12 Oct 2009
Synth Britannia 
New BBC4 documentary about British synthpop features New Order, OMD and Cabaret Voltaire

"In the late 1970s, small pockets of electronic artists including the Human League, Daniel Miller and Cabaret Voltaire were inspired by Kraftwerk and JG Ballard and dreamt of the sound of the future against the backdrop of bleak, high-rise Britain. The crossover moment came in 1979 when Gary Numan's appearance on Top of the Pops with Tubeway Army's Are "Friends" Electric? heralded the arrival of synthpop. Four lads from Basildon known as Depeche Mode would come to own the new sound whilst post-punk bands like Ultravox, Soft Cell, OMD and Yazoo took the synth out of the pages of the NME and onto the front page of Smash Hits. By 1983, acts like Pet Shop Boys and New Order were showing that the future of electronic music would lie in dance music."

Synth Britannia screens on Friday 16 October 2009 on BBC4 and includes contributions from Philip Oakey, Vince Clarke, Martin Gore, Bernard Sumner, Gary Numan and Neil Tennant.

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A Certain Ratio

"Manchester, 1978. In the beginning there were four: Jez Kerr (bass), Martin Moscrop (guitar/trumpet), Peter Terrel (guitar/effects) and Simon Topping (vocals/trumpet). Four thin boys with a name borrowed from a Brian Eno record, the intense, drummerless quartet initially drew influence from Wire, Eno, the Velvets and Kraftwerk, and gained a manager in Anthony Wilson of Factory Records.

"May 1979 saw the release of their first ACR single, the dark All Night Party, although the sound and musicianship of the band would be transformed by the arrival of funky drummer Donald Johnson (DoJo) in August. Over the next few months the band gigged widely, often with Joy Division as part of Factory packages, and recorded demos with producer Martin Hannett as well as a Peel session. Their support slot with Talking Heads on their UK tour in December 1979 set David Byrne on a new course, and provided the compelling live half of their chic cassette package The Graveyard and the Ballroom. Post-punk, ACR now reflected the influence of Funkadelic, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, The Bar Kays and James Brown."

- intro to ACR Biography by James Nice (LTM)

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