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The Opiates | Hollywood Under The Knife
CD + Digital Album
October 17, 2011
For review CD or streaming link contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Opiates is the latest project from the "queen of electronic soul" Billie Ray Martin, together with Norwegian musician Robert Solheim. Already dubbed by the press as "The Carpenters of Electro," their album Hollywood Under The Knife explores paths pioneered by the Chicago house and Detroit techno heroes, (not least Electribe 101), with the aim of taking things forward a step or two. Although Kraftwerk and Yazoo have been mentioned as influences, The Opiates’ unique brand of electronic music is not readily categorised. Theirs is a pursuit without compromise; a rare match of songwriting and cutting-edge beats and bleeps.
The album Hollywood Under the Knife is out now (October 17) on Disco Activisto Records both digitally and as a CD, featuring nine unreleased images by Turner Prize winning artist Wolfgang Tillmans, who opened his entire archive, granting The Opiates free choice of images.
A teaser EP, Rainy Days And Remixes, featuring the first single, "Rainy Days And Saturdays," plus remixes of four songs from the album, was released September 19. For The Opiates, these remixes by Hercules And Love Affair’s Kim Ann Foxman, as well as all-time heroes Chris and Cosey of Throbbing Gristle, are a dream come true. •
Hollywood Under The Knife is an album of real substance, both musically and visually. Artist Wolfgang Tillmans supplies nine previously unseen and unpublished images for the album cover and booklet. Each song on the album portrays another social "misfit." Characters who, trying to change their outer appearance or tweak their behaviour, believe they might just fit and ultimately face the consequences:
1 Rainy Days And Saturdays: The transvestite (Candy Darling) who, although leading the wild life and preparing for a sex change, dreams of married life and a house in the suburbs.
2 I'm Not Simone Choule: The man who dresses up in women's clothes (Roman Polanski in "The Tenant") trying to fight the people he believes want to kill him by convincing him that he is Simone Choule, a woman who committed suicide in the apartment that he now rents.
3 Candy Coated Crime: The woman who employs strange sexual fantasies involving the TV series CSI, to keep the boredom of life at bay.
4 Anatomy of a Plastic Girl: The young wannabe actress in L.A. who reflects on her facial surgery that has left her scarred and punctured with holes inside and out.
5 Silent Comes the Nighttime: The same woman who suffers from insomnia and tells the story how the demons of her soul and the demons of the night keep her awake.
6 Oprah's Book of the Month Club: The aging formerly rich daughter of a formerly famous actress who reminisces about her mother feeding her tranquilizers as a kid to keep her out of the way and who later goes through a path of plastic surgery, health foods, porn movie making...all to find out who she is.
7 Reality TV: The fifteen year old girl who wanted to be herself, but gets voted off the reality TV show "Make Me A Supermodel" and who is so destroyed that she believes her life is over at the age of fifteen, because they told her it was.
8 Jalousies and Jealousies: The young but already fading TV actress who's only option to live a comfortable life is being entrapped in a relationship with a wealthy man she does not love.
9 Dinah and the Beautiful Blue: A cover of a song by Anywhen, from their album, The Opiates, which inspired me to such extent with it's beauty and meaning that i could have–and gladly would have–covered the entire album. Assuming that Thomas Feiner, the lead singer and writer for the group, would not have been too amused by this, I chose the song I instantly could hear my voice working on.
10 Candy Coated Crime (Alternate Mix) (above)
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*Mash up between excerpts of Roman Polanski's "The Tenant" and the movie-inspired song by The Opiates titled "I'm Not Simone Choule." Video: excerpts of Roman Polanski's "The Tenant" © 1976.
The Opiates and Wolfgang Tillmans
Turner Prize winner Wolfgang Tillmans is no stranger to collaborations with musicians, having lent his talents to sleeve design and video direction for Pet Shop Boys, REM and Goldfrapp. Now his work forms the visual presentation for The Opiates debut album. The Opiates are musician Robert Solheim and singer / songwriter Billie Ray Martin. A set of previously unseen and unpublished photographs adorn the sleeve and booklet for their forthcoming album ‘Hollywood Under The Knife’.
A long-time fan of Billie’s work, Wolfgang has photographed her twice and chose her as ‘most influential woman’ as part of i-D Magazine’s 25th birthday issue and celebrations. For ‘Hollywood Under The Knife’, Wolfgang opened his entire archive and gave The Opiates unprecedented access to choose their favourite images.
Rainy Days and Remixes EP
1 Rainy Days and Saturdays (Radio Edit)
2 Jalousies and Jealousies (Kim Ann Foxman Remix)
3 Anatomy of a Plastic Girl (Chris & Cosey Remix)
4 Silent Comes the Nighttime (XHK Stepford Step Off Mix)
Remixes and the first single from The Opiates "Hollywood Under the Knife." For The Opiates, these remixes by such greats as Hercules and Love Affair’s Kim Ann Foxman, as well as all-time heroes Chris and Cosey of Throbbing Gristle, are a dream come true. The results are magnetic. The XHK Mix with its hard Dubstep flavour completes the picture and gives the song a completely new voice and vibe.
The Opiates live up to their characterization as "The Carpenters Of Electro," with the first single "Rainy Days And Saturdays," a song about the transvestite Candy Darling who, although broke, leading a wild life as an Andy Warhol superstar and preparing for a sex change, yearns for the normalcy of married life and a house in the suburbs.
Anatomy of a Plastic Girl EP
The Opiates | Anatomy of a Plastic Girl EP
March 3, 2008
An EP entitled "Anatomy of a Plastic Girl" was released in March 2008, accompanied by a much celebrated gig at London’s Rough Trade store, resulting in rave press reviews for both the gig and the EP. In Germany, the song "Anatomy of a Plastic Girl" made it into the Top 20 listeners choice charts when added to the playlist at Radio One. View the back of the EP cover here.
Billie Ray Martin
Click to enlarge | View the complete Billie Ray Martin discography on Discogs.com
Dubbed the "queen of electronic soul", Billie Ray Martin first came to prominence leading the acclaimed deep house act Electribe 101, her unique voice hitting both the house scene and the charts with a strong infusion of soul. Electribe 101 scored a brace of hits including the classic "Talking With Myself," before Billie departed to continue exploring fusions of electronic music, pop and soul. After releasing the thoroughly scary "Persuasion" with Spooky and the monumentally beautiful "4 Ambient Tales" with The Grid, Billie found herself with a worldwide number 1 in "Your Loving Arms," now considered one of the all-time classics of dance music. Three more hits and the album Deadline for My Memories followed.
Since then Billie has worked with Ann Peebles, Carla Thomas and members of Aretha Franklin's band on her album 18 Carat Garbage, and has continued to release cutting edge electronic productions, including hit collaborations with DJ Hell and Slam and solo releases such as 2008's "Undisco Me" which hit the top spots in the UK and US dance charts.
Billie's epic "The Crackdown Project" released in 2010, featuring her takes on the Cabaret Voltaire’s classic album "The Crackdown", reinforced her unique position as an artist who appeals to the both ueber-cool mags like Flux Magazine, Wound and The Wire as well as the pop mainstream achieving 'Song of the Day' status at Popjustice. 20,000 downloads in a matter of days, plus overwhelming press and DJ feedback confirmed her vision.
Already in 2011, Billie has released the solo single "Sweet Suburban Disco" with mixes by Vince Clarke and Horse Meat Disco giant Severino, as well as mixes by Luke Solomon and Ray Grant, with the world’s key DJs–from Black Strobe to John Digweed–giving it full support. Released on Billie’s Disco Activisto Records.
Also currently out and in the Music Week Cool Cuts Charts at Number 14, is the Sold Life EP by Billie Ray Martin and Hard Ton. Back to Billie’s old school house roots, it’s creating a serious buzz, charted by everyone from Laurent Garnier to Kim Ann Foxman from Hercules and Love Affair.
Billie is currently working on her next solo album and DJs around the world with growing success.
Born on Averøy, a small island on the west coast of Norway, Robert Solheim grew up between the sea, the mountains and music. At a young age, he started to play the organ, progressing through drums, keyboards and singing in various bands, until he discovered a synthesizer named Jupiter-8 and started to compose his own work. Under the name CURRENT he has released several downtempo and ambient-techno albums on Origo Sound, the famous Norwegian label home to artists Biosphere and Erik Wøllo. In 2005 he started releasing material on his own label CURRENTMUSIK. All his releases have been described as extraordinary creative works by the critics. In 2006, his album ‘underCURRENTs’ was nominated as best album and in 2003, the track ‘Ghost Trip’ from the album ‘Communion’ was voted by the public number 7 of the 100 best electronic tracks of all-time placing Robert alongside such names as Kraftwerk, David Sylvian and Underworld to name a few.
Lately his creativity has turned more towards electronic music for clubs and dance-floors which has lead to several EPs with deep tech house and techno, supported by the likes of Lukas Greenberg, Rob Maynard, Danny Graham, Paco Osuna, Richie Hawtin, Luca Doobie, the list goes on..
With the American composer Michael Snyder (Eidetaker) Robert formed AQUAVIT, a musical project which works on finding the harmonies between electronic and acoustic sounds. Their first and much anticipated work together ‘Telapatia’ was released in 2008 applauded by both press and public alike. Critics described it as “electronic music for the well-travelled.” AQUAVIT served as the foundation for the Norwegian label AQUAVIT RECORDS, established to release quality electronic music without restrictions
This E.P. is moody, magnificent and decadent - the Nico of the rave generation has returned with a stealth-bomb of a record, with a tranced-out charm of its own." READ FULL REVIEW – Ben Wood, Bearded Magazine (U.K. / worldwide)
"The Carpenters of electro… dark, electronic pop: scalpel-sharp lyrical observations juxtaposed with shimmering production to magnetic effect." READ FULL REVIEW – Ben Murphy, DJ Magazine (U.K. / worldwide)
"The high priestess of electronic soul… her voice is unmistakable – ridden with drama and soul – sounding like Marlene Dietrich by way of Diamanda Galas." – Gregor Laird, The Skinny (Glasgow magazine)
"A female, modern-day Marc Almond… this E.P. of throbbing electro-disco, torch soul and narcotic pop is awesome." – Jason Riley, I-DJ Magazine (U.K. / worldwide)
"Avant-garde Deutsche diva Billie Ray Martin's sublime vocals and catchy, industrial post-punk disco…"
– Keith Barker-Main, Metro newspaper (U.K.)
"Something like Amanda Lear ganging up with Laurie Anderson to kidnap a low-key echo of "The Day Before You Came", an Abba track. Is it any good? Yes, very." – Unpeeled Magazine (U.K. / worldwide)
"Full of soul and emotion… the songs creep into your consciousness and before you know it have taken over your motor functions. Oozing sex with great electro bleeps and an orgasmic vocal delivery… a real success." – Sean Slingsby, Gigwise (online)
"Finally, a return to real angst! Magnificent!" – Mark Moore
"Candy Coated Crime ist die bombe!" – DJ Hell
"A bleep-fest of epic proportions, which really serves as yet another vehicle for Martin's butter-soaked soul…" – Subba-Cultcha (online magazine)
"A glacial quartet of mournful electro-ballads bathed in sumptuous spaciousness. The low slung Marlene Dietrich-pitched vocals are the icing on the cake… this new venture sounds so fresh, unforced and 2008-friendly." – Beatmag.net (online magazine)
"Some beautiful downbeat electronica, with Martin's distinctive voice… from this release, things are looking good." READ FULL REVIEW – Beat Surrender (online magazine)
"It's the sound of dance music before the circus came to town." – Electric Roulette (online magazine)
"The Opiates produce a very chilled, yet brain stimulating brand of electro beats mixed in with very soulful vocals. Truly and completely a work of musical mastery." READ FULL REVIEW – Paul Richards, Noize Makes Enemies (online magazine)
"Fans of bleepy, ambient stuff, buy this!" – Richard Smith, GT Magazine (U.K. / worldwide)
"I'm sold – enraptured by hearing THAT voice in person. The new sound builds on the classic Electribe 101 template, so there's a definite place for songwriting, but also a dry wit and intelligence you don't often find in the pop charts." READ FULL REVIEW – Music Like Dirt (online review of The Opiates live at Rough Trade East)
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