Thursday, 18 January 2018

Metroland's "Man In A Frame" EP's Reviewed

Metroland return with their first new material for 2 years with a new single "Man In A Frame".

The release is available as 2 Digital Editions, the first is a straight forward single with a B-Side called "F8", as well as a 3 track remix package.


"Man In A Frame" is a fantastic track, which features elements of both their "Mind The Gap" and "Triadic Ballet" albums, it is a well constructed track, with excellent drum & percussion sounds as well as beautiful sequencer parts over a throbbing, driving arrangement, superb use of vocals and vocal samples, with a powerful lead synth also in the mix, an excellent track, which bodes well for the new album. The interesting fact about this single, is that it is not included on the forthcoming new album, although it does set the tone for the concept of the new album.

"F8". the B-Side is a bit of a departure from the usual Metroland sound palette, we still have excellent drums and sequencers, but it is the haunting, dark synth elements that make this track stand out, again fabulous use of vocal samples. I really love this track and it shows yet again that even B-Sides have to be of a high standard for Metroland, this is one of the bands best B-Sides to date.


Next we have the Remix EP, which starts with Metroland's own Extended Version, fans of those 80s extended 12 inch singles will be delighted with this, as they have stuck to the blueprint of the 7 inch and re-edited it to the longer format and it is brilliant.

Following that we have a real treat, a Maschine Brennt remix of the B-Side "F8", I am very familiar with the work of Maschine Brennt and they are a perfect choice for remixing a Metroland track, Joacim, the man behind Maschine Brennt, has given this a real "Kraftwerk" overhaul, it is fantastic, a superb piece of work that also strengthens the fact that this is an extraordinary B-Side.

Finally we have a remix by The Frixion of the track "Man In A Frame", lots of new elements to this  remix which give it a fuller sound and more of a Synthpop feel. They stick to the original arrangement without overdoing the remix, which works very well, I like the way the drums and percussion have been beefed up on this remix, an excellent addition to the package.

Finally a word on the artwork, Metroland are well known for ensuring the artwork is as important as the music, they want to give value to the whole product and they have done a superb job of the artwork as you can see from the images here, I liken it to the work of Peter Saville, who has worked with New Order for years. I always find Metroland's artwork to be interesting and original and it is pleasing to see that they do put as much effort into this aspect of their work as they do with the music.

There is no doubting these EPs are worthy editions to the Metroland catalogue and fans will love all aspects of this release, I for one cannot wait for the new album! 9/10

More details about the release, including where you can purchase the EP's will be updated on here as soon as we have them.

Keep an eye on Metroland's Official Homepage and their Facebook page as well for more information.

Metroland's Official Homepage

Metroland's Facebook page

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

New Jonteknik Album "Alternative Arrangements" Reviewed

Jonteknik returns with a new album called, "Alternative Arrangements", which sees John call on various vocalists to produce an album of cover versions, with many of my personal favourite tracks covered, a who's who of 80s music and beyond.


Opening with the Tears For Fears track "Suffer The Children" is a smart move, as it is an outstanding version, vocals are provided by Bear Feathers and they are truly excellent and work very well with Jon's minimalistic arrangement. Listening to this track, it is staggering Tears For Fears didn't have a massive hit with it.

Next is a cover of Depeche Mode's "Nothing", on this track Jon has colaborated with Jimm Kjelgaard and once again it is a magnificent version, there are more synths used on this version than Depeche Mode's original. An excellent version.

Pet Shop Boys are probably in my top 3 favourite bands of all time and it is pleasing to see a cover version of "Rent". A slightly slowed down version with a minimal arrangement that works well. Jon has turned to Martin Philip for vocals, someone Jon has worked with before and he does a sterling job of the vocals. A very interesting approach to this track which I like.

Soft Cell are another guilty pleasure for me, I loved their music, especially "Bedsitter", "What" and "Torch", the latter has been recorded for this album and what a fantastic job Jon and Tom Sanderson have done, they have kept true to the original with great effect, not an easy track to cover but boy have they pulled it off, brilliant!

Hands up......who would attempt an electronic version of a Smiths song?? An impossible task you would think, however, Jon has pushed the boundaries of his music skills, to make an arrangement that works really well, of the Smiths track "Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want", he has also done the vocals on the track, definitely an interesting cover version.

Next on the album, a track I rate as one of the best of all time, the Joy Division track "Decades", this is simply a beautiful and respectful cover version executed perfectly, Stephen Newton does a perfect job of the vocals, which are in keeping with Ian Curtis' mournful vocals on the original, and the music arrangement is superb and every bit as good as the original. Perfection!

An OMD cover version was always going to feature on this album and the track chosen is a more experimental track of theirs, "Of All The Things We've Made", which was on the OMD album "Dazzle Ships". I love the synth reworking of this track, the original featured Guitar, great use of strings, percussion and choir sounds, a beautiful arrangement which features Peter Fitzpatrick of Circuit3 on vocals, this version is moody and atmospheric and very impressive.

The next song is a bit of an oddity, it is a cover of The Doors track "People Are Strange", again featuring Peter Fitzpatrick on vocals, this is another track that is very interesting to listen to as of course the original was far from electronic, but Jon and Peter have succeeded in producing a very good interpretation of the track.

The Human League instrumental track "Gordon's Gin", a track off their album "Travelogue", is next and is a true to the original arrangement, I like the additional percussion and drum elements in this version as well as the synth sounds, some nice additional parts on this version to. It is a longer version that builds up brilliantly. It keeps it's slow pace throughout unlike the Human League original. It would have been nice to see the 2nd half half of the songs tempo notched up a bit.

The album closes with a cover of The Police track "Invisible Sun", which has a "Joy Division" overhaul, never been a fan of the work of Sting, so I'm not the best person to judge this track, probably my least favourite track on the album, it doesn't grab me like most of the tracks on the album.

Tackling a covers album is never the easiest of tasks at the best of times, but Jon & friends have produced an excellent album of songs, that are more obscure than the usual 80s fodder that gets covered and that has to be commended, their are some real gems on display here, "Suffer The Children", "Torch", "Decades" and "Of All The Things We've Made".

All in all a very enjoyable experience listening to this album.

8.5/10

We will be featuring tracks from the album on January's and February's i-Select shows on White Lion Radio.

The album is being released on white vinyl as a Limited Edition, which will also include a promo CD.

For full details about the release check out the Jonteknik Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/Jonteknik

or Jon's official website:

http://www.jonteknikmusic.com/

Monday, 15 January 2018

Maximum 80s (Volume 55)

White Lion Radio have released Edition 55 of Maximum 80s.

This is a series of shows that feature nothing but the very best in 1980s 12 Inch Singles.

The biggest hits on the biggest format from a classic decade......the 1980s.


Listen On Mixcloud

Listen On Hearthis.at

Track List

Madonna - Like A Virgin (Extended Dance Remix)
Genesis - Invisible Touch (Special Remix Version)
Erasure - Chains Of Love (The Unfettered Mix)
Book Of Love - Boy (Extended Mix)
Visage - The Anvil (Dance Mix)
Fleetwood Mac - Everywhere (Extended Version)
Kajagoogoo - Too Shy (American Midnight Mix)
M - Pop Muzik (Long Version)
Kim Wilde - You Keep Me Hanging On (Extended Mix)
Howard Jones - Hide & Seek (Long Version)

Monday, 8 January 2018

Rubik's 80s Mix (Volume 55)

Edition #55 of Rubik's 80s Mix is now out on White Lion Radio.


This a series of shows that includes the very best in 80s music all in one continuous mix.

The biggest hits from the greatest decade in music history!

A show guaranteed to bring back so many happy memories!

Listen to the show on Mixcloud here

Listen on Hearthis.at here

Full Playlist

George Michael - A Different Corner
Eddy Grant - I Don't Wanna Dance
Ultravox - Dancing With Tears In My Eyes
Yazoo - Don't Go
David Bowie - Fashion
Electronic - Getting Away With It
Thompson Twins - Hold Me Now
Elton John - I'm Still Standing
The Pointer Sisters - Jump (For My Love)
Genesis - Land Of Confusion
Bon Jovi - Livin' On A Prayer
Hot Chocolate - No Doubt About It
Starship - Nothings Gonna Stop Us Now
Depeche Mode - People Are People
Simple Minds - Promised You A Miracle
Hazell Dean - Whatever I Do (Wherever I Go)

Electrical Connections - A Tribute To Kraftwerk

White Lion Radio presents to you "Electrical Connections - A Tribute To Kraftwerk", a show dedicated to the godfathers of electronic music.


The show features music by true Kraftwerk fans and includes tracks by Metroland, Kosmonaute, Jonteknik, Maschine Brennt, Neon, Datapope, Deutsche Bank, Kevin Lux, Kretz, Silicon Machines and Lobtec.

If you are a fan of Kraftwerk this show is not to be missed!

Listen to the show on Mixcloud here

Listen to the show on Hearthis.at here


Playlist for the show:

Metroland - Led Me Think (Gary Hunter's Less Pondering 7 Inch Radio Edit)
Kosmonaute - Robotic Love
Maschine Brennt - Sistema
Silicon Machines - Basic
Kevin Lux - Music Language Machine
Lobtec - Waiting For The World
Jonteknik - Prospero
DATAPOP - Radioklang
Maschine Brennt - 60 Seconds
Metroland - Close To Me (Gary Hunter's 7 Inch Radio Edit)
Kretz - Mechanical Men (Marboss Remix)
DATAPOP - Unterwegs (Gary Hunter's Radio Edit)
Jonteknik - Forever Lasts Longest
Kevin Lux - Elektro Lux
Neon - Future Technology (Gary Hunter's 7 Inch Radio Edit)
Maschine Brennt - 1992
Deutsche Bank - Grand Unified Theory
Metroland - Utopia (Gary Hunter's 7 Inch Radio Edit)

Friday, 29 December 2017

White Lion Radio's End Of Year Awards 2017

We don't normally do an end of year round-up and awards, so this year, we have decided to do just that.

It isn't a complete overview, as we decide on the winners of the following categories, Best Product, Best Album, Best Single,  Biggest Surprise, Biggest Disappointment and Most Promising Band.


BEST PRODUCT: Metroland - 12X12

Metroland delivered their 4CD Anthology set "12X12" in May 2017, a well thought out collection and concept. The box set showcased their 12 inch singles released in the first 5 years as a band, gems like "Zeppelin", "Thalys", "Enjoying The View" and "Synthetic Sound" are all included. Their is also a disc for their 7 inch singles released and for the first time on CD, a disc of their B Sides. The collection is rounded off with a fantastic selection of rarities, remixes and demo's.

As is the case with all Metroland's releases, presentation is a key ingredient. The Box Set houses cards telling you the history of the tracks as well as other very interesting facts.

I am probably biased because I am a massive Metroland fan, but the "12X12" Box Set represents fantastic value and is an absolute joy to listen to.

The 4CD set is available from the Alfa Matrix store here

A Digital Edition featuring just the 12 Inch Singles is available here


BEST SINGLE: Empathy Test - Throwing Stones

Whilst this single was released in late 2014, I have only recently discovered this band, who are from the UK, "Throwing Stones" is a gem of a track, passionate, moody, atmospheric, are three words to describe this track. The Single is also backed up with a remixes EP which is also very strong with brilliant remixes by Minuit Machine and Lost Years, as well as a stunning remix of the track "Here Is The Place" by Thomas Datt.

On hearing this track for the first time I immediately did a lot of research on the band to find out more about them and of course listened to a lot more of their music. 2017 saw the band release, not one, but two debut albums!!


"Throwing Stones" is available as a Digital Download here

"Throwing Stones Remixed" is available as a Digital Download here

BIGGEST SURPRISE: Midge Ure - Orchestrated


This album took me completely by surprise, I didn't even know it was an album Midge was working on. Having heard "Hymn (Orchestrated)" I was impressed and so bought the album, to say I was blown away was an understatement. It is a beautifully executed orchestral album, a perfect balance between electronic and orchestral sounds. The one thing this album definitely shows, is how good the Ultravox and Midge Ure solo tracks are. Songs like "Vienna". "Dancing With Tears In My Eyes", "The Voice" and "Reap The Wild Wind" have been taken to a new level and the voice of Midge Ure sounds as strong as ever, hard to believe he is 64!

The album has one new song on it and that is "Ordinary Man", which fits into the album perfectly.

Listening to this album is a real pleasure, it is brilliant from start to finish, if you haven't got the album, treat yourself, you won't be disappointed.

The album is available on Amazon here

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: Depeche Mode - Spirit


Depeche Mode have slowly been losing the plot over the last few years, that said I did think "Delta Machine" was a good album. The same cannot be said of the album "Spirit", which, in my opinion is not only the worst album they have released but is possibly the worst album I have ever heard and I have been a music fan for more than 40 years. The album is a complete mess, devoid of anything that resembles a melody, the songs sound tired and the production is awful. It is very rare to listen to a whole album and not have a grain of interest in any of the tracks, this album succeeds in doing that.

This may well be their last album as I can't see how they can move on from this album, the songwriting just isn't there anymore, which is very sad. They can't complain though, as they have had a long and successful career but this album has finally seen me lose patience and interest in them.

If you want to hear how bad this album it is available from Amazon here


MOST PROMISING BAND: Empathy Test

How on earth I have only just discovered this band, I don't know, people that know me will know I search all over the world for new electronic/synthpop bands for my i-Select Shows and yet right under my nose in the UK are Empathy Test!!

They have very strong songwriting skills and a wonderful atmospheric tone in their music and they have been working damned hard to gain recognition and it is now paying off. They recent did crowd funding to help launch 2 debut albums, "Losing Touch" and "Safe From Harm".....they reached nearly 700% of their target and no wonder, as their output has been very impressive with quite a few EP's and Singles released and of course, In November of this year they released their 2 debut albums, both of which are packed with top quality songs that synthpop and electronic fans with drool over. They launched the albums with a sell out show in London to an appreciative audience, which brings me to another aspect of this band that I like, live they are just as good, vocalist Isaac Howlett is effortless in delivering his vocals and you will be hard pressed to spot a difference between his recorded and live vocals.

They are building quite a following in Germany and have quite a few live dates booked their and want to do a headline tour of their own in 2018.

This band have something about them, they have a special magical ingrediant, that surely, will see much bigger and better things around the corner for them. To think that they are not signed to a label is bordering on criminal, surely someone with take these lads under their wing, they deserve it.

They are tailor made for a label like Mute Records.

I will be following their progress that is for certain.

Empathy Test have their releases available on Bandcamp here

Visit The Official Empathy Test Facebook here

LOOKING FORWARD

.......We can look forward to new albums by Metroland, Eurotix and Machinista, three of our favourite independent Electronic and Synthpop bands!

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Datapop's album "Pop" Reviewed

Datapop are an Electronic duo comprising of Anders Wilhelm & Mikael Larsson who are from Sweden. The band have been featured on the Plonk Music Label compilations "We Are Machine Pop" and featured on several of our "Kraftwerk"themed shows.

I have been following their progress for some time now and love their music which is inspired by Kraftwerk, but I also think French duo Air's influence can also be heard in their music. Whilst their is the obvious nod towards Kraftwerk, they have also drawn on the influence of very early Kraftwerk (Kraftwerk 1, Kraftwerk 2 & Ralf & Florian albums) as well as the Kraftwerk sound we have enjoyed over the past 30 years or so.

Datapop have released a CD version of their album "Pop" which features eleven well produced tracks, including the brilliant "Unterwegs" and "Radioklang". The CD has been released on the Russian label Razgrom Music.


The album begins with "Human Music", which has a wonderful and simple main melody line combined with more intricate sequencer patterns, overlayed with vocoder, it sets the tone of the album perfectly. Following that we have, what in my opinion, is one of the greatest Kraftwerk influenced tracks, I have ever heard, "Unterwegs", a track I rate alongside the Metroland tracks "Enjoying The View", "Zeppelin" and "Utopia", as masterpieces created by independent electronic bands. I have raved over this track for some time and like it so much I created a "Radio Edit" of the track!

"Berlin" has a great "Bouncy" bassline and is a more uptempo track, again they keep things simple and melodic, I really like this track. "Machinepop Music" is another uplifting piece of electronica with English vocals, excellent use of sounds on this track, If I remember correctly this was one of the first songs by the band that I heard, which grabbed my attention immediately. "Hertz" is more atmospheric with another excellent bassline and perfect use of synth pads. Vocal samples are utilized very well in the song too.

"Europa-Stern" is actually a cover version of the Neon track "Eurostar" and it is a superb version and a worthy inclusion on this album. Neon, like Datapop, have had music released on the Plonk Music Label. "Electronic Music" is perhaps, one of the most "Kraftwerk" type tracks on the album, with it's vocoded vocal of the song title and driving bassline and rhythm. It's quite minimalistic in parts which works very well.

Next we have another Datapop gem, the track "Radioklang", absolutely superb this track and a nod of appreciation in the direction of Kraftwerk, the line "Radiokling and Radioklang" resonates with you immediately and is something you will be singing. The intro is so Kraftwerk, you could very easily think this was a track by Kraftwerk, it's upbeat, melodic and pure pop fun!

"Rhythmus" (Which is German for rhythm) follows, a track that makes fantastic use of electronic sounds, especially the "Zap" percussion sound, which drives the track, I also like the haunting pad/string sounds, a track that would not be out of place on Kraftwerk's "Computer World" album, some brilliant use of the vocoder and the track is more complex as well, sounds fantastic in headphones. "Komputer Music" is another Electronic Pop track that would fit perfectly on Kraftwerk's "Computer World" album, again some wonderful and interesting synth sounds are on display, I love the vocals they fit perfectly with the music, also excellent use of vocal samples, this is another superb track.......think "It's More Fun To Compute" and you will get the idea how this track sounds and develops.

The closing track on the album is "Waveforms", more minimal than the previous track, again it has a well executed bassline, which all the songs benefit from on this album. The melody parts and vocals add depth to the track and closes the album perfectly, to ensure you have a wonderful listening experience from start to finish with this album.

What a pleasure it is too hear this album on CD for the first time, it features more tracks than the digital edition, and is a comprehensive overview of the music of a very impressive band, it certainly showcases their songwriting talent.

If you are a fan of electronic music, especially the likes of Kraftwerk and Metroland you will love this album, a duo I am really looking forward to following closely, with interest, from 2018 onwards.

An album worthy of your investment 10/10

The album is available on CD from the Razgrom Music website here:

http://www.razgrom.com/shop/group/1172/2665/

The Digital edition of the album is available on Bandcamp here:

https://datapop1.bandcamp.com/album/pop

Datapop's official Homepage can be found here:

http://www.erwe.se/datapop/

Datapop's Facebook page can be found here:

https://www.facebook.com/datapopmusic/