Tag: Spectra Paris (Page 1 of 2)

KIRLIAN CAMERA Interview

If you’re looking at all things Italian, why not combine delicious food, beautiful cities, stunning countryside, friendly locals with some eloquent electronica from the heart of the quaint city of Parma.

KIRLIAN CAMERA have been active in the dark synth genre since 1979, when Angelo Bergamini set off to create a project, which has lasted decades and gained fans with every release.

With very promising beginnings as the first ever Italian band signed to Virgin Records, the group went from strength to strength, but with the rightful addition of Elena Alice Fossi, the success has been complete.

With the recent opus ‘Hologram Moon’, a No1 in the German Alternative Charts, Bergamini and Fossi have really proven that KIRLIAN CAMERA still have it very much in them. Angelo Bergamini and Elena Alice Fossi chatted about their latest musical adventure.

Parma, a beautiful town that seems almost too quaint to produce such talent. What was the music scene like over there post-punk?

Angelo Bergamini: Well, I don’t remember so much about such a period, thanks to a memory blackout I did get in 2002. But I can recall something hazy about a very productive situation. I remember bands such as PALE TV, T.A.C, EAST WALL, RAW POWER, KOTO, BLITZ and so on, all more or less linkable to the city in question… Anyway, Parma didn’t offer that much to one who actually wanted to become a skilled alternative musician.

How can I say… I think the city is really beautiful, but my heart was and is elsewhere. I feel more “connection” to Germany, Tuscany and… Florida, for example. I’m not able to speak German (just a few words!) but always I appreciated their country and their culture, then Elena increased such a sensation, as she really loves those places and German people.

Being the first Italian act to be signed to Virgin Records must have been a big deal… what happened?

Angelo Bergamini: It was strange. One day before I was told that at Virgin they would like to offer me an agreement… it was impossible to even daydream about it, for any group, at the time!!! Impossible dreams, you know. Then… the day after, one of my collaborators came out with such news. My reaction was even weirder: I didn’t react. I was cold. Cold as an ice cube. Don’t know the reason why. Strange life, indeed…

You’ve changed labels on many occasions with your latest release outed on Dependent…

Angelo Bergamini: Yes, we feel like we are gypsies, AH AH AH!!! Some labels we worked with in the past, such as Out Of Line, Trisol and Virgin Records, offered us a kind of artistic freedom and some promotion, so I couldn’t tell anything so negative about them, but… well, now Elena has signed to SPKR, a Los Angeles-based entity managing Dependent and, once again, we’re just trying to do the best we can, offering our deepest soul to the audience. Then, who knows?

Keeping up this agreement with Dependent might turn out to be a good decision, you know. Sometimes, working with us is not that simple, as we perfectly know all of the possible mechanisms market and mafia offer, so… sometimes a label manager might feel “too observed”, kind of not at ease, you understand? They don’t realize we couldn’t give a damn about their manoeuvres and rackets. Simply, we are not dumb, come on! Really we are not. Label managers are often looking for idiots… and so many bands are there to offer such a precious quality…

Angelo, you had a very successful project of your own with HIPNOSIS, what made you drop that? The ‘Hologram Moon’ idea is of a conspiracy…

Angelo Bergamini: HIPNOSIS was a cover band, in its very early life, so in a way I had been feeling strangled, I suppose. Then, all in all, I perceived KIRLIAN CAMERA was kinda my life. HIPNOSIS got platinum discs and many awards, but I wanted KC to become even bigger, somehow or other.

Elena Alice Fossi: The idea behind ‘Hologram Moon’ turns out to be a metaphor, as I actually couldn’t realize whether the Moon is a hologram, an abandoned planet, an abandoned spacelab, or it’s simply a small planet looking like a bizarrely perfect sphere…

The curious thing is that many people out there “know” what it is. In fact, some say it’s a hologram, some say it is not, some are losing their mind desperately trying to prove that satellite is real and they even quote scientists becoming embarrassingly purple in the attempt to discredit other people. I’m talking about “persons” who know absolutely nothing and never will know anything at all. I know nothing, but I’m looking for truth. Simple.

In the meantime, OASIS’ Noel Gallagher is coming out with an album titled ‘Who Built The Moon?’, more or less regarding the same theme and… the question, as we notice, is just interesting an increasing number of people. We’ll be soon asking Noel whether he has got any news in regard to such a matter…

So on the new album, Eskil Simonsson visits to help out too!

Elena Alice Fossi: Collaborating with Eskil is not a casual fact, as well as he is not casual. He is not a casual being. I actually feel that giving life to the songs we worked on together was coming out from a combination of natural factors. We are so delighted with this result.

We first met in Magdeburg on the occasion of a charity festival in 2014, as I decided to perform there with some friends; Angelo suggested me to invite a guest, giving me the name of Eskil. It was just a perfect idea, as I think KIRLIAN CAMERA and COVENANT both belong to a cold romantic / dramatic electro world. I feel there is some kind of sense of loss often crossing the music lines of both projects.

Yes, that’s pop and I do not want to dignify mainstream at all costs, but… the point is that – whether we want it or not – our electro pop music is not regular mainstream, you know. It may turn out to be a boom or a boomerang… but we could not care less about that, as we love it , so won’t stop dreaming through those melodic humanoids we are creating. Creating ourselves. Recreating ourselves on new birth days, along with different parents and friends…

You never felt really aligned with a dark synth genre, you just like doing your own thing?

Angelo Bergamini: Our music is made of several layers, various echoes, shreds of movie soundtracks and it’s often crossed with different mood. Depends on when it’s been composed. Not seldom does it evoke dramatic visions, but couldn’t disdain humourous inputs and alien needs!

While working on a new KIRLIAN CAMERA album, we happen to create a single for the African rising star FAKEBA, a very determined singer, then we happen to listen to THE ELECTRIC PRUNES or THIRD EAR BAND and go back to Ligeti or the Strauss’ waltzes. Out of the blue, we might happen to make a dance track, just for fun… as even fun is important, in music!

We recently have been asked to sell our sounds to a sampling company, for example and it may happen we find ourselves working on a laughing gnome who has to kill a dragon!!!

You will easily understand that one genre in particular couldn’t be our fixed cup of tea, then we like to bring our musical ideas into several areas.

No, we definitely are not so linkable to an exact scene, although Elena in particular feels special love for electronic music, so our last performances are giving massive room to synthetic sounds and I think such trend will be even increased and developed.

We must follow our own visions, regardless of what is the “right thing”, as we suppose the right thing comes out when you couldn’t give a damn about mere nostalgia and assembly line standard music. Listeners are increasingly looking for straight atmospheric works, they want “that” exact product without any complications and so creativity ain’t that necessary, as no real variation will be admitted! Today’s listeners are making me nostalgic of the progressive era!!!

Are the side projects now retired?

Elena Alice Fossi: We are now on the STALINGRAD VALKYRIE project, once called STALINGRAD, kind of martial music sometimes being crossed with some “distant humour”. Angelo is daydreaming about a new SPECTRA PARIS chapter, as he is the glamour entity here, but I think such an idea will turn into a strange collection being filled with unreleased material. KIRLIAN CAMERA is anyway requiring relatively long lead times, due to particular love involved!

Elena, you’re doing famously well with SPECTRA PARIS…

Elena Alice Fossi: Thank you, Monika! SPECTRA PARIS gives me a lot of satisfaction, whether it becomes something bigger than now, or it remains trapped into a dark pop limbo being reserved for the few! This is because every time I get into the “Spectra-spaceship”, then I have a sensation I am growing up a bit. Maybe it happens because I let a good amount of time pass between one album and another, so whenever I approach a new work, my mind no longer is in the same place it was at the time of the previous album.

This doesn’t mean I deny the older solutions, although I admit I notice a kind of naivety in my old treatments. And yet, such a mechanism generates a kind of space-time map of my life and each album, like a magnetic point, tries to tell me who I was, who I am and where I’m going. However, ‘Retromachine Betty’, the latest album I released, gave me a safer journey, where I feel good in a most synthetic and electronic side which always belonged to me, but I never had managed to express with such naturalness before.

I don’t know the reason why – strange magic or pure nonsense – the sounds of machines have always moved me, so, in this album that has been recently by Dependent Records, I wanted to introduce my own computer-creature, giving it a name, a sensitivity, an identity, even a sexual one. I wanted it to be born in the beginning of the ‘80s and to visit future places and ages, like a time machine, through an evolutionary system that goes beyond our days.

Both of you have worked with the legendary John Fryer… Angelo, your collaboration dates back a while…

Angelo Bergamini: Yes, we met in London at Blackwing Studios, January 1988, kinda sanctuary as far as Mute and 4AD were concerned. Everything was so filled with enthusiasm and on that occasion, I had a chance to collaborate with Suzanne Reddington-Gardner a very talented singer, as our vocalist was… lost somewhere!

John’s co-production succeeded in giving us some more spotlight, even if our label at the time managed to mess everything up. Let’s say some press focused on us a little more, after paying dues for eight years, surrounded by some hostile silence, in Italy. So, we definitely set route to another area, after some confused stories with Virgin and EMI.

John Fryer was particularly popular, those exact days, as his single as M/A/R/R/S ‘Pump Up The Volume’ was about to become a massive hit. He wasn’t one of those guys who are obsessed with a particular genre. That’s the best starting point, when one goes to work with KIRLIAN CAMERA, especially nowadays.

And Elena, you lent your vocal wizardry on John’s own project BLACK NEEDLE NOISE…

Elena Alice Fossi: It was a nice moment of fun for me, as well as a real pleasure! Experiences like those can only enrich, both as a musician and humanly, because they leave an indelible mark inside. And I must admit that I feel proud to take part in such a big party, in fact I couldn’t help noticing how each singer perfectly fits in her/his own role, thanks to John’s skilful orchestration

How difficult is it to sell music now, comparing to back then?

Angelo Bergamini: I must say it’s always been an uneasy deal, when one doesn’t go to agree with certain tyranny created by some ludicrous label managers. Then, working along with women in a band turns things even more complicated! I mean… when you’re working with and for a beautiful woman. Explaining what I mean would be nothing but stupid. Everybody knows everything, although many would like to prove times are changing. So, given I like challenges, I love to work with beautiful and talented women, kind of love for suicide!!!

Joking aside, you know that today music has become a sort of background to distract listeners. So, given that I love challenges (part 2), I love making pop music to be possibly listened to with attention!!! So when you decide you wanna sell your music you’re just going to hit the jackpot, especially when you come from some real low-life. Selling – real – music in the 80s was less complicated, thanks to the New Wave support and a relatively new adventure into the underground maze.

I must add that label managers and operators in general are grumbling about poor sales since… time immemorial! So, I don’t know whether anything actually changed. OK, now you sell less physical material but you can sell yourself, your identity, your social one.

One will value whether that’s good or not, then… and as for Kirlians, once again… you know we love challenges (part 3)!!!

Having gained cult status, do you expect your releases to be an instant success?

Elena Alice Fossi: We never expect anything particular, even though we always have natural high hopes once we start again working on a new chapter! Many people like to say “better the devil we know”, but I don’t seldom accept facing new adventures, even when some clouds are peeping over the horizon. Now, this moment looks notably crowded with good sensations and we so often have a chance to perceive some real good feeling coming out of the audience’s hat!

We are veterans without nostalgia; we never give up, always feeling glad to be on stage, even when performing mini clubs in front of, say, 200 fans! Well, 2000 are similarly welcome, you know… we always try turning listeners’ enthusiasm on, till reaching together a magical place, so far from any standard and lifeless performance! A party aboard a spaceship surrounded by millions stars might give you the gist.

Angelo Bergamini: Elena is a real force of nature on stage! Difficult to see anything like that, today in particular, as she’s completely involved in a trance, a trance that rules out mummy-like fixedness, though! She intensely lives a sort of personal drama, up there. She smiles, cries, laughs, gets serious, runs, gets down on the floor. Some teardrops probably appeared in her eyes, during a concert when playing ‘Sky Collapse’ and the tears she was perhaps holding back choked her throat, and I must say that Elena is not a whiner at all!

Intensity is the word, during Elena’s performances, so I’m sure she’s able to spread such sensations, doing that by means of the most genuine, honest and potent language. KC need it! That’s what we like to call success!

Then, if God or whoever wants us to take the place of Rihanna by playing our music instead of bare mainstream pop, well… we’re ready!!!

How’s Italy treating electronic music these days? Apart from a handful of bands hailing from the Tricolore, the synth scene seems to be rather shy there?

Elena Alice Fossi: Italy… Italy! You can come to Italy to eat, enjoy the morning sun at the end of May, admire the sea that bathes that picturesque boot, but please, if you want to listen to good music, run away as far as you can!

Move your ass away, hurry up and don’t look back! Just like KIRLIAN CAMERA did! Beloved Germany welcomed us, adopted us… but also a lot of other countries have been able to show actual sympathy for this musical genre.

Even in Senegal, when we performed our music to open the way to European electronica for the first time in the West Africa history, doing that for two years in a row, we could see an interest and a warmth for that synth pop essence that maybe was new to them, it being sometimes dark, dreamy, sometimes danceable, so different from their great rhythms… yet they have listened, danced, understood, in spite of the fact they never attended any concert like that before. But Italy, damn… have I already told you that there are some beautiful sunsets?

Are you likely to play live in the UK to promote ‘Hologram Moon’?

Elena Alice Fossi: Live shows are my natural element; it’s kind of absolutely vital point, where I feel in my actual home. Oh yes, how much I love performing on stage! And, as for UK goes, we notice an increasing interest, for the first time, something special, I mean, so, I know some ideas concerning touring your country are taking shape, little by little. It’s a question of selecting requests and considering some new ones, then we’ll come there with pleasure. Electropop and electronica are living quite a good moment, in GB too, so… hopefully, it’ll be happening soon!


ELECTRICITY CLUB.CO.UK gives its warmest thanks to KIRLIAN CAMERA

Special thanks to Gary Levermore at Red Sand PR

‘Hologram Moon’ is released by Dependent Records, also available from https://kirliancamera.bandcamp.com

http://www.kirliancamera.com

https://www.facebook.com/kirliancamera.official/

http://en.dependent.de/artists-dependent/kirlian-camera/

https://soundcloud.com/kirliancamera


Text and Interview by Monika Izabela Trigwell
Photos by Studio Migliorini and Angelo Bergamini
7th March 2018

KIRLIAN CAMERA Hologram Moon

The quaint Italian city of Parma is possibly best known for three things: ham, cheese and KIRLIAN CAMERA.

The latter, of the inedible kind, unless one salivates upon the deliciousness of Elena Alice Fossi, has been a celebrated dark electronica pursuit since late 1979. Angelo Bergamini is the man responsible for the rise of the project, which took many line-up changes to become the enormous success that it is now, almost 40 years after.

The beginnings of KIRLIAN CAMERA were promising from the onset, with the band being the first Italian act signed to Virgin Records, and rubbing shoulders with such legends as John Fryer, known for working with COCTEAU TWINS, DEPECHE MODE and NINE INCH NAILS.

With the instability of vocalists, the real change occurred when the multi-talented, Susanna Rigacci’s protégé, Elena Alice Fossi came on board.

The group’s sound progressed to one of much darker undertones, while Fossi and Bergamini enjoyed their side projects, STALINGRAD (with the pair indulging with monumental size musicality), as well as Fossi’s own ALICE NEVE FOX, SPECTRA PARIS and SIDERARTICA.

‘Hologram Moon’ is the latest offering from the pair, proving that KIRLIAN CAMERA isn’t ready to retire yet. Indeed ‘Hologram’ sees Fossi’s clear voice lead into a world of spectacular sound and unparalleled musical know how.

Joined by Sweden’s own Eskil Simonsson on the very vintage COVENANT sounding ‘Sky Collapse’ and quirky ‘Polar-IHS’, the multifaceted Elena showcases her vocal ingenuity, intertwined with a magnificent marriage of synth and strings.

‘Lost Islands’ is deliciously loaded with bass heavy synthesis, romantically meandering in the foreign worlds, to reach The Moon, the ‘Hologram Moon’.

The haunting instrumental ‘Helium 3’ introduces ‘Kryostar’, a sci-fi inspired piece of mantric electronic disco, while ‘I Don’t Sing’ presents a male vocal option over super poignant lyrics. ‘The Storm’ smoothes the atmosphere, but we are far from comfort, what’s hidden out there? The ‘Eyes Of The Moon’, they see the truth in the hypnotic rhythm, with arpeggiated “spreading of wings” and bubbling electricity.

Is it the darkness of the ‘Haunted River’ that’s drawing into its synthy depths, delving into the plethora of ubiquitous sounds, all very gothic influenced and rather black? Or is it the simplistic piano of the closing ‘Traveller’s Testament’, bearing the faint signs of hope nearly whispered by Fossi?

We are all travellers of the world, searching for answers. Is the Moon a mere hologram? Are we fed untruths and if so, who is benefiting from the lies?

Will we ever learn, who can tell?

Perhaps KIRLIAN CAMERA don’t have all the answers… what they have however, is a superb album to shake the beliefs, electronic style.

Earthly or not, ‘Hologram Moon’ proves the Italians have cooked it up fresh, juicy and ready for consumption, so go ahead… inhale the atmosphere and revel in the deliciousness of Bergamini and Fossi.


‘Hologram Moon’ is released by Dependent Records in CD, deluxe 2CD and double vinyl LP formats

http://www.kirliancamera.com

https://www.facebook.com/kirliancamera.official/

http://en.dependent.de/artists-dependent/kirlian-camera/


Text by Monika Izabela Trigwell
21st January 2018

2017 End Of Year Review

Oscillate Mildly

The world found itself in a rather antagonistic and divisive state this year, as if none of the lessons from the 20th Century’s noted conflicts and stand-offs had been learnt.

Subtle political messages came with several releases; honorary Berliner Mark Reeder used the former divided city as symbolism to warn of the dangers of isolationism on his collaborative album ‘Mauerstadt’. Meanwhile noted Francophile Chris Payne issued the ELECTRONIC CIRCUS EP ‘Direct Lines’ with its poignant warning of nuclear apocalypse in its title song. The message was to unite and through music as one of the best platforms.

After a slow start to 2017, there was a bumper crop of new music from a number of established artists. NINE INCH NAILS and Gary Numan refound their mojo with their respective ‘Add Violence’ and ‘Savage (Songs From A Broken World)’ releases, with the latter recording his best body of work since his imperial heyday.

But the first quarter of the year was hamstrung by the anticipation for the 14th DEPECHE MODE long player ‘Spirit’, with other labels and artists aware that much of their potential audience’s hard earned disposable income was being directed towards the Basildon combo’s impending album and world tour.

Yet again, reaction levels seemed strangely muted as ‘Spirit’ was another creative disappointment, despite its angry politicised demeanour.

Rumours abounded that the band cut the album’s scheduled recording sessions by 4 weeks. This inherent “that’ll do” attitude continued on the ‘Global Spirit’ jaunt when the band insulted their loyal audience by doing nothing more than plonking an arena show into a stadium for the summer outdoor leg.

Despite protestations from some Devotees of their dissatisfaction with this open-air presentation, they were content to be short-changed again as they excitedly flocked to the second set of European arena dates with the generally expressed excuse that “it will be so much better indoors”.

By this Autumn sojourn, only three songs from ‘Spirit’ were left in the set, thus indicating that the dire record had no longevity and was something of a lemon.

Suspicions were finally confirmed at the ‘Mute: A Visual Document’ Q&A featuring Daniel Miller and Anton Corbijn, when the esteemed photographer and visual director confessed he did not like the album which he did the artwork for… see, it’s not just ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK 😉

Devotees are quick to say all criticism of DEPECHE MODE is unfair, but the band can’t help but make themselves easy targets time and time again. But why should the band care? The cash is coming, the cash is coming…

Luckily, veteran acts such as OMD and Alison Moyet saved the day.

The Wirral lads demonstrated what the word spirit actually meant on their opus ‘The Punishment Of Luxury’, while the former class mate of Messrs Gore and Fletcher demonstrated what a soulful, blues-influenced electronic record should sound like with ‘Other’.

As Tony Hadley departed SPANDAU BALLET and Midge Ure got all ‘Orchestrated’ in the wake of ULTRAVOX’s demise, the ‘Welcome To The Dancefloor’ album directed by Rusty Egan, to which they contributed, became a physical reality in 2017.

Now if DM plonked an arena show into the world’s stadiums, KRAFTWERK put a huge show into a theatre. The publicity stunt of 2012, when Tate Modern’s online ticket system broke down due to demand for their eight album live residency, did its job when the Kling Klang Quartett sold out an extensive UK tour for their 3D concert spectacular.

No less impressive, SOULWAX wowed audiences with their spectacular percussion heavy ‘From Deewee’ show and gave a big lesson to DEPECHE MODE as to how to actually use live drums correctly within an electronic context.

Mute Artists were busy with releases from ERASURE, LAIBACH and ADULT. but it was GOLDFRAPP’s ‘Silver Eye’ that stole the show from that stable. LCD SOUNDSYSTEM returned after seven years with their ‘American Dream’ and it was worth the wait, with the most consistent and electronic record that James Murphy’s ensemble has delivered in their career.

To say Neil Arthur was prolific in 2017 would be an understatement as he released albums with BLANCMANGE and FADER while Benge, a co-conspirator on both records, worked with I SPEAK MACHINE to produce ‘Zombies 1985’ which was one of the best electronic albums of the year; and that was without the JOHN FOXX & THE MATHS stage play soundtrack ‘The Machines’.

Despite JAPAN having disbanded in 1982, solo instrumental releases from Steve Jansen and Richard Barbieri were particularly well-received, while David Sylvian made a return of sorts, guesting on ‘Life Life’ for ‘async’, the first album from Ryuichi Sakamoto since recovering from his illness. On the more esoteric front, Brian Eno presented the thoughtful ambience of ‘Reflection’, while THE RADIOPHONIC WORKSHOP had ‘Burials In Several Earths’.

2017 was a year that saw acts who were part of the sine wave of Synth Britannia but unable to sustain or attain mainstream success like BLUE ZOO, B-MOVIE, FIAT LUX and WHITE DOOR welcomed back as heroes, with their talent belatedly recognised.

Germany had something of a renaissance as veterans Zeus B Held and ex-TANGERINE DREAM member Steve Schroyder came together in DREAM CONTROL as another TD offshoot QUAESCHNING & SCHNAUSS offered up some impressive ‘Synthwaves’, while there actually was a new TANGERINE DREAM album, their first without late founder member Edgar Froese.

Eberhard Kranemann and Harald Grosskopf offered up some KRAUTWERK as other veterans like RHEINGOLD, DER PLAN, BOYTRONIC and DJ HELL also returned. Comparatively younger, 2RAUMWOHNUNG and KATJA VON KASSEL both offered up enticing bilingual takes on classic electronic pop.

The Swedish synth community again delivered with DAILY PLANET, PAGE, REIN, VANBOT, ANNA ÖBERG, 047 and LIZETTE LIZETTE all delivering fine bodies of work, although KITE were missed, with their German tour cancelled and release of their ‘VII’ EP postponed due to vocalist Nicklas Stenemo’s illness; ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK wishes him all the best in his recovery.

Across the Baltic Sea, Finnish producer Jori Hulkkonen released his 20th album ‘Don’t Believe In Happiness’ while nearby in Russia, a duo named VEiiLA showcased an unusual hybrid of techno, opera and synthpop and ROSEMARY LOVES A BLACKBERRY offered a ‘❤’.

One of the year’s discussion points was whether Synthwave was just synthpop dressed with sunglasses and neon signs but whatever, Stateside based Scots but Michael Oakley and FM-84 made a good impression with their retro-flavoured electronic tunes.

It wasn’t all about the expats and in a territory as big as North America, there came a number of up-and-coming home grown electronic artists with LOST IN STARS, PARALLELS, PATTERN LANGUAGE, SPACEPRODIGI, COMPUTER MAGIC and BATTLE TAPES all gaining traction.

Canada’s PURITY RING infuriated some of their fanbase by working with KATY PERRY on three tracks for her album ‘Witness’. AESTHETIC PERFECTION’s new singles only policy was paying dividends and the Electro Mix of ‘Rhythm + Control’, which featured the promising newcomer NYXX, was one of the best tracks of 2017.

Female solo artists had strong presence in 2017 as FEVER RAY made an unexpected return, ZOLA JESUS produced her best work to date in ‘Okovi’ and Hannah Peel embarked on an ambitious synth / brass ‘Journey to Cassiopeia’. Meanwhile, SARAH P. asked ‘Who Am I’ and MARNIE found ‘Strange Words & Weird Wars’ as ANI GLASS and NINA both continued on their promising developmental path.

Other female fronted acts like KITE BASE, SPECTRA PARIS, BLACK NAIL CABARET, AVEC SANS, EMT and THE GOLDEN FILTER again reinforced that electronic music was not solely about boys with their toys.

Respectively, Ireland and Scotland did their bit, with TINY MAGNETIC PETS and their aural mix of SAINT ETIENNE and KRAFTWERK successfully touring with OMD in support of their excellent second album ‘Deluxe/Debris’, while formed out of the ashes of ANALOG ANGEL, RAINLAND wowed audiences opening for ASSEMBLAGE 23.

A bit of smooth among the rough, CULT WITH NO NAME released a new album while other new(ish) acts making a positive impression this year included KNIGHT$, MOLINA, ANNEKA, SOFTWAVE, THE FRIXION and KALEIDA.

Despite getting a positive response, both iEUROPEAN and SOL FLARE parted ways while on the opposite side of the coin, Belgian passengers METROLAND celebrated five years in the business with the lavish ‘12×12’ boxed set

Overall in 2017, it was artists of a more mature disposition who held their heads high and delivered, as some newer acts went out of their way to test the patience of audiences by drowning them in sleep while coming over like TRAVIS on VSTs.

With dominance of media by the three major labels, recognition was tricky with new quality traditional synthpop not generally be championed by the mainstream press. With Spotify now 20% owned by those three majors, casual listeners to the Swedish streaming platform were literally told what to like, as with commercial radio playlists.

It is without doubt that streaming and downloading has created a far less knowledgeable music audience than in previous eras, so Rusty Egan’s recent online petition to request platforms to display songwriting and production credits was timely; credit where credit is due as they say…

While ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK does not dismiss Spotify totally and sees it as another tool, it should not be considered the be all and end all, in the same way vinyl is not the saviour of the music industry and in physics terms, cannot handle the same dynamic range as CD.

Music is not as emotionally valued as it was before… that’s not being old and nostalgic, that is reality. It can still be enjoyed with or without a physical purchase, but for artists to be motivated to produce work that can connect and be treasured, that is another matter entirely.

However, many acts proved that with Bandcamp, the record company middle man can be eliminated. It is therefore up to the listener to be more astute, to make more effort and to make informed choices. And maybe that listener has to seek out reliable independent media for guidance.

However, as with the shake-up within the music industry over the last ten years, that can only be a good thing for the true synthpop enthusiast. And as it comes close to completing its 8th year on the web, ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK maintains its position of not actually promoting new acts or supporting any scene, but merely to write about the music it likes and occasionally stuff it doesn’t… people can make their own mind up about whether to invest money or time in albums or gigs.

Yes, things ARE harder for the listener and the musician, but the effort is worthwhile 😉


ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK Contributor Listings 2017

PAUL BODDY

Best Album: QUASCHENING & SCHNAUSS Synthwaves
Best Song: BATTLE TAPES No Good
Best Gig: SOULWAX at O2 Ritz Manchester
Best Video: SOULWAX Is it Always Binary?
Most Promising New Act: MARIE DAVIDSON


IAN FERGUSON

Best Album: OMD The Punishment of Luxury
Best Song: SPARKS Edith Piaf (Said it Better Than Me)
Best Gig: SPEAK & SPELL at Glastonbury
Best Video: ALISON MOYET Reassuring Pinches
Most Promising New Act: MICHAEL OAKLEY


SIMON HELM

Best Album: PAGE Det Är Ingen Vacker Värld Men Det Råkar Vara Så Det Ser Ut
Best Song: LAU NAU Poseidon
Best Gig: PAGE at Electronic Summer 2017
Best Video: PSYCHE Youth Of Tomorrow
Most Promising New Act: ANNA ÖBERG


CHI MING LAI

Best Album: I SPEAK MACHINE Zombies 1985
Best Song: AESTHETIC PERFECTION Rhythm + Control – Electro Version
Best Gig: OMD + TINY MAGNETIC PETS at Cambridge Corn Exchange
Best Video: I SPEAK MACHINE Shame
Most Promising New Act: MICHAEL OAKLEY


RCHARD PRICE

Best Album: FADER First Light
Best Song: OMD Isotype
Best Gig: MARC ALMOND at London Roundhouse
Best Video: GOLDFRAPP Anymore
Most Promising New Act: NINA


STEPHEN ROPER

Best Album:  OMD The Punishment of Luxury
Best Song: DUA LIPA Be The One
Best Gig: HANNAH PEEL at Norwich Arts Centre
Best Video: PIXX I Bow Down
Most Promising New Act: PIXX


MONIKA IZABELA TRIGWELL

Best Album: ZOLA JESUS Okovi
Best Song: GARY NUMAN My Name Is Ruin
Best Gig: ERASURE at London Roundhouse
Best Video: GARY NUMAN My Name Is Ruin
Most Promising New Act: ANNA ÖBERG


Text by Chi Ming Lai
14th December 2017

VEiiLA Dive

познакомиться с новой музыкой из Санкт-Петербурга

Used to the fact that the vast majority of prolific European electronic acts emerge from either Scandinavia or Germany, one wouldn’t necessarily look towards Russia to discover a shiny synth gem within that cold and inhospitable environment.

But the Russians love their electro and synth, just like the next person, often welcoming many established acts to play live gigs, regardless of the off-putting visa requirements from their government.

And so, there comes VEiiLA…. assembled in Saint Petersburg three years ago and consisting of Vif Nüte (vocals/synths) and Bes Eiredt (synths), the duo’s high energy performances, enticing with über quality visual concepts, have gathered them a following and led the twosome to open for such acts as THE NEIGHBORHOOD, Sian Evans of KOSHEEN, ALEX CLARE, ABOVE & BEYOND and ATB. Fellow Russian lovers of electro have awarded the band with accolades in local music contests and fully embraced the unusual sound of VEiiLA.

Self-described as “music for introverts”, the band members like to keep a veil of mystery when it comes to their private affairs and rarely give interviews, styling their output to reflect the feeling of “eavesdropping to somebody’s intimate conversation”.

Having released their first single in 2016, the Nüte / Eiredt partnership have worked hard on their live shows and the production of their debut EP.

‘Dive’ consists of a rework of previously released ‘RDMV STR’, and five brand new tracks, with the title number opening the sequence with Sarah Blackwood era CLIENT-sounding vocal from Nüte.

Soon enough, the voice raises to operatic levels, and the tempo changes, incorporating a nautical feel with Gothic overtures reminiscent of EVANESCENCE.

‘No Cry’ introduces superb electronic elements and is vocally performed in the style of FLORENCE & THE MACHINE. The break comes when the time signature changes to that of a club feel; there are even snippets of dubstep. And all that sounds good, extremely good…

The slow starting ‘Mantra’ erupts with the vitality of a Middle Eastern choir over upbeat techno direction, hypnotising with the promise of “fearless, adventurous” savagery. PET SHOP BOYS could have written this and they’d be proud of it too.

‘Never Come Back’ masks the sadness with a cheery rhythm à la SPECTRA PARIS, with its glittery, shiny exterior. Further dance beats are palpable on the Detroit techno meet Eurotrance of ‘Set Me On Fire’.

Yet the closing ‘RDMV STR’ closely resembles the work of ZOLA JESUS who, while claiming the Russian heritage, is capable of some stunning vocal and musical deliveries. Nüte lets the rebel in her rule here, combining the capable voices with exquisite musicality, leaving one wanting more, when there’s no more to be had.

VEiiLA certainly did their homework with ‘Dive’. The EP is edgy, grown-up and deep, displaying some magnificent elements of elegant electronica, as well as the witty vocal delivery by Nüte. Although the duo’s influences are clearly apparent, their own material doesn’t imitate; it’s innovative and fresh.

The claimed dark states of solitude and unhappiness are very well disguised within the high energy tracks, and the whole package is designed to please. After all, even behind the darkest of darks, there must be plenty of sunshine and clear blue skies…

Пусть всегда будет солнце, Пусть всегда будет небо, Пусть всегда будет мама, Пусть всегда буду я!


‘Dive’ is released as a digital EP on 7th December 2017, available from https://veiila.bandcamp.com/album/dive

http://veiila.com

https://www.facebook.com/veiilamusic

https://www.instagram.com/veiilamusic/


Text by Monika Izabela Trigwell
4th December 2017

SPECTRA PARIS Interview

Elena Alice Fossi has her fingers in so many pies.

One wonders where the multitalented singer, model and producer finds the time to oscillate between her front woman job for KIRLIAN CAMERA, her side project STALINGRAD with band mate Angelo Bergamini and SIDEARCTICA.

Then, there’s her two own enterprises SPECTRA PARIS and ALICE NEVE FOX.

With her latest release as SPECTRA PARIS, the brilliant supersonic gem ‘Retromachine Betty’, proved that Fossi has many faces and is truly capable to bending genres in the directions suitable for her palate.

The Italian songstress kindly chatted to ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK about her busy, busy life…

It’s truly amazing as to how many projects you’re involved with…how do you keep up?

Headache, headache, headache…!!!! Well, joking aside, passion for music is just something like a boa serpent, positively said. My dreams never stop recreating themselves and Angelo, my comrade, is just a dreamer like me! Together we have created a real different world into which it’s possible to resist to the world, as well as to our fierce sensitivity!

Coming out from the working class gave us the tools to generate everything starting at level zero, so everything is today a an actual alternative universe, as told before. Strange dimensions being totally opposite to – say – people’s concept of time, so believe me…. my/our stress is even larger… but this is not enough to make us defeated….!!!

Would you say it’s true to state that being involved in so many different projects fulfils your chameleon nature?

Yes, that’s the point! It is not my fault if I love rainbows… I’m aware that’s not the most popular attitude today, despite many people are posing that way, trying to convince other people they’re cool and inspired… I think I like chameleons and shapeshifters more than ever, as they’re just the last resources of an era having no real identity nor will. So, in spite of the fact I’m shyer than a shrinking violet, I try to stay strong and go… the joy of music is stronger than any inner block…

It’s been a good few years since you joined KIRLIAN CAMERA, would you say that move opened many doors for you?

KIRLIAN CAMERA is a strange alien thing. Really. It doesn’t remind me of anything like, willy-nilly. It manages to open and close doors at once! I only know it was my favourite band ever, so I guess I didn’t even realize what had been happening at the time when I was asked to join the project.

It has never been a picnic, for me. Always I had to go over myself, never giving up, never running away, always accepting to having to deal with a glorious past. Now it is my home, the one I live along with that magic person that’s Angelo Bergamini or Hal Bergmann, whatever his real name is!! All in all, today I don’t know whether KC opened any doors, but it led to an audience I love and have a great relationship with, at last!

Very few electronic pop acts emerge from Italy… why do you think that might be?

Italy, Italy… Italians are not seldom working against themselves. I actually couldn’t know why electronic acts don’t come out in a country that gave life to so many techno, disco, electropop projects (some names: Giorgio Moroder, Benny Benassi, Krisma!). Musical brainwashing got some real success in Italy, I’m sure. Sense of defeat seems to always lurk around behind the corner.

But I still try to paddle upstream even on this field and so I’m planning a whole album based on Italian lyrics. It’ll be our first time. I feel that exciting, although many people are looking perplexed. Anyway, I think that mixing technology and love for machines to that beautiful language won’t be but a fascinating story!

You had Susanna Rigacci who worked with Ennio Morricone as your vocal trainer, that sounds impressive. What a start to a whirlwind singing career…

I got lucky, that’s true. Some years back in time, my first singing teacher – a great person with a great voice – told me time had come to take it to the next level! She took me to the Conservatory that Lady Rigacci was teaching and where I had to audition to be accepted. I honestly must admit I didn’t know who Susanna was and what awards she would have gained in the future. But already I had a sensation that I found myself walking into something special, surrounded by a shiny light, no matter what way I would go after it… as already I was aware classical singing was a means and not an end, as for myself.

Often singers, especially in the lyrical music field, tend to confuse their empty seriousness with professionalism. Fortunately, Susanna does not have this attitude. So, she transmitted me that kind of purity in music.

Do you think a gothic electronic reinterpretation of ‘The Ecstasy Of Gold’ with your vocal would ever work?

I think that kind of music Ennio Morricone works on is suitable to being reinterpretated via darker ways. It’s powerful, epic, sometimes positively decadent and filled with nostalgic mood. It may evoke melancholic ghosts. So, what may I ever do with my voice? A fine colourful cemetery!!!

Let’s talk a little about ‘Retromachine Betty’, what gave it the base?

At some point, I realized that the adventure of SPECTRA PARIS was not exactly over. For a long time I was surrounded by images of old robots, small shattered computers and so much music from the 80s was floating in the air of that black bunker in which I live!

I started thinking that trying to recreate a retro-electronic, romantic, almost adolescent music world and blend it with new technologies, new softwares, and so much “passion for the future”… could give some push to an interesting formula, far from any wide nostalgia ending in itself, as well as from advanced technology used too coldly.

Toys, in my mind I saw so many colored musical toys scattered on the ground, all to be reshaped with a new sound spirit, something that was not necessarily already heard, although it draws from the past, as far as “poetic” reference is concerned, rather than music itself.

It would be strange to define this work as a New-Wave or even 80’s Disco thing! This work comes out from a dusty workshop, which has now been restored after having got a big injection of futuristic design!

Imagine the world in 2037: well, an apocalyptic scenery is an acceptable projection and I’m supposedly there, now, but… I can listen to some pop music as well, instead of depressive tunes, even though I’m surrounded by zombies and hallucinated smurfs!!! I started with such a basic idea for “Betty”. If the base is good, then with such energy… even an old android can become the winner of the Olympic Games of Mars! So, I started working with those little old android toys and the story started…

‘Star Bubbles’ features an interpolation of ‘Moonlight Shadow’. So Mike Oldfield and Maggie Riley did something right back then?

Bubbly, lively, enthusiastic… there’s something vital in this track. It’s like a joyful energy… Mike Oldfield too makes sure his audience is not used to repetitions!

The album in itself is fairly eclectic, would you say?

And to think I was afraid of having written an excessively amalgamed work! That’s my fault, especially once one is going to analyze today’s music scene: chameleons are taken for lunatics! It actually looks like there’s no effective chance to be freely creative, as the audience are getting step by step unpracticed in getting the music they like.

Many people are listening to the music with electroshocked ears, those artificial ears they’ve given by this new little bunch of overpaid morons who are managing digital distributions, publishing companies and so on. Real creativity is a young alien child; she shouldn’t be surrounded by stoned geezers and pedant hamburgers on two legs… We should probably try to wean her off humans!

What are your own favourites from ‘Retromachine Betty’ and why?

I love that lost world wrapping the album into a kind of funny nostalgia.

I love such future-retro stories being told by “wise devices”, kind of naive pioneers coming from the past, who are just enchanting little children with their anedoctes, now in this 2017’s prehistorical future world!

So, I feel some special love for ‘Star Bubbles’ as it never bores me, as I find it fresh, light-hearted, mindless of painful moments. It gives me hope.

‘Ludovico Tecnique’ is just another chapter I particularly like, with its electronics filled with some glitter-esque glamour. ‘Lux Industries’ was born in a world orbiting between SPECTRA PARIS and KIRLIAN CAMERA, as you’ve noticed. I love its hypnotising and motionless character, as it takes me to some kind of ecstatic dream, a little like ‘Universal’ is doing.

The last song of the SPECTRA PARIS album is a strange cover of ‘Una Furtiva Lagrima’ taken from the opera ‘L’Elisir D’Amore’ by Gaetano Donizetti, written in 1830 approximately. The voice one listens to is a non-human synthetic sound. It’s kind of an unpretentious and relaxed homage to Wendy Carlos…

You like to work with the best, including COVENANT or John Fryer, it must be great to pick from the best?

I think the electronic scene is a bit too overcrowded with “casual musicians”, so working with artists who put some real spirit and enthusiasm into their work is just an essential, unavoidable necessity. Both John Fryer and COVENANT are perfectly going to hit that special target. It’s just a question of natural magic, I think. They’ve got some special purity, a purity that goes to be added to ability, experience and anti-trivia bombs! I feel that need in music, in them, so yes, I feel at home and happy like a child-machine!

John Fryer invited you do quite a few songs for his own latest project BLACK NEEDLE NOISE, you must be his favourite? How would you describe your collaboration dynamic?

Well, John was just at work on the SPECTRA PARIS album, when he asked me to collaborate to a song then called ‘Behind the 4th Door’. I guess he wasn’t too disappointed about the result, as a few days later he told me he had in mind a further collaboration, driving more to that more glamorous Spectral-zone I was just working on… He had something in mind regarding a ‘Naughty Girl’, so we started writing down some funny words, always trying to keep two worlds – disquiet and humour – well balanced as much as possible. I think that’s a simply fantastic cocktail.

Our collaboration is relaxed and filled with ideas at once… I never perceived any bad mood’s ghost in the air… That’s special! So, John, Angelo and myself are just starting to work together again on the new KIRLIAN CAMERA album and singles, these days, with some help from COVENANT on a couple tracks! Italy – California – Sweden is today a quite easy route, fortunately!

You list GOLDFRAPP’s ‘Felt Mountain’ as one of your top albums, what is special about it for you and what do you think about their latest album ‘Silver Eye’?

GOLDFRAPP never wallow in the past, they so often went to totally disorientate the lazier part of their audience, so that’s just the most admirable attitude in an artist, in my opinion. I love the vast richness of the first album. It really brought something absolutely personal to the surface, in that period overfilled with trip-hop, lounge, cocktail, jazzy music.

Elegance, yes… they’ve got such an elegance! They keep on spreading it everytime they produce a new work. This new album is the one I love mostly, along with their debut work, exactly. Strange, they sometimes remind me of some John Fryer’s atmospheres, that’s natural, I think… I love GOLDFRAPP ‘s last album, yes… I want to collaborate with her!!! I’m sure!!!!! No possible doubt… It is written, you know…

Sometimes I feel like I’m living into a mental clinic crowded by comics, or into a scene of the flick ‘Angel Heart’, but… I know what I say!

What is the immediate future for all your projects?

I’ll start performing new live shows during summertime. By the way, SPECTRA PARIS will make its “new debut” at the CSD Gay Festival (Gay Pride) on August 26th in Magdeburg, Germany.

In the meantime, Angelo, John Fryer, Eskil from COVENANT and I are working intensively on ‘Hologram Moon’, the new album from KIRLIAN CAMERA.

It’s a very special chapter, for us… something that will definitely mark our love for electronic music and “other worlds”, having no need to exploit old paths. Many songs, there are many tunes, in the forthcoming work. Less guitars, more synths and more “space beat”. 100% KIRLIAN CAMERA improved style, without any waste of time nor fillers: it’s a very concentrated album, no doubt. However, I feel 2018 will take us by the hand, leading us to a totally different life…


ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its warmest thansk to Elena Alice Fossi

Additional thanks to Stefan Herwig at Dependent Records

‘Retromachine Betty’ is released by Dependent Records in CD and digital formats, available from http://en.dependent.de/artists-dependent/spectra-paris/spectra-paris-retromachine-betty-cd-digipak.html

https://www.facebook.com/spectraparis.official/

http://en.dependent.de/artists-dependent/spectra-paris/


Text and Interview by Monika Izabela Trigwell
7th June 2017

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