Laneway Festival 2013, Singapore

A nice surprise just a couple of weeks after arriving in South-East Asia was the arrival of the Laneway Festival last weekend in Singapore. Since practically everybody I asked seemed to be going along, and since the lineup was pretty strong, it seemed rude not to join them. The audience was largely non-Singaporean and largely the kind of people who are a bit too cool for pop, but it made for a great day out in the heat of the almost equatorial January sun.

Frustratingly the slightly shambolic queue for ticket collection left me unable to catch most of the wonderful Kings of Convenience, although the strength of their closer I’d Rather Dance with You was still notable compared to some of the bands who would follow. Another definite highlight was seeing Erlend Øye turn up at the end of the night dancing like a maniac to Gotye, but I’d really have liked to be able to say more about how good their performance was.

Minnesota’s Polica followed with an excellent set of tracks which I’m only unable to recommend since I’d never heard any of them before. Their debut album is out already and definitely seemed worth checking out, with shades of Portishead or Goldfrapp.

The slightly strange order and selection of the lineup reared its ugly head very early on as Cloud Nothings turned up and were absolutely and inconceivably dreadful. The punk / metal band screamed their way through an awful 45 minutes or so, although it’s difficult to know whether they could actually tell, given how poor their drummer seems to be at keeping time.

This seemed a good time to go and investigate what else the festival had to offer, but sadly the merchandise stall was a pretty paltry offering, and the drinks were pricey. Most disappointing was the decision to only stock Fiji water at S$5 for a tiny bottle, complete with a rather insulting message on the label about how sustainable the water was. Because of course shipping tiny bottles of water seven hours across the ocean and selling them at exorbitant prices is much better for the environment than providing, say for argument, a tap.

Fortunately Divine Fits turned up to prevent the mid-afternoon heat from making things any worse. Pleasant enough, the three-piece indie supergroup (apparently, anyway – nobody I asked seemed to have heard of any of them) worked their way through the set before passing the baton over to the much better Of Monsters and Men. Typically Icelandic (I.e. slightly bonkers) and oddly named, they were a wonderful antidote to the sun and some of the dross and dullness which had preceded them.

Japandroids, on the other hand, were a bit of a disappointment. Someone asked me beforehand whether I thought they might sing in Japanese, but sadly they turned out to be neither Japanese nor as electro as their name appeared to suggest. So another set of dull “alternative rock” followed.

The day was growing late and it had already struck most people that the set order was odd in the extreme. Removing Cloud Nothings would have been a good start, but even the bands who were there should really have been reshuffled into a more sensible order. Kings of Convenience may have seemed a nice chilled out opener, but as the most accomplished act on the bill, they really should have had higher billing, and the headline act was, as we shall see, perhaps not the best choice.

The act who followed was a pleasant surprise. Nicholas Jaar turns out to be an excellent chillout dance act with some excellent moments in his set, although sadly by this stage the sunburn and the hours spent out in the sun were starting to get to me, so I ended up sleeping through a good chunk of Kimbra‘s set. What I did see was unfortunately pretty dull. Having turned up as Cinderella, she proceeded to play tracks that largely sounded like Gwen Stefani but rockier, and sadly that’s about all there was to say.

As the sun went down behind Marina Bay Sands, Real Estate turned up with a set that was generally strong but fairly forgettable. British media favourites Alt-J followed, good and consistently interesting, but also a little underwhelming. Having walked off after a couple of minutes due to sound problems, they finally returned to finish their set, but I wonder if perhaps the audience needed something a little stronger at this point.

Fortunately, we got it. The big surprise for me was Yeasayer, whom I think I’d managed not to come across previously, and who were truly exceptional. Catchy experimental hit followed hit, and you’ll be either pleased or disappointed to hear that I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on them from the safety of this blog in the future.

Bat for Lashes was up next, and followed in style with another excellent set, although much of the audience showed their colour by remaining seated for her and then crowding en masse to the stage for the subsequent act Tame Impala.

As an act who had clearly listened to rather more Status Quo in their time than is really healthy, they were, for the most part, fairly dull, but they clearly knew what they were doing for all of that. Feels Like We Only Go Backwards was a particular highlight.

Whether because of the late night shutdown of the city’s Metro system or because people thought they were a bit too cool for the decidedly mainstream headliner who followed, it was really disappointing to see large parts of the crowd exiting at this point, leaving Gotye with slightly post-apocalyptic fields of litter for much of his audience. Perhaps choosing a headliner who had more than one hit to his name outside of Belgium and Australia might have helped.

But Gotye was, of course, excellent. Rippling with humour, great videos, a plethora of different instruments, and a huge array of great songs, it was never going to be anything else. And having long since learnt the lesson of getting his tracks in the right order, Somebody That I Used to Know was among the last. All told, his set was definitely the best of the lot, and he was entirely justified as the headliner – it’s just a shame that the crowd didn’t agree.

To my amusement, what followed was an excellent piece of organised chaos, as the crowds surged out of the site to find that all the public transport had shut down. The entire shopping centre at the Marina was suddenly filled with slightly lost music fans entering from all directions, and none of them entirely sure where they were going. Alongside them, we pushed out into the streets of Singapore and gradually dispersed into the night.

All told, Laneway was an excellent little one-day festival. It was a long day, and a hot one, with generally a good variety of bands, even if they were in an odd order. The decision to charge such high prices for drinks in such a dangerously sunny environment was a shame, but so was the rather unnecessary confiscation of umbrellas at the entrance. But those are quibbles which can easily be fixed. The music was the main thing, and I’m happy to say I discovered some great bands there, even if I was characteristically late to the party with a couple of them…

After Singapore St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival was already in Auckland on Monday, and continues around Australia over the next couple of weeks, visiting Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne this weekend, and then Adelaide and Perth the following week.


The BPI Awards 1987

The next year of the BRIT Awards that we’ll examine in detail is 1987. Let’s set the scene. It’s February 9th of that year, and Jonathan King is standing at the front of the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. Whether or not you believe the tabloids, he may or may not have also been at the height of his more lurid period as well.

But we wouldn’t find out about that for a long time, and obnoxious as he may be, there didn’t seem to be a lot of truth in those accusations anyway. So anyway, without further ado, let’s open the ceremony…

Best British Album

Presented by Robert Plant and one of the most incredible hairdos I’ve ever seen! Nominees:

  • Peter Gabriel – So
  • The Housemartins – London 0 Hull 4
  • Simply Red – Picture Book
  • Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms
  • Five Star – Silk and Steel

Winner: Dire Straits.

Best British Producer


  • Pip Williams
  • Trevor Horn
  • Hugh Padgham
  • David A. Stewart
  • Stock Aitken Waterman

Video here, mainly consisting of George Martin banging on about recording studios.

Winner: Dave Stewart.

Best British Newcomer

Voted for by listeners of BBC Radio 1, and presented by Mike Read.

Winner: The Housemartins.

Best International Solo Artist

Presented by Deborah Harry. Nominees:

  • Madonna
  • Whitney Houston
  • Paul Simon
  • Anita Baker
  • Bruce Springsteen

Winner: Paul Simon.

Best International Group

Presented by Luther Vandross. Nominees:

  • Bon Jovi
  • A-ha
  • The Bangles
  • Huey Lewis & The News
  • Cameo

Winner: The Bangles.

Best Classical Recording

Presented by a moderately small Aled Jones. Nominees:

  • Maris Jansons – Symphony No 1
  • Julian Lloyd Webber – Cello Concerto – Elgar
  • Nigel Kennedy – 1944 Sonata for Solo Violin
  • Luciano Pavarotti – The Pavarotti Collection
  • André Previn – Symphony No 1 – Elgar

Winner: Julian Lloyd Webber.

Best Soundtrack/Cast Recording


  • A Room with a View (Richard Robbins)
  • Absolute Beginners (various artists)
  • Out of Africa (John Barry)
  • Down and Out in Beverly Hills (Andy Summers / various artists)
  • Top Gun (various artists)

Winner: Top Gun, accepted by Charles Dance on behalf of Kenny Loggins.

Best British Group


  • Eurythmics
  • Pet Shop Boys
  • Simply Red
  • Five Star
  • Dire Straits

I know what you’re thinking – “the only thing worse than Simply Red winning would be if it was Five Star.” I agree.

Longer video here, in which Jonathan King asks some very toothy and hairy eighties people what they thing should have won.

Winner: Five Star.

Best British Female Solo Artist

Presented by Ray Davis. Nominees:

  • Jaki Graham
  • Sade
  • Kim Wilde
  • Joan Armatrading
  • Kate Bush

Winner: Kate Bush.

Best British Male Solo Artist

Presented by Kate Bush. Nominees:

  • Billy Ocean
  • Chris de Burgh
  • Robert Palmer
  • Peter Gabriel
  • Phil Collins

Winner: Peter Gabriel.

Best British Single

Presented by Boy George. Nominees:

  • Pet Shop Boys – West End Girls
  • The Communards – Don’t Leave Me This Way
  • Simply Red – Holding Back The Years
  • Peter Gabriel – Sledgehammer
  • Chris de Burgh – Lady In Red

Winner – Pet Shop Boys.

Best British Video

Winner: Peter Gabriel for Sledgehammer.

Outstanding Contribution

Presented by Rob Dickins.

Winner: Eric Clapton.


Further Reading / Viewing

Edit: removed numerous videos that are no longer available (13 August 2017).

The All Seeing I – Pickled Eggs & Sherbet

We all have music which we know we love, but somehow inexplicably we forget about and neglect for years on end. Pickled Eggs & Sherbet is probably the best example for me. When it originally came out back in 1999 I knew I loved Walk Like a Panther and 1st Man in Space, but somehow I didn’t buy it at the time. Intermittently in the intervening years I’ve

Pickled Eggs & Sherbet opens with top ten single Walk Like a Panther, with Tony Christie‘s brilliant vocal. Even the first line harks back to Christie’s Show Me the Way to Amarillo, with its references to the outcome of his relationship with Marie. The song is co-written by Jarvis Cocker out of The 1990s, and the outcome is truly wonderful.

Walk Like a Panther mixes into No Return which introduces one of the most enormous bass sounds on any song ever. Beat Goes On follows, the first commercial hit for the group, which just missed out on a top ten placing in early 1998. It’s a great cover version of Sonny and Cher‘s 1967 single, and was justifiably a significantly bigger hit in the UK too. Interestingly you’ll also find The All Seeing I‘s production of this song but with a slightly different vocal tucked away at the end of Britney Spears‘s debut album …Baby One More Time.

There are nominally thirteen tracks (plus a couple of sneaky extra ones hiding at the end too), and every one of them has a slightly grimy northern sound which works in their favour and makes them somewhat timeless. The more ‘pop’ tracks and singles are interspersed with fun instrumentals of varying lengths.

Finally the third full single 1st Man in Space turns up with its excellent vocal from Phil Oakey. Backed, unusually for Phil, by flanged guitars, and with the ingenious lyrics, there’s a very obvious sixties feel. As with most of the vocal-based tracks, this is another Jarvis Cocker lyric, making you dream of the day of the first Yorkshire astronaut (the first Yorkshireman in space wouldn’t be until Nicholas Patrick in 2006, although Piers Sellers was a University of Leeds graduate and had visited space ten years earlier).

It quickly becomes apparent that Sheffield has a massive influence on this album. The vast majority of contributors are from the steel city, from The Human League‘s Phil Oakey to Tony ChristiePulp‘s Jarvis Cocker, Babybird‘s Stephen Jones, the band themselves who would later evolve into I Monster, and I’m sure the list could go on.

Cocker finally turns up for his own vocal on the brilliant Drive Safely Darlin’, just before Tony Christie returns for what is, in my opinion, the best track on the entire album, the swing-inspired Stars on Sunday. You can hear a lot of early I Monster on this track, but once again it’s Christie’s vocal which makes it so wonderful.

This is a deceptive album, in a way. Somehow I suspect it would be easy to miss the better songs hiding on here and just take it all to be dull and samey. But it’s worth making the extra effort and working to find what you’re looking for on here, as there are plenty of great tracks.

Happy Birthday Nicola, the third outing for Tony Christie, is a great example, turning up as it does just before the end. There’s something rather sinister about it, as Tony sings “If we’d used some contraception / I wouldn’t be here, and you wouldn’t be you,” and maybe I should leave the rest of the lyrics for you to work out for yourself, but it’s a great song. I can’t help but feel slightly that Jarvis Cocker was raiding Christie’s back catalogue again for inspiration (he sang Happy Birthday Baby back in the 1970s).

Unpredictably and unnoticeably the song mixes into Babybird‘s vocal on Plastic Diamond, and I have no idea whether the segue is solely there for aural reasons or whether it’s somehow supposed to be part of the same story. But, secret hidden material aside, that finally brings the album to a close, and a quite fantastic album it is too.

Unfortunately Pickled Eggs & Sherbet is only currently available second hand, so I’ll leave you to work out whether you prefer to buy through Amazon, Discogs, eBay, Gemm, or wherever else.

Live – January 2013

Here are some highlights of the live gigs coming up in the next few weeks:


After stealing Sparks‘s idea and debuting their The Catalogue series of concerts in New York a couple of years ago, they’ve just done it in their native Düsseldorf, and in early February they will do it for the third time at the Tate Modern in London.

Long since sold out.

The Presets

Now touring their third album Pacifica across their native Australia.

List of dates at Songkick.


Back with their second album and a full European tour, although it’s a little short on UK dates. Starts soon and runs through to April.

List of dates at Songkick.

John Shuttleworth

A long time favourite of mine, halfway through his Out of Our Sheds tour, mainly across Scotland and Northern England through till April.

List of dates at

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

Another tour out of the eighties, all over the UK in April and May.

List of dates at Songkick.


If there are artists you want to see covered here, please comment below.

Chart for stowaways – 8 December 2012

Let’s pick up the charts back in December from where we left off. Here are the albums:

  1. The Presets – Pacifica
  2. The Presets – Apocalypso
  3. Delerium – Music Box Opera
  4. Various Artists – Electrospective
  5. Sasha + John Digweed – Northern Exposure: Expeditions
  6. Front Line Assembly – AirMech
  7. Vincent Did It – The SOPA Opera EP
  8. I Monster – Rare
  9. LCD Soundsystem – LCD Soundsystem
  10. Tiësto – Elements of Life

No change in the top four singles, meaning a trillionth week at the top this year for Pet Shop Boys.

The BRIT Awards 2009

Some acts are much more successful in the world of the BRIT Awards than they are in the real world; some are the other way round. Erasure, for instance, whatever you may think of them, scored five consecutive number 1 albums from 1988 to 1994, but only managed one BRIT (Best British Group in 1989) with just a couple of other nominations. Depeche Mode just have one Single award to their names. New Order just one Video award. There are plenty of other examples.

Pet Shop Boys, though, are definitely very highly regarded by The Industry:

  • 1987 – Won Best British Single for West End Girls, picked up by Neil
  • 1988 – Won Best British Group and performed What Have I Done to Deserve This?
  • 1989 – Nominated for Best British Group and Best British Album for Introspective
  • 1992 – Nominated for Best British Group
  • 1994 – Nominated for Best British Music Video for Go West and performed Go West on stage with two Welsh Male Voice choirs
  • 2009 – See below
  • 2010 – Nominated for Brits Hits 30 for Go West

I think it’s fair to say that 2009 was the year when they made the ceremony their own. It was February 15th, the venue was Earls Court Exhibition Centre, London, and Kylie MinogueJames Corden and Mathew Horne were presenting the show live on ITV1.

British Female Solo Artist

Presented by Simon Pegg. Nominees:

  • Adele
  • Beth Rowley
  • Duffy
  • Estelle
  • M.I.A.

Winner: Duffy.

International Female Solo Artist

Presented by Lionel Richie. Nominees:

  • Beyoncé
  • Gabriella Cilmi
  • Katy Perry
  • Pink
  • Santogold

Winner: Katy Perry.

International Group

Presented by Natalie Imbruglia. Nominees:

  • AC/DC
  • Fleet Foxes
  • Kings of Leon
  • MGMT
  • The Killers

Winner: Kings of Leon.

British Male Solo Artist

Presented by Jamie Oliver and Jamie Cullum. Nominees:

  • Ian Brown
  • James Morrison
  • Paul Weller
  • The Streets (Mike Skinner)
  • Will Young

Winner: Paul Weller.

British Breakthrough Act

Presented by Alex James from Blur. Nominees:

  • Adele
  • Duffy
  • Scouting for Girls
  • The Last Shadow Puppets
  • The Ting Tings

Winner: Duffy.

International Album

Presented by Joe Calzaghe. Nominees:

  • AC/DC – Black Ice
  • Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
  • Kings of Leon – Only by the Night
  • MGMT – Oracular Spectacular
  • The Killers – Day & Age

Winner: Kings of Leon.

British Live Act

Presented by Nick Frost. Nominees:

  • Coldplay
  • Elbow
  • Iron Maiden
  • Scouting for Girls
  • The Verve

Winner: Iron Maiden.

British Group

Presented by David Hasselhoff. Nominees:

  • Coldplay
  • Elbow
  • Girls Aloud
  • Radiohead
  • Take That

Winner: Elbow.

Critics’ Choice


  • Florence + The Machine
  • Little Boots
  • White Lies

Winner: Florence + The Machine.

International Male Solo Artist

Presented by Gok Wan. Nominees:

  • Beck
  • Jay-Z
  • Kanye West
  • Neil Diamond
  • Seasick Steve

Winner: Kanye West.

British Single

Voted for by phone during the ceremony, and presented by Alan Carr. Nominees:

  • Adele – Chasing Pavements
  • Alexandra Burke – Hallelujah
  • Coldplay – Viva la Vida
  • Dizzee Rascal / Calvin Harris / Chrome – Dance wiv Me
  • Duffy – Mercy
  • Estelle feat. Kanye West – American Boy
  • Girls Aloud – The Promise
  • Leona Lewis – Better in Time
  • Scouting for Girls – Heartbeat
  • The X Factor Finalists – Hero

Winner: Girls Aloud.

Best Producer

Winner: Bernard Butler.

MasterCard British Album

Presented by Sir Tom Jones. Nominees:

  • Coldplay – Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends
  • Duffy – Rockferry
  • Elbow – The Seldom Seen Kid
  • Radiohead – In Rainbows
  • The Ting Tings – We Started Nothing

Winner: Duffy.

Outstanding Contribution

Presented by Brandon Flowers.

Winner: Pet Shop Boys.


Further Reading / Viewing

Edit: removed numerous videos that are no longer available (13 August 2017).

Metroland – Mind the Gap

I’m clearly not going to get through this review without mentioning Komputer or Kraftwerk, so let’s get that over with now. You see, the nice thing about Metroland is that you know exactly what you’re going to get. If there was ever a better example of a band that does what it says on the tin, then I can’t think of it.

Perhaps the more interesting question is exactly why anyone would record an album inspired primarily by Komputer‘s 1998 masterpiece The World of Tomorrow. I might have to leave it up to you to work out the answer to that one.

But that’s pretty much what this is, and it is absolutely glorious for all of that.

Mind the Gap opens with the rippling synths that after a minute or so become Enjoying the View, which is a nice insight into what a public transport-inspired Kraftwerk track might sound like in the 21st century. Somehow both contemporary and retro, it kicks the album off in fine form.

The title track is less exciting, although as it draws to a close you realise that the drums have been steadily throbbing for some time. As with a few tracks on the album, this maybe would have been better as a mini filler track somewhere towards the end (at the very least, the “mind the gap” joke would have worked better!)

Inner City Transport, um, transports you back to the kind of thing you want to hear on the album, and somehow creates a sound which is actually less directly dependent on its influences. Bonus points for use of a Speak and Spell on M-E-T-R-O.

After a bit of a lull, things return to form again with Harry Beck, which of course channels Komputer‘s Bill Gates. Did I say channels? Of course I meant “rips off”. Harry Beck, of course, is the man who came up with the London Underground map, and pretty much invented the art of schematic network mapping for the whole world. He also inspired the artwork for the Mind the Gap sleeve, which shows a simple five-line transport network and should be familiar to anybody who has ever lived in or visited a city, anywhere.

With similar simplicity, Travelling is largely just a list of points of the compass (since there are only four of these, it doesn’t take too long) from the Kraftwerk school of lyric writing. Moscow Train (or Moscow Main, as it seems to be called elsewhere) is a particular highlight.

Later tracks are strong, although generally less exciting. The cover of The Passenger is worthwhile and fun, and It’s More Fun to Commute is a solid pun which closes with echoes of Radio-Aktivität. All told, as with the whole album, there’s nothing particularly new here, but if you approach it with that in mind, there’s still plenty to enjoy, and the in-jokes come thick and fast at times.

You then have the choice of just getting the album or adding a largely uninspiring remix album. If you do, you get a remix of Enjoying the View by Komputer, some good alternative versions of M-E-T-R-O (I think it’s fair to say that the remix is better than the original in that one case actually), TravellingInner City Transport and Moscow Main, as well as a typically dull set of mixes. I’m afraid my usual remix album advice applies – unless you’re a completist or a sadist, you might do best to skip these.

Your best bet is probably just to go for the download, available through iTunes here.

The BRIT Awards 1993

The BRIT Awards 1993 were, by relative standards, uncontroversial and reasonably unexciting. To tell the truth, I only picked this year because of the host. The show took place at London’s glittering Alexandra Palace on February 16th 1993. Here’s a quick introduction, and here’s your host, fresh out of the Crystal Maze, Richard O’Brien.

If you thought he was an odd choice of presenter, you wait till you see the award presenters!

Best British Group

Brilliantly presented by Vic and Bob. Nominees:

  • The Cure
  • Erasure
  • Right Said Fred
  • Shakespears Sister
  • Simply Red

Winner: Simply Red.

Best British Newcomer

Presented by Lenny Kravitz. Nominees:

  • Dina Carroll
  • KWS
  • Take That
  • Tasmin Archer
  • Undercover

Yes, that’s KWS and Undercover up against Take That. Wow.

Winner: Tasmin Archer.

Best British Video

Voted for by the audience of Going Live, and presented by exotic protoplasm par excellence Naomi Campbell. Nominees:

  • Simply Red – For Your Babies
  • Genesis – Jesus He Knows Me
  • Erasure – Take A Chance On Me
  • Annie Lennox – Walking on Broken Glass
  • Shakespears Sister – Stay

The BRITs website also lists the following, which I assume were weeded out in earlier phases of the contest:

  • George Michael – Too Funky
  • Lisa Stansfield – All Woman
  • Peter Gabriel – Digging in the Dirt
  • Tasmin Archer – Sleeping Satellite
  • The Cure – I’m in Love

Winner: Shakespears Sister.

Best British Single

Voted for by listeners of BBC Radio 1. Presented by Simon Mayo and Jaki Brambles out of BBC Radio 1. The top five nominees:

  • 5. Wet Wet Wet – Goodnight Girl
  • 4. Take That – It Only Takes a Minute
  • 3. Take That – A Million Love Songs
  • 2. Shakespears Sister – Stay

A soppy bunch of singles this year. Note that already darlings of the music biz, Take That managed to grab three of the top five nominations! They really were that big from day one.

Winner: Take That for Could it Be Magic.

Best Classical Recording

Presented by Meat Loaf while everyone else smiled politely. Nominees:

  • Nicholas Parnacourt – Beethoven – 9th Symphony
  • Cecelia Bartoli – Puccini – Heroines
  • Gorecki – Symphony No. 3
  • John Taverner – The Protecting Veil
  • Nigel Kennedy – Violin Concerto – Beethoven

Winner: Nigel Kennedy.

Best British Female

Presented by Lulu. Nominees:

  • Annie Lennox
  • Kate Bush
  • Lisa Stansfield
  • Siobhan Fahey
  • Tasmin Archer

Winner: Annie Lennox.

Best Soundtrack/Cast Recording

Presented by Roger Taylor out of Queen. Nominees:

  • Bugsy (Ennio Morricone)
  • Frankie and Johnny (various artists)
  • Hook (John Williams)
  • Mo’ Money (various artists)
  • Wayne’s World (various artists)

Winner: Wayne’s World.

Best International Group

Presented by Chrissie Hynde. Nominees:

  • Crowded House
  • En Vogue
  • Nirvana
  • R.E.M.
  • U2

Winner: R.E.M.

Best British Album

Sponsored by the Britannia Music Club, and presented by Ruby Wax. Nominees:

  • Annie Lennox – Diva
  • Elton John – The One
  • Genesis – We Can’t Dance
  • Right Said Fred – Up
  • Shakespears Sister – Hormonally Yours
  • The Orb – U.F. Orb

Winner: Annie Lennox.

Best British Male

Presented by Lisa Stansfield. Nominees:

  • Elton John
  • Eric Clapton
  • George Michael
  • Joe Cocker
  • Mick Hucknall
  • Phil Collins

Winner: Mick Hucknall.

Best International Newcomer

Quite literally presented, in character, by Smashie and Nicey (Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse), and I’d agree that The Shamen should have been up for every award. Nominees:

  • Arrested Development
  • Boyz II Men
  • Curtis Stigers
  • Nirvana
  • Tori Amos

Curtis Stigers, you will remember, had The One and Only one hit.

Winner: Nirvana.

Best British Producer

Presented by Paul Young. Nominees:

  • Paul Oakenfold and Steve Osborne
  • Pete Waterman
  • Peter Gabriel
  • Steve Lipsom
  • Trevor Horn

Winner: Peter Gabriel.

Best International Solo Artist

Presented by Kylie Minogue. Nominees:

  • Curtis Stigers
  • Enya
  • kd lang
  • Madonna
  • Prince

Winner: Prince.

Most Successful Live Act

Presented by Billy Bragg in honour of the most successful live act of 1992.

Winner: U2.

Outstanding Contribution

Presented by Long John Baldry.

Winner: Rod Stewart.


Further Reading / Viewing

Edit: removed numerous videos that are no longer available (13 August 2017).

Vince Clarke – Deeptronica

It was fascinating to discover a year or so ago that the VCMG project was not Vince Clarke‘s first foray into electronic dance music. Of course, Erasure b-sides and remixes had long nudged into darker territory, but we’d never heard anything quite as electro as Ssss by VCMG.

Or had we? Without telling anybody, Vince snuck out an album of “library music” (music for using in film, TV, commercials, etc) through a label called Extreme Music. And yes, it really is him.

Subtitled “Eargonomic Sci-Fi Allied Binary Odes,” whatever that means, Deeptronica snuck out back in 2009, and is a quite exceptional collection of music.

The first track is Ahead of the Curve, which, like the whole album, is short and sweet – there’s nothing over three minutes here. It sounds like the crescendo of a new Jean Michel Jarre album, and in many ways, it might benefit from being twice as long, as you could explore the sounds and themes a little more.

The trend continues: Gravitational Pull is beautifully gentle, and as with many of the tracks you can really imagine it being used in a television series. Love Hertz is the closest to “traditional” Clarke territory, with its 6/8 rhythm somewhat channelling Erasure.

My personal favourite is Second Sight, which is another powerful Jarre-inspired piece, with throbbing bass and rattling percussive sounds. The uptempo tracks have all the Clarke signatures of mini arpeggios and hypnotic rhythms, while the slower ones do clearly seem to channel the Clarke and Ware Experiment albums. Others, such as Radiation Invasion and Future Tense, somehow manage to achieve both at once, and are simultaneously wonderfully chilled and rhythmic.

Late highlights include the penultimate track Time Squared, which just needs an Andy Bell vocal and you would have a better Erasure track than anything they had released for a long time in 2009.

Altogether, the fifteen tracks just about hit the forty minute mark, and each leaves you with a little taster of something new. Each does make you wish it could have been longer, or more coherent and structured as a collection of tracks, but you can really see how they might work in advertisements or on television somewhere. Which I suppose is the whole idea.

Less contemporary but generally more melodic than SsssDeeptronica is a brilliant little album, even if seemingly listening to it was not the intended use. In many ways, the only slight disappointment is that this album isn’t available for the public to buy through traditional means.

You can listen to (and potentially download) Deeptronica in its entirety from Extreme Music.