Wishing (If I Had A Photograph Of You) (extended remix)
The More You Live The More You Love (extended remix)
Nightmares (extended remix)
DNA (extended remix)
Electrics (extended remix)
Man Made (extended remix)
Tranfer Affection (extended remix)
Review: This year, the original A Flock Of Seagulls line up is touring together for the first time since 1984. To celebrate, they've decided to put out this collection of "Extended Essentials" - club-ready 12" versions of their original 1980s hits. There's naturally plenty to enjoy throughout, from the hazy shuffle of "Transfer Affection" and the alien freakiness of "Space Age Love Song" (a cut smothered in eyes-closed guitar solos that changes tempo midway through), to the surprisingly cheery hustle of "Nightmare" and the classic new wave creepiness of early single "Modern Love is Automatic". These aren't 12" mixes that showcase 1980s production trickery, but rather tasteful extensions that ratchet up the atmosphere and thrusting grooves.
Review: By the time they released In Visible Silence in 1986, the trio behind the Art of Noise - JJ Jeczalik, Gary Langan and Anne Dudley - had broken free of producer Trevor Horn and ZTT Records' concept-loving media man, Paul Morley. The resultant album was arguably more musically rich and varied than its predecessors, even if their obsession with the creative potential afforded by the Fairlight-CMI sampling computer remained in tact. It remains a hugely enjoyable set, rich in Dudley's neo-classical flourishes, Jeczalik's cheeky sense of humour and ability to spot a killer sample, and Langan's brilliant beat programming and production. This expanded reissue accompanies the original 11-track album with a wealth of obscure, forgotten or unreleased bonus material, including alternative mixes, 12" versions and unlikely collaborations.
Review: Self-styled "minimal synth duo" Boy Harsher has released some fine music over the last few years, though little quite as on-point and majestic as 2018's "Country Girl" EP. Here they offer up a new-look "uncut" edition of the stylish set, which expands the original four-track set via a quartet of previously unreleased recordings from the same period. You'll find the original EP - complete with the throbbing but picturesque "Motion" and dreamy "Country Girl" - on side A, with the bonus material on the flip. Of these, we're particularly enjoying the gentle pulse of "Underwater", and the "Please" era Pet Shop Boys flex of "Send Me A Vision" and "Westerners".
Review: Three years on from the release of their acclaimed debut album, "Yr Body is Nothing", Augustus Miller and Jae Matthews are finally ready to release the second Boy Harsher full-length. It's a hugely atmospheric affair, with the lauded pair sashaying between moody creepiness (the slowly shifting musical dystopia of opener "Keep Driving"), guitar-flecked new wave ("Face The Fire"), arpeggio-driven alternative synth-pop ("Fate"), Pet Shop Boys-esque Italo-disco influenced throb-jobs ("LA"), EBM-driven dancefloor funk ("Come Closer", "Tears"), icy electronic soundscapes ("Crush") and immersive, wide-eyed ambient ("Careful"). It does sound like it could have been made around 1985, but that's precisely the point: Boy Harsher can certainly deliver well observed retro-futurism better than most.
Venus Covers Mars (Antoni- Maiovvi remix - bonus track)
Under The Red (Leather Strip remix - bonus track)
All You Can Eat (Ant People remix - bonus track)
Review: Synth pop veterans Boytronic - well known for hit single "You" but also for honing their sound at sex shows in Hamburg's red light district - are back after a ten year hiatus. After several personnel changes over the years, the latest line-up features old and new vocalists in Holger Wobker and James Knights respectively, and it could be the first time ever that a replacement and their predecessor have worked together on the same record. Importantly, they work well together, with plenty of 80s influences looming large over a wealth of danceable beats, tinny chords and woodpecker fills.
Review: In 1979, Cabaret Voltaire - then consisting of all three founder members, Richard H. Kirk, Stephen Mallinder and Chris Watson - recorded a soundtrack for an experimental film "for two projectors" by Babeth Mondini. 40 years on, that soundtrack has finally been given a release. It's similar in tone to some of the Sheffield experimentalists' other soundtrack work from the period, offering discordant, unsettling and otherworldly sound collages that fuse heavily modified and processed instrumental parts (guitar, bass, drums, clarinet, saxophone) with tape loops, sampled dialogue and the band's ever-present electronic tones. Whether you're an obsessive Cabs fan or not, it's well worth a listen. This is, after all, a slice of previously hidden musical history.
Review: Former Throbbing Gristle mainstay Chris Carter has more than enough projects to keep him busy, which may go some way to explain why it took him the best part of eight years to record CCCL, his first solo album for almost two decades. Created using home-made electronic instruments, hacked effects units and "retro circuit modification", the album's 25 tracks were apparently inspired by a mixture of the Radiophonic Workshop's legendary 1960s electronic experiments and Carter's desire to utilize the kind of "nursery rhyme" melodies found in traditional English music. It's a curious combination, but one that guarantees a near perfect balance between far-sighted electronic experimentation and cheery tunefulness.
Review: With Christmas fast approaching, Throbbing Gristle founder member Chris Carter has decided to offer up the perfect stocking filler for industrial and experimental electronica enthusiasts: a four-disc retrospective focusing on the early part of his solo career. While it omits his 1980 debut "The Space Between", it does include expanded, re-mastered versions of 1985's surprisingly ambient "Mondo B", 1998's trippy, hypnotic and rhythmical "Disobedient Redux" and 1999's brilliant "Small Moon Redux". Even more excitingly, the box's first disc - the most experimental, out-there and inspired of all - is made up entirely of previously unreleased tracks recorded between 1973 and 77. In truth, this disc is worth the entrance price on its own.
Review: After the brilliance of his intoxicating Themes From An Imaginary Film album, there's no doubt that Chromatics producer Johnny Jewel is on a roll. Here, he returns to his roots to helm the fourth full-length from the futurist crew, their first since 2007. In typical fashion, it's a beguiling set that draws on Jewel's usual cinematic influences. Musically, it sounds like a particularly heart-aching road movie, shuffling across the mid west via dark soundtrack moods ("Candy","11th Hour" and "Dust To Dust"), fragile balladeering ("Birds Of Paradise"), eyeliner-laden electronic moodiness ("A Matter of Time"), and Johnny Marr-goes-to-the-movies indie-pop (see "Kill For Love", "Into the Black" and "Back From The Grave").
Review: On its initial vinyl and download release late last year, Cherry was proclaimed by critics as being one of Chromatics' strongest albums to date. Given that the Portland band have now released seven acclaimed sets, that's some claim. This first "deluxe" CD edition adds previously unheard cuts and alternative versions, but it's the core set - featured on the first half of the CD - that really sparkles. As you might expect, it's not only full of the atmospheric, slow motion synth-pop with which they made their name, but also a swathe of cuts heavily influenced by the cinematioc soundtrack work Jonny Jewel has been concentrating on since their previous full-length dropped back in 2012. In other words, it's quite possibly Chromatics' most evocative and rounded set to date.