Global Citizen

[Don't Make It Slow sleeve]

"Don't Make It Slow" (EP, 2011)  !DSO Recommended!

Glory & Honour

Not sure where to begin with this one. Largely because I'm gob-smacked at the creativity and quality. This is one of the best remix EPs I’ve ever heard. 

Available only as a digital download, this comprises twelve tracks tweaking, flexing and completely distorting Don't Make It Slow which first appeared on last year's (dsoaudio award-winning) Nil By Mouth album. This perfectly expands the familiar Global Citizen sound, some taking them deep into hitherto unexplored territory. Most remarkable of all is just how damn good all these versions sound given the diversity of interpretations included. There's everything from electro-stompers (As Instructed Remix by Steve Adam for PF3), to idm (Coma Remix by GCEE), to dub (Make It Dub Remix by Mistrust), soundtrack (Hate & Love Remix by TMWDE), and even chamber music (M.O.D.E. Ensemble Remix by The Wilder Anal Experience - apparently). Whilst the Fusion Pinz Remix by Skinmechanic sounds like one of those quality Depeche Mode remixes of the singles off Violator

Most satisfyingly though is that the majority are explorations into the outer reaches of the Global Citizen universe. The extent of which just might even surprise some of their staunchest fans [spots reflection in mirror ;-)]. Whichever path is taken, impressively, this succeeds at just about every turn. In the vanilla version that kick starts this 45minute journey the similarities between Rich 'September' Mills' voice and the dearly, departed Fad Gadget are only all too apparent. Frank Tovey's alter ego is one that should always be treated with deference and respect – so I don't make the comparison lightly The qualities are co-incidental. This is no attempt at mere mimicry. Indeed, Mills himself has said he was only faintly familiar with Fad Gadget until people began pointing out the similarities, but they are striking at times. 

Up until listening to this, Don't Make It Slow was not a song that particularly stood out for me. However, this remarkable EP confirms Global Citizen (with impressive assistance from his cohorts) as a serious talent deserving of serious attention. (In spite of those irrepressibly pornographic lyrics.) 8/10

Rob Dyer (June 2012)

[Nil By Mouth sleeve]

"Nil By Mouth" (Album, 2011)  !DSO Recommended!

Glory & Honour

Unless you are, by chance, already part of the dark underworld of shadowy erotica in which UK act Global Citizen revel, then you too, like me, may take a little time to attune to their sound. I’d seen them live a few times and recognised leading member Rich ‘September’ Mills from a Jolyon gig he assisted with at the Notting Hill Arts Cafe a decade ago. (Once you’ve seen Mills live you’ll understand why he’s difficult to forget.) Actually, listening to Nil By Mouth, their second long-player, I realise that I instantly love their sound but having heard it so much live first before hearing the studio work I simply didn’t get it before. Now, all is clear. What they do is always likely to be niche for those partial to stark, minimalist, repetitive electronics, and though unquestionably influenced by leading lights of the English 80s heydays, is resolutely contemporary.

The striking fetishist sleeve artwork (in the same style as their debut album Master Stroke) depicting a bound and gagged naked female in the throes of Kinbaku (Japanese rope bondage), is a clear indicator, and warning, of what lies beneath. Should that (inexplicably) fail to provide ample notice, then a track title like Immaculate Ejaculate will ensure that no-one of a sensitive or easily-offended disposition enters the world of Global Citizen by mistake. For those willing to step over the threshold, indescribable delights await that will bring you to your knees in supplication. Mills can convey more in three or four divinely placed piano notes than other artists can in entire songs.

Any act that can sing with a straight face: “No biscuits with our tea” (Hilton) and still sound credible (let alone uber cool as here) deserves every success. Mill’s delivery is in part Gary Numan, at times remarkably reminiscent of Fad Gadget, but paying closer attention proves his voice is distinctive in its own right. Still, he's in pretty good company. The whole enterprise has a gorgeous, warm analogue sound and feel with even the percussion on some tracks seeming to follow the early 80s improvisers by being created on monophonic analogue synthesizers as opposed to dedicated drum machines or, heaven forbid, a sampled drum kit.

There’s also much to like in Global Citizen’s bold refusal to pander to the expectation that you must have hi BPM tracks to get attention and a following. With one exception (Your Majesty – the second shortest track of the eleven) this all occupies the mid to low tempo range and reminds me: a) just how much I love the slow-burn route, and b) just how infrequently we hear entire albums in this genre taking this approach. A rare spellbinding beauty pervades the entire album but is captured perfectly on the hypnotic Sleep Precious Sleep that closes proceedings. I respect Global Citizen for their approach and, on Nil By Mouth, I admire them even more for what they’ve achieved. The best album I've heard so far this year. 8/10

Rob Dyer (24 September 2011 - Happy Birthday Richard)

[Master Stroke sleeve]"Master Stroke" (Album, 2008)


Master Stroke isn’t about the application of genius. Take a look at that cover. Listening to this first proper Global Citizen album (there was a self-release before this label-backed appearance) makes me think of those lines from David Cronenberg’s brilliant and visionary film Videodrome, when a character says that what the authorities fear about a sexual snuff TV show Videodrome is less its graphic sadism but “…because it has a philosophy”. I think Global Citizen (aka Richard Mills) has a philosophy. 

A cursory inspection might give you the impression that this is a fine soundtrack for fetish nightclubs or private sex sessions, and this is more obsessive than one-dimensional as a cursory inspection might suggest. These fourteen tracks are mostly sexually charged. One imagines that Mills’ sex lifestyle is either a harrowing barrage of unorthodoxy or quite the opposite, with this instead being the outpouring of one seriously frustrated individual! I am being slightly facetious. The cheekily-entitled Naughty Naked Nude could be a soundtrack to J.G. Ballard’s Crash, but without the explicit referencing found in The Normal’s Warm Leatherette

Assuming the broad elements (minimal analogue synths, a Numanesque voice, sedate tempos, strong melodic motifs and frequent erotic subject matter) are likely to be of interest and although one senses tongue firmly in cheek at times (as opposed to some other orifice!), for the most part this album comes across more as obsession sharing than seeking to shock per se. The only problem, either way, is that the outcome occasionally detracts from a series of fine moments and a general unorthodox compositional style.

My Lovers is six-and-a-half captivating minutes of low-BPM repeated minimal loops of bassline, percussion and lead synth, that sounds like a collaboration between Gary Numan and John Carpenter. The melodies woven into this are superb, the combination creating a heady melange. Further evidence of just how beautiful Mills’ writing can be when he focuses entirely on doing everything to serve the song, rather than feel the need to overtly stamp the ‘I’m different’ label onto it, simply listen to the moving Come And Find Me. It proves that his songwriting can move you without resorting to florid thrills. 7/10

Rob Dyer (December 2011)