Wolfgang Flür – Magazine 1 album review

26 01 2022

Magazine 1 is a new electronic album from former Kraftwerk member Wolfgang Flür, in partnership with Peter Duggal and featuring guest appearances from Midge Ure (Ultravox), Peter Hook (New Order) and Claudia Brücken (Propaganda), plus contributions from contemporary artists MAPS, Juan Atkins, Carl Cox, U96, Anushka and Ramón Amezcu (AKA Bostich).

The 9 song album is a celebration of techno-pop, and will appeal to fans of electronic music, as well as Kraftwerk fans.

Deep bass synths and classic 80s drum machines propel opener Magazine.

Read all about it!”

The album has a consistent lyrical theme running throughout, with a commentary on the dis-jointed times we live in, the information we are force-fed, all delivered from a humanist stance, although not always from the viewpoint of humans!

Zukunftsmusi, the first of three U96 collaborations, is a power-house of electronic “Music of the Future”, with a compelling mixture of ice-cold synth lines, topped with rich percussion patterns. A synth motif that reminds me of Jeff Wayne’s War Of The Worlds as well as Close Encounters of the Third Kind breaks out of the mix around the half-way mark of Zukunftsmusik.

The second track featuring U96 is the anti-consumerism Best Buy, with a charmingly bonkers vocal performance and an up-tempo, naggingly addictive melody.

“Take-away, night and Day”

Das Beat features Midge Ure, with a warm tale of how music is universal (“beats in Moscow, beats in France”) and a few sounds that appear to lovingly reference Wolfgang’s former band. The chorus stays with you long after the song has finished, which is always enjoyable.

Birmingham features former New Order bassist Peter Hook and vocals from Ex-Propaganda singer Claudia Brücken, and is my favourite song on the album. I’ve loved Claudia’s work since A Secret Wish in 1985, and this is a perfect mix of the darkness of German electronic music, with a sprinkling of early New Order magic (that bass!). The contributions from Peter and Claudia are a potent and powerful blend, and it is worth buying the album for this track alone.

Night Drive draws from a more contemporary electronic palette, and the final U96 appearance (along with Carl Cox) is the charming tale of the life of a robot, Electric Sheep. There may be more to this robot than we initially think. Be afraid!

Detroit’s Juan Atkins joins Wolfgang on Billionaire (Symphony Of Might), a song of greed feeding environmental disaster (“The world needs more wealth, not more people”). Another strong chorus lets us know who has the power and control in this story. Isn’t that always the way?

Magazine 1 ends with the simple but powerful messaging of the anti-war Say No! The music perfectly underpins the lyrics, with slow build ups to the multiple anthemic choruses. This life-affirming song, with its nod to the music of the past along with a promise of a peaceful future, is an emotional climax from this powerful album.

“There’s only one thing to do, say no”

Wolfgang Flür – Magazine 1 is released via Cherry Red on 4 March 2022

Buy Magazine 1 on CD from Amazon

Buy Magazine 1 on vinyl from Amazon

  1. Magazine [ft. Ramón Amezcua]
  2. Zukunftsmusik [ft. U96]
  3. Best Buy [ft. U96]
  4. Das Beat [ft. Midge Ure]
  5. Birmingham [ft. Claudia Brücken & Peter Hook]
  6. Night Drive [ft. Anushka]
  7. Electric Sheep [ft. Carl Cox & U96]
  8. Billionaire (Symphony Of Might) [ft. Juan Atkins]
  9. Say No! (ft. MAPS)

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Airbag – A Day at the Beach album review

9 05 2020

A Day at the Beach is the 5th album from Norwegian band Airbag, and is their first studio album in 4 years.

A Day at the Beach features six new songs inspired by the resurgence of 1980s electronica, new wave and movie scores, whilst still retaining the band’s progressive rock leanings.

The album was produced by Asle Tostrup and Bjørn Riis, and befitting the musical content, is lovingly mastered by Jacob Holm-Lupo (White Willow / The Opium Cartel).

Machines And Men acts as a bridge between the progressive rock sound of Identity and Disconnected and a more electronic 2020 direction for Airbag. Guitars give way to Tangerine Dream / New Order referencing synths, but don’t worry, Bjørn Riis is still a strong presence throughout the album. As with all Airbag releases, there is a heavy use of textures, and peaks and flows to keep your attention and hit you emotionally. I particularly love the drum treatments on Machines And Men.

A Day at the Beach (Part 1) is an absolute joy. Decaying guitars and deep bass underpin piano and mid-period Porcupine Tree like synth swirls to deliver one of the most atmospheric pieces on the album.

Into The Unknown continues in a similar, albeit longer vein. The synth riff driving the intro has an 80s Drive soundtrack feel, and the neon pulse and achingly personal lyrics make the track an album highlight. The guitars from Bjørn Riis are restrained but all the more powerful as the track builds, and the drums kick in with a second half that will appeal to Pink Floyd and Prog fans.

Sunsets is one of the biggest surprises on the album,. Opening with an off-kilter drum pattern, and then heading in an almost post-punk direction, with a John McGeoch (Siouxsie & The Banshees / Magazine) guitar sound, before switching to a more traditional Airbag chorus.

The insistent bassline on Sunsets works well with the heavily processed guitar on the verses, and we are treated to a quality Bjørn Riis guitar solo at the half-way mark. Again, the use of textures and ever-mutating arrangements keep your interest piqued throughout.

Listen to an edit of Sunsets below.

A Day At The Beach (Part 2) dials the electronica back into sharper focus, with an pulse-led instrumental conclusion to the song that premiered earlier on in the album sequence.

A Day at the Beach is such a good headphones album, and I cannot wait to hear it played loud through speakers when I receive my vinyl copy in June.

The album closes with Megalomaniac, a slow-building guitar piece that suddenly falls away and then rises powerfully to see the album to it’s conclusion.

“You always get what you want…”

I am a huge fan of electronic music, as well as a lot of progressive rock, and I love it when the two genres intertwine as they do on this album. A Day at the Beach has been a long time coming, but is one of the highlights in Airbag’s catalogue of fine studio albums. The band may have lost two members but they have opened up the possibilities of what they can achieve and how they can tell their stories.

Machines And Men
A Day at the Beach (Part 1)
Into The Unknown
Sunsets
A Day At The Beach (Part 2)
Megalomaniac

Buy A Day at the Beach on CD from Amazon

Buy A Day at the Beach on CD from Burning Shed

Buy A Day at the Beach clear vinyl from Burning Shed

Buy Bjørn Riis A Storm Is Coming CD on Amazon

Buy Bjørn Riis Forever Comes To An End CD on Amazon

Buy Bjørn Riis Lullabies In A Car Crash CD on Amazon








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