Invisible Guy recommends: 80s Gothic Rock – 1985 (Part IV)

I think it’s time to give you another treat, this time I’ll be recommending my favorite Gothic rock bands from the 80s. I begin with 1980-1981 (Part I) and then gradually move my way up throughout the years: 1982 (Part II), 1983-1984 (Part III), 1985 (Part IV), 1986-1987 (Part V) and 1988-1989 (Part VI). I’ll be continuing the fad of six different episodes and I’ll bid you my welcome into the world I knew and the world I’ve discovered and continually re-discover when I’m surfing the web. I want to give people another opportunity and to find out about bands and artists that they haven’t heard of before. Sometimes I occasionally sneak in a bigger band or two, but that’ll just be if the song is good enough. But by no means is this a top 30 of the best Gothic rock from the 80s, I’ll have to give you a top-10 list in the future of the Gothic bands that I think top my own list. I’ll also have some commentary beneath each clip as I had in the earlier parts that covered post-punk, mostly because it looks more aesthetically pleasuring and say something about the song or the lyrics. Let me take you into this world now.

You’re now entering Part IV of the recommendation.

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Review: TSTI – evaluations

Pretty sharp, analogue and complex for being a bedroom project. Like a throwback from the wonderful 80’s. First song “In Loving Memory” is a wonderful example of what could be done with a little bit of synth-pop and dark wave, without a forced etiquette and instead of trying to push a false sense of genuine feelings. This is what happens when you combine the finest elements of both genres, and when you have put so much effort into the music that it stays afloat without doing a thing. There’s a sense of deepness in this song that provokes the most profound feelings from inside. A sense of loneliness and a sense of love, reeks out of the holes from the sound-scape. Unable to keep it in, it spreads throughout and just stays put on the edges as they touch you slowly but with much sincerity. The synths are a huge part of that experience, which goes from angelic to dreamy, back to the darker spheres in no time spent. I cannot grasp how a bedroom project could do such an impact, as I was expecting a much more amateurish and foolish approach to the wonders of those genres he’s involved with.

Needless to say, my expectations met their match, beyond my own grasp of the reality at hand. The slow-paced synths, the bombastic elements and the utter and sheer dedication that can be felt – have moved me inside and I’m not the same again. As for the next track “Queen of Swoons“, I can feel the more industrial-oriented rhythms and controlled environment that enrich the sound even more. A totally different track at hand, but with the same sympathetic vibe noticed within. I have a slight feeling of a totally new thing, but at the same time one or another remnant from times past. If Fad Gadget had combined his ingenuity with the synth-pop serenity of a band like Depeche Mode, put into a time-capsule and moved to the 00’s, their own brainchild would be TSTI. A weird sense of a predecessor being influenced by a progenitor, all mixed down into their counterparts, but also what doesn’t separate them. It’s like everything is falling to place, with immense speed and just leaving it up to me to decide how this wonderful piece of art should be described. Not being able to grasp it fully, not being able to describe it properly. But I surely want do my best. The third track “Pull The Animal’s Teeth Out“, begins with a rather heavy intro and is masked with a nice synth-line.

When I think about it, the vocals of S. Smith are both soothing and entrancing at the same time. The whole mood of the songs feels like something Andrew Eldritch would’ve put together if he was working with S. Smith. With that said, I think the utterly complex structure of the song deepens the mood of the sound-scape as a whole and surely grasps the 80’s melodic content by the balls. No, it’s not being castrated, but it’s being squeezed out and used as a resource for the wonderful path of laying both a concrete and emotional landscape of different harmonies, synths and the wonderfully arranged drums. Fourth track “Love & Truth” is about as minimalistic as its gotten on this album, a much harder edge to both the synths and the sound-scape at hand. Somewhat decorticated to fit the means of the analogue wonders that he is working with. It reminds me of the old-school EBM-styled beats that were prevalent in that genre in the 80’s but also later on in the 90’s. Not only the fixed and repetitive synths with an unorthodox touch to it, but also the more pop-oriented and dreamy synths that works like a wonder when combined with the vocals. As I move on to the fifth track, which is titled “Acquaintance“, the harder beats get even more room in the mix. It feels like a religious experience and it feels like Smith is opening the door for me and welcoming me into his adamant home. Whilst it at the same time feels sinister and include some damn fine synths that together produce this kind of sound-scape that feels like its about to fall down below because of the pressure on it.

The progression of it is totally out of my own realm, its as if he’s got a bunch of different alter-egos that sit with him and compose these songs. One where the darker side of him is allowed entry and one where the “lighter” side is inducing the sound-scape with a refined reality. Even though it very much feels like its a well-produced piece, at the same time it feels like something beyond the borders of music. I can sense a lot of hard and cold nostalgia revealing itself here. Sixth track “Match To Friendship” is enough industrial-influenced to make me spew out nuts and bolts. At times it feels like its borrowed from indie pop, but at the same time, there’s a harsher sense to the sound-scape than that. There are synths in this sound-scape that I wouldn’t hear anywhere else than in a great 80’s song and it feels like its built up by those synths. When I listen through it, again and again, I feel like he’s borrowed a lot of influences from genres that might not be that apparent. I feel like there’s a more commercial vibe to it, but on the other hand, I don’t believe that it would be accepted there. Much because of the hard-knocking beats and severe punishment you get to endure whilst listening to it. But it’s all worth it. However, when the seventh track comes on, there are a lot of things that are about to change. It’s titled “This Damage Is Magic” and it feels more like a knock away from a harsh newstyle EBM song than anything else.

Blend it with the finest you can get in future-pop, add up some nasty elements to it and you’ll have a hybrid of VNV Nation and something else. I’m not really sure what that would be, but it surely would be something angelic. I love how the synths start sounding like dolphins communicating below surface, even though its almost a few seconds. I believe that is the essence of S. Smith, he can both be very complex at hand but when you think about it – he’s also managed to keep a basic edge to what he’s doing. Now things get even more out of hand, as I tune in to the eighth song “Because You Told Me To“, which sounds like something the cat dragged in. I’m confused now, very confused. From a mighty synth-pop and extravagant dark wave album, to a techno-oriented house-hybrid? There’s a lot of 303 in this mix. I feel Acid House, but its not even close. However, he’s close to the 80’s, which is when it had its peak. But I don’t really know, I can’t really dig it. Even though the sound-scape is perfectly fine, the softer side of it is just so malplaced amongst this 303-vibe. Well, enough with this, now its time for the last track: “In Loving Memory (anti-707 mix)“, which is basically the first song but without a 707, which means “no drums for you, sucker“. Personally, I think this song doesn’t really take on the first song, but fine, it sounds pretty good anyway. I feel like there’s something missing and I feel like the drums should be there. However, this is one of the greatest albums of the 00’s (2000’s), that I’ve heard and I’m going to bookmark his bandcamp. Thank you for such a fantastic experience, never stop making art.

You can and should buy his limited edition CD over at bandcamp, but if you don’t want to, you could buy the digital download-only album. Do also listen to his album below.

Min hyllning till Frank Tovey aka Fad Gadget!

Frank Tovey har varit min musikaliska och emotionella influens under ett flertal år. Vad många inte vet är att Depeche Mode var tungt influerade av denna man, likväl har en stor mängd andra band och artister också varit det. En otroligt duktig musiker men även performanceartist om man nu kan använda det ordet i ett enda sammanhängande ord. Frågan är då vilket alterego han har använt sig av? Namnet  är Fad Gadget. Förutom detta har han lämnat ett avtryck på musikscenen för evigt, särskilt inom electronica. Tyvärr så hade han haft problem med sitt hjärta sedan han var liten och dog den 3:e April 2002 till följd av en hjärtattack – endast 45 år gammal.

Den första dagen i Mars detta år så dedikerades en heldag till hans minne där band som Xeno & Oaklander samt Ike Yard uppträdde. Detta skedde i New York, där de även visade dokumentären som avhandlade hans liv, vid namn Fad Gadget by Frank Tovey.

I April detta år så fick han även en video tillägnad minnet av honom. Detta stod det legendariska skivbolaget Mute Records bakom.

Själv spelar jag hans låtar dagligen och om jag inte gör det, så sker det åtminstone varannan dag. Att en person kan beröra en så pass mycket med sin musik är på ett sätt märkligt men förståeligt på ett annat sätt. Den känslan man får av att spela samtliga av hans låtar men särskilt Coitus Interruptus, Lady Shave, Collapsing New People, Life On The Line, Back To Nature och Fireside Favorites, för att nämna favoriterna, är något som man inte kan beskriva med ord om man inte upplever det själv. Visserligen är musiksmaken subjektiv, men det känns som att Frank bidrog med mycket mer än just bara musik. En konstform i sig, som han själv gav upphov till och lyckades förfina under sin tid på denna jord.

Det finns få band som lyckas skapa en sådan total känsla av emotionell tillfredställning. Ytterst fåtal band eller artister, som enligt mig borde ha förtjänat mer än de fick till att börja med. Där man faktiskt blir lycklig av själva musiken, kanske inte just av ämnena men just att det är så välproducerat och att musiken står på skiljelinjen mellan konst och musik. Att lyckas kombinera de elementen är otroligt svårt, men det är just vad Frank hade lyckats med och har, med tanke på att det spelas ännu och människor uppskattar hans musik än idag.

I skuggan av Fad Gadget fanns nämligen ytterligare någonting, en slags utveckling men ändå frånkoppling från Fad Gadget. Där han under sitt eget namn, Frank Tovey, lyckades skapa något som var relativt annorlunda om man jämför det med just hans alterego. En slags folkmusikalisk version av honom som kanske just representerades bättre under det riktiga namnet. På den numera nedlagda hemsidan tipsade jag om just den plattan som släpptes 1989. Nio år efter debutalbumet Fireside Favorites, åtta år efter Incontinent, sju år efter Under The Flag och slutligen fem år efter Gag.

Ett album som kanske inte direkt stått i rampljuset, eftersom att han fortsatte att producera elektronisk musik (till en viss grad) under sitt riktiga namn. Därför vill jag introducera er till just det albumet, som heter Sam Hall. Det är en EP med fyra folklåtar där han tolkar just gamla irländska visor och sånger. Särskilt underbar är låten med samma namn som Epn: Sam Hall. Min andra favoritlåt från samma platta måste vara tolkningen av House Of The Risin’ Sun, som han lyckas genomföra med bravur och versionen av den är minst sagt annorlunda.

Förutom detta album vill jag även hävda att det finns ett annat album som inte stått under strålkastarna särskilt mycket. Detta album är en av hans soloalbum, som han släppte året innan han släppte Sam Hall – nämligen 1988. Namnet på detta album är Civilian och var det näst-sista albumet som han släppte under sitt eget namn, samt det tredje i raden av album som han skapat under det namnet. På just detta album får han utlopp för den mer experimentella sidan av Fad Gadget, där han inkluderar en hel del experimentella influenser för att höja ambitionsnivån ytterligare.

Nu när ni vet detta så tycker jag att ni bör spana in dessa album. Jag tänkte även lägga ut min egna favoritlåt (just nu) som är Collapsing New People (Berlin Mix). Så låt oss återigen hylla Frank Tovey och tacka honom för det han lämnade till oss. Njut av musiken och lyssna på det ni ännu inte lyssnat på.

Tack Frank för allt du har gjort.

Invisible Guy recommends: 80s Post-Punk – 1986-1987 (Part V)

I’ve been through with you in the 80′s now in about six parts, four parts were about new wave and two parts were about minimal wave. Now, because of popular demand (not really), I’ve decided to unleash the post-punk monster. It will feature six different parts, whereas each one of them will concentrate on important years. I will walk you through a decade of important music, I could almost call it the golden years of post-punk. The parts will go on like this: Part I, 1980-1981. Part II, 1982. Part III, 1983-1984. Part IV, 1985. Part V, 1986-1987. And finally: Part VI, 1988-1989. Hopefully you’ll enjoy this madness, featuring (mostly) obscure or unknown bands in this sphere. New for this recommendation will be that I have different commentaries under each video, some of them are humorous and others are not. It will cover the basic aspect of each video or text. Enjoy this one.

You’re now entering Part V of the recommendation.

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