Various Artists - Bob Stanley & Pete Wiggs Present: The Tears Of Technology
At the turn of the 80s, a new generation of musicians appeared who saw synthesisers not as dehumanizing machines but as musical instruments that could be coaxed into creating modern, beautiful and decidedly emotional music. It was almost as if the musicians were intentionally creating this music to prove the doubters wrong.
Compiled by Saint Etienne’s Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs, “The Tears Of Technology” celebrates this brief period when scruffy synth duos from the provinces broke through and took over British pop. Like mellotrons before them, synths could project a strange and deep emotion; listen to OMD’s ‘Sealand’, or the Human League’s ‘WXJL Tonight’, and it was clear that something in the wiring had an inherent melancholy.
In the 60s and 70s, the synthesiser had mostly been regarded as either a novelty or a threat. Tomorrow’s World warned us that the cold, heartless synth would soon make orchestras redundant. But by 1980, Korgs, Moogs and Rolands were becoming affordable for all, and post-punk had created a safe place for new groups to experiment with these new toys.
The influence of Kraftwerk – who had made a landmark appearance on Tomorrow’s World in 1975 – is all over this collection. Big names rub shoulders with obscurities by Turquoise Days, Electronic Circus and Illustration, all highly prized recordings among ‘cold wave’ and ‘minimal synth’ aficionados. There are pioneers like John Foxx and Thomas Leer, alongside unexpected synth sadness from Simple Minds and the Teardrop Explodes.
“The Tears Of Technology” celebrates an era of electronic melancholia, synthesised intimacies and insights – even Tomorrow’s World didn’t see that coming.
The double LP is available on 180g vinyl and contains a bonus track – the Turquoise Swimming Pools’ ‘The Winds’.
Jean Walks In Fresh Fields - China Crisis
Grey Skies - Turquoise Days
Real To Real - Simple Minds
Tidal Flow - Illustration
An Evening In The Ray - Care
The Winds - The Turquoise Swimming Pools
Youth - Soft Cell
Europe After The Rain - John Foxx
Personal Loss - Patrik Fitzgerald *mono
Lights Of April - Eyeless In Gaza
Sealand - Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark
Private Plane - Thomas Leer
Direct Lines - Electronic Circus
Unless - The Pale Fountains
October (Love Song) - Chris & Cosey
A Map Of You - New Musik
WXJL Tonight - The Human League
Christiana - Paul Haig
Tiny Children - The Teardrop Explodes
Behind The Shades - Oppenheimer Analysis
Feather Bed - Trevor Bastow