Larry Levan – Genius Of Time (Universal compilation, 2016)

Larry Levan was a major figure in the New York club scene of the Eighties, and The Paradise Garage on NYC’s King Street where he had his residency was the day-glo decade’s answer to Studio 54. As a DJ Levan was legendary; as a remixer he applied his dancefloor nous to his work in the studio, developing mixes that focussed on the groove but emphasised soulfulness over alien electronics and overly-regimented 4/4 beats. 

Universal have released a compilation of 22 mixes, edits and extended versions by Levan. I reviewed the album for Clash. You can read my review here.

(c) 2016 Mat Smith / Documentary Evidence

Teknique – Redeem (Teknique EP, 2016)


Teknique are a duo of Aaron Young and Jeff Barringer. The pair recorded a truly brilliant electronic pop in the Nineties which was shopped around various labels, including Mute, but was criminally not picked up by anyone. Thanks to Bandcamp it’s now possible to hear that first album (Nightfall) and it’s well worth checking out.

Young and Barringer have decided – wisely, judging by the results – that the time is right to reconvene the Teknique project, starting initially with an EP of three new songs padded out by various remixes and extend versions.

The three new tracks are authentic electronic pop pieces drawing on the legacy of over thirty years of reference points while also sounding fresh and innovative. Opener ‘Fade Away’ feels like a melancholy soundclash between Depeche Mode’s ‘Precious’ and Pet Shop Boys’ ‘This Must Be The Place I’ve Waited Years To Leave’, and anyone with a cursory knowledge of either song will know how heavy the mood on such a mash-up would sound; here Barringer concerns himself with regret and sadnes, only allowing a brief slither of optimism to filter through around the middle eight.

‘Jealous’, by comparison, feeds off a retro Nineties Euro-disco mood that was ripe for rediscovery, fusing bold, strident vocals with thudding beats and heavy synth work. ‘I Confess’, the last of the three new tracks has a sunny, Balearic feel mixed with squelchy analogue-esque passages and guitar sounds; the track has a muted optimism, as if Aaron Young (who sings this track? held himself back, even as the musical backdrop tries to reach a euphoric crescendo.

The EP includes an extended mix of ‘Fade Away’ while Maxi-Man wades in with bludgeoning hard techno retreads of ‘Jealous’. The more subtle mixes of the same track from Daybreakers – an alias of Koishii & Hush – isolate the hidden depths of the track and turn it into a slick, tight dancefloor number.

(c) 2016 Mat Smith / Documentary Evidence

Electronic Sound Issue 19

Issue 19 of Electronic Sound is available now, either at electroni or the iTunes App Store. Appropriately, this issue focuses on the electronic legacy of the sorely-missed David Bowie.

I interviewed Colin Newman and Malka Spigel (aka Immersion) for this issue on the occasion of the duo dusting off their electronic project for the first time since performing at the Royal Festival Hall for Wire‘s spectacularly artsy comeback in 2000. I was there that night, as you can probably tell from my interview. Elsewhere in this issue, I wrote a short piece about a thrilling band called HÆLOS, and reviewed albums by The Choir Of Young Believers, Public Memory and my new favourite band LNZNDRF.

(c) Mat Smith / Documentary Evidence

Yeasayer – Chris Keating (Clash interview, 2012)

This past week I’ve been listening to Amen & Goodbye, the fourth Yeasayer album due for release by Mute on April 1st, which I’ve reviewed for Electronic Sound.

Way back in 2012, I had the great privilege of getting to interview the band’s Chris Keating (above right) ahead of a second intimate show at Islington’s The Lexington to promote the upcoming release of their third album, Fragrant World.
My Clash interview can be found here. I still think of it as one of my favourites.

(c) 2016 Mat Smith / Documentary Evidence  

Matthew Bourne – moogmemory (Leaf album, 2016)

I reviewed this really intriguing synth album for Clash. Matthew Bourne is an improvising pianist with a penchant for analogue synths, and moogmemory was created entirely using a customised Memory Moog.

My review can be found here.

A video for ‘On Rivock Edge’ from the album can be watched below.

(c) 2016 Mat Smith / Documentary Evidence

Various Artists – Fly : Songs Inspired By The Film ‘Eddie The Eagle’ (Universal album, 2016)

I reviewed the soundtrack to the film Eddie The Eagle for This Is Not Retro. Fly features a who’s who of Eighties music, including everyone from Martyn Ware‘s Heaven 17to Paul Young, most of whom have recorded exclusives for the album.

Erasure‘s Andy Bell delivers the title track, while Nik Kershaw’s ‘The Sky’s The Limit’ (from his 2012 album Ei8ht) steals the show as perhaps the best song ever written about following your dreams. Kershaw said he wrote this song to his child to show that you really can be whatever you want, and as a father to two growing little girls, I can’t listen to this song without getting emotional.

My review can be found here

(c) 2016 Mat Smith / Documentary Evidence 

Andy Bell – Torsten The Beautiful Libertine (Strike Force Entertainment / Cherry Red album, 2016)


Erasure‘s Andy Bell has recorded the follow-up album to Torsten The Bareback Saint, written by Barney Ashton-Bullock with music by Christopher Frost. Bell performed the first chapter in the life of the colourful polysexual Torsten at the Edinburgh Festival in 2014 and will perform this next installment during March 2016 at Above The Stag in London’s Vauxhall.

I reviewed Torsten The Beautiful Libertine for This Is Not Retro. My review can be found here. Also on This Is Not Retro is my interview with Andy from last year and a review of the Variance remix collection.

(c) 2016 Mat Smith / Documentary Evidence

Various Artists – Straight To You – The Gothic Country And Blues That Inspired Nick Cave (Uncut covermount album, 2010)


Uncut put together this covermount CD of tracks that purportedly inspired Nick Cave, covering blues and country tracks by the likes of Leadbelly, Elvis Presley, Hank Williams and Johnny Cash.

I’m always a little dubious of these types of things, especially where the artist in question wasn’t actually involved, particularly since a lot of the tracks and artists here are ones that Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds covered during their career (mostly on Kicking Against The Pricks) – while it may be possible to conclude that they were therefore an influence, I’m not so sure about all of them. The one artist that Cave frequently spoke about as being a major formative influence on him was The Man In Black, Johnny Cash, who Cave would have the nerve-racking opportunity to work with during Cash’s twilight years. Cash’s nihilistic ‘I’d Rather Die Young’ is one of the tracks included here.

Certainly you can hear a certain Birthday Party-era wildness in Gene Vincent’s ‘Cat Man’, there’s the ‘grinderman’ lineage in Memphis Slim’s ‘Grinder Man Blues’ and Cave displayed a healthy interest in the mystical aura of Elvis Presley on ‘Tupelo’. Defining precisely what has influenced a person, given that life is an entire summation of experience – recognised or otherwise – is a fool’s game. When I interview an artist and feel duty-bound to ask them about their influences, it is invariably greeted with a sigh or an awkward silence. We nevertheless are obsessed with such details, on the basis that it helps us rationalise a person via certain reference points, and that will never change.

This is one for the Cave completist only. I’m not sure now whether the magazine that this came with included a feature on Cave or some sort of explanation about how these tracks had been selected, or maybe it tied in with a Bad Seeds release that month. I certainly don’t have it any longer. If you surrender the notion that this is intended as some sort of definitive listing of what made Nick Cave who he is today – ignoring the fact that to do that justice would involve everything from church choir music through to The Stooges – what you are left with is a decent album of some very important blues and country songs.

(c) 2016 Mat Smith / Documentary Evidence

MM-STUDIO – Good Star Dubs (AlbumLabel album, 2016)


I’ve always been partial to electronic dub, and so this new album by MM-STUDIO was a nice one to cover. MM-STUDIO are a duo of Daniel Meteo (accomplice of sometime NovaMute artist T. Raumschmiere and the Shitkatapult label) and Tadd Manning. Manning works as Dabrye and has recorded for the incredible Ghostly International imprint. 

I reviewed the album for Clash and my review can be found here

(c) 2016 Mat Smith / Documentary Evidence

LNZNDRF (Clash interview, 2016)

I’ve been raving about the debut album by 4AD trio LNZNDRF since I first got to hear their self-titled album last month, and I’m already calling them my new favourite band at any available opportunity. Their record was released in February and my review will appear in the next issue of Electronic Sound. LNZNDRF consist of brothers Scott and Bryan Devendorf from Ohio-via-Brooklyn band The National and Ben Lanz from Beirut.

Last week I had the pleasure of talking to Scott Devendorf about the genesis of this thrilling project for Clash. My interview with Scott can be found here.

LNZNDRF is out now on 4AD. Initial copies of the LP are pressed on clear vinyl.

(c) 2016 Mat Smith / Documentary Evidence