Return of the Moon King

I am pleased to announce a new digital double A-side available on Bandcamp. The Moon King by Marcel Wave The Moon King is inspired by the story of King Ludwig II of Bavaria, via the Luchino Visconti film Ludwig. I have been a fan of the Italian director Visconti, and his favourite leading man Helmut Berger, for some years now. The spoken introduction is taken from a 70s poster advertising the film. Seeing it made me want to find out more about the romantic but beleaguered Bavarian monarch. I identified with his retreat into fantasy in the face of personal and political hardship. Last year I had the pleasure of visiting Neuschwanstein Castle, one of the many fanciful castles that he built during his life. Although the tour was very regimented due to the large numbers of visitors, it was still quite an enchanting experience. Les Nuits sans Kim Wilde is a cover of an 80’s song by the French artist Laurent Voulzy. I love the original and admire Kim Wilde, so endeavoured to offer my own interpretation of it. I had never done a cover before but feel they can be worthwhile if they are different enough from the original. I couldn’t match the high-end, glossy and quintessentially 80s production of Voulzy’s version, so I went the other way, going for a dancy, nocturnal, slightly more minimal sound… and adding a touch of bassoon. The spoken outro comes from a 1982 interview that she did with The Face magazine, which I originally bought because there was also a feature about Steve Strange in the same...

Monologue #18: Mixing and Remixing

Last month saw me play two shows in Berlin and Vienna, on a mini-tour with the Canadian electronic artist Soft Riot. Both shows went well. The Berlin gig at the Loophole was kindly organised by local synth punk Ben Bloodygrave and also included a rousing performance by the German minimal synth act Endlose Emotion. The Bloodbeat Club night in Vienna, organised by Stephanie (of Vienna-based duo Mitra Mitra) and her friend Jan, was especially atmospheric as it featured my favourite peripheral concert device, the smoke machine. (I love to lurk mysteriously behind a thick cloud of vapour.) Both venues had good sound and enthusiastic, friendly audiences. The travelling was exhausting but I enjoyed the stunning scenery on the train ride from Berlin to Vienna via the Czech Republic. I was pleased to see that some of the trains still retain the individual compartment layout that is no longer found in Britain. They even had curtains. I had been to Berlin a few times before, but this was my first trip to Vienna. I loved the city and would like to explore it further. It is clear why Ultravox chose it as the subject of their synth Meisterwerk of the same name. With its grandiose architecture, heroic statuary, and boutique windows boasting gold leather gloves and pink quartz cockatoos, it must surely be the most New Romantic city in existence. In Vienna we met up with the Croatian electronic artist Iv/An, who has now created a great remix of one of my dancier tracks, Echtes Leder. It is available as a free download here for a limited time period. I would describe the style as minimal electro,...

Monologue #17: Autumn shows in Berlin and Vienna

Autumn has been my favourite season ever since I reached adulthood and it stopped meaning having to go back to school. (Although I do still indulge in the customary seasonal purchasing of nice stationery – one of life’s sensory thrills.)  I like the way the edge comes off the summer heat and the leaves turn into beautiful, warm colours. Here in Britain, it becomes jacket weather and I do love jackets. This autumn there is something extra to look forward to! Two shows on the Continent, in Berlin and then Vienna. Show number 1 (don’t need this pressure on)*: Thursday 8 September, at Loophole in Berlin, with two fascinating synth acts, Soft Riot and Endlose Emotion. More details on the event page here. Show no. 2 (electric boogaloo)**: 10 September, Bloodbeat at AU, Vienna, with Soft Riot and DJing from Peppy Mint and Vague. More details here. *free Marcel Wave CD for the first five people to identify the two awesome numerical 80s pop culture references in italics **only if you come to my pop concert though 😀...

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,...