Music album review: ‘Musik Music Musique’ (2020)

A fantastic 3 CD box set from Cherry Red which features synth pop from a very specific time, 1979-80. I was eager for more ‘new old’ music discoveries after The Tears of Technology, as I find early electronic pop fascinating. It has a kind of charm which vanished in later 80s music, becoming more polished and mainstream.

As suggested by the title, this compilation has a mainly European scope. There are some famous names and also many obscure ones. What is very interesting is that ‘live’ instruments such as guitar, drums and saxophone are evident on some tracks, although others are purely electronic. Influences of punk and new wave are also obvious, in addition to the influences of the electronic music pioneers. The box set includes a booklet with an introductory piece and information about all of the featured artists.

Favourites I already knew: OMD – ‘Messages’, Japan – ‘Quiet Life’, Eyeless in Gaza – ‘China Blue Vision’.

New favourites: Pauline Murray and the Invisible Girls – ‘Sympathy’, Nini Raviolette – ‘Suis-Je Normale’, M – ‘Official Secrets’, Kim Wilde – ‘Tuning In Tuning On’.

Weirdest songs: British Standard Unit – ‘D’ya Think I’m Sexy’, The Residents – ‘Diskomo’, The Goo-Q – ‘I’m A Computer’, Yello – ‘Bimbo’.

Acquired taste: Moebius – ‘Money’, Henriette Coulouvrat – ‘Can’t You Take A Joke? Ha Ha Hi Hi!’, Dark Day – ‘No, Nothing, Never’, Toyah – ‘Victims of the Riddle’.

Catchiest songs: Zeus – ‘Musik, Music, Musique’, Silicon Teens – ‘Chip N Roll’, John Foxx – ‘No One Driving’, New Musik – ‘This World of Water’.

Most futuristic-sounding: Nick Nicely – ‘DCT Dreams’, Spandau Ballet – ‘Glow’, Kevin Harrison – ‘Chase the Dragon’.

Recommended for synth pop fans!

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