electric?’ reached No1 in the UK chart in 1979.

While GARY NUMAN opted for ‘(R)evolution’ and two of his former sidemen RRussell Bell and Chris Payne ventured solo for the first time, OMD offered a 7 disc ‘Souvenir’ featuring a whole album of quality unreleased material to accompany a concert tour to celebrate four decades in the business. That was contrary to DEPECHE MODE who merely plonked 14 albums into a boxed set in a move where the ‘Everything Counts’ lyric “the grabbing hands grab all they can” became more and more ironic… MIDGE URE partied like it was 1980 with the music of VISAGE and ULTRAVOX, while SIMPLE MINDS announced an arena tour for 2020 so that their audience could show Jim Kerr their hands again.

HEAVEN 17 announced some special showcases of the early material of THE HUMAN LEAGUE and got a particularly warm reception opening on tour for SQUEEZE as a trailer ahead of their own ‘Greatest Hits’ jaunt next year.

Celebrating 20 years in music, there was the welcome return of LADYTRON with a self-titled comeback album, while Swedish evergreens LUSTANS LAKEJER performed the ‘Åkersberga’ album for its 20th Anniversary and similarly GOLDFRAPP announced a series of shows in honour of their magnificent cinematic debut ‘Felt Mountain’.

Cult favourites FIAT LUX made their intimate live comeback in a church in Bradford and released their debut album ‘Saved Symmetry’ 37 years after their first single ‘Feels Like Winter Again’.

As a result, their fans were also treated to ‘Ark Of Embers’, the long player that Polydor Records shelved in 1985 when the band were on the cusp of a breakthrough but ended with a commercial breakdown.

Modern prog exponents Tim Bowness and Steven Wilson got back together as NO-MAN for their dual suite electronic concept record ‘Love You To Bits’, but an even more ambitious undertaking came from UNDERWORLD with their boxed set ‘Drift Series 1’.

Also making live returns were one-time PET SHOP BOYS protégé CICERO with a charity gig in his hometown of Livingston, WHITE DOOR with JOHAN BAECKSTRÖM at Synth Wave Live 3, ARTHUR & MARTHA and Mute Records veterans KOMPUTER.

After a short hiatus, the mighty KITE sold-out three gigs at Stockholm Slaktkyrkan and ended the year performing at an opera house, while GIORGIO MORODER embarked on his first ever concert tour where his songs were the stars.

Although their long-awaited-as-yet-untitled third album was still to materialise, VILE ELECTRODES went back on the road in Europe with APOPTYGMA BERZERK and THE INVINCIBLE SPIRIT. Meanwhile, Chinese techno-rock sextet STOLEN opened for NEW ORDER on their Autumn European tour and EMIKA performed in a series of Planetariums.

Despite the fall of The Berlin Wall 30 years ago, there were more evident swipes to the right than there had been for a long time, with the concept of Brexit Electro becoming a rather unpleasant reality. So in these more sinister times, the need for classic uplifting electronic pop was higher than ever.

To that end, three superb debut albums fitted the bill. While KNIGHT$ offered quality Britalo on ‘Dollars & Cents’, the suave presence of OLLIE WRIDE took a more MTV friendly direction with ‘Thanks In Advance’.

But for those wanting something more home produced, the eccentric Northern electronic pop of the brilliantly named INTERNATIONAL TEACHERS OF POP continued the artistic lineage of THE HUMAN LEAGUE.

QUIETER THAN SPIDERS finally released their wonderful debut album ‘Signs Of Life’ which was naturally more understated and Denmark had some worthy synthpop representation with SOFTWAVE producing an enjoyably catchy debut long player in ‘Game On’.

On the shadier side of electronic pop, BOY HARSHER achieved a wider breakthrough with their impressive ‘Careful’ long player but as a result, the duo acquired a contemporary hipster element to their fanbase who seemed to lack manners and self-awareness as they romped around gigs without a care for anyone around them. But with tongues-in-cheeks, SPRAY continued to amuse with their witty prankelectro on ‘Failure Is Inevitable’.

Photo by Johnny Jewel

Italians Do It Better kept things in house as CHROMATICS unexpectedly unleashed their first album for six years in ‘Closer To Grey’ and embarked on a world tour. Main support was DESIRE and accompanied on keyboards by HEAVEN singer Aja, the pair took things literally during their cover version of ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ with a girl-on-girl kiss in front of head honcho Johnny Jewel.

Other ITIB acts on the tour dependent on territory included DOUBLE MIXTE, IN MIRRORS and KRAKÓW LOVES ADANA. But the best work to appear from the stable came from JORJA CHALMERS who became ‘Human Again’.

There were a variety of inventive eclectic works from FAKE TEAK, MAPS, FINLAY SHAKESPEARE, ULTRAMARINE, TYCHO, THE GOLDEN FILTER, FRAGRANCE. and FADER. Meanwhile VON KONOW, SOMEONE WHO ISN’T ME and JAKUZI all explored themes of equality while BOYTRONIC preferred ‘The Robot Treatment’.

But expressing themselves on the smoother side of proceedings were CULT WITH NO NAME and notably SHOOK who looked east towards the legend of YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA.

Dark minimalism reigned in the work of FRAGILE SELF and WE ARE REPLICA while no less dark but not so aggressive, WITCH OF THE VALE cemented their position with a well-received opening slot at Infest.

Touring in Europe with OMD and MIDGE URE, TINY MAGNETIC PETS unleashed two EPs ‘The Politburo Disko’ and ‘Girl In A White Dress’ as fellow Dubliner CIRCUIT3 got political and discussed ‘The Price Of Nothing & The Value Of Everything’.

2019 was a year of electronic instrumental offerings galore from NEULAND, RICARDO AUTOBAHN, EKKOES, M83, RELIEF, FEMMEPOP and OBLONG, although ERIC RANDOM’s dystopian offering ‘Wire Me Up’ added vocoder while BRIAN ENO celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing ‘For All Mankind’.

The King of Glum Rock LLOYD COLE surprised all with an electronic pop album called ‘Guesswork’ just as PET SHOP BOYS set an ‘Agenda’. HOWARD JONES released his most synthy work for years in ‘Transform’ and while CHINA CRISIS acted as his well-received support on the UK leg of his 35th Anniversary tour, their front man GARY DALY ventured solo with ‘Gone From Here’.

Among the year’s best new talents were IMI, KARIN MYGRETAGEISTE and ALICE HUBBLE with their beautifully crafted avant pop.

And with the media traction of artists such as GEORGIA, REIN, JENNIFER TOUCH, SUI ZHEN, THE HEARING, IONNALEE, PLASMIC, ZAMILSKA, IOANNA GIKA, SPELLLING, KANGA, FIFI RONG and I AM SNOW ANGEL, the profile of women in electronic music was stronger than ever in 2019.

Sweden continued to produce quality electronic pop with enjoyable releases from the likes of MACHINISTA, PAGE, COVENANT, OBSESSION OF TIME and LIZETTE LIZETTE. One of the most interesting acts to emerge from the region was US featuring the now Stockholm-domiciled Andrew Montgomery from GENEVA and Leo Josefsson of LOWE, with the catalyst of this unlikely union coming from a shared love of the late country legend Glen Campbell. Meanwhile, veteran trio DAYBEHAVIOR made the best album of their career ‘Based On A True Story’.

However, Canada again gave the Swedes a good run for their money as ELECTRIC YOUTH and FM ATTACK released new material while with more of a post-punk slant, ACTORS impressed audiences who preferred a post-post-punk edge alongside their synths.

DANA JEAN PHOENIX though showed herself to be one of the best solo synth performers on the live circuit, but artistically the best of the lot was MECHA MAIKO who had two major releases ‘Okiya’ and ‘Let’s!’.

Despite making some good music in 2019 with their ‘Destroyer’ two-parter, the “too cool for school” demeanour of TR/ST might have impressed hipsters, but left a lot to be desired. A diva-ish attitude of entitlement was also noticed by ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK to be disappointingly prevalent in several fledgling acts.

Synthwave increased its profile further with the film ‘The Rise Of The Synths’ narrated by none other than John Carpenter. MICHAEL OAKLEY released his debut album ‘Introspect’, BETAMAXX was ‘Lost In A Dreamworld’, COM TRUISE came up with a ‘Persuasion System’ and NEW ARCADES were ‘Returning Home’.

Scene veteran FUTURECOP! collaborated with PARALLELS, COMPUTER MAGIC and NINA prior to a hiatus for the foreseeable future, while there were promising new talents emerging in the shape of POLYCHROME, PRIZM, BUNNY X and RIDER.

However, several of the sub-genre’s artists needed to rethink their live presentations which notably underwhelmed with their static motions and lack of engagement.

While promoters such as Outland developed on their solid foundations, others attempted to get too big too soon like the musical equivalent of a penis extension, leaving fans disappointed and artists unpaid. Attempting to turnover more than 10 acts during in a day with a quarter of an hour changeover has always been an odious task at best, but to try 15?!? One hopes the headliners were well paid despite having to go on at midnight when most of their supporters went home so as not to miss the last train…

Now at times, it was as if a major collective midlife crisis had hit independent electronic music in the UK during 2019. It was not unlike how “born again bikers” have become a major road safety risk, thanks to 40somethings who only managed Cycling Proficiency in Junior School suddenly jumping onto 500cc Honda CMX500 Rebel motorcycles, thinking they were Valentino Rossi.

Something similar was occurring in music as a variety of posturing delusional synth owners indulged in a remix frenzy and visions of grandeur, forgetting that ability and talent were paramount. This attitude led to a number of poorly attended events where attendees were able to be counted on one hand, thanks to clueless fans of said combos unwisely panning their video footage around the venue.

Playing at 3:15pm in an empty venue is NOT performing at a ‘major’ electronic festival… “I’ll be more selective with the gigs I agree to in the UK” one of these acts haplessly bemoaned, “I’ve played to too many empty rooms!” – well, could that have been because they are not very good?

Bands who had blown their chance by not showing willingness to open for name acts during holiday periods, while making unwise comments on their national TV debut about their lack of interest in registering for PRS, said they were going to split a year in advance, but not before releasing an EP and playing a farewell show in an attempt to finally get validation for their art. Was this a shining example of Schrodinger’s Band?

Of course, the worst culprits were those who had an internet radio show or put on gigs themselves so that they could actually perform, because otherwise external promotors were only interested in them opening at 6.15pm after a ticket deal buy on for a five band bill. Humility wouldn’t have gone amiss in all these cases.

It’s a funny old world, but as ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK comes up to concluding its tenth year as an influential platform that has written extensively about not one or two or three or four BUT five acts prior to them being selected to open on tour for OMD, luckily the gulf between good and bad music is more distinct than ever. It will be interesting to see if the high standard of electronic pop will be maintained or whether the influx of poor quality artists will contaminate the bloodline.

So ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK ends the decade with a complimentary comment by a punter after attending two of its live events: “You don’t put on sh*t do you…”

May the supreme talent rise and shine… you know who you are 😉


ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK Contributor Listings of 2019

PAUL BODDY

Best Album: UNDERWORLD Drift Series 1
Best Song: MOLINA Venus
Best Gig: RAMMSTEIN at Milton Keynes MK Bowl
Best Video: SCALPING Chamber
Most Promising New Act: SCALPING


IAN FERGUSON

Best Album: NO-MAN Love You To Bits
Best Song: NO-MAN Love You To Shreds
Best Gig: RAMMSTEIN at Stadion Slaski Chorzow
Best Video: RAMMSTEIN Deutschland
Most Promising New Act: IMI


SIMON HELM

Best Album: PAGE Fakta För Alla
Best Song: PAGE Fakta För Alla
Best Gig: LAU NAU at London Cafe OTO
Best Video: LAU NAU Amphipoda on Buchla 200 at EMS Stockholm
Most Promising New Act: THE HIDDEN MAN


CHI MING LAI

Best Album: KNIGHT$ Dollar & Cents
Best Song: OMD Don’t Go
Best Gig: KITE at Stockholm Slaktkyrkan
Best Video: NIGHT CLUB Your Addiction
Most Promising New Act: IMI


RICHARD PRICE

Best Album: KNIGHT$ Dollar & Cents
Best Song: OMD Don’t Go
Best Gig: MIDGE URE + RUSTY EGAN at The London Palladium
Best Video: IMI Margins
Most Promising New Act: PLASMIC


MONIKA IZABELA TRIGWELL

Best Album: MECHA MAIKO Let’s
Best Song: KANGA Burn
Best Gig: DANA JEAN PHOENIX, KALAX + LEBROCK at London Zigfrid von Underbelly
Best Video: IONNALEE Open Sea
Most Promising New Act: PRIZM


Text by Chi Ming Lai with thanks to Ian Ferguson
16th December 2019, updated 29th Janaury 2021

ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK’s 30 SONGS OF 2019

2019 was good for new music. The first two thirds of the year was particularly strong for up-and-coming talent, while a number of veterans returned to making music with synths for the first time in many years.

Inevitably, the quality of new releases couldn’t be sustained and things tailed off during the Autumn period as artists shifted their focus towards the live arena.

The launch of debut full-length releases by relative newcomers has tended to focus towards the winter in order to pitch to the deluge of tastemaker polls that are now prevalent both in mainstream and online media.

Of course, The Electricity Club is unable to include everything in its 30 SONGS OF 2019, so worthy mentions go to SHOOK, CIRCUIT 3, KANGA, FRAGILE SELF, NINA, THE HEARING, JAKUZI, TR/ST, SPELLLING, I AM SNOW ANGEL, PET SHOP BOYS, NO-MAN, RIDER, TINY MAGNETIC PETS, FRAGRANCE. and T.O.Y. for their output this year.

As per usual with a restriction of one song per artist moniker and presented in alphabetical order, these are ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK’s 30 SONGS OF 2019…


APOPTYGMA BERZERK A Battle For The Crown

Over the 25 years since his debut album ‘Soli Deo Gloria’ , Stephan Groth has straddled EBM, synthpop, futurepop, alternative rock and more recently instrumentals with APOPTYGMA BERZERK. For his first new material since 2016’s ‘Exit Popularity Contest’, the upcoming EP ‘Nein Danke!’ sees a return to the synthpop / new wave format. Part of a teaser single, ‘A Battle For The Crown’ offered a suitably matted austere but crucially did not forget the hooks or the melodies.

Available on the EP ‘Nein Danke!’ via Pitch Black Drive

http://www.theapboffice.com/


BOY HARSHER LA

Stark Massachusetts duo BOY HARSHER formed through an urgent need to produce and consume, so Jae Matthews and Augustus Muller utilised their minimal electronics and intense mindset to create a compelling narrative of deterioration. ‘LA’ featured a wonderfully incongruous mix of icy string synths and orchestra stabs for an enticing display of mutant electronic disco, all brilliantly sinister thanks to its varied use of effects and Matthews’ mournful demeanour.

Available on the album ‘Careful’ via Nude Club Records

https://boyharsher.com/


JORJA CHALMERS She Made Him Love Again

Jorja Chalmers is the sax and keys player for Bryan Ferry but while it was recorded in her boss’ studio, her first solo album ‘Human Again’ exuded a more sombre filmic disposition. Conceived and sketched in hotel rooms during the come down from playing to packed theatres around the world. ‘She Made Him Love Again’ was a song where Chalmers’ breathy vocals possessed a gorgeous forlorn allure and when the icy string machine and deep sax joined in, proceedings lifted to another level.

Available on the album ‘Human Again’ via Italians Do It Better

https://www.instagram.com/jorjachalmers/


LLOYD COLE Violins

Lloyd Cole had recorded an experimental electronic album ‘Selected Studies Vol 1’ with Hans-Joachim Roedelius of CLUSTER in 2013, while there was also a solo instrumental collection entitled ‘1D Electronics 2012-2014’. But he put all of that modular knowhow into a song based format with the charming synthy single ‘Violins’ which saw him turn into OMD! However the King of Glum Rock didn’t totally alienate his main fan base, with guitars making their presence felt in amongst all the machinery at the halfway point.

Available on the album ‘Guesswork’ via earMUSIC

https://www.lloydcole.com/


GARY DALY I Work Alone

CHINA CRISIS have been an unlikely influence on acts such as VILLA NAH and MIRRORS, but while these days their synthwork is less pronounced, front man and keyboardist Gary Daly took the plunge with a full length solo record entitled ‘Gone From Here’. The wonderful first single ‘I Work Alone’ acted as both a statement of intent and an affirmation in self-belief. A lovely whimsical piece of Casiotone folktronica, Daly said “it’s very much ‘Neon Lights’ meets ‘Autobahn’”

Available on the album ‘Gone From Here’ via https://www.musicglue.com/gary-daly

https://www.instagram.com/garydalymusic/


DAYBEHAVIOR Driving In My Car

With a range of tempo variation, ‘Based On A True Story’ was the undoubtedly the best album of Swedish trio DAYBEHAVIOR’s long if sporadic career. Including a number of more danceable numbers to counterpoint the more laid back aspects of their cinematic sound without losing any of their exquisite aesthetics, one of the best examples could be heard in the fabulous Europop number ‘Driving In My Car’. It was just one part of a priceless collection of quality Scandipop.

Available on the album ‘Based On A True Story’ via Graplur

http://www.daybehavior.com


FIAT LUX We Can Change The World

Nearly four decades is a long time to wait for a debut album, but with Wakefield’s FIAT LUX, it was been worth it. Recalling BLACK and CHINA CRISIS, the guarded optimism of ‘We Can Change The World’ provided a call to action in these turbulent times within an uptempo setting dressed with bubbling synths and rousing dual vocals sweetened by smooth sax. Steve Wright and David P Crickmore honoured their late band mate Ian Nelson in the best way possible with their recorded and live return.

Available on the album ‘Saved Symmetry’ via Splid Records

http://www.fiat-lux.co.uk/


GEORGIA About Work The Dancefloor

Georgia Barnes is the daughter of LEFTFIELD’s Neil Barnes and the former drummer for Kate Tempest. Although her eponymous debut album possessed a more urban DIY feel, her sound has recently moved into more accessible electronic pop territory. From upcoming second album ‘Seeking Thrills’, the gloriously throbbing workout of ‘About Work The Dancefloor’ took its lead from ROBYN with its rousing Scandipop sheen, offset by a creepy distorted vocal refrain.

Available on the album ‘Seeking Thrills’ via Domino Recordings

https://georgiauk.com/


GRETA White

A Copenhagen domiciled German, classically schooled Greta Louise Schenk teamed up with Norwegian producer FARAO to enter a dreamy synthpop universe. With its unusual rhythmic structure and chromatic overtones, ‘White’ could have been an art rock number? “I often wonder how this song came out of me” she said, “I actually wrote it on my Irish bouzouki, which may explain the chords. I was listening a lot to LANA DEL REY and it was quite a dark time in my life.”

Available on the EP ‘Ardent Spring – Part I’ via Celebration Records,

https://www.facebook.com/greta.geschenk/


HEAVEN Truth Or Dare

Another project of Johnny Jewel, HEAVEN first came to wider attention with the ‘Lonesome Town’ EP. Fronted by the enigmatic allure of singer and keyboardist Aja, the brilliant ‘Truth Or Dare’ perhaps unsurprisingly sounded like CHROMATICS but with more synths and drum machine. While on tour as keyboardist with DESIRE, Aja took the title literally when they performed a cover of NEW ORDER’s ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ and Jewel watched nearby…

Available on the single ‘Truth Or Dare’ via Italians Do It Better

https://www.instagram.com/heaven_idib/


ALICE HUBBLE We Are Still Alone

ALICE HUBBLE is the new solo project of Alice Hubley, previously best known for fronting ARTHUR & MARTHA and COSINES. Hubley’s synth earth mother demeanour came to the fore on the sub-OMD of ‘We Are Still Alone’. While the lilting bass and elegiac transistorised melody were glorious, when the synth strings responded in that ASHRA style, it became perfect avant pop with Hubley sadly resigning to herself that she “couldn’t find the way to make me better”.

Available on the album ‘Polarlichter’ via Happy Robots Records

https://www.happyrobots.co.uk/alice-hubble


IMI I Feel Alright

Leeds based singer / songwriter IMI is gifted with a most glorious soprano but she applies that and her love of analogue synths to an intelligent avant pop aesthetic. ‘I Feel Alright’ with its sharp melodic call and ethereal voices headed into assertive optimism. This most promising young synth talent said to ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK: “This song was written after a few years of struggling with some personal issues and it was a celebration of finally feeling ok and feeling hopeful about the future.”

Available on the EP ‘Lines’ via https://imimusicuk.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/imimusicuk/


INTERNATIONAL TEACHERS OF POP Love Girl

Hailing from Sheffield, INTERNATIONAL TEACHERS OF POP and their world of academia would make “eccentric Northern electronic pop” compulsory on the curriculum. From their vibrant and accessible self-titled debut album, the bubbly ‘Love Girl’ was a luscious cross between DUBSTAR and THE HUMAN LEAGUE. Cosmic but catchy, their intelligent musical escapism has been just the tonic in these turbulent times. One of their manifesto statements is “Smile at the neon and the mirrorball”.

Available on the album ‘International Teachers Of Pop’ via Desolate Spools

https://www.facebook.com/internationalteachersofpop/


HOWARD JONES Hero In Your Eyes

Producing his most synthpop work in ages, originally from the ‘Eddie The Eagle’ film sessions, Howard Jones said of ‘Hero In Your Eyes’: “I was really drawn to the part where his parents were amazing, continuing to believe in him when he was obviously not really very good at what he’d chosen to do, they kept supporting him. So him being a hero in their eyes always, that ‘I’ll be there for you’ feeling, I thought that it was something a lot of people could relate to”

Available on the album ‘Transform’ via Dtox Records

http://www.howardjones.com/


KNIGHT$ Hijack My Heart

Coming over like the love child of Richard Butler and Neil Tennant, KNIGHT$ made synthwaves with his sparkly Britalo on his energetic debut album ‘Dollars & Cents’. The Hi-NRG romp of ‘Hijack My Heart’ aped BRONSKI BEAT complete with a closing bursts of falsetto as the Winchester lad tightened his glitzy clubbing trousers to full effect and even dropped in a blistering synth solo to add to the fun. It was a highlight on one of the best albums of 2019.

Available on the album ‘Dollars & Cents’ via Specchio Uomo

https://knights101.com/


LADYTRON Deadzone

LADYTRON produced their last offering ‘Gravity The Seducer’ in 2011. Their recent heavier self-titled reboot saw the quartet of Helen Marnie, Mira Aroyo, Daniel Hunt and Reuben Wu entering the ‘Deadzone’. Unsettlingly percussive and full of tension but hitting the spot with the right dose of melodic elements intertwined with haunting grit and grime, LADYTRON were back with a sucker punch. All in all, it was a fantastic comeback.

Available on the album ‘Ladytron’ via !K7

http://www.ladytron.com/


LIZETTE LIZETTE Computer Game

LIZETTE LIZETTE is Lizette Nordahl, a gender neutral Swedish / Peruvian producer and performance artist whose first mini-album album ‘Queerbody’ was released 2017. The beautifully sad Nordic synth ballad ‘Computer Game’ was written in tribute to a departed friend. Showcasing Nordahl’s more emotive side, it was a quality that had not been obviously apparent in LIZETTE LIZETTE’s more danced-based recordings.

Available on the EP ‘Non’ via https://lizettelizette.bandcamp.com/

http://lizettelizette.com/


MACHINISTA Anthropocene

Reflecting gloomier times, ‘Anthropocene’ saw MACHINISTA produce their most consistent body of work yet. Vocalist John Lindqwister and instrumentalist Richard Flow took their time in a refinement of their anthemic signature sound and the addition of some conventionally flavoured twists. The title song took its lead from the dark electronic pop of Norway’s APOPTYGMA BERZERK and owed more than a debt to the haunting riff of ‘Burning Heretic’ in the ultimate sorcerer’s apprentice spell.

Available on the album ‘Anthropocene’ via Infacted Records

https://www.machinistamusic.com/


MECHA MAIKO Apathy

Behind the quirky avant pop of MECHA MAIKO‬ is the talented Canadian Hayley Stewart. ‘Apathy’ from her new album ‘Let’s!’ can only be described as delightfully nuts, with an inventive mix of a jazz swing Charleston vibe, frantic techno dance beats and vibrant synthpop hooks. It showed she was not afraid to blend seemingly incongruous influences to get an end result and with a slight sprinkling of Japanese instrumentation to close, the eclectic creative cycle was complete!‬‬‬‬‬

Available on the album ‘Let’s!’ via ORO Records

https://www.mechamaiko.com/


KARIN MY The Silence

Swedish songstress Karin My sang with veteran combo TWICE A MAN on their poignant environmental catastrophe warning ‘High In The Clouds’ in 2105. Her solo single ‘The Silence’ was one of the first truly great songs of 2019. Swathed in beautiful synths and embroiled in that wonderful Scandinavian melancholy, her gorgeous vocals evoked a forlorn abandonment just as a wintery chill set in with the sad dilemma of whether to give up…

Available on the single ‘The Silence’ via Ad Inexplorata

http://www.karinmy.net/


MICHAEL OAKLEY Left Behind

The mighty Italo Disco statement of ‘Left Behind’ came complete with obligatory orchestra stabs and a rousing chorus, gleefully fusing SAVAGE, RAF, PET SHOP BOYS and BEE GEES within a big Trevor Horn styled kitchen sink! But despite the fun laden octave shift frenzy, the lyrics were concerned with midlife reflection. Michael Oakley said: “the song is about me feeling like everyone around me was getting settled in their career, getting married and taking out a mortgage.”

Available on the album ‘Introspect’ via NewRetroWave

https://www.facebook.com/MichaelOakleyOfficial/


OBLONG Echolocation

Every now and then, the world needs a lively unpretentious synth instrumental record. With the second OBLONG album ‘The Sea At Night’, the trio of Benge, Dave Nice and Sid Stronarch delivered a collection of rustic electro-acoustic organically farmed electronica! With mood and pace, ‘Echolocation’ was a classic synth instrumental with its crystalline textures and charming slightly off-key blips, aurally reflecting the remote moorland location in Cornwall where it was recorded.

Available on the album ‘The Sea At Night’ via Memetune Recordings

https://twitter.com/oblongtheband


OMD Don’t Go

OMD began their recorded career with a KRAFTWERK homage and four decades on, they came full circle. A great grandchild of Klingklang and cousin of ‘Metroland’ from ‘English Electric’ but refined for BBC Radio 2 airplay, ‘Don’t Go’ captured the essence of OMD’s enduring electronic appeal. With crystalline synth melodies from Humphreys and a spirited vocal delivery from McCluskey attached to a hypnotic Synthanorma backdrop, OMD continue to produce quality avant pop tunes.

Available on the album ‘Souvenir: The Singles Collection 1979 – 2019’ via Universal Music

http://www.omd.uk.com/


PLASMIC Famous

Feisty, fiery and on-message as “your abused Barbie doll from childhood”, Lauren Lusardi, better known as PLASMIC dropped yet another synth bomb with a vivid narrative on the fame game where women have to compromise and serve the male gaze to get to where they want. While pink is her colour, the rugged lo-fi cocoon of anxious sound penetrated the soul with a raging reminder that if “You wanna be famous?”, then really “Don’t be so f*cking brainless!”

Available on the single ‘Famous’ via CandyShop Recordings

https://www.facebook.com/plasmicpower/


QUIETER THAN SPIDERS Komarov

“Beautiful melodies telling me terrible things” said a cartoon meme… with echoes of OMD, the life and death of the tragic Soyuz 1 cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov was captured poignantly in this instrumental by QUIETER THAN SPIDERS from their brilliant debut album ‘Signs Of Life’; Yi Fan from the anonymous Chinese synth trio said: “we were moved by the human story behind it all together with the haunting backdrop of primitive space experimentation.”

Available on the album ‘Signs Of Life’ via https://annaloguerecords.bandcamp.com/album/signs-of-life-2cd-version-master

https://www.facebook.com/QTSpiders/


SOFTWAVE No Need To Hide

Danish duo SOFTWAVE have been gaining momentum with endorsements from luminaries such as ex-members of THE HUMAN LEAGUE Jo Callis and Ian Burden, while improving enormously since their 2016 debut EP ‘Together Alone’. Punctuated by machines of ice, ‘No Need To Hide’ was undoubtedly Clarkean, celebrating positivity in possibly SOFTWAVE’s finest moment yet with one of those rousing Scandipop choruses and coming over not unlike Celine Dion fronting ERASURE.

Available on the album ‘Game On’ via https://softwave.bandcamp.com/

http://www.softwavemusic.com/


FIFI RONG Way Out

The powerful electro R’N’B tinged ‘Way Out’ was the first English language taster from Beijing-born songstress’ ambitious new Anglo-Mandarin bilingual album project. Fifi Rong said of her concept: “I’m making a double album. One album in Chinese and the other in English. Not the typical type of translation type of bilingual album from one language to another… So the two albums are all individual songs interlinked in sounds, themes, vibes.”

Available on the single ‘Way Out’ via W Records

http://www.fifirong.com/


US Voyager

Andrew Montgomery, best known as the vocalist of GENEVA who scored hits with ‘Into The Blue’ and ‘Best Regrets’ in 1997, teamed up with Leo Josefsson of Stockholm trio LOWE to form the electronic duo US. If Jeff Buckley had dumped his Fender Telecaster for a Korg MS20, then that is the dark anthemic sound of US. ‘Voyager’ went all spacey avant trance in a wonderful cross-pollination of styles that came over a bit like MUSE at Gatecrasher.

Available on the album ‘First Contact’ via US Music Space

http://www.usmusicspace.com/


WITCH OF THE VALE Trust The Pain

It was a big year for WITCH OF THE VALE as their highly spirited otherworldly sound, deeply rooted in Celtic folklore and Wiccan beliefs, found a sympathetic audience at Infest 2019. The eponymous track from their second EP introduced serene, yet uncertain feelings channelled via clear but eerie vocals over the croon from a raven. This angelic ballad put all the fears to sleep and demonstrated how Erin and Ryan Hawthorne sound are like nothing else within the world of modern electronica.

Available on the EP ‘Trust The Pain’ via https://witchofthevale.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/witchofthevale/


OLLIE WRIDE The Driver

Although best known as the lead vocalist for FM-84 on ‘Running In The Night’, Ollie Wride unleashed his debut solo album in 2019. The Driver’ put into dynamic realisation as to what SIMPLE MINDS might have sounded like had Moroder-graduate Keith Forsey produced the 1985 ‘Once Upon A Time’ album instead of Jimmy Iovine and Bob Clearmountain. The superb grouchy synth rock saw the Brighton boy successfully pull off a cross between Jim Kerr and Billy Idol!

Available on the album ‘Thanks In Advance’ via NewRetroWave

https://www.facebook.com/olliewrideofficial/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
4th December 2019

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