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Digital Subscriptions > Classic Pop > Jul-18 > YOU’VE GOT MAIL

YOU’VE GOT MAIL

AWAY FROM HIS BLANCMANGE DAY JOB, NEIL ARTHUR HAS TEAMED UP WITH JEZ BERNHOLZ TO FORM NEAR FUTURE, A MUSICAL COLLABORATION ALL DONE VIA EMAIL THAT HAS SPAWNED AN ALBUM OF EPIC SYNTH AMBIENCE, SPOKEN WORD MENACE AND THE SOUND OF SIZZLING CARROTS… YES, REALLY! JOIN CLASSIC POP AS WE STEP INTO THE DUO’S MESMERISING WORLD

Blancmange frontman Neil Arthur is enjoying probably the most prolific phase of his musical life. Not only has he successfully rebooted Blancmange, releasing several acclaimed albums in recent years, including Blanc Burn and Semi Detached, he’s also discovered the joy of collaborating, and he can’t seem to get enough of it. Last year we saw the first release from Fader, his joint venture with producer Benge, and this year an album with Jez Bernholz as Near Future.

Jez is a Brighton-based solo artist who has released material under the name Bernholz but he also plays live with the critically-acclaimed Gazelle Twin, a project fronted by his wife Elizabeth.

Blancmange main man Neil Arthur and Brighton-based musician Jez Bernholz have combined their skills on Ideal Home, the debut album by Near Future

The new album from Near Future, Ideal Home, is as mesmerising as it is varied. Material ranges from the delicate Come And Play, to the electro sparseness of the title track, while the spoken word Dawn is both captivating and terrifying in equal measure. The closing song, Bulk Erase, is a swirling electronic crescendo of a track, the perfect album finale.

What makes the project even more extraordinary is that Neil and Jez did the whole thing by email, a kind of WeTransfer collaboration, if you like. They didn’t meet and could do whatever they liked with one another’s musical efforts. There were no rules to guide or constrain them. In fact, the pair only met at the project’s inception after a typically outlandish Gazelle Twin performance and, if you haven’t seen Elizabeth Bernholz live as Gazelle Twin, Jez makes a compelling case as to why you should. “In terms of what to expect at a show, people are really in for a treat”, he says. “It’s a really exciting project to be involved with. Elizabeth is a phenomenal performer and thinker. She is the centre but the show continually changes. It’s always been intense but the presentation is always evolving. The really early performances were ethereal while the Unflesh Tour that we did was intense, minimal and quite confrontational. The most recent Kingdom Come shows are almost performance art, although still very aggressive and powerful.”

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About Classic Pop

In the new issue of Classic Pop magazine we catch up with Johnny Marr to hear about the former Smiths and Electronic star’s superb new solo album Call The Comet. Tom Bailey tells us why he's returning to pop with a new album after years exploring dub and world music – remarkably it’s the former Thompson Twin frontman’s first solo LP. Also making a much-anticipated comeback is Swing Out Sister – Classic Pop talks to 80s icon Corinne Drewery and other half Andy Connell as they break what is effectively a decade of studio silence with Almost Persuaded. Elsewhere, we tell the story of the legendary Factory Records label and serve up a buyer’s guide to the work of Blondie and Debbie Harry. The ever-industrious Neil Arthur tells us about his new project Near Future and gives us details of a new Blancmange album plus we also catch up with Jaki Graham for the inside story on her diverse new album When A Woman Loves. New albums from Tom Bailey, Erasure, Years & Years and Let’s Eat Grandma get the once-over alongside reissues by David Bowie, The Cure, Public Image Limited and George Michael. We also jostle our way to the front to review live shows including Beck, Echo & The Bunnymen and Blossoms. Enjoy the issue!

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