Saturday, 24 December 2011

Happy Christmas From Elektro Diskow (Human League - Don't You Want Me: Xmas No.1 30 years ago today!)

It's 30 years ago to the day that the Human League were top of the Christmas Tree in the UK with their evergreen elektro classic Don't You Want Me, captured here in a performance from German TV. Merry  Christmas and a happy new year from all at Elektro Diskow!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Talk Talk - Talk Talk (Top Of The Pops 1982)

One of the great  talents of the 80s, Mark Hollis and Talk Talk had hits in Europe and the US (most notably with their 1984 anthem It's My Life) and were critically lauded throughout their career but never scaled the commercial heights that their fantastic songs deserved.

Here they're captured in early synthpop mode on their self-titled hit (available in extended mix form on Elektro Diskow) Talk Talk on a '82 edition of Top Of  The Pops  .

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Elektro Diskow - Playalistic!

We are very excited to be working with playlist specialists Playalistic across Scandinavia on exclusive Spotify Elektro Diskow playlists. Have a listen to our new Elektrofied playlist here and go to Playalistic's site and Facebook page for more!
Spotify User: playalistic-sweden

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Remembering Larry Levan - The Jimi Hendrix Of Dance Music (via NPR Music)

Great piece on NPR Music on the importance of Larry Levan (and the Paradise Garage) to dance culture. It includes fascinating interviews with Danny Tenaglia (DJ, producer and Paradise Garage regular) and the founder of the Ministry Of Sound nightclub and dance music empire Justin Berkmann.

Exclusive Interview With Martyn Ware from Heaven 17

We are delighted to have another exclusive Elektro Diskow interview this time in the shape of Martyn Ware of Heaven 17/B.E.F. In this excellent (even if we do say so ourselves!) interview Martyn talks about his formative musical experiences in Sheffield, playing Studio 54, watching Madonna's first public performance at the legendary Danceteria in New York and much much more! Go to our partners Mixmag's site for a read!

And as a bonus treat here is the superb and very different demo version of H17's hit Temptation!

Monday, 28 November 2011

That Mixmag Thing - Elektro Diskow Launch Party! (02/12)

We are very excited to be formally launching Elektro Diskow at our friends Mixmag's club night That Mixmag Thing at the Queen Of Hoxton in London this Friday 2nd December.

Stuart Paterson (the compiler of the album) will be DJing on the ground floor alongside Dokki Dokki and Neil Diablos, spinning a selection of Elektro classics to celebrate the CD's release.

In the basement, the one and only Timo Maas (!) will be playing - it's free, so get there nice and early! :)

More details here



Friday, 25 November 2011

Muzic Box '87 - Ron Hardy AND Frankie Knuckles!

Talking of House legends, what about this for a line-up! The two great titans of Chicago DJing on one bill with Adonis (of No Way Back fame) supporting at Ron's Muzic Box - just as House enters the mainstream consciousness!

Must have been quite a night ...

Thanks to Nathan T for his help in unearthing this amazing historical document!

Exclusive Interview With Larry Heard AKA Mr Fingers for Elektro Diskow!

We recently spoke to none other than Chicago House legend Larry Heard (AKA Mr Fingers) about his early musical experiences and memories of the elektro diskow period. Have a look at the exclusive Q & A hosted on our partners Mixmag's site, and while you're having a read listen to some highlights from  Larry's list of  electro faves mentioned in the piece (see below). Best known for his classic single Can You Feel It (one of the cornerstones of House) Larry has been producing amazing tunes for over a quarter of a century.

Larry's playlist is a thrilling mix of elektro, Italo disco and early 80s Boogie/post-disco that sets the scene for the House movement that followed.

Stay tuned for more exclusive Elektro Diskow interviews!

Click here for Exclusive Larry Heard Interview on for Elektro Diskow!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Michel Moers From Telex - Exclusive Interview for!

We are very honoured to have a rare and exclusive interview with Michel Moers, singer with Belgian elektro maestros Telex. Their seminal 1979 single Moskow Diskow had a profound effect on the electronic scene both in Europe and North America providing a template for Techno, House and a plethora of genres to come.

They continued to be celebrated in underground clubs across the world  throughout the 80s with dance classics like Brainwash, Peanuts, Raised By Snakes and L'Amour Toujours (featuring Sparks) and are feted by House and Techno godfathers Larry Heard and Carl Craig.

- What are the origins of Telex? How did you all meet and why did you decide to form an electronic group?

Marc (Moulin) had an alternative music project of on a label he called "Kamikaze", a well chosen name !
Most of the recording sessions were at Dan (Lacksman's) studio. I was one of the 'alternative' musicians/singers/writers.
Dan was a pioneer and already had 3 Moog modules. he had started to make pop electronic music in the 'Pop Corn' style. Marc , a jazz musician, also had a MiniMoog he used for solos and bass lines.
With us three in the same room, Marc thought we could mix our skills and do some kind of 'continental' music as opposed to music coming from abroad and mainly related to rock'n roll/ blues. This music would be electric/electronic, no guitars, and would 'speak' about our own environment,... pop music, as opposed to some kind of unstructured or experimental electronic music, rather than Wendy Carlos' titanic work.
Well, the machines were so simple at that time that the sound was well defined from the very beginning.

- You had pop hits in Europe with Twist A St Tropez and Rock Around The Clock and then you dropped the incredible Moskow Diskow (the inspiration for the album Elektro Diskow!).  When I play that track to people who don’t know it they can’t believe it was made in 1979! Could you tell us a bit about how you created it?

About the covers we made:
we chose anthems to define our (musical) vocabulary and show the difference between these originals and the music we wanted to do. Twist à St Tropez was a very famous "FrenchYEYE" hit in the 60', Rock around the clock was of course THE rock ‘n’ roll tune, Ça plane pour moi became a punk anthem and La Bamba....

About Moskow Diskow:
As I said machines were really simple then, monophonic sequencers, no MIDI and Marc was an excellent keyboard player.
He started to play a bassline of straight bass/snare drum patterns, then Dan programmed electronic high hats to give the idea of a train.
Then came the idea of an old-fashioned train whistle. Trains weren’t using that sound any more, but it is like when one wants to make a watch or make time a noise,  "tick-tock" - no clock or watch makes that sound any more but it’s still the best way of representing it..
Then came the lyrics, we always liked to play with clichés and at that time one of them was disco, also American snobism using french words like "fantastic", "le bag" etc, and also, among graphic designers there was the trend for russian constructivism....
Talk over with an instrumental melody indicated that the voice was in instrument and not a lead.
Put that together, and it makes Moskow Diskow!

One funny thing about that song: we tend to think it inspired Michael Jackson for Billie Jean, using the same chords. In an interview he said he got his idea when hearing a European electronic group on the radio.
We like to believe it was Telex, ;-D

One thing that Telex brought to the Elektro Diskow scene, I think, was a feel for groove and bass. Were you disco fans?

We were disco fans for the groove it brought, not for the glittering side :-) and we adopted the simple disco bass drum pattern for many of our tunes allowing the bass and other instruments to move inside that tight frame.
As jazz musician, Marc was always searching for the groove, and as I said he played a lot of tracks himself, without any programming.
Moreover, analogue instruments gave off some kind of groove by themselves, simply because electricity was not stable and the sequencers were not very accurate.

It's funny to remember that many people at that time thought that electronic music was cold.

- Were you clubbers? Did you draw inspiration for your records from the club scene?

I was the only one going to clubs. In general, musicians do not dance ;-)
But of course we listened to many different kinds of music and Marc had a radio show which made him listen to everything he received, and then he shared with us.
We never really checked our songs in clubs, ... when the 3 of us smiled, that was the test.

- Were you aware of the effect records like Moskow Diskow and later tunes like Brainwash were having in clubs both in Europe and the States?

We were not. From the beginning, we thought our music was disposable though more important than us as people. We tried not to appear or make concerts. So, even if we made TV shows (because there were no videos at that time) it was not our favourite activity, being introverts, the 3 of us :-). We spent most of our time in the studio.
Well, we were aware of royalty statements and press articles but this did not really show us how influential we were.
Even with our last record, 5 years ago, for many weeks our site was visited more than 1000 times a day but this does not mean we sold many records!

- Did you know about the emerging New Beat movement in Ghent, Belgium ?

Yes, and we were asked to make some remixes of our tunes in that direction, .... a waste of time :-)
In fact, some of our songs just worked as they were, like Radio Radio.

- Another great facet of Telex was your sense of humour (on tracks like We Are All Getting Old). Was this a conscious thing?

Humour was part of the goal. We were brought up in a surrealist country, Belgium, where humour is probably the only  way to survive :-)
We've been invaded by everybody, being the centre of Europe', on the way of every conquerors. One needs to be able to keep one’s distance to resist :-)
In that sense we were quite inspired by the 'cartoon' humourist environment we lived in since our youth, mainly with Hergé, Jijé, Franquin; E.P Jacobs.

About We Are All Getting Old: my grandmother was complaining she was "getting" old, I answered she only started before me but that we were all getting old.
It sounded interesting to make a song about a forbidden subject in pop music: not being young.

- Telex inspired many of the young musicians coming out of Detroit and Chicago in the late 80s. How did you view the new House sounds?

With a lot of warmth. It was interesting to see how electronic music was really getting groovy, how electronic instruments were becoming more related to the body, almost like guitars or saxophones could have been before.
In fact we had been imported into the USA in '85 mainly with the track Peanuts which had a lot of airplay. We received three offers to make an LP, one I do not remember, but one from Atlantic, and one from Tamla Motown.
People thought we were black. Unfortunately we chose Atlantic, who were launching a new electronic division which turned out to be not very succesful.

- You famously called a Telex Best Of ‘ I Don’t Like Remixes’ – do you really hate remixes? Are there any mixes of your records or other people’s that you like?

Well, this was the era of top models and DJ's, who we felt were the most superficial and less innovative cultural figures of our times.
In many remixes of our tunes we could not even hear any trace of our music and we thought that this way of recycling was a waste.
Of course there are excellent remixers bringing new strength and ideas and not everybody is on our blacklist. Carl Craig is the first name that comes to my mind.

- Do you hear echoes of your music in today’s records? Are there any contemporary artists that stand out for you?

Many sounds are the same, even in other kinds of music but more efficient because of technical progress with compression etc, and maybe more 'dead' also because cut and paste culture produces ‘clones’......  more related to us La Roux, Mirwais... More than the music, the appearance of the Young Professionals in their video D.I.S.C.O reminded me a lot of our humorous side.

Big thanks to Ian at EMI Belgium for his help in organising this interview!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Yazoo - Situation (Live on UK TV 1983!)

A rare and satisfyingly raw live 1983 performance of Yazoo's transatlantic dancefloor stormer (Track 1 Disk 2 of Elektro Diskow!) Situation from UK TV show The Tube. All 5 tracks from this session including a fantastic run through of Don't Go are also on Youtube. 

Maestro: Larry Levan & Early DJ culture

A fantastic and long (9 part but so worth it!) documentary chronicling the development of club culture from its beginnings in New York. From the earliest days at David Mancuso's Loft through to Studio 54 and the 80s heyday of the Paradise Garage, Danceteria and the Roxy, NYC was at the forefront of shaping the idea of clubbing and the nightclub.

Legendary figures like Frankie Knuckles give insights into the genesis of New York clubland, whose influence is still felt today. Central to this was the eclecticism of both playlist and clientele with DJing colossi such as Larry Levan and Jellybean weaving the latest European electronic sounds in alongside Disco in its post and mutant forms. For more on the legacy of Larry Levan and the Garage, have a look at the Going Back To My Roots blog's excellent post on LL.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Human League - Dare: 30 Years Young!

It is nearly 30 years to the day give or take a week or so that one of the most important pop albums ever was released, the Human League's masterpiece Dare.  The LP  influenced not only the mainstream (becoming a blueprint for electronic music in the decade that followed) but also the burgeoning dance underground. The iconic singles The Sound Of The Crowd, Open Your Heart, Love Action and the worldwide smash Don't You Want Me were not only mainstays of the charts they also hit hard in the clubs of Detroit, Chicago (Ron Hardy used to play his own edit of Love Action at the Muzic Box) and throughout Europe.

The echoes of Martin Rushent's immaculate landmark production can still be heard today from the darkest  recesses of clubland to the shiniest modern pop single.

Rushent, who sadly passed away earlier this year, also created the world's first remix album in the shape of Dare's sister album Love & Dancing (its version of The Things Dreams Are Made Of features on Elektro Diskow). A painstakingly created piece of manual tape splicing work, the album featured dubby re-edits of tracks from Dare. The record was a smash hit in its own right, reaching no.3 in the UK and going Platinum in the process.

Sound Of The Crowd (on Top Of The Pops)

Love Action (On Australian TV)

League Unlimited Orchestra - The Things Dreams Are Made Of

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Fad Gadget - Collapsing New People (1984 TV appearance)

Suitably bonkers (and brilliant!) TV performance from 1984 from one of the Elektro movement's unsung heroes, the late great Frank Tovey AKA Fad Gadget.  The first artist to sign to Daniel "The Normal" Miller's legendary Mute Records, Frank produced a string of fantastic records for the label including Ladyshave, King Of The Flies and this classic (both featured on Elektro Diskow). Created in Berlin with a full band, Fad's final album, 1984's Gag (which contains Collapsing New People),  brimmed with ideas and innovations. Collapsing uses the sound of a printing press alongside percussion from Mute label mates and Industrial torch bearers Einstürzende Neubauten.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Elektro Diskow - The Samples!

Testament to the enduring influence of these tracks is their use as samples in contemporary recordings. There are a couple of recent (ish)examples (both on Elektro Diskow!)that show the 'reach' of these original tracks in terms of the musical styles that have plundered their beats.

Yazoo: Situation - Snoop Dogg Ft T Pain: Boom & The Saturdays - If This Is Love

This seminal electro proto House classic (a favourite in the clubs of both Chicago and New York)  has been heavily sampled and remixed down the years but in the past couple it has been re-worked into two very different records from two completely different musical schools. First up is Snoop's T Pain-produced Boom a very 21st century hip hop track that uses that addictive synth line to full effect. The second is UK girl group the Saturdays' debut hit If This Is Love, an 80s-influenced piece of pop that grafts the synth hook on to the verse with some panache.


Arto Lindsay & Ambitious Lovers: Let's Be Adult - Groove Armada: Song For Mutya

Arto Lindsay's arty (and slightly obscure) slice of electropop from 1984 is turned into a breezy summer dancefloor confection by London beatmasters Groove Armada (with a little help from ex-Sugababe Mutya Buena).

Monday, 17 October 2011

Elektro Diskow Independent Interview

Nice interview with Stuart Paterson, the compiler of Elektro Diskow.

Elektro Diskow - Released Today!

Elektro Diskow is released today! Available from all good record stores! :)

Elektro Diskow Spotify Playlists

We've put together some 'Further Listening' Spotify playlists to give you a little extra flavour of the artists that inspired Elektro Diskow, the musicians that followed in their footsteps and also a bonus playlist of remixes of tracks from the album. Click on the links below.

Spotify: Influences

Spotify: Generation Next

Spotify: Remixes

Friday, 14 October 2011

Telex - Moskow Diskow (Carl Craig Remix)

Detroit Techno icon Carl Craig was just one of the many Tech'heads from the Motor City who would have grown up listening to the European electronic sounds played on  local radio stations. The Electrifying Mojo had a legendary show where he would play these electro 12 inches alongside the likes of Prince, Parliament and early hip hop. Here Carl gives his sublime take on Telex's seminal classic.  

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Savage Progress - Heart Begin To Beat (An Extended Mad Mix)

An intriguing track this, from one of the more obscure corners of the ElektroDiskow universe. Savage Progress were a British group formed in London in late 1982 with a sound that took in Caribbean and African rhythms meshed  with a dark electronic aesthetic.Whilst they never hit big in their homeland they did have a sizeable hit in continental Europe with their single My Soul Unwraps Tonight. Heart Begin To Beat (their third single for Virgin/10) released in 1984 wasn't a pop hit but had a massive impact in underground clubs throughout the world.

In Belgium it was embraced by New Beat clubs in Ghent and beyond while over the Atlantic in Chicago the track is acknowledged as a Ron Hardy/Muzic Box club classic with House innovator Larry Heard (AKA Mr Fingers) acknowledging its influence on his sound. The Extended Mad Mix of HBTB is getting its first release on CD (and digitally!) on Elektro Diskow.  Here's the band performing the 7" version on German TV show Musik Laden.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Synth Britannia

Fantastic BBC documentary (in all its full 90 minute glory!) featuring the leading British lights of the Elektropop movement  including Phil Oakey from the Human League, Martyn Ware from Heaven 17, Vince Clarke and Alison Moyet from Yazoo  and Daniel Miller from the Normal (and latterly boss of Mute Records).

Elektro Diskow - Minimix!

To celebrate the release of Elektro Diskow next Monday (17th October) we have put together a nifty minimix of tracks from the album which our friends at Mixmag are hosting for us over on their site. Click to listen! :)

Elektro Diskow minimix by Mixmag

Friday, 7 October 2011

The Sparks That Fired The Elektro Revolution

While previous recordings had hinted at an electronic future to come, two records came along in 1977 that changed the direction of music inspiring the next generation of electro producers. Donna Summer's I Feel Love (masterminded by Giorgio Moroder) and Kraftwerk's Trans Europe Express were responsible for turning open-minded punkers on to the possibilities of machine music. On the day Martyn Ware (later of B.E.F. /Heaven 17) went to Phil Oakey's house and formed what became the Human League, he brought two records:  I Feel Love and TEE. Playing these two landmark discs, Martyn told Phil  "We can do this!"  David Bowie remembers Brian Eno bursting into the studio while they were recording Low in Berlin putting the single of I Feel Love on the deck and declaring, 'I have heard the sound of the future.'  From house to hip hop (Afrika Bambaataa and Arthur Baker famously sampled TEE on the game-changing Planet Rock), pop to dubstep, r 'n' b to d 'n' b, all owe a debt to these visionary records.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

This is Elektro Diskow!

Released on October 17th on EMI Gold and with an exclusive tie in with Mixmag, Elektro Diskow is a 2 CD comp which takes the listener on a musical journey through the darker recesses of the 80s. Elektro Diskow celebrates the heroes of a movement whose innovations continue to inspire music makers today.

At the end of the 70s a musical landscape emerged that would inform and influence music for the next 10 years and beyond. A new digital underground based on the electronics of Moroder and Kraftwerk created its own subterranean club scene on both sides of the Atlantic. 

In the US, New York led the way with club playlists taking in the latest European 12”s alongside the freshest post and mutant disco. In Chicago, Ron Hardy and Frankie Knuckles blazed a trail forging what would eventually become House. Running parallel with Chi-Town was the Detroit scene which eventually gave birth to Techno. Motor City clubbers were to dub these Eurodisco sounds ‘Progressive’.

Meanwhile, back in Europe, London’s Blitz club became the breeding ground for a generation of electropop and New Wave stars that cut their clubbing teeth listening to and then creating these new dance sounds. In Italy, disco evolved into Italodisco, Belgium developed its own weird and wonderful musical subset based around the Ghent and Antwerp scenes and on a island in the Mediterranean, a DJ called Alfredo developed an all-inclusive style that would include early 80s synthpop mixed with early House, to create a new genre - Balearic

01. Telex - Moskow Diskow (French Extended Version) **
02. Roxy Music - Angel Eyes (Extended Remix)
03. The Normal - Warm Leatherette
04. Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - Messages (10” Single Version)
05. Our Daughter’s Wedding - Lawn Chairs
06. Silicon Teens - State Of Shock (Part 2)
07. Rheingold - Dreiklangsdimensionen
08. Telex - Réalité
09. B.E.F - Groove Thang
10. The League Unlimited Orchestra - Things That Dreams Are Made Of (Instrumental) (Remix)
11. Heaven 17 - Play (7” Version) *
12. Devo - Out Of Sync
13. Fad Gadget - King Of The Flies
14. Talk Talk - Talk Talk (Extended Mix)
15. Snowy Red - Euroshima (Wardance) **
01. Yazoo - Situation (Original US Dub)
02. The Assembly - Stop Start
03. Fad Gadget - Collapsing New People (Berlin Mix)
04. Duet Emmo - Heart Of Hearts (Or So It Seems)
05. Japan - Visions Of China
06. Laid Back - White Horse (U.S. Edit)
07. The Human League - (Keep Feeling) Fascination (Improvisation)
08. Vicious Pink Phenomena - Cccan’t You See
09. Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - Tesla Girls (Extended Mix)
10. Nacht Und Nebel - Beats Of Love
11. Arto Lindsay - Let’s Be Adult **
12. Savage Progress - Heart Begin To Beat (Extended Mad Mix) *
13. Pet Shop Boys - In The Night (Extended)
14. Nitzer Ebb - Join In The Chant (Lies! Instrumental)

* First time on CD
** First digital release