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2 any 1


Artist: viA fAntAsticA
Label: TBC
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 29 March 2021

viA fAntAsticA release their new album, 2 any 1. viA fAntAsticA is J.T. and Gaia de Voxx on a DIY synth pop journey. J.T. is Justin Toland, erstwhile purveyor of loops and found sound on Recordiau Peski and self-released cassettes under the name Location Baked. Gaia de Voxx is his droid vocalist...

2 any 1 is the debut album by viA fAntAsticA. It’s about songs, tunes, accessibility, reaching out. Influences range from mass market and under-the-radar 80s synth pop (Yazoo, Human League, Fad Gadget) to contemporary Puerto Rican electronic indie (Los Wálters, Buscabulla).

The album began as an imaginary soundtrack to a 21st century kitchen sink drama set in the faded seaside resort of Porthcawl. That was the inspiration for the Italo disco stylings of ‘Meet me at Sidoli’s', the electronic surf rock of ‘Never surf again’, lover’s lament ‘Not waving but crying’, and the incidental noir of ‘Fog and mirrors’. When Covid scuppered those plans, the album began to take a different shape: less conceptual, more personal, more free-ranging. So there are songs and tunes about Cardiff communities and community action, including ‘Row Town’ (Roath), ‘Rebuild the Poets’, and ‘Agents of Change’, which nods to Toland’s found sound roots, with its field recording from a Save Guildford Crescent demo.

There are tracks based around loops and inspirations, including ‘Must be built’, which searches for the essence of the Hacienda nightclub, ‘Swim-up bar blues’, ‘Cowley’, and lead single ‘Onstage, right now…’.

If you're not into this scene, 2 and 1 is probably not the album to convert you. When the album opened I thought, for a brief second we were going to be treated (?!) to a new version of Gershon Kingsley 1969 song 'Popcorn'. Thankfully, we aren't.

Synth pop is not a genre I'm particularly familiar with. I did, however, find this to be engaging enough to keep my interest for the duration. If you're a follower of this style of music you may find much to enjoy here.


Nick Smithson