What happens when you combine a world-class electronic muso/producer with a strong affinity for Kraftwerk, and a pop singer/muso, who sounds so much like A-ha’s Morten Harket that not even Mort’s own mother could tell the difference? You get a truly dreamy electronic-pop duo who can basically write their own ticket. Such is the case with a glorious new act out of the UK, aptly-named……… Apt.
Comprised of Jon Russell of Jonteknik fame, and Martyn Bailey, a notable solo artist in his own right, Apt arrive on the indie electronic scene with an absolutely glorious gem of a debut album, called Energy, Light and Darkness, which is slated to hit the online stores worldwide in February 2014. As the title of the album suggests, and as the handful of teaser tidbits the band have already posted on their SoundCloud page clearly demonstrate, it has moments of brilliance and darkness, with an underlying solid current that keeps the overall momentum of the album moving along in a most pleasing manner. It’s shaping up to be one of the better releases of 2014. In fact, I’m already queued up for its debut on 3 February!
For those who aren’t savvy to the background of the men behind Apt, allow me to enlighten you………..
Jon has been making electronic music under the name of Jonteknik since the late-1980s. He has worked with legendary producer, Pascal Gabriel, and with both Claudia Brucken (Propaganda/Act) and Paul Humphreys (OMD/Listening Pool) on their acclaimed Onetwo project. This past year, Jon was honored to have the opportunity to do an official remix for OMD’s ‘Metroland‘ single. In addition to the OMD remix (which is AMAZING, btw!), Jon has also released two new albums this year. His Satellites of Substance and People at an Exhibition albums both sold out quickly, and are among the most in-demand recordings on the playlists of all the hottest podcasts & indie radio stations across the worldwide web. Jon is heavily influenced by the music of Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode and OMD. Yet he has developed a sound that is uniquely his own. Nobody else I know understands the soul of electronic music better than Jon Russell. Believe me…… he’s the real deal!
Martin has been recording and performing live with his band, The Channel, and working on his own solo material for many years now. This past year, he released a solo album called, Red Sky Supernova, that is an absolutely stunning display of pop craftsmanship. He’s the man with the golden pipes. I honestly don’t know how else to describe his voice, as every other possible description doesn’t seem to do this guy’s talent justice. He has a soaring falsetto that would make even Mr. Harket blush with pride. However, he can handle the lower vocal ranges with equal aplomb. But that’s not his only trick, folks. He’s one hell of a songwriter too. Look no further than his track, ‘Little Lie’ for proof of just how ready this bloke is for the primetime. If you don’t have his Red Sky Supernova album, I highly recommend you pick it up.
A few years back (2010, to be precise), Jon Russell was looking into doing an album of his favourite A-ha covers. Russell and Bailey met after Jon’s barber told him about a singer from an A-ha tribute band that was a dead-ringer for Morten Harket. Sure enough, Mr. Russell was impressed by what he heard, and the two collaborated on a truly remarkable cover album of Norway’s finest synth-pop band. The album was a limited edition offering, and is now sadly out of print. But I can attest to how spot-on accurate the songs are. In fact, some of the cover tunes outdid the originals. Which is no easy feat when taking on A-ha, and the vocal gymnastics that are needed to do so successfully. I own a copy of this album, and it’s one of my faves. This was my introduction to Martyn Bailey.
Then a few months ago, the wonderful Tony Blue, of EmT turned me onto Martyn’s Red Sky Supernova album, and the hook was set. I have been absolutely head-over-heels in love with so many of the tracks on the album. It’s a deliciously melancholy album that blends somber piano pieces with sparse, but effective synth elements. And of course it’s all driven home by Martyn’s god-like voice and angelic delivery. The comparisons to Harket are inevitable, but don’t get too comfortable or dismissive with the similarity. Bailey’s voice is still unique enough to establish its own identity, and its plenty powerful and solid enough to stand on its own merit. From a musician’s perspective, he’s got it all. And this pairing with Jon is so blatantly remarkable. It’s scary to think of what they can do together. Like I said earlier……. this is a band that should be able to write their own ticket. They will succeed, and they’ll do it on their own terms.
Their strengths play well off each other, and we, the listeners, are all the richer for it.
I can go on forever about why I’m excited for this great new act out of Brighton, UK…… but I’ll shut up now and let their music speak for itself. Listed below are some links to both their new material, and selected tidbits from both Jonteknik and Martyn’s solo work. Take a listen, and you’ll see (or rather, hear) why I’m so excited to hear the whole album.
Apt on SoundCloud:
Apt on Facebook:
Jonteknik on SoundCloud:
Martyn Bailey on SoundCloud:
Here’s a great video for Martyn’s song, ‘Little Lie’……. check it out NOW:
Save the date:
February 3, 2014…….. the day that Apt’s debut album hits the shops. Mark your calendars NOW!
Jimm Kjelgaard – December 2013