Technopolis #4:Underpass!!!

今天是2015年的馬丁路德金恩紀念日(每年一月的第三個星期一),而昨天則是筆者的十分崇敬的老帥哥John Foxx經典大作Metamatic發行35週年的日子呢!

然後草稿打完才發現,不對ㄋㄟ,以我這種龜速的發文進度,寫完應該是明天了 😦 





Metamatic是John Foxx自Ultravox單飛之後的首張個人專輯。綜合訪談與相關文章的敘述,此作的靈感源自倫敦70年代一種泛Ballardian氣息的頹廢都會光景。Foxx透過其獨特的電子曲風,以寫實/超現實的意念刻畫出其世代各種孤立、冰冷、荒無、古怪的面向。


維基百科介紹如下  ー

Metamatic is an album by John Foxx, released in 1980. It was his first solo album following his split with Ultravox the previous year. A departure from the textured mix of synthesizers and conventional instruments on Systems of Romance, his last album with the band, Metamatic’s hard-edged electronica was more akin to Kraftwerk‘s The Man-Machine (1978), Gary Numan‘s The Pleasure Principle(1979), and early Human League.

The name ‘Metamatic’ comes from a painting machine by kinetic artist Jean Tinguely, first exhibited at the Paris Biennial in 1959.


Tinguley的作品Métamatic是一個自動繪畫的機械哦 (圖片來源)



Allmusic的評述如下 ー

Foxx’s solo debut after leaving Ultravox!, Metamatic, achieves the same emotional transcendence as his previous group’s early highlight, Systems of Romance, despite a new reliance not just on synthesizers, but on a musical framework dependent on them. On Metamatic, Foxx cultivates a curious air of disinterest that never seems truly bored, but is much more extreme than even his unarguably distant vocal style for Ultravox!. It holds up as one of the peaks of the early-’80s fascination with emotionless, Kraftwerk-inspired synth pop.




“But I’d realised that if you used synths the best answer to making the sound is minimalism, and that’s what I was really interested in, and I got really excited listening to dub records that stripped everything down to one sound per moment, and gave it the whole space, which was really revolutionary then, because everything else was kitchen sink production; everything in. The rock world was geared to that big sound, whereas dub was clearing the air out. Everything would have its moment, you had a bass drum filling two speakers with nothing else there, or a bass that would come in behind it, you had this universe of sound shoes that you’d never heard before. Plus you had people like Kraftwerk who were stripping things out, from a different angle. Between those two poles I was really excited by possibilities and was hearing it, on ‘Systems’ I was beginning to be able to do more of that." ー John Foxx (cited from John Foxx: METAMATIC 35 YEARS ON)


Metamatic是一張十分精緻的專輯作品。那筆者在四~五年前初次聆聽此作的時候,便深刻體會到合成器音色的組合與調配,竟能如此細緻地刻劃出一種獨有的音樂之步調、氛圍與架構,甚至可以去「構圖」出一個個想像的情境~ 即一般旋律與歌詞較難呈現的抽像意念。也或許因為這張專輯所帶給我的震撼,曾讓我大大改變了原先對於synth/電子音樂的態度。而且Metamatic不像Gary Numan作品那樣富含輕快的流行歌曲元素,敘述的題材也不是像GN歌曲所打造的一個個精簡的虛幻故事;Metamatic雖然亦是極簡並充滿現代感,但風格上是較為鬼魅冷峻的。


Yeah, I always seem to write about the basic level; a man, a woman and a city. It’s because I am an urban creature most of the time. I think that’s increasingly relevant now because I think most people do live in cities and I think it is very interesting what happens in that environment. We alter ourselves constantly to live in it, to survive in it and that process has very poetic levels. I don’t want to sound pretentious, but it is very moving the way people accommodate each other and the city that they live in, and try to build this environment together. You almost have to dissolve yourself, re-incorporate yourself with the city in order to make it work on any level. All those tiny interactions and the major draws and minor draws that result from all that. I find it endlessly fascinating. I could sit in a cafe all day and some times I do. It’s like being part of a beautiful ocean that is constantly moving. A lot of what I sing about is trying to describe some of that process.
ーJohn Foxx (轉貼來源)


那我是7年級生,小時候聽的synth相關音樂作品若不是布袋戲配樂相關的東西的話(e.g. Herbie Hancock),那頂多也只有Duran Duran、Pet Shop boys、Gary Numan與Human League這些"熱門團體"而已啦。Ultravox與John Foxx我是後來透過閱讀Gary Numan的訪談才認識的,加上之前有一位移民美國的友人說他爸拔買了一台中古的ARP Odysssey給他(是Mark II,全黑的,eBay行情價是台幣10萬左右o_O;最近Korg即將推出的複刻版則是以橘/黑色系的Mark III為主,但也會推出限量版的Mark I & Mark II,詳情請至此查閱),他就說這是Foxx的愛用款,這才引起我的興趣。


老友之前有錄那台合成器的音色,真的超級無法形容的讚,當然跟Moog很不一樣,但還是重到他媽的爽。無奈當時大家都是初學者,所以都還不太會調tone也不太會編曲,就不知道他在搞什麼。那有他的經驗我就知道啦~ 體積笨重、沒有MIDI沒有preset也沒有韌體的合成器…不論網路上的達人們稱讚得多麼口沫橫飛…購買前請三思再三思。


不過ARP 2600我可以,嘿嘿嘿~~~~



Foxx於Synth Britannia之中的訪談,介紹他的模組合成器與ARP Odyssey,以及他當年的創作概念(快轉到 28:35)







World World Something / Click Click Drone! Underpass極簡風格濃厚的影像風格~


Underpass是Metamatic的主打單曲,也是專輯中最具代表性的歌曲。根據維基的介紹,這首歌的特點在於~ “The song typically features music made using synthesisers and electronic percussion only, and the vocal in the verses is delivered in a cold robotic style by Foxx, with an anthemic single word chorus. The lyrics feature Ballardian themes such as memory, architecture, dystopia and cars."


那其實至今筆者還是一直覺得Metamatic雖然精巧,但有點乾;相較之下John Foxx的第二張個作The Garden就愛不釋手了,所收錄的Europe After The Rain與System Of Romance更比Metamatic的Underpass、He’s A Liquid、Metal Beat、Touch and Go等等實驗性強烈的單曲,多了一種難喻的神秘感,以及電子音樂少有的典雅浪漫氣氛。




至於Ultravox的話,在Foxx尚未單飛之前,Ultravox是寫作Ultravox! 那根據我那個老朋友的介紹,他說Ultravox!風格態度方面是很龐克的,連歌詞也跟後期的Ultravox/John Foxx差蠻多的,譬如這首收錄於專輯Ha!-Ha!-Ha!的Fear In The Western World,就很搖滾很龐克很瘋狂,維基的介紹之中還特別提到這首歌的創作靈感:"Other songs included “Fear in the Western World", which was also a punk number, with socially conscious references to contemporary global hot spots including Soweto and Ireland." (from wikipedia),歌詞也很讚哦~


Your picture of yourself is a media myth
Underneath this floor we’re on the edge of a cliff
Someone told me Jesus was the Devil’s lover
While we masturbated on a magazine cover…



而其實我最喜歡的Ultravox專輯是絕美的Vienna(1980)。發行這張專輯時Foxx已離團,主唱改由小鬍男Midge Ure擔任,他以前就跟Visage密切合作過了~ Fade To Grey他也有參與寫曲。除了悠雅的專輯同名曲Vienna以外,筆者愛死了New Europeans與Passing Strangers這兩首曲風強勁的曲子,過癮啦!



We were so young, we were too vain
Dance in the dark, sing in the rain
Time on our hands, hope in our hearts

We were talking, passing strangers
Moments caught across an empty room
Wasted whispers, faded secrets
Quickly passes, time goes, time goes by too soon…



那近期John Foxx還是有固定在發行全新創作專輯。John Foxx and the Maths所發行的InterplayThe Shape of Things以及Evidence都有一定的水準,但與他的經典個作相比,格局上就顯得較為精簡,較為"小品"吧。





不久前在推特上看到最近Foxx與Karborn (是誰啊)合作了一個音樂影像計畫,叫做B-Movie,大玩影音蒙太奇。不過個人覺得音樂的部份,參考價值高過影像的剪輯內容。






foxx22 mmm





首先,這個Electrospective的訪問系列非常值得一看再看。重點提示:80年代合成器的精簡化與普遍化十分關鍵,造成電子音樂的興起~ 因為那時垂死的龐克精神,便依此透過價格與一把電吉他差不多的小型合成器繼續演化下去:是的,龐克後來就進化成(後龐/新浪潮)電子音樂了;他也強調Moog做出了最完美的電子合成器,而Moog唯一的缺點是做得太完美了無法再繼突破下去,Kraftwerk的音樂也是同樣的道理;他強推Tangering Dream的Phaedra (1974)以及Simple Minds的Empires and Dance (1980)…






這個Gary Numan談論自己深受Ultravox/John Foxx的影片,也是蠻有內容的~



另一個十分紮實的音樂創作討論~ 哇那位女音樂家(Gazelle Twin)長得好好看啊!



在4小時模組合成器紀錄片I Dream Of Wire之中(part 2,01:41),John Foxx也提到不少十分關鍵的創作理念。不過此部紀錄片一開始還不錯,但看到中後段就顯得冗長且有點失焦,並且嚴格來說,整體傳達的宗旨,沒其所闡述的那樣豁達。從亞洲人/世界人的觀點來說,內容不免偏重於歐美/白人中年男性的電子音樂創作風氣,加上所介紹的多位模組專家,其作品"類型化傾向"又很重~ 他們可能是組裝與研發的專家,但不一定是出色的電子音樂創作家,因此個人覺得片中某些介紹內容反而弄巧成拙地顯露出電子音樂呆板、形式化、自我沉溺的一面。但是像Chris CarterRichard DevineCarl Craig與Foxx的部份是都蠻有參考價值的。







好吧,就先介紹到這裏了! 來吧北鼻Let’s click click drone~












performed & produced by John Foxx

Recorded:Pathway StudiosLondon, 1979;Release Date:18 January 1980

Label:Virgin;Genre/Style:New waveelectronic

*Synthesizers used on the album include the MinimoogARP Odyssey,  Roland CR-78clavinetpianoFarfisa string synth, and Hammond organ.




Technopolis #2:Industrial People, Industrial Music
Technopolis #3:High-Tech Soul Brothers 
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We make a little history, baby…
Meet The Overloaded Man