- Electronic (band)
Infobox musical artist |
Name = Electronic
Img_capt = Electronic (
Johnny Marr, left, and Bernard Sumner) on the cover of their 1991 debut album "Electronic".
Background = group_or_band
Alternative rock Electronica
Years_active = 1988 ["Melody Maker,
13 April 1991] -1999
(on indefinite hiatus)
Label = flagicon|UK
flagicon|USA Koch, Warner Bros.
flagicon|Canadaflagicon|Australia Warner Bros.
EMI, Warner Bros.
New Order The Smiths Pet Shop Boys
Bernard Sumner Johnny Marr
Electronic were an
alternative rockgroup formed by New Ordersinger and guitarist Bernard Sumnerand ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr. They co-wrote the majority of their output between 1989 and 1998,Ref_label|a|a|none collaborating with Neil Tennanton three tracks in their early years, and former Kraftwerkmember Karl Bartoson nine songs in 1995.
The two first met in 1984 when the Smiths guitarist contributed to a
Quando Quangotrack that Sumner was producing, but Electronic did not materialise until 1988, when the New Order frontman suggested Marr add guitar to a solo album he was planning"Q", July 1991] — this was quickly abandoned when the idea of joining forces for a full-time group emerged.
Inspired by contemporary dance music like
Italo houseand acts such as Technotronic(Sumner even did a remix of " Rockin' Over the Beat" in 1990), their initial concept was to release white label records on Factory and remain an anonymous entity, ["Reflex", November 1991] ["Uncut", April 1999] ["Q", September 2007] in contrast to their considerable reputations with The Smiths and New Order. The track "Lucky Bag" and the name Electronic itself are two of the vestiges of this initial approach; when Pet Shop Boyssinger Neil Tennant heard of their budding partnership in 1989 through sleeve designer Mark Farrowhe suggested a collaboration.
The fruits of this union became "
Getting Away with It", Electronic's debut single which was released in December 1989 and sold around a quarter of a million copies. It was a Top 40 hit in America the following spring, and after a support slot for Depeche Modein August 1990 their chances of anonymity soon vanished. Instead, Sumner and Marr took a more commercial direction, blending synthesizers, guitars and analogue technology whilst retaining the template of modern alternative rock.
After a year of intensive recording (and eighteen months after "Getting Away with It"), the debut album "Electronic" was released to critical acclaim ["Melody Maker",
25 May 1991] ["NME", 25 May 1991(8/10)] ["Spin", June 1991] ["Entertainment Weekly", 21 June 1991(A)] ["Q", July 1991 (5/5)] and commercial success, [BPI Award, July 1991 ( [http://www.bpi.co.uk/platinum/platinumright.asp?rq=search_plat&r_id=1287 link] )] featuring the Top 10 single "Get the Message" and another Top 40 single, " Feel Every Beat". The album sold over a million copies [Warner Bros press release, June 1996] and is widely considered their best work.
As well as its fusion with rock and pop, Electronic continued their interest in dance music by inviting DJs to remix their singles and album tracks; this was a trend that continued throughout their career. Prominent acts that worked on Electronic songs around this period include
Danny Rampling, DNA, Dave Shaw and Quando Quango founder and Haçienda DJ Mike Pickering.
After the first album was released and promoted, Marr and Sumner recorded albums with
The Theand New Order respectively, regrouping with Neil Tennant in 1992 to record their fourth and highest-charting single " Disappointed", which had been played live on a short tour of Europe the previous December.
"Raise the Pressure"
Electronic was resumed when these activities ended, and work began on the second album in late 1994. The core duo was joined by Karl Bartos, ex-percussionist and songwriter with
Kraftwerk(of whom both Sumner and fellow Joy Divisionmember Ian Curtiswere fans), who commuted to Manchester for the writing sessions.
After a long period of mixing, "
Raise the Pressure" was eventually released in July 1996 on the Parlophonelabel in the UK and Warner Bros. in the US, as Factory Records had gone bankrupt in 1992. Like its predecessor it fused dance music with a guitar-led approach, but some reviewers felt its production was too rich and distracted from the songs. Two guitar oriented tracks, "Forbidden City" and "For You", were released as singles and made the UK Top 20, with the dancier "Second Nature" issued in February 1997 and reaching the Top 40.
Electronic did not promote the album with a tour, although they performed its singles live on television shows like "
Top of the Pops" and " TFI Friday", and opted instead to swiftly record their third album. This was to be a reaction to the lengthy processes behind "Raise the Pressure", with an emphasis on writing and demoing songs quickly before recording them. ["City Life", 31 March 1999] Marr and Sumner were joined by Dovesbassist Jimi Goodwin and Black Grapedrummer Jed Lynch, and together they made the album " Twisted Tenderness" as a more conventional four-piece group. The album did not return the group to their early nineties levels of popularity but was well received by the critics. ["Melody Maker", 24 April 1999(3.5/5)] ["NME", 17 April 1999(7/10)] ["Q", May 1999 (4/5)] ["Uncut", May 1999 (4/5)]
Afterwards New Order reformed to record their comeback album "Get Ready" and Marr formed a new band The Healers and is currently a member of
Modest Mouse. Since then, the status of Electronic has remained a question mark, with the only noteworthy events being the Manchester v Cancercharity concert of January 2006, at which Marr and Sumner played with Doves, and the compilation "Get the Message - The Best of", released that September to mild promotion and sales. Neither Sumner nor Marr have gone on record with any formal dissolution of the band despite both having moved onto other projects.
Inevitably Electronic remain in the shadows of their parent groups New Order and The Smiths, with their reluctance to tour factoring in their relative obscurity. Their songs "Getting Away with It", "Get the Message" and "Disappointed" are fairly well known Fact|date=April 2008, however, and they were certainly the most commercially successful of the many New Order side-projects.
*a. Note_label|a|a|none "Twisted Tenderness" was finished by late 1998; the earliest promotional copies were released the following February.
* [http://www.feeleverybeat.co.uk/ feel every beat (unofficial website)]
* [http://www.worldinmotion.net/electronic.htm worldinmotion.net (unofficial website)]
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