Slap-bang in the mid-eighties, a brilliant electronic duo, called Sharpe & Numan set about to record some music. The British based duo was formed by Shakatak’s Bill Sharpe (keyboards, producer) and Gary Numan (vocals, keyboards). They had a hit single during 85’ entitled “Change Your Mind” and went on to release an album by the close of the 80’s. The project eventually split and Gary Numan became the new wave legend he still is today, while Sharpe’s jazz-funk collective Shakatak forged a series of chart entries and have released a plethora of albums as they continue to tour the world. The short-lived Sharpe & Numan project was special though, as it melded the ice cold mechanics of synth-pop and nu-wave with the warm grooves of funk and jazz elements. It was a blended sound rarely heard afterwards and only brought back to life during the ensuing years by multimedia geniuses like David Bowie and Thomas Dolby. Until now…
Hardly would I have imagined to savor this sound again after such a long time-lapse, and by a duo I have never heard of up until now. To my surprise, RayGun and The Doctor, members of the duo, Future Shock, have resurrected and reworked the new wave and funk fusion into a modern electronic groove.
Which they have performed at the Bite of Seattle, The Capitol Hill Block Party, Northwest Folklife, Macefield Music Festival and they’ve even transmitted live in studio from KEXP 90.3 Seattle. They released their debut EP “Secret Weapon” in 2015, and were quickly named on Nada Mucho’s list of favorite 37 Bands in Seattle.
I have since discovered that RayGun and The Doctor existed during the eighties – which explains why they sound so authentic – and are back on a “mission to cure mediocrity” as well as the “uninspired and factory-generated radio pollution plaguing our airwaves.” And quite frankly, I couldn’t be happier. Making yourself, and a unique musical style, stand out more than thirty years after its initial introduction, is no easy feat.
Yet Future Shock make it feel naturally easy, as the track flawlessly showcases RayGun and The Doctor’s ability to marry both melody and power; with neither forfeiting for the other. They manage to create more than just simple sounds – instead, there’s an idea that the big picture behind the music is far bigger than you’d hope to imagine.
With their latest single, “Time & Space”, the duo has created a literal four-minute soundtrack for dystopian times, with a pulsating electro beat and a behemoth sounding melody. While the lyrics do the rest: “Time waits for no man / Who controls the second hand / Is it me or the machine or could it be the master plan / We are running out of time, we are running out of space / Pay attention to the signs.”
The industrial dance sound that beats throughout, perfectly encapsulates the landscape Future Shock envisions for our future. In fact, the scenario they describe doesn’t feel too far-fetched in reality, and it’s hard to not get completely encapsulated by this single.
NOTE: For whoever wants to catch the duo live, their next show is in Seattle, Wa January 12 at Slim’s Last Chance Saloon.