Monologue #16: Talk the Talk

Spring has sprung and it seemed time to post a new mixtape. I have always been a fan of “talky bits” in songs. The contrast between the vocalist’s singing voice and talking voice adds variety but also creates a sense of drama and intimacy, as if the singer were taking time out from the song to address the listener in a more personal way.  So this mix features only songs with spoken word parts. They may be in the intro, middle 8, outro or all the way through… It covers a variety of genres (Romo, indie, italo, synth-pop…) from the 80s to the present day, although the songs all have an electronic component. Many of the songs have unfamiliarity value, due to being by less famous bands (Nancy Boy’s novel cover of Are ‘Friends’ Electric?, with a re-imagining of Gary Numan’s brilliant original spoken part) or being album tracks (La Roux’s Tigerlily, complete with a sinister middle 8 by Vincent Price!). Others hit the charts but are just there because I like them. My début show at Aces and Eights for Gertrud Stein’s Achtung! Achtung! night back in March was a success, with an enthusiastic crowd and great DJ sets from Gertrud and Germany’s Linear Netrik. Much of the music was fairly obscure European new wave and electronica, yet people were constantly dancing. You don’t have to know a song to like it. Another springtime highlight for me so far was finding this article about Ronny online via the Blitz Kids Facebook group (from whence the photo below comes, depicting Ronny with Grace Jones). I was lucky to find the hard copy of...

Monologue #15: ‘Exotic Prints’ now on CD

If you like synth-pop, caracals and physical formats, you’re in luck: my EP Exotic Prints is now available as a gorgeous limited edition CD, complete with exotic artwork and lyrics, on Bleach Dog records. Buy it here: https://marcelwave.bandcamp.com/album/exotic-prints London fans can also pick one up at my upcoming début show at Aces and Eights on 4th of March. The French print magazine Abus Dangereux says the EP is “a success…that should seduce those who once loved Marc Almond and Fad Gadget”, and comments on “the astounding presence of a bassoon” blending in wonderfully with the synths and drum...

Monologue #14: Loitering on Memory Lane

Today it was brought to my attention that it has been exactly 20 years since the Romo movement officially came into being – the date of publication of the Romo special Melody Maker that attempted to introduce the world to this music and style phenomenon. This report on The Sunday Show ensued in 1996, offering an entertaining first glance at the scene. The momentous Romo edition (not my copy but I do own it – and the free cassette!) Sadly the world in general wasn’t too enthused by the proposal to combine synth and glam rock influences with an androgynous, slightly trashy modern aesthetic. The utilitarian look and 60s-inspired sound of Britpop and lad rock were still hanging heavily over the charts at the time. I however remember being extremely excited about it all. I was still living in France at the time, and was slightly too young to attend the clubs in any case. I bought the music when I could get my hands on it, and read even the shortest, most irritable music press articles about it with great interest. My preferred bands in the genre were Nancy Boy and Plastic Fantastic, and I still DJ those to this day. Aged 16, being a Romo in my uncle’s garden in Forest Hill, London. I’d only recently become interested in 80s bands such as Japan and Duran Duran, so the prospect of a new wave of frills, spills and electronica was very alluring to me. But Romo was a little too far ahead of the curve. A few years later, electroclash would gain more attention for combining synth sounds and flashy styles, and I enjoyed that a lot too,...

Monologue #12: You got me livin’ only for the night…

Now the EP is out, I’ve had a bit more time for DJing and mixing – my latest offering is up now on the Marcel Wave Mixcloud. Slave to the Synths is a blend of italo, electro and romo spanning the decades. It seems to be my most popular mix so far, although quite a few of the tracks are fairly obscure. It’s nice to think of people being exposed to (and hopefully enjoying) the music of a band like Nancy Boy, who never had the fame they deserved in the lad rock-obsessed 90s. Or Raf’s italo version of Self Control, which predated Laura Branigan’s more famous rendition. A special one-off Der Hammer is taking place for the North England portion of my fellow DJ JJD’s tour of the UK and Europe as Soft Riot, along with Uncanny Valley and Hausfrau. This time the venue is Golden Harvest, a café in Sheffield’s Brutalist centre which also acts as a nightspot. The date is Saturday 7 November. More details here. Sadly I can’t promise a décor of neon Disney characters but there should at least be a smoke machine....