I SATELLITE Electro Music

retro futurist minimal electronic new wave analog synth electro pop music

 

Bernhard Lloyd - Alphaville

Brilliant!

 

ALTSynth - www.altsynth.com

Cool and sparse but packed with melody. I Satellite leaves the pop world behind but still present well constructed songs. The production work here is also top notch. Rod MacQuarrie is able to use electronics for his music in a way that recalls but does not copy the early 80s. If you have to name bands, just know that his music leans away from Erasure and much more towards Japan or Kraftwerk. iTunes has previews of this wonderful album.

 

A Lad Inane - Amazon.com

I've been an obsessive New Wave fan for many years. If I could, I'd live the rest of my life between the years 1978 and 1982 (as the young adult I am now, of course), but because I can't, this CD will have to do. And boy does AUTO:MATIC do. Although the artist's influences (Kraftwerk, Numan, Foxx, New Order, etc...) clearly come through, the production on the album (while firmly rooted in the analog early 80s) sounds appealingly modern; it's as though Rod MacQuarrie (the one-man band behind the name I SATELLITE) stretched 1982 over the course of 21 years and pretended it never ended.

Although the material on the album is pleasantly varied (the New Order-ish 12:15 Friday Night and the Depeche Mode-infused Robot Parade contrasting nicely with the Magnetic Fields/Human League pop of I Want You), the sinister soundscapes of Automat and Polaroid (the latter echoing the Ambient chime quality of Numan's Music For Chameleons) are where I Satellite truly shines.

Lyrically, AUTO:MATIC covers similar territory as John Foxx's best work (an ambivalent/emotionally detached attitude toward a Ballard-like metropolis both ripe with technology and rife with isolation), but, thankfully, MacQuarrie's approach is unique and, in the opulent-sounding "Bubbleboy," even playful.

AUTO:MATIC will appeal to fans of ethereal-sounding New Wave, Electroclash, and the artists cited above. MacQuarrie may wear his influences on his sleeve, but he's clearly more than the sum of his parts, and he's not a "retro" act. John Foxx, surely one of the most influential, if often overlooked, electronic pop innovators, summed up I Satellite's motivations and appeal (and several other prevailing artists of the Electroclash movement) best with the following: "New architecture containing some appropriated material. Gene splicing to make interesting mutations, better able to negotiate new environments. [...] using [old] elements to build a new music for the present."

 

Meg Erben - Electro Culture Magazine

If you love early Thompson Twins, or can entertain the idea of a male-fronted Freezepop... you MUST check out I SATELLITE! Rod MacQuarrie's soft melodies are pure ear-candy on poppy tracks such as Bubbleboy and 12:15 Friday Night. He seriously channels Thompson Twins (circa 1982) on I Want You... with an added Electroclash type of flare. I SATELLITE breaks down their programming to the bare basics, which completely makes their sound work.

Recommendation: If you like your electro pop sticky sweet... and very retro, you will love I SATELLITE . Fans of early Thompson Twins, Men Without Hats, A Flock of Seagulls, and Freezepop, Auto:matic is a must for your music collection.

 

DJ Martian - djmartian.blogspot.com

ALERT! Sensational new synth-pop artist: I SATELLITE

Track, I Want You - the voice sounds EXACTLY like Gary Numan, and the music sublime icy synths! If Cursor Minor rocked your boat last year, wait till you listen to this! The synths sounds also remind me of Swedish synth pop band Covenant. Track, Automat - another Gary Numan-like performance, wow this is impressive - futuristic vocoder, spacey production, visions of autobahns, yes Kraftwerk creep in, and then it all goes into a spiralling synth vortex like John Foxx.

Utterly stunning, if I were an A&R manager for a large independent label, I would sign I SATELLITE immediately tomorrow! According to Amazon.com this album was released February 20, 2003. Obviously I am not looking in the right places! Also available at CDBaby and more stunning reviews.

 

Gary Flanagan - Nightwaves Magazine #14 - October 2003

I was immediately struck by the analogue puritanism of this disc. It is bright, clean and sets I SATELLITE far apart from the rest of the synthhounds out there. I SATELLITE is the real deal...there are no virtual synths or computers on this album. It is completely comprised of authentic synths and drum machines from the late 70's and early 80's. This guy has keen pop smarts and a great ear for melody, and his pleasant vocals really compliment the unique lyrics. This guy doesn't just follow the crowd. There is a distinct air of intelligence at work here.

This disc has a happy pop sheen, but that's not to say that it is saccharine. "Automat" is so gleefully retro- it oozes new wave cool. This is pure synthpop at its best (and smartest).

 

Alexander Pohle - www.backagain.de

Some time ago, an old friend told me about I SATELLITE from the US of A as a wonderful 80s sounding Electro project in the vein of bands and musicians like Ultravox, John Foxx, Human League, Alphaville and other heroes of my youth. At once I contacted Rod of I SATELLITE and very soon held this album in my hands.

AUTO:MATIC is some kind of 80s-Retro-album, which will be loved by all fans of the "good ol´ times".

The album opens with the instrumental and very rhythmic "Robot Parade", followed by the very poppy "Bubbleboy", which reminds me a bit on Trans X or The Buggles. After listening to this track the first time, the melody never leaves the ears again. This would´ve been a Top 10 hit in the early 80s! Next is "I Want You". Did you ever think, that the musical change of Heaven 17 after their first album "Penthouse & Pavement" was not the best idea? Then, "I Want You" is the perfect track, also with a certain Gary Numan feeling. "Retropolis" is another instrumental piece, which reminds me a bit on early, experimental OMD-album tracks. "12:15 Friday Night" is a great Minimal-Wave song with reminiscences on Erasure on their first two albums, while the album title track "Automat" is my favourite song, sounding like the early Human League. Simply a brilliant masterpiece of today´s Electro music! Then comes the Kraftwerk-like "Polaroid". "Where In The World" is possibly the most "actual" sounding title on "Auto:matic". If you like some Swedish Synthie-Pop bands from the 90s, you know, what I mean. The last instrumental track is "Orlon", very driving, very minimalstic with a lot of sound effects. The album then ends with "Out Of Space", another 90s Minimal-Synth-Wave song.

What can I say about this unbelievable Electro album? It is definetly one of the very best Synthie-Pop albums, I heard in the last years and a "must have" for every 80s Pop fan, who likes any of the above mentioned bands. Forget all the boring Future-Pop acts and get AUTO:MATIC instead. Even if the sound and the song structures are pure 80s, the music does not sound old-fashioned, so the term "Modern-Retro-Pop" describes I SATELLITE perfectly.

 

Danny King - Synthetic Vision Magazine #12

This debut release from this American solo artist was described on the Plastiq Musiq website as being "vintage analogue electro pop with sharp production, sing-a-long melodies and old synthesisers and drum machines a plenty", that clearly sums up the 10 tracks that are on offer here, there is certainly a touch of Gary Numan, John Foxx and Ultravox among others through out the album itself giving that clear early-80s feel to the album.

There are many excellent tracks here including the superb "I Want You" and the stunning 'Automat' with its waves of analogue synths that crash from everywhere, vocoder led vocals on the chorus and that superb finish with its sweeping synths that are pure Ultravox, you can easily picture Billy Currie playing this riff, both tracks feature a darker vocal content in comparison to the other tracks featured here while also excellent and similar in style are the lighter tracks 'Bubbleboy', '12.15 Friday Night' & 'Where In The World' while the album finishes with the mid-paced track 'Out Of Space', its light feel and perky synths add an early Depeche Mode touch to the track itself. There are a number of excellent instrumentals here like the pure Ultravox style of 'Retropolis' with its rigid mid-paced percussion and bass! combined with light, piercing analogue synths or the simple, mid-paced darkness of 'Polaroid' with its synths chimes adding a touch of Gary Numan to the track itself while the especially impressive 'Orion' simply rolls along nicely like a cross between the theme for an 80s Sci-Fi programme and an early-Human League track, its eerie synths along could have easily come from the Doctor Who theme. AUTO:MATIC is another fantastic debut that easily invokes fond memories of those golden years; it's all perfectly reproduced into the work of I SATELLITE on this very impressive album.

RATING 100%

 

Dave Richards - www.lexiconmagazine.com

Debut release from synthesist Rod MacQuarrie. This CD is firmly in the "old skool" category, made mainly (entirely?) with analogue synths. The sound is clean, simple but well done. The songs are catchy, basically stuck in 1981. Hey that ís a good thing as far as I am concerned. Often the vocals recall Gary Numan, but the songs themselves trace back to Numan, Kraftwerk, OMD. Look, if you liked Travelogue and more closely, Soviet, you will dig I SATELLITE. Well worth picking up, although Modeheads will be put off I guess.

Highly recommended.

 

Horst Schneider - Synthpop.de

I SATELLITE represents a throwback to 70's Kraftwerk and very early 80s New Wave music. Rod MacQuarrie...composes minimal, streamlined sound-structures which are supported by calm singing. For example, the songs "I Want You" and "Automat" really reminds the listener of early songs by "Human League" or "Heaven 17". With his selection of synthetics he successfully creates authentic wave-music and his compositions are in keeping with the original feel of the beginnings of SynthPoP. This album sounds old-fashioned and maybe comes 25 years too late, but I think that's exactly what I SATELLITE tried to obtain. It's a well-done homage to a time when electronic music was just starting to blossom - a little piece of SynthPoP nostalgia.

RATING: 3/4

 

Jason Baker - www.synthpop.net

This is the independently released debut album for the band/project I SATELLITE, entitled "Auto:Matic" and featuring some tracks highlighted on a few previous compilations, as well as several all-new songs that see their first release here. I Satellite plays the simple analog synthpop that we remember from the golden days of synth music, full of sweet synth swirls, highly addictive choruses and a slight quirky sensibility in lyricism.

"Bubbleboy" is the track that hooked me on this band, and I suspect that it has hooked several other synth fans, judging from the sales numbers I've seen so far. It, as well as "12:15 Friday Night" and "Where In The World", are the most pop-friendly tracks on the album, and each of those tracks has been featured on a compilation previously. Well deservedly, too, as these are some incredibly catchy tunes, and in my opinion each would do well as a single.

Two of the songs here, "I Want You" and "Automat", are a little different stylistically than the others, reminding me a little of the Gary Numan material I've heard. Somewhat more robotic and rhythm-based than the other tracks, with maybe a slight similarity to some of Gary Flanagan's material.

The album has a number of instrumental tracks, with "Robot Parade", "Retropolis", "Polaroid" and "Orion" all being new instrumental tracks on the album. They range from the bubbly poppiness of "Robot Parade" to the more laid-back groove of "Polaroid", and each of the instrumentals is varied and diverse enough to hold my interest throughout. That's something that is hard to do, with this many instrumentals on the album, but is pulled off quite well here.

All in all, this is a very good debut album. This project shows a lot of promise, and I am really looking forward to the next release. However, the band has said they'll be trying out a whole new recording scheme - I just hope that won't affect their sound too much. I like the musical nitch they've carved out for themselves here, and think it suits the artist well. All that aside, this is a album well worth getting.

Highly recommended! RATING: 4.5/5

 

Rix Roundtree-Harrison - www.electrogarden.com

The CD AUTO:MATIC takes you on an exhilarating automated rocket ride with your cosmic bartender I SATELLITE. Aboard his spacecraft I SATELLITE orbits the earth mixing synthesized cosmic concoctions that are sure to bring you under his solar spell.

Though extremely spacey I SATELLITE's "Auto:Matic" does not leave you lost in space. Far more earth bound than any of Gary Numan's works, I SATELLITE uses Numan's basic building blocks for the creation of cosmic sculptures. But he jettisons Numan's sometimes over the top cosmic drama replacing it with the friendly and approachable trappings of pop music thus creating space music for the masses. With AUTO:MATIC you are presented with the sights and sounds of outer space; it's like having your own personal Hubble telescope that comes with stereophonic sound. From the sounds of wispy slow flowing cosmic dust to the nova-like birth of a new star you are inebriated by eerie yet soaring solar masterpieces that capture the sound of cosmic storms, exploding stars and the roar of robotically piloted plasma propelled rocket ships.

One listen and you wonder if I SATELLITE's interest in space exploration was launched with Sputnik back in 1957 as he is obviously influenced by 50's sci-fi and the Cold War era. Some of the influences you will fine on AUTO:MATIC are Kraftwerk, Gary Numan, Strange Advance, Bill Nelson and a little bit of Robert Gorl, "?" ....look him up.

As AUTO:MATIC orbits the earth your space boy bartender I SATELLITE mixes a series of electronic cocktails, synthetic martinis for the mind. One sip and the listener finds that "Auto:Matic" is a CD that one must sit and listen to. Containing electronics that are futuristic yet quiet, introspective and reflective it is indeed a cerebral piece of work. Dim the lights and sit back enjoy the cosmic journey as robotoids perform their monotonous march through ten synthetic traxz that run the gamut of love, pain, sex and pleasure in the 21st century.

Though introspective and deserving of your full attention AUTO:MATIC does offer up a mind numbing electronic robotic rump shaker in "Where In The World". It's an electronic concoction made up with a jigger of Ladytron, a shot of OMD served up in a frosty electrical goblet provided by Ganymede. It intoxicates you so that you don't realize that you left your seat and are dancing in the middle of the floor.

In "12:15 Friday Night" and "Bubbleboy" you'll find soft and sweet cosmic electricity the like Numan has never delivered. In both songs the electricity is playful, frothy and cuddly and displays I SATELLITE's knowledge of the basic principles of creating catchy electronic pop. So childlike these tunes that you don't realize that though playfully disguised as bubbles and harmless sparks the electronics are imbued with so much energy that you don't realize that you are playing with power. As big electric-blue bubbles float from your speakers and lazy electricity languishes about the room you are caught completely off guard when the electric bubbles begin to pop and overwhelm you and the languishing electronics start to mercilessly and continuously jolt you.

As his electronic angst moans like solar winds through the Milky Way galaxy you close your eyes and you can almost see the fingers of I SATELLITE work the keyboards in "Out of Space". I SATELLITE also delivers some hard electricity in the Adult vein in the science gone mad "Automat".

In "I Want You" synthesizers wail as you sail the solar seas on a Numan-like rocket ride into deep space. On this trip you don't feel alone and alienated as again I SATELLITE takes the best Numan influences and leaves behind Numan's trademark aloofness.

So, just sit back, relax and let this space boy take you on a journey through the cosmos that you will never forget. Space travel with Gary Numan is a lonely sometimes-depressing dramatic symphonic space opera, but space travel with I SATELLITE is just plain fun.

Don't burn it, buy it.

 

Maurizio Pustianaz - www.chaindlk.org

I SATELLITE is a project headed by Rod MacQuarrie. Unfortunately I've got no additional information about the guy and his website is still waiting for the final touch so it can't be helpful either. Anyway, from what I can hear his heros are people like Gary Numan (good his "I Want you" that makes me remember good tunes like "Music For Chameleons") and various classical influences such as Kraftwerk (see for example the instrumental "Retropolis") or sometimes echoes of Howard Jones along all the good 80's electro wave that made my day in those years. His sound is based on analog gear (the various Jupiter and Juno series along with Oberheim synthesizers and Roland old drum machines plus tons of other stuff) with the classical square wave sounds with those cool sweep fading sounds. As general atmosphere AUTO:MATIC sounds like a record produced at the end of the 70's and maybe if better produced the CD would sound a little more powerful but songs like "Automat", "Where In The World", "Out Of Space" and the already mentioned "I Want You" are good in any case without caring about sound production or else.

Listening to this album you'll get that sense of dreamy science fiction mixed with pop that made you love the same heroes that Rod loves, so if it isn't clear enough, this is worth a check. Got it? ;-)

 

www.electronic-body-music.com (<--click for translation)

EBM erlebt momentan die Rückkehr der Clonkrieger, eine "Old School"-Band nach der anderen klettert aus dem Untergrund und erfreut die Electrojünger mit mehr oder weniger guten Repliken alter EBM Helden. Und der Synthie Pop??? Der jetzt auch... aber Synthie Pop ist wohl für I SATELLITE der falsche Begriff, vielmehr handelt es sich um ein Revival der guten alten New Wave und der New Romantic mit einem Touch minimal Electro. AUTO:MATIC erinnert an Erstlingswerke wie "Speak & Spell" von Depeche Mode, an Zeiten als Visage oder die Soft Cell noch die Charts erstürmten und anführten. Aber auch Anleihen an Elektropioniere wie Kraftwerk sind zu vernehmen. Der Mix aus dem ganzen ergibt ein Soundgebilde, das einem die Tränen in die Augen treibt, vor Nostalgie und vor Freude!!! Und das alles auch noch ohne in irgendeiner Form verstaubt zu wirken. Hier sollte sich so manche EBM Revival Kombo mal ein paar Scheiben abschneiden.

Auf einzelne Tracks will und kann ich in diesem Review nicht eingehen, da das gesamte Werk eine Stimmigkeit besitzt, weil alle Lieder für sich gut sind und als Gesamtwerk sowieso. Die CD des amerikanischen Ein-Mann Projektes ist ein Muss für jeden Nostalgiker, für jeden der die 80er erlebt hat und für jeden der die 80er für das beste Jahrzehnt in musikalischer Hinsicht sieht. Auch jeder Depechie der sich die alten Zeiten zurücksehnt ist in den Händen von I SATELLITE bestens aufgehoben. Langsam sollte ich überlegen ob ich nicht doch ein Album des Monats einführe, denn wenn diese geile Scheibe es nicht wird, welche dann.

Volle Punktzahl, keine Diskussion (Full Score. No Discussion). RATING: 5/5

 

www.e-lectric.de (<--click for translation)

Aus den USA flatterte mir kürzlich diese Scheibe mit dem metallisch-grauen Rolltreppen-Cover ins Haus. Presseinfo? Fehlanzeige. Naja, mal reinhören, wird wohl wieder gruselig-säuseliger US-Synthipop mit hunderttausend unnötigen Remixes sein. FALSCH !!! Weit gefehlt. Schon an den ersten beep-blonk-Tönen des instrumentalen Openers "Robot Parade" zeigt sich, daß hier jemand seine Elektro-Lektion gelernt hat. Beim Aufschlagen des Booklets blickt einen ein sympathischer junger Mann hinter einem Keyboard an: Rod Macquarrie heißt der Herr über einen respekterheischend großen Maschinenpark. An einer Heerschar von Moog, Arp, Oberheim, Jupiter, Juno, Korg und wie sie alle heißen, kreiert Mister I SATELLITE seine Tracks. Und wo seine Vorbilder liegen, läßt sich beim Hören von "Auto:Matic" leicht feststellen. Neben den üblichen Verdächtigen, sprich Kraftwerk und Human League, dürfte der Gute vor zwei Jahrzehnten eine Überdosis OMD erwischt haben, insbesondere die leicht gezuckerte "Souvenir"-Variante von 1981/82. Ach ja, und Gary Numan: dem Meister der weißen Schminke scheint "I Want You" gewidmet zu sein - authentischer geht's kaum. Zehn Tracks lang entführt uns I Satellite in die Welt des Synthipop der alten Schule - selbst das Coverartwork im retro-futuristischen Stil paßt hier bestens. Lupenreine Synthetiksounds gepaart mit harmonischen Melodieläufen und einer angenehmen Stimme - einige mögen es als kitschig bezeichnen, ich hatte aber jede Menge Spaß mit dieser perfekt gemachten Old School-Scheibe.

 

E:Volution Music Page (<--click for translation)

Das Photo einer Rolltreppe. Grau-schwarz. "Auto:matic". Ja, automatisch läuft sie, so eine Rolltreppe, gemächlich und millionenfach bewährt. Irgendwie passt das Cover zu dieser CD, denn das was das Ein-Mann-Projekt I SATELLITE aus den USA da auf CD veröffentlicht hat, ist eben alles andere als bunt, schnell und modern. Der Focus liegt hier ganz klar auf einer Zeit, die zwangsläufig mit dem Jahr 1989 endete: Den 80iger Jahren.

Jetzt, 14 Jahre später, wirkt dieses Werk daher wie eine Zeitreise in die Vergangenheit. Eine Zeitreise, die mir wieder einmal vor Augen führt, was für ein tolles Jahrzehnt die 80iger Jahre doch für die elektronische Pop-Musik waren. "Auto:matic" lässt diese Zeit noch einmal eindrucksvoll mit tollen Melodien und einer angenehm-soften Gesangsstimme zurückkehren.

Stilmäßig schwebt der I SATELLITE dabei irgendwo in der New Wave- / Synthie-Pop- / Minimal-Electro- Galaxie der 80iger, seine Signale (Sounds) sendet er offenbar überwiegend analog. Und trotzdem kann er es noch locker mit all seinen "neueren Kollegen" aufnehmen. Also: Echt empfehlenswert, diese CD!

 

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