Archive for the ‘Synth-Pop’ Category

Smoove & Turrell – Will You be Mine [2013]
July 28, 2014

My apologies for the delay in posts, its been a busy few months and sadly WP have changed their default posting backend making it rather troublesome to post on this POS Atom machine I use. That said, this is how you do a triumphant return, with a corker of a track like this.

Ive enjoyed pretty much every Smoove release i’ve heard. He’s got a real knack of kicking out some of the freshest sounding funk this side of 1979 and with his collaborations with Turrell, its just onward and upwards. Broken Toys is their forthcomming album, #3 in total and the standout track for me is this track. Its an absolutely perfect marriange of electro, funk and soul, with fantastic lyrics, a driving bassline from heaven and plenty of soul to keep you nodding. I heard it originally on Zemeralds most recent mix on Blue Racoon radio and must have repeated that part of the mix a dozen times before locating it.

For those interested, the link to the soundcloud copy of Broken Toys from Smoove & Turrell is below. Give it a listen, its amazing. Standout tracks other than the one above are Broken Toys and People Keep Talking but to be honest, the whole album rocks it.

Vindahl – Sometimes ( 12″ Groove Version ) [2011]
June 17, 2013

If you havent purchased Tokyo Dawn’s seminal Electro/Groove/NuDisco/Funk compilation “The Boogie”, get right on that now. Its a huge assortment of the freshest sounding electro work i’ve heard in the past 10 years with Vindahl’s Sometimes being a real standout belter of a tune. This doesnt just rock you slowly, its a moog driven behemoth of electrofunk evoking memories of ’84 Freestyle flavour with a solid and unstoppably crisp modern delivery. Its so slick, its almost unbearable but that bassline just carries your ass along for a cracking ride.

For the record, this compilation has about 12-14 different, practically unknown artists that contribute to it and absolutely every single track sounds better than anything any of the heavy hitters have put out in recent memory. Anyone wanting to hear some seriously progressive Electropop would be doing themselves a serious disservice by not diving into that back catalogue. Start your journey right here.

Co-founder of the vanguard soul collective Boom Clap Bachelors, Vindahl has been involved with numerous offspring projects such as Ivory & Gold, Robi, Kris Mars and Non+.

“Vindahl – Serendipity”, the first album project to be released under his real name has been his secret heart project for more than four years now. Musical influences as diverse as Talking Heads, Trevor Horn and Prince shimmer through, complemented by lyrics often based on themes of duality.

The Cure – A Forest (Album Version) [1980]
January 24, 2013

Something a little more eccentric today but a real cracker none the less. This release from The Cure’s 1980 album “Seventeen Seconds” sounds way ahead of its time, mashing some post-punk sensibilites with some wicked electro / effect pedal business and a bloody fantastic guitar riff that’s just begging for a remix. Cracking tune.

It took me an age to come around to listening to The Cure, pretty much dismissing them for years as whiny Indie Rock that I couldn’t get interested in. However, having picked up Seventeen Seconds and Faith several years ago, I found I couldn’t get enough. They have a massive back catalogue but spend some time in the 1980-1983 Cure period and its plain as day how they became to garner such a devout and rabid following. Easily one of the best bands of the 20th Century in my opinion.

Simple Minds – Theme For Great Cities [1981]
March 26, 2012

However, it can be said that Pete Heller and Terry Farley did not originate their string section from the excellent Perfect Motion remix. Nope those strings have a far wider legacy than just that progressive track. In fact, the introduction, melody and drum programming from Theme From Great Cities have found their way into countless tracks spanning every possible genre of sample based music.

Now take a listen, can you tell why? Yeah, I bet you can, this track is a fucking stormer. Hard to believe it dates back to ’81 as it still sounds as fresh now as it did 30 years ago. Simple Minds man, always comming out of left field to remind you why they remain one of the truly unsung heroes of modern music.

Frankie Goes to Hollywood – Welcome to the Pleasuredome (Real Altered) [1985]
August 25, 2011

Probably my favourite of all the FGTH tracks, its got that cracking driving bass drum that just dominates all the way through. The original radio release was just a shortened version of the Real Altered mix that you hear. The fundamental difference here is that this 12″ version was most definately designed for dancing rather than as a 4 minute pop track. There’s far less vocal work, much more of that cracking bass riff that makes this track just a relentless floor pounder. An absolutely monster tune. Thanks to Emz who stuck this up on Facebook this morning and ive been listening too all day!

From Discogs
Following an appearance on Channel 4 TV show “The Tube” performing “Relax”, the group were signed up by Trevor Horn and Paul Morley’s new ZTT record label. With the benefit of Horn’s production skills and Morley’s off-the-wall marketing ideas, “Relax” came out in October 1983 and slowly but surely took off. It was already a top ten hit when, in January 1984, BBC Radio 1 DJ Mike Read suddenly realised what the song was actually about, leading to a total BBC ban on the disc. From this moment on, Frankie Goes To Hollywood became not just a pop group but a phenomenon. The record went to number one in the UK, and was a smash hit across Europe and even in the USA. “Frankie Says” T-shirts (some dreamt up by Morley, but far more the creations of small-time bootleggers) became the fashion statement of the year, and anticipation was at such a fever pitch that every subsequent FGTH release that year – two singles and a double-LP – went straight in at number one in their home country, an unprecedented achievement and a triumph for ZTT.

Hercules and Love Affair – Leonora [2011]
August 22, 2011

I caught this catchy little ditty on KCRW this morning nestled between a cracking new release from Bjork and a forgettable tune by some people I didnt pay all that much attention too. This track however is a ridiculously catchy track off HLA’s second album, Blue. Its very sedate, even a little tedious for the first couple of minutes and had I not been driving, I probably would have skipped stations. However, after about 2 1/2 minutes, it begins to pick up before hitting its stride around 3:15 where it becomes lodged into your subconscious and you will be humming the melody for hours afterwards. Its not going to change the world but its a great track none the less.

Parade Ground – Strange World [1987]
July 14, 2011

What a wonderful, upbeat synth led stormer from Parade Ground, two Belgian guys with very close ties to Front 242. Supposedly, the song is about being in a plane crash, both with the sound effect and the rather telling lyric “We hear a big noise, then we’re on our way” – cue plane crash sound. Nobody ever said songs had to be only about love or hardship. Despite the macabre subject matter, the track itself is the very definition of a classic 80’s Synth Pop track.

Thomas Leer & Rober Rental – Day Breaks, Night Heals [1979]
July 13, 2011

Having come across some random mix on Soundcloud featuring a couple of Industrial Records tracks, ive inadvertently slipped into obscure electronica from the Seventies and Eighties today. Kicking off with this offensively catchy Oberheim classic from Thomas Leer and Robert Rental. Ive never heard this before today and im currently seeking out the rest of Bridge, because if its as catchy as this belter, im going to be a very happy man. Showcasing the pure joy that is a classic Oberheim OBX-1, Leer and Rental clearly demonstrate a technical aptitude far in advance of anything many VST surfing “artists” produce today. Perfectly layered sounds, the vocal is simple and unobtrusive. What a track.

From Discogs
Excellent piece, full of the tristesse which lasted over Britain in the end of the 70’s, beginning of the 80’s. It ain’t the right record to hear if you are depressive, but else it is wonderful. FYI: this was one of the last records from Industrial which could be ordered as an original copy still in the 90’s through Chris & Cosey’s mailorder.

Eddy Grant – Give Me Hope Jo’anna [1988]
June 15, 2011

Alright, time to get onto some Eddy Grant. Its been a long time comming, but lets kick off with one of my favourites of Grants. Now, in fairness, its release date definately went against it, music was changing noticably in ’88 and despite being at the forefront of the synth boom in the early 80’s, Grant didnt use his sizeable experience in this field to push the boundaries with “Give Me Hope”. I would imagine the main emphasis was the message not the track itself and sadly I think that it may have suffered at the time because of this. Listening now however, musical trends passed and recycled since its release, I can at least appreciate the track for what it is. An uplifting call to South Africa during the twilight days of Aparthied, designed soley to get people up dancing and singing. Something Grant is a master at.

From Wikipedia
“Gimme Hope Jo’anna” is a song originally by Eddy Grant, a well-known anti-apartheid reggae anthem from the 1980s, written during the apartheid era in South Africa. The song was banned by the South African government when it was released. It reached #7 in the UK Singles Chart, becoming Grant’s first Top 10 hit for more than five years.

“Jo’anna” in the lyrics represents not only the city of Johannesburg, but also the South African Government that ran the apartheid system. Soweto is a black township near Johannesburg, notable for its role in the resistance to the apartheid laws. The archbishop is Desmond Tutu, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for his opposition to apartheid.

“She’s got supporters in high up places, Who turn their heads to the city sun” represents the unwillingness of the international community, at first, to take action against the South African government for using the apartheid system. It is also a reference to Sun City, the South African luxury resort. “She even knows how to swing opinion, In every magazine and the journals” represents the propaganda which the media contributed which attributed to the success of the Apartheid system.

Eddy Grant performed a version of this song at the closing ceremony of the Indian Premier League T-20 cricket tournament on 25 May 2009. The song included a short reprise with the lyrics “…Jo’anna still runs this country” and the rest of the reprise in present tense.

The Police – Walking On The Moon [1979]
May 7, 2011

So somehow I got talked into Tribute Fest today with a pretty eclectic lineup of coverbands doing what they do best. Playing almost perfect copies of crowd pleasing favourites to a park full of piss heads. Well friends, today, I will be one of those in the park. I have every intention of playing it safe, no wild booze stripping, stage diving or passing out in someones trunk.

While I couldnt give a crap about the Tom Petty or Johnny Cash, The Beatles, Journey, Dave Matthews… there is a Police cover band that im rather excited to see. This sadly does mean I have to get through six hours of other music before them. However, I reckon it’ll be worth the wait. The Police remain one of my fringe loves, with this track probably being my favourite track of all. The reggae influences abound, its a melancholic but upbeat classic that always puts me in a great mood. The lyrics? Pah, sure they make no sense but at least they are easy to remember! Happy Saturday all!

From Wikipedia
Sting said that he wrote the song when he was drunk:[1]

I was drunk in a hotel room in Munich, slumped on the bed with the whirling pit when this riff came into my head. I got up and starting walking round the room singing : ‘Walking round the room, walking round the room’. That was all. In the cool light of morning I remembered what had happened and I wrote the riff down. But ‘Walking round the room’ was a stupid title so I thought of something even more stupid which was ‘Walking on the moon.’