Vive la Fête is a glamorous party band from Belgium. Mix them with the dark EBM of Pantser Fabriek and you get something glorious that sounds like Vicious Pink for the 21st century.
Lars Falk joined Swedish legends Twice a Man after guitarist Dan Söderqvist jumped from a window and hurt his hand. A warm-up gig for New Order in London was saved, and the rest is history. This track comes from a solo cassette release.
30 August 2013
A live performance by Page is a high-voltage affair. Energy and expectations fill the air before a note has been played – like the moment before lightning strikes. When the electricity starts to flow to Marina Schiptjenko’s keyboard and singer Eddie Bengtsson takes his microphone in hand, then the pop sparks really begin to fly. If you add a new album-worth of material to the mix, then both oscillators and dancing shoes are in for a serious work-out.
Page’s show at Gothenburg’s Electronic Summer festival was the first proper outing for the songs from their new album for Wonderland Records, Hemma (At Home). The roof-raising set began with the first single from Hemma, Som en skal (Like a Shell). The live version was faithful to the album mix, showing off the more mature sound that Page have successfully forged since Bengtsson and Schiptjenko revived their musical partnership. Two more songs from Hemma followed, lifting expectations even higher for future work. Ett S.O.S. (An SOS), taken from 2010’s Nu (Now), was more familiar and gave the fans a chance to sing along, with Bengtsson leaving lines for the faithful to fill in.
Jag står i din väg (I Stand in Your Way), with its pounding introduction, raised appreciative voices in the crowd, as well. En dag på zoo (A Day at the Zoo) sounded right up-to-date, as if it had been written in 2013; a timeless, dancefloor-friendly gem. Alla som väntar (Everyone Who Waits) from Nu showed off Page’s ability to deliver emotionally-charged material on stage. Som skjuten ur en kanon (Like a Cannonball) enhanced the nostalgia factor. Many in the crowd have been following Page and its members’ other projects for three decades, and these are the songs they fell in love to (and possibly divorced and remarried to – time flies, after all).
A rousing version of Förlåt (Sorry) showed why Page have such staying power: with its insistent rhythm track and a powerful vocal from Bengtsson, delivered in part on his knees, it pulls at the heart-strings while compelling movement. Back on his feet, Bengtsson then led the crowd through a frenetic and extended performance of Dansande man (Dancing Man), Page’s first single. Schiptjenko, resplendent in a sleeveless black dress and boots, dances between phrases, transported with the chanting crowd to the days when this was the in-house anthem of Sweden’s synth community.
This was how Page ended, back in 2000, when they performed their farewell at the SAMA awards. Tonight, however, they are called back to the stage by a crowd happily singing Mia & Tom before Bengtsson takes over. This is Page in the zone: a classy boy-meets-girl love song with a stunning melody. When they leave the space under the spotlights, it’s with a bow and a wave, but this round it’s not goodbye; it’s until next time.
Pictures of Marina Schiptjenko and Eddie Bengtsson by Markus Fagerberg; used under licence.
Julian & Marina
29 August 2013
It is hard not to fall in love with Julian & Marina. Watching the electro-crooner duo from Stockholm perform is a little like being with Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg in 1960s Rome, but in colour and with a sleek synthesized soundtrack. They are stylish, cool and refined, and clearly enjoying themselves as they play a set of original songs and selected covers. Later in the Electronic Summer festival, the stage will be claimed by hard-edged futurepop and EBM bands, but for now they own it completely.
Julian is Mr Brandt, latterly the bass player for Lustans Lakejer. Marina is Ms Schiptjenko, still of Page and formerly with Vacuum and BWO. They were brought together by their shared love of old-school Pet Shop Boys and Duran Duran, and it is these influences which come out most strongly. The ghost of a younger Neil Tennant is present in songs like Count the Stars, and the smooth sounds of The Moon and the Stars do a lot to restore romance to electronic music.
Lee Hazlewood and Irving Berlin make appearances, as songwriters, but Julian & Marina’s own material is just as slick. Brandt handles vocal duties with a winning and infectious style, while Schiptjenko’s keyboard work is accomplished and refined. The baton of the early Pet Shop Boys has been picked up, dusted off and given a make-over by these Swedes, who will take your heart, as well.
It’s the song everyone immediately thinks of, when The Weathermen are mentioned, but of course their output was more varied than this. The thing is, it’s such a catchy number that it will stick in your head for decades.
Duet Emmo was a collaboration between Daniel Miller of Mute Records and Graham Lewis and Bruce Gilbert of Dome. One of the most beautiful and haunting tracks ever made, it freezes the feeling of 1982 in 12 inches of vinyl. Lewis and Gilbert’s own post-Wire experimental work was extraordinary in its own right, but when the synthetic expertise and detuned sounds of Miller are added, the result is much more than the sum of its parts.
Formed by some young lads training for a career in kitchens or catering, and named for a device used to scientifically ration out food, Portion Control were one of the electronic world’s true originals. Here, they keep the colonels from power in what they call The Great Divide…
British Columbia’s Moev is a kind of ground zero for electronic music in Canada. While Montrealers Rational Youth were first off the mark with their all-synth album, Cold War Night Life, on the Left Coast they were working to catch up. The first Moev album, Zimmerkampf, came out in 1982, and this catchy, synth-driven ditty was the lead track. The band then spawned Nettwerk Records, home to Skinny Puppy and others.
Kord are favourites at CWNL, for the energetic, raw-synth material that keeps flowing from their machines. This track is from a compilation tape called “A Somatic Response”.
By all rights, this should be saved up to be a Rare Video of the Week, but it’s such a glorious, classic track that it needs to go up now. If the cross-over between sections is confusing, then just put on a double-breasted shirt, gel your hair and close your eyes to savour this 80s jewel.