My Top 10: Electric Fantastic Sound

Electric Fantastic Sound is a Swedish record label that specialises in synthpop, electro, and alternative music. Pioneers of digital distribution (and Spotify-friendly), their roster includes such artists as Flux, Basswood Dollies, Quelles Paroles, and Diskodiktator. If you’re new to these bands a great place to start is the recently-released label sampler Electric Fantastic Sound No.6 2010, or the new summer releases from Garland Cult, SULF, and I, Synthesist. Founder Johan Billing (formerly of the brilliant S.P.O.C.K.) is the bearded mastermind behind the label. I asked Johan to tell us about his Top 10 favourite songs. He describes his list as “something new, something old and something more” with the assurance that he “made the choice not to include any of the tracks I’ve released myself.” Over to you Johan!

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1. Just Jack — Goth In The Disco

I recently discovered Just Jack, another of those one-man-bands that do amazing music but tends to fall between traditional synthpop and something else and therefore doesn’t get the recognition they deserve. A brilliant track!

2. Superheroes — Rich And Famous

From our Danish superheroes, this track just blew me away when I stumbled upon it – this is what Silicon Teens would have sounded like if they were created today!

3. James Yuill — On Your Own

This one could probably be labelled mainstream as more and more bands pick up an updated version of the classic 80’s sound. But I still find it simply irresistible.

4. Dragonette — We Rule The World

A wonderful example of how you can take the original synthpop vibe and update it with a fresh feel and get something really nice.

5. Godhead — Bela Lugosi’s Dead

This super electric cover of an old Bauhaus track keeps popping up in my playlists no matter what theme or feeling I’m after. Excellent production and I just loooove the vocals!

6. Nordström — Berlin

I originally found Nordström on MySpace several years before they got signed to EMI. I then forgot about them until I discovered that a friend of mine actually produced their début album. This track is more Pet Shop Boys than the Pet Shop Boys, even if it’s in Danish!

7. Keane — Your Love

Photo by Andreas Ingefjord

This one made me question my judgement — could I include something so mainstream and still call my selection alternative? But then again it’s a wonderful synthpop track and a good sign of how pop music is an eternal circle as previous trends keep coming back and back and back. I actually had to decide between this one and the last a-ha album….

8. Northern Kind — Automatic

Another example of contemporary synthpop that seems to be thriving in the northern parts of the UK. Their first album is the bastard love child of ABBA and Elegant Machinery;  their second album contains this gem and is a bit more balanced but still very exciting.

9. Lloyd Cole And The Commotions — Wild Mushrooms

Being a long time fan of Mr Cole I always get excited whenever he turns on his more electronic side. I’m sure this track couldn’t have been done much different with synthesizers.

10. Heaven 17 — An Electronic Prayer

In their 1997 return to electronic music Heaven 17 made this track that is something I always like to put last in my playlists and in my DJ sets, not only because of its wonderful production but also because of the amazing ending!

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