I’ve been a longtime lover of electronic music. It began in the late seventies and early eighties with Kraftwerk, John Foxx and Gary Numan. I was in a band called “Sonic Dude” for a while who cut one single on an indie label. We came up in Sheffield at the same time as the Human League, Heaven 17 and Pulp. There had to be one band who didn’t make it. We were it. Our career peaked with a sellout show at the Leadmill in Sheffield. It all went downhill from there.
Anyway, back to the broader electronic scene. In the mid-80s, Foxx disappeared, Numan went off the boil and Kraftwerk began to recycle their old material. I got into jazz in a big way and began to prefer Thelonious Monk on piano to what anyone was doing on synthesiser.
Numan recaptured my interest with his “Sacrifice” album. I didn’t care much for what he’s done since then but it was enough to get me checking out that scene again. John Foxx reappeared and has made the best albums of his career. “The Pleasures of Electricity” is the pick of the bunch but all 3 “Cathedral Oceans” sets and “Tiny Colour Movies are interesting and exciting in a minimalist sort of way whilst “Crash and Burn” and “From Trash” are more unrestrained and more mainstream.
Even more exciting have been the smaller new bands that have appeared in the UK. One favourite is Ladytron who have achieved a modicum of success and exposure. More obscure and hidden are “Swarf” who are simply quite wonderful. They have one of the finest female vocalists on the planet and some of the most inventive electronic melodies you are ever going to hear. Amazingly, they have remained an underground phenomenon who need greater exposure.
They have one album on Cryonica – “Art, Science, Exploitation”. Do yourself a favour and buy it.
You can also find them on a number of compilations and I-Tunes. There were rumours of a new single but nothing seems to have happened. Listen to them, get them the exposure they deserve.