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Nancy Nova’s ‘The Force’: a bewitching but obscure New Wave Disco classic


 
I still remember where I was when I first heard this incredible record.

It’s not THAT impressive really, as it was only around three months ago in a friend’s kitchen. It was played as part of a Siouxsie Sioux BBC Radio 6 special, wherein Siouxsie chose an hour of her favorite music from (roughly) the punk era. A lot of her choices were, surprisingly, disco tracks, and when ‘The Force’ came on all casual conversation in the kitchen stopped ,and we all simply HAD to know who sang this incredible song.

Nancy Nova is, apparently, the daughter of British TV personality and Blockbusters game show host, Bob Holness. Her real name is Carol Ann, and her sister Ros was a member of the uber-camp 80s girl group Toto Coelo (who are best known for “I Eat Cannibals”.)

“The Force” is simply epic, a gothic disco-pop song that oozes menacing, spooky appeal, the kind Alison Goldfrapp would kill for. It really does sound like it comes form another bizarro planet. Like the best horror movies, it’s scary, thrilling and exciting all at the same time. Bass heavy disco production, reminiscent of Kid Creole’s best, Broadway-inspired work, is topped off by celestial choirs that could lure passing astronauts to their rocky doom, while a spare arrangement, that hints at the then-burgeoning goth movement, makes the most of Nova’s stunning voice.

Ah yes, THAT voice. Nancy Nova is one of those singers with a startling, unique vocal style that should be irritating but actually works. At times reminiscent of Betty Boop, at others quite similar to Noosha Fox of the band Fox (previously covered on Dangerous Minds here) it really is one of a kind, and guaranteed to beguile the listener.

So impressed were we by Nancy Nova and ‘The Force’ that we based Tranarchy‘s Hallowe’en ‘Zombie Pride’ video around it, in effect creating a pop video for a song that didin’t have one, but needed it. A surrealistic tale of drag initiation (featuring stunning make-up work by star witch Grace Oni Smith) I’d like to think that we have done the song proud, and that if Nancy Nova were to see it, she would approve: 

Nancy Nova ‘The Force’ (Tranarchy Zombie Pride V)
 

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Eerie robot doll sings: ‘I Feel Fantastic’

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This is quite weird and wonderful, chilling even - a surreal Stepford Wife sings “I Feel Fantastic”.

In ancient Greek mythology, Pygmalion was a highly accomplished Cypriot sculptor. Though skilled at imitating the human form, and well acquainted with it’s subtleties, he became disgusted by it when he witnessed the Propoetides prostituting themselves. These women were punished by Venus for their lack of worship with a coarseness of skin and a crudeness of nature, and were then forced into prostitution. Seeing this, Pygmalion the sculptor was repelled and could no longer appreciate women.

Seemingly alone, Pygmalion sought to create for himself a perfect, pure, unsullied companion. He used his particular skills to this end: he created a statue bride.

What you are about to watch is a mysterious video. It’s origin is attributed variously, and almost certainly spuriously, to various abstract artists or surrealists. The truth is that what we are seeing, and what we perceive to be strange and disturbing, is actually beauty to it’s creator.

Perhaps what we are viewing is the work of a modern Pygmalion. To him, her toneless voice, the paleness of her skin and the comparative vibrancy of her lips may indeed be the very embodiment of a perfect woman…

Consider the mind-scape of the creator. In whose mind does this appear beautiful? In whose mind is this pure, near worshipful? Are we missing out on his perspective?

Who are we to be afraid or to judge them? He may well love her fully, perhaps more fully than any of us could ever hope to be loved. In the mind of her creator, she is a near goddess; the perfect representation, not just of femininity, but the peak of human potential. A perfectly satisfactory being.

How does that kind of unconditional love feel?

Well, how does she feel?

Fantastic.

The great thing about these videos is that you can sit and compose stories around what is going on, who made this beautiful “android”, called Tara and why? And what happens when the drapes are drawn?

If this were a fiction, a horror film, then the close-up of the trees and grass in the first video would be significant - a clue to where the bodies are buried. But of course this isn’t a fiction.
 

 
Bonus clips of this singing android, after the jump…
 
With thanks to Steve Duffy
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment