Hard to believe that 2015 is past us and here we are, already into 2016. The first releases of the year have been announced and among them is a nice surprise for us, as two of the artists we covered in our feature on the Best Synthpop Albums of 2015 have united forces to bring us a powerhouse 2-track single.
Rodney Cromwell is a London-based artist we’ve featured before in this wittiest of interviews and this premiere of the lead track from his debut LP Age of Anxiety LP – Barry Was An Arms Dealer, released in mid-2015 by Happy Robot Records.
Already, kickstarting the new year, he and Canadian synthwave duo Meter Bridge have announced a new single – It Was Nothing. Meter Bridge here takes the lead, releasing one of the most brilliant tracks from their Slow Motion LP, along with a fresh sweeping remix by Rodney Cromwell. Based in British Columbia, Canada, band members Richard Kleef and Jill Beaulieu are a unique band against the backdrop of Canada’s typical ‘bearded guy’, ‘folky guitar’ music and ho-hum pop rock offerings
On the original version, the duo have outdone themselves – this has got to be our fave track from them so far. In our Best of 2015 Synthpop feature, we mentioned that their music is “evocative of Man Machine period Kraftwerk, had the German four-piece chosen to invent glitchcore on their way to perfecting technopop”. The same applies to this particular track, summoning associations with The Knife, Ladytron and Shiny Toy Guns with their minimal and melodic synthpop, infused with dark and addictive schrapnel from the post-punk and cold wave genres. The cold modernity embodied in Jill Beaulieu’s vocals place her in my mind’s imagery as a femme fatale – like some singing ‘La Femme Nikita’.
While he’s known for radiating 80s-style clever synth blends on his debut LP Age of Anxiety in a way that has earned his style of music “retro future synth music”, here his sound differs somewhat from his original compositions, bringing in the weave (but with an accelerated speed) of new wave heroes such as Visage, Strange Advance and Yaz (Yazoo for Europeans).
Rodney Cromwell is the project of Adam Cresswell, former main-man of John Peel favourites Saloon and the critically acclaimed Arthur & Martha. All three projects have earned him a special place in BBC playlists.
Both Meter Bridge and Rodney Cromwell will be playing events occurring through the Electro London Festival. Rodney Cromwell plays the Electro London event at Electrowerkz on January 30 with Massive Ego, British-Swedish outfit The Department, Johnny Normal, and DJ Rob Harvey (of Synth City). Later, in September, Meter Bridge is among a strong line-up of featured acts, along with headliner Wolfgang Flür (ex-Kraftwerk) and others.
These 2 tracks are being offered as a free download via Bandcamp through WEATNU Records. You can support both artists through the links below.