Song Of The Day 6/16/2015: Silicon Teens – “Sun Flight”

Synthesizers That Are Dead Inside: I can’t do a theme week on the automatization of human responsiveness through electronics without bringing up The Normal’s “Warm Leatherette,” kind of the Magna Carte for this whole deal. It was the brainchild of Mute Records founder Daniel Miller, who in turn was inspired by J.G. Ballard’s Crash, a novel about the sexual fetishization of automobile accidents. Miller is as looming a figure in the electronic music industry as you can get, responsible for the discoveries and/or signings of bands like Depeche Mode, Moby, Yazoo, and one of the bands who very easily could have been featured this week, Throbbing Gristle. “Warm Leatherette” is an evocative roll-up of cheap beats and bargain-bin electronics, made all the more better by the vocalist’s thudding pretension. It’s exactly the kind of love story I was shooting for this week.

Silicon Teens was Miller’s subsequent recording project, a virtual band in the fashion of the Archies and an early reference point for Gorillaz. They were supposedly comprised of four enthusiastic kids named Darryl, Jacki, Paul, and Diane, who recorded mechanized updates of previously sunny, perky tunes from the ’50s and ‘60s, such as “Judy In Disguise,” “Doo Wah Diddy” and “Memphis.” On that last one everybody in the video appears to be having a reasonably good time, but they’re all actors – Miller was responsible for 100% of the Silicon Teens’ sound, and he doesn’t appear in any of the videos. I slightly regret having these “kids” appear during a week in which passivity and/or metaphorical death is on the menu, because their music’s a lot more fun than distancing. I’m sliding through that mandate on the premise that Silicon Teens were, if we’re going to get technical, not real. So they couldn’t have been alive in the first place. “Sun Flight” is an original composition which sounds completely achievable in our time, like peace.

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