JOHN FOXX ALBUM
Evidence is John Foxx And The Maths’ most atmospheric and darkly percussive album so far – built around stark, late night rhythms. The ambient spaces in the music allow for experiments with textures and mood, with dreamlike echoes of Massive Attack, dub (in spirit not pastiche), Dead Can Dance and the ultra-introspective Japan.
The edgy beats of the opening track ‘Personal Magnetism’ are followed by ‘Evidence’, featuring The Soft Moon’s Luis Vasquez. Layers of sound whirl around Foxx’s brooding, insomniac vocals, as he searches for answers in the early hours. The slow, minimalist ‘That Sudden Switch’ takes the European art-movie approach of Xeno & Oaklander and re-invents it as post-dub electronic pop. ‘Talk (Beneath Your Dreams)’ features US electronic artist Matthew Dear taking the role of the ‘sleeper’ as a conversation is held in a dream. It’s a chilly, nightmarish track but like much of this album it has motion – Dear adding new techno rhythms as well as a Bowie-esque vocal in the final verses.
‘Neon Vertigo’ furthers the noir tension with massive bass sounds and ‘space violin’ from Hannah Peel, while ‘Changelings’ is in many ways the centrepiece of the album. Originally written and recorded by Gazelle Twin, ‘Changelings’ only retains her voice as The Maths rebuild it completely from scratch. It’s arguably one of Benge’s finest moments in the studio so far, while Foxx’s reverb-drenched backing vocals complete this stunning, end-of-the-world song.
What follows is weirder still. ‘My Town’ features Peel on violin again as Foxx’s metallic, distorted voice sounds like an ego on the brink of madness. Is it the voice of money/a god/bankers/an evil corporation, or a fallen rock star still living in the past?
The cover of Pink Floyd’s ‘Have A Cigar’ starts with a cackle of laughter before Foxx launches into another heavily treated vocal, not unlike that of ‘My Town’. Meanwhile, ‘A Falling Star’ is the reverse of ‘Changelings’ – this time it’s a Foxx/Benge track reworked by Gazelle Twin. In this context, the song becomes an icy but epic ballad, full of siren vocals and a sense of release as it stretches into the long, elegant fadeout. In fact, ‘A Falling Star’ does signal a change on the album as the mood evolves into something more reflective. The two instrumentals ‘Cloud Choreography’ and ‘Shadow Memory’ offer new space and textures, while ‘Walk’ appears to emerge half-way through a dream as Foxx sings ‘and I walked through all the streets of this city’ after a slow build. This final section climaxes with the electronic harp music of ‘Myriads’ and the last song, ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’ – a pretty melody found on an old discarded reel-to-reel; nostalgic, the sound of memory and tape creating one of the album’s most moving tracks.
The full tracklisting is as follows:
1. Personal Magnetism
2. Evidence (featuring The Soft Moon)
3. That Sudden Switch (featuring Xeno & Oaklander)
4. Talk (Beneath Your Dreams) (featuring Matthew Dear)
5. Neon Vertigo
6. Changelings (featuring Gazelle Twin)
7. My Town
8. Have A Cigar
9. A Falling Star (featuring Gazelle Twin)
10. Cloud Choreography
11. Shadow Memory
14. Only Lovers Left Alive
15. Talk (I Speak Machine Mix by Tara Busch)
JOHN FOXX AND THE MATHS ALBUMS:
The Shape Of Things (2012)
GARY NUMAN ‘John was my hero when I first started making electronic music. He’s a true pioneer and seems as passionate about music today as he was then. I have a huge amount of respect for him.’
CLINT MANSELL (Soundtrack composer – credits include Black Swan and Moon): ‘John’s music is man and machine in perfect harmony. Consistent quality output too. The Maths material is vibrant.’
PAUL DALEY – EX-LEFTFIELD ‘John Foxx is the quiet man from another dimension bending sounds from the 23rd Century underneath cinematic sci-fi future vocals. Afrika Bambaataa is a big fan too.’