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John Foxx And The Maths - Howl

  by Dave Goodwin

published: 27 / 5 / 2020

John Foxx And The Maths - Howl
Label: Metamatic Records
Format: CD


Fantastic fifth album from experimental electronica act John Foxx and the Maths, which finds Foxx reuniting with his former Ultravox bandmate Robin Simon

John Foxx and Benge originally got together back in 2010, playing a headline show at the Roundhouse in London at the first ever John Foxx And The Maths show before they had even finished their debut album, 'Interplay', which came out a few months later in 2011. Critic Mark Fisher summed them up as "a glimpse into another world in which rock 'n' roll was invented on Moogs." Foxx has always had a passion for the experimental but the strange sounds and atmospheres they seduce and rip from the machines in Benge's studio has inspired a series of fiercely personal electronic records - 'The Shape of Things; (2012), 'Evidence' (2013) and 'The Machine' (2017), an eerie instrumental score for the theatre production of E.M. Forster's 'The Machine Stops'. Along the way they have collaborated with the Soft Moon, Gazelle Twin, ADULT., Xeno & Oaklander, Gary Numan, Matthew Dear and many more, but at the core of everything is Foxx and the Cornish-based artist/producer Benge. As well as collaborating with Benge, Foxx has got together on this fifth the Maths album with former Ultravox guitarist Robin Simon and Hannah Peel. Foxx has spoken openly about wanting to work with Simon again for a long time, and justly so as his contributions have instantly modified Foxx’s original ideas into something new. Simon, who first worked with Foxx on Ultravox's 'Systems of Romance' album in 1978, has added a more industrial feel, and whereas the Maths' music is sometimes a little sparse in context he has filled a gap with his unique guitar in places. Peel’s string playing has also added a new dimension to the whole sound of the band. With these two new additions comes a darker sound. I’m not sure if it was intentional but it works. The main man is still able to switch identity as in the opener 'My Ghost' where he proves that he is able to morph his vocals too at will. The title track starts with Simon's guitar meandering in and out. A special moment on here is 'The Dance', a mid tempo'd slab of Futurist underground danceability – proper old school stuff but sounding a little like a Future Islands standard as is 'New York Times', another slab of brilliance. This is old school synth at its best. There are flavours of Human League, Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode, Visage and Gary Numan,but still managing to break barriers and come up with something different. A fantastic fifth album.

Track Listing:-
1 My Ghost
2 Howl
3 Everything Is Happening at the Same Time
4 Tarzan and Jane Regained
5 The Dance
6 New York Times
7 Last Time I Saw You
8 Strange Beauty

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The Machine (2017)
Futuristic stage show soundtrack from John Foxx and the Maths which evolves into a serious electronic masterpiece

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