2017 – The Year In Review

2017 has been an eventful year in the world of electronic music, particularly here in the UK which saw some of the classic acts back in action. But it also saw the emergence of some talented contemporary electronic acts as well. Here’s TEC’s review of the year along with our contributor’s lists of songs and albums that they rated in 2017…


2017 started off in a strange place for The Electricity Club as it found itself in a position to discard the accumulated baggage of many years and give the site a ‘soft reboot’. With an agenda that was focussed purely on music, it was a foundation that provided a sturdy structure for the months ahead.

January saw Austra make a triumphant return with their third studio album Future Politics. Along with lead single ‘Utopia’, the album was a reflection of our times as we entered into a turbulent period in global politics. TEC’s review summed up the album as “…a more intimate and personal approach than previous outings”.

TEC favourites Lola Dutronic also made a welcome return, first with a sequel to their classic ‘Everybody Loves You When You’re Dead’ (now updated to reflect some of the losses music suffered in 2016 such as Lemmy, David Bowie and Prince). We interviewed Lola Dutronic to get some gain some insight into how the globally distant pair produce their music. The duo also managed to bookend the year with a further release when they released the wonderful ‘My Name Is Lola’.

Vitalic came back with the stunning Voyager album. Pascal Arbez’s crunchy flavour of muscular beats and hook-laden melodies was present and correct on his new outing. Tracks such as ‘Waiting For The Stars’ suggested an unabashed nod to Arbez’s favourite ’70s and ’80s songs with a Moroder-esque beat driving this squelchy and engaging electropop wonder. Meanwhile, ‘Sweet Cigarette’ offered up a homage to The Normal’s ‘Warm Leatherette’.

TEC’s Lost Album series delivered some eclectic choices from the vaults for consideration. This included U96’s Replugged, Kon Kan’s Syntonic and Gary Numan’s 1994 album Sacrifice, a release which Barry Page suggested held the keys to the future: “Whilst the album often suffers from its use of some rather unimaginative and repetitive drum loops, the album put Numan firmly back on track.”

Sweden’s Sailor And I, meanwhile, offered up brooding, glacial pop on debut album The Invention Of Loneliness. TEC also spoke to musician Alexander Sjödin, the brains behind the outfit, who summed up his methods thus: “I use music as a kind of meditation. I get into this mood where I turn everything else off and just run as far as I can every time”.

In March, Goldfrapp returned to the fold with new album Silver Eye. While it was a serviceable outing of the glam synth workings that the duo had traded on previously, it was also bereft of many surprises or challenges. A return to Felt Mountain glories seems overdue.

Throughout the year, we were won over by a whole host of emerging electronic acts that caught our attention. This included the “ruptured melodies” of Jupiter-C (a duo championed by the likes of Clint Mansell). The “multi-utility music” of Liverpool’s Lo Five drew our focus to the wonders of the Patterned Air label. Elsewhere, the electro-acoustic sounds of Autorotation provided their own charm while the crunchy qualities of Cotton Wolf also suggested an act worth keeping an eye on.

With the 8th March traditionally being International Women’s Day, we thought it was time to add a twist to it by suggesting an International Women In Electronic Music Day. While the commentary of the likes of Lauren Mayberry (Chvrches) and Claire Boucher (Grimes) had blazed the trail for a level playing field for women, it was still depressing to see tone-deaf blog articles that were essentially ‘Birds With Synths’ being offered up as support.

One of our choices for that esteemed list, Hannah Peel, managed to deliver two albums of note in 2017. The personal journey of Awake But Always Dreaming (inspired by her family’s encounter with dementia) and also the magical world of Mary Casio: Journey To Cassiopeia – an album which our review summed up as “a testament to Hannah Peel’s seemingly endless abilities to craft new and intriguing ideas out of the ether. It’s a cosmic journey that delivers.”

Hopes were high that Basildon’s finest could deliver a solid return to form with their 14th studio album Spirit. But the album divided critics and fans alike on a release which TEC’s review summed up succinctly: “…as impressive as it is lyrically, it’s an often challenging and unsettling listen that doesn’t quite meet up to its billing as “the most energized Depeche Mode album in years.””

Despite the controversy, Depeche Mode still managed to put on their biggest ever UK show, with over 80,000 attendees at London Stadium in June this year.

Elsewhere, another of the old guard was also facing a productive year. Marc Almond released new compilation album Hits And Pieces, which spanned his extensive career from Soft Cell through to his more recent solo work. Although not as comprehensive as 2016’s Trials Of Eyeliner, TEC’s review suggested “…the new compilation offers a more concise selection of music that still manages to cover Almond’s extensive musical career in fine style”.

April saw TEC looking at the dark wave delights of Dicepeople, whose ‘Synthetic’ offered up “brooding gothic synth melodies against a burbling electronic background”. But their cover of Depeche Mode’s ‘Strangelove’ showed the outfit could also deliver muscular electropop that still retained their own unique style. Speaking to Dicepeople’s Matt Brock in an exclusive interview, TEC discovered the band’s strong cinematic touchstone. “Cronenberg’s Videodrome is another huge influence for us with its exploration of very dark themes involving control, voyeurism and the nature of reality as shown via layers of screens (a recurring theme in Dicepeople).”

Marnie released her follow-up to 2013’s Crystal World in the form of Strange Words And Weird Wars. The album demonstrated the Ladytron member’s knack for tunes, which our review summed up as “…a solid album of contemporary electropop that listeners will find intelligent, engaging and yet also fun. Strange Words And Weird Wars is a continuing demonstration on why Marnie is one of electronic music’s most precious assets”.

The emerging generation of electronic artists kept producing new acts of interest throughout 2017. Pixx (who cropped up on our radar after supporting Austra) released The Age Of Anxiety, which our review described as “an album that offers up a combination of smart pop tunes married with thoughtful lyrics”. Hannah Rodgers, the talent behind Pixx, also addressed the surge of nostalgia and retro acts with a philosophical quote: “There are a lot of people who are just trying to recreate things that have already been done, because they’re almost scared of the way modern music sounds, but we do have technology now that allows us to make quite insane-sounding music. And… we are in 2017”.

Kelly Lee Owens was another emerging artist who released her eponymous debut this year. The TEC review summed it up: “At heart an electronic album, the tracks contained within dart between ambient soundscapes and beat-driven compositions”.

AIVIS, a new act that had come to TEC’s attention via The Pansentient League’s Jer White, delivered their debut album Constellate. As with acts such as Lola Dutronic, AIVIS consists of a duo located in separate countries – in this case Aidan from Scotland and Travis based in Ohio. Their use of harmonies and warm synths led us to conclude that “Constellate is a smooth collection of subtle electropop”.

Irish outfit Tiny Magnetic Pets had a good year in which they released a new album and went on to support OMD. The 3-piece unit had made their UK and European live debut back in 2015 championed by Johnny Normal. Now in 2017 they brought new release Deluxe/Debris to bear. TEC’s review gave the album an honest appraisal: “They’ve got the chops to push the envelope, but there are times on this album where, arguably, the band appear happier playing from a safe position. When they introduce their more experimental side, or opt for a more dynamic approach, Tiny Magnetic Pets shine brightest”.

Voi Vang’s powerful voice and dancepop sensibilities made her one of the star turns of 2017. Meanwhile, Twist Helix woke us up with their “dramatic tunes and big, euphoric vocal melodies”. Our Teclist reviews also had good things to say about Elektrisk Gønner, OSHH and Russian outfit Oddity.

Elsewhere, the classic synthpop acts still had a strong showing this year. Erasure released the downbeat World Be Gone, a more reflective album that was heavily influenced by the troubling political climate (a persistent theme for many other releases this year). OMD returned with the follow-up to 2013’s English Electric with The Punishment Of Luxury. The album wore its Kraftwerk influences on its sleeve for a lot of the tracks, while the title number offered a commentary on commercial culture.

German pioneers Kraftwerk brought their 3D experience back to the UK and TEC’s Rob Rumbell offered his thoughts on their Nottingham concert: “…sensory overload… which left you awe-inspired and breathless”.

Blancmange presented a superb compilation of their first three albums titled The Blanc Tapes which we summed up as “the perfect archive for Blancmange’s often-overlooked musical legacy.” Neil Arthur also delivered new studio album Unfurnished Rooms, which prompted an honest critique from TEC’s Imogen Bebb: “whilst as an album it isn’t always easy to listen to, it makes for a welcome new chapter in Blancmange’s ongoing story”.

Howard Jones also went down the compilation route with the comprehensive Best 1983-2017 which the TEC review suggested: “this 3-CD set will have a special appeal not only to loyal Howard Jones fans, but also perhaps a new audience keen to experience the appeal of this pioneering electronic musician”.

While there were bright moments in the year, the music scene also saw tragedy in 2017 with the loss of Can’s Holger Czukay, trance DJ Robert Miles and Roland founder Ikutaro Kakehashi.

Barry Page provided some long-form features which took the focus to Norway’s a-ha, particularly the side projects that the likes of Morten Harket and Paul Waaktaar-Savoy have embarked on.

Speaking of a-ha, although the idea of an acoustic album by an electronic act seemed absurd, it was a concept that the Norwegian outfit embraced for Summer Solstice. The breath-taking arrangements for classics such as ‘Take On Me’ and ‘The Sun Always Shines On TV’ proved that a-ha still had the chops to surprise people.

Meanwhile, Midge Ure’s own orchestral-inspired approach for Ultravox and his solo numbers resulted in the release of Orchestrated later in the year. TEC’s Jus Forrest summed things up: “As an album, Orchestrated is diverse enough to pique interest. It’s contemporary enough to be relevant, and there’s enough classic tracks to reach out to fans”.

The soulful tones of Fifi Rong returned, this time with a bolder electronic sound on ‘The Same Road’. TEC’s review concluded that the new song “…demonstrates that Fifi Rong is capable of adding plenty more colours to her musical palette”.

Kasson Crooker, formerly of Freezepop, also provided some gems throughout 2017. There was the Gishiki album released under his Symbion Project banner – a release that we summed up as “one of the standout electronica releases of the year.” Meanwhile, he launched new outing ELYXR which was designed to be a collaborative project introducing different singers for each subsequent release. This included the warmth of ‘Engine’ as well as the punchier (and lyrically timely!) ‘Godspeed’.

2017 also delivered a diverse selection of electronic music events that showcased a multi-line-up of diverse acts. May saw Synth Club Presents, which included the ever-excellent Vile Electrodes as well as the sultry delights of The Frixion and the energetic pop of Knight$.

Culled from their 2016 album Ath.Lon, in June Greek duo Marsheaux unveiled a new video for ‘Now You Are Mine’.

Meanwhile, July delivered one of the bigger events of the year with Liverpool’s Silicon Dreams. Combining established artists with newer acts, this year’s event pulled together an all-star schedule featuring Parralox, Avec Sans, Future Perfect, Berlyn Trilogy, Caroline McLavy and Voi Vang. As TEC’s review stated: “The 2017 incarnation of Silicon Dreams serves not only as an evening of entertainment, but also as an example of the importance of grassroots electronic music events. By showcasing both up-and-coming talents alongside more established acts, it’s an event which demonstrates a legacy in action”.

August presented the Electro Punk Party which offered up some of the more alternative acts on the scene. This included Dicepeople, Microchip Junky, Hot Gothic, the dark surf guitar of Pink Diamond Revue and the anarchistic LegPuppy. In fact, LegPuppy demonstrated an impressive schedule of live performances throughout the year as well as releasing songs such as the wry observations of ‘Selfie Stick’ and dance-orientated ‘Running Through A Field Of Wheat’.

The regular Synthetic City event returned, this time at Water Rats in King’s Cross. The evening brought with it some superb performances from the likes of Hot Pink Abuse, Eden, The Lunchbox Surrender, Train To Spain and Parralox (marking their second UK live show this year). The weird and wonderful Mr Vast topped things off and the whole affair was superbly organised by Johnny Normal.

Susanne Sundfør, who released the superb Ten Love Songs album back in 2015, brought a much more challenging release in the form of Music For People In Trouble. The album weaved in acoustic touches, spoken word segments and often unsettling soundscapes. But the epic ‘Mountaineers’, featuring the distinctive voice of John Grant, had an almost physical presence with its hypnotic tones.

The mighty Sparks returned with new album Hippopotamus and delivered a superb live performance in London back in October. The same month, the 22rpm electronic music festival took place. Showcased by record label Bit Phalanx, the event featured the likes of Scanner, Derek Piotr, Digitonal, Coppe and a truly stunning performance from Valgeir Sigurðsson.

The Sound Of Arrows brought out their newest album since 2011’s Voyage. Stay Free offered a much more grounded approach to electropop than the dreamy moods of their previous release, but still managed to deliver some cinematic pop moments. Their pop-up shop to promote the album was also a nice touch!

PledgeMusic has proved to be a vital lifeline for many artists in recent years. It’s a funding option which delivered for everyone from Ultravox to OMD. Gary Numan used the platform to fund his 21st studio album Savage (Songs From A Broken World) which provoked critical praise and which Jus Forrest suggested delivered “a flawless production of intrigue; a soundtrack that brings together the atmospheric, the lonely, the eerie and, in places, the added drama of colourful crescendo”.

Empathy Test, an electronic duo from London, also chose the PledgeMusic route and achieved such success that they decided to release not just one, but two albums together. The stunning Losing Touch and Safe From Harm revealed a band that could combine mood and melancholy in an impressive collection of songs. TEC’s conclusion that compositions such as ‘Bare My Soul’ demonstrated a band capable of delivery that was both “mythical and melodious”, also showed the heights that contemporary electropop can ascend to.

As the year drew to its conclusion, there were still some gems to pop up on the radar. Canadian sleazy synth specialist TR/ST teased us with ‘Destroyer’, a nocturnal affair that (along with the year’s earlier release ‘Bicep’) paved the way for a new album due in 2018.

Scanner, who had delivered a stunning performance at the 22rpm event, also unleashed The Great Crater, an album of mood and often brooding unease. Our review’s final conclusion was that “The end result is less listening to a body of work and more being immersed into a physical experience”.

Curxes brought us the hypnotic delights of ‘In Your Neighbourhood’, which paved the way for new album Gilded Cage.

As the winter months drew to a close, we took a look at Parralox’s latest release ‘Electric Nights’, which proved to be a euphoric floor-stomper. Meanwhile, Norway served up Take All The Land, the debut solo album by Simen Lyngroth which TEC’s review summed up as a “beautifully well-crafted and intimate album”.

Perhaps one theme that 2017 demonstrated time and time again is that electronic music continues to evolve and thrive, particularly at the grassroots level where emerging acts are less focused on being a pastiche of the bands of 40 years ago. Instead, there’s a fresh and dynamic scene which has seen a genre looking to the future rather than the past.

This doesn’t scribble over the achievements of decades of previous electronic acts. That history and legacy continues to exist, but perhaps the idea that acts don’t need to be beholden to the classic acts is a concept that younger artists are more willing to entertain.


CONTRIBUTOR’S LISTS

IMOGEN BEBB

Top 5 Songs Of 2017

OMD – The Punishment of Luxury
Gary Numan – My Name Is Ruin
Sparks – What The Hell Is It This Time?
Alphaville – Heartbreak City
Tiny Magnetic Pets – Never Alone

Top 5 Albums Of 2017

OMD – The Punishment of Luxury
Tiny Magnetic Pets – Deluxe/Debris
Blancmange – Unfurnished Rooms
Superdivorce – Action Figures
Brian Eno – Reflection

Favourite Event of 2017

OMD at Liverpool Empire in October.

Most Promising New Act

Superdivorce


JUS FORREST

Top 5 Songs Of 2017

Among the Echoes – Breathe
Tiny Magnetic Pets – Control Me
John Foxx and the Maths – Orphan Waltz
Gary Numan – My Name is Ruin
Gary Numan – Bed of Thorns

Top 5 Albums Of 2017

Jori Hulkkonen – Don’t Believe in Happiness
Gary Numan – Savage (Songs from a Broken World)
Tiny Magnetic Pets – Deluxe/Debris
Hannah Peel – Mary Casio: Journey to Cassiopeia
Richard Barbieri – Planets + Persona

Most Promising New Act

Spaceprodigi


BARRY PAGE

Top 5 Songs Of 2017

OMD – Ghost Star
Waaktaar and Zoe – Mammoth
Depeche Mode – Cover Me
Simen Lyngroth – The Waves
Alexis Georgopoulos and Jefre Cantu-Ledesma – The Marble Sky

Top 5 Albums Of 2017

Waaktaar and Zoe – World Of Trouble
Simen Lyngroth – Take All The Land
a-ha – MTV Unplugged Summer Solstice
Empathy Test – Losing Touch
Sparks – Hippopotamus

Favourite Event of 2017

Depeche Mode at London Stadium, June 2017

Most Promising New Act

Simen Lyngroth

Best reissue

China Crisis – Working With Fire and Steel


JER WHITE

Top 5 Songs Of 2017

Tiny Magnetic Pets – Semaphore
2raumwohnung – Lucky Lobster (Night Version)
Sylvan Esso – Die Young
Pixx – I Bow Down
Vitalic (ft. David Shaw and The Beat) – Waiting for the Stars

Top 5 Albums Of 2017

2raumwohnung – Nacht und Tag
The Moonlandingz – Interplanetary Class Classics
AIVIS – Constellate
Jupe Jupe – Lonely Creatures
Vitalic – Voyager

Favourite Event of 2017

Kraftwerk in 3D at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh.

Most Promising New Act

AIVIS


PAUL BROWNE

Top 5 Songs Of 2017

Susanne Sundfør – Mountaineers
Empathy Test – Bare My Soul
Austra – Utopia
TR/ST – Bicep
Curxes – In Your Neighbourhood

Top 5 Albums Of 2017

Empathy Test – Safe From Harm/Losing Touch
Hannah Peel – Mary Casio: Journey To Cassiopeia
Austra – Future Politics
Susanne Sundfør – Music For People In Trouble
Sailor & I – The Invention Of Loneliness

Favourite Event of 2017

Synthetic City 2017

Most Promising New Act

Empathy Test


SYNTHETIC CITY 2017 LONDON

Global electronic acts descend on London for this packed synthpop extravaganza…

Among the many electronic music events of the year, the Synthetic City Electronic Music Festival was certainly one of the more ambitious affairs. Boasting 11 bands and artists from across 8 countries, this all-dayer was determined to craft a memorable event.

Hosted by Johnny Normal, an electronic music artist in his own right and also a well-known radio host, Synthetic City is an outing that managed to combine established artists alongside some newer acts. This style of event, which was also successfully employed by Silicon Dreams earlier in the year, not only showcases bands that are going to draw an audience in, but also introduce people to emerging artists – a vital component for a growing scene.

The first acts to open up the festival were UK musician Paul Humphries and Milan from France. Having just recently released his debut album, this was Humphries’ first live performance which meant some trepidation in stepping on the stage. His material draws from the darker end of the electronic spectrum, but there’s a robust quality to many of his tunes and a confident vocal approach that will appeal to a broader audience.

Conversely, Milan pulls from the European tradition of electronic music. Here, the tunes are more orientated to a dancepop flavour with a delicate vocal that has touches of Pet Shop Boys in the delivery.

Hailing from Ireland, the electronic duo of Eden were surprisingly polished in their stage presentation (the spacey jackets were a nice touch) and on-stage banter. Consisting of Mark Power and Ian Henderson, Eden have some polished tunes, much of which is culled from the duo’s 2016 album Outbound To Wonderland. Songs such as ‘Don’t Wanna Lose You’ and ‘If I Was A Pet Shop Boy’ have both a charm and a synthpop sensibility to them and also an Erasure flavour at times. Power’s driving vocal style and his ease at being on stage were a definite plus.

Eden’s last song is introduced as “About religion, but don’t run out!”. ‘New Age’ is a heavier pop outing that weaves in some scathing (and possibly timely) commentary on the issues surrounding organised spiritual matters.

Next up was an act that had flown in from Germany with a distinctly unique style that’s difficult to adequately describe using mere words. Mr Vast straddles the line between musician and performance artist, but also has an element of unpredictability that made tonight’s appearance entertaining or unsettling depending on which way you jump.

Apparently, Mr Vast had been recommended to Johnny Normal by Gary Le Strange, an artist who’s no stranger to the world of eclectic musical performances himself. “If you think I’m strange” quipped Gary “wait until you see Mr Vast…”. The result is quirky tunes such as ‘Ecstatic Caravan’ and ‘Elemental’ (which features the winning line: “The sangria/made me angrier”). While Mr Vast is gearing up for these songs, there’s a lot of on-stage banter and a metric ton of stage props. This includes an entire wardrobe of ‘interesting’ clothes and a copy of The Guardian which becomes part of what appears to be the recreation of a famous Sinead O’Connor moment as he tears through it.

Starting off with one song, Mr Vast abandons it 2 minutes in. “I’m bored with that now”, he offers, before embarking on a new song. Others present similar challenges (“Fuck me, there’s a lot of lyrics in that track…”). When he does stick it out, songs such as ‘Problems With The Light’ (which opens with a combo of owls hooting and a spoken word segment) deliver a funky workout.

Austria’s The Lunchbox Surrender brought things back on track with a set of solidly electronic tunes. Ava takes care of vocals while Bobo focuses on the synths (which includes that sturdy workhorse the ARP Odyssey). The results are a very muscular brand of synthpop that employ some percussive electronic elements and a bass-heavy delivery. Meanwhile, Ava’s vocals have a mesmerising and at times sultry style that offer a contrast to the bassy synth foundations. At times, it calls to mind the dreampop of outfits like Au Revoir Simone while there’s also some more broody moments that suggest the Nordic melancholia of Sailor & I.

The crunchy electropop of ‘Spaces’ is a particularly fine moment as Ava gets into the zone, slipping into a series of stark dance moves. The next track is “a bit more upbeat” suggests Ava as the duo bust out the dynamic tones of ‘Alive’. It’s a song that has a particular sadness in its lyrics: “Find a soulmate in a lonely crowd/Put it down, put it down”.

Apparently, ‘Alive’ is also the tune that caught the ear of Johnny Normal, who played it on his show a year back – a moment that lead in time to this performance.

Closing things out is new song ‘Traumtanz’, which Ava suggests is the German word for ‘dream dance’. There’s a more dubby approach on this number which has a subtle, burning atmosphere.

Next up is the host himself as Johnny Normal takes to the stage with his own brand of electropop. This kicks off with a quite lively cover of Numan classic ‘I Die: You Die’, while later on ‘Time’ opts for a darker electro approach. The engaging synthpop of ‘Miss Razorblade’ also stands out from the set. Meanwhile, new single ‘Let Nothing Take Your Pride’ also gets an airing – a polished slice of synthpop with synthetic brass stabs.

Taking us into the latter part of the evening is possibly the heaviest dark electro outfit of the night in the form of Deviant UK. They waste little time in waking the audience up with some heavy-duty tunes, which at one point prompts Train To Spain’s Helena in getting up for a boogie.

In fact, it’s the Swedish duo who grace the stage next. Regular UK visitors in recent years, Train To Spain have a robust style of electropop that’s immediate and engaging. Here they kick off with the muscular beats of ‘I Follow You’, with its cascading electronic melodies and shimmering rhythms.

Meanwhile, the bassy beats and perky synth melodies of ‘Work Harder’ offers a paean to the workers in the audience. ‘Blipblop’ is “about after work” suggests Jonas, before delivering a poppy side to the duo’s music. Elsewhere, ‘Passion’ gets things “more romantic” with a crunchy driving rhythm. 

‘You Gotta Do It’ is a new song from the duo, taken from Train To Spain’s forthcoming album. It’s a punchy tune over which Helena’s voice floats in and out and with a chorus that’s got a particular force to it. The pair close things out with the warm synthpop of ‘Believe in Love’.

Next up is Birmingham’s synth-rock combo Among The Echoes. Fresh from their Infest appearance, they deliver a set of dark electro tunes, including a muscular cover version of Human League classic ‘Being Boiled’. 

Portugal’s Hot Pink Abuse arrive next with their unique musical stylings, an outfit who opt for a full complement of live drums, bass, synth and vocals. The result is a surprisingly beefy set of tunes that’s picked out by some immediate rock-pop bangers.

Of these, ‘Bridge Of Wonder’ is one of the finest moments. It’s a track with a mesmerising feel to it dominated by swirling synths, with some sultry vocals care of lead singer Rebecca Moradalizadeh.

Keeping the crunchy electronic end up, there’s something powerful and captivating about ‘Sometimes’ with its bass-heavy synth melodies and driving rhythms. “Let’s shake a bit now with ‘Mysterious Souls’” offers Rebecca as they launch into an emphatic number that features a very solid vocal delivery and beefy bass lines. 

Closing things out, ‘Stranger To Others’ has a very punchy dynamic to it with a solid military percussion and a big, wide sound. 

Parralox, of course, need little introduction. The Australian outfit have already been guests at Liverpool’s Silicon Dreams event this year and their Synthetic City appearance marked their final UK performance this year. 

Once again, the combo of Johanna Gervin and John von Ahlen deliver a sterling set of powerful electropop to close out for this year’s celebration of electronic music. 

The powerpop of ‘Black Jeans’ is a suitable track to kick things off, followed up by the equally captivating ‘Hotter’ with its wry commentary on relationships and the search for perfection (“Think twice we’re all the same in different ways/But sometimes it pays to go your separate ways”).

“Hands up who likes The Alan Parsons Project” offers John before taking over vocal duties for Parralox’s take on the prog rock combo’s ‘Eye In The Sky’. The buzzy delights of ‘Wildlife’ also provides John with another opportunity to exercise his vocal chops.

As ever, ‘Sharper Than A Knife’ with its infectious electropop melodies, is received with relish from the crowd. The duo also drop in their surprising cover version of Radiohead’s ‘Creep’. Here, the sparse melancholia of the original is given a much more muscular push in this electronic rendition (Johanna’s dropping in of a segment from The Hollies’ ‘The Air That I Breathe’ is also a witty comment on the original). 

Interspersed between the live sets was a suitable playlist of DJ sets, which included the talents of Rob Harvey (who runs the Synth City radio show). There were some choice tunes played, including possibly the first club appearance of OMD’s ‘The Punishment Of Luxury’ alongside classics from Erasure, Visage, John Foxx, Gary Numan and Ultravox.

Synthetic City 2017 slots in smoothly with a calendar this year of electronic music events that have helped to promote interest and growth in the grassroots scene. At the same time, it offered an opportunity for artists to network and discuss opportunities. But perhaps most of all, it delivered an evening of good electronic entertainment – and one in which Johnny Normal and the organising team should take pride in.


http://www.johnnynormal.net/SYNTHETIC-CITY.html

http://www.johnnynormal.net/
http://www.parralox.com/
http://hotpinkabuse.wixsite.com/hotpinkabuse
http://thelunchboxsurrender.wixsite.com/official
http://traintospain.se/
https://www.facebook.com/pg/deviantuk/
http://amongtheechoes.co.uk/
https://www.eden-info.com/
http://www.milanmusic.uk/
https://paulhumphries.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/cackrecords/


WIN Tickets to SYNTHETIC CITY LONDON!

WIN 2 tickets to the SYNTHETIC CITY LONDON event this September!

SYNTHETIC CITY features an all-star lineup of electronic music artists and bands, including PARRALOX, HOT PINK ABUSE, THE LUNCHBOX SURRENDER, TRAIN TO SPAIN, DEVIANT UK, MR VAST, AMONG THE ECHOES, PAUL HUMPHRIES, MILAN, JOHNNY NORMAL and EDEN. The event will also feature DJ setlists between bands.

A fantastically inspiring grassroots electronic music event you simply can’t miss.

Synthetic City takes place between 2pm and 1am on 9th September 2017 at The Water Rats, 328 Gray’s Inn Road, King’s Cross, London WC1X 8BZ

To be in with a chance to win 2 tickets, visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/clubelectricity/ for all the details (Terms & Conditions apply).

Winner will be drawn at random at 12pm (GMT) on Friday 1st September 2017 (Terms & Conditions: http://www.electricity-club.co.uk/competition-rules/ )


http://www.johnnynormal.net/SYNTHETIC-CITY.html
https://www.facebook.com/pg/SyntheticCityLondon/events/
https://www.abnormalproductions.rocks/synthetic-city-london-2017