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Digital Subscriptions > Classic Pop > Jun-18 > Metamatic for the people

Metamatic for the people

JOHN FOXX’S SEMINAL DEBUT SOLO ALBUM METAMATIC, SOUNDS AS SCARILY RELEVANT TODAY AS IT DID BACK IN 1980. CLASSIC POP SITS DOWN WITH ITS CREATOR TO TALK ABOUT HIS MASTERPIECE, WHALE SONG AND, MOST OF ALL, THE MAGIC OF PURE SYNTH SIMPLICITY…

JOHN FOXX

In 1980, following his departure from Ultravox, John Foxx released one of the first synth masterpieces, Metamatic, which is being reissued as a 3CD set

“Anyway, sorry, I digress – I usually do,” John Foxx says at several points during our interview, but it’s always a fascinating trip down whichever rabbit hole this particular fox decides to travel. We end up talking about whales in oceans and their connection to us singing in caves.

But Foxx is here to talk about Metamatic, a recording that some might argue was the first solo synth-pop album ever made. It was certainly Foxx’s first solo offering, released at the dawn of 1980 after he had left the first incarnation of Ultravox, a band he’d created some four years and three albums earlier.

Let’s not forget, 1980 was a year in which there was an ‘everything goes’ attitude in our pop world… a world where The Nolans sat alongside David Bowie, The Boomtown Rats nestled neatly next to Prince, where even the theme tune to Blue Peter could enter the chart. Yet the fact that Underpass, the first single from Metamatic, became a hit, too, still seems extraordinary, at least on the face of it. Looking back more closely at that time, perhaps it does make sense – Underpass was so cold and dystopian that only a 1980’s Cold War concrete backdrop could have been its home. And cycling around, as history inevitably does, Underpass and Metamatic sound as extraordinary and prescient today as they did back then.

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