MiXE1 – Don’t Break Apart

cover_RingMasterReview

It has been a fair while since the release of their debut album Starlit Skin, two and a half to be more accurate, but MiXE1 has leapt back into view with an ear grabbing roar of a new single which just demands attention. Showing an even greater meatier edge to the band’s emotionally fuelled melodic and electronic beauty, a fusion of textures which has been already explored to great success by them previously, the release is an imposingly stirring and provocative proposal with a B-side just as equipped and likely to draw a new wealth of ears and fans the way of the band.

Formed by Mike Evans (vocals/synths) in 2010 as a solo project, MiXE1 began heading towards being a full band with the addition of Lee Towson (guitar/bass/synth/vocals) two years later, today’s line-up completed with the subsequent addition of Lee O’Brien (drums/synth/samples). Singles and EPs along the way have all lured new spotlights and greater attention to match the growth in the band’s sound and Evan’s evocative songwriting. Starlit Skin was an acclaimed result of that on-going evolution with its lead single Talking In Our Sleep alone exciting new appetites. It has been a publicly quiet time since the excitement of their release died down but as Don’t Break Apart swiftly reveals it has not been a creatively infertile time or seen a lull in their sound’s development.

Don’t Break Apart instantly pulsates upon the senses, its golden harmonic touch laying on jabbing rhythmic pulses. Evans’ swiftly engaging tones step forward soon after, his ever expressive tones courted by synth bred caresses whilst that initial rhythmic coaxing persists. It is a gentle yet commanding lure with an underlying intensity which erupts as the chorus in time envelops the senses, warm and harsher textures united in infectious enterprise. That snarl infects the following twists and emotive throes of the track, the union of contrasting essences a magnetic web around an openly inflamed heart. Metal and heavy rock spices only add to the drama and adventure of the dark and rapacious incitement, the song showing the fresh move in the MiXE1 sound.

Accompanying the song is Meteor, a fireball of a proposition descending on ears with predacious intent from its first breath. A flame of guitars incites a wall of industrial toned synth bred intensity within which Evan’s warmer expressive vocals glow, backed by the similarly alluring tones of Towson who simultaneously offers a lively brooding bassline to get greedy over. With scything beats and bracing riffs building an industrial metal collusion with the synth rock endeavours of the synths, the track is a glorious blaze of sound and energy matching and occasionally over shadowing its companion.

With the release completed by the increasingly engaging remix of Don’t Break Apart by Ruinizer and featuring guest vocals from Richard K of Machine Rox, Erlend Eilertsen from Essence of Mind, and Roman Marisak out of Professional Murder Music/Spacetime along the way and extra synths from Studio-X, MiXE1 has returned brighter and bolder than ever before. Don’t Break Apart also provides a powerful teaser for the band’s second album due later this year, something we are already getting a touch impatient for.

Don’t Break Apart is available now @ https://mixe1.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/mixe1   https://twitter.com/mixe1music

Pete RingMaster 22/02/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Calling All Astronauts – Life As We Know It

lawki_RingMasterReview

With their second album still drawing wide acclaim, British electro punks Calling All Astronauts ensured 2016 left in fine style with Life As We Know It. Their ninth single and taken from Anti-Social Network, the song is more enticing evidence to the variety in the band’s sound and their ability to get the body grooving as eagerly as the spirit devours their rousing sounds.

Backed by three remixes of the single, the proposition is more an EP than single and a fine end to another increasingly successful year for the London based trio of vocalist/keyboardist/programmer David B, guitarist JJ Browning, and bassist Paul McCrudden. Earlier single Empire reached the No.2 spot on the Official European Indie Chart while the band twice hit top spot in the Hype Machine Twitter Chart, success capped by CAA headlining the Bandstand Stage on the final night of Beautiful Days Festival.

Released on Supersonic Media, Life As We Know It is an encounter hard for hips and the imagination to resist. It is a warmer, mellower affair compared to the band’s usually eclectic but attitude loaded sound; irresistibly catchy with a nostalgic air bringing thoughts of bands like The The and B-Movie whilst being distinctly CAA. Few bands create a sound truly unique to themselves but the threesome persistently achieves that while still pushing their creative boundaries. With suggestive melodies colluding with punchy beats and David B’s uniquely captivating tones, the song is an offensive of melodic charm and funk spiced basslines wrapped in tempting guitar and caressing keys, all fuelled by a contagion which as suggested has feet and bodies at its mercy; manna for any dance-floor.

The remixes bring bold new shades to the song with the Daak Sun Remix especially striking. Darker bordering on sinister as it rumbles in sound and atmosphere, the track is a far more physical proposal which if anything has the body and imagination even more frenetically involved.

Surrounding it the Naked Highway Remix is a fuzzy stroll under a spatial sky, its bassline earthily scuzzy as keys radiate a cosmic revelry while the Malandrino Remix is a seductive sunset, intimately exotic as keys dance evocatively through ears to the bouncy beat of the rhythms like a tropical Thompson Twins.

Together they all add up to another richly enjoyable outing with Calling All Astronauts with the original slice of Life As We Know It further evidence of a band deserving the keenest attention.

Life As We Know It is out now through Supersonic Media across most online stores.

http://www.callingallastronauts.com    https://www.facebook.com/CallingAllAstronauts/     https://twitter.com/CAA_Official    https://callingallastronauts1.bandcamp.com/

Pete RingMaster 11/01/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Meter Bridge – It Was Nothing

Meter Bridge _RingMaster Review

It Was Nothing is the new single from Canadian duo Meter Bridge and a song which again shows the ability of the band to create a sound seeded in eighties synth pop but equally revelling in the genre’s modern invention. It is a quality which was already in evidence and acclaimed in the band’s debut album Slow Motion, from which It Was Nothing is taken, but it never does any harm to remind especially with virulent infestation of ears like this.

Meter Bridge single cover_RingMaster ReviewMeter Bridge is the pairing of Richard Kleef and Jill Beaulieu, a Nelson based duo which came together in 2011 and quickly began picking up a keen following. 2014 saw the release of their self-titled debut EP with Slow Motion coming a year later, both stirring up potent attention on the international electronica scene. The twining of their vocals within rich electronic caresses alone had ears enticed whilst the melodic simmers and livelier eruptions explored only added to the inviting drama of sound in especially the latter release, as now epitomised by It Was Nothing.

References to bands such as Kraftwerk and Ladytron are seemingly a regular comparison to the band, and understandable as the single strolls in with dour yet smiling bass pulses aligned with a flowery breeze of melodic tempting. The contrasting yet potent pairing of Kleef’s dark tones and Beaulieu’s warmer vocal caresses makes for quick magnetism, they enhanced further by a spice of variety which also tempts from within the music as a touch of Landscape smoulders alongside a Human League like air which bridges the two eras of the Sheffield band. Throw in a splatter of Thomas Dolby and Hot Chip and you get a scent of the rich enticement of It Was Nothing.

The single comes with a remix by Rodney Cromwell; a version which in many ways gives It Was Nothing a new side to its character rather than just a makeover. It opens with an Altered Images like electro shimmer which soon takes on a more Visage like nature musically and a Calling All Astronauts sounding adventure to the leaner vocal mix and rawer textures. Though not a big fan of remixes, the track certainly held the ears and appetite as firmly as its source and helps give a new nudge to those still unaware of the band’s synth pop adventure.

It Was Nothing is available now as a name your price download @ https://meterbridgeweatnurecords.bandcamp.com

http://www.meterbridge.ca/   https://www.facebook.com/meterbridgeband

http://twitter.com/meter_bridge

Pete RingMaster 05/02/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Practical Lovers – Agony

 

Practical Lovers_RingMaster Review

Glorious is the only word for Agony, the debut album from UK synth pop duo Practical Lovers. It might be soaked in melancholy, be the outpouring of frustration and torment bred by lost and unrequited love, but the album is simply a majestic tapestry of skilfully cultured shadows and the beauty lying within all emotions.

The band is the union of singer songwriter Jack Wiles and his long-term musical partner Mark Connell. Originally it was intended as a solo project for Wiles with a collection of songs written “in an attempt to vent some of his frustrations with love in the 21st Century.” After introducing the idea and songs to Connell, the pair creatively united and stepped forwards as Practical Lovers, this around late 2010. The band signed with Nottingham based label I’m Not From London Records the following year, releasing a couple of singles over the next three whilst earning a rich reputation for their live performances. Now they unveil their eagerly awaited debut album, a stirring incitement of vintage synths and analogue drum machines bound in nostalgic radiance, heavy and seductive emotions, and compelling enterprise.

artwork_RingMaster Review    Every track within Agony is a love song; the dark side of and fallout from inspired explorations for sure, but all seeded in love. They come with an intimacy which feels like they are echoes of their creator’s heart and experiences and makes it easy to emotionally connect with, whilst each is presented within sounds which are as infectious and hopeful as they are similarly solemn to their lyrical pleas. From the opener band and release has ears and imagination chained, and emotions basking in the pleasure given.

Put It Bluntly tempts ears with a few dark pulses of synths whilst brewing a more feisty lure in the background, that swiftly coming forward and blossoming on the strains of a deliciously grouchy bassline. The inescapable enticement of Wiles’ wonderful dour lined and magnetic tones soon adds another rich texture and hue to the already invasively infectious encounter. That element of nostalgia is often eighties spawned and here on offer is a Paul Haig meets New Order coaxing with a touch of Interpol to it, a mixture only adding to the thrilling virulence of the song.

The following Never Again brings some fiery guitar to ears, the fizzy texture invitingly colluding with poppy synths as Wiles and Connell avail an already greedy appetite of their individual prowess. The fevered stroll does not hang around, offering a bubbly simmer over two minutes of inimitable bait before Inside Job provides another diverse and fiercely captivating string to the bow of Agony. Like The The in league with The Smiths, with Wiles vocally as throughout the album creating a vocal presence somewhere between Morrissey and Ian Curtis, the song is a plaintive serenade, a vibrant croon which whips up ears and emotion within seconds and increasingly involves the listener with every passing second.

A similar hue glows within Full of You next, though the track again reveals a distinct character of its own as synths smoulder and caress with emotive expression. The mix of vocals, presumably from the two artists, adds another riveting texture, though it is Wiles and the Smiths blessed earthy elegance that seals the deal between lustful ears and song, an ardour just as eagerly given to the Joy Division coated Nobody There which follows and straight after that the post punk scented brilliance of The Work Around. Hints of Blancmange and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark emerge from within the outstanding track, and in many ways, having seen OMD live in their first days, there is a definite resemblance between the bands if not exactly in overall sound.

No Reply slips into the dark corners of its emotive heart next, that Joy Division suggestion again an easy offer as the track morosely yet enticingly prowls ears before its big success is eclipsed by the skittish energy and devilry of Restless. Think Fad Gadget meets early The Correspondents with Editors in tow and a clue to its irresistible endeavour is close to the mark whilst for Textbook Romance maybe John Foxx era Ultravox and early Cure is a good hint. To be honest, for all the references sparked, each track is a thrilling proposal unique to Practical Lovers, just enhanced by a great weave of recognisable colours, whilst the second of this pair also unveil its warm party on the senses with a hopefulness arguably not explored as fully elsewhere.

The album closes off with firstly the insatiable contagion of Falling Down and finally the melancholic serenade of Grave of Romance, a song impressing initially and just seducing the passions to greater effect over time. Both also provide another aspect to the multi-faceted sound of Agony, an album which is blossomed from some of the harshest and deepest felt emotions possible but is anything but agony to listen to.

Practical Lovers is one of the finds for our ears of 2015 and Agony one of its most thrilling and invigorating releases.

Agony is released November 27th digitally and on limited edition cassette tape through I’m Not From London Records @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/agony/id1051440048

https://www.facebook.com/Practicallovers

Pete RingMaster 27/11/2015

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Mr. Strange – The Bible of Electric Pornography

Mr. Strange 2015 pic 5_RingMaster Review

For a long time Mr. Strange has been one of the British music scene’s most imaginative and unique songwriters and artists, and one of its biggest unrecognised talents. Whether as the frontman of the brilliant circus rock steampunks, The Shanklin Freak Show or in solo adventures, he has teased and stoked the imagination whilst exciting ears with perpetual regularity. Potent spotlights have always seemed to fall elsewhere though, but that might be about to change, in fact expectations are sure it will as new album The Bible of Electric Pornography spreads its electronic seeded sermon.

The persona and sound of Mr. Strange has undergone a rebirth, a major evolution in all aspects in the time between acclaimed previous album Wonderful World Of Weird and the new slab of alchemy from his deviant creativity. Embracing fresh industrial and electronic temptation whilst weaving in numerous other rich flavours, Mr. Strange has opened up all sides of psyche and imagination whilst wrapping new songs in the so-called deviancy that others claim is pestilence. Thematically The Bible of Electric Pornography is defiance and a middle thing to the oppressive ‘normal’, an anthem for the supposedly grotesque, for the freaks and the like-minded unique; an encounter which also happens to rock like a thousand orgies to stand in the words surrounding the album, as a “sacrilegious assault of electro-influenced filth!”

Mr. Strange EP album cover NEW_RingMaster Review   The album opens with Born Again, and the birth of they, of Mr. Strange. Upon arrival electro pulses and shimmering melodies crowd around the creative cot, his vocals providing the commentary as synths strengthen their drama and the atmosphere becomes shadowy. There is a portentous air to the track but one breaking into the dawning of climactic sounds and the heralding of Mr. Strange’s new realm of invention, which in turn sparks the stomp of Deviant Ritual. Making a sort of bridge between past triumphs, the song sharing open essences of The Shanklin Freak Show and previous solo album, keys swing and vocals entice as beats grip with potent temptation. In no time the track has the body acting like its puppet, limbs and energies flung around to the wicked swagger and infectious seduction of the outstanding protagonist.

Disco Bitch is on an immediate prowl next, though its gait has a more boisterous than predatory energy and design to it. Quickly into its robust stroll with compelling walls of electronic tenacity and enterprise, the track resonates with Being Boiled era Human League potency and colouring, a scent dirtied and fuzzed up by the craft of Mr. Strange as electro squirts lure and bassy rhythms dance with the passions. As its predecessor, the track is a blaze of dance-floor devilment and raucous sonic eroticism, incitements to get the defiant and proud party started before the album begins setting its sights on prosecutors, Electric Pornography continuing the festivity whilst flirting with the devil and its breed like a seductive pout of devilment. Amongst inspirations for the album, Mr. Strange offered Electric Six recently and definitely the track shares their kind of dance/rock devilry.

A thicker air of intensive energy soaks the following Tension, its emotive breath crafted and accentuated by darkly enticing rubs of guitar and moody bass tones as synths cradle the warmer hues of voice and melodies. It all unites in provocative electro rock persuasion which again has ears, hips, and thoughts emotionally and psychically involved.

A tirade of sample pieces spouting religious and social bigotry fattens God Hates Me next, keys initially a misting of melancholic elegance eventually brewing into more dramatic smog, though still with despair rather than outrage as its hue. The piece leads into the remarkable Jonathan, easily one of the pinnacles amongst a constant range of peaks within The Bible of Electric Pornography. It is a narrative for and growing support of the track’s oppressed champion which as the character, grows into its mesmeric creative skin as simple melodies align to weaves of electronic and industrial resourcefulness. Ebbing and flowing in intensity as the voice of Mr. Strange reveals all, the song is simply glorious, as lyrically impacting in its croon as it is invigorating musically, and easily one of the best things heard this year.

Do It Like… is another exhilarating whipping up of body and soul, a song inspired by Pete Burns and his life/attitude whilst musically drawing on the contagious invention of Dead Or Alive and indeed Nightmares In Wax which evolved into the former, and merging it with Celldweller like steeliness . Every element of the song has the body, inside and out, bouncing and swinging whilst again nudging thoughts with its lyrical potency.

The bubbly punch of I Like Girls & Boys is the next to take over, sculpting rousing crescendos of skittish beats and scuzzy electronics along its magnetic body, expulsions conducted by the ever Mr. Strange 2015 pic 7_RingMaster Reviewalluring tones of its creator. Though not in an obvious way, there is a definite feel of Fad Gadget to the song, to its theatre and emotive richness whilst My Addiction gets down and funky offering up hints of a Heaven 17 and Blancmange in varying degrees. By now it is not unusual to leave a song without a smile on the face and appetite, this of course no exception with its warmly stimulating hug.

The noir jazziness of Sodom Nights brings yet another eclectic shade to the album, its melodic waltz and electronic seduction a sultry fondling of the senses and inciter of lusty contemplations, that dark romance followed by the rapacious sinister sizzle of D/s, a fuzzball of temptation featuring Global Citizen. The crawling magnetism of the track is just sonic addiction matched by the bold lure of Stormtrooper In Drag, a striking cover of a solo song released in the eighties by Tubeway Army guitarist Paul Gardiner and featuring Gary Numan who co-composed, sang lead vocals, and played on it. It is one of those ‘lost’ gems now given new life, re-vitalised by Mr. Strange’s innovative touch.

Closing up the album is firstly Fag, a leviathan of rhythmic tempting with a Manson-esque snarl providing the most irritable proposal upon The Bible of Electric Pornography and in turn one of its numerous slices of ear slavery and lastly The Last Song. Providing a bewitching serenade with a message for those who hate change, and might argue about the new direction Mr. Strange has taken, its defiance to any complaints openly and mischievously argued by the strong and highly enjoyable Kraftwerk influence, the track is pure captivation bringing the album to a thrilling close.

Familiarity and uniqueness collude within The Bible of Electric Pornography, with the latter the overriding substance, the album leading the second coming of Mr. Strange and easily eclipsing previous solo offerings, as impressive and they were and still are. We are looking at a release boldly challenging offerings from the supposed electronic big boys and girls, challenging and surpassing.

Mr. Strange is dead. Long live Mr. Strange!” Time for all to join the resurrection.

The Bible of Electric Pornography will be released November 16th, pre-ordering available now @ http://mrstrange.bigcartel.com/product/electric-pornography-cd-album-pre-order

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

Pete RingMaster 05/11/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Men In The Sky – If I Go

Men In the Sky_RingMaster Review

Dipping deeper into the pop rock infectiousness that lurked within the highly enjoyable walls of 2014 released EP, Version 1.0.1, UK electronic rockers Men In The Sky now unveil their new single If I Go. Still hugging ears with the electronic and synth sculpted prowess which marked that first encounter, the new track also shares open inspirations from eighties guitar pop to brew a virulence that has feet and hips as eagerly engaged as ears.

Men In the Sky cover_RingMaster Review   Men In The Sky is a Liverpool based British-Canadian collaboration consisting of band founder Gary Roberts (guitar and synths), Simon Mawson (vocals), Gavin Thomas (vocals), and Chad Montgomery (guitar). Last year saw the quartet joining Factory Records’ Michael Johnson in the studio to record and co-produce the Version 1.0.1 EP, a link-up repeated for If I Go with a freshly different but equally captivating result.

Whereas the EP sparked, across its diverse mix of songs, thoughts of bands like Depeche Mode, Visage, and Pet Shop Boys in varying degrees, If I Go invites thoughts of a Howard Jones, Scritti Politti, and Erasure with its melodic virulence and catchiness, though the potent whispers of Depeche Mode in the keys and New Order in the rich ambience seducing throughout the song are just as open.

An initial caress of guitar has ears quickly enticed, its invitation soon joined by a broader vision of its melody and a swift expressive weave of vocals and synths. The engaging swing of the song is a just as rapid temptation, its sway never relinquishing its alluring bait as melodies and sonic imagination flow effortlessly from guitars and keys. There is maybe an understandable familiarity to the track but that too only adds to the attraction and rosy colour of the song and its mesmeric persuasion. An electro pop tempting which you can imagine being as at home in the midst of its eighties inspirations as it is as a new flirty protagonist in the modern electro pop landscape, the single leaves ears and energies hungry for more.

If I Go is the best song to date from Men In The Sky, a venture into poppier climes it is easy to suggest could lead to rich success, if not now at some point ahead if its direction is continued to be explored more.

If I Go is released November 2015.

https://www.facebook.com/Men-In-The-Sky-291917267514298 http://men-in-the-sky.com/ https://twitter.com/SkyMen_offic

Pete RingMaster 02/11/2015

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Mr Darklight – Into The Fury

Original DL_RingMaster Review

If the name Mr Darklight is familiar it is likely because you have already discovered his part in the electronic pop infection that is Masters of the Radio. Now the electronic musician/producer has unveiled his debut solo track in the shape of the captivating adventure of temptation, Into The Fury. It is a strange title as the piece of music never suggests turbulence ahead or within its heart, so possibly it is one moment in a larger journey, but what it does supply is a warm flight of imagination for ears and feet to feast on whilst casting cinematic suggestiveness for thoughts to run with.

Inspired by the likes of Daft Punk, Devo, Fatboy Slim, Gary Numan, Giorgio Moroder, Jean Michel Jarre, John Williams, Kavinsky, and Mike Oldfield as well as going by the nature of Into The Fury film scores, Mr Darklight quickly fills ears with the emotive tones of the piano. Its poetic breath and touch is the seed to a gentle but purposeful stroll through an instrumental landscape ripe with melodic essences of OMD and Depeche Mode. Thoughts are soon whisked into a magnetic flight by synths as they spread their broad ambience around the continually enticing evocative hues of the piano.

In a way the piece is like a travelogue of internal reflection or external air bound adventure, all depending which way the imagination goes with the track’s electronic clues as the guide with each listen. It is an absorbing and thoroughly enjoyable first meeting with the solo Mr Darklight, and hopefully the beginning of many such outings ahead.

Into The Fury is free to stream now.

Pete Ringmaster 24/09/2015

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