Electro waltzes and deviancy: the Mr. Strange Interview.

 

Mr. Strange 2015 _RingMaster Review

Some know Mr. Strange as the former frontman of the brilliant circus rock steampunks The Shanklin Freak Show, others more some from their solo exploits and especially outstanding 2014 album Wonderful World Of Weird. What is beginning to be recognised is that the sound conjuror of musical deviancy from the Isle of Wight is one of the UK’s most imaginative and unique songwriters. Proof to that has come with their fiercely tremendous new album The Bible of Electric Pornography, the first offering since the rebirth of the persona and sound of Mr. Strange over past months. The just released album is a “sacrilegious assault of electro-influenced filth”; a thrilling incitement of electronic and rock ‘n’ roll alchemy with the unique Mr. Strange imagination. A certain album of the year contender for a great many, we grab time with its creator and took a look onto the defiant invention of The Bible of Electric Pornography.

Hello Mr. Strange, thanks for letting us peer into the heart of your new album.

Before we do though, you are already known for your tapestry of sound and flavours. What are the major inspirations which have most coloured your ideas, songwriting, and approach to making music?

Historically, the culprits in the inspiration department are; Marilyn Manson, Insane Clown Posse, Dr. Steel, Alice Cooper, Gary Numan, etc., anything theatrical, weird, and dark that I can “escape” into. Musical ability has never been that important to me, the atmosphere and/or uniqueness in music has always been more appealing, personally.

I’ve always wanted to create “worlds” for listeners to get lost in; you can see this in each Mr. Strange album, no matter what changes musically the escapism is always there.

Inspirations for this new album are a little different though; Krizz Kaliko, Prince, Peaches, Nine Inch Nails, Lady Gaga, Perturbator, Die Antwoord, The Prodigy, Marilyn Manson’s Mechanical Animals, Dead Or Alive, Dirty Sanchez (the electroclash band), Electric Six and Gary Numan have all played a part. Anton LaVey’s ‘Satanic Bible’ has been an influence, also.

Being primarily an electronic composer I’ve always worked using software, so no Mr. Strange song (or earlier Shanklin Freak Show) song have ever come from a traditional “jam” – all songs are created in a methodical, multi-layered, jigsaw-like way. I imagine this approach, while not in any way unique, has had an effect creating the Mr. Strange “sound” over the years.

As with any artist, everything influences me in some way or another, a lot of it subconsciously. The quirkiness of video game music has always been a large influence, especially pre-2001, before games started trying to ape films so much.

Mr. Strange 2015 pic 5_RingMaster Review

You have just released your new album The Bible of Electric Pornography. Can you give us some idea to the evolution of your craft and music shown in previous propositions and has culminated in the new incitement of ears and emotions?

This album’s been on the cards since about 2005. Originally it was just an idea to make a sleazy electro-rock album called ‘Sleaze Pit’; a few demo songs were written, only one of which survived and made the album. The ‘Sleaze Pit’ idea has always been there, all this time, but there has always been something else I wanted to try when it came to the “next record”. That was until Wonderful World Of Weird came out, then it was a toss-up between doing a metal album or this Sleaze Pit album. My guitar amp broke so I went with Sleaze Pit’!

It was only supposed to take 6 months but took 2 years… It evolved in to a monster.

Ideas kept coming, both musically and thematically. It tied in with a pivotal moment in my life, so I could pour a lot more of myself into it without it feeling at odds with the albums themes; I am the albums themes. There’s a sincerity and “realness” behind the theatricality now which may not have been there before. I hope it comes across to people listening to the record.

In my opinion, this is easily the best album I’ve worked on. I’ve never been very confident or overly pleased with any albums up until now. There’s always been time constraints forcing me to rush to completion, or a loss of interest in the project that has hampered its potential. This is the most personal, well-realised and accessible album I’ve ever done. I’ll be happy if this is the last album I ever do.

Some may mourn the loss of the old Mr. Strange quirky goofiness, but I needed to try something else for this album. I’m sure it’ll be back, though.

Mr. Strange EP album cover _RingMaster Review

You mentioned the time it has taken The Bible of Electric Pornography to grow and emerge etc., can you give us more insight into its writing and recording; also were there any collaborations also involved thus time around?

It was a bit more of a solo effort than Wonderful World of Weird, which was a very collaborative effort between me and Mr. Stench (guitarist). This is mainly due to how electronic the music is, so there wasn’t as much for a guitarist or live drummer to do. It was only meant to take 6 months; I didn’t mean to leave my band mates twiddling their thumbs for so long! But we have written a lot of music together though, it’s just not on this record…

The collaboration with Global Citizen (on the track D/s) came about very naturally. I co-produce their music, so have access to their track “stems” and decided to play about with one of their songs one day. I did a remix/remake, of sorts. It sounded great and fitted with the new album perfectly, so I asked Global Citizen if I could use it on the record, they said yes! I thought it’d be cool to have them sing on it too, their brand of lyrical filth seemed a natural fit.

Mr. Strange 2015 pic 3_RingMaster Review

 

Tell us about the lyrical themes and sparks for some of the tracks within The Bible of Electric Pornography.

There are two main themes running throughout Electric Pornography; Satanism and sexuality. For hundreds of years, religions have led people to believe the two are as one. This has led to an extremely repressed society, ashamed by default, born sinners. Christianity has had such a huge impact on the mentality of the western world over its 2000-odd years; its grip is loosening, but very slowly. The ingrained shame still exists in the western subconscious; some can overcome it easily, for others it can emotionally cripple.

I wanted to make a liberating album; I’m tired of hearing and feeling that I should be ashamed. I want to be the antithesis of that kind of thinking, the adversary of it. Seeing as so much repression, shaming, and bigotry stems from religion, I thought I’d side with one of their classic adversaries, metaphorically. If I’m a deviant abomination in their eyes, so be it, I’ll just embrace it. It’s a middle finger, really. Calling the album a ‘Bible’ is a cheeky slap in the face to the Jesus freaks; it also holds just as much relevance as their Bible, which is none. That’s a positive statement I wanted to make for people who might find this album and who may have to deal with religious bigotry on a daily basis. If it helps just one person feel a little better about themselves, then I’ll call that mission accomplished.

The sexuality in this album is very over-the-top, dark and nasty. This isn’t so much how I view sex and sexuality, but more of a symbolic revelling in the so-called “sinful” debauchery of it all. If I feel a certain way about something, I always take that to the extreme in my music – I blow it up so it’s ten times bigger and more exaggerated than it really is. People who already know my music and “get” it see past the pomp of it all and appreciated the real sentiments behind the overblown way I present them, but I can imagine that to the uninitiated I may seem like a self-obsessed sociopath or something!

Mr. Strange 2015 pic 4_RingMaster Review

Is there one core message within all those aspects it looks at and explores, and specifically that within the album’s finale, The Last Song?

It’s unapologetic and unashamed, and hopefully it will make people feel that way when listening to it.

The finale has two meanings.

The first: the end of a beautiful relationship. A mutual parting of ways that is sometimes necessary and unavoidable.

The second: a farewell to people who may not wish to follow me anymore. I look different and I sound different, I AM different, and that doesn’t always go down well with music fans. The first line sums it up perfectly for me:

 

“I know this isn’t what you wanted,

You wanted more of the same,

But that’s a game I cannot play”

The future for Mr Strange

The future is electric!

Mr. Strange 2015 pic 6_RingMaster Review

Read our review of The Bible of Electric Pornography @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2015/11/05/mr-strange-the-bible-of-electric-pornography/

http://www.mrstrangemedia.com  https://www.facebook.com/Official.Mr.Strange   https://twitter.com/MrStrangeMedia

Pete RingMaster 30/11/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Lord Lav – Lord Of The Dead

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If the uprising of lifeless flesh ever does come to pass instead of looking towards a Rick Grimes or Ash Williams, Britain has the answer in the shape of Lord Lav. To be honest he may not save your life but on the evidence of debut album Lord Of The Dead, he will send you to your demise smiling with content.

Lord Lav is British rapper, producer, and DJ Martin Lavender and Lord Of The Dead a concept rap album about life in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. With a tongue firmly in its cheek, the release is a fun and mischievous adventure, but also a fluid merger of cinematic sounds and electronic colours with the rapping and lyrical uniqueness of Lavender, a mix littered with numerous skits which only add to the revelry. The self-released Lord Of The Dead may not be the best rap album you are likely to hear and yes it is no War of the Worlds, but the Night of the Living Dead meets Shaun of the Dead like encounter is definitely going to be one of the most enjoyable and accomplished propositions to play with your ears and imagination.

Hailing from Southampton Lavender combines his passion for hip hop and zombies for his first album, creating a hungry decay filled landscape of tantalising drama which equally reflects aspects of modern life, in the words of Lavender “In a nutshell, it is about living amongst the ‘brain dead’ people of society and trying not to ‘catch’ the same attitudes to life. It’s about always pursuing your dreams whatever they are, despite the loneliness and dangers that come with doing so.

The opening Dead Rising sets the scene, the tale’s two protagonists, Lord Lav and Gaz, discussing the weirdness going on outside their four walls as a sinister ambience wraps the intrusion of the dead. The skit leads into first proper song They’re Taking Over where the atmosphere of the first piece instantly builds in tension and intimidation as the dead flood the scenery whilst the rapping potency of Lavender narrates and paints with an effect glazed delivery their expanding lust. With haunting theremin lures swarming around words and imagination as keys and violin cast their own distressed hues, the song swiftly has thoughts fully involved in its drama, a deadly theatre which flows into the following Vacate the Doom. Its shimmering sounds seduce and caress the raps falling from Lavender’s lips, keys a musty yet elegant oppression immersing senses and emotions as moments of visceral savagery intersperse the sonic picture.

The Door Won’t Shut sees the two friends start to make their escape one with a knife, the other a rolling pin. Yes smiles are never far from the face as Lord of the Dead continues, the piece emerging as Kill the Brain and the stressful fleeing of the pair. The track is an agitated jumble of aural emotions, Lavender punchy with his spits and expression whilst the music ebbs and flows in its pressure as a persistent and imposing ambience with an almost Hammer Films like hue to its incitement clouds the scene.

Another skit takes the listener into the brilliance of the almost vaudeville like The Mystery of Death. With a ridiculously catchy chorus flirting with ears and the pulsating and heavy also funky sounds around it, the track offers a delicious dramatic emprise with a mischief and lyrical prowess to match. Imagine Insane Clown Posse sings Ian Dury or vice versa and you have the album’s greatest moment. The next proper song Local Zombie Offy sees Lord Lav alone in an off licence quenching his thirst and reflecting on his needs and wants as dark throated pulses and sultrily smouldering sounds flicker and dance around his internal discussion. Vocals are just as bouncy in delivery as the reverb caressed atmosphere and intrigue surrounding his drift into unconsciousness, his awakening coming in the outstanding Way Through the Trees. The gorgeous velvety dark tones of maybe an upright bass or cello provide the first enticing in the imposing passage of the song whilst keys add an ethereal air to the further provocative reflection of Lord Lav. What emerges is a physical and mental jazz noir flight clad in immersive shadows and dark thoughts providing further shade and diversity to the album.

The dreamy mesmeric presence of the song is contrasted by the quintessential British air of the album’s title track, Lord of the Dead strolling with bold gait and aural nostalgia as Lord Lav becomes the lord of the manor with zombies his staff. The ever appealing and unfussy tones of Lavender contrasts perfectly with the sepia coloured and constantly shifting adventure of the music where twenties and thirties sounds collude with jazz and theatrical devilry within another imposingly throbbing bait of beats. Its surreal fantasy makes way for the melancholic When Loneliness Attacks where emotions overwhelm the Lord as beat box and keys embrace the verging on monotone delivery of Lavender’s rap. His slips into song within the fiery and bracing flames of sax add to the fascination whilst again lyrically Lavender has ears enthralled and thoughts broadening the text.

     Wake Up and Break Free! is reality coming back to consume Lord Lav, the skit introducing Set Me Free, the characters ascent to a better place in a sonic haze combined with the theme of breaking free from life’s daily easy to consume monotony. It is a potent close to the album if without offering a final wanted snap to the adventure, but it is an epilogue to the apocalyptic journey leaving an already greedy appetite sufficed and emotions keen for more. They get that with bonus track Wake The Dead, a scuzz driven eruption of sound featuring guitarist Jude from Southampton band Hybrid 6.0 who provides raw riffs and licks to the vocal provocation of Lavender.

Lord of the Dead is one of those encounters which will either light a flame in your imagination or not, but one which certainly has hordes of great snarling reasons for rap and hip hop fans to give it a go. It definitely thrilled us with its persistently enjoyable and creative escapade and is an eager recommendation for anyone with a penchant for zombies, descriptive lyrical invention, and simply devilish fun.

Lord of the Dead is available now @ http://lordlav.com/topspin-store/lord-lavs-store/

http://lordlav.com/

RingMaster 04/12/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Axis Mundi – Sci-Curious

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If debut album Chapel Perilous was the gas cloud holding the seeds to their genesis and the Science Junkie live single the spark to their expulsion, Sci-Curious is the big bang thrusting UK’s sound adventurers Axis Mundi into global recognition. An incendiary merger of aggressive rock, voracious rave, and untethered dubstep just to suggest some of its blistering invention, the band’s second album is a coming of age, a realisation of the potency in songwriting and sound which tempted before whilst breeding another strain of potential to even greater heights. A roaring celebration of science with insatiable riffs, hooks, and melodic predation, the album puts an already irrepressible proposition into the arms of essential investigation and devouring.

The trio of drummer Matt and guitarist/vocalist Gary Frewin with lead vocalist Shaun Garner first emerged in late 2008, taking little more than a year to become rated as one of the top upcoming bands in the UK. Originally a quartet, Axis Mundi earned an acclaimed reputation for their live performances and emerging songs. Already holding a passionate appetite and exploratory intrigue for all things science and its battle against the likes of politics, religion, and apathy, the Hinckley band worked closely with best-selling science author and New Scientist writer Michael Brooks during his election campaign against Hinckley and Bosworth MP David Tredinnick. Their first EP Find the Others caught strong waves of attention but it was with Chapel Perilous that the band really sparked a wider appetite for their sounds within the underground scene and subsequently more established media spotlights. Sci-Curious though makes it all seem like just the appetiser before its own main meal.

Through an attention raising Introduction, the album erupts with the instantly transfixing and highly animated opening shimmering of Sci-Curious-CoverE-Bomb. Synths merge on the senses with sonically drenched colour and vivacity from its first breath, tempting the senses in league with increasingly tantalising sounds. Into its energetic and fiery stride the track dances around ears with a dervish like enthusiasm before settling into a more relaxed stroll within which the melodic tones of Shaun unveil the song’s narrative as infectious guitar toxins bred by Gary entwine their shadowed bait around the imagination. The sounds are as provocative as the lyrical view and its look at the turning away from scientific truths from those which choose to be blind. A masterful blend of electro alchemy and compelling heavy rock, the track is a magnetic tempest setting the album off to a tremendous start.

It is a potent entrance swiftly taken to another level by Movie In The Mind which emerges from the finale of the previous treat. Like a side show barker, Shaun coaxes in thoughts as a great niggling rub of guitar skirts his tones. The rhythms of Matt join the revelry soon after, his precise jabs adding to the unpredictable and intriguing showmanship of the song’s initial gambit. Just as immediate is the contagious air to the track, its irresistible call wrapping every note and syllable of the punk and metal kissed canvas beneath the subsequent rampantly swirling keys. Whereas the its predecessor had a feel of the Pendulum to its character, this plays at times like a rapacious merger of Pop Will Eat Itself and Enter Shikari, though as with the first song Axis Mundi have developed their sound to a point that first thoughts are always of the band itself when describing any of its distinct aspects.

The album continues to stir up hunger and passions with its might and established band sound as Science Junkie steps into view next. A favourite of seemingly everyone upon its release as a live track a while ago, the trio have understandably relinquished some of the unbridled urgency and rabidity which marked the original release with a greater adventure and melodic clarity on the album. The track still gallops like a stallion in heat, keys and guitars brewing up a techno maelstrom which is impossible to escape. As it sways, lurches, and climbs all over the senses you can almost see the invention of the song pulsating through its veins, its sonic blood rushing around the hypnotic hooks and seductive melodies which parade relentless across its ravenous body as glorious vocal harmonies between Shaun and Gary caress like a devious temptress. The track is a ridiculously thrilling encounter soon rivalled by the enthralling and confrontational rocker Shut Down The Rave. Feisty guitars and more sinewy toned vocals lead the track into another variation within the release, it in many ways a more straight forward course of electronic metal and rock but with plenty, like the acidic scythes of guitar and flowing evocative key sculpted hues, to steal the imagination all over again. With an antagonistic climax which smells of Rage Against The Machine at their best before a final bloom of seducing melodies, the song is a magnificent incitement.

As undeniable impressive as the album is already, the next stretch of songs secures its status as a classic protagonist. Springing from an informative sample, their use another pleasing additive to the album, The Astounding Fact unleashes almost ten minutes of heart racing, bone juddering invention but equally it involves elegant and sweetly melodic caresses between rabid outbreaks of predacious ravishment. Consistently evolving into and involving further anthemic strolls and almost Manic Street Preacher-esque like croons the ingenious provocative and unpredictable storm alone shows just how far the band has come in its songwriting, musical skills, and mischievous designs. It is just the start though as both What Do You Get? and Little Stories Of Discovery climb up to yet another plateau of persuasion. The first plays with that earlier carnival like premise of Movie In The Mind, though its intensive menacing onslaught of initial rhythms and guitar around discord blessed keys is a differing frightening prospect. Once the vocals enter to stir up air and lyrical dirt, a deranged fairground essence seeps into the riveting equation, wonderfully darkly tainted verses inspiring thoughts of Insane Clown Posse more than one or twice. Switching with a chorus cast in melodic rock, the song is a puppeteer of shadows and passions, the best track on the album though straight away challenged by its brilliant successor. It is a psyche /indie rocker which leaps and swaggers with the relish and craft of a Reuben and a Bloc Party aligned to the melodic craft of a Feeder, though despite those references the bewitching slice of invention is again uniquely and irrepressibly all Axis Mundi.

The album carries on enslaving thoughts and emotions though maybe not to the same heights such the brilliance of earlier songs but certainly the rich and welcomingly bruising rock endeavour of Only Genes Can Judge Me and the jagged reggae inspired canter of The Gospel According To Science steal their very fair share of the passions with their highly accomplished and skilfully coloured tales whilst the closing New Scientist brings one final undiluted festival of dancefloor igniting voracity. Within all the tracks the band again thrusts a middle finger to expectations with their enchanting harmonies and reserved melody fuelled breezes within diverse tempestuous stomps, and all constant instigators of feet and passions.

Sci-curious is an exceptional kaleidoscopic offering which takes Axis Mundi into a whole new realm of quality and instinctively invigorating adventure. You can only hope and suspect that the world will take intensive notice of the UK trio as they and the album dive into an insatiable rampage which maybe even scientific doubters will find no resistance for.

The self- released Sci-curious will be released on June 1st

http://www.axismundionline.com

9/10

RingMaster 16/05/2014

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