After decades of listening to New Musik, there's obviously a craving for more. This page highlights musik by other artists which is overtly, and sometimes not so overtly, influenced by New Musik and hence should be enjoyed by NM fans.
First (and foremost), I present New Musik's 4th album. Of course it isn't New Musik's 4th album, but it has all the hallmarks of such. I'm talking about 'Remembering the Future' by Nasa. This album is quite simply sensational. It is infused with the spirit and energy of New Musik. Basically it is essential for any New Musik fan. A couple of CD singles were released from the album, 'Back to Square One' and 'Nexterday'.
Next up, Yukihiro Takahashi. He's the drummer from Yellow Magic Orchestra. Tony provides vocals on a clutch of fine tracks, spread across Takahashi's extensive catalogue. The tracks most worth seeking out are:
'Disposable Love' (from the 'What Me Worry?' album) - great track, great melody, Tony sings several sections, and plays keyboards in classic NM style. It's so great, that it's easy to ignore it's infact two blokes singing a love duet. ;-)
'Memory Without Consequence' (from the 'Pulse : Pulse' album) - blissed out brilliance. Tony again sings, in fact I think this is the last track Tony ever sang on (to date!). An atmospheric gem. Oh, it's another love duet. ;-)
'Drip Dry Eyes' and 'Connection' (from 'Neuromantic') - Tony sings on the latter, but it's the former I actually prefer with some classic New Musik synth melodies played by Tony himself.
OK, we move onto Captain Sensible who Tony worked with soon after New Musik folded. Much of the Cap's work doesn't really do it for me, though I know other NM fans do rate it highly and feel much of it is essential. I would agree that 'Glad It's All Over' is completely essential, because it's basically a New Musik track (written, produced, and played by Tony) sung by the Captain.
Next we have Search Party and 'Urban Foxes'. First time I heard this I thought it was Tony singing. Apparently he only produced this track. Of all his production works (of which there are hundreds) this is the one to have. It sounds so close to a New Musik track. There are both 7" and 12" versions. The B side 'More' is also worth hearing.
On to Naked Eyes who were also produced by Tony. Though not as overtly influenced as some of the others mentioned here, they are many great tracks available from this band, most notably 'Promises Promises' and 'No Flowers Please'. The former has Tony's 'Chik Musik' guitar riff, and the latter is basically a great track!
Fans of the track 'Twelfth House' may want to seek out the Steve Kent version. It's available in both 7" and 12" guises and, though not as good as the New Musik version, is worth a listen. There's also a version by Delegation, a far cry from the NM version but again worth seeking out.
It is totally remiss of course to not mention the Planet Ha Ha single until now. 'Home' was released as a single (with an instrumental version on the B side) soon after New Musik folded. It was planned as Tony's "next project" but never got past this first single.
Tony's work with A-ha on their first album is well documented. What is less well known is that Tony's versions of 'Take On Me' were very different to the one that appeared on the albums. Tony Mansfield 7" and 12" mixes do exist and are worth seeking out. There is a Youtube link, if it is still actve, on the View Musik page.
Finally, a couple of recommendations with no direct link to Tony, other than them having a New Musik vibe about them and them being totally brilliant. Firstly, Camouflage. The track is 'Blink' from the album 'Sensor'. Sublime. (Also note that Camouflage did a cover of 'On Islands' on their second album). Finally, Ulrich Schnauss. If Tony were to make an instrumental album, it probably would sound something like one of Ulrich's. In particular, the track 'Blumenthal' from the album 'A Strangely Isolated Place'. Special thanks to Jonas for pointing me in the direction of these last two!
Graham G, March 2008.
For me, one of the finest pop singles from recent times is 'We Are The People' by Empire of the Sun. The name has a hint of NM about it, and musically there is a distinct NM vibe going on with the strummed guitar and metronomic drums. But the main feature of this track is the infectious brilliance. There are dozens of remixes out there too, the Says Simon Remix is particularly noteworthy with searing synthesizer work. The album Walking On A Dream has its moments but for me nothing approaches the brilliance of this track.
The Postal Service have long been a topic of conversation on NM chatlists. Tony Mansfield himself is said to have been a fan of their 2003 album Give Up. I've had this album for quite some time but must admit have never really taken to it as others have, nor think it particularly NM-like. However, I seem to be in a very small minority and pervasive opinion seems to be this is a must-have for NM fans so it is worth checking out if you haven't already done so.
The Postal Service lead on nicely to Owl City who crashed into the global music psychi in 2009/2010. Many have commented on the similarity to The Postal Service, especially the vocal approach and general sound. However, Owl City for me is a less moody, more commercial, take on The Postal Service sound and I'd hazard a guess Tony Mansfield is a big fan - not least because the production quality is absolutely top drawer. Either way, notable tracks such as 'Fireflies', 'Cave In' (which is very like Nasa in Remembering the Future mode) and 'Vanilla Twilight' are more than enough to warrant serious investigation of Owl City's Ocean Eyes album.
Sometimes just one aspect of the NM sound can attract you to a band or album. In the case of Cicada and their 2009 album Roulette, the metronomic Towner-like beat on 'Tiad' is more than enough to warrant exploration of this track and indeed the rest of the album. What you'll find is another quality selection of commercial electronic sounds which will appeal to many NM fans. And if you are into instrumental Electronic Music the bonus track 'Friends' is definitely worth picking up.
Similarly, the "Towner beat" appears regularly on Planet Funk's 2005 album Illogical Consequence, notable on tracks such as 'Come Alive' which is a fantastic slab of contemporary pop. Here is another classic example of pushing the door ajar and finding a clutch of truly great tracks, with infection high on the agenda. Check out tracks 'Everyday', 'Stop Me', 'Trapped Upon The Ground', 'Laces' and the epic 'Ultraviolet Days'. A truly great album.
I'll end this chapter with a trio of female artists who have been on regular rotation - not particularly because of their NM vibe, but because they are (for me) music of notable infectious quality.
Imogen Heap's Speak For Yourself is an album I've enjoyed since its original release in 2005. There's not a bad track on this album, with personal highlights 'Have You Got It In You' and 'Closing In'. Her work with Frou Frou on the 2002 album Details is equally note-worthy, but her 2010 album Ellipse is disappointing in the context of her previous work IMHO. Happily, the female synth-pop baton has been very skilfully grasped by Ellie Goulding on the marvellous 2010 album Lights. Again, a masterful and infectious album with a fresh edge and it's definitely worth picking up, the stand-out track among many for me being 'Wish I Stayed'.
Finally I'd like to mention another album which has been enjoyed countless times over the past few years, again for its infectious qualities. Sheryl McMillan, under her artist-name Astromill, produced the magnificent album Method To My Madness in 2006. If top quality synth-pop is your bag, check this album out. Stand-out tracks are 'All The Same', 'Ctrl-Alt-Delete', 'All Been Done Before' and the title track. A truly excellent album.
I'd like to thank Tim for putting me onto Planet Funk and Cicada, and remain enthusiastic to receive suggestions from anyone about albums/tracks which have that infectious "NM Vibe".
Graham G, April 2010