'Synthesizer archivist Benge (aka The Maths) turns out to be a superb foil for Foxx. The Wire
'Meeting of synth-fetishists is a triumph. The albums echoes four decades of avant pop.' **** Mojo
'Foxx has released an album which equals the high-point of his rich back-catalogue.' BBC
'One of the most enlightened synth records in years.' **** The Stool Pigeon
'Forceful, stripped-down music that sounds as new as its old, and as imaginative as it is familiar.' Uncut
Enigmatic but song-based, evoking early incarnations of Cabaret Voltaire, The Human League and Roxy Music.' Q Magazine
'Interplay is a consistently strong piece of work.' **** Music OMH
This limited edition EP (only 750 copies) features Gazelle Twin and I Speak Machine (Tara Busch's new project) who explore Foxx's lyrical themes and ideas on 4 beautifully executed cover versions which also relate strongly to their own work. I Speak Machine's take on 'My Sex' transforms it into a gigantic, cyber-sensual pop song, while 'I Want To Be A Machine' is a much darker, stranger transformation.
Gazelle Twin has been planning a cover of Foxx/Gordon's 'Never Let Me Go' for a couple of years. In 2011 she told Artrocker Magazine: 'Never Let Me Go' is a mirage of maternal comfort in a toxic and unrelenting world. It's one of those songs I wish I'd made; drenched in analogue pulses and drones. a lullaby-like synth melody accompanying an android (yet emotional) dual-vocal part.
I can definitely feel a cover coming on.' Meanwhile, Gazelle Twin's stark version of 'He's A Liquid' reveals a different side to her work as she delivers the surreal, dream-like lyrics in a voice that is completely different to the lullabying 'Never Let Me Go'.
1. I Speak Machine – My Sex
2. I Speak Machine – I Want To Be A Machine
3. Gazelle Twin – Never Let Me Go
4. Gazelle Twin – He's A Liquid
The 15-track CD brings together collaborations with The Soft Moon (the post-punk psychedelia of the title-track); Gazelle Twin (including the strikingly beautiful 'Changelings'); New York duo Xeno & Oaklander; Moog maverick Tara Busch and Ghostly International's Matthew Dear, plus a Pink Floyd cover and some new Foxx/Benge material. This includes the rich analogue glow of 'Walk' and apocalyptic ballad 'Only Lovers Left Alive'. Meanwhile, regular Maths live band member Hannah Peel plays violin on 'Neon Vertigo' and 'My Town'. Evidence is John Foxx And The Maths' most atmospheric and darkly percussive album so far - built around stark, late night rhythms.
The ambient spaces in the music allow for experiments with textures and mood, with dreamlike echoes of Massive Attack, dub (in spirit not pastiche), Dead Can Dance and the ultra-introspective Japan. The edgy beats of the opening track 'Personal Magnetism' are followed by 'Evidence', featuring The Soft Moon's Luis Vasquez. Layers of sound whirl around Foxx's brooding, insomniac vocals, as he searches for answers in the early hours. The slow, minimalist 'That Sudden Switch' takes the European art-movie approach of Xeno & Oaklander and re-invents it as post-dub electronic pop.
'Talk (Beneath Your Dreams)' features US electronic artist Matthew Dear taking the role of the 'sleeper' as a conversation is held in a dream. It's a chilly, nightmarish track but like much of this album it has motion - Dear adding new techno rhythms as well as a Bowie-esque vocal in the final verses. 'Neon Vertigo' furthers the noir tension with massive bass sounds and 'space violin' from Hannah Peel, while 'Changelings' is in many ways the centrepiece of the album. Originally written and recorded by Gazelle Twin, 'Changelings' only retains her voice as The Maths rebuild it completely from scratch. It's arguably one of Benge's finest moments in the studio so far, while Foxx's reverb-drenched backing vocals complete this stunning, end-of-the-world song.
What follows is weirder still. 'My Town' features Peel on violin again as Foxx's metallic, distorted voice sounds like an ego on the brink of madness. Is it the voice of money/a god/bankers/an evil corporation, or a fallen rock star still living in the past? The cover of Pink Floyd's 'Have A Cigar' starts with a cackle of laughter before Foxx launches into another heavily treated vocal, not unlike that of 'My Town'. Meanwhile, 'A Falling Star' is the reverse of 'Changelings' - this time it's a Foxx/Benge track reworked by Gazelle Twin.
In this context, the song becomes an icy but epic ballad, full of siren vocals and a sense of release as it stretches into the long, elegant fadeout. In fact, 'A Falling Star' does signal a change on the album as the mood evolves into something more reflective. The two instrumentals 'Cloud Choreography' and 'Shadow Memory' offer new space and textures, while 'Walk' appears to emerge half-way through a dream as Foxx sings 'and I walked through all the streets of this city' after a slow build. This final section climaxes with the electronic harp music of 'Myriads' and the last song, 'Only Lovers Left Alive' - a pretty melody found on an old discarded reel-to-reel; nostalgic, the sound of memory and tape creating one of the album's most moving tracks.
1. Personal Magnetism
2. Evidence (Featuring The Soft Moon)
3. That Sudden Switch (Featuring Xeno & Oaklander)
4. Talk (Beneath Your Dreams) (Featuring Matthew Dear)
5. Neon Vertigo
6. Changelings (Featuring Gazelle Twin)
7. My Town
8. Have A Cigar
9. A Falling Star (Featuring Gazelle Twin)
10. Cloud Choreography
11. Shadow Memory
14. Only Lovers Left Alive
15. Talk (I Speak Machine Mix) Featuring – Tara Busch