Fluorine Reaction

10 Noir Wave Classix!

Posted on | July 28, 2012 | No Comments

10 songs ca. 1980 – 1983, five of which I remember hearing on the radio (CFNY or WZIR) when I was a teenager. The other five I discovered much later. Only after I finished this set did I notice the overall noirish tone.

People’s conception of the early ’80s seems rather limited. There was more to it than Joy Division on one hand, Duran Duran on the other, the Clash in between. I hope this selection of forgotten tunes demonstrates that.

Here is the list:

Wet Job – Fingerprintz
China’s Eternal – The Tights
I Wish I Was a Girl – Wasted Youth
Man From China – Vivabeat
Early Damage – Urban Verbs
Absentee – The Passions
I Live in the City – Humans
Ambition – Sepp Maier’s Glove
(I Like To Do It In) Fast Cars – Z Factor
Time for a Chance – Pink Industry

New demo tune: “Running”

Posted on | July 27, 2012 | No Comments

Check out this new demo. Got that motorik beat, and the usual influences: Neu, early PiL, etc.

The Arty Assassin and The Sound

Posted on | June 7, 2012 | 1 Comment

Apparently, I have time to post long comments on other people’s blogs but no time to blog here. Comments are easier, however, since the heavy lifting is already done by the original poster. And how can I resist when the topic is The Sound, the most underrated band of the early ’80s?

The post is titled The Sound (of a Troubled Genius) part 2 – From The Lion’s Mouth and it’s by Charlotte Corday at her great new blog, theartyassassin. I discovered it via this interview in the Guardian. Here’s what grabbed me: “I introduce or reacquaint the reader with artists that seem to have slipped beneath the radar (Mary Margaret O’Hara and the Sound); post-punk singles where I analyse my father’s wonderful collection 1981 – 1984 (Felt, Weekend, To the Finland Station, the Special AKA and Marine Girls)”

I was always gonna do a post about The Sound but I’m more than happy to leave it in the comments of a kindred blog. My theory on why they never got big.

Euroman Goeth #3: We’re Young Europeans

Posted on | February 10, 2012 | No Comments

This is a fine synthesis of think-white-duke era Bowie and Kraftwerk that many British bands stove for in the early ’80s. It was certainly a winner for Ultravox who released their most successful album in 1980, the Conny-Plank-produced Vienna. The title track made it to number two, foiled by the similarly European “Shaddap You Face” by Joe Dolce. “New Europeans” is from that album.

Once again I’m forced to consult the lyrics to see how well the song actually holds up against my theme.

On a crowded beach washed by the sun, he puts his headphones on.
His modern world revolves around the synthesizer's song.
Full of future thoughts and thrills, his senses slip away.
He's a European legacy, a culture for today.

I think it does. Synthesizers as signifiers of the future. In some quarters in those years guitars were considered passe.

I’ve linked to this live version with the interesting interview. Midge Ure is a Scot!

Euroman Goeth #2: Straight connection, T.E.E.

Posted on | January 18, 2012 | No Comments

“From station to station/Back to Düsseldorf City/Meet Iggy Pop and David Bowie”

That’s the straight connection. Because there is no longer a direct train from Paris to Vienna. TEE was first-class only but now dapper German businessmen, like the ones Ralf Hütter portrays in the video below, can afford private jets. These days Ryanair shuttles the masses across the continent. Trains are just too slow. Thus the aspirational, futuristic vision Kraftwerk convey in this video is now laden with nostalgia.

And it’s just a train, we shouldn’t get too excited, right? Or is it? These words by Tony Judt resonate with the overal theme of this series. Somehow I agree with him that trains are special and mean more than you’d initally think:

If we lose the railways we shall not just have lost a valuable practical asset whose replacement or recovery would be intolerably expensive. We shall have acknowledged that we have forgotten how to live collectively. If we throw away the railway stations and the lines leading to them—as we began to do in the 1950s and 1960s—we shall be throwing away our memory of how to live the confident civic life. It is not by chance that Margaret Thatcher—who famously declared that “there is no such thing as Society. There are individual men and women, and there are families”—made a point of never traveling by train. If we cannot spend our collective resources on trains and travel contentedly in them it is not because we have joined gated communities and need nothing but private cars to move between them. It will be because we have become gated individuals who don’t know how to share public space to common advantage. The implications of such a loss would far transcend the demise of one system of transport among others. It would mean we had done with modern life.

Bring Back the Rails!

Euroman Goeth #1: The European Cannon

Posted on | January 13, 2012 | No Comments

It all starts here, as far as I can tell. I don’t listen closely to lyrics. One advantage is that you can hear what you want and what I always heard was “The European Man is here”. Regardless…. I think the song still fits the theme. Alex Needham seems to agree:

The Thin White Duke was Bowie’s final persona, a character who embodied the allure of evil, immaculately dressed in waistcoat and Oxford bags, crooning rather than rocking out, determinedly European.

The Internet’s crappy lyric sites can’t decide if it’s “canon” or “cannon”. Needham says “cannon” so I’ll accept that. The mood of the album, the song, the persona is not optimistic but it was something new and symbolic of the future. This new identity certainly inspired the next song in our list.

Euroman Goeth

Posted on | January 9, 2012 | No Comments

Recent events in Europe are reminding me of the old songs that celebrated a nascent pan-European identity. In the late ’70s and early ’80s, well before the Euro, the future union was a kind of cosmopolitan dream and a good topic for a song. What actually turned out is aptly described by Ian Buruma in his “Is the European Dream Over?“. He says “democracy does require that citizens have a sense of belonging”.

As a North American I always thought there was some thing that was Europe to which people felt they belonged. Through work I’ve had the opportunity to speak with quite a few Europeans however, and it’s clear Swedes, French, Germans, Austrians, Italians and British are as lodged in their own national culture as anyone else. Was it absurd to expect otherwise?

The most hopeful sign I ever saw was on a home exchange in Ireland. In the house we stayed at, in the room of one of the (many) kids, was a map of the EU, produced not long after Ireland gained entry. That kid was proud his country had officially joined the club, presumably after spending so long on the sidelines. Was he supposed to now be in the world envisioned by Kraftwerk, Ultravox and others?

I was going to embed all the songs in this post but I couldn’t get past the first one (“Station to Station” by Bowie) without the urge to comment and annotate. So I’ll do this over multiple postings for each song.

These are all great songs. Enjoy them as their theme becomes ever more curious and nostalgic.

“Station to Station” — David Bowie
“Trans Europe Express” — Kraftwerk
“New Europeans” — Ultravox
“Do the European” — J.J. Burnel
“Hallellujah Europa” — Jonah Lewie
“Eurovision” — Telex
“Europe After the Rain” — John Foxx

Please send suggestions to add to the list.

The Window Dresser

Posted on | October 21, 2011 | No Comments

“Globalisation, he thinks, inevitably leads to uniformity. Across the globe, almost everybody begins their working day to the same little tune that tells them Windows is starting up. During the day they use the same programs—Word, Outlook, Excel—read the same books—Grisham, King, Brown—in the evenings, and watch the world’s news on homogeneous TV channels, with the same headlines at the bottom of the screen next to a stock market stream. Why do we need so many people, you ask yourself, if they all end up having the same experiences?” — The Window Dresser, Christiaan Weijts

The Dutch Are Coming!


Posted on | February 19, 2011 | No Comments

Was wondering when someone would do this. Fans can invest in a record and get a share of the profits. Not really like owning shares, which makes sense — an artist’s purpose, after all, isn’t to increase value for shareholders per se. Here’s how it works:

To give you an example. Imagine a record makes a net profit of 50.000 EUR. The production costs were 35.000 EUR, and you as an Angel invested 100 EUR. Your payout will be 100/35.000 x 50.000 or 142,8 EUR.

I submitted Fluorine. Let’s see how attentive their A&R department is. Rejection email will be blogged. See their faq for more details.

New Title: Thing In Itself

Posted on | January 18, 2011 | No Comments

Changed the EP title to Thing In Itself instead of Dinger an Sicher. Was carrying my love of all things krauty a bit too far, even given the helping hand from Google Translate.

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