Ahead of its time, politically, “Security” was also one of Men Without Hats’ catchiest tracks. This clip is taken from the Montreal TV programme, MusiVideo. The presenter is a youthful Erica Miechowsky, before her stint on Canada’s national music channel, MuchMusic.
Rare Video of the Week
There aren’t many Western artists who have performed in Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The choice of Laibach, the controversial Slovenian arts collective, to play Pyongyang was certainly unexpected. Wham! went to China and Space played Moscow, but they had global hits behind them and were ideologically neutral – letting them play was relatively safe ground for cultural commissars. Laibach, on the other hand, occupy a space that is closer to industrial music than pop, flirt with controversial imagery, and are not well known outside of alternative music circles. Why them?
The answer might arise from the little-noticed fact that the Norwegian Arts Council was behind the concert. A Norwegian artist staged the event in order to film it; to make something of the absurdity of Laibach playing songs from The Sound of Music in a hall filled with technocrats in one of the last socialist countries. How he explained it to his North Korean contacts would be interesting to know, but chances are good that they were bemused by the performance.
Certainly, those who attended were unsure what to make of it. As a diplomatic DPRK worker told the band after their show: “I didn’t know that such music existed in the World and now I know.”
A TV presentation from 1981, this footage reveals Kraftwerk on stage to have a slightly kooky sense of humour. Robot dancing with smiles; audience participation in the use of the keypad controllers used in Pocket Calculator – it’s an easy-going Kraftwerk that appears to show off its accumulated body of music-work.
Vive la Fête are one of Belgium’s most exciting bands. Their live shows are blistering, high-energy affairs. This is a recording of their full performance at the 2015 Wave-Gotik-Treffen festival in Leipzig.
The loss of Nash the Slash was a terrible blow to Canadian alternative music. Nash had been one of the first successful electronic artists, first with FM and then in a solo career that took him to the UK to work with Steve Hillage and tour with Gary Numan. He made music for films and comic books, driven by an interest in the horror genre, but the man inside the bandages wasn’t accorded the recognition he deserved before he passed away. This clip was recorded four years ago this week, at a show in Toronto, and shows his version of the Jan & Dean classic, “Dead Man’s Curve.”
The House of Love chose Daniel Miller and Gareth Jones to go into the studio with them to record “Safe,” which caught their record company stiffs off-guard. The Miller-Jones team was best known for work with Depeche Mode, and the sound that they obtained from the session was excellent but not what the long-hairs were expecting from a HOL record. In its live incarnation, the song follows the studio pattern closely, but with Guy opening up the vocals at the end. Magic from a Channel 4 recording.
Music misses Linea Aspera. The duo of Alison Lewis and Ryan Ambridge was founded in 2011, but broke up a couple of years later. They left behind some of the most exciting new dark wave material to emerge from the UK in decades, including an album and two EPs. This clip, from their 2013 appearance at the Grauzone festival, reveals them as an exciting live act.
Komputer were the duo of Simon Leonard and David Baker. They started out as I Start Counting, and were supposed to be Daniel Miller’s next big thing after Depeche Mode went supernova big. When that didn’t work out, despite creating exceptional and enduring material, they generated music for raves as Fortran 5, but it was with the creation of a Kraftwerkesque groove that Komputer was born in 1997. Their first album, The World of Tomorrow, contained this gem, which traces a route through North London along Archway, Muswell Hill and Alexandra Palace, by foot and public transportation.
This clip is from a 2011 live appearance.
Possibly the worst music video ever made, this clip is a playback with Plastic Bertrand walking – it would be a stretch to call it dancing – through Cannes while tourists stop to watch. The song, however, is one of the most infectious pop tracks ever recorded. Bertrand is the Belgian pop star credited with the song, but he didn’t sing on his first albums – which should have given him time to work on his dance moves.
Hard Corps had a French singer but were part of the English alternative electronic scene of the 1980s. With Martin Rushent doctoring their sound, they could have been the Human League. Instead, they got thrown off a tour with Depeche Mode after Regine, their lead singer, defied an order to stop baring her torso on stage. The legacy they left is a precious one in poptronica history, which is being rediscovered by the minimal wave generation. This was their best known song, as recorded by the legendary UK music show, The Tube.