Radioland: Radio-Activity Revisited
"'For me, there is a great nostalgia and melancholy about this album,' says Franck Vigroux, the composer and sound artist who, along with Perrier Jazz award-winning pianist and composer Matthew Bourne and installation artist Antoine Schmitt, is responsible for the Radioland project. Earlier in 2015, they re-imagined Kraftwerk's 1975 masterpiece Radio-Activity live on the 40th anniversary of its release, using a formidable barrage of analog equipment and live visual imagery. Vigroux and Bourne briefly considered faithfully replicating the original Radio-Activity, whose structural perfection feels hard to improve upon, before almost instantly dismissing the idea. 'I thought, no, we don't want to do it like this,' says Vigroux. 'Why do this? So in the end, we kept the melodies, we kept the main element but then treated it in more of a jazz way.' Jazz is apt. In the end, there are parallels between the way Radioland uses Kraftwerk's original as a jumping off point musically and the journey John Coltrane undertakes on his version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's classic showtune 'My Favorite Things.' While the melodies and rhythms of the original album are briefly referenced, this is not so much a cover version as a discovery version, a launchpad for analog and digital exploits that is far truer to the spirit of Kraftwerk than mere duplication. After all, it was Kraftwerk who constructed the grid from which myriad adventures in electronic music -- from techno to IDM, house to EDM -- have proceeded. This album is an homage to their vast influence. And so, Radioland weaves its own highly individual mesh of electronics, including blizzards of analog, antique futurist percussive patterns, rewired melodies, processed versions of sounds recently discovered in space by NASA, short- and longwave radio samples, hurricanes of modulated electronics, vocoders ebbing and throbbing; it's like the detritus of 40 years of electropop all colliding at once."