I recently kicked off a series about my favourite record labels with a feature about Glasgow's Night School Records (http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/favourite-record-labels-no-1-night.html), a label that is headed up by Michael Kasparis. He records under the name Apostille and this week released his debut album Powerless which is already one of my favourite releases of the year. Its combination of old school sounding synths and pop melodies that recreate the joy of experimental synthpop is a wonderful thing and it really is an album you must hear.
Life opens the album and it combines the dynamism and frankly pure genius of Fad Gadget with the synthpop meets isolation vibe of John Maus' We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves to great effect. It's a cracking start to the album with the bass line that propels the song along one of those things you hear in an electronic song that just you know is special. The experimental influences take a darker turn on The Collector which fuses the energy of D.A.F. with early Depeche Mode and even an element or two of Pretty Hate Machine era Nine Inch Nails. Again, it's superb. I'm conscious that this review is already 95% comparisons to other bands, but one of the things that makes this album stand out is that it fuses together what, for me, are the best parts of electronic music, draws influence from them, but still has its own sound and feel.
Bands like D.A.F. and Throbbing Gristle come to mind with the likes of Control or the 9 minute long, epic closing track Slurry where the darker side of Apostille returns, but then tracks like the sublime Deserter and Olivia's Eyes are electrpop of the highest order, albeit with an underlying threat rather than a pure pop sheen. If I was going to pick one track for you to try before you inevitably fall in love with this record, I'd say Good Man (listen below) as it is simply fantastic, taking the elements mentioned above, fusing them together and producing a pulsing, crunching electronic marvel. There is no doubt indeed that this is a very special album and if you have any interest at all in electronic music, especially the experimental side of it in the late 70's and early 80's, you are in for a treat.
Powerless is released on Night School Records on limited edition vinyl and download
Night School Records - http://nightschoolrecords.com/
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