Tag: UNE

2021 End Of Year Review

As the world steadily emerged from a painful pandemic that put many lives on hold, nostalgia appeared to be the commodity most in demand as the music industry took steps to recover.

No matter which era, anything musically from the past was more desirable that anything that reminded the public of the past 20 or so months. The first escape destination in the summer for many restricted to staying on their own shores were the established retro festivals.

Meanwhile television provided an array of documentaries ranging from chart rundowns of past decades and informative classic song analysis on Channel 5 to Dylan Jones’ look at ‘Music’s Greatest Decade’ on BBC2 and Sky Arts’ ‘Blitzed’ with all the usual suspects such as Boy George, Philip Sallon, Marilyn, Gary Kemp and Rusty Egan.

SPARKS had their own comprehensive if slightly overlong film ‘The SPARKS Brothers’ directed by Edgar Wright, but the Maels’ musical ‘Annette’ starring Adam Driver was a step too far. Meanwhile the acclaimed ‘Sisters With Transistors’ presented the largely untold story of electronic music’s female pioneers.

It was big business for 40th anniversary live celebrations from the likes of HEAVEN 17, THE HUMAN LEAGUE, OMD and SOFT CELL, while other veterans such as NEW ORDER and ERASURE returned to the live circuit with the biggest indoor headlining shows of their career.

Meanwhile for 2022, Midge Ure announced an extensive ‘Voices & Visions’ tour to present material from the 1981-82 phase of ULTRAVOX.

Also next year and all being well, GOLDFRAPP will finally get their belated 20th Anniversary tour for their marvellous debut ‘Felt Mountain’ underway while there are rescheduled ‘Greatest Hits’ live presentations for PET SHOP BOYS and SIMPLE MINDS.

Always money for old rope, but also giving audiences who missed them at their pioneering height an opportunity to catch up, ‘best of’ collections were issued by YELLO and TELEX while JAPAN had their 1979 breakthrough album ‘Quiet Life’ given the lavish boxed set treatment. Meanwhile, while many labels were still doing their best to kill off CD, there was the puzzling wide scale return of the compact cassette, a poor quality carrier even at the zenith of its popularity.

“Reissue! Repackage! Repackage! Re-evaluate the songs! Double-pack with a photograph, extra track and a tacky badge!” a disgraced Northern English philosopher once bemoaned.

The boosted market for deluxe boxed sets and the repackaging of classic albums in coloured vinyl meant that the major corporations such as Universal, Sony and Warners hogged the pressing plants, leaving independent artists with lead times of nearly a year for delivery if they were lucky.

But there was new music in 2021. Having achieved the milestone of four decades as a recording act, DURAN DURAN worked with Giorgio Moroder on the appropriately titled ‘Future Past’ while not far behind, BLANCMANGE took a ‘Commercial Break’ and FIAT LUX explored ‘Twisted Culture’. David Cicero made his belated return to music with a mature second album that was about ‘Today’ as Steven Jones & Logan Sky focussed on the monochromatic mood of ‘European Lovers’. Continuing the European theme but towards the former Eastern Bloc, Mark Reeder gave a reminder that he was once declared ‘Subversiv-Dekadent’ and fellow Mancunians UNE became inspired by the ‘Spomenik’ monoliths commissioned by Marshal Tito in the former Yugoslavia.

For those who preferred to immerse themselves in the darker present, Gary Numan presented ‘Intruder’, a poignant concept album produced by Ade Fenton about Mother Earth creating a virus to teach mankind a lesson! Meanwhile ITALOCONNECTION, the project of Italo veterans Fred Ventura and Paolo Gozzetti teamed up with French superstar Etienne Daho to tell the story of ‘Virus X’! The video of the year came from UNIFY SEPARATE whose motivation message to ‘Embrace The Fear’ despite the uncertainty reflected the thoughts of many.

Despite the general appetite for nostalgia, there was some excellent new music released from less established artists with the album of the year coming from Jorja Chalmers and her ‘Midnight Train’ released on Italians Do It Better. The critical acclaim for the UK based Aussie’s second long playing solo offering made up for the disbandment of the label’s biggest act CHROMATICS, as it went into its most prolific release schedule in its history with albums by GLÜME, JOON, DLINA VOLNY and LOVE OBJECT as well as its own self-titled compilation of in-house Madonna covers.

As Kat Von D teamed up with Dan Haigh of GUNSHIP for her debut solo record ‘Love Made Me Do It’, acts like DANZ CM, CLASS ACTRESS, GLITBITER, PRIMO THE ALIEN, PARALLELS, KANGA, R.MISSING, I AM SNOW ANGEL, XENO & OAKLANDER, HELIX and DAWN TO DAWN showed that North America was still the creative hub as far as electronically derived pop songs went.

Attracting a lot of attention in 2021 were NATION OF LANGUAGE, who with their catchy blend of angst, melody and motorik beats welcomed synths as family in their evolving sound while also providing the song of the year in ‘This Fractured Mind’, reflecting the anxieties of these strange times. At the other end of the spectrum, DIAMOND FIELD went full pop with an optimistic multi-vocalist collection that captured the spirit of early MTV while BUNNY X looked back on their high school days with ‘Young & In Love’.

ACTORS delivered their most synthy album yet while as LEATHERS, they keyboardist Shannon Hamment went the full hog for her debut solo effort ‘Reckless’. FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY released a new album and some of that ‘Mechanical Soul’ was brought by their Rhys Fulber into his productions this year for AESTHETIC PERFECTION.

In Europe, long playing debuts came from PISTON DAMP and WE ARE REPLICA while NORTHERN LITE released their first album completely in German and FRAGRANCE. presented their second album ‘Salt Air’. There was also the welcome return of SIN COS TAN, KID KASIO, GUSGUS, MARVA VON THEO, TINY MAGNETIC PETS and MAN WITHOUT COUNTRY.

Featuring second generation members of NEW ORDER and SECTION 25, SEA FEVER released their eclectic debut ‘Folding Lines’ as fellow Mancunian LONELADY added sequencers and drum machines to her post-punk funk template. But Glasgow’s CHVRCHES disappointed with their fourth long player ‘Screen Violence’ by opting to sound like every other tired hipster band infesting the land.

The most promising artist to breakthrough in 2021 was Hattie Cooke whose application of traditional songwriting nous to self-production and arrangement techniques using comparatively basic tools such as GarageBand found a wider audience via her third album ‘Bliss Land’. In all, it was a strong year for female synth-friendly artists with impressive albums from Karin My, Laura Dre, Alina Valentina, Robin Hatch and Catherine Moan while comparative veterans like Fifi Rong, Alice Hubble, Brigitte Handley and Alison Lewis as ZANIAS maintained their cult popularity.

In 2021, sometimes words were very unnecessary and there were fine instrumental synth albums from BETAMAXX, WAVESHAPER, КЛЕТ and Richard Barbieri, with a Mercury nomination received by Hannah Peel for ‘Fir Wave’. But for those who preferred Italo Noir, popwave, post-punk techno and progressive pop, Tobias Bernstrup, Michael Oakley, Eric Random and Steven Wilson delivered the goods respectively.

With ‘The Never Ending’ being billed as the final FM ATTACK album and PERTURBATOR incorrectly paraphrased by Metal Hammer in a controversial “synthwave is dead” declaration, the community got itself in a pickle by simultaneously attacking THE WEEKND for “stealing from synthwave”, yet wanting to ride on the coat tails of Abel Tesfaye, misguidedly sensing an opportunity to snare new fans for their own music projects.

With THE WEEKND’s most recent single ‘Take My Breath’, there was the outcry over the use of a four note arpeggio allegedly sampled from MAKEUP & VANITY SET’s ‘The Last City’. But as one online observer put it, “Wow, an arpeggiated minor chord. Hate to break it to you but you might want to check out what Giorgio Moroder was doing 50 years ago. We’re ALL just rippin’ him off if that’s how you think creativity works”. Another added “If a four note minor key arpeggiated chord can go to court on the basis of copyright law, we are in for a hell of a few years my synthy friends”. It outlined once again that there are some who are still under the impression that music using synths was invented by Ryan Gosling in 2011 for ‘Drive’ soundtrack ??

There were also belated complaints that 2019’s A-HA inspired ‘Blinding Lights’ had a simple melody and needed five writers to realise it… but then, so did UTRAVOX’s ‘Slow Motion’ and DURAN DURAN’s ‘Rio’! Collaboration, whether in bands, with producers or even outsiders has always been a key aspect of the compositional process. If it is THAT simple, do it yourself! As Andy McCluskey of OMD said on ‘Synth Britannia’ in 2009 about the pioneering era when Ryan Gosling was still in nappies: “The number of people who thought that the equipment wrote the song for you: ‘well anybody can do it with the equipment you’ve got!’ “F*** OFF!!”

Over the last two years, THE WEEKND has become the biggest mainstream pop act on the planet, thanks to spectacles such as the impressive gothic theatre of the Super Bowl LV half time showcase while in a special performance on the BRITS, there was a charming presentation of the ERASURE-ish ‘Save Your Tears’ where he played air synth in a moment relatable to many. But everything is ultimately down to catchy songs, regardless of synth usage.

So ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK would like to present a hypothetical case to consider… if someone uses the arpeggio function with a sparkling patch from a Juno 6 synth in a recording, does Cyndi Lauper sue for infringing the copyright of ‘All Through The Night’ or the original songwriter Jules Shear or even the Roland Corporation themselves as they created it? More than one producer has suggested that THE WEEKND’s soundbite came from a hardware preset or more than likely, a software sample pack, of which there are now many.

However, sample culture had hit another new low when Tracklib marketed a package as “A real game-changer for sample based music. Now everyone can afford to clear samples” with rapper and producer Erick Sermon declaring “Yo, this is incredible. They’re trying to put creativity back into music again. By having samples you can actually pay for and afford”.

Err creativity? How about writing your own songs and playing or even programming YOUR OWN instrumentation??!?

One sampling enthusiast even declared “I might go as far as to say you don’t really like dance music if you’ve got a problem with adding a beat to a huge (even instantly recognizable) sample”… well guess what? ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK LOATHES IT!!! ?

In 2021, music promotion became a bit strange with publicists at all levels keen more than ever to have their clients’ press releases just cut ‘n’ pasted onto online platforms, but very reluctant to allow albums to be reviewed in advance in the event of a potential negative prognosis.

While cut ‘n’ paste journalism has been a disease that has always afflicted online media, in a sad sign of the times, one long established international website moved to a “pay to get your press release featured” business model.

The emergence of reaction vloggers was another bizarre development while the “Mention your favourite artist and see if they respond to you” posts on social media only added more wood to the dumbing down bonfire already existing within audience engagement.

It was as if the wider public was no longer interested in more in-depth analysis while many artists turned their publicity into a reliance on others doing “big ups” via Twitter and Facebook. But then, if artists are being successfully crowdfunded with subscriptions via Patreon, Kickstarter, Bandcamp and the like, do they need a media intermediary any longer as they are dealing direct with their fanbases?

However, it wasn’t all bad in the media with ‘Electronically Yours With Martyn Ware’ providing insightful artist interviews and the largely entertaining ‘Beyond Synth’ podcast celebrating its 300th show. Due to their own music commitments, Steven Wilson and Tim Bowness were less prolific with their discussion show ‘The Album Years’ but it was still refreshing for commentators to be able to say that a record was sh*t when it actually was, rather than conform to the modern day adage that all music is good but not always to the listener’s taste!  And while various programmes came and went, other such as ‘Operating//Generating’, ‘KZL Live’ and ‘Absynth’ came to prominence.

Post-pandemic, interesting if uncertain times are ahead within the music industry. But as live performance returns, while the mainstream is likely to hit the crowd walking, will there be enough cost effective venues to host independent artists? Things have been tough but for some, but things might be about to get even tougher.

However, music was what got many through the last 18 months and as times are still uncertain, music in its live variant will help to get everyone through the next year and a half and beyond.


ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK’s year in music is gathered in its 2021 Playlist – Missing U at
https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4rlJgJhiGkOw8q2JcunJfw


Text by Chi Ming Lai
17th December 2021

UNE Interview

The Spomenik were a series of memorial monuments commissioned by Marshal Tito during his rule of the Former Yugoslavia to honour its Partisan resistance against Nazi occupation and oppression during the Second World War.

Envisioning a diverse utopian society, Tito saw these brutalist monoliths as symbols of progressive optimism and unity. For their third album, Manchester duo UNE have been inspired by these concrete and steel relics from The Cold War, reflecting the tensions of the era when Eastern and Western Europe were divided by an Iron Curtain.

Comprising of BBC broadcaster Mark Radcliffe and producer Paul Langley, UNE have presented ‘Spomenik’ as a seamless listening experience, with each track is inspired by a specific location. But while the music celebrates the new hope that was signalled by these beacons of post-war modernism, the period’s chilling spectre of possible nuclear Armageddon is also very much is evident, with the knowledge that Tito’s vision would crumble after his death and lead to a horrific civil war.

UNE’s Mark Radcliffe kindly answered some questions from ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK about the making of their ‘Spomenik’ opus plus some insight into its musical influences…

The pair of you first bonded over Factory Records and Manchester City?

Man City first as I recall. Then dogs. We got on to music after that.

Do you have any memories of that Denis Law back heel goal for City at Old Trafford in 1974 that effectively put United into Division 2? 😉

Well, which City fan doesn’t remember that? I do try and be grown-up about football and not get too bogged down by vicious rivalry, but there is no better news on a Saturday than City have won and United have lost. That, more or less, never used to happen, but rather marvellously it’s quite a regular occurrence now. Which clearly is a delightful state of affairs.

Coming from the Manchester music scene, there are probably too many names to mention, but which characters did you have the closest affinity to in this community? And were there any who you didn’t get on with, or found difficult?

Paul and I are ten years apart age-wise, so we come from different eras of Manc sound. I was there right at the beginning of Factory and so really forged a bond with Tony Wilson and the fabulously empowering mantra he spread of us being able to do it all ourselves in Manchester, without waiting for permission from someone in London. I’ve known Bernard, Stephen and Hooky quite well for a good number of years and in recent times have enjoyed convivial walks at country parks with Johnny Marr.

Paul was really close to the Hacienda mob – Mike Pickering and all those guys – as his brother Bobby was a DJ there. In fact the only Manc scene people I’ve ever found difficult have been the Langley brothers; who are right pains-in-the-arse.

Was electronic music a natural forte for you both as a means of expression?

Very much so. As an avid Bowie fan, his experiments with Eno were key for me. Also KRAFTWERK and TANGERINE DREAM, of course. Plus people like John Foxx and his ‘Metamatic’ album were a big influence. I loved the idea that pop music didn’t have to have drums and guitars in it. I guess THE HUMAN LEAGUE also alerted me to that possibility.

For Paul, it was the beats of people like Afrika Bambaataa and the influence of Gary Numan, especially. That was the first gig he saw, aged 11 (Paul – not Gary).

How would you describe the creative dynamic between you both in UNE?

We work separately most of the time. I will find a concept that will inform the aesthetic and sound of the whole album. Next I’ll think of some titles and start on the words. Then I’ll talk to Paul about the idea, send him some titles and maybe some pictures, and he’ll start on musical sketches.

He’ll then send them back to me and I’ll find lead vocal and instrumental lines over the top. We’ll probably finally get together to edit it into the shape of a song.

Of your music to date on your first two albums ‘Lost’ and ‘Deux’, some of it has been very club-influenced while other material has featured people as diverse as punk poet John Cooper-Clarke and Gary Kemp of SPANDAU BALLET…

I guess so, which would be down to Paul’s influences, but there are also ambient leaning tracks like ‘Boketto’, ‘Ubuntu’ and ‘Ultraglitch’ which are much more like tone poems or mood pieces. The guests and outside contributors just seemed to work for those tracks, but ‘Spomenik’ was just the two of us. We felt we’d done ‘lush’ and wanted to go ‘stark’.

‘Spomenik’ is mostly instrumental in concept, had you intended to use less vocals for this album or did the monument theme dictate that first?

There are eight main tracks on ‘Spomenik’, of which four have vocals. We did always intend this to be a more instrumental record, but clipped vocals in a telephone quality like vintage radio broadcasts were always going to be part of it. We wanted it to sound mysterious and crackly like an old radio programme from behind the Iron Curtain, or something.

The songs were basically written by me with my old Yamaha DJX which I got down from the loft during the second lockdown, and those compositions just came so quickly. I demoed them on my phone before sending them to Paul to embellish and polish. The instrumentals were more Paul’s doing, except for ‘Nis’, which was my attempt at Bowie’s ‘Subterraneans’. The brutalist concrete structures of the Spomeniks very much dictated the sound though.

How did you become fascinated by these ‘Spomenik’ in the Former Yugoslavia?

I just saw a picture of Podgarić and thought “what the hell is that”? Once you go down that rabbit hole, this strange world opens up. They present an amazing concept, carried out on such a huge scale across the Balkans. They are war memorials but also signposts to a bright and optimistic future in Yugoslavia that kind of never came. That designs like that could be approved and built by local committees in such great numbers is incredible.

Why do you think that whole Cold War era still holds a fascination for filmmakers, photographers, artists and musicians alike?

I think because it presents a moody, shadowy world of secrets, mysteries and enigmatic presences. It’s like a world we knew so little of that almost seemed to be a parallel universe to the one we, or our forebears, inhabited. No one was quite sure what was going on and who knew what about whom – and so that seems like fertile ground for imagination and creativity.

Where were the fanfares that start and end ‘Spomenik’ sourced from?

I wrote those on my DJX. They’re both the same actually and that was the first thing I wrote for the album. I always wanted it to be like a jingle or something from an obscure radio station on the other side of the Berlin Wall.

‘Podgarić’ sounds like it could be from OMD’s ‘Dazzle Ships’…

We love OMD, so thank you. I was actually trying to write my ‘Europe Endless’. I failed obviously as that is one of the greatest pieces of electronic music ever composed. What I love about classic KRAFTWERK is the simplicity and yet ear-worm nature of their melodies. They sound simultaneously retro and futuristic, even now, like someone has just composed them. But they also have the feeling that they could have been around for a hundred years.

‘Kadinjača’ really captures the paranoia of the era of Protect & Survive?

It is a very unsettling track and that’s because it has lots of wrong notes in it. We did the overdubs for that on my kitchen table and I played one of the keyboard parts with the backs of my hands so I wasn’t following the chords Paul had already laid down.

What inspired the spacier moods of ‘Ostra’, ‘Niš’ and ‘Barutana’?

Really just the starkness and mystery of the monuments themselves. Most of them are located in quite barren and isolated spots and so we wanted those tracks to have a sort of widescreen, windswept alien landscape feel to them. ‘Niš’ is the really brutal one, whereas the others have a slightly more reflective quality.

‘Kosmaj’ is much sparser with a gentle cacophony of electronics, perhaps the most KRAFTWERK sounding piece on ‘Spomenik’. What are your own favourite tracks by the Düsseldorf pioneers?

Yes. Well, all of it really. All of ‘Trans-Europe Express’ and ‘The Man Machine’ in particular, but probably sonically the biggest influence in our minds doing this was the pre-remix version of the ‘Radio-Activity’ album. The sinister starkness of that was very much front and centre in our thinking.

‘Tjentište’ is inherently gloomy too and syncs in with these strange times we are living in now. Had the lockdown resonated in your approach to the music of ‘Spomenik’?

That one sounds a bit DEPECHE MODE to me. It wasn’t intended to reflect lockdown really – it just happened that we had time on our hands like everyone else and so just got on with it. I couldn’t say that we intentionally tried to make it more widely relevant than the core subject matter. Although, looking at it now, there is the sense of an uncertain future pervading the record and of course, we’ve all had to get used to that idea: that the future we foresaw might not actually materialise in quite the same way.

You chose to release ‘Spomenik’ via the boutique label Spun Out Of Control, how did they become involved?

Gavin from Spun Out Of Control had sent me some records and I loved the look of them and the care he’d taken in every aspect of their presentation. When I listened, I found there was a lot of stuff I liked; ‘The Sunset City’ by TURQUOISE MOON in particular.

I played some of that on my radio show and our friendship grew from there and so when we had this new concept, Gavin seemed the obvious person to talk to. I love what he’s doing; his meticulous attention to detail and the fact that the albums are limited editions often collected by label completists. Which meant we were guaranteed to sell a few at least.

Have you had the opportunity to present the ‘Spomenik’ material live?

‘Podgarić’ is an ever-present in our set now, but we did play a venue in Manchester called Aatma where we played the whole 38 minutes of ‘Spomenik’ in one continuous chunk, which is how we intended it to be heard. In fact we had two ‘songs’ on the set list that day: the entirety of ‘Spomenik’, plus our thumping electro stomp version of THE RAMONES’ ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’. So the first ‘song’ was 38 minutes long – and the second was two!

What’s next for you, what shape will your next work take?

We’re in the very early stages of an album that may or may not end up being called ‘Whirl’. It’s about things that revolve and was inspired by watching the dance trances of the whirling dervishes. The idea’s spreading out into the orbits of celestial bodies, the astronomer Copernicus, windmills, whirlwinds – and cyclists going round and round a velodrome. Paul played me his first ‘sketch’ the other day and we’re just working out how we want the drums and rhythms to sound at the moment. I’ve written quite a lot of words for it, but I think the mix of instrumental and vocal will be similar to ‘Spomenik’, which will mean a lot of them will have to go eventually. Let’s see.

Oh, and we’re going to try and play a gig at the Saxa Vord Spaceport, right at the top of The Shetland Islands!!


ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives it sincerest thanks to Mark Radcliffe

Special thanks to Gavin Stoker at Spun Out Of Control

‘Spomenik’ is released by Spun Out Of Control, available as a silver or permafrost splatter vinyl LP direct from https://spunoutofcontrol.bandcamp.com/album/spomenik

https://www.unemusic.com/

https://www.facebook.com/wereUNE

https://twitter.com/weareUNE

https://www.instagram.com/weareune/

For more information and history on the Spomeniks of the Former Yugoslavia, please visit https://www.spomenikdatabase.org/


Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
27th November 2021

UNE Spomenik

Mark Radcliffe and Paul Langley are the North West English electronic duo UNE.

While producer and Haçienda veteran Langley was signed to Rob’s Records, Radcliffe is best known as a respected BBC broadcaster who currently presents ‘The Folk Show’ on Radio2; but despite this, the Lancastrian has always championed the likes of NEW ORDER, PET SHOP BOYS, THE CHEMICAL BROTHERS, UNDERWORLD and ORBITAL on his more mainstream radio stints with Stuart Maconie and Marc Riley over the past 30 years, so was looking for a new musical challenge after years of writing on acoustic guitar.

Radcliffe and Langley met in a pub in Knutsford and began walking their dogs together, bonding over Manchester City and Factory Records. Langley became Radcliffe’s DJ tour manager and in their downtime, Langley played Radcliffe his electronic sketches and imagining a different film for each song, he came up with lyrics.

Their debut album ‘Lost’ was released in 2019 and following on as a natural musical progression, their second album ‘Deux’ was issued only a few months ago; its opening track ’Devilled’ featured bluesy guitars, funky drum loops and legendary punk-poet John Cooper-Clarke while there was also pumping club numbers such as ‘Gemini’, ‘Folie’ and ‘Grandmaster’.

But their third album ‘Spomenik’ is quite different, described as “a solid stark electronic album, still maintaining melody amongst the machines”. Using the Serbo-Croat word for “Monument” as its title, but referring to monoliths specifically commissioned by Marshal Tito in the former Yugoslavia, the icy album is inspired by these mysterious brutalist structures built under the spectre of the Cold War, one of which adorns the front cover artwork.

In a departure for UNE, ‘Spomenik’ is issued by Spun Out Of Control, a boutique music label specialising in actual and imagined synth-based soundtracks from new composers such as Hattie Cooke who released her instrumental suite ‘The Sleepers’ through them.

Primarily instrumental in concept, the 11 tracks comprising ‘Spomenik’ are presented as a seamless listening experience.

Following an intimidating ‘Opening Fanfare’ from an Cold War era Eastern Bloc broadcaster, with a melody straight out of the OMD hook book, ‘Podgarić’ could be outtake from ‘Dazzle Ships’ although Radcliffe’s boxed vocal identifies that it isn’t.

‘Kozara’ perhaps points to the more dreamlike instrumental tones of 808 STATE crossed with KRAFTWERK. But the Cold War tension of the album comes to the fore with ‘Kadinjača’, something that the starkly treated vocals with references to The Doomsday Clock and the chilling melodic presence particularly hammer and sickle home.

Meanwhile, the spacey moods of ‘Ostra’ act as an extended interlude in the manner of Klaus Schulze while ‘Niš’ offers more of a dramatic Vangelis presence before ‘Barutana’ enters more midtempo territory with “abstract expressions”. But in an about turn, ‘Kosmaj’ is much sparser with a gentle cacophony of electronics progressing into a beautiful run of arpeggios and understated rhythms reminiscent of METROLAND or KOMPUTER.

With “futures misunderstood” and what “the machine dictates”, ‘Tjentište’ is inherently gloomy with a sombre melody and resigned vocals. A more minimal and short reprise of ‘Podgarič’ comes before it all concludes with a ‘Closing Fanfare’.

‘Spomenik’ is an intriguing autumnal blend of OMD, KRAFTWERK and Haçienda-era club music that reflects the anxieties and moralities from a time not that long ago, but which are making their presence felt again in the world’s political landscape. Abstractly expressionistic like the monuments the album celebrates, while Radcliffe’s vocal expression might not be to everyone’s taste, the emotive synthetic backdrop cannot be faulted.


‘Spomenik’ is released by Spun Out Of Control as a silver or permafrost splatter vinyl LP and download, available from https://spunoutofcontrol.bandcamp.com/album/spomenik

https://www.unemusic.com/

https://www.facebook.com/wereUNE

https://twitter.com/weareUNE

https://www.instagram.com/weareune/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
27th October 2021