John Foxx & The Maths - Have A Cigar
As I've mentioned in the past on this blog, I spent 6 years in the UK in the late '70s and early '80s. Those years had a major impact on my musical tastes, especially when it comes to anything synth driven. One of my favorite acts of that time is Ultravox. Not the Midge Ure version mind you, but the John Foxx era. They were pioneers in combining art rock with drum machines and new synthesizer technology. The music combined with Foxx's eerie vocals and futuristic lyrics really impressed me. They managed to have some success before Foxx left the band to chart a solo career. Of course Ultravox went on to become very successful with their new singer and song writer, but they lacked the artistic coolness of the original band. I was a big fan of Foxx's solo stuff too - all cold and synthetic and robotic, it sounded like no-one else. Lots of acts went on to cop his steeze and some of them even had greater success with it than he did - hello Gary Numan!
Fast forward to 2011 and John Foxx is still making music. Over the last few years he has released a bunch of stuff, and much of it has been on the ambient side. He has collaborated with UK electronic musician/producer Benge, who is also a collector of vintage studio gear. Together they have released Interplay as John Foxx & The Maths, using old machines to make totally modern music. It is a delightful record, faithfully recreating the music of Foxx's early years but in a totally modern style. Interplay sounds to me like the album Ultravox would release in 2011 if Foxx had never left the group. His themes remain futuristic and so is the music. The beats are both classic and modern, as are the synth sounds. Everything is beefed up and full of speaker rumbling low end. There are a lot of really good pop moments on it, including the new single Evergreen and the track Watching A Building On Fire which features Mira Aroyo from Ladytron on vocals. Falling Star is a gorgeously dreamy ballad while Shatterproof and Catwalk add a dash of glam rock stomp. I am captivated by it. If you are a fan of electronic music you would do well to check this record out!
As a little bonus enjoy their freshly recorded version of the Pink Floyd classic Have A Cigar. The cover mount CD from the October issue of Mojo Magazine features this song. However it has been announced that the version on the CD was unfinished. The version I offer today is the full, finished version.