Tag Archives: Roundhouse

2011 ➤ Heaven 17 remind us how electronic music can send the soul soaring!

Glenn Gregory ,Martyn Ware ,Heaven 17 ,Radio Ditto,webcast,Roundhouse,Music of Quality and Distinction Live

Glenn Gregory and Martyn Ware: sharing their favourite electronica on web radio. Picture by Mike Prior

❚ SPOTTY TEENAGERS DIDDLING WITH TWO FINGERS. Electronic music has usually had a dourly downbeat image for most of us. Synths in bedsits, and all that. Yet the tunes of our youth are the spark that fuel our creative adventures. That’s the inspirational notion behind a new monthly radio show titled Music for… Growing Up To, compiled by Glenn Gregory and Martyn Ware of Heaven 17 for Radio Ditto. Drawing from their own idiosyncratic record collections and their undiminished curiosity, these electronic pioneers of the early 80s — founders of The Human League who broke away in 1980 — will also be scanning the web for new discoveries in a segment they call Found on Soundcloud. And, they say, anybody can also submit their own new tunes for the webcast.

➢ Tune in now to Martyn & Glenn’s Music for… Growing Up To,
at ditto.tv/musicfor

All of which is by way of a trailer for their British Electric Foundation’s two-day festival, Music of Quality and Distinction Live, at London’s Roundhouse venue in the autumn. They were encouraged by the full houses during Heaven 17’s Penthouse and Pavement 30th anniversary tour last year, built around what many of us regard as the most progressive album of 1981. Playing synthesisers live onstage seldom offers the most dramatic of experiences. Yet, despite the  pretentiously named BEF, their original production company, Heaven 17’s imaginatively presented tour generated a real party atmosphere thanks to exceptional supporting musicians and innovative digital light displays — rather more than you’d expect from paunchy veterans standing at keyboards, and a darn sight more good-humoured than some recent po-faced electro-revivals. From Soul Warfare and Let’s All Make A Bomb to Fascist Groove Thang, Ware & Gregory’s rebel anthems lent themselves to enthusiastic singalongs.

Heaven 17, album ,The Luxury Gap ,electro-pop ➢ The Roundhouse celebration of seminal electronic music from the past 30 years consists of a major concert each night. Friday October 14 sees a live premiere of Heaven 17’s top-ten album The Luxury Gap from 1983… October 15 will be BEF’s first live show featuring guest vocals from Elly Jackson (LaRoux), Green Gartside (Scritti Politti), Shingai Shoniwa (Noisettes), Boy George (Culture Club), Midge Ure (Ultravox), Andy Bell (Erasure), Sandie Shaw, Polly Scattergood and Kim Wilde.

➢ Other summer festival gigs by Heaven 17 — brilliantly backed by Billie Godfrey, Asa Bennett, Joel Farland being dynamite on LinnDrums, Julian Crampton being a god on bass and Me’sha Bryan — include Coventry, Sheffield, London, Whitstable, Perth and Nottingham.

Glenn Gregory, Martyn Ware, Heaven 17,Penthouse and Pavement, 30th anniversary, tour

H17’s Penthouse and Pavement tour 2010: bright lights and sexy music


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