Wednesday, October 27, 2021

VA - Electrical Language, Independent British Synth Pop 78-84 [2019] (4 x CD's)


VA - Electrical Language, Independent British Synth Pop 78-84 [2019] (4 x CD's)

This 4 x CD set that explores the independent side of the UK's post-punk synth-pop boom. From household names and scene legends to underground outsiders and bedroom experimenters. Hardback book format includes over 12,000 words of sleevenotes, introductory essay by Dave Henderson and period imagery. Key tracks and hidden gems from Mute Records, Rough Trade, 4AD, Survival Records, Cherry Red and a host of essential independent players. The year 1978. The mood - revolution. The latest addition to the musician's sound palette, the synthesizer. And so a new sound was born, and one which would free pop music from it's guitar dominated tradition into something with a bright new future which would write itself. Almost overnight, via a handful of key single releases, the big bang of punk produced something the kids called 'synth-pop'. The clue was very much in the name. A broad church from the outset, this synth-pop movement wasted no time in embracing players from all corners of the musical dressing up box. From guitar groups drafting in a keyboard playing friend and the progressive rockers using their expensive banks of electronics in new ways to the modernists and the Thatcherists, full of unabashed aspiration, and the punks - arguably the purest punks of them all - who discarded the guitar and the drum kit overnight in their pursuit of something fresh that their generation could truly call their own. All were welcome, and all contributed to the many different directions synth-pop would mutate in over the coming five or six years. Electrical Language captures this time and place in microscopic detail.

This box set is fantastic. If you are a synth pop fan, do you really want a four-disc compilation of a bunch of songs you already have? For me, this box hits a sweet spot -- it's full of stuff I didn't already have in my collection, but it's more fun and easier on the ears than many late 70's and early 80's electronic music compilation. If you're a synth pop neophyte, this set probably isn't the best place to start, because it doesn't have all those classic hit singles you've heard on the radio. If you already have plenty of Heaven 17, Thomas Dolby, Depeche Mode, etc. in your collection, though, this compilation is a gold mine. (Amazon)


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Track lists


01 Thomas Dolby Windpower 4:21

02 Alan Burnham Science Fiction 3:49

03 Normal Warm Leatherette 3:23

04 Alex Fergusson Stay With Me Tonight 3:48

05 Colourbox Tarantula 3:47

06 100% Manmade Fibre Fantasy 5:34

07 Testcard F Bandwagon Tango 3:47

08 Be-Bop Deluxe Electrical Language 4:50

09 Dalek I The World 2:29

10 Chain of Command Honour Among Thieves 3:40

11 Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark Red Frame / White Light 3:09

12 Legendary Pink Dots Red Castles 3:29

13 Ice the Falling Rain Lifes Illusion 2:54

14 Music for Pleasure The Human Factor 2:43

15 Poeme Electronique She's an Image 5:25

16 Box of Toys I'm Thinking of You Now 3:39

17 New Musik The Planet Doesn't Mind 3:34

18 Schleimer K Hope Deep Inside 2:56

19 Native Eurpoe The Distance From Koln 2:28

20 Voice of Authority Technical Miracle 5:10


01 Human League Circus of Death 3:52

02 Passage XOYO 3:54

03 A Popular History of Signs Crowds 4:09

04 Chris and Cosey October (Love Song) 3:52

05 Laugh Clown Laugh Feel So Young 3:55

06 Basking Sharks Croatia 3:22

07 Thomas Leer Mr Nobody 5:22

08 Fad Gadget Ricky's Hand 4:06

09 Local Boy Makes Good Hypnotic Rhythm 3:15

10 Mobiles Drowning in Berlin 3:27

11 Edward Ka-Spel Even Now 3:57

12 Passion Polka Lying Next to You 5:04

13 Naked Lunch Rabies 4:53

14 Limit Do It 3:51

15 Robert Calvert Work Song 3:55

16 Quadrascope Baby Won't Phone 3:16

17 Electronic Ensemble It Happened Then 3:14

18 Jeanette In the Morning 2:52

19 Those Attractive Magnets Nightlife 2:50

20 Beasts in Cages My Coo Ca Choo 3:15


01 Bodhi Beat Poets Your Love is Like a Slug 4:13

02 Eyeless in Gaza Veil Like Calm 1:52

03 Camera Obscura Destitution 5:29

04 Drinking Electricity Good Times 3:34

05 Zoo Boutique Happy Families 3:11

06 Fiat Lux Feels Like Winter Again 4:45

07 Colin Potter Falling Downstairs 4:09

08 David Harrow Our Little Girl 4:08

09 Futurhythm It Never Rains in Outer Space 3:31

10 Goat Zennor 3:45

11 Final Program Videomatic 4:05

12 Pink Industry Taddy Up 3:37

13 Play You Don't Look the Same 5:27

14 Fast Set Children of the Revolution 3:54

15 Two Trace of Red 2:26

16 Shox Lying Here 3:04

17 Builders Daytime Assassins 4:24

18 Section 25 Beating Heart (12" Version) 5:04

19 Joe Crow Absent Friends 4:03

20 Faction Jamaica Day 3:15


01 Tim Blake Generator (Laser Beam) 3:34

02 Lori and the Chameleons Touch 4:19

03 Jupiter Red The Secret Affair 3:36

04 Blue Zoo I'm Your Man 3:52

05 Jesus Couldn't Drum Even Roses Have Thorns 4:32

06 Techno Pop Paint it Black 3:39

07 Kevin Harrison Chase the Dragon 4:07

08 Thirteen at Midnight Other Passengers 3:10

09 Freeze Frame Your Voice 4:07

10 Time in Motion Stay With You 3:52

11 Toy Shop Live Wires Kill 2:07

12 Analysis Surface Tension 3:15

13 Paul Haig Time 5:53

14 Solid Space Contemplation 3:17

15 Martin O'cuthbert Committed to Vinyl 2:58

16 Science Look Don't Touch 4:09

17 Charlie's Brother The Wishing Tree (Megatree Mix) 4:56

18 Quarks Working Model 3:16

19 Eddie & Sunshine There's Someone Following Me 3:34

20 Hybrid Kids Happy Xmas (War is Over) 3:42




  1. Wonderful.....thanks Butterboy!!!

    1. Hi The Bino,
      Hope you will enjoy this set. Lots of interesting music here.


  2. Thanks a lot, Mr. B! A very promising collection. Best, TC

    1. Hi The Chairman,
      Great, often forgotten music. Nothing wrong with a reawakening every now and then.


  3. Hummm ... It seems like an interesting collection, it already sounds in my house. I like it's synth-pop!

    1. Hi Jose,
      It is always good to keep the mind open to let new sounds mix along with the ones that we will always love.



  4. Superb. Fair to mention...this music owes a lot to Krautrock.

  5. Thanks BB Very cool i agree with StoneRose Krautrock and alot of Library Records.

  6. FYI BB. It's all there but you may have your links switched... 1+2 is 3+4 and vice versa.