Just bought a nice job lot of Ultravox! Vinyl! I already had the three-track, one single version of quiet men/slow motion/ Hiroshima but now I have the two-single version with dislocation.. I’ve never seen the "retro" ep before, and I don’t think I have Dangerous Rhythm. Rockwrok I already gave the picture sleeve version. Bloody good Haul for £15..
I Speak Machine / Gazelle Twin
I’ve had this on repeat since this morning – WOW!
Only FOUR tracks:
- My Sex
- I Want To Be A Machine
- Never Let Me Go
- He’s A Liquid
I Speak Machine
But BLOODY HELL! It’s amazing..
The two “I Speak Machine” tracks are Ultravox! covers, and the others are John Foxx (and Louis Gordon), and John Foxx tracks, respectively..
It’s an EP, META34CD released via Metamatic records (John Foxx’s Label)
Want one? try Townsend Records…
It’s NOT a rumour:
JOHN FOXX & THE MATHS to support OMD for English Electric tour
The UK dates for OMD’s forthcoming English Electric tour will see support by JOHN FOXX & THE MATHS.
JOHN FOXX has been a presence on the UK electronic music scene for many years and was the original vocalist for Ultravox before leaving to pursue a solo music career (during which Midge Ure joined Ultravox).
Foxx’s solo career post-Ultravox is most notable for the single Underpass which reached No. 31 in the UK charts and has become a classic of the early UK synthpop scene. Foxx’s album Metamatic has likewise been established as one of the most prominent electronic music albums of its time.
John Foxx & The Maths came about as a collaboration between Foxx and producer and musician Benge. The album Interplay arrived in March 2011 which was described by The Quiteus as “one of the finest electronic records you’ll hear in 2011.” Their third album release Evidence features collaborations with The Soft Moon, Gazelle Twin, Xeno & Oaklander and Tara Busch and also includes a cover version of Pink Floyd’s Have A Cigar. Evidence will be released by Metamatic Records on 25th February.
There’s another OMD angle here as John Foxx & The Maths has worked alongside HANNAH PEEL who is perhaps best known for her unique musicbox cover version of OMD’s Electricity as featured on her debut EP Re-Box released in 2010. Our sister site interviewed Hannah in 2011.
The UK leg of the English Electric tour begins in April. More info here: http://www.omd.uk.com/shows”
There’s an excellent new feature in Frieze magazine about pioneering German producer Conny Plank, who worked with John Foxx on Ultravox’s Systems Of Romance. Plank was one of the most innovative producers in electronic music, pivotal in the careers of Neu!, Kraftwerk, Cluster and many more. John is one of the artists interviewed, along with Brian Eno and Michael Rother from Neu! You can read the interview HERE
Great audience and venue in Madrid on Saturday. Thanks very much to David for making it happen. Photos by Olmo González.
Also last week, Spain’s biggest music magazine Rockdelux ran a fantastic review of The Shape Of Things:
The promotional sheet is full of compliments from illustrious artists such as Junior Boys, Clint Mansell, Vincent Gallo or the Klaxons. All of them pay tribute to John Foxx, the man behind the first Ultravox, the author of Metamatic (1980) and The Garden (1981), two of the key albums to understand what techno pop actually is. Mr Foxx is living a wonderful second youth, although his outlook has never grown old. His encounter with Ben Edwards (Benge), however, seems to have revitalized and brought into focus for good the work of this robotic music poet.
After the excellent Interplay (2011), the Foxx-Edwards alliance has been strengthened with this second album, another brilliant showcase of titanium landscapes (Talk), striking synthetic pop craftsmanship (Rear-View Window, September Town) and retro-futurist analogue soundtracks (Modreno, Astoria, Spirus).
The Shape of Things is probably the most complete work by Foxx since the aforementioned Metamatic and an example for all those sterile and soulless electronic music dilettantes, purportedly “futuristic” but no more than futureless. Mr Dennis Leigh was a visionary; time has proved him right: his music, beautiful and cold, deeply human and deliberately mechanical, sounds more exultant and necessary in 2012 than ever. He’s one of the greatest artists.
Gary Numan was recently filmed by the BLOC festival at Benge’s Maths studio in London. Gary talks about the impact the first three Ultravox albums – Ultravox!, Ha! Ha! Ha! and Systems Of Romance had on his own pioneering work.
Meanwhile, Gary plays at the BLOC festival along with Orbital, Squarepusher, Jeff Mills and many more on Saturday 7th July.
(Photo by Mike Cooper)
THE SHAPE OF THINGS REVIEWS –
7/10 CLASSIC ROCK
Electronic pioneer shows how it’s done.
Named after an HG Wells novel, this album’s title omits the words ‘To Come’, possibly because John Foxx has been living in the future for decades.
Now, the former Ultravox! singer and an influence on all of electro pop, releases his second album with The Maths. And while it’s business as usual – retro synths, papery drum machines, haunted vocals – it’s also as good as ever. Foxx’s talent for melody and lyrics hasn’t left him, and songs like the almost folky ‘September Town’ and the stuttering waltz of ‘The Shadow Of His Former Self’ are in a direct line from ‘Europe After The Rain’ and ‘The Quiet Men’. He’s also as spooky as ever on instrumental opener ‘Spirus’ and the iron wispiness of ‘Invisible Ray’. Anyone tempted by recent electronic music and who wants to see it done by one of its originators would be well advised to nip by here.’
4/5 RECORD COLLECTOR
Foxx even plays guitar on one track!
These days John Foxx has so much lead in his pencil, there’s hardly any room for the wooden casing. We’ve lost track of how many LPs he’s delivered in the last five years, though we’ve heard them all – and there’s not a duffer among them.
It seems that Foxx has unfurled The Maths as a convenient banner under which he can deploy a revolving carousel of players with which to collaborate. On his latest, The Shape Of Things, Foxx shares compositional and recording duties with Ben Edwards, aka Benge – his collaborator on last year’s Interplay, and the man who celebrated vintage synths of all shapes and sizes on 2008′s Twenty Systems. Rather than build upon the electro-pop wonderment of the duo’s previous outing, there’s a more experimental edge here, though tracks such as ‘Rear-View Mirror’ and ‘September Town’ would boost Interplay‘s portfolio.
The light-and-shade nuances to instrumentals ‘Psytron’, ‘Modreno’, ‘Astoria’, ‘Invisible Ray’ and ‘Buddwing’, however, are utterly compelling electronic hymns. There’s an aroma of Bowie’s seminal Low at work here, especially on ‘Unrecognised’ which comes fuelled by techno bubbles, striking synth lines a mournful vocal invoking loss.
Another great LP from Foxx and, after Gary Numan’s recent foray into experimental electronica, we hope that a collaboration between the pair is on the cards.’
UNCUT REVIEW OF THE SHAPE OF THINGS
The original alienated synthesist, still exploring the analogue . . .
Before finding success with vocalist Midge Ure, Ultravox were led by the Chorley-born John Foxx, whose pale, alien appearance and passion for synthesisers proved a little exotic for a general public still absorbing the shock of punk. The zeitgeist, of course, caught up with Foxx although he still remains on the fringes. Unfairly, perhaps. The Shape Of Things, a collaboration with London synth collector Benge, couches his dolorous laments amid a retrofuturist show of bubbling electronics. It works well enough that when ‘Falling Away’ pastes on some broiling guitar feedback it sounds almost superfluous.’
Tonight, XOYO is undergoing a blood transfusion, and a steady influx of people whom it might not regard as its usual clientele: synth heads, smart-goths and thin men that look strangely related to William Burroughs are strolling through the shadows and into the club, eager to see what the overlord of synth-pop has to say to them in 2011.
But first there’s the matter of some excellent support acts: Tara Busch sings like Judy Garland in some twisted Disney movie; she appears on stage alone, and she manipulates her Moog, so too does she manipulate the crowd, until they’re eating out of her psychedelic space-hands.
Next up two ogre-sized creatures is Islamic robes hobble onto the stage, followed by an even weirder frontperson who resembles both a Hindu Goddess and a Doctor Who monster from 1975. This is Gazelle Twin, and their songs sound like Portishead having been kidnapped, time-travelled to 3029, then beamed back via hologram. It’s an incredibly sacred-feeling performance, which borders on having a meditational effect, and while our mystical singer howls faceless from behind her widow’s mask, the two robed minions head bang in slow motion, intoxicated and doomed.
Where were we? Ah yes. After much screaming and hysteria, a certain Ultravox founder takes to the stage looking like a handsome but braced-for-duty space captain from a 1950s sci-fi movie. He is surrounded by his space crew – who are armed with computers of course – and all of a sudden, John Foxx & The Maths are GO!
The climactic ‘Shatterproof’ (from the band’s 2011 album, Interplay) kicks things off on an appropriately alien-disco note, with Foxx staring straight-ahead, unshakeable from his mission. Later on, ‘Hiroshima Mon Amour’ and ‘Underpass’ deliver the kind of dystopian visions most of us grew to love him for, all set to 3D laser-noises and glow in the dark beats.
You can’t help but notice, but whenever Foxx finishes off an absolutely storming song (such as ‘Burning Car’), he pulls a very subtle cat-that-got-the-cream face. It’s almost a Roger Moore-style eyebrow, but not quite. This is not only endearing, but entirely justified: the man is still an incredibly dramatic performer, chilling and struck with terror one moment, warm and reassuringly
glowing the next.
Photos by Mike Cooper.
Courtesy of Unsound Festival.
If you attended the Sinners Day Concert last week, you can come and see John Foxx And The Maths for free on 25 February 2012. This is due to John having to cancel his planned appearance at the Sinners Festival at the last minute due to a head injury. For more information please visit HERE
GARY NUMAN: ‘I was a big fan of John Foxx when he was in Ultravox in the late 70s. Ultravox were like the blueprint for what I was trying to do in the early years and John Foxx was my hero. I thought he was a fantastic, enigmatic front man. I really loved what he did. To see him still going strong today, and putting out great music is good to see. John was a true pioneer and seems as passionate today as he was then about his music. I have a huge amount of respect for him.’
JUNIOR BOYS: ‘Even though it was made by a guy much older than me, and from a different country, I have never felt that there was a music that reached into my unconscious quite like John Foxx’s.’
JORI HULKKONEN: ‘Metamatic is one of the best albums ever recorded.’
PAUL DALEY (LEFTFIELD): ‘John Foxx was an idea for vocals I had for the second Leftfield album but this never happened. I’ve always respected and liked his approach and attitude – the quietman from another dimension bending sounds from the 23rd century underneath cinematic sci fi future vocals while keeping his distance from the brashness of pop culture and celebrity. Afrika Bambaataa is a big fan too.’
ALESSANDRO ADRIANI: ‘Mannequin Records identity is paying surely an homage to Metamatic, the first album from John Foxx after the split with Ultravox. We are in the greatest realm of the minimal electronic music: a Roland CR 78 drum machine, an Arp Odyssey and an Elka Rhapsody string machine. A man and the machines. Fluidity of human relationships and a Japanese horror film are creating the file rouge of this superb track. Pure pleasure for my heart (beat).’
VINCENT GALLO (ACTOR) ‘I connected so deeply with early Ultravox, everything changed for me. There’s Lennon and Dylan, but John Foxx is my favourite lyricist of all-time.’
MARK GATISS – LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN, SCREENWRITER FOR SHERLOCK & DOCTOR WHO ‘While other 80’s chart busters are reforming and playing their old stuff, John Foxx continues to be an innovative and interesting artist. I still keep the torch burning. Last time I was star-struck? When I met John Foxx for tea!’
PHIL OAKEY (THE HUMAN LEAGUE): ‘John Foxx’s Metamatic is one of the few essential albums of the movement I call the Alienated Synthesists. And I like his newer material a lot.’
MIRA AROYO (LADYTRON): ‘Working with John and Benge on the Interplay album was really fun. I gave them a few riffs to choose from, they built a song around one of them and I went in to record vocals. I was pretty blown away by the studio. I hadn’t heard about it, though I think I might have seen it on TV, but not realized. It is a total treasure trove! I felt like I was in Charlie and the Synth Factory.
Both John and Benge were really mellow and nice to work with. I loved how organic everything was recorded, from synths to vocal effects. I think that is quite rare in electronic music nowadays and you can definitely hear it in the finished record. I met John quite a few years ago. I was a fan of his first solo record Metamatic and was asked by a magazine to interview him about his favourite sound. We got on and kept on bumping into each other here and there over the years. It was a real honour and a pleasure to collaborate with both of them. I look forward to working with them again.’
KLAXONS: ‘John Foxx’s Metamatic is an amazing, visionary album.’
CLINT MANSELL (COMPOSER OF BLACK SWAN, THE WRESTLER AND MOON SOUNDTRACKS): ‘John’s music, both with Ultravox and solo, is built for the Internet. It’s technology manipulated by man. Man & machine in perfect harmony! Consistent quality output. The new album Interplay is a great record. Vibrant.’
DAVE CLARKE (TECHNO DJ): ‘The whole Metamatic album blew me away. It’s an amazing album.’
JIM KERR (SIMPLE MINDS): ‘People are discovering John Foxx now in 2011 because ultimately he is far too good to be ignored.’
LONELADY: ‘I live in a high-rise right next to a dual carriageway, so John Foxx’s music makes a lot of sense to me. I find his dystopias exciting and at times full of longing and romance. At first merely functional, the surfaces of the city become exotic, seductive.’
JOHN TAYLOR (DURAN DURAN): ‘John Foxx? Class cannot be erased.’
NICK RHODES (DURAN DURAN): ‘Everyone should own the first three Ultravox albums with John Foxx.’
GAZELLE TWIN: ‘I love his track ‘Never Let Me Go’ from 2006. It’s a mirage of maternal comfort in a toxic world.’
XENO & OAKLANDER: ‘I love the unexpected violence of Foxx’s ‘Burning Car’. Very urban, contemporary and apocalyptic. Metamatic is so fundamental as an influence on so much – from synthpop, New Romantic, industrial dance, EBM, et al – its consequences are far reaching and still being felt.’
ALEX PROYAS, DIRECTOR OF THE MOVIES – I, ROBOT, THE CROW AND DARK CITY: ‘I think apart from his incredibly cinematic lyrics, John’s music has always conjured entire movies in my head when I listen to it. I think it’s his mastery of atmosphere that has stayed with me through the years. If I could only make a movie as textured and evocative as John’s music I would be a happy man.’
THE SOFT MOON: ‘No-One Driving is my favourite John Foxx track. It has everything I love in a song. From an emotional standpoint it’s dark, moody and yet somehow optimistic. From a musical standpoint it’s beautifully structured with melodic verses, a catchy chorus and I would still like to get that arpeggiated phaser synth sound.’
ALEX PATERSON (THE ORB): ‘I love ‘;Just For A Moment’. A thrilling song of pure genius. Thank you.’
REVIEWS FOR JOHN FOXX & THE MATHS INTERPLAY ALBUM, 2011
‘One of the finest electronic records you’ll hear in 2011.’ THE QUIETUS
‘Meeting of synth-fetishists is a triumph.’ **** MOJO
‘Foxx has released an album which equals the high points of his rich back catalogue.’ BBC.CO.UK
‘One of the most enlightened synth records in years.’ **** THE STOOL PIGEON
‘Foxx is still sounding relevant.’ **** ARTROCKER
‘Fresh and powerful’ **** CLASH MAGAZINE
‘A masterclass’ **** NEWS OF THE WORLD
‘A great album.’ **** RECORD COLLECTOR
‘Interplay is a consistently strong piece of work.’ **** MUSIC OMH
‘Like all the best electro, the mood is stark and eerie. Age has afforded Foxx an unsettling gravitas.’ **** THE PINK PAPER
‘Forceful, stripped-down music that sounds as new as it is old; as imaginative as it is familiar.’ UNCUT
‘Robo-pop bliss.’ CLASSIC ROCK
‘The Maths turn out to be a superb foil for Foxx.’ THE WIRE