Illusion + Memory Finlay Shakespeare

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Finlay Shakespeare is an electronic musician working from the UK and across Europe. A childhood obsession with his parents’ record collection led him to both create his own music and build his own synthesizer equipment throughout his teenage years. After studying audio engineering, he was invited to become in-house engineer for the Moog Sound Lab UK, leading to collaborations with acts as diverse as Suicide, Charlemagne Palestine, The Grid and Mica Levi & Eliza McCarthy, both in live and studio environments.

In 2017, Finlay began recording a series of monthly “Housediet” releases – all improvised and captured at home utilising drum machines, modular synthesis and processed vocals. After several encounters with Peter Rehberg of Editions Mego, a compilation of the Housediet tracks was drawn up by Rehberg and Shakespeare, culminating in the release of “Domestic Economy” in early 2019. “Solemnities’ ‘, a second album for Editions Mego appeared the following year. In the period since Rehberg’s untimely passing, Finlay has recorded for Superpang, Modulisme and his own GOTO Records imprint. “Illusion + Memory”, meanwhile, continues on from where “Solemnities” left off, with Finlay once again aiming to work at the fringes of electronic pop.

Alter is proud to present “Illusion + Memory”, the third full length physical LP of Shakespeare’s utterly unique and sophisticated output.

Shakespeare’s obsession and knowledge of late 70’s and early 80’s electronic pop music is once again at the forefront of this intense and dynamic release. Alas, this is not some retro throwback. Shakespeare’s deep understanding of his machines breathes new life into a genre of music once defunct. Supporting the likes of Blancmange bolstered his reputation for sublime synth hooks and dark lyrical content.

Building on his previous work in the field “Illusion + Memory” is an unabashed pop record, as joyous as it is intense, moving from the brooding opening ballad “Your Side of the River” through the punchy “Theresa” which could be read as a love song to Throbbing Gristle’s United. Elsewhere “Climb” unleashes the opportunity to the dancefloor as wild electronics snake into all manner of schizophrenic shapes.

There is a romantic side to this music. In its homage to electronic pop of the late 70’s and early 80’s but also in the emotional punch Shakespeare injects into every second of every track. Shakespeare’s reboot of these musical forms is technically impressive, one rich in feeling and deep in emotion, atmospherically and vocally. The two come together to create a unique visceral sonic experience… today!

ALT70 Released 28 April 2023