No. is the tenth Soft Riot album by Glasgow-based Canadian synth auteur Jack Duckworth (also known as JJD). With origins from the mid-nineties in the vibrant art-punk/hardcore dominating the West Coast American/Canadian underground at the time, he has clocked in over twenty five years of musical output in various bands and projects, including first-wave post-punk revivalists Radio Berlin (1998-2005) and industrial synth-punk collective A Luna Red (Gold Standard Labs, 1999-2003).
No. is the logical follow-up to When Push Comes To Shove, released in November 2019 on the Glasgow UK-based label Possession Records, which saw some critical acclaim in the increasingly diverse synthwave scene — a crystallization of the artist’s signature “SynthLord” sound.
With No. things have been shaken up and pushed into new directions. Many different factors came into play, including the conditions of the pandemic lockdowns and an urge for listening to music favourites from beyond his own scene informed developments on this new record. One key feature of these tracks is that under these conditions they were developed as individual pieces — a constrasting approach from previous albums where tracks were written with an album in mind. An evaluation of all of these individual tracks in the summer of 2022 unveiled a common pattern going through these new compositions.
One can still hear any number of echoes of the spirits of original synth artists in his sound, such as Images in Vogue, The Box, Section 25, Thomas Dolby, Skinny Puppy, Chrome, Cabaret Voltaire, Fad Gadget, Japan and Bill Nelson. However, some of Jack’s halcyon punk influences surface as well, taking inspiration from legendary punk/hardcore labels such as Dischord and Gravity, as listening habits over pandemic steered back towards more guitar-based styles. The introduction of expanded production techniques, experiments with vocal styles and tones, and stylistic shifts mark a progression of Soft Riot’s sound. The result is a snarkier, urgent and more playful, with a focus on pure synthpop, new wave, art-punk, proto-EBM as well as grittier synth-punk and post-punk tones.
The variation, energy and tone of this collection of tracks illustrates Soft Riot’s ability to transcend the hallmarks of today’s music environment, which increasingly is fragmenting into smaller and smaller micro-genres. Dry wit and dark humour take the lyrics and the tone of this album on a fun ride through music scenes, dark alleys and inside jokes.
When playing live Jack mans no less than three synthesizers, a microphone, an on-stage mixer, and a variety of outboard effects with a large output of sweat, movement and energy. Soft Riot has toured Europe numerous times over the years, from Spain to Russia and many places in between, and a majority of cities in the UK. Stages have been shared with such peers as Absolute Body Control, Parade Ground, She Past Away, Selofan, Ausgang, Linea Aspera, Drab Majesty, Uncanny Valley, Lebanon Hanover, Qual, Noi Kabát, Robert Görl of Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft and more.
No. is released as a partnership between Possession Records and Wave Tension Records (EU).
A couple of extended singles are to be available for this album, including the recently released A Spade Is Played Again extended single, featuring alternate versions of the track, remixes and an un-released album track.
The first 40 sales of the vinyl LP through BandCamp will also include a limited-edition printed “zine” with writings and other visual content related to the record.
PLEASE NOTE: All orders shipped within the EU will be sent with registered/tracked shipping. The UK and elsewhere will be shipped regular standard/economy shipping. EU orders are shipped in bulk every 3-4 weeks and UK/elsewhere within 14 days (often earlier).
Written and recorded between Summer 2020 and Summer 2022 at Studio Carillon, Glasgow UK. All tracks written, recorded and produced by JJD. Artwork and photography by JJD. Intro sample to “When It Comes On Strong” recorded in Bellahouston Park, Glasgow UK. Mastered by Josh Stevenson at Otic Mastering in winter 2022/2023. Artwork and design by JJD as JJD Works.