Monday, January 25, 2010
Singles from Dr. Freakowitz, chapter 5
I must make a confession, I had and still have a weakness for synth-pop. Way back at the end of the seventies and early eighties, popmusic and synths were not that common as it is nowadays. Electronic music was for long haired nerds and most music pieces last for more than 20 minutes. Then Kraftwerk started to record catchy tunes of not more than 5 minutes: Radio Aktivität, Autobahn (the single version of course, the album version is also more than 20 minutes), Schaufenster Puppe and The Model to name a few. Influenced by Kraftwerk bands like Human League, Orchestral Manouvres In The Dark, John Foxx and Depeche Mode came along with crossovers between “serious” electronic music and almost “top 40” pop music. The nice thing about a good synthi-pop track is the use of analog synthesizers and mechanic sounding rhythm machines. That’s probably one of the main reasons real synth-pop songs are not published anymore nowadays, our equipment is too perfect and sounds too “real” (or warm).
I have digged in my record collection to reveal some almost forgotten synth-goodies for you. I start with the band who will surely make it to the top 10 of the peculiar band names: The Naughtiest Girl Was A Monitor. I expected a quit experimental sounding track but it turns out to be a smooth pop song. The B-side is darker and more interesting. They recorded 3 singles and recently (2007) a compilation according to Discogs. Psychic Youth from the USA only recorded one 7” as far as I know. Step In Time/Future Is Now sounds are both catchy minimal electronics synth-pop tunes. According (again) to Discogs they have released only this single. Two more commercial sounding attempts of synth-pop come from Greg Vandike. He made a couple of 7”-singles, the last three on Korova. I’ve included Clone (with the famous artificial clapping machine) and Marie Celeste. Even more commercial sounding are the singles (4 in total between 1983 and 1985) of Robert Marlow. In 1999, 15 years later, there was also a complete CD including all the singles. Just to give you an impression I have included Claudette, with a charming and simple synth-riddle. That must be enough (the two others I’ve got are only for the diehards). The last single in the row is from Sympathy Nervous, published on the famous Japanese Vanity Records. Two other singles of this label can be found on this blog (December 7, 2009). This one is all what good synth-pop is about: catchy electronic bass loop, vocoder voices, atmospheric background sounds, probably too weird for the average pop fan but surely just good for the average No Longer Forgotten Music follower. The B-side is much more experimental but also enjoyable.
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