80’s (and sometimes 00’s) Music Rules ~ Vladymir Rogov (ARKITEX)

I have had the absolute pleasure of making Vladymir Rogov’s acquaintance through the magic of the Internet. He graciously agreed to provide an interview. Much to my delight, he put a whole lot of effort and energy into his answers, making this a fabulous learning experience for us all. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy absorbing all there is to know about this personable and highly gifted artist.

Vladymir Rogov- In Sound and Vision

Where do you originally come from?

I usually start with “when.” I was born in West Germany of Russian parents. My first languages were Russian at home, Polish on the street and German at school. At age 11 I went to England and attended an English school. I was put in a class full of English kids until I started to understand what the teacher and the other kids were saying. That’s how I learned English, by deep immersion. I lived there for 16 years, during the 60’s and the early 70’s British music and cultural revolution. England was quite a contrast to Germany, which was ominously divided. Everything was in ruins, everyone was in transition and we were the “refugees.” After 16 years of English culture, I immigrated to Canada in ’75. This was a new world which sounded exciting. I lived in Toronto for 8 years. In ’83 I moved to San Diego, California.

What made you decide to go into music?

I think that I got swept up by music at a very early age and never brought down. Some of the first music I heard were Polish and Russian folk songs. The songs were deep, many were dark and many were funny. The Poles & Russians have a particular way of poking fun at their conditions. As a kid I would see people playing guitars and singing. It was uplifting and I wanted to do that too. I could not afford to buy a guitar, so I decided to make my own. By age fourteen, I had designed and built my own electric guitar. I plugged it in and it worked. This was in England, and the song I played was, “In Dreams,” by Roy Orbison. Who would have thought this was going to be my ultimate calling in life — music and design, sound and vision.

At first, I was directed into studying engineering, but I switched to art and design, and graduated from Guilford School of Art. I also played in a band called Red Earth all through Art School. We played all around the south of England. Later in London, I was designing slick furniture for Conran and the Habitat shops, while writing songs for Mickie Most (producer of the Animals’ “House of the Rising Sun,” Herman’s Hermits, Donavon, etc.). In Canada, I was designing things from car interiors to gas stations and recording songs that were played on the radio.

Who were your strongest musical influences?

As I mentioned, in Germany during the 50’s, the Polish and Russian folk songs. And Freddy Quinn, a baritone from Hamburg who sang about sailors, mothers, lost love, and the open sea. In England it was Elvis, Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison, Beatles, Dave Clark Five, Johnny Cash, Simon & Garfunkel, and Hot Chocolate. During my Canadian years I liked the sound of Gordon Lightfoot, Bob Seger, Talking Heads, the Cars, and Pink Floyd.

Where did the name for your first band – “ARKITEX” – come from?

I was preparing to play the HEATWAVE music festival in September of 1980 — as the opening act in a lineup that included the B52’s, Pretenders, Rockpile, Talking Heads, Elvis Costello, the Kings and more. I was rehearsing a backup band. We had to call the band something. Someone suggested “Vladymir and the Architects,” and it evolved into “Vladymir Rogov and his band Arkitex.” Eventually ARKITEX became my design project for the 80‘s, which resulted in the album in 1981.

What was your most exciting moment as a musician?

There have been many: hearing my first record on the radio; working with Mickie Most; playing a big outdoor concert like “Heatwave.” As a song writer, having a song covered by another artist – when Long John Baldry, (a legend) covered “Love is a Killer.” But these are the external moments. The internal moments happen when no one else is listening, while I’m playing alone. Getting that perfect combination of space between what my voice and what the guitar is doing. It’s unexplainable. When you fall into the perfect groove, it feels as if you can’t sing or play a bad line. Music is so much about the timing and swing. And when everything is in its place, it seems to defy gravity — gives me goose bumps!

What have you been doing since you disbanded ARKITEX?

After a particularly long and cold Canadian winter in 1983, and inspired by my song “First World Calling” from the ARKITEX album, I married my girlfriend and we drove off to California in my red VW bug — on a mission to elevate function to fine art, we opened a design studio in San Diego, and brought high-touch to the world of high-technology.

Do you currently have a band, or are you solo?

Technology has come up to a level where one person can be all the members of a band. Mozart was an individual who created music, but it took an army of players to reproduce what he heard. Today, it can take one or as many players or collaborators as you want, to capture a performance. On the new ARKITEX album, Glass Man, I am the band, with very special guest musicians, that came into my life.

Tell us about the latest tracks that David Marsden has been playing in recent months.

“First World Calling” – is from ARKITEX 1981, a “tongue-in-cheek” prediction about computer connection possibilities. Now we can do what l sang about. In fact billions of people are connected, globally. So, what began as a computer technology muse has become our reality. During the past 30 years, computers have created social media, internet radio, video and global connections on an unprecedented scale.

“Lincoln Walk” – ARKITEX 1981 was composed during the end of a stormy, winter when Torontonians are anticipating spring. A long walk along Queen Street East, developed the groove and it took off… a celebration of going outdoors without boots, coats, scarves, gloves…

“Where is the Love” – is a tortured love-lost rock ballad, from recording sessions I did back in Toronto (December 1994) with legendary producer, John Punter. This song includes Sam Reid from Glass Tiger, playing most of the keyboards. On guitar is the legendary Chris Spedding, and Liz… on background vocals.

“Everybody’s Crazy” – is from the new ARKITEX album, Glass Man. Based on the first song I ever wrote, back in 1969 in England. I sing and play all the instruments through the entire song.

“If a Tree Falls in the Forest” is also from the new ARKITEX album, Glass Man. It is a muse about true friends.

What inspired you to go back into the recording studio?

It’s been 30 years since the release of the first ARKITEX album. The process of recording is different from playing live concerts. I have been recording, starting with tape recorders, since the age of thirteen. Although my first two albums were recorded in Toronto studios, after moving to San Diego, I started creating my own studio and began recording again. Thirty years has to be some kind of a record, no pun intended, but recording studios have evolved for the better. There’s more time to experiment and learn new things. We have come up to a level where one person can be all the elements in a composition or band. Today I can go direct to play and record — sing the melody, set up a drumbeat, play a bass line, fill spaces with strings, play guitar, in any order that feels good, until I’m happy with the results.

Which comes first – lyrics or melody?

One, and the other. Sometimes simultaneously. On “If a Tree Falls in the Forest” from the ARKITEX album, Glass Man, the music came first. It started with an interesting piano chord progression — which I played over and over again. One day I thought I’d give it a try on my recording work station and it just took off from there. The music inspired the lyrics and it evolved very quickly. Those are the moments that I live for — experiencing a song/design that evolves from nothing to something. It’s magical. Some songs take years, even decades.

Each song tends to evolve out of itself. I’m often as surprised as anyone else with the final result. One can say things in songs which can not be said in any other medium. Michael Jackson once said that writing songs is like channeling an energy that is actually doing the writing. I feel the same way. One is not really in charge of what is happening. The skill/thrill is in going along with it, and capturing what shows up.

With “First World Calling”, the lyrics came first. I was reading an article in Canada’s Macleans Magazine (1979) about computers. The author was introducing these technology words that sounded cool. The article inspired the song. This has turned out to become a prophecy, a future vision about computers, in my amused way. The lyrics still make me laugh. I have since worked for many computer factories and today, computers are a window into other people’s lives. The song goes, “I got a job at the computer factory, exactly what I do has never bothered me. I feel at home with my computerized toys, don’t need to get around, nor do the rest of the boys…” Some prediction, eh? Here we are 30 years later and billions of people are connected via computers. Before that, we were individuals in countries, socially and spiritually isolated islands. Now, we can have friends on Facebook world wide. “We got communication at the speed of light, information of a laser’s byte. You can compute it, you can dilute it or turn it all into a ga, ga, game.” We can instantly share and explore ideas, dreams and convictions, on a global scale. It’s a magical time to be living.

Besides music, your other passion is design. What do you create, and how does it relate to music?

Although we are used to separating the disciplines, I wouldn’t be surprised if a formal study showed that more “modern musicians” have come out of art schools than music conservatories. Here are a few: The Beatles (John Lennon), The Rolling Stones (Charlie, Keith and Ronnie), The Who (Pete), The Kinks (Ray), Roxy Music (Eno, Bryan Ferry), David Bowie, The Clash (Mick, Paul, Joe), REM (Michael Stipe), Echo and the Bunnymen (Ian McCulloch), Pink Floyd (art & architecture), New Order / Joy Division, The Stone Roses, Talking Heads, Sonic Youth, Underworld, Radiohead, Kraftwerk, Linkin Park, and so on. On a recent trip to London I was in Harrods, an upscale department store, and was surprised to see watercolor paintings by Bob Dylan, for sale. I know him as a musician, but there were his paintings… Cool!

We live in a designed world. Making music is designing with sound. In the past, the amount of tools and equipment required to be able to create sound and vision side by side made it difficult. When I lived in London for example, I was designing slick furniture at Conran’s studio in one part of London, then I would take the tube over to Mickie Most’s offices across the city and write songs. In those days, those two activities could not occur in the same space. Today, neither activities need to take up a lot of space. This means that I can be designing a product, while creating the music to go with it, and produce a video about it at another computer station, all at the same time. That’s my evolution in design. I also follow the theory that “a change is as good as a rest.” So, when I need a rest from one project, I switch to the other, as a way to relax and re-energize. It also sets a pace of moving to my own rhythm — that’s my way of resting.

Over the years, I have designed everything — from musical instruments to luxury vehicles. Medical instruments to exotic lifestyle products. Military equipment to trade-shows for mega-brands like Chrysler, Fiat, Ford. Sleek home products from glassware to lighting. Coolers for Coleman; luxurious bathroom systems for Boeing; exotic seating for Aston Martin; self-serve gas station for Exxon; printers for Hewlett-Packard; motion capture cameras for Kodak; point-of-purchase displays for Yamaha; TVs for Samsung; clocks and musical instruments for CASIO.

Along with a plethora of criteria, the sounds that objects emit, play a critical role in our perception of quality. Beautiful things have desirable sounds and a certain rhythm about them. Over the course, my designs have helped improve the lives of people around the world. I have received numerous international awards, including two “International Design Excellence Awards” (IDEA) from the Industrial Designers Society of America.

On another level, as our worlds come together, people need a broader understanding of how to use style and design their lives. Towards this, I have also created a lecture called Parallel Universe ( http://www.rogov.com/Parallel_Universe.html) which demystifies the mystery of style. It explores a world where all styles coexist in parallel. I show that nothing really goes away, but carries forward year after year into the present. I give my audience five keys to help track the origins of design influences in architecture, furniture, products and fashion. From Modern through Goth, Medieval, Baroque to Ancient. Parallel Universe illustrates how it all is still evolving. And like music, it is all just a matter of preference. There is no latest or greatest; it’s all the latest if you have never heard or seen it before.

In 2010 I designed the Desk Architecture collection, with a view that elevates everyday objects to fine art and is focused on the social rituals and human interactions between people. Simple things like an ashtray, for example, is designed to last for generations and represent the social transactions occurring when people share a smoke — a ritual that has survived centuries. Instead of being disposable, these things will last for generations and pass on the karma.

In a nutshell, I teach art, culture and business and I speak through my creations — music and design. If I can continue to share that, I will have contributed something of value to mankind.

What is your favorite music decade? Why?

I heard recently that no matter who you are, if you were to pick up a guitar and strum it, you would settle into a groove that was popular in your high school years. The rhythm of “that” period tends to become our defining groove. Since every decade has its defining groove, for me, that would be the late 60‘s and early 70‘s. It shows, because I tend to know more songs from my high school days, than from any other period. However, there are some exotic new grooves that represent today, and good songs can work in any groove just as well. “New-Wave” from the 80‘s has now also become a genre, like heavy metal, country or classic rock. So, we can consider, “First World Calling” as an 80’s New-Wave Rap song. I would love to hear a current Rapper do it.

Any chance of an ARKITEX reunion?

That would be quite a nostalgic show. Particularly if it was the core lineup who performed at Heatwave: Statten Holly on guitar, Peter Goodale (Michael McKenna Band) on keyboards, Penty “Whitey” Glan (Alice Cooper Band) on drums and Ron Garant (Long John Baldry) on Bass.

Can we expect more music from Vladymir Rogov in the near future?

This is my calling. While I’m still breathing, I’ll be designing in sound and vision. I say, “never stop learning, the best is yet to come.” …ARKITEX lives!”

Discography:

Vladymir Rogov – “Bring on the Dancing Girls” / “All Around the World” – 1978, (Single)
Vladymir Rogov – “There’s a Woman in that Child” / “Time Boy” – 1979 (Single)
Vladymir Rogov – Love is a Killer – 1980 (Album on iTunes)
ARKITEX – “Throwing my Heart to the Wind” / “Call it Love” – 1981 (Single)
ARKITEX – 1981 (Album on iTunes)
ARKITEX – Delight, 1995 released 2011 (EP on iTunes)
ARKITEX – Glass Man 2011 (Album on iTunes, June)

Fast Fun Facts:

Vintage Vladymir Rogov – Love is a Killer and ARKITEX vinyls are selling on Ebay, and other places.
“No Tracks for This Train” from the first album Love is a Killer 1980 is on an extended list of Canadian train songs.
“Throwing my Heart to the Wind” is in the Museum of Canadian Music.
Did U know?! That’s Vladymir sporting his Russian Czar’s hat, on the cover of Rush album Moving Pictures (1981).
Long John Baldry covered “Love is a Killer” from Rogov’s first album.
New World, Australian band, (A Mickie Most production) recorded “Jolson” a Rogov composition.
“Man I sure love the looks of this.” Stevie Wonder, exclaimed as he placed his hands over Rogov’s award winning music synthesizer.
BOOK, The Fifties and Sixties, A Lifestyle Revolution by Miriam Akhtar & Steve Humphries. Features a cover photo of Vladymir, age 12.
Desk Architecture, the collection of desk and personal space objects, designed to last way beyond our lifetime. www.deskarchitecture.com
ROGOV’s Desk Architecture collection “stars” with Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman in Trespass, a new thriller by Joel Schumacher. (releasing 2012)
Design Lecture – Parallel Universe 2011. Trailer is here: http://www.rogov.com/Parallel_Universe.html
Look forward to ROGOV’s design collaborations — pens and other collectibles with ACME Studios, Hawaii.

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80’s Music Rules ~ Criminally Underrated Artists/Bands ~ Jesus Jones

Continuing the Jesus theme with Christmas right around the corner, this week’s criminally underrated band is Jesus Jones from the UK.

Even though Jesus Jones was mostly active in the 90s, they originally formed in 1986 as Camouflage by Mike Edwards along with Simon Matthews and Alan Doughty. Over a two-year span, Camouflage quickly morphed into the equally short-lived Big Colour, which eventually morphed into Jesus Jones. This transition was rounded out with the addition of Jerry de Abela Borg and Iain Baker.

Jesus Jones incorporated house and techno styles of electronic rock as they helped to blaze a trail into the 1990s indie dance scene. Their first critical success came with “Info Freako” from the 1989 album Liquidizer. The tune that broke the band worldwide was “Right Here, Right Now” from their second album Doubt (1991) which did far better in the U.S (reaching number 2) than in the UK (number 31).

Read more about this unique and appealing late-80s group at their official website. What’s truly interesting is how they transitioned from the 80s into the more expansive shoe-gaze/techno house band sounds of the 90s in a seamless and effortless fashion. If you take the time to listen to their music in sequence, it presents 80s-90s music evolution as an entertaining and informative history lesson.

Purchase Jesus Jones music here.

International Bright Young Thing” via YouTube user emimusic:

Never Enough” via YouTube user tearecords:

Zeroes and Ones” via YouTube user udenjan:

Real Real Real” via YouTube user Luiscmck90s:

The Devil You Know” via YouTube user udenjan:

Discography

Liquidizer (1989)
Doubt (1991)
Perverse (1993)
Scratched (1993)
Already (1997)
Never Enough (The Best Of Jesus Jones) (2002)
The Remixes (2008)

80’s Music Rules ~ Legendary DJ David Marsden and His New Broadcast Schedule

(Click the link for previous posts about David Marsden.)

Canadian DJ David Marsden has been an icon of free-form broadcasting for the past four decades. Imagine radio as you would personally program it, and look no further. David has given life to the word “eclectic” by successfully combining music that is multi-genre, spans different musical periods, and is usually found way under the radar.

Marsden’s most well-known accomplishment, besides being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, was launching CFNY back in the late 70’s from a small yellow house in Brampton, ON. It was here that he gave life to little-known bands, and coined a name for his type of off-the-cuff broadcasting – “free-form.” CFNY became such a vital presence to radio broadcasting that it was the subject of Rush’s 1980 hit “Spirit of Radio.”

Recently, David has been a well-received and popular fixture at 94.9 FM The Rock out of Oshawa, Ontario Canada. Broadcasting live and streaming over the Internet, his show has had a solid seven-year run on Thursday and Friday nights from 7 p.m. to midnight (EST). Four years ago, “Sistahmar,” roving Ambassador for the Marsbar Theatre, opened a chat room located on a portalx server. While the show is in progress, fans from all over the world gather in the chat room to discuss life, the universe, and above all, music amongst themselves and with David himself. It’s a cheerful, warm gathering place for like-minded folks to kick back, relax, and form lasting bonds. The members of the “Marsbar Family” celebrate each other’s victories and hold one another up through life’s challenges. Newcomers are warmly welcomed and encouraged to visit.

So, you can imagine the international uproar as a result of last week’s announcement with David stating on the air he had something very important to share with all of us. He thought he would be able to make the full announcement this past Thursday night, but was foiled by a legal snafu. Instead, all he would share, before closing the show, was that it would be the last Thursday he would be broadcasting from The Rock.

This news stunned everyone, and spread like wildfire via email and social networking sites. Speculation abounded, not all of it positive. Was David going to retire? Was he only going to broadcast Friday nights? Was he leaving The Rock and moving on to another venue? Friday dragged by and stomach butterflies multiplied for many of us as we waited for 7 p.m. and the start of the show. Status statements on FaceBook were not encouraging as a number of fans came to grips with worst-case scenarios. Bottom line, no matter what David had decided, we all only wanted the best for him. After giving his entire life to making others happy, he more than deserves the same happiness for himself.

At approximately 9:20 p.m. last night, David finally shared his plan with us. In addition to the untold thousands tuned in worldwide, a record-breaking fifty-five fans gathered in the chat room to hear the news. It was awkward for those of us on time-delay (43 seconds for the broadcast to reach my speakers here in south Florida) as the comments in the chat room flew by. They started out being full of fear and consternation, and ended up as cheering and verbal high-fiving. As David’s words finally reached my ears, I was already overjoyed by the reactions I was reading as they scrolled by in super-fast motion. The announcement: David was staying on with The Rock and moving his two-night show to Saturday and Sunday nights from 7 p.m. until midnight, starting March 6th. What a win-win situation – for David, his fans, and The Rock.

Here’s to the start of a new Marsbar Theatre era; one that is sure to be filled with laughs, fantastic music, warmth, good cheer, great friends, and above all, David Marsdens’s own unique brand of fan-centric free-form broadcasting. It doesn’t get any better than this.

To view David’s music lists, visit RalphD’s website.

Some music you might hear on David Marsden’s show from 94.9 The Rock:

“Japan – Quiet Life” via YouTube user ecallender:

“Slave to the SQUAREwave – Healing Hands” via YouTube user slavetothesquarewave:

 “Brendan Canning – Love Is New” via YouTube user artscrafts:

“Sisters Of Mercy – Lucretia, My Reflection” via YouTube user rhubarbcream:

“Timber Timbre – Lay Down In The Tall Grass” via YouTube user fluffywalrus:

 “Lou Reed – Dirty Boulevard” via YouTube user jasonjarvis1988:

Merry Christmas Mr. Marsden ~ 2009

I have written about Canadian DJ David Marsden’s Christmas Eve show in the past, and how moving, funny, poignant, and thoughtful it is. Although I have not had the pleasure of listening for the past 28 or so years like many very fortunate folks have, it has definitely become a part of my Christmas Eve tradition and will remain so, for hopefully many more years to come.

At the heart of this spectacular 5+ hours production is David’s own story of a Christmas Eve past, all those years ago, when walking home alone from his job as a DJ. After reaching deep within himself and empathizing with all of the other lonely souls he encountered that fateful night, he made a vow; he would do everything in his power to provide a warm, welcoming place for those who had no one else to be with, or no other place to go to gather, listen to some songs, and share some stories. David’s gift to everyone who listens then and now, is the gift of friendship, of self-worth, of camaraderie, and of love.

David works long and hard for several weeks prior to this special production, ensuring that everything is perfect. He enlists the aid of Happy Pants (Igor Loukine) to provide periodic updates on where Santa is and a preview of the presents he is carrying. David works the cast of regular listeners and chat room attendees into his stories and shout-outs to make the night even more personalized and outstanding. Tears of joy are intermingled with those of laughter as the evening runs the gamut of every emotion. This is truly the release that so many of us need after the stresses and strains of real life. One couldn’t buy a comparable five hours of therapy from a licensed practitioner. David knows just what  musical elixirs and soothing words we need to guide us through whatever life throws at us.

Last night, David broke with tradition to honor Canada’s latest fallen soldier, Lieutenant Andrew Nuttal. For those of you who reside outside of Canada, you may not be familiar with a beautiful ceremony that Canadians use to honor their fallen soldiers, Highway of Heroes. Each time a fallen hero is returned home and laid to rest, their final journey is a procession along Canada’s Highway 401. People from all over gather on the bridges carrying Canadian flags to salute their beloved comrade as he or she passes below. David said that he couldn’t let the night pass without mention of these brave men and women who have given their all to protect their country and fellow citizens. He played “Highway of Heroes” in their honor, and there wasn’t a dry eye among listeners everywhere.

Highway of Heroes Tribute via YouTube user SentinelReview:

Highway of Heroes via YouTube user Toronto Songwriter:

Speaking of the chat room, this has been a labor of love started by Sistahmar many years ago as a Yahoo group. When they outgrew that venue, Sistahmar was instrumental in setting up the room as it now exists, approximately 4 years ago. While David is on the air, it has become a place for friends, fans, and the just plain curious to wander in and out of, intermingling with fellow audiophiles and longtime listeners. David makes it a point to be there during his Thursday and Friday night broadcasts, greeting each participant and sharing his wealth of musical information. To check out some of David’s playlists, go to RalphD’s website. This will give you an idea of the treasures you will hear when you join us.

David is on a short break and will return to his regular [edit:] Saturday and Sunday night (7 pm- midnight EST) free-form broadcasting on Jaunary 7, 2010. Go to 94.9 The Rock’s website and click the “Listen Live” button to experience a master at work. David’s induction into the Hall of Fame was not by happenstance; he earned his reputation as the champion of incredibly wonderful non-mainstream artists and the master of free-form broadcasting at its finest. Give yourself a gift this coming year and tune in to David Marsden’s program. Go to his website Marsden Global and click on the chat room link where you will be greeted by people (Sistahmar and all of the regulars) who will make you feel like they have known you forever.

Merry Christmas, Mr. Marsden. You have enriched so many people’s lives in ways that you can never know. I am one of those people and I am very grateful for you and all that you do.

80’s (and sometimes 90’s and 00’s) Music Rules ~ Criminally Underrated Artists/ Bands ~ Rob Stuart

EDF2Yes, that’s Rob with a “b,” Stuart with a “u.” Let’s get that straight before we embark on a journey that spans three decades and blows the lid off of the electro/synth/industrial music powder keg.

Not long ago, I featured an article on the Toronto-based band Slave To The SQUAREwave, followed by a review of their latest smashing release, The Money Shot. I also ran a Criminally Underrated piece on another Canadian 80’s band I felt had not received their well-deserved share of the spotlight called Vis-à-Vis. At the time, I had no earthly clue that there was a vital connection between these two amazingly talented bands. That connection is Rob Stuart.

Rob forwarded me a list of his musical stats and an audio collection of his music from the past nearly 30 years. After listening to the music throughout much of this week while toiling away at work, I have two words to describe what I heard – “blown away.” Let me put it this way: If you are as big a fan of synthesizer-fueled music as I am, there is no better aural pleasure than I have been treated to this past week. Rob Stuart is a master at what he does, whether it is writing, performing, or collaborating on music. I had thought my synthesizer idol Gary Numan had provided me with all the electronic music I needed to keep me happy the rest of my days. I could not have been more wrong. In fact, there was a cover version of Numan’s Films included with Rob’s audio collection that is every bit as good, if not better than, the original.EDF4

Rob began his serious foray into electronica in 1980 as part of a band called The Plastic Omniums. The band’s line-up looked like this: Rob Stuart (string machine, vocals), Joseph Podlovics, (synthesizer [Roland SH-09], CompuRhythm), John Parry, (synthesizer [Arp Odyssey Model 2800]), and Clifford Podlovics (Teac reel-to-reel tape deck, effects). The band enjoyed a couple of live performances and some unreleased studio recordings before calling it quits.

Next, Rob was a part of Vis-à-Vis from 1982-1984. At that time, the band’s line-up included Rob Stuart (synthesizers, bass guitar), Rude Van Steenes (Vocals), and Kurt LaPorte (guitar, vocals). The band produced many unreleased studio recordings and had several live performances. Vis-à-Vis went on to re-form minus Rob, and ended up releasing two LPs in 1986-87.

EDP5Ear Candy was the next musical project up. It consisted of Rob Stuart (synthesizers, production), Eric Kofler (synthesizers, programming, engineering), Andrew McNeil (synthesizers), and Bruce Bentley (guitars, vocals). Strictly a studio band, they enjoyed one EP release titled Self Defence (1986). Eric Kopfler and Andrew McNeil were replaced with Tom Bentley (drums) and James (vocals) for the remainder of Ear Candy’s lifetime, 1987-88. A double-sided 45 rpm vinyl record, “Don’t Let My Heart Slip Away/Don’t Push Me,” was released.

Rob was involved in a simultaneous project while with Ear Candy. Described as “improvisational ambient,” the group was named Silent Green and produced a 60-minute cassette entitled Euphoria. For more information, check them out on MySpace.

Besides Slave To The SQUAREwave, Rob’s most longstanding and ambitious project to date is a group known as Electronic Dream Factory (E.D.F.). Started in 1986, E.D.F. is still going strong today. Using the information provided, here is a breakdown of E.D.F. personnel over the years:

Rob Stuart – Synthesizers, Programming, Production, Vocals
Greg Fraser – Synthesizers, Sequencing, Engineering (1989 to 1991)
Rob Tenant – Drums (Live band 1991 to 1993)
Max – Guitar (Live Band 1991 to 1993)
Emerich Donath – Bass Guitar (Live Band 1991 to 1992)
Rudi Van Steenes – Guest Vocal, Simmons SDS-V Percussion (Live Band 1991 to 1992)

E.D.F. Discography:

1989 – “E.D.F – Self titled cassette” (Since been re-mastered to CD)
1992 – “Drama Dream” 16 song CD (Indiscreet Sounds)
1994 – “Number 3” 16 song CD (Indiscreet Sounds) Distributed by The Record Peddlar
2005 – “Patient Number 152” Double CD (Indiscreet Sounds)
2006 – “Remix-Remaster-Remake” Best of E.D.F compilation including re-mastered material plus new tracks (Indiscreet Sounds)      
2009 – “The Haas Effect” New full length CD release featuring a unique blend of ambient, space, chill and electronica (Indiscreet Sounds)EDF3

As if this wasn’t enough, Rob Stuart has also assisted Rude Van Steenes, Terence Gowan, and a duo called The Cynix in the capacities of producer, engineer, songwriter, and synth-player extraordinaire in numerous studio projects. All of these projects, including recordings for E.D.F. and Ear Candy, have produced songs used in movie and TV soundtracks, advertisements, and international airplay.

Criminally underrated? Absolutely. Rob Stuart has got to be one of the hardest-working, consistently productive, multi-talented musicians that the world has hardly ever heard of. Between E.D.F. and Slave To The SQUAREwave, concurrent groups of diverse, yet outstanding music, odds are in favor of the elusive break that will catapult him and his solid compositions into the limelight. Better sooner than later.

Check out Electronic Dream Factory’s MySpace page.  For more information on obtaining copies of the music mentioned in this article, feel free to leave a comment using your current email address and I will gladly forward your requests on to Rob Stuart.

“Are You Not Ashamed?” by E.D.F. via YouTube user slavetothesquarewave:

“Films (Gary Numan Cover)” by E.D.F. via YouTube user Akito01:

80’s Music Rules ~ Spotlighting Some Fave Music Blogs

new-wave-wallpaperSo many bloggers are waxing poetic on leaving 2008 in the dust (thankfully) and hoping for a better year to come. Instead of following suit, I want to take this opportunity to only focus on the positive — by calling attention to some of my favorite music bloggers out on the Interwebs.

If not for a legion of dedicated, and in some instances downright fanatical music fans, there are so many musicians with extraordinary talent that would hardly ever get the attention they deserve. This music may be from past artists that were “criminally underrated” (the focus of a somewhat

(photo credit: http://tinyurl.com/7q8mzv)

weekly series of mine), all the way up to current bands and musicians who are struggling to have their music aired. One common theme that has refused to disappear over the past few decades is the hubris of corporate suits who feel they know what’s best for music fans. The amount of garbage the public has been force-fed over the past 4 decades would fill a thousand landfills to capacity. Thanks to a few DJs who bucked the good ol’ boy system of years gone by, and a current network of dedicated bloggers, music that should have been aired in the past and should be promoted in the present is finally getting the recognition it deserves.

My favorite Floridian, Chris, writes a noteworthy blog called The Local Vertical. In it, he features independent bands that are cutting edge and in dire need of promotion. If you want a dose of up-and-coming, along with some “kick-ass” NASA eye-candy sprinkled in for good measure, give Chris’s site a visit. I guarantee that Indie fans will find a whole treasure trove of material that will make you keep coming back for more.

My favorite New Waver, fiftypercent, runs a blog that is mostly 80’s New Wave and Post-Punk, alongside some notable 90’s and 00’s music, to boot. Mine for Life is chock full of obscure music that will have you smacking your forehead and muttering, “Where the heck was I when that came out?” Fiftypercent has a scorching satirical wit to go along with great information that outshines Wikipedia itself. Don’t miss out on listening to some exquisitely rare tunes.

Heading across the pond to England, we have DavyH and The Ghost of Electricity. Davy always spins a personal touch to each song he features, recalling sweet memories and humorous tales that the song evokes. There is a hint of eccentricity to this eclectic mix of tunes. That is just one of many reasons to hurry over and have a listen.flag_of_canada_and_the_united_kingdom

Speaking of “a little bit of everything,” that’s what you’ll find at Half-Hearted Dude’s blog, Any Major Dude With Half a Heart. In fact, he was one of the first to urge me to come over to WordPress when things heated up at Blogger. The Dude is a lover of all kinds of great music which spans multi-genres and several decades. He “tells it like it is” and relies on a vast wealth of knowledge to bolster his credibility. I can promise you’ll end up spending hours there.

Heading back over to Canada, we have Jason’s fine blog which centers on current Indie releases and is known as Get Your OJ Dot Com Version 9.0. Jason is a great journalist who keeps on top of music and news in Canada and beyond. I have listened to some fabulous musicians that I would otherwise have missed out on had I not taken the time to visit. His passion for vital Indie music is apparent and contagious. It is a must stop for all surfing audiophiles.

One more blogger I’d like to make mention of is Marilyn from A Future In Noise. This is a promising up-and-coming blog by a very knowledgable and gifted musician. I’m expecting lots of great things to turn up in Marilyn’s blog for 2009, and hope that you will stop by to check it out for yourself.

This is all that time allows me to feature, for now. I have a list of all of my favorite blogs on the right side of the page and urge you to indulge in a few clicks to see what they are all about. One thing I strongly encourage you to do — if you read something you like and/or listen to something you enjoy, please leave a note for the blog owner. It means a lot to the authors to know that their hard work is appreciated. Many of these bloggers give of themselves to promote others without recompense of any kind. All it takes is a few nice words to keep them fired up to continue promoting the music that they, and we, love.

Happy New Year to you all.