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Old 07 Apr 2017, 22:01   #1241
Streetside Romeo
Strange Attractor
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Wow, Strange Attractor definitely is the bravest record Alphaville have put out since Prostitute! Kudos for having the balls to release something that for the most tracks so radically breaks with everyone's expectations - particularly after CROG (those who turned on to AV because of CROG must be in real shock now). And it takes extra balls to make an album with such a huge diversity of styles, such drastic differences between the individual songs. To me, this bravery is a great thing in itself - because it shows that this is a band that is wild and hungry and does their own thing, quite radically so. Whether one likes it or not. Where Depeche Mode, a-ha, Ultravox etc have contented themselves producing a trademark sound, Alphaville keeps pushing the envelope and taking big risks. It's the difference between art and commerce.

Also, Strange Attractor may just be the best-produced Alphaville album ever. It has to be among the top ten records that I possess (and there's close to 1000 of them) with the most precise, to-the-point production combined with the most (and truly amazing) attention to detail in the arrangements and the mix.

While this applies to the album as a whole, I will now share my first impressions of the individual tracks which may still change a lot over time:
Giants - compact, dark, intense, strong indie vibe but very Alphaville...awesome track
Marionettes with Halos - I dig the lyrics and the starts and ends great, but in between I find it too linear and conventional for its message...even a bit retro (would have been innovative on Prostitute)
House of of those typical mellow Alphaville songs that never will become a hit but really grow on you...atmospheric and very nice, though a bit (too) nonchalant
Around the universe - I never really understood why everyone loves this song so much, I always found it beautiful but unremarkable (will never understand why they chose this over Gallery). Still do, but this version really makes the most of it and strikes a nice emotional authenticity that makes me feel it, unexpectedly.
Enigma - songwriting, performance and arrangement-wise this is a really great song...but thus far, while I dig its qualities, I don't feel much.
Mafia Island - wow. Just wow. Speechless. An enormous masterpiece which would have been worth a wait of 70 years. In my view the biggest achievement since On The Beach and one of the ten, maybe even five, best Alphaville songs ever. Blows my mind.
A Handfull of Darkness - great version, very intense...classic Alphaville without being retro - very pop and with a pathos sometimes bordering on the cheesy, but it always stays on the right side and It's emotional honesty and intensity will definitely get to you. Somewhat conventional, but grand.
Sexyland - this is a truly great glamrock song, faultless, and I loved it live but on CD it is too 80s for me...great lyrics, great Performance, but lacks freshness
Rendezvoyeur - this is a monster and so much fun. Very innovative track beyond the confines of genres, wonderful madness and great atmosphere.
Nevermore - EDM, maybe even EBM meets rock in an extremely convincing fusion...harder-edged, super tight, breakneck pace; melody-wise nothing to write home about, but the haunting lyrics, the intense presentation and the fantastic production make it a favorite on this album and won't let it get out of my head.
Fever! - I am very undecided about this song...super catchy, good songwriting and really great vocals, but the beat is too much "Ibiza dance compilation" in my view - something I find hard to get past, though I see I could really love the song if it would have a slightly more delicate "bottom".
Heartbreak City - I've already said enough about this one...true masterpiece, Alphaville reinventing themselves in a wild and hyper-precise rollercoaster-ride through unlikely genres, yet stay true to their core. Amazing!
Beyond the laughing sky - very unexpected. Sublime singing, great composition, world-class arrangements. Really captivating. Yet somehow I don't feel the connection to Alphaville thus far (while the Floyd-ish Euphoria is an all-time favorite of mine). Hence, it feels a bit detached to me, gotta give it time.

While it is impossible to say now how Strange Attractor will rank among other Alphaville releases for me or how it will develop over time, one thing is sure: Alphaville have delivered something surprısing, challenging, and quite exciting - and taken a leap forward. Applause!Â*

I prefer to walk with my own feet
I prefer to dance to my own beat
I prefer to sing my own song
I prefer to live - do you wanna come along?
(Ephemere - Eternal Travelers pt. III)

Check out my synth-rock band EPHEMERE's latest, the wonderfully synth-heavy LP "Hobos & Architects":
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Old 07 Apr 2017, 23:35   #1242
Astral Buddy
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Guys, if you feel StrActor is a cool record, please support the band by leaving positive ratings and comments in the stores :-)
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Old 07 Apr 2017, 23:40   #1243
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I am enjoying the new album. I liked CROG but this is a refreshing change with a wide variety of styles. The Bee Gees influenced Heartbreak City is a highlight. I also really like Nevermore. Alphaville have always had a rocky side even going back to 1987 with songs like Underworld. The song works well live too, as evidenced on the Israeli radio broadcasts. I know some don't like it when so called synth bands start to get prog rockish but I think it gives those bands an edge. I like a-ha's Memorial Beach for instance. Another highlight is Sexyland. This is the most New Wave sounding song on the album. It sounds like something The Killers or Brandon Flowers could have came up with. A Handful of Darkness is epic with a real message behind the lyrics. It's the "Things We've Got To Do or Flame" of the album and probably even better than those songs. Enigma is great and*like many of the songs speaks of loss.*There are other highlights but I have to give it a few more listens. My only complaint is that the mastering is too loud but the vinyl will sort that out.
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Old 08 Apr 2017, 04:48   #1244
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I'm feeling a more of a modern side to AV in this album. I think this is one of their best albums. I just can't stop listening to Giants. Such an amazing song.

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Old 08 Apr 2017, 07:59   #1245
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Did somewhere listened to the vinyl bonus tracks yet? Any reviews on that? What versions of Around and Handful can we expect here? Please post a review of them here. Thanks!
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Old 08 Apr 2017, 08:31   #1246
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I need to write a review when I have the time. I agree with the production itself, it sounds really really good, best sound since Salvation.

I can't stop listening to A Handful of Darkness, just beautiful, love it
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Old 08 Apr 2017, 08:38   #1247
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Are the bonus tracks very different compared with the regular versions?
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Old 08 Apr 2017, 09:41   #1248
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Originally Posted by Kaz View Post
The presenter didn't seem too impressed, with his doesn't sound anything like Alphaville line. I for one can't wait to hear it.
That's alway the problem with people who haven't heard something new from AV in decades ...
But they point it out on their internet side as a music tip, so it can't be that bad! ;-)

G - O! Let's go!
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Old 08 Apr 2017, 09:49   #1249
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I haven't got mine yet. I'm kicking myself for not cancelling my online order as soon as I knew I'd be in Berlin. Even though I didn't know they'd have the CD at the party, I knew I'd have time on Friday. Stupid.

However, there's Spotify and it will occasionally let me listen to a track from SA so first impressions... Handful of Darkness is brilliant. Just as I hoped it would be and captures the essence of the performance in Prague. I worried that it would sound different and not be as good. I like all the others that I've heard (although I've not heard all of them.) The one that stands out for me is Nevermore. On my second listen I decided it might be my favourite song for a long time. I listened through headphones last night and I suspect dome songs are best listened to through speakers. I have to wait until Thursday :(

"I've had many sobering thoughts in my life.... was them what drove me to drink!" [drunk]

Grandad, Only Fools and Horses (UK sitcom)
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Old 08 Apr 2017, 13:06   #1250
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Interview 05/04/2017. As usual, a machine-translated version :

"On the stage is a prostitute"

With "Strange Attractor" Alphaville announce themselves back. Band leader Marian Gold gives an insight into the development process.

After seven years, the synth pop-heroes Alphaville return with a new album. "Strange Attractor" dares the balancing act between old acts and modern sounds. Why the new album feels like a half comeback, band leader Marian Gold reveals in the interview with the news agency spot on news.

"Strange Attractor" sounds refreshingly modern, but also quotes the glorious 80s. Was this balancing act a formulated goal before they started writing new music?

Marian Gold: That has more or less surrendered. I would not be able to define this as precisely as you have done. I just assume times that it is so. We have produced the album in three starts over seven years. We always need a relatively long time, but it was a damn long time for us. Of a total of 24 pieces, the darker and somewhat gloomy songs finally made the album.

Longtime keyboardist, Martin Lister, died unexpectedly in 2014. Was this a reason for the long production time?

Gold: That was a very bad loss for me. Not only musically but also personally. I've worked with Martin for more than 20 years. He is an ingenious musician and composer and a really friendly person. For me the idea that he is no longer there is still hard to bear. This has torn a very, very large gap into the band. I did not even try to fill them again. But I wanted us to continue our journey without Martin, which ultimately also resulted in the production of the album with the new members in the band.

Is the album so dark, because you process his death through your music?

Gold: It fits at least to the mood and self-understanding of the band. We are all very happy with the album and also very happy that we had Martin with us so long. The last piece I wrote with Martin, "Beyond The Laughing Sky," is also the last song on the album. Crazy that it has become this title. This is almost Martins monument. But we did not write a piece to him. I would have felt this as a fool, because such a loss must be processed in a different way.

Are you up to date with current pop artists or are they listening to songwriting from the outside world?

Gold: I am very interested in current affairs. Especially on the independent scene, because new music is constantly being developed there. There are new opportunities. But as soon as I go to the studio, I am totally unresponsive to advice or influences from the outside. This is a very introverted process. Just the opposite of what you do when you stand on a stage. Where you try everything to bring people together. These are the two polarities between which one oscillates as an artist. In the studio one is a kind of terrorist of his conviction and on stage rather a kind of prostitute.

Musicians are looking for the recognition and reactions of the fans.

Gold: And at all costs! If we re-arrange the pieces for the live situation, then, we'll be thinking about what could and could not work. The artistic value is not important to me live.

You are now in the music business for more than 30 years. How do you survive in this fast-paced business?

Gold: You need talent and a lot of luck. Without luck one comes to nothing. The fact that we are so long is only a part of our own dung. We were lucky to have written some Welthits. This alone keeps you in business. When you release an album like us every four or five years, it feels like a half comeback every time - that's a drawback, of course. But at the same time people are also very interested.

You have seven children. Do these instruments or do they want to follow in the footsteps of their father?

Gold: No. Two of my children played instruments, but that is more of a hobby. They do not because their daddy is a musician. My children have entirely different interests.

What's next at Alphaville?

Gold: We'll be playing a small tour with a focus on Germany next to the concerts already booked. And, quite against my habits, we are already writing pieces for a new album. I am very optimistic that we will be ready to start production in early 2018.

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