SOFT RIOT

Albums

The Outsider In The Mirrors

04 January 2018

Possession Records proudly present the new album by Soft Riot, entitled The Outsider In The Mirrors.

Soft Riot is the stylised musical alter-ego of JJD, Canadian by birth and an ex-resident of London and Sheffield, now based in Glasgow (so not unfamiliar with sites of post-industrial decay!). With over twenty years of playing in various post-punk and synth-punk bands, he has been crafting the sound of Soft Riot since the early turn of the decade, releasing a slew of albums across a multitude of labels and touring obsessively around Europe and beyond.

With The Outsider In The Mirrors, his sixth full-length, he has found a new home for his sound on Possession Records, a fledgling Glasgow imprint founded by JJD, Claudia Nova (aka Hausfrau) and Andy Brown (Ubre Blanca). Their aim is to bring together their pool of musical talents and provide a more permanent home for their future creative endeavours, whether it be music, video or otherwise and to experiment with what it is to be a “label” in the ever evolving 21st century. Future projects and releases will see them getting a select group of their peers and friends involved in Possession’s focused vision, locally or from further afield.

The Outsider In The Mirrors is a consolidation of all the stylistic elements Soft Riot has pursued in the past; the manic propulsive energy of “Waiting For Something Terrible To Happen”, the infectious, off-kilter dynamics of opener “The Eyes On The Walls” and the pulsing, elegiac synth washes of “The Saddest Music In The World”. Throughout the album Soft Riot fuses his maximalist sonic palette with a sharp-edged sense of post-punk anxiety, unique synth interplay and brooding, claustrophobic new-wave dread. Comparisons to musical kindred spirits like John Foxx, DAF, early Depeche Mode, Fad Gadget and Virgin-era Cabaret Voltaire would be analogous, but JJD is defiantly fusing these basic references into something highly idiosyncratic and personal.

The music on The Outsider In The Mirrors is evocative of an kind of nostalgic futurism, of a refusal to give up on a desire for the future (dystopic or otherwise) and the unpredictable nature of the urban situation. The music is tense, synthetic and precise, embodying and exploring issues of isolation, urban alienation and social paranoia. Yet despite these dark thematic preoccupations the Soft Riot sound is not without its warmth and humour. Wry and self aware without irony, the songs are hook laden, infuriatingly catchy and designed for dancing as much for static listening. It is a peculiarly Soft Riot take on the electro pop sound that will engross and captivate any adventurous listener.

To purchase this album visit the Possession Records store or the Soft Riot store. You can also find this record with Possession’s current list of distributors.

“The Outsider In The Mirrors” Promotional Film

This album compilation contains twelve compositions released between 2012 and 2015. These tracks are redone versions of songs composed by other artists, friends and musicians. Many of these tracks retain most of the original structure, phrasing and chord progressions of the original composition but with all or most of the original instrumentation re-recorded and re-produced by Soft Riot. The vocal tracks by the original artists remain close the original over top of these new compositions, referred to as versions.

Further notes on the original track, artist and how/when the tracks were released can be found by looking at the information on each individual track.

You Never Know What Might Come Next is the latest album by Soft Riot, further honing an atmospheric synth pop sound that was starting to be explored on the sophomore album, Fiction Prediction and after a brief detour on the third album of more instrumental soundscapes Some More Terror.

Soft Riot is a time gap, discreetly passing between the two worlds – one being the new age and the other a futuristic landscape, at the same time augmented by dystopian and utopian extremes – “zwischen die Elementen” – the world of today, a teaser with the scent of nostalgia, patiently exposing themselves in all of their synthetic beauty and the beast.

The very title – “You Never Know What Might Come Next” is as threatening a warning, as it is a hint of a pleasant surprise; it raises questions, it makes you wonder, thus it’s succeeded in its mission to make you, the listener, a great part of it – helping signalling over its transmissions. Go as far as you can go!

Soft Riot is the ultimate reflection of what happens next in the (real) world of countless blade runners – while crossing over into a “darker” chapter of “Electric Dreams”, with Edgar exhausting his consumer-friendly hit radio-play for the effective reality check.

Artificial intelligence realising the possible truth; “Orpheus IV” disappointed with the prospects of human “development”. The computer itself not promising too much and not taking away what’s already in question, but reconstructing the subject matters into particles, mutating them into pixels of a brighter tomorrow morning shine. It’s stormy cold but at the same time, an honest, warm – fantastic story told. And yes, it’s better than the real thing!

SYNOPSIS WRITTEN BY IVAN ANTUNOVIC


Soft Riot | You Never Know What Might Come Next | Limited CD Cover

Limited Edition CD cover

LIMITED EDITION CD

This version of the album “You Never Know What Might Come Next” comes with four extra tracks that won’t be available on the standard digital and vinyl LP editions of the album to come out in May/June 2015. The cover of this version slightly different (colourised) than the standard edition LP (in black and silver ink) as well as the digital. This version comes with the following:

  • 2 extra tracks in addition to the 8 on the standard edition. These extra tracks are from the recording/mixing sessions.
  • A third track: a version of “You Never Know What Might Come Next” done with a live rhythm section of JJD on bass guitar and Joshua Wells (Black Mountain, Sur Une Plage) on drums and extra synths. Recorded in mixed in JJD’s hometown of Vancouver BC.
  • A fourth extra track, a cover of “We Are The Chopped” by Nomeansno. The original is from their 1982 album Mama.
  • 12 page booklet with lyrics, information and sketches.
  • Environmentally friendly “Digifile” packaging (no plastic)
  • A card that contains (a) a code that gives you 30% of any future purchases in the Soft Riot store (no time limit) and (b) a download code for stem audio files for the title track, “You Never Know What Might Come Next” for possible remix variations on the track.

Only available through the Soft Riot store or at live performances.
* these tracks are only the limited CD version.

Some More Terror

24 July 2014

Some More Terror is a Soft Riot recording consisting of 11 tracks of instrumental, ambient-influenced synth sounds. It provides a slight detour from the more song-based, psychedelic synth-pop trajectory established with the previous album, Fiction Prediction, and where that synth-pop sound will go on that album’s proper follow-up to come called You Never Know What Might Come Next.

All of the pieces on Some More Terror are mainly improvisations, or based on one-session jams with a small amount of overdubs. They were usually done late at night and in the dead of winter, in between sessions recording tracks for You Never Know What Might Come Next.

Some More Terror locks onto the atmospheric element of Soft Riot’s recorded material to date and isolates it in a new environment, freeing it from the structure and formalities of the world of punk rock and pop music. It offers an audio landscape that augments a feeling of unease and reflection in the chaotic world of late-period modern capitalism and the wheels of progress. The flow of the album rides a slow sine wave, with moments of anxious dread to warm, expansive slabs of calm and harmony.

To some degree it’s an album of political commentary, but one without lyrics and familiar audio cues, allowing the listener to fill the gaps with their own speculation. And where the music is more ambiguous, a more upfront approach is emphasised in the track titling and artwork of the album; perhaps a conscious effort to challenge the idea that ambient or soundtrack-oriented music is passive or locked in the trappings of “new age”. It could be considered Soft Riot’s own private and current version of “punk rock” for these reasons, as well as for that it was written from a place deep within. There’s a lot of strange and harrowing events going on out there in the world these days, but also moments of peace and beauty.

Listeners may find some parallels with classic synth artists such as Tangerine Dream or Cluster, or perhaps the classic era of early/mid 90s Kranky Records (Labradford, Stars Of The Lid), or even at times the micropolyphonal sounds of György Ligeti. As one publication has put the music of Soft Riot:

“The music tells stories like the great “irritation” sci-fi cinema of the 70s and 80s. Solaris pop. New Age Wave. The Canadian Jean Michel Jarre of the London underground.”


Fiction Prediction

25 June 2013

Soft Riot is Jack Duckworth, a former Vancouverite now living in London who traces his musical beginnings to the vibrant underground art-punk/hardcore scene emergent across the Canadian and American west coasts in the mid-90s. Duckworth was among the fixtures in that community’s northern outpost before helping to consolidate the early outpourings of a larger pre-“synth/new-wave” revival with his band Radio Berlin alongside others like Black Mountain, Wolf Parade, Frog Eyes, etc, though his output has shifted at least a few degrees from that older sound. His move to London is at the heart of his ongoing personal maintenance; the new atmosphere and cultural dynamic giving fuel to Soft Riot, previously just a concept.

Fiction Prediction collects Duckworth’s latest material, recorded after the songs that populated his previous album/EP, No Longer Stranger (originally released on Panospria, the EP was expanded and released as an LP by Volar Records). A heavy dose of throbbing arpeggiated synths coupled with Duckworth’s ongoing romp through the annals of sci-fi film history keeps the album well grounded, minimal synths describing the parameters of his psychedelic soundscapes. Coming from a punk rock pedigree Duckworth brings an unusual focus on lyrical content to his music. In evocative detail, Duckworth builds images through song as he explores a range of disparate themes; modern living and overpopulation, technology and enlightenment, state surveillance and prognostication. These influences come less from other artists, and more from written fiction and cinema — a future predicted by fiction!