Want List: Billie Ray Martin – After All

Electronic thrush Billie Ray Martin first came to my attention when I spied the iconic video for Electribe 101’s brilliant “Talking With Myself” on MTV in some rare airing of the clip on some international program. I immediately ran out and bought “Electribal Memories” and had my first evidence that house music wouldn’t always be boring. The album was a classic but the band fissured before the followup could occur. But not before I began soaking up everything with the Electribe 101 name on it.

Years later, singer Billie Ray Martin’s solo album “Deadline For My Memories” proved to be an even greater artistic success as she effectively managed to unite the disparate aesthetic approaches of “Dusty In Memphis” with that of Kraftwerk and when you hear house beats with pedal steel accompanying the fearless soul that emits from her lips, you know that she has achieved her seemingly impossible goal …with aplomb. That “Your Loving Arms” became a hit single and dance standard was some sort of cosmic justice. At this point I realized that this singer was an artist of the highest order. I’ve bought white labels and downloads and one day I need to save up a large amount of money and gleefully fall down the rabbit hold of her complete back catalog, but for now, this new single pack, to be released in a month in the usual places, will suffice to be happy-making.

BRM - after allThe song, if you recognize it, is a cover of the dark Aleister Crowley-referenceing track from Bowie’s impenetrable “The Man Who Sold The World” album. BRM has kept the varispeed “Oh by Jingo” refrain from the original, but the rest of the music bed is a is a dryly delicious spectral house version of this song by collaborator Abdullah Al-Wali [Dark Storm] that manages to bring it forward into the 21st century, where it belongs. Her chorale of multi tracked backing vocals are beyond superb. It’s yet another winner [there are no losers] from the finest voice of her generation. Pre-order on Bandcamp here for far less than it’s worth. They offer FLAC format and the ability to tip the artist [a hint].  Three downtempo Chicago house remixes are also included in the bundle to help cool those steamy Berlin nights this summer.

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About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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7 Responses to Want List: Billie Ray Martin – After All

  1. Nick A says:

    Thank you monk for making me visit this yesterday…and thanks for reminding me what a stunning voice she has. I saw Electribe 101 when they supported Depeche Mode back in the day and saw her several times after Deadline album was released – it still sends shivers down my spine whenever i hear ‘Deadline’ and that line ‘There’s a body on the floor that looks like me’. Really pleaseed she is still delivering the goods after all these years [god i sound old now………!]


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Nick A – So you have seen BRM live more than once? Serious envy, sir. I wish I had some cash for a new hard drive as I have a brace of BRM 12″ers that I have yet to digitize for my listening pleasure. Alas, I’ve nowhere to put the resulting files until I buck up and get at least a 1TB drive. My main HD has about 10% left for scratch disc space and my outboard 150 GB drive is full. Some media empire mogul I turned out to be!


      • Nick says:

        Oh yes i’ve seen her a few times – I can still remember how Diamond Dove thundered through the PA system and it remains one of my favourites from that album [ although most of the rest came as singles too ] . I still have a letter she wrote back to me and my [then] partner after seeing one of the gigs thanking us for taking the time to write to her [ on BRM headed note paper, oh yes !]


        • postpunkmonk says:

          Nick – Aaaah, the exquisite “Diamond Dove!” Alas, I have never heard it outside of my own home. A pity, that; since few songs are as quietly majestic. Good for her writing back! Pop stars are known to do this in certain cases. After the awesome and indie 4th Black album “Are We Having Fun Yet?” was released, I was so bowled over that I had to tell Colin Vearncombe just how pleased I was with it, and the gent took the time to write back and respond to my comments. Hmm. I should write to more of my favorites. Getting a letter in the 21st century would really make an impression, I’d think.


  2. Echorich says:

    BRM has always ranked as one of the most immensely artistic musicians I have had the pleasure to discover. For me she has had a career with no mis-steps. Whether collaborating, covering or recording her own innovative music, I can’t think of a single track I don’t enjoy, love, or revere! She is a Chameleon of the first rank, up there with Bowie (who has had more than one mis-step to these ears) when it comes to melting light into darkness and creating sublime and iconoclastic music. BRM is an artist I feel I know and understand but I wish I really did know and understood. She is just that amount of distance of untouchable that keeps me always longing for more.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Echorich – I concur. I have enjoyed it all. There are few artists that I can say that about. Claudia Brücken is the only other that comes to mind. Even John Foxx had a single dud [Nation 12’s “Electrofear,” since you asked]. Speaking of Brücken, E101 released my favorite album since “A Secret Wish,” back on the day. Since both bands were electronic with femme German singers, I tended to associate them together. Two very different artists, though.

      It’s interesting that you mention her aura of mystery, since if you read her blogging on her website, she can be very transparent about her day-to-day life. I just find her artistic drive and talent to be peerless. When I pre-order her Bowie EP tomorrow from Bandcamp, I’ll pay a little extra for the privilege; she needs a new Mac Book Pro!


      • Echorich says:

        I follow BRM wherever possible and feel that it’s the sign of her true artistry that she can be such a “day to day” person (hate the word normal). This makes the effort she puts into her music that much more compelling. I’m glad there’s no crazy life to be captured and exposed in a “tell all” like Henry Edward’s Stardust. I do have to say I would have loved to have hung out with her in that late 80’s early 90’s London scene. I bet the parties and energy was just amazing.


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