Content tagged 'Electronic'
Computer World (2009 Remastered) (Album of the Day)
Kraftwerk's embrace of the brave new world of synthesizers set them apart in the 1970s, but by the time of COMPUTER WORLD, the German group was perfectly in synch with the pop zeitgeist. With members Ralf Hutter and Florian Schneider twiddling knobs on both sides of the board, the album offers an irresistible batch of songs like “Pocket Calculator,” “Computerwelt” (which picked up a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Instrumental Performance) and “Computer Love,” which became a No.1 single in the U.K. on this day in 1982. While the blips, bleeps and beats of COMPUTER WORLD are clearly audible in the music of disciples like Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk offers a playful, and even warm take on technology that again sets them apart from their peers.
Zero Time (Album of the Day)
Though the duo behind it were likely aware of the Lone Ranger's sidekick, the “T.O.N.T.O.” in Tonto's Expanding Head Band was really an acronym for "The Original New Timbral Orchestra" - the first multitimbral polyphonic analog synthesizer. Malcolm Cecil and Robert Margouleff played it on sessions for other artists (including Stevie Wonder) as well as a pair of albums on their own beginning in 1971. That inaugural collection was called by Allmusic.com “one of the first - and perhaps best of - all electronic albums,” and it's easy to hear why; the six instrumentals are both highly accessible and atmospheric. Eno, Devo and all electronica artists owe a debt to TONTO'S EXPANDING HEAD BAND, and the set remains essential listening.
So Tough (Album of the Day)
Like The Smiths or Belle & Sebastian, Saint Etienne has the rare ability to exude early-'60s British cool while sounding wholly contemporary. The U.K. trio's second album, 1993's SO TOUGH, is well versed in pop classicism – songwriters/keyboardists Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs are both former music journalists – though it's couched in club-friendly beats and dreamy electronica. Sarah Cracknell's pure, airy voice leads the way through 11 alluring tracks (including such highlights as “Mario's Cafe,” “Hobart Paving” and the sublime “You're In A Bad Way”), with snippets of vintage film/TV dialogue interspersed to add to the atmosphere. Released 25 years ago, SO TOUGH became a Top 10 hit in England, and stands among Saint Etienne's finest albums.
Violator (2006 Remastered) (Album of the Day)
One of the hallmarks of a truly great group is its ability to build on successes; Depeche Mode had already sold out L.A.’s Rose Bowl on its Music For The Masses tour when it released VIOLATOR in 1990. The U.K. quartet’s seventh studio album, co-produced by the band and Flood, is arguably Depeche Mode’s best, filling dance floors all around the world and reaching triple platinum status in the U.S. VIOLATOR plays to each member's strengths, from Dave Gahan’s impassioned vocals to Alan Wilder’s inventive keyboard arrangements to one of Martin Gore’s best-ever sets of songs – including such memorable hit singles as “Policy Of Truth,” “Enjoy The Silence” and “Personal Jesus.” In “black celebration” of Dave Gahan’s birthday, we’ll give another spin to this dance/techno-pop landmark!
Forever Young (Album of the Day)
Perhaps if Alphaville had originated in England they'd be as revered as Erasure or Pet Shop Boys among synth-pop fans; the music on FOREVER YOUNG certainly has comparable appeal. The debut album from the Berlin-based trio features electronic beats and infectious melodies galore, with frontwoman Marian Gold's soaring voice bringing these 10 emotion-laden originals home. Highlights include “Fallen Angel,” alternative radio favorite “Big in Japan” and the title track (which was released as a single on this day in 1984), but the set is consistently listenable throughout. A hit on the continent and arguably Alphaville's finest hour, FOREVER YOUNG will delight both newcomers curious about '80s dance-pop and those who remember the decade's synthetic sounds fondly.
Electronic (Album of the Day)
British indie supergroup Electronic combined the talents of New Order singer Bernard Sumner and Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, a partnership that produced three albums, of which 1991's self-titled debut is a particular delight. The Warner Bros. collection strikes a neat balance between danceable synth-pop and guitar-driven alternative rock, and the spirit of musical adventure in the air in late-'80s Manchester can be heard throughout this set. Highlights include U.K. Top 10 hit “Get the Message,” “Feel Every Beat” and “Getting Away with It,” one of two tracks featuring Pet Shop Boy Neil Tennant on guest vocals. Much more than just a side project, ELECTRONIC drew rave reviews on both sides of the Atlantic and sold more than a million copies worldwide.
Talkie Walkie (Album of the Day)
Air's third album, TALKIE WALKIE, was a strong return to form for the French electronica duo. The 2004 collection, helmed by Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, retains the ambition of the previous 10,000 HZ LEGEND with a scope ranging from intimate acoustic instrumentation to rich string arrangements, but it's a much more accessible record. Members Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoît Dunckel keep the singing and playing down to earth, and their songs – highlighted by “Cherry Blossom Girl,” “Surfing on a Rocket” and “Alone in Kyoto” - are melodic and utterly addictive. That final track appeared in Sofia Coppola's Lost In Translation, and Rolling Stone's review of this fine set astutely termed it “elegantly moody soundtrack music for imaginary films.” A Top 10 album across Europe, TALKIE WALKIE is as cohesive as it is atmospheric, and sure to grow on you with each listen.
Tiger Bay (Album of the Day)
Saint Etienne's Bob Stanley once described TIGER BAY as “an album of modern folk songs done in twentieth century styles like techno and dub,” and the set's balance between retro songcraft and contemporary arrangements never falters. The British indie trio's third album includes such favorites as “Like A Motorway,” “Pale Movie,” the Billboard Dance Club-charting “Hug My Soul” and (for its U.S. Warner Bros. release) the joyous “I Was Born on Christmas Day.” Stanley and fellow keyboardist Pete Wiggs fill their songs with lovelorn wit and irresistible hooks, and vocalist Sarah Cracknell sends them into orbit with the buoyant charm of a '60s pop queen. A Top 10 hit in the band's native England, TIGER BAY has been issued and reissued with varying cover art and track lineups, and if fans argue over which is definitive, there's consensus that the 1994 collection captures Saint Etienne near the top of its game.
Forever Young (Super Deluxe) (Album of the Day)
When Alphaville released their first single "Big In Japan" in 1984, the song went to #1 in Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and on the Billboard Dance Chart and dominated the Top 10 in the U.K. and many other countries. After their globally successful first single, Marian Gold, Bernhard Lloyd and Frank Mertens recorded their debut album, FOREVER YOUNG, that enjoys international popularity to this day. Such favorites as “Sounds Like A Melody,” “Fallen Angel” and the much-covered title track remain compulsively listenable, and the classic synth-pop collection hit the Top 20 in six European countries, going triple Gold in the band's native Germany. Now available, the 3-CD/LP/DVD Super Deluxe Edition of FOREVER YOUNG includes the first-ever remastered version of the album, plus single sides, rare demos and alternative versions as well as a 60-minute documentary.
Movement (Definitive Edition) (Album of the Day)
Out of the ashes of Joy Division, the remaining members decided to carry on recording under the name of New Order; the band's debut album was MOVEMENT. Bernard Sumner, Stephen Morris and Peter Hook's former group is echoed throughout the 1981 collection, which was helmed by Joy Division producer Martin Hannett and includes references to that group's fallen frontman, Ian Curtis. But true to its name, MOVEMENT also displays progression, with new recruit Gillian Gilbert and a funkier guitar sound (“Senses”) and electronic percussion (“Truth”) hinting at dance and synth-pop glories to come. The new Definitive Edition of the seminal set includes the original album on vinyl and CD, a bonus disc of previously unreleased tracks, a DVD of live shows and TV appearances and a hardback book.