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Synth Britannia (BBC 4)

For fans of synths, pianos or keyboard instruments of any sort.

Re: Synth Britannia (BBC 4)

Postby tea for two » Tue Oct 20, 2009 11:34 am

Aye 90's woz ace for EM ... outisde of charts & more diverse inventive offshoots than could shake a stick at.
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Re: Synth Britannia (BBC 4)

Postby Richard Graham » Tue Oct 20, 2009 1:31 pm

I agree that the 90s/early noughties were a halycyon (and on and on) time for EM. Aphex Twin did stuff on the Peel show that is as far ahead of 'New Life' as Jimi Hendrix was from a baby with a one-stringed banjo.

I know it was featured recenetly in SOS so this might seem like a blatant suck-up, but Giorgio Moroder created a template for dance music which was only really taken up 10 years later. Why'd it take so long?

And the sampler never got a chance to properly (time)stretch it wings until breakbeat appeared, imho. Much as N-N-N-Nineteen was fun at the time. But the Art of Noise covering the Peter Gunn theme? It's wasn't innovative or clever, it was just playing an old tune with 'whacky' noises. "Oooh look, I can play Greensleeves on a cat."

Gimme Entroducing, On a Ragga Tip, It's a Jazz Thing, Death is not the End, Blue Lines, St Ettienne's So Tough, Underworld's first, Black Dog's Spanners, or Orbital's brown album (to name but a few) any day of the week.
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Re: Synth Britannia (BBC 4)

Postby caveman82 » Tue Oct 20, 2009 2:08 pm

Richard Graham wrote:

Hope this doesn't come across too trollish. I really don't think all that EM stuff really got good until the late 80s.


I am in agreement, and I don't think the statement is implicates trollish behaviours. Synth Brittania charted the progression of British Synth Pop really, and not really Electronic Music. Much of the great English Electronic Music, for example Warp Records which started up in 1989 took most of their influences from the other side of the Atlantic.

Watching Synth Brittania I got the impression many of the artists eg Vince Clarke, OMD and Human League thought their music was very interesting. IMO I find very little in their music of much interest. The use of technology was interesting, but the music itself IMO is pretty dull. On the other side of the Atlantic, a tune like Clear by Cybotron released in 1983 to my ears is infinitely more interesting than any of the stuff on Synth Brittania, and made a great impact on the progression and development of techno and also British Electronic music such as Autechre and Nightmares on Wax.
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Re: Synth Britannia (BBC 4)

Postby The Pearl Works » Tue Oct 20, 2009 2:28 pm

The very early material by OMD & The Human League was crap! Hence the reason they didn't hit the big time. That changed when Gary Newman shook things up and showed them how it's done, particularly for The Human League. I've never rated OMD to be honest. McCluskey is a bit of a tit...imo.
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Re: Synth Britannia (BBC 4)

Postby djangodeadman » Tue Oct 20, 2009 2:28 pm

Now, Greensleeves played on a cat I'd like to hear.
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Re: Synth Britannia (BBC 4)

Postby Richard Graham » Tue Oct 20, 2009 3:27 pm

djangodeadman wrote:Now, Greensleeves played on a cat I'd like to hear.

It can be arranged. Do you own a cat? :D
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Re: Synth Britannia (BBC 4)

Postby Quaver » Tue Oct 20, 2009 3:49 pm

I never understood the fascination about a group of pop wannabees bopping in front of a synth playing monophonic lines of simple child like melodies,they gave birth to mainstream synth music in the same way perhaps the guitar legends did to the average Guitar player,a synth is as much part of Music nowadays as any other machine,bands come and go and if your good enough you and your music will stand the test of time regardless of what instrument you play.

Artist like Kraftwerk may have influenced a generation of bands however they have been one of the most baffling outfits to me,who have scurried along there pretty minimal discography claiming some kind of grandfather rights to Electronic music invention for pretty little effort in terms of new music?????

The people who really changed the face of EM are the inventors of the instruments,much of which was killed by the Japanese revolution of cheap black box technology,thats still floods the market today so much why nowadays its harder to stand out as a pure electronic act because your already alienated because everyone owns a synth,talent will always shine regardless of what you choose to be your genre and the amount of technology accessible to the masses and his dog proves this.

The only point to these documentaries is to give an oppurtunity for the has beens like Mccluskey or Oakey, of synth pop to try and revive an interest in what they've done,given the longevity of artists like Depeche Mode and the fact they are still creating music today they gave very little attention to what they have achieved other than being fresh faced one finger players and they still continue to do so,when everyone else on the program seems to have floated along on a freeride or few hit wonders,they all became commercially fashionable and forgot the main ingredient to music,perhaps why many of those artists best works seem to be pre mainstream or they fizzled out,the point of gary Numan coming along and showing them how it was done myth seem to prove much of there pathetic existences,well lets copy him attitude?????

As Mcluskey put it,people think we simply pressed a button and the machine did the work,well perhaps it didn't but at the same time he claims the songs may have been the Key???

The music of that time was sterile,cold rigidly structured with less focus to the emotion,its the Instrument that is electonic not the songwriter The problem with more and people thinking they can buy a bunch of machines and have success,or the morons who call themselve producers because they can chain a few 4 bar beats together on a MPC or reason!if a songs good enough emotionally it will sound good on any instrument

Dare we say half of those involved would have never been part of that movement or there music so interesting had there not been a burn out of typical mainstream music genres,giving rise to the inventors Like Moog and Arp and synthesizers,challenging technology,making music is about as much as evolving as it is using synthesizers or guitars perhaps why most of them were simply only commercially appealing for a short time."By the mid 90s we had Oasis",I'm sure if you aksed the punk generation,theyd say the same about OMD!Stop living in your own Bubble McCluskey,much of the later stuff he did leading up to and after sugar tax was total shite and probably relied less on musicianship

Music is as much Fashion as anything else,much of the success of the pioneers of EM is more about there individuality than being part of a synth movement hence why much of those featured are simply stuck in a "Look what we did" mode.


What are we going to see next???a generation of Laptop bands influenced by kraftwerk again!I'll grab me laptop and jump on the bandwagon,leave me talent in the broom cupboard
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Re: Synth Britannia (BBC 4)

Postby beatmunga » Tue Oct 20, 2009 4:20 pm

Some interesting stuff here folks (the above incoherent ramble obviously notwithstanding).

Lots of intelligent posts I take issue with though...(deep breath)

a) Giorgio Moroder's productions were informing much underground euro disco/Hi-NRG throughout the late 70s and 80s - it's just been conveniently overlooked on account of its gayness. It's only when New Order and SAW make it generally acceptable (to NME journos and teenage girls respectively) that most people notice the lineage...

b) Andy McCluskey may indeed be a bit of a tit, but OMD were on a critical and commercial par with Joy Division c.1980, only McCluskey never hung himself and thus suffered the rock n' roll indignity of growing old. No-one likes to admit this basic truth about the carefully crafted Joy Division myth: If it was McCluskey instead of Curtis, would we be seeing arty black & white films about OMD and students wearing "Architecture & Morality" T-shirts..?

c) The often unlistenable but sometimes brilliant Warp records are Sheffield based, and their first release was Sweet Exorcist's 'Test One', created by one Richard H. Kirk of Cabaret Voltaire. So I'd say they owe a little to the original Sheffield pioneers.

(Pushes glasses up on to bridge of nose...)

d) The Prodigy and Aphex twin may have been popular and critically acclaimed in the 90s but they experienced nothing like the overall popular culture hyperbole attributed to the cretinous throwback that was Oasis.

e) And lastly...
Richard Graham wrote:Gimme Entroducing, On a Ragga Tip, It's a Jazz Thing, Death is not the End, Blue Lines, St Ettienne's So Tough, Underworld's first, Black Dog's Spanners, or Orbital's brown album (to name but a few) any day of the week.


These are textbook examples of 'electronic' or 'dance' albums which appeal to a fundamentally 'rockist' crowd. I'm only surprised that there's no Goldie, Moby or (gawd 'elp us) Bored of Canada on there.

People who judge synth/electronic music on albums are missing the point.

(Apart from 'Dare' perhaps. Which is genius)
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Re: Synth Britannia (BBC 4)

Postby djangodeadman » Tue Oct 20, 2009 4:38 pm

Richard Graham wrote:
djangodeadman wrote:Now, Greensleeves played on a cat I'd like to hear.

It can be arranged. Do you own a cat? :D
Damn, no! Mind you, next door's dog is driving me pretty crazy right now. Is it as easy to tune a dog as a cat, do you think?
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Re: Synth Britannia (BBC 4)

Postby beatmunga » Tue Oct 20, 2009 4:51 pm

djangodeadman wrote:
I enjoyed Rip It Up and Start Again, although I've always considered Simon Reynolds to be a tad pretentious. He's at his unintentionally brilliant best when betraying his complete lack of technical knowledge, though. Particualr favourite bits are his description of the Young Marble Giants' use of a "technique known as" palm muting (as if this was a new idea which no guitarist had ever thought of before) and the revolution brought about by the introduction of a "device" called midi!

Right on the money there djangodeadman,

In "Energy Flash" his insistence on creating microgenres of uptempo dance music ("drill & bass", "hard step" etc) become embarrassing.

And it's blindingly obvious in the very same tome that he's essentially a 'rockist' slumming it in dance music for a bit, only he'd hate to admit it.
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Re: Synth Britannia (BBC 4)

Postby tomafd » Tue Oct 20, 2009 4:52 pm

Quaver wrote:I

What are we going to see next???a generation of Laptop bands influenced by kraftwerk again!I'll grab me laptop and jump on the bandwagon,leave me talent in the broom cupboard

No need for the laptop- I'm waiting for the first chart sighting of three people with nothing but their iphones. There's enough apps out there to do the job these days. I'll bet there's already some lot out there doing it - but I'll leave someone else to do a search and punt up the link ...

I kid you not - it's going to happen, and very soon !
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Re: Synth Britannia (BBC 4)

Postby beatmunga » Tue Oct 20, 2009 4:57 pm

I can't wait!

No, really..!
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Re: Synth Britannia (BBC 4)

Postby ramthelinefeed » Tue Oct 20, 2009 5:00 pm

The Pearl Works wrote:The very early material by The Human League was crap!

If by "crap" you mean "the best stuff they ever did", why then I agree! :headbang:
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Re: Synth Britannia (BBC 4)

Postby tomafd » Tue Oct 20, 2009 5:54 pm

beatmunga wrote:I can't wait!

No, really..!

here you go then !

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjx5_-SPhk0
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Re: Synth Britannia (BBC 4)

Postby beatmunga » Tue Oct 20, 2009 6:11 pm

tomafd wrote:
beatmunga wrote:I can't wait!

No, really..!


here you go then !

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjx5_-SPhk0


Excellent find tomafd, Kraftwerk would be proud!

Nearly 30 years ago
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Re: Synth Britannia (BBC 4)

Postby tea for two » Tue Oct 20, 2009 8:32 pm

:lol:

Funky (cold medina)




Mos def da the boyz in da hood were breakin to KW's Numbers.



Kraftwerk's appreciation of their music is like Van Gogh's appreciation of his Sunflowers, Van G thought his sunflowers were so naff he put them in the loo.
Its only "aficionados" "critiks" that have valued the flowers way way beyond what VG felt their real worth was.
Similarly Kraftwerk prefer bicycles to their music (which did have a prescient message) ...
its only the fawning of various people that made KW reluctantly take on the mantle of whatever was placed on them, even then they'd prefer to be away on their bikes.







Re: musicianship, musicality, dexterity

Sometimes all that's required to give a message is one finger (or two).

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Re: Synth Britannia (BBC 4)

Postby tomafd » Tue Oct 20, 2009 9:12 pm

beatmunga wrote:
tomafd wrote:
beatmunga wrote:I can't wait!

No, really..!

here you go then !

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjx5_-SPhk0

Excellent find tomafd, Kraftwerk would be proud!


here's another - less paris hilton, more roedelius

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mh0VX74alwk

and 4 million + views, 20k comments

[ ****** ] me ....
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Re: Synth Britannia (BBC 4)

Postby sdalek » Wed Oct 21, 2009 8:32 am

hogberto wrote:yeah the programme was fairly good. lots missed out but that's inevitable, unless it's a 12 part series, which is probably too much to ask for. :bouncy:

felt the same about the prog rock one they did. Rumour has it that there is a Krautrock one and I'm sure that'll be the same, but it's better than nothing!

All the same, it was a bit of a porn-fest on the synth front!
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Re: Synth Britannia (BBC 4)

Postby Richard Graham » Wed Oct 21, 2009 1:40 pm

beatmunga wrote:e) And lastly...
Richard Graham wrote:Gimme Entroducing, On a Ragga Tip, It's a Jazz Thing, Death is not the End, Blue Lines, St Ettienne's So Tough, Underworld's first, Black Dog's Spanners, or Orbital's brown album (to name but a few) any day of the week.


These are textbook examples of 'electronic' or 'dance' albums which appeal to a fundamentally 'rockist' crowd. I'm only surprised that there's no Goldie, Moby or (gawd 'elp us) Bored of Canada on there.


Lol, that's probably why I liked them then... if by 'rockist' you mean 'someone who likes rock music' then why yes, I am that man!

However, if you are suggesting that I looked in a 'textbook' of electronic stuff that appeals to rock fans, and populated my list (and/or my LP/CD/Tape collection) from there, you'd be wrong. I like stuff cos I like it: but if you want to reduce my musical tastes to a stereotype, then so be it, and I don't need approval from someone who thinks the word 'rockist' is rather a clever put-down.

For the record, yes, I liked 'Timeless', tho not Saturnz Return, I've never liked Moby, and I've never heard Boards of Canada.

I get the impression that you are a bit of an elitist, BM!
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Re: Synth Britannia (BBC 4)

Postby Elephone » Wed Oct 21, 2009 4:10 pm

I like the synth sounds and stuff but all the singing was absolutely diabolical. What was that 'camp' singing style all about? I suppose it was an attempt to sound british, but it just sounded really camp.

I remember that EMF guy in the 90s who did that "you're unbelievable" song singing like that anf everyone taking it seriously.
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