Not a track from the new OMD album ‘English Electric’ but an indication of where it’s heading. This is ‘Electric Ikebana’, a collaboration between Paul Humphreys and ‘Generation X’ author Douglas Coupland which Mr Humphreys first told TEC about back in 2010. An audio/visual installation to act as the voice of the network, it was a commission for Alcatel-Lucent as part of their online 2011 Annual Review. The beautiful piece has Humphreys’ musical stamp and conceptual hints of KRAFTWERK’s ‘The Voice Of Energy’ but with a far less Teutonic style. There’s even a charming mathematical formula recital “x = [-b +- √(b² -4ac)] / 2a” by Humphreys to the tune of the nursery rhyme ‘Pop Goes The Weasel’ which recalls ‘ABC Auto-Industry’ from ‘Dazzle Ships’’…
The global communications company said: “we have asked Douglas Coupland, writer and artist, together with the musician Paul Humphreys, to bring the data that represents network usage to life through an audio visual installation. Together they have responded by creating ‘Electric Ikebana’, an artwork that captures the spirit of innovation that lies at the heart of our company”.
It all bodes well for the new OMD album ‘English Electric’ which is a true musical collaboration between its founder members Paul Humphreys and Andy McCluskey. Humphreys said to TEC in Summer 2012: “Andy and I are really excited by ‘English Electric’. We’ve really gone to another level from ‘History Of Modern’ which was too much remote work. We realised we don’t work very well passing files back to each other; we work best when we sit in a room together….What we’d do is flesh out the ideas together and then we’d both take parts back to work on separately. But the spark of this record is us sitting together in a room. We really had a mantra for this album which was “What does the future sound like?”…we’re pushing boundaries”.
OMD’s 2013 ‘English Electric’ UK Tour featuring special guests JOHN FOXX & THE MATHS includes:
Margate Winter Gardens (28th April), Birmingham Symphony Hall (29th April), Nottingham Royal Centre (1st May), Ipswich Regent Theatre (2nd May), London Roundhouse (3rd May), Bristol Colston Hall (5th May), Oxford New Theatre (6th May), Sheffield City Hall (8th May), Leeds Academy (9th May), Manchester Academy (10th May), Glasgow Royal Concert Hall (12th May), Gateshead Sage (13th May), Liverpool Empire (14th May)
European and North American dates have also been announced, please visit www.omd.uk.com for details
Text by Chi Ming Lai
Illustration by Supersonic Creative Inc
2nd February 2013