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ITALIANS DO IT BETTER

Chromatics

Faded Now

    While the wait for Dear Tommy continues, Chromatics are not sitting idle. In 2020 they surprise release ‘Closer to Grey’ and also dropped digitally an album ‘Faded Now’, which is now made available on Heavyweight Coloured Vinyl. The 14 song album includes a few remixes of songs from Closer To Grey and plenty of brand new songs to go with it

    “....I’m doing time where the dreams are for sale...”

    TRACK LISTING

    A1. Faded Now
    A2. You’re No Good
    A3. Twist The Knife
    A4. Street Lights
    B1. I Want To Be Alone
    B2. Touch Red
    B3. Nocturne
    B4. Wishing Well
    B5. The Runner
    B6. Burning Bridges
    B7. The Sound Of Silence

    Sally Shapiro

    Sad Cities

      REWIND…

      15 years ago, they shared their first song online. Blogs & record labels immediately took notice & swarmed. Our introduction to the elusive Swedish duo was the now classic “I’ll Be By Your Side”, a shimmering Italo Disco track with ethereal vocals that hypnotized everyone who heard it. Johan’s elegant production was years ahead of what anyone else was doing at the time, & the elusive falsetto of the dreamlike singer was unforgettable. In 2007, their debut album, Disco Romance, was revered by the press. The album was nominated as “Best Dance/Electronic Album of the Year” & was given a spot in Pitchfork’s Top 50 albums of 2007. Their sound was a unique take on the romantic club music of the mid 1980’s. At the time you could count the artists exploring this territory on one hand. Johnny Jewel began corresponding with Johan later that year resulting in Agebjörn’s remix of Glass Candy’s “The Chameleon”. The seminal After Dark compilation had come out that summer & the kindred spirits kept in touch.

      Their debut album sees remixes by other likeminded producers like Lindstrøm, Tensnake, Junior Boys, CFCF, & Juan MacLean. In 2009, My Guilty Pleasure, picks up where Disco Romance left off. They collaborated with Electric Youth (known from the ”Drive” soundtrack) on their third album Somewhere Else in 2013. Johan is a fixture on European dancefloors collaborating with Lindstrøm, Glass Candy, Annie, Wolfram, Hercules & Love Affair, & more. In 2018 he produced the addictive Samantha Fox single “Hot Boy”.

      PAUSE…

      Sally is notoriously shy, remaining shrouded in anonymity. To this day she insists on recording her vocals alone in the studio & refuses to perform her songs live. In 2016, the duo went underground & released what was thought to have been their final single.

      FAST FORWARD…

      Working in deep seclusion over the last half decade, they recorded an incredible collection of material out this fall via Italians Do It Better. A gorgeous bouquet of pure electronic bliss mixed by Johan Agebjörn & Johnny Jewel. The enigmatic duo re-surfaces from the underground this week with “Fading Away”, a first look at a new era.

      PLAY…

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Forget About You
      2. Believe In Me
      3. Down This Road
      4. Sad City
      5. Dulcinea
      6. Falling Clouds
      7. Love In Slow Motion (Feat. Electric Youth)
      8. Million Ways
      9. Tell Me How (Feat. Tommy ’86)
      10. Christmas Escape
      11. Fading Away

      Various Artists

      After Dark 3

        Seemingly on a mission to remind me of my advancing years, Italians Do It Better began the sales notes for the third volume of their exceptional label samplers "After Dark" by noting that they release them every seven years. So, though a lot has changed since my 21 year old self picked the first volume up from this very store, the unquestionable quality of the label remains very much unchallenged. Produced by Johnny Jewel, ‘After Dark 3’ features label mainstays Desire, Chromatics, Farah & introduces fresh blood from around the globe. A glimpse beyond the curtain, into what the new year sounds like for Italians Do It Better. In the tradition of our spaced out cinema disco, we present After Dark 3...The wallpaper of your dreams & the stardust of the future.

        Strap in and blast off for a pleasure ride from the neon and drizzle of 80s NYC, through the glitz and camp of the electroclash era, right up to the modern club cuts inspired by Italo. 

        TRACK LISTING

        1. Desire - Boy
        2. Orion - Higher
        3. Johnny Jewel - Surgery (Feat. Glüme)
        4. Double Mixte - Chambre 48 (Feat. Desire)
        5. Farah - Boyz R Bad
        6. Chromatics - TOY (ATRIP Remix)
        7. Love Object - Holodnoe Solnce
        8. Joon - Cruel Summer
        9. Glüme - Don't @ Me
        10. MOTHERMARY - Resurrection
        11. Orion - Space Girl
        12. Guy Gerber - Cameo
        13. Causeway - We Were Never Lost
        14. Club Intl - Crush
        15. Double Mixte - Tirage En Croix
        16. Joon - Worse Things Than Feeling Lonely
        17. Pink Gloves - Fading Stars (Johnny Jewel Remix)
        18. Chromatics - Endless Sleep

        Johnny Jewel

        Home - OST

          Another soundtrack from the IDIB camp, this time for Fien Troch's 'Home'. The first side features a number of feels-heavy synthy outings, kicking things off with 'Magazine'. Starting subtly enough with gently phasing guitar line, almost instantly augmented with an ethereal vocal, shimmering and echoing over the top, before launching into neon synths and snappy Linn drums, lending an aura of melacholic introspection, but remaining driven enough to keep things upbeat. 

          'The Magician' goes a little further down the Italo wormhole with a throbbing single-note synth riff being joined by clattering reverbed percussion and swirling lead lines, keeping true to the upbeat neature of this first half, but expanding things into slightly more dancefloor territory before taking it back into ambient territory with free-roaming LFO'd oscillator swells and delayed melodic stabs. 

          It's when we flip over that we see the other side of the record both literally and figuratively, with the Linn Drums being traded out for a twenty bag and a massive stack of oscillators, all working together into a crescentic drone, both beautiful and haunting. 'Home' is heavy on the pads, swirling and swelling into a heart-aching cacophony of tentative hope and brittle euphoria. 

          And so it continues, 'Remorse' takes things a little more slowly, with infrequent bass drums and reticent mid-heavy synths taking centre-stage like the 9-minute intro to a Pink-Floyd outtake, brilliantly engrossing, and feeling decidedly more brief than it's four and a half minutes. 'Endless' is not in fact endless at all, but feels like it easily could be with the chilling introduction of some gloriously dusty Rhodes keys, lending melody and a perfect amount of forward motion into an otherwise completely laid-back backdrop. 

          From Bryan Ferry’s side on stage for the past decade to lighting up your night sky with a neon symphony, Jorja Chalmers’ debut album "Human Again"

          In 2004 Jorja Chalmers moved to London from Sydney, Australia with zero cash, her saxophone & a massive crush on an English boy she met while he was visiting Australia. Fast forward 3 years later and Bryan Ferry’s assistant caught Jorja performing at a nightclub in London. The next day she received a message inviting her to audition for his band. She met Ferry at his studio, played some Roxy Music tunes & as anyone who has caught one of Ferry’s live shows of the past 10+ years knows, has been a salient addition to his band ever since.

          "Human Again" was written & recorded by Jorja in hotel rooms after performing Roxy Music & Bryan Ferry songs drenched in sweat each night. Finishing touches were added & distilled inside Ferry’s London studio & then brushed by Johnny Jewel’s glittering hands with Dean Hurley at the legendary Asymmetrical Studio in the Hollywood Hills. The combination is intoxicating. "Human Again" bottles that stark loneliness the artist faces night after night on the road. Sonically, the album explores the spaciousness alive inside the minimalism of Bowie & Eno’s "Low", her vocal reflects early Laurie Anderson alongside the troubled smoke of Badalamenti’s score for "Lost Highway", & the impeding doom of Goblin. Chalmers embraces the claustrophobia of a John Carpenter film cut with the patience & precision of Amon Duul. The quest to be "Human Again" is to be a stranger in a strange land.

          In "Red Light" metal machine magic grinds as a wish is granted. The saxophone wails, humming a new strain of serpentine song. The triggered, vast descent of "Suburban Pastel" unfurls as the landscape expands the mystery. This is visual music that slowly coils its wings around the listener.

          Jorja’s pale blue eyes glance across the vivid landscape. Suspended in reverie, bathed in sound, adrift until the tidal brass of "This Is Where The Night Sky Begins" calls the dreamer back down to earth. As the needle drops again, the petal soft synthesizers sprawl toward the event horizon, hypnotized by the distant call of the Siren. Visions of intimacy & sentient contact triggered by endless weeks on tour. The human heart of a Saturday night still beating on Tuesday morning. The album’s closing track "Ship In The Sky" is the heroine’s journey into the unknown, without a compass.


          TRACK LISTING

          1. Human Again
          2. Red Light
          3. Black Shadow
          4. She Made Him Love Again
          5. Copper Bells
          6. No Words
          7. Our Love In A Glass So Thin
          8. Suburban Pastel
          9. This Is Where The Sky Begins
          10. The Sum Of Our Sins
          11. She Made Him Love Again (Reprise)
          12. Ship In The Sky

          Portland's masters of cinematic synth, the inimitable Chromatics are back with their fifth studio LP, "Closer To Grey". The band's first album since 2012, "Closer To Grey" continues the outfit's exploration of neon lit diners, freezing city streets and 80s noir, kicking off with a stripped back and atmospheric interpretation of Simon & Garfunkel's "The Sound Of Silence". The tempo rises for "You're No Good", "Closer To Grey" and twist the knife, which alternate between vintage Italians Do It Better disco and propulsive new wave, before "Light As A Feather" pairs Chromatics' trademark sound with the fresh addition of a breakbeat. The first disc ends on a note of romance with the prom-friendly "Move A Mountain", a reminder that vocalist Ruth Radelet can kill with a whisper. As we head to the C-side "Touch Red" leads us through a little lounge-styled melancholy while "Whispers In The Hall" finds the middle ground between trap-bass tones and Carpenter's Halloween soundtrack. A synth and scuzz cover of Jesus And Mary Chain's "On The Wall" reminds us of the group's DIY origins, a wonderful contrast to the luxurious textures of "Love Theme..." and dreamy closer "Wishing Well". 

          And just like that, Chromatics pull off that most difficult of tasks, creating something which is the same, but different. All the emotion, feeling and mood remain, but bolstered with a few new musical flavours which compliment rather than detract. 

          TRACK LISTING

          1. The Sound Of Silence
          2. You’re No Good
          3. Closer To Grey
          4. Twist The Knife
          5. Light As A Feather
          6. Move A Mountain
          7. Touch Red
          8. Through The Looking Glass
          9. Whispers In The Hall
          10. On The Wall
          11. Love Theme From Closer To Grey
          12. Wishing Well

          “…Voices Heard From The Year Of Thirteen Moons…”

          Beyond the decay of ruins hums the subtle sound of Vapor, a suite of dystopian instrumentals by Italians Do It Better visionary Johnny Jewel. His trademark analog synthesizers have never sounded more crystalline, their landscape never more evocatively barren. Chiming bells slowly twirl like the rusted music box of a child’s nightmare, a pitch-black bleak that is utterly frightful — Jewel channels the beauty & horror of a world that long ago abandoned its own destiny. This is a fever dream flashback. The kind that strikes you in the blur of night & refuses to weaken its grip until the sheets are drenched in sweat. This soundtrack is as elegant as it is violent, conjured in the deepest blacks & most vivid reds. These 21 celestial tracks clock in at just over an hour. Warping wind from a spiraling pinwheel…The sound of dust in the Garden of Hera, walking the tightrope between Life & Hades. The thin line that divides the Heavens from the Earth. Breathe Deep.

          TRACK LISTING

          1. Heartbeats
          2. Sleep Chamber
          3. Black Marble
          4. Garden Of Hera
          5. Zenith
          6. Chess Pieces
          7. Echoes Of The Past
          8. Of Hades
          9. The Eye Of The Needle
          10. Flashback
          11. Heartbeats (Reprise)
          12. Death
          13. Moonrise
          14. Vapor
          15. The Taste Of Skin
          16. Andromeda
          17. Twilight
          18. Run
          19. Opening Flower
          20. Nightfall
          21. Heartbeats (Lullaby)

          French duo Double Mixte bring their digital thunderstorm of neon lit noire to the Italians Do It Better family on their debut LP. Mixed & produced by label head Johnny Jewel, Romance Noire opens the door to a new wave of Italians Do It Better artists coming in 2019. Fresh Blood. New Tears. The title track arpeggiates & boils as waves of bass flow beneath. Rhythms are carried to the ceiling by a searing cascade of disintegrating color. A heavy backbeat anchors Clara Apolit’s poetry, ready to wear for a night in the face of oblivion. The cinematic “Arlette” is a call for discovery through a darkness lit only by the glare of headlights in digital rain. Through all of this, Thomas Maan’s incantations search for the lonely, lost in the void of electronic fog. “November” finds in Clara an Anglophonic chanteuse, meditating on the cycles of time. A blend of suspended sound & an uncertain melody contracts & expands before dissolving. Romance Noire is art that both contemplates & transcends time’s firm grip. It’s a filmic journey inducing a vague sense of future nostalgia. Happy Valentine’s Day.

          Double Mixte is Clara Apolit & Thomas Maan. The duo met in Paris & there was an immediate pull to create music together. They pooled their combined interest in powerful narrative & dark 70’s French film music to write lyrically vivid songs. 


          STAFF COMMENTS

          Patrick says: Italians may well do it better, but don't forget the French know their onions (stringed I presume) about synthwave. And so Parisian duo Double Mixte arrive on the legendary IDIB with a six tracker of moody but melodic neon noir for late night diners and B-movie obsessives.

          TRACK LISTING

          1. Romance Noire
          2. Arlette
          3. November
          4. Arlette (Instrumental)
          5. Romance Noire (On Film)
          6. November (Instrumental)

          Tess Roby

          Beacon

            The Beacon crowns Ashurst Hill in Dalton, Lancashire, looming over the verdant English countryside nearly six hundred feet above sea level. This spartan brick monolith was erected in 1798 as a watch tower to warn of French invasion during the Napoleonic War — and there it silently remains, keeping infinite vigil. It stands in Tess Roby’s mind. The Beacon calls to her. “Throughout my life I have felt the pull to return to it,” she says. “I’m beckoned by father’s roots and by the sullen landscape of fields leading to the coast.”

            Tess Roby is an artist with a vision. The Montreal-based photographer and musician, an eight-year veteran of the Canadian Children’s Opera Company, seems utterly original, moving with a restless energy toward the sublime. Her sound betrays an intrepid longing to discover and explore, to reject convention and transcend cliché: Roby is a born traveller, absorbing everything she hears and making it new. Ethereal and crystalline, bathed sumptuously in synths, her music is heady, dreamy, singular — a transmission from parts unknown. The classical training and aesthetic omnivorousness combine like worlds colliding.

            Roby’s debut album Beacon was written in 2015, following the death of her father. She collaborated with her brother Eliot to create what they describe as a kind of spiritual homage — both to her father and to the Beacon, where the family travelled often. Roby recorded these songs with the drum machines and synthesizers she found in her father’s recording studio, and galvanized by his spirit she imbued the music with love, movement, whispers, memories, and pain. “All the while the Beacon remained effervescent in my mind,” Roby remembers. “Visions of it ablaze on the hilltop, standing motionless while I searched for understanding.”

            STAFF COMMENTS

            Barry says: Tender, Balearic chimes and languid strummed guitar meet with Roby's enchanting voice and tentative arpeggiated synths, Beacon is a brilliantly written and perfectly measured triumph.

            TRACK LISTING

            1. Given Signs
            2. Ballad 5
            3. Catalyst
            4. Plasticine Hills
            5. Beacon
            6. Tripling
            7. Air Above Mirage
            8. Borders

            Glass Candy

            B/E/A/T/B/O/X - Clear Vinyl Pressing

            It's hard to think of any other record that so perfectly encapsulates that favourite part of the day for all nighthawks, revellers and DJs. The hour before dawn, when the streets of the city are empty, lights change for traffic that isn't there and a lone fox is you're only companion on your walk home. Taking their inspiration from the synth-heavy soundtracks of John Carpenter (especially "Assault On Precinct 13"), Kraftwerk, Madonna and Timbaland their sound is unique because of the absence of sequencers and computers. There's something undeniably refreshing about dance music that goes out of time occasionally. Highlights include "Rolling Down The Hills" and "Beatific" but it's their cover of Kraftwerk's "Computer Love" that's the record's masterpiece. It's hard to believe that a song written nearly thirty years ago could soundtrack, so perfectly, the alienation of city living in the twenty first century. Thank you Italians Do It Better for "B/E/A/T/B/O/X".


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