‘Opus Three’ the second single taken from the recently-released Memory Box album by London’s Rodney Cromwell gets an enhanced version with a new 5-track maxi-single, out now via Happy Robots Records.
Rodney Cromwell (the nom de plume of Adam Cresswell) was a founding member of indie-folktronica band Saloon (who had four entries in John Peel’s Festive 50 & recorded three Peel Sessions) and also one half of acclaimed electronic duo Arthur & Martha.
‘Opus Three’ was conceived as a love letter to a lost synthesizer – the Moog Opus Three. At its heart, the song is a simple dance number. A chunky 120bpm beat, layered with a Moog Opus 3 synth line, is overlaid with percussion and the primitive buzzing tones of a 1960’s pocket Stylophone. It’s an idiosyncratic DIY folktronica track that brings to mind the like of Cabaret Voltaire or early New Order, inspired by the haunting and surreal novel ‘Ice’ by Anna Kavan, the song is about two lovers on the brink of apocalypse, separated by distance, 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. It could act as a prescient metaphor for the two years of pandemic we are still emerging from.
Leading the maxi-single is a 12” extended dance mix from Memory Box album producer Richard Bennett under his Roman Angelos moniker. The track is extended and pumped up – with the synth bassline pushed to the forefront, the track is as ready for your daily workout as it is ready for the dancefloor.
The extended mix had its radio premiere on BBC Radio 6 Music thanks to Gideon Coe.
The next remix is from Dublin synthpop artist Circuit3, who brings an 80’s spin to the track, inspired by the darker end of the musical spectrum inhabited by classic 80’s artists such as Yazoo, Depeche Mode and early Human League.
The final remix is a radical re-imagining of the song by the latest signing to the Happy Robots label, brothers Dan and Jacob Mayfield, a.k.a. Field Glass, who re-shape the track as a glorious ambient number, with wheezing organs, twinkling arpeggios and crystalline synths.
The final track on the single, ‘Perception Management’ is an atmospheric dystopian synth instrumental that might be described as ‘post-truth pop’, sitting sonically somewhere between Pye Corner Audio and early New Order B-sides.
The Memory Box LP was mixed and co-produced by Richard Bennett at Acme Hall Studios (New York) and mastered by Pete Maher (U2, Goldfrapp, Paul Weller, Pixies). Released on March 18 to much acclaim, it mixes synthpop, hauntology, dream pop and coldwave.
The Memory Box LP is out now via Happy Robots Records with distribution by Cargo Records. Available on yellow vinyl, it can also be obtained in stores and digitally from all major platforms, including Spotify, Apple Music and Bandcamp.