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Eric Random is a British pioneer of post punk electronica. Born in 1961 Eric soon joined the Buzzcocks’ road crew. At the age of 17 he became a third of a group called The Tiller Boys, the other two being Pete Shelley and Francis Cookson. They played their live debut in 1978, supporting Joy Division at Manchester’s Factory club. For Pete Shelley The Buzzcocks were his main concern, so The Tiller Boys soon fell apart. Eric founded Free Agents with Cookson and soon met Richard Kirk and Stephen Mallinder of Cabaret Voltaire. Thus, he got involved in the Sheffield scene as much as the Manchester one. Despite the two cities being only an hour’s drive apart, their respective music scenes were very different. Manchester was the number one spot for postpunk with band like Joy Division/New Order, The Smiths, James, Magazine or A Certain Ratio. Sheffield went a very different way. It is birthplace for groups like The Cabs, The Human League, Clock DVA, ABC or Heaven 17, all influential European acts of electronic music. Eric Random felt home in both scenes. His first solo efforts were recorded and produced at Cabaret Voltaire’s Western Works studio. A change in sound became obvious. Eric later merged his electro funk with ethnic influences. Playing with people like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan sparked an interest in sufi music. He travelled extensively, regularly to India where he once even spent eleven months in a row. Random also fronted Nico’s band until her untimely death in 1988. They recorded and album together, Camera Obscura, produced by John Cale. Random then went on a long hiatus. In 2014 he made his comeback - since then two purely electronic albums have been released, the third now being Two Faced. On this new long player, Eric goes further into an electronic dance direction, leaving his ethnic influences further behind. Think Wrangler, think Kraftwerk and you get the idea. Maybe Eric Random's best album yet. Track list: 1. Future Tense 2. Infectious 3. Two Faced 4. Toxin 5. Your Turn To Learn 6.Corrosion 7. Drive By 8. Gimmick Sick 9. Penny Arcade 10. Zenti Baby 11. The Yen Comes On 12. Wide Eyed 13. Man Made Man. Price: € 17,-/copy incl. worldwide shipping.

Jego nowe płyty zawierają zdecydowanie bardziej melodyjną i taneczną muzykę. Nie inaczej jest na tej najnowszej – Two Faced. Zestaw otwierają reminiscencje synth-popu z lat 80, łączące w stylowy sposób mroczne i surowe klawisze z przetworzonymi wokalami, niczym wczesne dokonania Blancmange czy Vice Versa (Future Tense, Your Turn To Learn). Potem rytm nabiera większej mocy, a akordy stają się bardziej zbasowane – i rozbrzmiewa dynamiczna wersja EBM (Toxin). O flircie Randoma z arabską egzotyką pod koniec lat 80. przypomina w dyskretny sposób utwór tytułowy. Druga część zestawu odwołuje się wyraźnie do dokonań Cabaret Voltaire, z którym manchesterski artysta współpracował już dawno temu. Corrosion i Drive By przypominają dokonania sheffieldzkiego duetu z początku lat 90., kiedy tworzył mocno podrasowaną funkiem własną wersję house’u i techno. The Yen Comes On to z kolei ukłon w stronę nagrań Richarda H. Kirka pod szyldem Sandoz – łączących acidowe melodie z transowym rytmem. Taneczną energię tonują dwie urokliwe kompozycje lokujące się w pobliżu klasyki niemieckiej kosmische musik – Gimmick Sick i Penny Arcade.
(Nowa Muzyka, January 2018)