Posts Tagged ‘Electropop’

The latest single by Swedish post-punk/darkwave act A Projection sees the Stockholm-based quartet maintain their recent move towards a more electronic sound with a new single entitled ‘Anywhere’ that has a distinct mid-80s electro-pop vibe. Out on 30th September, a video for the song has been made available a day ahead of its release.

The group’s upcoming fourth album, In A Different Light, has already had the songs ‘Darwin’s Eden’, ‘No Control’, ‘Careless’ and now ‘Anywhere’ lifted from it as singles. Encompassing both ‘80s post-punk and electronic elements, it will be their second full-length record released on Metropolis Records and follows 2019’s ‘Section’. Further details will follow shortly.

Initially inspired by the dark post-punk/proto-goth of The Cure, Sisters Of Mercy and Joy Division along with the electronica of Depeche Mode, the band are also known for their compelling and dynamic live shows.

The video for ‘Anywhere’ has been made by Ukrainian filmmaker and artist Shorkina Valeri, who also shot the recent promo clip for ‘Careless’.

Watch the video for ‘Anywhere’ here:

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5th August 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Lately, I’ve been seeing people on the Internet bemoaning the number of ‘lockdown’ albums, and even the emergence of ‘lockdown’ novels, questioning the need for anything that recreates, recounts, reflects upon or is otherwise set during the most recent of historical events. They all seem to make more or less the same case – that we all went through it, it was bad enough, and there’s no need to harp on or relive it. But artists tend to process and comprehend the world and their experiences of it through the act of creation, and just because we all experienced the pandemic and various lockdowns, no two people will have had the exact same experience or the exact same psychological response. Besides, isn’t more or less all art some form of response or reaction to the human condition, or otherwise a reflection thereof? No-one beefs about an excessive amount of war novels or poems or various genre novels, like crime or sci-fi or fantasy. Perhaps it’s because they prefer escapism to real life.

As the accompanying blurbage explains, ‘This album is a reflection of the dark days the world has seen in recent years. It’s about the tragedies many of us have faced and the effort to find the will to fight on. We remember those we have lost because it is through them that we carry on into tomorrow’.

Strange Days is pitched as ‘a symbolic re-birth for the project, returning with a new zeal to create and perform’, and it’s not short on pumping beats and rippling synths. What sets it apart from so many other industrial / electropop / darkwave hybrids is Voicecoil’s vocal: it’s in that gothy baritone region, but for all of that, and the sense of performance and theatre that comes with those well-established genre tropes, his delivery had a certain emotional depth and sincerity that lifts the songs to another level.

So where ‘Versterbrogade’ comes on like a dance remix of a Depeche Mode in terms of its musical arrangement, and the verses observe the popular style of singing in the throat, a wheezy, grit-edged monotone, the verses unleash the hook and some ‘proper’ singing with heart and soul, and in doing so breathes life into the bleak experience of life where days drift and fade into one another. ‘Speak in Sine’ brings a harder-edged beat and a starker atmosphere, and it sits well with the themes of dislocation and alienation which run through the lyrics. ‘No Easy Reply’ is remarkably sensitive, not to mention accessible, and Strange Days has some great tunes, from the expansive, pulsating yet reflective ‘Why’ to the brooding piano-led curtain-closer of ‘Drift’.

While electronic music – particularly of that dark pop / industrial / goth disco persuasion – can often suffer from feeling sterile, detached, robotic, and impersonal, Strange Days is anything but. It possesses a certain warmth, a humanity, that resonates on numerous levels.

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7th July 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Well, this is a lot to take in: the pitch alone is a back and forth slap around the face of information overload as I struggle to absorb the idea of a ‘post-punk, synth-pop, new wave concept album that sings of the pleasures and difficulties of life within a haunted house’ which is ‘also multi-lingual’ whereby ‘Daniel will sing to you in Spanish about a werewolf, in English about a Ouija board, in Portuguese about a haunted house and in French about bats at Christmas time’.

Is anyone equipped to deal with this in our tiny-mind, hyper-anxietised, attention-short culture? I don’t really know if I am, and rather suspect I’m not, or even if I want this, and ‘m not sure I do, but there’s really only one way to know for certain, and that isn’t to ask someone who’s heard it.

According to the accompanying notes, ‘The title of the album, El Salón has multiple meanings. In Spanish it can reference a classroom, an art studio, a living room and of course, a salon. Daniel Ouellette says, “The best place I have learned to speak is in living rooms with loved ones who speak Spanish and this the title is in honor of my mates, my loved ones to whom I speak Spanish.”

As such, it’s a polylingual cocktail that draws on pan-cultural sources and a host of genres. This doesn’t make it any easier to assimilate, and the resulting product is a mixed bag to be polite, something I’m not always given to being. What do you get if you throw together Rammstein, Young Marble Giants, and Flying Lizards? The absolute toss of ‘A Planchette’. Pretentious, precocious, corny theatricals… it’s hard to swallow. It has novelty value, and I can accommodate that, but it just feels so painfully self-absorbed.

‘Duérmete’ is more palatable, 80s synth pop with a dash of Cure in the mix, and ‘O Lindo Sonâmbulo’ is a tidy slice of vintage electropop with a crisp and dominant snare. ‘The Kitchen Witch Who Stayed.’ is more bleepy, bouncy, and it’s wincey. It sits somewhere between Erasure and St Michel Front, but has the panache or aplomb of neither. St Michael Front demonstrate a winking knowingness, whereas Daniel Ouellette lacks that same sense of self-awareness, resulting in a clunky, awkward delivery made without a nod or a wank – and Ouellette is no Throbbing Gristle either. As a consequence, El Salon is a mixed bag and a shade patchy: at its best, it’s dark, stark, brooding and theatrical electropop: at its worst, it’s pretty cringy. In favour of El Salon, the best is proportionally better represented than the far from best, which is simply grating and cheesy. With its shifting forms, it’s hard to digest. Or maybe I’m just not ready to take it in all at once.

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Enigmatic Italian singer Elena Alice Fossi has released the next fascinating single, ‘Indigo Cypher’, which is taken from the forthcoming new full-length of her dark electro project SPECTRA*Paris. The fifth album of that band is entitled Modernism and has been scheduled for release on August 26.

Watch the seductive and deceptively gentle electro track ‘Indigo Cypher’ here:

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“Memories of a life that does not belong to you”, singer, composer, and lyricist Elena Alice Fossi muses. “If you don’t feel at least a bit like a fish out of water in this grotesque theater that is humanity, then this song is not for you! We were born in deception and there we stay until we realise that real life is running elsewhere. ’They’ shape us in order that we make our own lives and that of others worse. ‘They’ mold us to obey slaves and to become slaves ourselves. ‘They’ shape us so as to love our family even when it has nothing to do with us.”

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Enigmatic Italian singer Elena Alice Fossi, best known for being a member of Kirlian Camera, has released the first single, ‘Devious’, which is taken from the forthcoming new full-length of her dark electro project SPECTRA*Paris. Her fifth album under that moniker is entitled Modernism and has been slated for release on August 26.

“What’s the moral conduct to follow?”, singer, composer, and lyricist Fossi asks. “This song certainly won’t teach us any morals! With a decidedly noir matrix and via its gloomy lyrics, it lets itself be crossed by a glamorous imprint where the blood goes to be combined with the enchanting reflection of a bewitching shadow. God’s body has indeed been invaded by his servants.”

Watch the video here:

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SPECTRA*Paris was conceived as an electronic rock oriented project in the wake Elena’s previous project SIDERARTICA. In 2007 she self-released the ultra-rare promo 3" CD-R limited to 25 copies "Spectra Murder Show" and immediately got picked-up by a label, which led to the acclaimed first album Dead Models Society (Young Ladies Homicide Club) hitting the streets in the same year. The debut reached the charts in many countries and went up to gold. Elena followed-up with two successful albums in 2010, License to Kill and Christmas Ghouls. Tracks from these recordings as well as the latest album Retromachine Betty (2017) have been used in tv and catwalk soundtracks.

With Modernism, SPECTRA*Paris chronicle Elena Alice Fossi’s musical prison-break into the freedom that only true art can grant. Aided by her accomplice and long-time friend Angelo Bergamini, who co-produced and supervised every sound in this chapter, the composer and singer has delivered a fascinating personal statement via a wide range of electronic music.

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14th February 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Was I the only one to misread the band’s name on first seeing it? Probably, and I suspect it says more about me than anything. Ah well. Meanwhile, as much as the quality of the band’s new single speaks for itself, the list of collaborators who’ve contributed remixes to this EP says a fair bit about the Chicago ‘post-punk demolition duo’, notably Stabbing Westward and Dean Garcia of Curve / SPC ECO.

It’s the Stabbing Westward remix that’s up first, and it’s a stonking industrial rock chugger. It has a crisp, bright feel and is driven by an explosive snare, the likes of which you rarely hear now, but was popular in the 80s. Of the different versions, it’s arguably the most radical, yet at the same time is also the one with the broadest commercial appeal, in that it is more overtly industrial and metal-edged.

Structurally, the song’s interesting for the fact it consists of several sections rather than a simple verse / chorus, and as each section rolls around, it develops something of a cyclical feel (I usually tend to feel most songs are a linear listening experience. ‘Confusion’ and ‘confusion’ make for a nice rhyming pair, but it’s the bass that’s as strong a hook as any of the lyrics, and it’s the bass that dominates the band’s own single version, which adds ten seconds to the original, which appeared on the Dead Lights five tracker released last year. Said bass is a shuddering low-frequency grind, and the drum machine tips a nod to ‘Blue Monday’ then goes into overdrive, giving the song a real urgency.

The DG Impulse remix grinds harder and longer, stripping it back to the bare bones of that sonorous bass and a pounding beat, to oppressive effect, while the IScintilla Remix is a full-on rabid aggrotech workout, and pretty nightmarish with it.

In contrast, the Loveless Love take on the track plays to the songs 80s electropop roots, coming on like The Human League remixed by JG Thirlwell or Raymond Watts.

It makes for a varied listening experience, and one that marks a neat evolution from the band’s previous releases to date.

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1st May 2022

James Wells

As a slice of buoyant yet dreamy electropop, it’s hard to fault ‘Dream Curve’, the new single by self-professed ‘witchy goth rock band’ Metamorph. Well, ok, lyrically it may not be quite Leonard Cohen or Richard Butler (both completely piss on the popularly esteemed Bob Dylan and Jim Morrison), but then ultimately, the purpose of pop music isn’t primarily to distil every word into a moment of poetical genius. No, the purpose of pop is to entertain, and, where possible, to stick in your head, and here, Metamorph achieve.

‘Dream Curve’ blurs fragments of image and reflection amidst a swirl of synths pitched against an insistent bear and pulsing sequenced synth bass. It’s pure Europop: it’s fundamentally simple, but it’s effective.

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Temple Invisible have unveiled their arresting new single ‘Over My Feet’, taken from new ‘Chiasm’ EP coming next month.

Fusing chiffon vocals with impending electronic beats, ‘Over My Feet’ comes as the third single plucked from Temple Invisible’s forthcoming ‘Chiasm’ EP, and boasts the breadth of the genre-defying duo.

Showcasing the two-piece’s knack for creating evocative electronic-tinged tracks that are as dark as they are diaphanous, “Over My Feet” feels eerie and overcast yet optimistic and inviting all at once.

Speaking of the inspiration behind the track, vocalist Irina Bucescu explains:

“’Over My Feet’ is like a walk in the forest. It draws its roots from the deep and rich life of the underground — the mycelium. As you progress deeper into the forest, you connect with the life force, inside out, and blend the deeper and more disturbing truths into a multi-layered view of reality. The metamorphosis of death can be a beautiful thing when you walk in the forest.”

With its opening moments unfolding like a silken ballad — gauzy vocals and gentle key taps wind themselves around one another with cushiony ease — the docile ambience is soon underpinned by swirling electro rhythms that steadily threaten to erupt, before overflowing into a meticulous amalgam of rippling instrumentals.

Watch the video here:

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Pagan synth duo, Esoterik have unveiled their new full-length LP, Alchemy.

The concept of Alchemy has many different forms and interpretations but the analogy holds true for any artist in that we take elements or ingredients, which on their own have a certain character and then take on a transformation into something that didn’t exist before.

Is it magick or is something more tangible? Who’s to say? But there’s no denying that words have power and music in itself has the ability to illicit a variety of emotions that time stamp our journey throughout life.

About the album, Alchemy, the band says the following, "We took a different approach with this album than we have in the past with a clear vision from the start thematically of what we wanted to achieve and then crafted each track around that."

As a taster, they’ve delivered a video for ‘Tria Prima’ which you can watch here:

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Cool Thing Records – 25th March 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Cool Thing isn’t just a name: it’s essentially a manifesto. Established in 2014 as a conduit for Asylums to release their music, the label is truly a beacon of DIY independence, with in-house PR, the lot. One suspects the success they’ve achieved is in no small part to the calibre of the releases they’ve put out, not only for Asylums and side-project BAIT, but also the various acts from their locale of Southend-on-Sea, and occasionally London that they’ve given a home through the years.

The latest is ‘Submission’ by Southend electronic duo A Cause In Distress’, the follow up to the band’s third single, ‘Paraffin’, released just short of a year ago.

The band describe themselves as ‘The lovechild of Nine Inch Nails, Fugazi & Radiohead, if it was fathered by David Lynch’, and on the basis of previous press coverage, they’re everything all at once, which sounds like a tightrope walk that could be spectacularly amazing, or the most disastrous plunge into a catastrophic platter of shit imaginable.

Cool Thing know how to pick ‘em, and this is an outstanding hybrid that packs a throbbing synth that weaves and waves, propelled by an urgent shuffling beat and a vocal reminiscent of Morten Harket: it’s as if Factory Floor had perfected soaring melodic pop instead of running out of steam and ideas after just two EPs. At three minutes, it’s succinct, and it feels like half that. The cyclical groove just sucks you in, and tugs you along, and you’re completely immersed. It’s not music, it’s alchemy. Give in to it.

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