Don’t you just love it when you discover new music from an artist who brings back a whole set of sensations you associate with a specific period of our life? For me, the latest single from synthmaster / electro-vibing Rodney Cromwell (real name Adam Cresswell) is one of those songs that harken back to the dance-floor of yesteryear – to times where folks flocked to the nightclubs and felt safe to do so. Oh the proverbial good ol’ days.
This week, Cromwell released his new ‘Opus Three’ single, out February 3 via Happy Robots Records, and its a smashing track, as is the B-side ‘Perception Management’ with its dark “leave me be, I just want to be alone” mood recalling bands like Joy Division, Siouxsie and The Banshees ‘Quartering of the Dog’ and much more.
This infectious dance number is apparently about disconnected lovers trying to conjure optimism as the world stands on the brink of apocalypse – and somewhere in there fits his long-long Opus Three synthesizer surely. The second taste of Cromwell’s ‘Memory Box’ album, the long-player can be expected on March 18.
“At it’s heart, ‘Opus Three’ is the simplest of dance numbers – a full-fat 120 bpm beat, layered with a chunky Moog Opus 3 synth line, overlaid with percussion and the buzzing tones of a 1960’s pocket stylophone. Inspired by Anna Kavan’s surreal novel ‘Ice’, this song is about two lovers on the brink of apocalypse, separated by distance and 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,” says Rodney Cromwell.
Mixed and co-produced by Richard Bennett at Acme Hall Studios (New York) and mastered by Pete Maher (U2, Goldfrapp, Paul Weller, Pixies), the ‘Memory Box’ album’ mixes synthpop, hauntology, dreampop and European coldwave, using analogue synths and drum machines with minimal computer sequencing. Cromwell creates a distinctive and compelling organic, dream-like world, inspired as much by Alice in Wonderland and Franz Kafka as by sonic influences like Kraftwerk, The Cure, Polyrock and Stereolab.
The album’s lead single ‘Memory Box’ premiered in Post-Punk.com and was voted by fans into the Dandelion Radio Official Festive 50. It has received press and radio coverage across the globe, including national radio play in Japan, Finland and Spain, as well as multiple spins on BBC 6 Music in the UK.
His debut ‘Age of Anxiety’ LP (2015) and ‘Rodney’s English Disco’ EP (2018) garnered Rodney Cromwell features in Electronic Sound Magazine, NME, Huffington Post, Record Collector, Paste, BBC6 Music and national RNE3 in Spain, for whom he recorded a live session. The album featured in scores of ‘Best of’ lists, including Electronic Sound and The Electricity Club, who named him ‘Most Promising New Act’. He has played lives shows with acts like Pram, Death & Vanilla, M!R!M, Rowetta and Steve Davis. In 2020, he also performed as part of Damo Suzuki of Can’s backing band.
‘Opus Three’ is out on February 3 via Happy Robots Records with distribution by Cargo Records. It will be available on Spotify, Apple Music and Bandcamp, where the ‘Memory Box’ EP can also be obtained. The full ‘Memory Box’ album is slated for release on March 18.
Written and recorded by Adam Cresswell
Mixed and co-produced by Richard Bennett at Acme Hall Studios, New York
Mastered by Pete Maher
Album artwork by Martin J Langthorne
Released via Happy Robots Records