25 March 2009


Lovelock is an alias of Steve Moore from synth-rock duo Zombi. There isn't much material out there at the moment, but what's there is very good. The first (and currently only) official release was the smooth disco groove of Don't Turn Away (From My Love), which closed last years Cosmic Balearic Beats Vol.1 compilation on Eskimo records. I found a couple of other tracks floating around the net this week that really caught my attention, somehow I managed to miss the hype last summer!

Featured on the current Mixmag cover cd from Aeroplane, Burning Feeling has a slow but solid chugging metallic beat with a number of melodious synth elements layered on top. The male vocal is pretty decent and everything builds nicely to the BIG sounding chorus. Love Reaction ups the tempo, this time with a female vocal over a driving beat, high energy bassline and guitar power chords, with twinkling synths sprinkled in at all the right moments. Midway through the track is an awesome guitar/synth solo. The only complaint about either of these tracks is that they both fade out (and that they are still unavailable).

Download the tracks from Electrorash
Lovelock on Myspace

19 March 2009

Space Art

I've featured Space Art here before as part of my Psyche-Out! series of posts. They were a French duo formed in 1977 and their music is very French sounding. On keyboards was Dominique Perrier and on drums was Roger Rizzitelli. I was lucky to find all 3 of their albums on my travels in North America last summer. I wasn't previously aware of the group but picked them out due to the cover art, the band name and track titles; I wasn't disappointed. This post is to celebrate the fact that I've finally got around to transferring all three LP's to mp3! Apparently these were not released outside of France but obtaining a copy of the first two LP's online certainly won't be difficult, nor will it break the bank (they were also released more recently on cd). A copy of the vinyl only Play Back on the other hand turns out to be rather rare and expensive. Possibly my favourite of the three though.

Their self titled debut album was released in 1977 by I-F Records, with distribution by Carrere. Certain melody lines and phrases are re-used throughout the album, giving it some continuity. Onyx opens the album with beautiful, ethereal synth melodies and smooth live drumming. There were a lot of experiments with the synthesizer and electronic music during the late 70s but the drums here really stand Space Art apart from the rest of the crowd. I find this album to be a little darker and more intense than the others. Axius is a good example of this with its growling bassline and nagging, alarm like one-note synth lines. Ode A Clavius is another highlight. It starts out light and dreamy, almost classical, before dropping into a funky syncopated hook. There are also a bunch of alien noises which sound like they were lifted straight out of some weird 70s cartoon or videogame.

Space Art - Onyx

Space Art - Ode A Clavius

Not sure if this is from 1977 or 1979, no dates on the LP itself, but Trip In The Center Head (or Head Center as some pressing state) continues where the previous album left off, opening with two short upbeat melodic pieces: Speedway and Odyssey. Things turn darker with the slow burner Eyes Shade. Opening with a rush of white noise, followed by a lonely synth with some muffled telephone chatter in the background. The track closes with a slow beat and some electric guitar noodling. L'obsession d'Archibald is one of my favourite Space Art tracks. It opens with a pulsing synth note which is joined with an arpeggio and lead melody line. Then out of nowhere this killer bridge section drops in at 2:17 - smooth as silk. I think its greatness is enhanced by the fact that it's gone within a minute, never to return. Epic closing track Psychosomatique is another moody slow burner, though it's a little unspectacular.

Space Art - Speedway

Space Art - L'obsession d'Archibald

Released in 1980 by Waves/Carrere, the third and final LP called Play Back opens with the lush chords, floating synths and rolling drums of Folkstone Hovercraft. A truly beautiful piece of music that I posted here previously. This album had more players on it and a wider variety of instruments accompanying the synths/drums combo of old. This led to a more varied selection of styles within the tracks and also some vocals for the first time. Paris Vision, whilst not having lyrics, makes good use of a vocoder for its scat style vocals. Love Machine is pure pop with a full on vocoder vocal and guitar power chords. Very cheesey and kitch, and not my favourite to be honest. Alpha du Centaure is nice, coming in three parts, but I don't see the theme running between them myself as each is quite different. Closing track Welcome to Love is another thing of wonder and amazement. More vocoder vocals, more beautiful chord sequences and synthesizer sounds, all accompanied by a brilliant shuffling drumbeat and complementary bassline. The seemingly never ending solo in the last 2+ minutes does eventually fade out unfortunately, but its still one of my favourite tracks.

Space Art - Paris Vision

Space Art - Welcome To Love

13 March 2009

Yars' Revenge

The constant throb of dirty static bass.
The slight raise in pitch when entering the safety of the neutral zone.
The frantic nibbling of the wall around the Quotile.
The panic inducing siren of an incoming Swirl.
The satifying sound of a successful hit with your Zorlon Cannon.

Not many games from 1981 hold up well today, especially in the audio departmart. But Yars' Revenge for the Atari 2600 was brilliant back when I was a kid and it still is today. Grab an emulator and a rom and see for yourself. Try the self titled debut LP from Zombi or the 2003 Demo LP from Steve Moore for musical accompaniment.

12 March 2009

Tesla Boy and others

Too much good music going around at the moment and I don't always have mp3's to share and the time to write about each artist so here is a little round-up of what's hot with some links elsewhere for music.

Tesla Boy are all kinds of awesome. I've listened to their EP on repeat since finding them yesterday. Retro melodic synth-pop with a modern twist - think Anoraak, Sally Shapiro etc. If anybody can help me obtain the EP on cd, please get in touch.

Stream the full EP on last.fm.
Download mp3's from Valerie, Death Electro and Discodust.
Show them love and support on Myspace.

Chicago's Gatekeeper (didn't) release one of my favourite EP's last year with their 4 tracks of horror soundtrack inspired Electro/Techno/Industrial tunes. Two more tracks, Optimus Maximus and Slow Walk, have been added recently and the duo show no signs of letting up.

Stream all six great tracks on their Myspace
Download mp3's via The Hype Machine.

I Am The Cosmos have some dreamy melodic synth stuff on their page. At times it's reminiscent of some of the instrumental tracks on Italians Do It Better, only more intense. It's all deep and slow and trippy, and most importantly good.

Stream 3 tracks on Myspace.
Download The Final Form from 20 Jazz Funk Greats.

This is kinda cheating but Valerie have been on a roll lately. The blog is full of great 80s inspired synth-pop and synth heavy melodic house. My faves:

College feat. Anoraak - Fantasy Park (Moulinex Remix)
Fare Soldi - Survivor (Keenhouse Remix)
Cecile (both tracks are tops)
Fear of Tigers (again, both tunes are great)
Sally Shapiro - Anoraak Remix
Edwin Van Cleef - I Want You

11 March 2009

New Musik - Warp

If you were lucky enough to get a copy of the excellent Cut Copy promo mix So Cosmic then you'll know the track Warp by synth-pop pioneers New Musik. It was one of the stand out tracks in the mix and I didn't hesitate to pick up a copy of the LP when I found it in Vancouver last year. I was all set to record just the title track from the vinyl, as on a previous listen I wasn't keen on the rest of the album. But after a few more listens, it's really grown on me. Released in 1982, Warp was the group's third and final album. It was written and produced by Tony Mansfield, who also produced work for Captain Sensible, a-ha, The B-52's and After The Fire. It definitely sounds like it's from the 80's but in a good way. There are some very cheap sounding drum machines used (including a Roland TR-606 I believe), plenty of synths and a bunch of what would then have been 'new' studio effects.

Side A opens with Here Come The People, which has a nice laid back groove to it with a stuttering electronic beat, clean and tidy guitar chords and some plinky plonky piano. A Train On Twisted Tracks has a similar tempo but is more synthetic, using thick layers of synth pads over a robotic bassline; lovely stuff. Two tracks on side one share the same title - the familiar looking All You Need Is Love. Version one is their own composition; a fairly traditional sounding pop song (in comparison to the rest of the album). At the end of the 4 minutes there is an ambient interlude, after which the second version begins. It's a cover of The Beatles' classic. The swing of the original is lost and replaced with a driving 16th note bassline. The second half of the track is totally different, introducing new melodies and a great piano solo to fade - one of the best moments on the album.

Over to Side 2 and Hunting repeats a short piano loop over a thick synth bassline and 4/4 beat. The lyrics don't really make much sense but I love the feel of the track. Green And Red (Respectively) is the weirdest track on the LP, starting with the word "GREEN" and ending abruptly with the word "RED". Inbetween are 3 minutes of frantic 4/4 beats, heavily processed piano, wonky sounding synths, metallic percussion and a bunch of studio effects. The Planet Doesn't Mind has a nice ambient introduction before turning into a slightly cheesy synth funk/pop hybrid. Warp itself has a proto deep house kinda vibe to it. I love the rolling bassline and the ethereal synth pads low in the mix. The vocals are also well delivered, although the "WARP" shouts sound a little dated. Things go crazy at the end of the track, with all sorts of trickery trying to fool you into thinking your LP or cassette has warped and broke.

New Musik - Hunting

New Musik - Warp

The album was re-issued on CD in Japan in 2001. Clips of each track can be heard on last.fm. There is a great website full of info on the band here.