MGMT: Electricfying Sound

MGMT frontmen Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden photo by Deviant Art

MGMT (pronounced by saying each letter), originally composed of Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden is so unique the New York Times is the most accurate in categorizing them as electro-psychedelic.    They got their start in 2002 in Brooklyn, New York when Ben and Andrew met while attending Wesleyan University.

The band was originally called The Management but they changed their name after realizing there was a big British band with the same name and began to be known as MGMT.

Oracular Spectacular, the album that won the band the recognition.

Ben does vocals, keyboards, synths and drums and Andrew does vocals, guitar, keyboards and drums. Members James Richardson, Matt Asti and Will Berman joined what was known as the core band after their first album Oracular Spectacular debuted in 2007.  It debuted as 12 in the UK album chart and number six on the Australian ARIA Charts.

Rolling Stone has kept their eye on the band and in 2008 named them among the top ten “Artists to Watch” and the 18th best album of the decade with Oracular Spectacular as well.  Other awards include being in Australia’s Triple J Hottest 100 with three songs in the countdown (Electric Feel at number two, Kids at number 5 and Time to Pretend at number 18.

 

The Grammys took note of the band as well and in 2009 when the Justice remix of Electric Feel won for Best Remixed Recording, Non Classical. They also attained nominations for Best New Artist and Best Pop Performance in 2010.

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Depeche Mode: Industrial Renovation

Members David Gahan, Martin Gore, Alan Wilder and Andy Fletcher pose. Photo Credits: thexander.com

Depeche Mode is probably one of the most successful electronic bands of the New Age music period seeing its start in 198o.

The band got started in the quaint town of Basildon, Essex and consists of members David Gahan (lead vocals), Martin Gore(keyboard, vocals, chief songwriter after 1981), Vince Clarke (keyboard and chief songwriter until 1981) and Andy Fletcher(keyboards).  Vince left after the first album of the band to work on his own and was replaced by Alan Wilder.

The band was started from a project called No Romance n China by Clarke(vocals and guitar) and Fletcher in 1977 (bass) and was inspired by The Cure. The merging of two projects (The French Look and Composition of Sound) with Robert Marlow (The Plan) and Paul Richmond(Clarke’s friend) was the prefect prelude to the band.

Both bands played together at Basildon, Essex two months later and shortly after the band switched over to synthesizers and they discovered their fourth element David Gahan and Depeche Mode was born.

The band was discovered by electronic musician Daniel Miller from Mute Records in a gig at Canning Town, London and after four months their third single “Just Can’t Get Enough” peaked at number 8 and it was to infinity and beyond for the band after that.

Vince produced two other bands after he left the band, Yazoo and Erasure.

For a more in depth biography click here.

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Throbbing Gristle: A Grim Beginning

Members: Sleazy, Cosey, Chris and Genesis pose for the camera. Photo: Peter Heartfield

While this band is known for being industrial, their use of synths and heavy hypnotic sound created by their use of electronic instruments has landed them here (not to mention their cool name). They were signed to record label Mute Records, which signed many artists that were turned down by the New Musical  Express in the time that synth and alternative music genres were becoming popular.

They were formed in a sinister if you will place called, Kingston Upon Hill in England. Much like John Foxx’s hometown, it was grim because the band practiced in a factory that was on level with the plague pits (the Black Plague).

Their music was really a synergy of all the industrial sounds the band heard by night and day.  They were similar to Cabaret Voltaire but independent nonetheless.

Member Chris Carter was a fan of Tangerine Dream and had many synths himself, that being said their sound was very hypnotic sounding like Tangerine Dream’s.

The band’s performances are notorious for their challenging of their fans to think about the dark and obsessive sides of human nature with pornography and pictures of Nazi concentration camps among other images.

Of course, taken the place of origin of the band, can you blame them for being realists?

The group was never quite as big some of its contenders Cabaret Voltaire, Human League or Gary Numan but their bold eclectic style of performing has made them unique and memorable to those who enjoy their music.

Links:

Throbbing Gristle

The Band’s Myspace

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Tangerine Dream: Dynamic Sounds

The band is recording their 1974 LP, Phaedra.

Among the most influential psychedelic, instrumental, electronic bands for the synthetic music genre was German legends, Tangerine Dream. Though the name of the band has always been a mystery as far as it’s whereabouts, the most popular is a line in John Lennon’s song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.

The band has been among the most dynamic in terms of their sound mainly due to the fact that they have had many line-ups in the past. The only constant member is creator Edgar Froese, he founded the band in 1967. One of the first lineups included Volker Humbach, Lanse Hapshash, Kurth Herkenberg. Humbaugh played the saxophone, flute and violin, with Hapshash on drums, Herkenbeger on bass and Edgar Froese on the guitar. Singer Charlie Prince was only with the band for a short period.

The band’s first record contract came when Froese met Psy Free drum player, Klaus Schulze. Together they found another musician, Conrad Schitzler. Regardless of Schitzler’s inability to play any real music instruments he produced sounds with other tools, the music they developed together in a private studio from 1970 called Electronic Meditation and was accidentally discovered by music producer, Peter Meisel.

For Tangerine Dream, the turning point came when upon Froese’s request they get rid of their traditional instruments to start experimenting with electronic equipment such as a sine-wave generator and a Moog Synthesizer (which they attained from Mick Jagger).

Success struck with the release of their release of their LP, Phaedra in 1974.

Links:

Tangerine Dream

Edgar Froese

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