21st Century is a follow-up to 2015’s 20th Century: The Noise, which featured tracks from the first two decades of John Foxx’s career. It focuses on collaborations with musicians both established (Robin Guthrie of The Cocteau Twins, Louis Gordon) and new(ish) (Gazelle Twin, The Belbury Circle), all at the cutting edge of exploratory and/or electronic music, confirming Foxx’s pioneering credentials.
There’s even a team-up, surprisingly the first ever, with Gary Numan, who has long proclaimed Foxx his all-time favourite artist. Titled Talk (Are You Listening To Me?), it’s a typically bleak slice of synth-pop noir, the perfect soundtrack to a movie about a dystopian futurescape, and as such, Foxx’s - and Numan’s, for that matter – stock-in-trade these past 35 or so years.
Elsewhere, he allows his collaborators to dictate the drift of each song – ‘drift’ being the operative word in the case of Estrellita as Guthrie turns it into a thing of slow-motion, shimmering wonder, although instead of Liz Fraser’s ethereal warble you get Foxx’s dourer tones.
But it’s not all darkly urban: his music is nothing if not malleable. Detroit electro-punks ADULT. remould The Shadow Of His Former Self and give it the playful squelch of a hyper Kraftwerk messing around with Silly Putty.