GOING PUBLIC

Public Service Broadcasting today share “Lichtspiel III: Symphonie Diagonale”, the penultimate track from their highly anticipated upcoming fourth album, Bright Magic, set for release on 24th September 2021 via Play It Again Sam.    Showcasing another, more contemplative, side to the record, “Lichtspiel III: Symphonie Diagonale” features in the third part of the album, where the shadow of Bowie’s B-side to Low looms large. It is the third in a series of tracks entitled Lichtspiel (literally, “light play”) which were inspired by pioneering early abstract, expressionist film produced, or debuted, in Berlin.    J. Willgoose, Esq. said: All of these films are remarkable, ground-breaking works which epitomise for me the idea of bright magic, but I think Viking Eggeling’s Symphonie Diagonale is my favourite of the three we’ve written about (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KpCI67GMe7o). The track is a plaintive piano and synth piece to mirror what I saw as a mournful, elegiac film. The sound is heavily influenced by Vangelis – the patterns and light in Eggeling’s work remind me of some of Blade Runner’s incredible production design (for example the famous Frank Lloyd Wright balcony and some of the neon imagery), and there’s very much a through line from Fritz Lang’s Metropolis to Ridley Scott’s film.”   Viking Eggeling’s groundbreaking film premiered in Berlin in 1925 as part of the revolutionary ‘Der Absolute Film’ screening at UFA’s Kulturabteilung, and a re-edit to accompany Public Service Broadcasting’s piece is available to watch HERE. Stream “Lichtspiel III: Symphonie Diagonale” HERE   The track follows the release of the album’s two singles: “Blue Heaven”, an anthem of proud self-determination inspired by Marlene Dietrich featuring vocals from Andreya Casablanca of Berlin garageistes Gurr; and “People, Let’s Dance”, featuring vocals from the Berlin-based musician, EERA. The latter incorporates a guitar riff from Depeche Mode’s “People Are People” and takes its title from a chapter of Rory MacLean’s “Berlin: Imagine A City”. Both singles were A-Listed at BBC 6Music.   Public Service Broadcasting will tour the UK this October and November with a show at London’s O2 Brixton Academy on 10th November 2021. Full dates are listed below and tickets are available HERE.      Public Service Broadcasting have been “teaching the lessons of the past through the music of the future” for more than a decade now. 2013’s debut album Inform – Educate – Entertain used archival samples from the British Film Institute as audio-portals to the Battle Of Britain, the summit of Everest and beyond. Two years later, The Race For Space used similar methods to laud the superpowers’ rivalry and heroism in orbit and on the Moon. In 2017, joined by voices including Manic Street Preachers’ James Dean Bradfield, Every Valley was a moving exploration of community and memory via the rise and fall of the British coal industry. Pointedly topical in its analyses, it reached number four on the UK charts.   Their most ambitious undertaking yet, Bright Magic brings the listener to Europe’s heart and de facto capital, the cultural and political metropolis that is the ‘Hauptstadt’ of the Federal Republic of Germany – Berlin.    Moving to Berlin was an inspiration energised by reading Rory MacLean’s Berlin: Imagine a City. “Doing this felt inevitable, somehow,” muses J. Willgoose, Esq. “In my head, it was whirring and pulsing away for a long time, even before Every Valley – this fascinating, contrary, seductive place. I knew the album was going to be about the city, and its history and myths, and I was going to move there. So it’s quite a personal story. It’s become an album about moving to Berlin to write an album about people who move to Berlin to write an album…”   Though PSB’s use of electronics and surging guitar rock remain familiar, Bright Magic uses samples, and the English language, sparingly. It differs from their previous albums in other ways: less linear and narrative, instead it’s an impressionistic portrait of a city from the ground up. A Eureka moment of sorts came in November 2018 when Willgoose heard Walter Ruttmann’s radical Berlin tape-artwork Wochenende (or Weekend), which is sampled on three of Bright Magic’s tracks. Created in 1928, the piece collaged speech, field recordings and music into a sonic evocation of the city. Resolving to integrate these long-gone fragments with new manipulated sound sources, he set about making his own Wochenende, a narrative drama for the ears which decodes and realises the dreams of Berlin he’d constructed in his mind.    J. Willgoose, Esq. said “I started to get a feeling for where the title of Bright Magic wanted to take me, towards ideas of illumination and inspiration, electricity and flashes of light and colour and sound (all the tracks would eventually be colour coded). I sent it to the rest of the band, and said, I know it’s going to change, but we’ll see how the city itself colours that.”    Willgoose moved to Berlin from April 2019 to January 2020. Combining sound archaeology and the flâneuring of the psychogeographer, one street-level pursuit of the city’s energy involved Willgoose walking the Leipzigerstrasse, site of the city’s first electric streetlight, using a wide-band electromagnetic receiver from Moscow’s Soma Laboratories. “I walked up and down recording electrical currents and interference,” he laughs. “You can hear a few of these little frequency buzzes, clicks and impulses in Im Licht (a song inspired in part by pioneering lightbulb manufacturers AEG and Siemens). It’s what I was trying to do in the wider sense, I suppose – to capture those tiny little pulses you pick up while walking through a city.”   He wrote and recorded in Kreuzberg’s famous Hansa Tonstudio recording complex. This brought closer several inescapable musical touchstones: Depeche Mode’s classic eighties triumvirate, U2’s Achtung Baby and, crucially, Bowie’s “Heroes” and Low. “The whole shape and structure of the record is very much in debt to Low,” says Willgoose. Indeed, the Warszawa-evoking “The Visitor” – whose designated colour is the particular Orange of that album’s sleeve – was initially intended to feature a sample of Bowie reflecting, says Willgoose, on “how he viewed himself as this vessel for synthesizing and refracting other influences, and presenting avant-garde influences to the mainstream. We tried to absorb a bit of that spirit.”    As well as Andreya Casablanca and EERA, the album’s other guest voices include Blixa Bargeld, veteran of The Bad Seeds and Einstürzende Neubauten, who becomes the voice of Berlin’s industry on the robo-teknik “Der Rhythmus der Maschinen”.    A very pro-European record, Bright Magic is ultimately not just about one city, but all centres of human interaction and community which allow the free exchange and cross-pollination of ideas.      Public Service Broadcasting live: (Tickets are available HERE)   October Sun 24 Cardiff University Great Hall                               Mon 25 Brighton Dome                                           Tues 26 Bristol O2 Academy                                                 Wed 27 Exeter The Great Hall                                               Thurs 28 Southampton O2 Guildhall                                   Sat 30 Aylesbury Friars Waterside                                               Sun 31 Birmingham O2 Institute                             November Mon 1 Leeds O2 Academy Tues 2  Llandudno Venue Cymru                    Thurs 4 Manchester O2 Apollo                                   Fri 5 Newcastle O2 City Hall                                       Sat 6  Aberdeen Music Hall                                 Sun 7 Glasgow Barrowland                                   Tues 9 Nottingham Rock City                                   Wed 10 London O2 Brixton Academy                           Thurs 11 Cambridge Corn Exchange