Tag Archives: electro-pop

➤ Ex-Blitz Kid Rusty Egan and friends dress 80s electro-pop in brilliant new clothes

Welcome to the Dancefloor, Rusty Egan, electro-pop, Blitz Kids, New Romantic, EDM, synthesisers,

Egan deejaying at Tramp this week: a nightclub launch for Welcome to the Dancefloor

AFTER FIVE YEARS OF BLAGGING, and five years of feuding with former collaborators, 80s Blitz Club deejay Rusty Egan’s own “electro-diskow” album, Welcome to the Dancefloor, amounts to a superb sonic landmark. He and his guest performers engage an impressive range of emotions by dramatically humanising the potential starkness many associate with electronica.

Welcome to the Dancefloor
Rusty Egan

Spookily, their energy rockets us immediately into that vast clean stereo soundscape that uniquely defined the new music of 1980. Here synthesiser chords are stretched and layered and cracked like a whip, as if by an invisible hand in another time and space, which of course was precisely the sound of London clubland when its youth culture erupted as a volcano of creativity. The album’s pacey opening track finds ex-New Order’s Peter Hook on The Other Side spinning through the Milky Way, his thin 80s vocal style querulous and wistful, yet poppily optimistic.

That era did after all abandon the overpowering noise of the rock stadium and the punk nihilists to celebrate a return to melodious singing voices and to arch lyrics meant for listening, while synthesisers defined a fresh musical ambience. Inexperienced young artists unsure about their singing ability half shouted, half vocodered their limited vocal range to re-imagine their teenage dreams on a different planet.

Egan’s collaborators: click any pic below to launch slideshow

While Egan has carefully selected 13 tracks reflecting the wide spectrum of synth possibilities, half are love songs in the spirit of the 80s generation who were dubbed by the press New Romantics. Nevertheless he has created a consummate showcase for electronic music, co-produced by Nick Bitzenis (aka Nikonn). He has had a hand in writing a majority of the songs, many co-written with Chris Payne (of Fade to Grey fame), these being subsequently endorsed and expressed by a handful of starry friends such as Midge Ure and Tony Hadley on tracks of their own.

Despite its title, this is not dance music that the funk nation would groove to. Laying down a dominant 4-4 beat is not conducive to free-form movement unless you think you’re Tik or Tok. Exceptions include Egan’s own pulsating title track with robo vocals as if by Stephen Hawking and knowing breaks parodying Tenek and the Human League; also the nippy number Hero, which gains spiritual resonance from Andy Huntley’s richly textured delivery.

➢ Listen online to Welcome to the Dancefloor
track by track

The stand-out track is Midge Ure’s transformation of an Egan/Payne song titled Glorious. He rewrote lyrics and melody so as to construct one magnificent crescendo filled with space and tension reminiscent of “Ohhhhh, Vienna!” A close second for reconjuring the authentic 80s is Egan’s own Wunderwerke, driven by his Trans-Europe vocals through classic synth sweeps, hypnotic repeats and bass stabs. Third comes Erik Stein on the astonishingly contemplative Ballet Dancer, basking in a wonderful waterfall of synths.

Like Brexit, Tony Hadley *is* Tony Hadley and here (without the Ballet) on the coltish lovesong Lonely Highway he canters to the top of a whole new hill as a crooner. What distinguishes this album is that it’s awash with affecting lyrics and fine voices to listen to in the name of electro pop – among the gentlest are Be The Man featuring the gorgeous inflections of Kira Porter; Nicole Clarke’s ethereal contribution to Love Can Conquer All; and Love Is Coming My Way, a second number from the silken-voiced Stein.

And just wait for the Chariots of Fire finale: Egan’s intensely personal track, Thank You, which unleashes a shock of the best kind. To describe more would be to spoil a gifted idea. It is emotional and all too evidently sincere. Thank you, Rusty.

Welcome to the Dancefloor, Rusty Egan, electro-pop, Blitz Kids, New Romantics, EDM, synthesisers,

Rusty Egan: co-producer, co-writer and much else – has created a landmark album in Welcome to the Dancefloor

➢ Pre-order Welcome To The Dancefloor as 180g vinyl LP and CD variants, plus bonus mixes, at Pledge Music. – All pledges immediately receive MP3 downloads of the album, with the physical products promised by Rusty Egan “once we reach a target” (unspecified). At worst, PledgeMusic clearly says it “will refund you if the Artist doesn’t reach their target”.

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s:
1980, First sighting of the Blitz Kids


➤ Celebrating Midge Ure: the big-hearted old poser behind Band Aid

 Band Aid 30, pop music, recording, Midge Ure

Band Aid 30: Midge Ure yesterday conducting the artists for a new version of the song Do They Know It’s Christmas? Photograph: Band Aid Trust/Brian Aris/Camera Press

◼ TODAY AT 8pm ON THE X-FACTOR BAND AID 30 airs the fourth version of its pop smash hit, Do They Know It’s Christmas? So let’s remember the lifelong contribution of the quietest man in pop, Midge Ure, who is the true brains behind the charity project. As Bob Geldof described him on This Is Your Life: “He’s a great guy, hilariously funny though you wouldn’t know it from his old New Romantic posing. He’s got a great heart and is a great all-round good bloke.”

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: 1984, Band Aid, when pop made its noblest gesture but the 80s ceased to swing

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: How Midge Ure helped shape the British New Wave

Midge: “There’s no doubt the early 80s was a golden age of music made by real popstars who created themselves. It was more than just padded shoulders and asymmetrical haircuts. It was a pivotal moment in our cultural history when new tech mixed with new ideas to create something really good. All in the pressure cooker environment that was the Blitz club”

Rusty Egan, Steve Strange, Midge Ure, Visage, synth-pop, new wave, electro-pop,Band Aid, Rocking the Blitz,BBC

Visage Mk 1: Rusty Egan, Steve Strange and Midge Ure in 1978 searching for sounds and styles



➤ Index of posts for March

depeche mode, Remixes 2,electro-pop,

Three faces engraved by a life in rock: Depeche Mode’s Andy Fletcher, Dave Gahan and Martin Gore have between them survived depression, addiction, mental instability, attempted suicide, divorce and fatherhood

➢ 2011, Adam Ant reveals his terrifying years in purgatory

➢ Martin Kemp’s live tutorial via bass cam

➢ 2011, Clarke and Wilder pile in for Depeche Mode’s ultimate remix album

Mick Karn, Peter Murphy, Dalis Car, pop music

Mick Karn and Peter Murphy: teamed as Dalis Car in 1984

➢ Mick Karn takes a last journey in Dalis Car 2

➢ Anna’s Army — how the English-born editor of Vogue became her own global brand

➢ Crazee or crazed? David Lynch’s view of Duran’s live concert from within his hellish cave

➢ 1932–2011, Liz Taylor — Hollywood glamour to a T

➢ 2011, Despite sniffy critics, ultimately Duran’s best album since their glory years

➢ Smartphones become UK shoppers’ essentials

➢ 2011, Spandau and Duran square up for battle just like the old days

➢ Gary Kemp puts his neck on the block — Spandau ‘the best live British band of the Eighties’

➢ Haunting video catches grim carnage of the Japanese tsunami

➢ 1981, The day Duran’s fortunes really took flight — 30th anniversary of Planet Earth

➢ Kid Creole’s in pink so he’s ready for the funk

Duran Duran, 2011, All You Need Is Now, YouTube, live stream, pop music

Duran Duran earlier this year: US and European tours, plus a live concert stream. Picture courtesy duranduran.com


➤ Egan on Bowie’s legacy: ‘It’s not rocket science and it is music’

Today The Thin White Duke walks tall again — the god, the brand, the signifier — the three-in-one trinity that is David Bowie fired up one of the great transformative albums of the 70s, Station to Station. His 10th in a studio, it is now re-released in special edition 3-CD box set.

Bowie as The Man Who Fell to Earth, a 1976 film by Nicolas Roeg, based on the Walter Tevis novel about a humanoid alien who crash-lands on Earth. © Rex

This month the German journalist Finn Johannsen interviewed the club deejay and co-founder of the Blitz Club, Rusty Egan for the Nokia blog, Sounds Like Me. He discusses Bowie’s seminal role in 70s and 80s music, describes a typical night out at the Blitz, and what today’s clubbers can take from such an innovative chapter of music-making. Here’s a taster…

Rusty Egan, Blitz club

Rusty Egan at the Blitz, 1980: rare pic of him spinning the discs

FJ — David Bowie was always famous for continuously reinventing his career, but did this phase particularly appeal to you?

RE — Bowie’s Berlin years I believe were the foundation of the Blitz club playlist. Via Bowie I found Kraftwerk, and that lead to Neu!, Can, Cluster and Krautrock, as it was called. Bryan Ferry then led to the work of Brian Eno, and his ambient series … All this music lead to the basis of my collection. If you join the dots Bowie, Eno, Iggy, Kraftwerk, Mick Ronson, Lou Reed.

FJ — It is obvious that Bowie was heavily influenced by German experimental groups like Kraftwerk or Neu! How much of them can be found in Low and Heroes?

RE — Massive influences. Bowie is a SONGWRITER. Without songs you have music. The Germans made amazing music without lyrics. It was experimental because of the instruments used and the long, long tracks. Bowie took the basis of this experimental music and the growing feelings evoked by Möbius, Cluster, Can, Neu! and went into Hansa studios by the Wall and with Brian Eno created the Berlin sound. Heroes sung in German as Helden is a perfect example. Six minutes long, but what were the instruments used? Can you hear guitar, bass and drums? Nothing but a long, long tone changing and changing… It’s not rocket science and it is music.

➢ Read the full Egan interview at Sounds Like Me


2010 ➤ Foxx celebrates his life as the Duchamp of electropop

❚ “THERE’S A GREAT SURGE OF INTEREST in electronic music. I don’t know why that’s happened, but it’s fortunate for me because I did it a long time ago.” After three low-profile yet prolific decades as a graphic artist, photographer and teacher, the elder statesman of electropop John Foxx is curating Short Circuit, a festival of the best of British electronic music at London’s Roundhouse next week. The day-long event will see Foxx playing his original Moogs, an ARP Odyssey, an Elka String Machine and CR-78 drum machine in a 30th anniversary celebration of his debut solo album, Metamatic.

John Foxx, Short Circuit, Roundhouse, electropop

Foxx’s own verdict on Metamatic: “carcrash music tailored by Burtons”

Foxx’s lyrics and vocal style characterised the original band Ultravox! (1974–79), whose 1978 album Systems of Romance, co-produced by Conny Plank, not only introduced the R-word into the post-punk zeitgeist, but set the mould for British electronica.

After going solo, Foxx’s stark and visionary 1980 album Metamatic, rendered on a range of synths and “rhythm machines”, yielded two futuristic chart hits he summarised as “carcrash music tailored by Burtons”. Two new songs Burning Car and Miles Away charted later the same year. As a pathfinder who imagined himself to be “the Marcel Duchamp of electropop”, he has always enjoyed cult status among the emergent new wave of electronic musicians.

A decade ago Foxx embarked on a new lease of life and Short Circuit will reunite him with former Ultravox guitarist Robin Simon to perform songs from Systems of Romance.

➢ At BBC News online, Tim Masters writes:

❏ Foxx wants his festival of electronica to capture the spirit of a concert he attended in 1967. “It was like a glimpse of the future,” says Foxx, who hitchhiked down from his native Lancashire to attend the 14-hour Technicolor Dream at Alexandra Palace in London. “I watched Pink Floyd with Syd Barrett, Lennon was around, and Brian Jones, and I saw European art movies like Un chien andalou for the first time — so it was really a life-changing event.” With its art displays, video installations and deejay sets, Foxx promises Short Circuit will be “a sort of hallucinogenic musical afternoon”.

➢ Short Circuit 2010 is curated by John Foxx at
The Roundhouse on June 5

30th anniversary boxset

John Foxx,Metatronic, boxset, electropop Metatronic is a wonderful survey of one man’s post-glam responses to urban dislocation through modernist music that can be as jarring as it is also seductive. Released this month as double CD, plus DVD of relevant promo vids including the early hits Underpass and No-One Driving