Sebastien Morlighem directs to me an interesting interview from last month at Quietus with OMD, on their new album English Electric and also its predecessor History of the Modern
"Paul and I sat down and said "OK, we don’t want to be a nostalgic heritage act. Nor, however, is it sufficient for us to just write a nice collection of songs in the style of OMD." ... "What do we do next? We know we can write songs... That’s not only what we do. What does the future sound like? And can we dare to dream that we could possibly reflect a little of it again?" And that became our mantra: "What does the future sound like?" ...
".... We were consciously trying to ask questions about the world, ourselves, music, the future of music. One of the songs is called ‘The Future Will Be Silent’. We looked at how we had constructed some of our more unusual songs, and a lot of them were made from concrete music, found sounds, and we looked at what we had explored in the past and we were trying not to repeat ourselves, and, well, we’ve done trains; we’ve done machinery. And then I actually said to myself "I realise now that everything that we’ve sampled from the real world – trains, machines, computers, guns, typewriters – they were actually accidental". The audio that we had sampled was a waste product from the specific design function of whatever it was that we had recorded."
"I want a future so bright
It burns my eyes"
They had retromodernist preoccupations before, right, OMD? Like Dazzle Ships, as analysed here by Owen Hatherley. And "Tesla Girls" too, a little bit, perhaps. Veering near Thomas Dolby's Golden Age of Wireless and The Buggles's several songs about outmoded entertainment technologies or institutions ("Video Killed Radio Star", "Elstree"). But then where do all the tunes about Joan of Arc fit in?
A fan's video for a Dazzle Ships track made of footage of modernist architects being visionary
Never that huge fan of OMD but I did love this, the B-side to debut "Electricity"
And this one