Sweden’s Emmon have covered Bronski Beat’s “Smalltown Boy,” and their version is a classy, dreamy take on the original. Emma Nylén’s voice is heaven, so it is little wonder that this cover is in celestial territory.
Filmed at a 1984 appearance in the Swedish town of Linköping, this rare clip shows Page performing their hit, “Dansande man” for an appreciative audience. A couple of Pro Ones take a prominent position in the set-up, and both Eddie Bengtsson and Marina Schiptjenko look as cool as could be.
Shortly after this post went up, new footage emerged from Denmark of an even-earlier incarnation of Page from 1983.
Edvard Graham Lewis has appeared in a variety of guises since his first days with Wire. As one half of Dome, he erected a tent inside a recording studio. As one-third of Duet Emmo, he voiced the most achingly beautiful single ever written. As four-quarters of He Said, Lewis reimagined pop as an intellectual pursuit. The list of fractions and factions takes us through P’o, 27#11, Halo, Hox, Ocsid – a fluid combination of characters, both musical and typographic, dissolving and reforming. The unifying thread is a shifting tension between the lyrical and experimental; music that sometimes approaches commercial pop but draws away just in time. You can’t always dance to it, but you’ll have fun trying.
Two albums have just been released under Lewis’ own name by Editions Mego, but that doesn’t make them any more straight-forward. All Under starts with a film score and installation piece of the same title: the former seemingly a series of intercepted radio signals, processed into a sequence of overlapping tonal waves; the latter a strikingly delicate and haunting drone set against more visceral electronics. Lewis acts as narrator on “The Eel Wheeled,” a short story somewhere between Kafka and Conrad, set in the dystopia that is the Homeland. “No Show Godot” is a slow-burning, restrained conclusion. With the most sparing manipulation of electrical current, Lewis has taken large strides along the experimental path that he first explored in the early 1980s, and All Under is an exemplary transmission from his Uppsala base.
The companion album, All Over, serves up a dozen tracks that walk on the knife-edge between pop and experimentalism. “Straight into the Corner” could easily fit into the Wire/Wir canon, with an easy-going sensibility, but it is a singular example – other tracks might appropriate familiar conventions, but only so that they can be deconstructed and repurposed. This is unmistakably a Lewis album, with his signature wordplay and playful subversion. The stand-out track, “We’ve Lost Your Mind,” is the closest thing to a single, but in a fairer world “Passport to International Travel” would be all over the radio. Take that, white van man.
Krister Petersson is Sweden’s most loyal devotee of Italo Disco. As the instrumental anchor of the legendary Vision Talk, Petersson was a prolific source of high energy dancefloor-friendly tracks. Although Vision Talk are no more, he hasn’t stopped writing new material, so the Italo flame remains lit in the North. His latest project, Swedit, is a contraction of Swedish Italo; and, like Vince Clarke’s original idea for The Assembly, is built around the idea of using different guest vocalists for each song.
The first vocalist to join up with Petersson is Richard Flow, also ex-Vision Talk and currently the keyboardist with Machinista. Their collaboration, “Lost and Found”, is out now on 12″ vinyl release through direct order (contact Swedit Records for information). We think it’s awesome.
Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen
9 July 2014
No one is staffing the merchandise table at Karin Park’s Hoxton show. A folded t-shirt sits next to a CD – abandoned, perhaps, so that the merch rep can take in the gig from a position closer to the stage. Spaces at the front are at a premium, taken up by photographers pointing lenses at Karin and girls pressing forward for a closer look at her brother, David.
It’s hard to fault them, really. Drummer David is a blonde mane atop a muscular V, while singer Karin’s symmetrical features are a lure to lenses. The show is a rare London outing for the Parks, and Dalston hipsters vie with Essex music veterans for the best view as David energetically knocks out rhythms and triggers pads. Sister Karin owns the stage, striding from Dreier-esque vulnerability to confident, floor filling dance tracks with a vocal range as wide as her legs are long.
The set feels like it is over in a heart-beat, but the hour-long show covers a lot of terrain: from current Beatport favourite, “Shine,” to the dueling drums of “Thousand Loaded Guns.” A new song, “Look What You’ve Done Now,” is darkness and magic. “New Era,” from the Tiger Dreams EP, rubs shoulders with “Wildchild” from Highwire Poetry and a version of Maya Jane Coles’ “Everything.” Recalled to the stage by enthusiastic applause, the Parks reach back to 2009’s Ashes to Gold for “Desire” with just the slightest hesitation – it hasn’t been played live recently, but it’s a reminder of how far their sound has traveled and how vital it remains.
From the backwoods of Dalarna to an intimate venue in Hoxton, Karin Park’s song-craft is consistently unvarnished and raw. It touches nerves, breaks hearts and moves hips. It’s the real thing. You can pick up a t-shirt another time.