Unsigned, but not forgotten

One of the things I really wanted to do when I started this blog five years ago was to try to do anything I could to help unsigned artists. I had tried previously, actually, on a radio show, and had found that a lot of unsigned acts couldn’t get their, um, “act” together to make it work as a cohesive feature, and so it only really ran three of four times before falling in flames.

The unsigned feature on this blog lasted a little longer, and did showcase some interesting acts, but it also opened me up to a lot of artists who for one reason or another weren’t appropriate for the blog, and one or two people who didn’t take that news too well. These are the perils of doing anything on the internet.

But let’s take a look at those who did make it, and see what they have been up to!

Blue Swan

First covered on my radio show in February 2005, and then subsequently looked at in detail on this blog in November 2012, this Danish duo seem to have entered a quiet phase in their career. Looking at their Soundcloud, their last new tracks were the ones we covered here five years ago, and there have been a few DJ mixes since then, but not a lot of activity.

Hugh Doolan

We covered this Irish acoustic act back in November 2012, and looking at his Soundcloud account he’s been very busy recently. His Bandcamp page includes ten releases since we last spoke to him, including acoustic tracks and film soundtracks.

Rance Garrison

Covered back in August 2013, when he was between albums, he seems to have released three new albums in the last few years, all of which are available on his Bandcamp page.


We first covered Jon’s debut album in November 2012, and when we visited him again the following year, he had just released another album. He’s now part of a label that I need to look into further called The People’s Electric, and recently released an album called Skylines.


Introduced to this blog back in November 2012, this UK-based act was still busy a year or so later, including proudly posting one of his songs that was played on BBC Essex, but he hasn’t pushed much to his Soundcloud recently.


An old favourite of mine from the mp3.com days of the early internet, I first covered them here back in 2013. Things seem to have been quiet for them for a couple of decades now, but you can still enjoy their back catalogue at Soundcloud.

Movement Ten

This Brighton-based duo were first covered here back in December 2012 when they had just released their debut album. The following year when we looked again, they had just released another album, but things seem to have been quieter since then.


Featured on my radio show in 2005, unfortunately I don’t have any record any more of who they were, how they got in touch, or where they are now. If you know, please ask them to get in touch!

Devin Tait

First covered in August 2013, then revisited later that year when he was in the middle of touring, this flamboyant LA-based artist is now working on his next solo album The White Tomato. More at his official website.

Finally, I think a few more people had filled in the form on the website and asked for coverage. I’ll sit down and actually read those messages and do a feature on them very soon – apologies for the lack of responses if you’re feeling impatient.

Where are they now?

We’ve covered eight unsigned acts to date, and since I’ve heard more good things from a couple of them recently, let’s take a quick look at what they’ve been up to!

The first act we covered last year was Jonteknik, who has just released another album The Satellites of Substance. It sounds a bit like Kraftwerk, and is really, really good. Check it out on his official website.

Movement Ten have just done another album too, entitled Build Them and They Will Come. A couple of tracks on Movement Ten were very good indeed, as I said when we listened to them together previously. More information at their website.

And finally – for now – Devin Tait is still touring in the Los Angeles region – read what we learnt about him before here, and visit his website there.

Do you want to be covered on this blog? Take a look at the guidelines in the Are you unsigned? section.

Introducing Movement Ten

We’ve sadly reached the last of our first batch of unsigned artists. The last of our artists for now is Movement Ten. A duo consisting of Shadowless Man and Sweet Chap (or, if you prefer, Tristan and Mike), they’re a matter of weeks into having released their debut eponymous album. Completely self-recorded, self-engineered and self-produced, it also comes with this rather wonderful sleeve artwork:

They describe their music as blending different cityscapes – Düsseldorf, London, Brighton, and Detroit – and they quote influences as varied as Conny PlankSebastiAnJustice and Roni Size. As usual I asked them to pick a mini-demo of three tracks to share with you lot, and all three are from the album Movement Ten. First up is Gravity:

This was the first single, and with its slightly rock-tinged electronic sound I’m somewhat reminded of Dirty Vegas or Alpinestars, both of whom are favourites of mine.

Their second choice was Monochrome:

This gentle piece of almost-drum-and-bass is also unusual with its acoustic lead line. It stands alone slightly on the album, but as a taster for the kind of variety these guys can achieve it’s great.

Their final choice was BWK:

With one of the biggest kick drums on the planet and excellent vocals, it’s got a bit of a disco vibe going on, and is really rather good.

Movement Ten were actually kind enough to send their whole album over, and so I can assure you that the trend of great vocals and lively backing continues. I can also heartily recommend Machine Girl and One Hundred Percent as well as the samples above.

As always I compiled some daft and entirely unprofessional questions for them to tackle:

What’s your favourite synth, and why?

Something big, looming and modular by Buchla or Moog. I like synths that have a life of their own, that fight back and won’t be controlled. As well as that, if they don’t fill up most of the room, then what’s the point?

Unfortunately I haven’t had the opportunity to use either of the two I mentioned, so something a bit more compact, the TB-303, is probably my favourite that I have “played”. Such an iconic sound, and it always has to be centre of attention. You normally end up tuning all the other instruments to it, rather than vice-versa! Not many synths can claim to be responsible for a whole genre of music.

Also, it’s not a synth as such, but Hypercyclic by Mucoder definitely has a life of its own. You feed it MIDI and it takes over; it fires back sounds that you wouldn’t be expecting.

If I forced you to do an exclusive cover version, what would it be?

We are looking to work a cover into our live set at the moment actually. The track I am considering is Icon by Siouxsie and the Banshees. I am not sure if we will be able to do it justice, but it will be interesting to see what happens. I think you learn a lot about yourself by covering other people’s work. I have worked on sample recreation projects in the past as well, where you have to accurately copy the sound of a recording. Again this is a fantastic way to learn. If you can deconstruct and reassemble what has been done before, it can only make you better at what you do.

Rearrange the following into the correct order: The Beatles, Justin Bieber, Mozart, Kraftwerk.

They all have their place of course, and every musical project requires tenacity and toil to be completed. This is the case whether the main objective is record sales or sonic experimentation.

My collection only really covers the age of recorded music, so I am not very familiar with classical music, even someone as influential as Mozart. It is interesting how there is no definitive recorded version of Mozart’s works, it makes you think about how recording anchors a piece of music to a particular point in time. You can go and buy Sgt. Peppers, Autobahn or Believe (that’s a Justin Bieber album, I had to Google it!), and the recording will be the same, you can’t do that with Mozart. There would be hundreds of versions of his works by different orchestras, producers and labels. I wouldn’t know where to start.

There is an element of this too with recorded music, with re-mastering and different formats. Which is the definitive version of Autobahn now? The vinyl, the CD, or the re-mastered version that is part of The Catalogue? The re-masters were done by Ralf Hütter, so they are still a proper Kraftwerk product along with the other versions.

Kraftwerk and Beatles are where my interest would lie on this list though, but maybe Justin Bieber just needs the right producer?

Of course, the definitive versions of Kraftwerk‘s albums are the ones that are part of Der Katalog, but we’ll discuss this another time. And definitely some food for thought at the end there!

But that’s it for now – we’ll pick this up again in the New Year. Thanks to everyone who took part, and my apologies to those who didn’t quite make the grade. Thanks again to Movement Ten for getting in touch and for sending such great responses over. You can visit their official website here.