Flight Recorder, a relatively new electronic label from Newcastle Upon-Tyne, England, have just released the first of a trilogy of 12 inches called “Space Consortium” starring Kid Machine, Casionova, and the legendary italo disco DJ Flemming Dalum on remix duties.
Think of a cross between 2000AD comics and the blue-skinned character of Rogue Trooper, with the crew of the Nostromo and their special cargo, as well as a healthy underscore of intergalactic motorik going on – and you are getting close to the sound of Space Consortium.
Each of the vinyl discs will be released in the colours of the Italian flag, starting with green for Volume 1. It will be available late in March through bandcamp as well as Diamonds and Pearls music.
You can keep your own blackbox on the label by following upcoming flight announcements on facebook, as well as tuning into in-air entertainment via soundcloud.
The Sydney Festival 2012 has just begun, and there has been amazing line up of people and events: John Maus has already played, Prins Thomas will be here at the end of the month.
But one of the more interesting groups to be brought out for the festival are Shangaan Electro from South Africa, a collective of artists produced by engineer and talent scout Nozinja. A compilation of their music was released last year “New Wave Dance Music from South Africa“ on eclectic English label, Honest Jon’s Records.
It’s a free event this Saturday night 14th January in Prince Alfred Park, Parramatta.
Trans-European friends (from left to right): Michael Künzer, Keen K, and Fred Ventura
The German electronic outfit Alba are on a winning streak at the moment. They kicked it off late last year by releasing the sparkling, three-part powerhouse Philomena, and are now following it up with the emotionally electric torch-song, Without You.
Though the London-based member of the group, Roland Sebastian Faber has sat this particular release out as he works on his solo album, the other two members who are based in Germany — Michael Künzer and Keen K — have gained a singer, the legendary Fred Ventura.
A well-respected veteran of the italo scene, Fred Ventura started his music career in the late seventies playing drums with the Milanese new-wave band, State of Art. He went on to have a solo career through most of the eighties as a vocalist with a string of hits like “Love Theme from Flexxy Ball (You’ll Never Change No More)” and “Body Heat” with the group Fockewulf-190 that have come to be regarded as italo classics. In recent years, he has come back into the limelight outside of Italy through the work of I-F and Alden Tyrell.
Working with Fred Ventura marks a milestone in the history of the Aube label, as their first official release back in 2007 was another italo-styled track, Hold Me by Jupiter Black, that was built around lyrics provided by Ventura. After its release, it received great feedback from music journalists and fans alike; it was championed by I-F on his internet radio station, CBS, and was described by music journalist Lina Goldberg as one of Fred Ventura’s strongest songs.
For this new release, Flemming Dalum, the legendary Danish DJ, mentor and custodian (with a record collection numbering in the thousands) has given it the thumbs up for capturing an authentic italo sound, but without what he calls the cheesiness of italo. This is down to Ventura, who has the ability to handle dramatically over-the-top themes, like lost love and bitter seperations, with a poigancy that fits perfectly with moody synth-pop.
Künzer and Keen K are also very talented electronic musicians; they are able to recreate sounds from over twenty years ago, but never lose themselves in it with enough of their own musical inventions and signatures to keep it fresh.
They have also inherited the creative mantle of the Düsseldorf school of electronic music. They don’t put out a lot of music; but when they do, it is of a very high quality, with great technical skill hidden behind the vinyl. This particular release was recorded entirely on analogue equipment to get the sound outside of the computer box that most electronic music is often trapped in.
As I have mentioned in previous posts, one of the great features of Aube”s releases are their record sleeves, featuring original artwork by internationally reknowned artists like Emil Schult and Marc Brandenburg. The latest is a return to Syd Brak, who did there first release, Hold Me, and whose iconic airbrush art is instantly recognisable as a major feature of early eighties art.
Although CDs are certainly becoming a thing of the past, I still think that they are a great way for artists to collect their best work together and give themselves some posterity, rather than to be scattered to the four-winds of the internet. I hope that Alba one day collect the best tracks together onto a single album.
Without You is available as a limited edition 12″ and digital download through the Aube website, as well as the regular internet music outlets. (You can also download a preview from the soundcloud embed below)
The noble Prophet-5 synthesizer (picture courtesy of synthgear.com)
Igloo Magazine is an online magazine dedicated to the more unusual areas of electronic music: italo-disco, synth-pop, new wave, detroit techno, abstract and experimental genres, covering obscure labels and artists from around the world, and describing itself as ”focusing on electronic music that is unique and under-represented.”
In its tenth year — quite a feat for any website, especially one covering music, they have kept track of releases and profiled labels like Anna Logue, Das Drehmont and Aube, Belgium’s Flexx and New York’s Minimal Wave, as well as bigger labels like Warp and Environ; reviewed a range of international artists, from Australia’s Snog and Oren Ambarchi to Sweden’s Prins Thomas, Holland’s Novamen, and the Finnish experimental artist Mika Vaino. Igloo Magazine has also introduced its readers to new genres like chiptunes (way back in 2001), IDM and doombient, and has covered landmarks in the music industry like the demise of music retailing chains, netlabels and the impact of the ipod.
The strength of Igloo is its range of contributors, all with specialist knowledge, overlapping to create an expansive guide to interesting music. One of the greatest problems of the internet is its lack of original material; most of it is information repeated ad infinitum, pinched from traditional news websites, especially news about entertainment, music and movies.
Igloo Magazine is a rare bird in that it is has a high editorial standard (you’ll rarely find a typo), articles are well-thought out and researched, and discretion is used in the material they choose to review. Think of Wire Magazine, but on a shoestring budget.