Between Two Frequencies wasn’t originally a Ceramic Hello release; rather, it was a 12″ single credited to Brett Wickens and Jah Wobble. This version, from the Vinyl-on-Demand reissue of Ceramic Hello’s limited vinyl output, lacks Wobble’s insanely funky bass-line, but adds atmosphere. What happened, Jah?
Track of the Day
Chakk were from Sheffield, like The Human League and Cabaret Voltaire, but started out merging funk with the post-industrial sounds coming from their city. Their path to the dancefloor wasn’t as winding as that of the Cabs, and a major label advance paid for the FON studios, from which house music regularly emerged. Before that happened, they issued this chain-smoking, sequencer-stuttering slab of cool. A lost classic.
At times like this, every waveform counts.
In the mood for something a little DAF, with a dash of Guy Called Gerald, touched by the spirit of Richard H. Kirk? You know, nothing too heavy, but something to get you to the dancefloor and keep you interested for 4:42? Acute Onset is the duo of Hanna Kihlander and Johan Söderling from Sweden. Hanna’s name you know, because she worked on the best documentary on electronic music to date for Swedish TV. Johan’s you learn, because he is a graphic designer and sound artist with clear talent. Together, they make really interesting music, like this track, which you put on repeat.
Hot Streets was the B-side to Rational Youth’s single, In Your Eyes. Released on a major label in Canada, it retained the YMO and Kraftwerkian influences that had informed the Cold War Night Life album, while also signalling an interest in science fiction. Classic 80s synthpop.
Eric Random created this track with the production assistance of Cabaret Voltaire back in 1984, using the studio built by the Cabs on the back of their Virgin Records advance. It features a simple, pulsing sequencer line that anticipates acid house and EBM. A rare and sadly overlooked classic.
Dan Söderqvist was once in a psychedelic rock band with R.F. Jan Ternald called Älgarnas Trädgård (sometimes translated as “Garden of the Elks”, but “Moose’s Garden” sounds so much better). That was back at the end of the 1960s and early 1970s, before Söderqvist moved on to Twice a Man with Karl Gasleben. Recently, Ternald and Söderqvist got back together for a project called Purple Fields, which included this excellent track.
What do you do at a night cafe? You sit. And what do you like most? Sitting by the seaside, if you grew up with folksy English songs. Martin (the intense knob-twiddling one) and Anais (the one with the lovely voice), in their Vile Electrodes incarnation, have been playing with their remix title, as well as OMD’s sounds on this single. All good fun with an insider’s wink.
When Space came out with their synth-heavy disco hit, Magic Fly, it inspired some Soviet musicians to make space-disco of their own. Zodiac (or Zodiaks) was a band formed in the music academy of the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic. Their first album, Disco Alliance, sold millions of copies behind the Iron Curtain in the 1980s on the Melodia label. Strikingly, the album cover was mainly in English, which was unheard of for a Soviet act and only made it more desirable at the time. This eponymous track comes with video footage from a Soviet science fiction film, which was added by the uploader to Youtube. Both sound and vision are gems.
Topgun were a strong warm-up act at S.P.O.C.K’s 25th anniversary show. Bathed in strong red light, Sem Hilti Johansson took vocal duty for a set of sophisticated synth pop, showcasing the sound he has been developing since the late 90s. This track fuses classic analogue electronics with a very radio-friendly vocal line.