“Dead Son Rising” CD by Gary Numan with Ade Fenton ~ A Review

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“Dead Son Rising” CD by Gary Numan with Ade Fenton – released September 2011

(Photo credits: Ed Fielding Photography http://www.edfielding.co.uk/)

Long awaited, Dead Son Rising is a theme-driven collection of electronica only the way Gary Numan, along with Ade Fenton, can create. Pounding and wistful, demanding and longing, tender and brutal, it is a study in impossible contrasts that work together so seamlessly as to be other-worldly. Words can only inadequately describe the music on this brilliant CD. If you love electronica/dark wave/industrial/goth, this is a must-have addition to your collection.

Resurrection
The swell of the synthesizers backdropped with breathing sounds and static is a perfect indicator of what is to come on this epic CD. Something sinister yet magical is in the air, and we are about to be willingly drawn into its merciless grasp.

Big Noise Transmission
Static noise and a driving rhythm section catapult us into a staccato mind-puzzle fraught with urgent, whispered pleas. Fully Numan-esque and gripping, this industrial anthem is a rock-solid testament to a direction Numan has whole-heartedly embraced over the past sixteen years. He shows us he has this genre fully mastered and ready for our listening pleasure. The abrupt end leaves us aching for more.

Dead Sun Rising
Numan uses his signature vocals against a deeply satisfying electronic backdrop. There is no one on this planet that could pull off an electronic ballad as successfully as Gary Numan. It is the perfect melding of lyrics, vocals, and synthesizers that captures the soul and transports it to another dimension.

When the Sky Bleeds, He Will Come
Numan and company use everything but the kitchen sink to deliver this masterpiece. Left to the devices of mere mortals, this song would result in listening confusion; in Gary and Ade’s more than capable hands, it is an extraordinary testament to pushing music to its limits and successfully achieving perfection.

For the Rest Of My Life
Don’t let the title/lyrics fool you. This is no tender love song. It borders on an obsessiveness that is both scary yet oddly compelling. It is similar to approaching an accident scene on the highway, and not being able to avert your eyes. In fact, it makes the listener want to hit the “replay” button; not only to hear it again, but to validate the message.

Not the Love We Dream Of
The stark piano notes that open this song are gorgeous. Enter Gary Numan’s voice, and what we end up with is a slightly off-kilter and purposeful story woven of disappointment and sadness. Who can’t relate to the melancholic message delivered here? We have all made mistakes that have devastated us. Numan and company put context to those feelings so we can unleash the demons within.

The Fall
Gary advises us how to deal with being shattered, even telling us point blank that the world still goes on even if we cannot. This is a perfect song to play when things are falling apart in our lives, if only for the rhythm, which makes it impossible to sit still long enough to feel sorrow.

We Are the Lost
The powerful and driving drumbeat that opens this track and anchors it throughout is a welcome diversion from the keyboards that usually take the limelight. Coupled with a Middle Eastern flair that Numan has previously and successfully brought into his music, this song resonates down into the listener’s toes. The textures are rich and colorful, like an open market full of hand-woven cloth displays.

For The Rest Of My Life (Reprise)
Like a path winding its way through a dark forest, we are gently guided to a clearing where Gary awaits us to remind us of the lost love he introduced us to earlier in our journey.

Into Battle
This track is a cacophony of sounds that starts out somewhat reminiscent of wind chimes in a stormy summer garden. But don’t be lulled into submission. The seemingly harmless wind chimes morph into the cadence and timber of something destructive and sinister. Even if you are on your guard, you are not going to be ready for the abrupt end. Signifying eternity, perhaps?

Not the Love We Dream Of (Piano Version)
Again, we are treated to the stark piano notes winding through the introduction to this song. Slowed down and purposeful, almost funereal, we are reminded of mortality, mistakes, and failed missions. It is definitely a song of introspection, but with the change-up in tone and tempo midway through, Numan informs us musically that there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel.

Dead Sun Rising (Early Version)
This version feels like it is played at a slower speed. Numan’s vocals are the focus with the lush accompaniment of electronica there merely to support the master as he works his craft. It is a delightfully welcome version of the title track, and the perfect close to a perfect CD.

Well done, Gary. You are a perfectionist, and our lives are enriched because of it.

Visit Gary Numan’s website: http://www.numan.co.uk/

“The Fall” official full-length promotional video via YouTube user GaryNumanOfficial:

“The Fall” live by Gary Numan – via YouTube user GaryNumanOfficial:

80’s Music Rules ~ Criminally Underrated Artists/ Bands ~ Front Line Assembly

Bill Leeb (keyboards, vocals) formed the Canadian underground “band” Front Line Assembly around 1985 out of Vancouver BC, Canada. For a few months, Leeb’s attention was split with another band called Skinny Puppy, before finally turning his full attention to cultivating FLA.

FLA’s music is described as electro-industrial, decidedly cutting edge for a fledgling band in 1985. The synthesizers that were a vital part of the New Wave era were starting to turn a bit more serious and brooding mid-to-end of the 80’s decade. Even Gary Numan, considered by many to be the Godfather of Electronica, switched gears to create music that was moody and contemplative. New Wave’s popularity was showing signs of waning, while industrial, goth, dream pop, house, grunge, and shoegaze began to take hold.

Leeb recorded and produced a demo tape titled Nerve War in 1986. Only 50-100 copies of Front Line Assembly’s official debut were made and distributed. Shortly after, Rhys Fulber (keyboards, percussion) joined ranks with Leeb and together they produced a second full-length demo, Total Terror.

In 1987, Front Line Assembly debuted its first official album, The Initial Command. Michael Balch (keyboards) joined the duo about this time. As FLA’s popularity and name recognition grew, the trio ended up releasing State of Mind outside of Canada to a worldwide audience.

The three members continued their collaboration which culminated into releasing two EPs Corrosion and Disorder. These two compilations were later combined into a full album, Convergence.

The next album, Gashed Senses And Crossfire, netted a single “Digital Tension Dementia” which fueled the band’s underground popularity. Ed-FM played this song during this weeks’ Retrospect show from CFRC-FM, catching my attention and leading to this feature. About this time in the band’s evolution, Balch left Front Line Assembly to join Ministry.

Front Line Assembly has weathered many line-up changes over the years, and currently continues to record and perform live. I have listed only those titles in their discography released through 1991 because this blog focuses on 80’s music. For a full listing of their catalog and to find out shat FLA si up to today, check out Wikipedia and the Front Line Assembly MySpace site. If you prefer your 80’s electronica edgy, serious, and accompanied by a dollop of angst, FLA is definitely worth your time to discover.

“Digital Tension Dementia” via YouTube user djoscafox:

“Nerve War” via YouTube user Akira625:

“Total Terror” via YouTube user Akira625:

“Provision” via YouTube user MetalKael:

80’s Discography

1986: Nerve War
1986: Total Terror
1987: The Initial Command
1988: State of Mind
1988: Corrosion
1988: Disorder
1988: Convergence
1989: Gashed Senses and Crossfire
1990: Caustic Grip

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

I have been so fortunate to meet some exquisitely talented people from all over the planet thanks to the magic of the Internet. A couple of years ago, I met Australian Kit Rumble’s acquaintance on YouTube because of some gracious comments he left on video montages I had made for Gary Numan songs. Unfortunately, I was forced to remove those montages because the greedy suits at Eagle Records decided they didn’t want free advertising, even though I had Gary Numan’s permission via Tony Webb, his father and manager.

At any rate, one happy consequence of all that drama was being exposed to Kit Rumble’s music. This genuinely friendly and humble man has been creating music since the late 70’s. He cites his very first influences as Suzi Quattro, Bryan Ferry, David Bowie, and, of course, Gary Numan. Once Kit heard Numan’s “Cars” for the first time, he was smitten with electronica. His tastes going forward ran the gamut of Numan, John Foxx, Kraftwerk, and Bowie, whose chameleon-like evolution and innovation he admired greatly. Iva Davies, Australian-grown like Kit himself, was another iconic musician whose work was highly influential.

Kit purchased his first synthesizer, a Roland System 100, in 1981. That was a defining point in his own music evlolution. The first Roland led to a Roland Jupiter and an Arp Odyssey. Kit reports that since then he has probably bought and sold at least 100 keyboards ranging from early analogues to “amazing machines like the OpenLabs Neko LX76.”

In the early 80’s, Kit moved from Melbourne to Sydney to start his first band called “Subway.” They mostly covered the work of their synthesizer heroes. The band broke up, double-teamed by the repercussions of a bad automobile accident and the arrival of the New Romantic genre. Kit returned to Melbourne to a self-imposed exile, where he shut himself up in a room full of synthesizers, drum machines, and multi-track reel-to-reel decks, and set about writing and recording demos.

Life intervened, Kit found himself caught up heavily in the party life, and creating music ended up taking a backseat as a result. After giving marriage an unsuccessful try, and fathering a child, Kit reordered his priorities and settled back into his first passion of writing and performing music. Unfortunately, given the time that had passed, he felt he didn’t quite fit into the music scene he found himself thrust into.

The early 90’s and the mainstream music that the corporate suits were foisting upon the masses was not Kit’s cup of tea. He couldn’t stomach “the Michael Bolton/Vanessa Williams/Whitney Houston dominated radio” and even found the 90’s Annie Lennox to be unpalatable compared to her brilliance in the 80’s.

Kit withdrew from the public eye and lay low until forming his next band, “The Factory Boys.” The line up was Kit Rumble (vocals/keyboards), Stuart Casey (lead guitar), Brad Hodge (drums), Little Wilks (guitar), and Darren Rosier (bass). Kit, in his own words, describes this period of life as “terrific fun as we played in the back of this large warehouse…..often local people would hear us start up and wander down, and eventually we had this thing going where it was OK to wander in, listen to us play, and leave. We hardly got to speak with any of these ‘fans.’”

Kit recorded his first CD at Soul Studios (Gold Coast Australia) with Anna Maria LaSpina (who later toured the world with Savage Garden), provided backing vocals. Darren Hayes, too, would often pop in and out, prior to his own success. This proved to be a turning point in Kit’s musical career. He writes, “The internet saved my creative life, to be honest. I discovered a website called Dmusic.com and began to upload my music. Suddenly, I found there were people who liked my sound from all around the world, but not so much in Australia. To add another dimension, I became interested in creating music video for my tracks which led to me winning the Dmusic video of the year award with my track ‘Sayonara Baby.’”

Currently, Kit reports that he is content with creating music and video for the Web. When he was young, his dream was to be heard on the radio. He has realized that dream with radio play throughout the world, thanks to the wonders of the Internet. Not only that, Kit’s music has found its way to one British movie soundtrack, Paul Easter’s film called “Stagger,” with another soundtrack soon to be added to his resume. He has recently teamed up with a brilliant artist from the UK, Dave Webber. Together they are producing some powerful dark industrial music with a view to producing a CD collection very soon. I, for one, can’t wait.

Kit has a fan base (of which I am very happy to be a member) who are very loyal to his sound. He offers his music for free download at the following sites:

http://www.ilike.com/artist/Kit+Rumble

http://kitrumble.dmusic.com/

http://www.myspace.com/kitrumble

http://www.icompositions.com/artists/KitRumble

Take advantage of this great opportunity and get acquainted with his music. Kit will welcome you into his circle of friends by treating you as though he has known you his whole life. It is this warm and selfless attitude, along with an undeniable talent, that will go far in bringing Kit the success he has worked hard for his entire life.

“Hostile” via YouTube user kitrumble:
 

“Sayonara Baby” via YouTube user kitrumble:
 

“Shame” (2009 remix with Dave Syn) via YouTube user kitrumble:
 

“Dull Reality” (using images of Gary Numan onstage) via YouTube user kitrumble:
 

“Always” (music by Dave Syn) via YouTube user kitrumble:
 

Kit Rumble Discography

Talk To Me – 1996
Ghost – 1997
Misguidance – 1997
Now I’m Alone – 1998
Say Goodbye -1999
Mayday – 2000
Intermission – 2000
Hymn for a mortal – 2000
I’m Silenced – 2001
You Drown Me – 2001
Sayonara Baby – 2003
Your Time – 2004
Save Me – 2004
Dull Reality – 2005
Shame – 2006
Make Me Bleed – 2007
Die for the Children – 2008
When You Move – 2008
Shame (remix 2009) – 2009
Always – 2009
Hostile – 2009

80’s Music Rules ~ Criminally Underrated Artists/ Bands ~ Yello

Yello_aYello’s music has probably been heard by more people than are aware of it. If you have seen such movies as “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” and “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” (just to name two of several), or have experienced the Duffman character on “The Simpsons” TV show, then you have heard Yello’s most ubiquitous single “Oh Yeah.”

It is really a shame if that is all you know of this multifaceted group. If you listen regularly to Ed-FM’s Tuesday night Retrospect show from CFRC in Kingston, Ontario, you will have heard other stunningly creative Yello tunes as Ed brings their music library to life. (Note: Ed’s show will be back in swing on November 10 when he returns from a well-deserved break).

Yello was founded in Switzerland  and began recording music in 1979, comprised of Boris Blank (keyboards, sampling, percussion, backing vocals) and Carlos Perón (tapes). Realizing they were going nowhere without a singer, the duo brought Dieter Meier on board for lead vocals. Interestingly, the band’s instrumentation is presented entirely from taped samples of nearly every type of musical instrument. Boris Blank engineers these samples in such a way that they become the original melodies that back every Yello song.yello_b

What can I say about Dieter Meier’s brooding, melancholic, and deeply baritone vocals? I love them. That is a given from what I have written about similary talented vocalists. My personal favorite is “Desire” which was used in Miami Vice episodes from seasons 3 and 4, and also in the 1991 movie “Dutch.” Other favorites include “Rubberbandman” and one kick-butt tune that Ed uses to spice up his show, “The Race.” David Marsden recently played “Bostich” on his show, and that one is rapidly becoming one of my favorites, too.

Wikipedia has a fact-filled entry on Yello here.

Yello has even used the extreme vocal talents of the late Billy MacKenzie (Associates) and super-diva Shirley Bassey to spruce up several of their tracks. Check out this multi-layered Swiss electronica band that has taken the genre to a whole different universe. It is a must-listen for every serious electronica fan. Yello continues to record up until the present time, but I have only provided their 80’s (plus one – 1991’s Baby) discography below.

 
“Desire” via youTube user dante314159:

“Rubberbandman” via YouTube user dante314159:

“The Race” via YouTube user Elconquistador69too:
 

“Bostich” via YouTube user dante314159:

Purchase Yello music here.

1980’s Discography

Yello1Solid Pleasure (1980)

yello2Claro Que Si (1981)

Yello3You Gotta Say Yes To Another Excess (1983)

Yello4Stella (1985)

Yello51980-1985 The New Mix In One Go (1986)

Yello6One Second (1987)

Yello7Flag (1988)

yello8Baby (1991)

80’s (and sometimes 00’s) Music Rules ~ Introducing Marilyn Roxie

marilynThis is a huge departure from my usual 80’s music blogging ventures. There’s a method to my obvious madness, though. Marilyn Roxie is rapidly becoming a star of the current electronic music scene. Because a lot of today’s electronic music owes at least a nod to the brave souls who championed the genre during the late 70’s and early 80’s, I believe this review fits in quite nicely with my 80’s post-punk, New Wave, synth-pop theme.

 That said, I also want to dispel any notions that it’s a bad thing to acknowledge one’s musical roots. I mean really, would anyone have taken it the wrong way had Tchaikovsky cited Beethoven as an influence? Or if a music critic from 200 years ago had made some sort of correlation between the two? I sincerely doubt it. So, I mean it with utmost sincerity and respect that Marilyn represents all that is great about what started as a renegade genre some thirty-plus years ago.

 Her hot-off-the-presses release, New Limerent Object is an extraordinary testimonial to what an enormously talented person can do when left to her own devices. This amazing freshman full-length release comes hot on the heels of a couple of EPs released during the past few months. If they were a warm-up to New Limerent Object, what musical delights might we expect from the next release? Here I am already anticipating a marvelous follow-up!marilyn1

 Three paragraphs in and I seem to have missed the most interesting fact of all; Marilyn is only nineteen years of age. That begs the question: If she is putting out music of this high caliber at nineteen, what will she be capable of creating in 5, 10, or even 25 years from now? I can only hope I’m still around to hear and enjoy it.

 Personal favorites from New Limerent Object include the spare yet ever-so-perfect piano set in “Indigo,” deliciously followed by “(Nearer) Interlude.” Marilyn experiments successfully with voices in “Seagull Room” (yes, I can feel/hear them swarming over me). The unpronounceable 12th track is an earnest trip into the inner recesses of your mind with just a slight touch of Asian and psychedelic influence that really, really works well. She returns to her fabulous piano ability in “The Cove” and brings it all to a perfect conclusion with the closing piece, “Complete Thought.” In all, there are sixteen sweet tracks, each one different, superb, and enthralling.

 If you are a serious fan of electronica, the piano/keyboards, or both, particularly (dare I say it?) of the Brian Eno brand of 80’s electronic music and beyond, then get yourself over to Marilyn’s site and treat your ears. Ms. Roxie has offered the public a free download of New Limerent Object and a look onto her musical background at MarilynRoxie.com.  Her other blog dedicated to covering other up-and-comers like her is aptly called “A Future In Noise.” Yes, Marilyn, you certainly do have one of those.

 ***Edit: New Official Video for “Indigo” on YouTube directed by EK Wimmer and via user veduta:

1frontcoverNLONew Limerent Object (Independent Release 2009)

(Download from Sendspace http://www.sendspace.com/file/xw8k9v ) 6backcoverNLO

 (on Last FM http://www.last.fm/music/Marilyn+Roxie)

(from MySpace http://www.myspace.com/marilynroxie )