Soft Riot – When Push Comes To Shove

When Push Comes To Shove is the seventh studio album by Soft Riot, the stylised musical alter-ego of Glasgow-based Canadian artist JJD .

Resonating with references from all corners of the synthpop’s origins (DAF, Fad Gadget and John Foxx to name a few), Soft Riot’s latest release nonetheless manages to retain its own individual voice, melding and reinterpreting its antecedents with a personal twist and an impressive demonstration of synth-craft and programming. Following on from 2018’s The Outsider in the Mirrors, these ten tracks represent a change in themes and an evolution in production and sound.

The forthcoming single and album opener “Taking The Edge Off” sets out the Soft Riot manifesto, a propulsive future-synth tale of forging ever-forwards in an increasingly noisy world. “It’s No Laughing Matter” is a hedonistic yet propulsive dance-floor slammer — shades of minimal synth and metallic Belgian new beat condense in side one closer “Fate’s Got A Bone To Pick With You” and the dizzying italo-matic muscle workout “Don’t Get Yourself Bent Out Of Shape” is the ultimate self-help smack down.

Although there’s no overarching concept to the album, Soft Riot has used this release as platform to experiment with his own concept of “déja vu”, using minute details of musical phrases and lyrics that have been used before in previously released Soft Riot material, and even between songs on this album. Some of these mirrored details are very subtle and would only be picked up by someone who has listened to all of the material up until now. It could also be the underlying black humour of Soft Riot’s work, mischievously playing off the old saying “it’s all been done before”.

The tracks were all composed in an extended hiatus from live performance between November 2018 and January 2019; a deliberate move on the part of JJD in order to foster a more focused creative atmosphere and allow for the writing process to have a more intuitive flow. This also allowed for a deeper exploration of sound design of his equipment, with this release utilising a range of different synths, something that reflects in the depth and richness of the new album’s sounds.

LP / CD / Digital Album

Posted on March 4th, 2020 under Releases, ,

Soft Riot – Taking Off The Edge

Taking Off The Edge is a digital single from 2019′s When Push Comes To Shove LP, which also contains two exclusive tracks from the album recording and mixing session. These tracks are “There Just Isn’t Enough Time II” and “You’ve Got The Brains To Figure It Out Yourself”.

Resonating with references from all corners of the synthpop’s origins, Soft Riot’s latest release nonetheless manages to retain its own individual voice, melding and reinterpreting its antecedents with a personal twist and an impressive demonstration of synth-craft and programming. Following on from 2018’s The Outsider in the Mirrors, these ten tracks represent a change in themes and an evolution in production and sound.

Digital Album

Posted on February 5th, 2020 under Releases, ,

Soft Riot - The Outsider In The Mirrors

Soft Riot is the stylised musical alter-ego of JJD, Canadian by birth and an ex-resident of London and Sheffield, now based in Glasgow (so not unfamiliar with sites of post-industrial decay!). With over twenty years of playing in various post-punk and synth-punk bands, he has been crafting the sound of Soft Riot since the early turn of the decade, releasing a slew of albums across a multitude of labels and touring obsessively around Europe and beyond.

With “The Outsider In The Mirrors”, his sixth full-length, he has found a new home for his sound on Possession Records, a fledgling Glasgow imprint founded by JJD, Claudia Nova (aka Hausfrau) and Andy Brown (Ubre Blanca). Their aim is to bring together their pool of musical talents and provide a more permanent home for their future creative endeavours, whether it be music, video or otherwise and to experiment with what it is to be a “label” in the ever evolving 21st century. Future projects and releases will see them getting a select group of their peers and friends involved in Possession’s focused vision, locally or from further afield.

LP / Cassette / CD / Digital Album

Posted on March 5th, 2018 under Releases, ,

Some More Terror

‘Some More Terror’ is a Soft Riot recording consisting of 11 tracks of instrumental, ambient-influenced synth sounds. It provides a slight detour from the more song-based, psychedelic synth-pop trajectory established with the previous album, ‘Fiction Prediction’, and where that synth-pop sound will go on that album’s proper follow-up to come called ‘You Never Know What Might Come Next’.

All of the pieces on ‘Some More Terror’ are mainly improvisations, or based on one-session jams with a small amount of overdubs. They were usually done late at night and in the dead of winter, in between sessions recording tracks for ‘You Never Know What Might Come Next’.

Some More Terror locks onto the atmospheric element of Soft Riot’s recorded material to date and isolates it in a new environment, freeing it from the structure and formalities of the world of punk rock and pop music. It offers an audio landscape that augments a feeling of unease and reflection in the chaotic world of late-period modern capitalism and the wheels of progress. The flow of the album rides a slow sine wave, with moments of anxious dread to warm, expansive slabs of calm and harmony.

o some degree it’s an album of political commentary, but one without lyrics and familiar audio cues, allowing the listener to fill the gaps with their own speculation. And where the music is more ambiguous, a more upfront approach is emphasised in the track titling and artwork of the album; perhaps a conscious effort to challenge the idea that ambient or soundtrack-oriented music is passive or locked in the trappings of “new age”. It could be considered Soft Riot’s own private and current version of “punk rock” for these reasons, as well as for that it was written from a place deep within. There’s a lot of strange and harrowing events going on out there in the world these days, but also moments of peace and beauty.

Listeners may find some parallels with classic synth artists such as Tangerine Dream or Cluster, or perhaps the classic era of early/mid 90s Kranky Records (Labradford, Stars Of The Lid), or even at times the micropolyphonal sounds of György Ligeti. As one publication has put the music of Soft Riot: “The music tells stories like the great “irritation” sci-fi cinema of the 70s and 80s. Solaris pop. New Age Wave. The Canadian Jean Michel Jarre of the London underground.”

Listen and order here.

Posted on January 1st, 2015 under Releases, ,