80s Music Rules ~ Criminally Underrated Artists/ Bands ~ Rob Stuart is Back with Electronic Dream Factory (EDF)

Excellent music never dies; sometimes it just goes away for a while. And, like a treasured loved one, its return evokes strong emotions of joy, relief, and a reconnection with the universe. That’s what’s happening here, folks. And, I am delighted to be the bearer of the fantastic news.

Rob Stuart first graced Rave and Roll’s pages exclusively as a featured artist back in November 2009. Earlier that year, I had published an article about his Toronto-based band SLAVE to the SQUAREwave, followed by a review of their then-latest smashing release, The Money Shot. Earlier this year (Feb. 2014, to be exact), I was privileged to announce Slave’s return with a jaw-dropping, in-your-face collection of tunes called Asphalt, Sex & Rock ‘N’ Roll. Now, I am thrilled to deliver the trifecta: Rob Stuart’s long-awaited re-emergence featuring an entire catalog of synthesizer-driven musical goodness from his band, Electronic Dream Factory (E.D.F).

Rob agreed to be interviewed so that I can share with you all a little bit about the beginnings of E.D.F., its evolution, the inspiration for the music, and the reason for the decision to re-release the catalog.

When did E.D.F. make its debut in the world?

EDF studios circa 1983

EDF studios circa 1983

Originally E.D.F was and still is the name of my home recording studio. I stole the name from a small British synthesizer company called Electronic Dream Plant which built a very cool monophonic synthesizer called “The Wasp.” My earliest recollection of my first home studio was back in 1981. I decided very early on in my “music career” that rather than pay other people to record in their studios, that I would just build my own and teach myself how to record, engineer and mix.

I was only sixteen back then and gear was incredibly expensive, so my first studio was nothing fancy. I would work three summer jobs to save up enough money to buy studio gear. I still remember purchasing the first real synth I ever owned, a Korg MS-20 for $595.00 at Steve’s Music Store in Toronto. I was so proud walking home with that synth tucked under my arm that day. It was once I started writing original music when I decided Electronic Dream Factory would also serve as a good band name.

Who were the original band members?

Greg Fraser, Rob Stuart, Rob Tennant (1992)

Greg Fraser, Rob Stuart, Rob Tennant (1992)

There have been many incarnations of the “band”version of E.D.F. Version 1.0 is me alone as a solo artist . Long time friend/musician/ artist, Greg Fraser was the first person to become an official member. Our first full-length self-titled album was just Greg and myself. Version 2.0 included Rob Tennant, who was the live drummer.

We soon added Maxx on guitar. Version 3.0 included Emerich Donath on stick bass and Rude Van Steenes on electronic percussion and vocals. I knew Rude back from the Vis-A-Vis days as I was an original member of that band .

EDF Version 3.0

EDF Version 3.0

Why synthesizers and electronica vs. guitars and…?

I’ve always been a synthesizer nut. Ever since I first heard early synth-based music like Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk, Pink Floyd, Jean Michel Jarre, Vangelis, Throbbing Gristle, David Bowie, Brian Eno, Gary Numan, John Foxx, and early Human League, I knew I wanted to get into synthesizers.

First of all, they looked so cool and they could make sounds that you’d never heard before. That was really the appeal to me. I would spend hours messing around with my MS-20, plugging in cables, twiddling all the knobs, to come up with unique and different sounds. I’ve never been a person who is comfortable jamming in a rehearsal studio or in a band situation, which is why I don’t really consider myself a musician. I still don’t play that well, but writing, recording, and producing came fairly naturally to me. Writing music always was and still is a personal journey for me, so when MIDI came along it allowed me to create all parts of the music by myself, which I thrived on.

Having said that, I’ve always been a guitar fan, so when I couldn’t fake a guitar part by myself or find the right guitar sample I’d have to bring in a guitar player. Of course nothing can replace the thundering sound and look of a live guitar player on stage. That’s where Maxx came in. He was a cool-looking dude with a great head of hair and a killer guitar sound which added to the live element and gave the studio recordings a little extra grit.

Was E.D.F. mainly a studio band, stage band, or both?

I’ve always been a studio guy, but you have no choice but to play live if you want to promote your product seriously. It’s a great feeling playing your own music live with 3 or 4 other people on stage with the lights, smoke, and (hopefully) crowds of people in the audience grooving to your tunes; however, I also derive immense pleasure spending hours in my studio just writing or playing music by myself.

That’s were the “other” side of E.D.F comes from, as I also record and release ambient, chill out, new age music which I never intend to play live. Our finest moment was playing at Pine Knob in Detroit, Michigan in front of 10, 000 people for a big end-of-summer music festival.

What or who inspired the music?

The “who” is endless. See all the bands named earlier. Inspiration can come from anything, really. It could be a unique industrial sample, synth patch, drum and bass groove or simply a nice chord progression. It’s piecing all of those elements together that makes it fun and challenging.

Did E.D.F. originally get the airplay it deserved, and if so, by whom?

The first E.D.F release was actually a cassette-only; but, believe it or not, we used to get airplay on the radio. CFNY 102.1 in Toronto was the first station to play our music. That station was a huge supporter of local independent music, led of course by the one and only David Marsden who still plays my music to this day on his new station http://www.nythespirit.com. With open-minded people like David and the good folk at CFNY, the song “So, What of Tomorrow” ended up being a winner on a CFNY talent search contest and was released on a compilation CD, which to us at the time was unbelievable.

Other places that would play our music would be University radio stations like CIUT (University of Toronto), CKMS-FM in Waterloo, and CKLN (Ryerson University) who were always great supporters of ours. Local DJs like Ronno Box and Craig Beesack would play us at clubs like Catch 22 and local promoter Billy X was also an early supporter of E.D.F

What’s it like to translate a concept in your head into music that you share with the rest of the world?

It’s fun at first, but it can quickly become frustrating when the business aspect kicks in. I won’t even talk about the music business these days as no one has a clue what’s going on; but back in the early 90s there were still labels you could shop your product around to. For our first album we had some interest from TVT Records which had just signed Nine Inch Nails. For the second album, “Drama Dream” we signed a deal with a label in Montreal, which went bad. For the album “Number 3” I had a distribution deal with Toronto’s The Record Peddler. Financially that was probably the most success I had with an EDF album as they managed to get distribution deals in quite a few different territories worldwide.

What made you decide to resurrect EDF?

One word: “Tunecore.”

Tunecore is a great service that distributes your music around the world to digital music stores and streaming stations. It’s really cheap and allows you to keep 100% of the earnings. They really do get the music out all over the world! E.D.F had a pretty strong following in its heyday, especially in Europe.

As I mentioned above, the album “Number 3” was released and distributed internationally by The Record Peddler. I used to get royalty cheques from airplay I received from places like Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Norway and many other countries. Over the past few years I decided to post some old E.D.F videos on YouTube and found that people were actually looking for the old releases. It seemed like a perfect opportunity to re-master and re-release the whole collection in a new package.

Hence “Industrial Catalogue:” All four E.D.F albums in one, 64 songs in total, reasonably priced at $8.99. I did the same with my ambient/chillout/down-tempo E.D.F music, as well. Four albums in one package under the title ˜Noise Control” with 60 Songs in total.

Are there plans for live shows, and if so, where?

At this point, definitely not. SLAVE to the SQUAREwave takes up all of my spare time with live performances and recording. The last time E.D.F played live was at a rave in the middle of a farmer’s field in Oakville, a suburb of Toronto. This was actually where I met Colin Troy from S2TSW, as we were both playing at the rave that night. I was performing my more “techno” E.D.F material while Colin was doing his Smokin’ Jehovah project, which was a mix of middle eastern music and house. Really cool stuff. We chatted through the night about our love for Bowie, Roxy Music, and electronic dance music. We became instant friends and SLAVE to the SQUAREwave was born.

Do you have any examples of E.D.F. music online that people can preview?

Here’s some of my ambient/chill-out music taken from “Noise Control”:

Will the entire catalog be available for purchase? Where?

“Industrial Catalogue” is available via Amazonmp3.

Picture-#-4.-EDF-Industrial

 

 

 

 

 

“Noise Control (Vols 1 to 4)” is available via Amazonmp3.

Picture-#-5.-EDF-Noise-Cont

 

 

 

 

 

Both albums are also on Spotify, Rdio, Shazam, iTunes, Google play, Wimp, Deezer, beats music and many, many more on-line stores.

Can folks buy single tracks?

Yup! Single tracks are the standard 99 cents.

Will this inspire you to go back into the studio and create new E.D.F. tracks?

E.D.F has never really stopped. It’s just come in many different shapes and forms over the past 32 years and will continue to evolve. I’m getting more and more into the chill-out/ambient stuff as I get older, so you can most likely expect some more music in that vein.

What’s next?

I’m considering releasing some music by a duo group I was in back in the mid 80s called “silent GREEN.” It was an ambient project where the music was ad-libbed and recorded live. I played synthesizer while Bruce Bentley played “ambient” guitar. Bruce and I also had a synthpop band called “Ear Candy,” which was another CFNY-supported band. Tragically, Bruce passed away last year, so I’m thinking of releasing it in his memory. Some of that music is pretty magical.

Thanks so much!

Thanks for your support. I love what you do. You don’t know how important things like this are to a band/artist. You’re really doing a great thing here and it is most appreciated. XOXO

80s Music (and sometimes 10s) Rules—Slave To The SQUAREwave Returns!

ASRR---CARAfter a long hiatus full of whispered rumors hinting at disbanding, retirement, everything Slave to the SQUAREwave fans absolutely did NOT want to hear, something very exciting has happened—a new album release and a hot party at the Hard Rock in Toronto on February 28, 2014 hosted by David Marsden. That sound you hear is the collective thud of gob-smacked jaws hitting the floor—hallelujah and praise the music gods!

The album—Asphalt, Sex and Rock ‘n’Roll—where to start? These Slave-starved ears were ecstatic with the long-awaited product of a flawless, long-standing, and highly successful collaboration between Rob Stuart and Colin Troy. If ever a duo were destined to create beautiful music together, this is it, folks. The result of long hours in the studio is a perfect, fun-filled collection of music that will both kick your ass and caress your soul.

What should you expect? Here’s my humble attempt to describe the pleasure trip this album delivers to its listeners. Strap yourself in, slide your headset on, and prepare to rumble—this is way better than the best road trip you’ve ever had in the mightiest muscle car.

If asked to describe the opening track Middle Finger in one word, “funkalicious” is the closest adjective that does it any justice.  It’s a combination of Max Headroom (without the stutter) meets the Funkateers that is the perfect warm-up for what’s in store along this welcome journey. Alive and Electric (Dedicated to Jodi) presents swelling synths and superb harmonies; it’s a truly pleasing blend of keys and strings that picks up speed and takes on a life of its own.S2TSW-Poster-01

Next up is Texan Thugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll, a play on words rife with fast cars, a thrumming beat, and tough-guy lyrics. Who could ask for anything more? Then, wafting through the headset is a slightly off-kilter intro to The Big South that lures the listener into a poetic bop-fest of beat-driven goodness.

Not for the faint of heart, Zombie charges off the starting line in a sheer frenzy. Anyone who can sit still while listening to the exceptional synths and snarling vocals of this party-in-your-ear track needs to check for a pulse because they just may well be a zombie. Then, when you think you have a handle on what’s feeding into your brain, the Dr. Who-esque intro of Poor Man’s Fight draws you smack-dab into the middle of the fray, while trippy, fun lyrics bind you up and hold you captive.

Who wouldn’t wish for a Seven Day Saturday Night? Here it is handed to you on a silver platter—the penultimate weekend escape, complete with kick-ass strings that transport you straight into the party-hearty environment that you crave. From there, the bass-heavy opening of Bump promises—and delivers—heart-stopping percussive goodness.

Early Stone Roses anyone? Montreal is another foray into trippy melodies, sexy organ, and seductive piano. After the shameless seduction has left you breathless, you are thrown in front of a revving engine like a beast out of control. Amazing Grace threatens to spin out wildly; miraculously, traction holds you firmly to the road and catapults you along the autobahn of life and love.

SLAVE-to-the-SQUAREwaveThe next track begs for Peace of Mind, but the direct and driven message is that it’s truly an elusive goal. To emphasize that point, Time is Running Out presents a frantic and breathless illustration that time for us is, indeed, running out. Perhaps we should stop and smell the roses?

Casino is a perfectly crafted analogy of love won and lost the hard way. Better luck the next time, baby. You see, everybody gets a little lucky sometimes. Destined to be a favorite, Alive and Electric (Rob’s Analog Electromix) would be ideally at home on any Ultravox collection. The vocals form a faultless partnership with synths that reach down into the soul and infuse a shot of divine life-sustaining energy.

Zombie (Sonix Mix) is a less-frenetic reprise of the un-dead anthem; a different spin on a great, rollicking song. Likewise, Texan Thugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll (Mad Flowers Mix) gives one last and different listen to what makes this collection a no-holds-barred masterpiece.

Slave to the SQUAREwave delivers raw, unbridled musical joy with each and every collaborative piece that they create. Don’t miss out on a chance to experience truly artistic genius at its very best, while Rob and Colin still have the passion to make it happen. And, if you are lucky enough to be in the greater Toronto area whenever the sun, moon and stars align in perfect combination, be sure to see the dynamic duo Rob Stuart and Colin Troy, along with supporting band members Doug Lea and Craig Moffitt, for a live performance.  It’s definitely on my bucket list.ASRR---Reel-to-Reel

A very limited supply of 200 Asphalt, Sex and Rock ‘n’Roll CDs will be available at the release gig at the Hard Rock Café (279 Yonge St, Toronto ON) gig on Feb 28, 2014. After that, an “Expanded Edition” will be added, which includes these outstanding bonus tracks: “India”, “Stereo Orthophonic High Fidelity Victrolis (SOHFV),” and “Alive & Electric (Kernel Chiptune Mix).” Also, for the first time, S2TSW are making The Money Shot (another absolute personal fave) available with all bonus tracks. Both albums are for sale starting Feb. 28, 2014 at the locations shown below.

Tunecore-Release-Availabili

The Secret Life of Numanoids ~ Part One

(Notice: You are not allowed to republish an entire article/blog post on your website even if attribution is made. You may not use this work for commercial purposes unless given pre-authorization from me. Only excerpts of less than 200 words from each article will be allowed to be published on other websites. A link back to the specific article permalink must be included.)

In case you’ve been under a rock for the past thirty years, or simply have never come across the term, Numanoids are Gary Numan fans. A rare and close-knit group, they are loyal, honest, caring, and kind, brought together from all over the world to support and honor a musician who has accomplished much during his more than 30 years in the business.

As a relatively new Gary Numan fan, I have been extremely fortunate to be embraced by his hard-core circle of fans, making contact through the blogosphere, YouTube, FaceBook, MySpace, and other online sources. Most Numanoids have been with him since the very beginning, the Tubeway Army days. Others, like me, have made the connection with Numan because of his dark wave/Gothic/industrial genre of music that he began to embrace in the early 90’s, connecting fully with the release of 1994’s Sacrifice album.

Rob Stuart (Canada)

Rob Stuart shares that he has been a Numanoid since 1978 (age 13). Musically, he had never heard anything like Gary Numan before. He says, “I remember hearing ‘Are “Friends” Electric?’ for the first time on my little AM radio during the top 20 count-down in England on a Sunday afternoon and being totally transfixed by the voice, the music! I knew I had to save my pennies and immediately buy the album. Once I saw the cover art I was completely hooked. Who was this alien, androgynous looking man?”

When asked what Gary Numan’s music means to him, Rob recalls, “It meant so much to me at that age that I started a band as soon as I immigrated to Canada (age 14). We called ourselves ‘The Plastic Omniums’ and played our first gig at a high school battle of the bands contest. All the other bands played Zeppelin and Rush covers while we got up there with our synths, a reel to reel tape deck, and a drum machine and played three songs: Opening with ‘Airlane’ from The Pleasure Principle album, then a cover of ‘Are “Friends” Electric?’ and closing with an original number called ‘Red Shift Expanse.’ I distinctly remember two-thirds of the kids in the audience booing while the others cheered. The cool kids got it! I still have a recording of that show.”

Rob cites Replicas as his favorite Gary Numan album, with the first self titled album Tubeway Army not far behind. He feels that Replicas is a modern-day masterpiece from start to finish. As for his favorite songs, the list is pretty extensive: “My Brother’s Time,” “The Machman,” “M.E.,” “Pure,” “You Are In My Vision,” “A Question Of Faith,” “The Iceman Comes,” “Fadeout 1930,” “Every Day I Die,” “Are ‘Friend’s’ Electric?,” “A Subway Called ‘You,’” “The Aircrash Bureau,” “Bombers,” “My Shadow In Vain,” “Crazier,” and many more.

Rob’s most exciting Gary Numan moment was very recently when he met Numan in Toronto in October 2010. He tells us, “We had a fairly lengthy discussion about doing a remix contest of his music. He told me he didn’t see the point in it. I told him that many of his fans are musicians and would love a chance to remix his work, and that it was a great way to promote his music, especially on social networks. Lo and behold, a couple of months later, he has the ‘Back to the Phuture’ remix contest for ‘Scanners.’ I was happy that he took my suggestion. You can hear my remix here: http://soundcloud.com/rob-stuart

Rob continues, “I was also very proud to be on the same CD as Gary Numan once in Future Music Magazine Issue 101, Aug 2000. GN was on the cover being interviewed about the release of “Pure” and (my group) SLAVE to the SQUAREwave had the song ‘Heavy Bones’ featured on the free CD that came with the magazine.”

Asked what his favorite way to express his love for Gary Numan is, Rob states, “Doing cover versions of his music either live or recorded. Here is a cover I did of ‘Films’ back in 1995.”

Electronic Dream Factory – “Films”
via YouTube user Akito01:

He also shares, “Like all of my musical heroes (Bowie, Eno, Kraftwerk, Underworld, Tangerine Dream), Numan is an innovator, an original. And like all super-talented artists he is humble and down to earth. He’s not afraid to try something new and hang them out there. Sometimes it doesn’t work, but when it does, it’s life-changing and timeless.”

Meemz (Belgium)

Meemz has been a fan of Gary Numan’s for as long as he has been active in the music scene – since 1979. What initially attracted her to him, as she recalls, was Numan’s voice, music, and appearance, being “different.” And, as for his music, Meemz states, “His music touches my heart and soul any time, good or bad.”

Meemz lists the following albums as her favorites: Jagged, The Pleasure Principle, Telekon, Replicas, Sacrifice, Exile, and Pure. Her favorite songs include, “Jagged,” “Haunted,” “Rip,” “Metal,” “Seed of a Lie,” “Crazier,” “Crawl,” and, in her own words, “so many others.”

The most exciting Gary Numan moment for Meemz was the first time she met him at a concert in Bristol in 2009. An accomplished artist, she not only had the thrill of meeting Gary Numan up close and personal, she also presented him with a portrait that she had painted.

In addition to painting numerous portraits featuring Gary Numan, Meemz also does some very clever photo edits. Along with these creative endeavors, Meemz professes the best way to show her love for Gary Numan is “being and staying a Numanoid for as long as I live and far beyond.”

Finally, Meemz states, “I like his old and new stuff, and hope he’ll be making music as long as he can. When I talk to people about Numan in my country (Belgium), I can’t explain what it really is, the feelings us Numanoids have about him. It’s not only his music and all, but just the person that he is. He’s really one of a kind and we love him for it.”

Vikki (UK)

Vikki has been a fan for 32 years, the entire duration of Gary Numan’s career. When she was only 10 years old, she first saw Numan on the British music show Top of the Pops. Her initial reaction was to fall in love with the song he was singing, “Are ‘Friends’ Electric,” all the while thinking, “Ewwwwwww, he’s weird!” Needless to say, that first impression eventually yielded to a more mature, long-term, and undying love.

When describing the impact of his music, Vikki says, “His music means a lot of things to me. Because I’ve been a fan for such a long time each album reminds me of a different time in my life. Pure is my divorce album!” She also lists Jagged as a favorite. When pressed to list her favorite Numan tracks, Vikki’s reaction is, “Too many to mention. But off the top of my head: ‘Sleep by Windows,’ ‘Haunted,’ ‘Jagged,’ ‘Observer,’ ‘The God Film,’ and ‘My Breathing.’”

Recalling her most exciting Numan moment, Vikki observes, “Has to be the first time I saw him live, October 1983. He was ill, so I didn’t get to meet him. I was gutted!”

Vikki expresses her love for Gary by shouting/writing NUMMMAAAAANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN! wherever and whenever possible. She adds, “Plus, wearing Gary Numan t-shirts – you cannot wear a Gary Numan t-shirt without someone making a comment or singing ‘Cars!’”

In closing, Vikki shares these anecdotes:

“I once lost my mum whilst out shopping. A record stall was playing “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” and I just had to stop to listen to it. Of course my mother carried on walking and I lost her.”

“And, one thing I must add; Gary Numan fans are the nicest people you could ever meet. I took my friend to see him back in 2009 and she was gobsmacked at how nice people were. I’ve never been to a Numan gig where I haven’t got chatting to someone and shared some great moments. I once spent an evening with the band drinking before they went on stage. All my friends kept coming up to me saying ‘why are you sitting with the band?’ A roadie called Gary (who was miffed because he was called ‘Gray’ in the tour programme) fancied me so I got in with the crowd.

“I also came very close to sharing the tour bus with Gary Numan. His support band Hohokam invited us back to the hotel (nothing smutty!) but some security guy said we could walk as the hotel was only down the street. I still hate that man! Oh, and once my mum had a go at Beryl and his security guard which was very embarrassing!”

Kristin Harris (USA)

Kristin Harris, graphic and video designer, has been a full-blown Numanoid since late 2006.

When asked, “What drew you to Gary Numan?” her reply: “His newer music captured me first. I’ve never heard anyone like him. I was drawn to his beautiful voice and loved how atmospheric his music was. I eventually ventured on to YouTube and once I saw him in action, I was completely hooked. His looks don’t hurt either.”

Kristin goes on to explain that Gary Numan’s music is her escape and it has inspired her in her creative work. It’s difficult to pick just one of Numan’s albums when citing a favorite. When pinned down, Kristin chooses Jagged (closely followed by Pure, Exile, and Hybrid). Her favorite singles are “Haunted,” “The Fall,” “Crazier,” “Jagged,” “Pure,” “Replicas,” “Films,” and the song “Slide Away” from Ade Fenton’s album, as well.

Kristin recalls her most exciting Gary Numan moment: “Meeting him for the very first time in July 2007. He is so lovely and down to earth. Also, getting to work for him on the t-shirts. That was a huge honor.” She finds that the best way for her to express her love for Gary Numan is through her music videos and graphics. She also promotes his music using her favorite films and TV shows.

View Kristin’s videos here: http://www.youtube.com/user/knightvision1228

View her graphic designs here: http://www.kristinharrisproductions.com/musiciangraphics.htm

Paula Raven (Fallen Angel) (UK):

Paula is another lifelong Numanoid who has been a fan since 1979-80. His “distinctive style and amazing electro sounds” are what first drew Paula to Numan and his music. She goes on to say, “I had never heard anything like it before. He wasn’t like other bands of that time; he stood out from everyone else. I was looking for someone to blow me away with a unique style and sound, and found just that in Gary Numan. I remember thinking, ‘this man has come along in the music world, years before his time.’”

Paula continues, “Gary once said, ‘I am just an arranger of noises.’ I say to that, ‘Yes, Gary, you show us just how music is meant to sound.’ The machines rocked in 1979, and continue to do so to this very day.”

When asked what Gary Numan’s music means to her, Paula is very direct in her response: “His music is everything that makes my world tick. He has an album for every mood I’m in, and his music makes me smile, laugh, and cry. You can’t help but connect with his music and lyrics in some form or another.”

Paula pushed back a bit when asked about her favorite album. Stating that it was impossible to narrow the choice down to just one, she settles on her favorite top three: first, Telekon, “a masterpiece in its own right,” Exile, and Pure. She also settled on her top three singles: “The Fall,” “Every Day I Die,” and “My Shadow In Vain.”

Paula shares that her most exciting Gary Numan moment was meeting him in 2009, at Bristol, after waiting over 20 years for just that moment. She had met him back in the 80’s at one of his airshows, but that was only a very brief “Hello Gary” moment. “In Bristol I had a whole 10 minutes with him. I was so excited, we waited for over an hour for him to appear. He was so kind and sweet, and I asked him if he would sign my photo of him. It was an old photo of Gary when he was very young; a fan club photo. I said, ‘You look so young in that photo, Gary.’ He laughed and said, ‘I know (with a grin on his face). My wife keeps finding old photos of me, just to remind me of how old I’m getting.’ And we both laughed. He then put his arm round me so I could have a photo taken with him. It was an amazing moment in my life, and one I won’t forget.

Paula has chosen to put together her own Gary Numan website, “Pure Numan,” (http://www.pure-numan.com/) in order to pay him homage. It is her way of showing the love and respect that she has for the man who not only changed the music world, but has given his fans the best music and live stage shows possible.

Paula shares, “I have been a big fan since the very beginning, and feel like I’m growing old with him. But to put it in a nutshell, I couldn’t think of anything better than being a true fan. I’ve met along the way some fantastic people, and I wouldn’t change any of it for all the money in the world.”

Richard Cubbon (Canada)

Richard is another lifelong Numanoid, following Gary Numan since around 1978-79. Of that time, he recalls, “I was just getting into Kraftwerk and Jean Michel Jarre and heard “Bombers” from a friend of mine. I loved the use of the early synths in a way that no other bands were using them, like on the first Tubeway Army album. I was playing bass at the time and loved the hollow sound of the Moogs and that sort of swayed my intrumental choice towards synths. I got my first synth around the time that Replicas came out over here, and that led me towards more synths and learning how to produce the hollow sounds with that thick Nuclear Reactor sound.

Explaining what Gary Numan meant to him, Richard says, “Gary Numan’s music and the lyrics always meant something special to me. I never fit in with any group growing up, and the songs took on a special meaning to me.”

Asked which album is his favorite, Richard explains that it’s a tie between The Pleasure Principle and Telekon. The same goes for naming a favorite single: Richard finds that it’s a tie once again, this time between “Sleep by Windows” and “Airlane.” But when it comes to his most exciting Gary Numan moment, the answer is direct and without hesitation. It was seeing the Telekon tour back in 1982.

Richard adds, “I always tell everyone who likes any type of music that involves synths, electronics or processors, there are three bands that had the most impact on music we listen to today: Gary Numan, Kraftwerk, and Jean Michel Jarre. To me, it’s in that order of importance, too.”

Richard expresses his love of Gary Numan by writing and playing music that is heavily Numan-influenced, and insists will always remain inside of him.

JaggedHaloUK (UK)

JaggedHaloUK has been a Numanoid since 1986. What started this decades-spanning love was a friend playing “I Can’t Stop.” JH UK was instantly hooked on the sound and image that the song and Numan portrayed.

When asked what Numan’s music means to him, JaggedHaloUK replies, “Everything, It’s very inspirational.” He cites these albums as his favorites: Telekon and Jagged, especially the track “In a Dark Place” from the latter.

As with many Numanoids, it’s very difficult for JaggedHaloUK to narrow down a list of favorite songs to one. He provides the following list, instead: “When the Sky Bleeds,” “Jagged,” “Haunted,” “I Dream of Wires,” and insists that “there’s so many more I could list.”

By far, JaggedHaloUK’s favorite moment as a Numanoid was meeting and chatting to Gary after a gig. He was also invited into one of the after-show parties at the hotel where Gary was staying during a tour, and also had a photoshoot with Gary’s official photographer, Ed Fielding.

When asked how he expresses his love for Gary Numan, JaggedHaloUK responds, “Recording my own cover versions of his songs and going to his shows. Also, searching for Numan clothing to wear at gigs.”

In addition, JaggedHaloUK states, “Being a Numanoid is a way of life almost; it changes the way you see things and how you react to the world. If it wasn’t for Gary Numan, I would never have gotten into music and that in itself has led to many happy memories of playing in bands and doing live gigs. I gained live music experience with a band I played synths in called the “hottest state” and have since worked with the fantastic Replicas, a Gary Numan tribute band, and I’m also busy in my studio recording more cover tracks for them. I’m also involved in the running of a Gary Numan fan site called “Pure Numan” (http://www.pure-numan.com) and I’ve been doing some music for the site.”

As if that wasn’t enough, JaggedHaloUK also has his own Gary Numan tribute website: http://www.jaggedhalo-uk.com. The pictures of him on his website were all taken by Ed Fielding, official photographer to Gary Numan.

Karl Lyndon Donald (Ireland)

Karl is a die-hard Numan fan, and man of few words, that I met on YouTube several years ago. He left some comments on several Gary Numan fan-video montages that I had done (and have since removed when Eagle records got on their legal high horse). Karl and I have kept in touch through FaceBook, and he has introduced me to countless other Numanoids. I am very grateful for that.

Karl reports that he has been a Numanoid since the beginning, around 1979. His first recollection was seeing Gary Numan on Top of the Pops and thinking he was really unique.

When asked what Gary Numan’s music means to him, Karl replies, “His music helped me through painful teenage years.” He cites The Pleasure Principle as his favorite Gary Numan album.

Karl’s favorite single is “Remind Me To Smile.” His most exciting Gary Numan moment was, in his own words, “Speaking to him for over an hour at Derry Airshow.” Karl’s favorite way to express his love for Gary Numan was to copy his hair color and style at the time.

I also happen to know that Karl has another very special way of expressing his feelings for Gary Numan. He has a huge tattoo on his back that is the well-known Numan facial graphic from The Tubeway Army LP. Any description of Karl as a loyal Numanoid would not be complete without a picture of this amazing tattoo.

David Marsden Birthday Cotillion ~ 3-14-2010

In honor of the annual David Marsden Birthday Cotillion held at Andy Poolhall in Toronto ON, Canada Sunday March 14, 2010, today’s feature is a video montage of the event.

Sistahmar, Roving Ambassador and founder of the Marsbar Theatre Chat Room, outdid herself with this festive occasion. Not only did most of the members of the chat room attend, so did alumni from the infamous CFNY radio station and also from 94.9 The Rock, where David currently broadcasts each Saturday and Sunday night from 7 pm until midnight.

Many sincere thanks to Dan Hurley, Felix029 (Bruce), and Warrlock (Randy) for sharing your photos to make this production possible. Also, a huge thank you to Rob Stuart and Slave to the SQUAREwave for so graciously allowing me to use their fantastic music again this year as a backdrop for the montage. And, Andy Poolhall, Toronto, ON once again was kind enough to open their doors on a usual day off to provide a gathering place for the party. Hats off to you, too.

“David Marsden Birthday Cotillion ~ 3-14-2010” via YouTube user MissParker0106:

View video footage and interviews from the party by clicking here: http://www.torontonews24.com/video/viewvideo/97/behind-the-scene-at-toronto-news-24/marsbars

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 (and sometimes 00’s) Music Rules ~ Slave To The SQUAREWAVE’s “The Money Shot”

slave money shot_1This blog is mostly about obscure and criminally underrated 80’s music. Once in a while I manage to slip in a piece about current artists/ bands who are outstandingly talented and deserve recognition. I am honored to break the mold once again by bringing you a critic’s view of “The Money Shot” just released by Toronto’s own Slave To The SQUAREwave.

Several weeks ago I featured the Slaves and talked about their (many) accomplishments to date. This time, I want to focus on their latest, and in my opinion greatest, release to date.

David Marsden has been providing us with teasers over the past few months by playing a few select tunes from the forthcoming and highly anticipated Slaves CD. I expected the full version to have a mixture of great and so-so songs, like many of the hundreds of CDs/albums I have purchased in my lifetime. Was I ever (thankfully) wrong. “The Money Shot” is nothing but grade-A perfection right out of the starting gate. And, why wouldn’t it be? These guys are professional, uber-talented, and highly entertaining. What a concept!

Colin Troy’s vocals are flawless. As mentioned before, he is channeling David Bowie and beyond back when Bowie’s voice was at its peak. Rob Stuarts’ synths are over-the-top (and it’s well-known how much I adore synth-driven music), providing the perfect heart-and-soul and musical meat to Colin’s voice, an instrument unto itself. Andrew Starr’s guitar performance is in a class all by itself. He does the work of any three guitarists combined, bringing a rich sound to the Slaves’ songs. And last, but not least, Doug Lea’s driving rhythms are the icing on the cake, the backbone of a combination so meant-to-be, it takes your breath away.slave money shot_2

 “The Money Shot” starts with a scratchy, meant-to-sound-like 78 RPM piece that lulls the listener into thinking, “What the heck?” Just as your brain is trying to wade through its confusion, the band launches into “Weapon Of Self Destruction,” leaving you feeling as though you have just been thrust into the roller-coaster ride of your life. Next up is “Dirty Disco,” a synth-based dance piece that coins the adjective “Whoregeous.” From there, the Slaves catapult into a song that might have just transported itself from the 80’s with a middle-Eastern flair, “Healing Hands.” Marsden’s chat room has designated this the room favorite.

 “Boy vs. Girl” is definitely an 80’s new-wave tip of the hat that works exceptionally well. “Average Life Span” has a wah-wah guitar intro, perfectly executed by Andrew Starr, that is to die for. When the song cranks up, with Colin’s voice playing off of itself, that’s exactly what you will find yourself doing to your stereo – cranking it. “Please Have Sex With Me” uses male and female voices alternating grunts and groans that is so hysterically successful in the true spirit of the song. “Jimi Hendrix” is a deceptively laid-back tribute to the master himself that has Doug Lea’s drums fueling a forceful beat.

slave money shot_3And that’s not all. Feel like a beautiful love ballad? The first one in this collection, “Love Unknown” showcases Colin’s lovely and emotion-laden voice. “Strange Summer (Some Are so Strange)” is so fabulously 80’s personified, and so deliciously lush musically and lyrically. “S.O.B.” is pure Colin and his wry sense of humor. It’s a fun song with a wicked bass and back-beat.

“Metaphysical” has a bit of a psychedelic flair to it, along with a tad of 90’s Madchester thrown in for fun. And, speaking of Madchester, check out Rob Stuart’s masterful, chugging organ/keyboards in “Love and Let Die.” “White Knuckle Trip” reminds me of my first (and last) time on Disney World’s Space Mountain. It grabs you from the first note and doesn’t let go until you are absolutely wrung dry (in my case from chair-dancing until I drop).

I have a soft spot for “My Beautiful One.” David Marsden dedicated it to my better half and me late one night, and I have adored it ever since. It’s a gorgeous ballad guaranteed to melt even the coldest of hearts. And Colin’s voice? Once again its beauty and expression defy description. The closing track, “Dirty Disco (Whoregeous Mix)” is a fun and welcome remixed version, using Kim Stuart’s engaging voice sampled singing “At The Dirty Disco.” Well done.

So much talent, so little recognition. And, as if sixteen tracks of sheer bliss isn’t enough, the Slaves have included a DVD with extra goodies. This is a collection that you cannot afford to be without. Let your fingers do the walking over to Marsden Global and click on the CD’s icon on the right side of the page. Support these guys by buying the superb CD/DVD combo “The Money Shot.” And one day soon, when they finally hit the big time, you’ll be glad you did.

 Slave To The SQUAREwave Resources:

Ralph D’s Slave site: http://slavetothequarewave.blogspot.com/ where you can view the Slaves’ complete discography and song lyrics

Slave To The SQUAREwave’s official site: http://www.slavetothesquarewave.com/

Marsden Global: http://www.marsdenglobal.com/

Slave To The SQUAREwave on MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/slavetothesquarewave

80’s (and sometimes 00’s) Music Rules ~ Slave to the SQUAREwave

slave_bSometimes local talent is so good, so fantastic, so unbelievably gifted, that it takes your breath away. Such is the case with Toronto, Ontario’s Slave to the SQUAREwave. This is a group that is tight, has all the right sounds, and boasts a lead singer who has the talent and range of David Byrne and David Bowie all wrapped up in one. They have got the look, sound, and feel of 80’s New Wave and synth pop down so well, that at times while listening  it’s hard to believe that I have not been surreptitiously transported back to the era of music that I cherish so much.

 I  have had the privilege of being introduced to the magic that is all things SLAVE via David Marsden’s weekly show streaming over the Internet from 94.9 The Rock FM (see June 25th’s post). This incredible group is made up of Colin Troy (vocals), Andrew Starr (guitar), Rob Stuart (keyboards), and Doug Lea (drums). Colin’s voice is a solid, full range that encompasses everything from a growl to a flawless high-octave wail. Bringing it all into perfect balance, the backing instrumentals are up to the raw power of Colin’s vocal mastery.slave_c

 This is a group that not only nails their songs in the studios, but is a strong onstage presence at live shows as well. I have heard reports from fans lucky enough to see them in and around the TO area, but I have also been given the chance to see and hear this phenomenon for myself via two fan videos on YouTube. Someone had the presence of mind to shoot video of  STTSW performing two of their hottest tracks live for CBC radio which I have included below.

 Slave to the SQUAREwave is such a powerful foursome that they deserve international fame. The fact that some artists/bands who have half the talent have struck it rich in the international music world, makes a strong case that this foursome is destined for the big time. One can only hope that they will be promoted strongly, garnering the following they need to catapult them into the spotlight. After nearly a decade, they are more than due.

slave_a Visit the Slave to the SQUAREwave website where you can hear full versions of some of their best music. Check them out on MySpace where you can treat your ears to their searing hot  new single “Healing Hands,” among other fabulous selections. RalphD has information about each of their tracks on his Slave to the SQUAREwave fan blog.

 If you like what you hear, support them by purchasing their music via CD Baby.

 

 

  [Edit: I received this note from Rob Stuart about the forthcoming Slave to the SQUAREwave CD:

 Missparker,

Thanks so much the kind words about S2TSW. I just wanted to let you know that I’ve just finished mastering the new 15 song CD which is called “The Money Shot” and I’m in the process of finalizing the artwork. It’s going to be a double disc set with a bonus DVD which includes videos, remixes, lyrics and photos. Release date is July 21st and will be available exclusively from http://www.marsdenglobal.com.

Thanks for your continued support.

Rob

 From the samples that David Marsden has played on his show, I can’t wait to purchase my copy!]

  “Sinners of Saint Avenue” Live for CBC via YouTube user DirkFimbob:

“Summertown” via YouTube user slavetothesquarewave:
 

“Sinners of Saint Avenue” via YouTube user KRASHandBarbie:

“New York’s A Go-Go” live for CBC via YouTube user DirkFimbob:

“Pumpin’ Up The ‘P’ House” via YouTube user SparksMusic:

Discography

slaveSlave to the SQUAREwave (2000)

slave2The Future is Square (2002)

slave1Big Change (SparksMusic 2007)

 

 

(no image available) The Money Shot (due for release July 21, 2009)