Reviews

Rodney Cromwell


Rodney Cromwell
Opus Three Remixes
Happy Robots Records
Release: 120 April 2022

‘Opus Three’, the second single taken from the recently-released ‘Memory Box’ album by London’s Rodney Cromwell gets an enhanced version with a new 5-track maxi-single, released on April 20 via Happy Robots Records.

Rodney Cromwell (the nom de plume Adam Cresswell) was founding member of indie-folktronica band Saloon (who had four entries in John Peel’s Festive 50 & recorded three Peel Sessions) and also one half of acclaimed electronic duo Arthur & Martha,

‘Opus Three’ was conceived as a love-letter to a lost synthesizer – the Moog Opus Three. At its heart, the song is a simple dance number. A full-fat 120bpm beat, layered with a chunky Moog Opus 3 synth line, is overlaid with percussion and the primitive buzzing tones of a 1960’s pocket Stylophone. Inspired by the haunting and surreal novel ‘Ice’ by Anna Kavan, the song is about two lovers on the brink of apocalypse, separated by distance, lost in time, trying to find positivity in a world where there is little. “Don’t let it be, catastrophe” repeats the chorus, trying to conjure optimism from somewhere.

Leading the maxi single is a 12” extended dance mix from ‘Memory Box’ album producer Richard Bennett under his Roman Angelos moniker. The track is extended and pumped up – with the synth bass line pushed to the forefront, the track is as ready for your daily workout as it is ready for the dancefloor.  The extended mix had its radio premiere on BBC Radio 6 Music thanks to Gideon Coe.

The next remix is from Dublin synthpop artist Circuit3, who brings an 80’s spin to the track, inspired by the darker end of the musical spectrum inhabited classic 80’s artists such as Yazoo, Depeche Mode and early Human League.

The final remix is a radical re-imagining of the song by the latest signing to the Happy Robots label, brothers Dan and Jacob Mayfield, a.k.a. Field Glass, who re-shape the track as a glorious ambient number, with wheezing organs, twinkling arpeggios and crystalline synths.

The final track on the single, ‘Perception Management’ is an atmospheric dystopian synth instrumental that might be described as ‘post-truth pop’, sitting sonically somewhere between Pye Corner Audio and early New Order B-sides.

The ‘Memory Box’ LP was mixed and co-produced by Richard Bennett at Acme Hall Studios (New York) and mastered by Pete Maher (U2, Goldfrapp, Paul Weller, Pixies). Released on March 18 to much acclaim. it mixes synthpop, hauntology, dreampop and coldwave. Using analogue synths and drum machines with minimal computer sequencing, the LP conjures an organic, dream-like world, inspired as much by Alice in Wonderland and Franz Kafka as sonic influences such as Kraftwerk, The Cure, Polyrock and Stereolab.

‘Memory Box’, the lead single from the album, premiered in Post-Punk.com and was voted by fans into the Dandelion Radio Official Festive 50.  Both singles have received coverage across the globe including national radio play in Japan, Finland and Spain and multiple spins on BBC 6 Music in the UK

Live, a distinctive and compelling Rodney Cromwell has played shows with acts including Pram, Marsheaux, Death & Vanilla, M!R!M, Rowetta, Steve Davis, A Flock of Seagulls, and also as part of Damo Suzuki of Can’s backing band.

The ‘Memory Box’ LP is out now via Happy Robots Records with distribution by Cargo Records. Available on yellow vinyl, it can also be obtained in stores and digitally from all major platforms, including SpotifyApple Music and Bandcamp.

Rodney Cromwell – Opus Three (Bot 34)

Rodney Cromwell – Opus Three

Rodney Cromwell – Memory Box (Bot29v)

Rodney Cromwell – Dreamland

Rodney Cromwell – Comrades

Rodney Cromwell – Fax Message Breakup

Rodney Cromwell links:
Artist location – London England
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