John Foxx: 21st Century: A Man, A Woman And A City

Compilation of the electronic pioneer’s work, 2000-2016.

John Foxx 21st Century: A Man, A Woman And A City album cover

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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.

Paul Lester

Paul Lester is the editor of Record Collector. He began freelancing for Melody Maker in the late 80s, and was later made Features Editor. He was a member of the team that launched Uncut Magazine, where he became Deputy Editor. In 2006 he went freelance again and has written for The Guardian, The Times, the Sunday Times, the Telegraph, Classic Rock, Q and the Jewish Chronicle. He has also written books on Oasis, Blur, Pulp, Bjork, The Verve, Gang Of Four, Wire, Lady Gaga, Robbie Williams, the Spice Girls, and Pink.