Thursday 29 January 2015


Erasure round off their highly successful campaign for The Violet Flame (review here) with the release of Sacred on 16 March on Mute Records. Sacred, one of the highlights of both the album and the tour that accompanied it, will be available on CD (CDMUTE532) and download (iMUTE532) and comes with a whole host of remixes. The tracklisting is:

1. Sacred - Single Mix
2. Sacred - Chris Cox Remix
4. Sacred - Vibora Park Remix
4. Sacred - Black Light Odyssey Remix
5. Sacred - Rich B & Phil Marriot Remix
6. Sacred - Chris Cox DUB
7. Sacred - 88Ninety's Stellar Mix8 Vox Remix
8. Sacred - Blend Remix Competition Winner
9. Sacred - Live Rehearsal Version

Straightaway, the Black Light Odyssey Remix jumps out as their previous remix work for Depeche Mode (especially the gorgeous remix of The Sun & The Rainfall for the Remixes 81-11 campaign) has always been first class. Track 8 will be interesting too as it will be a remix by a fan following a recent competition the band ran. The winner and therefore the identity of the remixer, will be revealed in February.

Happily for collectors like me, this cd will fit into the slipcase issued with the Reason single to finish off the boxset for this album. Add that to my The Violet Flame deluxe boxset and the coloured vinyl album and you've got a rather smashing set of items. The whole The Violet Flame campaign has been great from beginning to end and the two gigs I saw in Edinburgh and Glasgow were outstanding. Let's hope it's not too long before Vince and Andy are back. 

Pre-order the single here

Monday 26 January 2015


It's well known to those of you that read this blog that I'm quite a fan of Enjoy The Silence, what with it being the greatest thing anyone has ever done in the history of music and all. Anyway, I thought I knew as much as I could possibly know about it until I discovered this alternative take on the video, which I had never seen before

It's listed on Youtube as official video but it isn't the landmark Anton Corbijn video that one would automatically associate with the song. This one seems to be an almost fully alternative take with many scenes that are similar to the original. I don't know how this video came to be but it's rather cool and an interesting watch. If anyone knows more if its history then please get in touch either here, on the Facebook page or on Twitter

I should add that I first read about this video on the Depeche Mode fansite Home ( which you really must visit. Go there now - or at least once you've looked through this site first ;)


So I have the answer. Daniel Barassi a.k.a Brat has confirmed that the video is compiled form some bootlegs vidoes of outtakes from the Enjoy The Silence video shoot. This video is therefore not official. So now we know. Thanks Daniel

Sunday 25 January 2015


A Broken Frame is generally viewed as one of the runts of the Depeche litter, sandwiched between the Vince Clarke helmed pop glory of Speak & Spell and the metal banging beauty of Construction Time Again, not quite representing any particular facet of Depeche Mode that anyone would readily be familiar with. I'm quite a fan of A Broken Frame (See review here ; ok it has some poor moments like A Photograph Of You our (shudder) The Meaning of Love but there's some dark loveliness in Leave In Silence and The Sun And The Rainfall, pure pop in See You and pointers to where the band were shortly headed in Satellite and Monument. It's not the horror show many fans make it out to be. Anyway, how could anyone not love the Brian Griffin artwork alone?

Marsheaux obviously agree with me. Long time Depeche fans and huge fans of A Broken Frame itself, the band comprising Marianthi Melitsi and Sophie Sarigiannidou have released a cover of the entire album which you can hear on Spotify right now. Overall, it's an interesting take on the album. Opener, Leave In Silence is fairly faithful to the original albeit with a bit more of an electro sheen. Their take on My Secret Garden changes the original mood of the song (creepy in places to be honest) making it seem more innocent almost but it doesn't quite match the original's atmosphere. Monument gets a makeover of sorts, a harder edge here replacing the song's original spooky pre Construction Time Again vibe, whilst the cover of the already instrumental Nothing To Fear is decent enough but doesn't have the same first days of synthpop feel that Depeche's does. What was side one in the old days ends with See You which, like Monument, is given a harder edge that maybe doesn't quite suit the song.

Side two of A Broken Frame in its original incarnation is challenging as it features the best (The Sun & The Rainfall) and the worst of the album (A Photograph Of You, The Meaning Of Love) and Marsheaux do a decent job of doing it justice. Satellite is a spookier electro version of DM's first and mercifully only commercial foray into quasi reggae, with whispered vocals and lots of cool noises. They darken down The Meaning Of Love as much as it perhaps possible to do and it's a good effort but no matter what's done to that song, you just can't get the video out of your head. That's not Marsheaux's fault though. Doing a cover of the full album means A Photograph Of You can't be avoided and, like their take on The Meaning Of Love, the band slow things down and try their best to improve the song which I think they ultimately do. The album's oddball penultimate Shouldn't Have Done That is treated fairly faithfully with the band matching the original's strange darkness in their own way but it does loss its way a little towards the end. Finally, we come to The Sun And The Rainfal. This is the great lost Depeche Mode track, tucked away at the end of an unloved album, but one that most fans still wish the band would recognise and hopefully one day, perhaps as a Martin solo slot, play live. Pleasingly, Marsheaux don't tamper with it; instead they update the sounds a little, add a couple of rather lovely backing "agh-ahhs" in the chorus and, overall, they do a really good job.

I enjoyed Marsheaux's take on A Broken Frame. It doesn't match the dark mood of the original's high points but cover versions rarely better the song they are taking on. Covering a whole album was a brave move no doubt and they're to be applauded for it. I think most Depeche Mode fans will enjoy listening to this so go and try it. 

Marsheaux Twitter

Thursday 22 January 2015


Ok, this is more what you'd call an artist rather than a band but you get the drift. Fiona Soe Paing is a Scottish/Burmese producer and vocalist who is based in Aberdeem. Thus far, she's released two e.p's, Songs From No Man's Land (June 2010) and Tower of Babel (Nov 2012) and she's shortly due to play at the Big Burns Supper Festival in Dumfries on January 23 (

Both the e.p's are similar in style, though Tower of Babel is the standout of the two. Its mix of fractured electronics, samples and beats that bring to mind the darker parts of Kraftwerk's is tremendously impressive, no more so than on Daymoon Sun which is a great track. The other two tracks, Tower of Babel and Behrot are equally captivating and the whole e.p. really grabs you from the off. Go and grab both e.p's from Fiona's Bandcamp page today and delve in.

Fiona Soe Paing Bandcamp
Fiona Soe Paing Twitter
Fiona Soe Paing website

Tuesday 20 January 2015


Recently, Noah Lennox a.k.a. Panda Bear gave am interview to The Quietus where he talked about his favourite thirteen albums. They ranged from the Enter The Wu Tang to King Tubby's Roots Of Dub to Aphex Twin's I Care Because You Do and whilst those artists aren't perhaps immediately obvious Panda Bear reference points, his back catalogue and this album especially, all point to those albums, at least in terms of production. Previous Panda Bear albums have ranged from tunes clouded in a dense electronic fog (Person Pitch) to almost dub like affairs in places (Tomboy) and one of the things makes him such an intriguing artist is that it is never certain how any new material will sound, thereby usually leaving the listener hearing something almost entirely unique. Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper fits that bill; it is remarkable album, wrapping ruminations on life and death within some wondrous electronic music that grabs you from the outset.

One thing that can be said with certainty is that this is Panda Bear's most immediate album yet. It still has his signature approach to electronics, but the tracks here are far livelier than previous Panda Bear efforts and most feature beats that you wouldn't usually associate with him which help bring another dimension to his already beautifully layered songwriting. Last year's Mr Noah (released on an e.p in October - video below) is the best example of this approach and is the standout track here. Opening with some crunching, almost industrial sounds, the track opens out into a loop driven, monster of a song with some unsettling but superb vocals (see all lines ending in "ay-ay-ay-ay"), unmistakably Panda Bear but this time with added crunch.  The album is filled with tracks that have an extra kick to them from the opening Sequential Circuits which sounds like a factory waking up, to Butcher's Aphex Twin like drive, to Principle Real  which almost, just almost, ends up sounding like a dance track.

As you'd expect from a Panda Bear album, there are moments of sheer beauty throughout too. Not many artists have a way with melody and harmony like Panda Bear and, on the more thoughtful, slower paced tracks here like the Tropic Of Cancer and Lonely Wanderer, you're pulled back into the Panda Bear world you'd expect, swimming in an electronic soup with melodies blissfully floating around you. Those two tracks, especially Tropic of Cancer, are stunning.

With this album, Panda Bear has potentially opened himself up to a wider audience, coaxing songs out of the loops and structure that replace his previous more psychedelic moments, but throughout he has retained the sound and feel that makes him such a unique artist. Maybe he's not quite ready to replicate the success of Justin Timberlake, whose Justified album was another of Lennox' thirteen picks for The Quietus and that's probably for the best. If this album is a nod to the dancefloor or to a poppier approach generally, it's done without compromise and it is still very much a Panda Bear album.

And that's a very, very good thing.

This article was also published on XS Noize

Monday 19 January 2015


Malmo are a Glasgow based band comprising Alex Milne, Frank MccFarlane and Will Adamson who produce electronic music that combines sparse beats with a lush cinematic feel that is something really rather lovely indeed. The band's Reverbnation page is your first port of call as there you'll find 5 tracks that you really want to hear.

Into My Heart combines sparse, tight Kraftwerk like rhythms with beautifully floating melodies, whilst The Bridge evokes Goldfrapp's lusher moments superbly, before the Behaviour era Pet Shop Boys feel of NY55 rounds off the selection of tracks perfectly. This is a intriguingly diverse set of songs that really grab you and let's hope there are many more to come

The band's Reverbnation page is here and once you've checked that out find them on Facebook and Twitter too

Wednesday 7 January 2015


This year, my plan is to do a regular feature on Scottish electronic bands or artists that I come across on Twitter, Soundcloud and so on because there are so many great acts out there just now that I feel attention should be drawn to as many of them as possible. The first one is a band I first heard on New Year's Day called Twissted who are a duo from Glasgow comprising Zoe Burnett and Vicki Milne who play some rather superb synthpop.

The band's Soundcloud page ( ) is your best starting point and there you'll find three tracks - Machines, Escape and Turn It Up. For me, Machines, which is presented on Soundcloud as the Original Extended Edit, is the star here. It's a fantastic electronic pop song that brings in elements of all the best in electronic pop music with bits of Vince Clarke, bits of more experimental electronics, bits of Ladytron, bits of Alan Wilder's moody synth strings, lyrics about machines (which is NEVER a bad thing) and some incredibly catchy melodies all combining wonderfully. You must hear it. Escape looks more towards the dancefloor than Machines mixing a clubbier feel with a killer chorus whereas Turn It Up returns to the electronics of Machines and that sound really seems to suit the band. All three songs are well worth a listen and if Twissted continue to produce music like this, they are going to get a lot of attention. As readers of this blog will know, I'm unashamedly a fan of brilliant synthpop and Twissted fall right into that bracket.

Twissted Facebook 
Twissted Twitter