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FIAT LUX — Twisted Culture

FIAT LUX — Twisted Culture

Lost, then found. Fiat Lux is back with their captivating third...

Distinctly different. That's a good way to describe Fiat Lux. A distinctly different, surprising, wonderful secret ready for discovery if you've not heard their music. Twisted Culture is the third album from the band, due for release on CD, Vinyl and Digital on November 5th 2021, through Splid Records via Proper. It's about "living life as best you can, no matter what is thrown at you.” And more besides. Album launch live dates are now scheduled; for these please see below.

The upcoming album, recorded mainly at Splid Studios, Keighley, Yorkshire, has been produced by band member David P Crickmore. The inimitable Steve Wright supplies the always striking vocals, and also co-writes with David. Will Howard plays superb sax and clarinet. David's sublime keyboards, guitars and bass underpin the sound.

Emerging in 1982, discovered by Be-Bop Deluxe guitarist and lead vocalist Bill Nelson, Fiat Lux was by the end of 1985 all but lost. Twisted Culture is only the band's third album released contemporaneously, following Hired History (1984) and Saved Symmetry (2019).

Fiat Lux – then including the late Ian Nelson, brother of Be-Bop Deluxe's Bill Nelson – signed to major label Polydor in 1983 and had passionate support from radio and television, making appearances including The Old Grey Whistle Test and a dedicated hour-long Channel 4 television special.

Prior to all this, Steve Wright had given Bill Nelson the demo that Steve and David P Crickmore had put together of prototype Fiat Lux music. Bill Nelson was impressed and funded and produced the band's debut release Feels Like Winter Again b/w This Illness on his Cocteau Records label in November 1982.

In the end, many people were left wondering why on earth Fiat Lux imploded in 1985 before realising their full potential. Record company mishandling was the main reason. And politics, alongside a scared media, as explained in the liner notes to Hired History Plus (2019):

"The miners' strike of 1984 had come about just as our Blue Emotion video was unveiled with its parallel subject matter. No TV channel would touch it and the song's predicted progress up the charts was stunted."

Once lost but now found, Fiat Lux has been reborn with the release of their 2019 album Saved Symmetry and the long-awaited release of the remastered Polydor recordings, including the previously unreleased lost album Arc of Embers (2019) and previously unreleased remastered Polydor videos Secrets and Blue Emotion

Fiat Lux played their first gig in 35 years at St Clement’s Church, Bradford in 2019, followed by appearances at the Seventh Wave Festival, the Electric Dreams Weekender, and the Brudenell Social Club, during pre-Covid days 2019/2020. The band will soon be celebrating its 40th anniversary.

When we asked about the album title Twisted Culture, the band said:

"We settled on the title Twisted Culture for several reasons. The straightforward one was that, as the pandemic had happened during the album's making, we were all grappling with a virus which was itself a twisted culture - as in seen through a microscope on a Petri dish – the album cover image is a microscopic photograph of the virus tinted by our graphic artist Lee Walsh. We were trying to use it to evoke a psychedelic sleeve similar to the Hypnosis sleeves of the late 60s and early 70s. Also the title takes on other meanings – the era around the pandemic will no doubt be remembered for the many twists and upheavals in our culture which will not leave things the same as they were before. Some of this change will be for good, some not.

The virus also exposed how our culture can still be twisted for selfish ends by those making the rules for the rest of us. Even before all of this, as we felt more confident after the good reception of Saved Symmetry, we wanted the follow up to have a consistent theme, and the songs became broadly about our culture and how we’ve lived through it in the past, and how we get through it in the present and the future. Ian Nelson was always good at coming up with slightly barbed titles for our works, such as Hired History and Commercial Breakdown, so we constantly think about what Ian would have approved of when we are looking for album titles and such like."

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Here's the excellent taster single (How Will We Ever) Work This Way, plus album song notes and discography...

Fiat Lux Twisted Culture — Song Notes

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(How Will We Ever) Work This Way (4.14) (Wright/Crickmore)

Steve Wright – Vocals; David P Crickmore – Keyboards, Electric Guitar; Bass Guitar, Percussion; Will Howard - Sax

David: “In its single version, this track was put out as an album taster soon after we realised that, apart from the bigger and much more serious picture, lockdown was also going to have an impact on musicians, live music and album releases. Luckily we had most of this track recorded in order to release it during the pandemic, with only Will’s sax parts having to be added remotely.”

Steve: “The video we did in complete isolation, each of us performing only with the aid of a mobile phone and a party light...”

David: “We were delighted that Rusty Egan picked up on the track and created a dance mix. In keeping with all the tracks on this album it’s broadly about living life as best you can, no matter what is thrown at you.”

Cul De Sac (4.45) (Wright/Crickmore)

Steve Wright – Vocals, Electric Guitar; David P Crickmore – Keyboards, Bass Guitar, Drums, Percussion; Will Howard – Sax

David: “This started as one of Steve’s staccato guitar ideas, in a similar way to ‘This Illness’ from our earliest time on Bill Nelson’s Cocteau Records.”

Steve: “The lyrics are inspired by rather than actually about a real situation. There’s a re-evaluation of an unsuccessful relationship going on. Everyone knows that point at which you’ve got over it a bit, but not completely lost the cushion of bitterness.”

Basement City Living (3.38) (Crickmore/Wright)

Steve Wright – Spoken word; David P Crickmore – Keyboards, Bass Guitar, Percussion

David: “This started as a small bridging instrumental track based around a Mini Moog sequence. It then took on a life of its own in its evocation of a time when we did live with poor means in the middle of a city where life undulated from being vibrant to scary. Like a lot of these tracks it features a cross-pollination of vintage synths that have been with us since Fiat Lux began, like the Jupiter 8, and more modern variants such as the Korg Volca Sample 2, which puts us in mind of an Roland TR 606 with no limits.”

The Night We Should Have Met (5.26) (Crickmore)

Steve Wright – Vocals; David P Crickmore – Keyboards, Electric Guitar; Bass Guitar, Drums, Backing Vocals; Will Howard – Clarinet

Steve: “A ponder on the ‘what could have happened ifs…’ of life. With Will on clarinet.”

Tighter (4.05) (Crickmore)

Steve Wright – Vocals; David P Crickmore – Keyboards, Electric Guitar; Bass Guitar, Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals; Will Howard – Sax

David: “Evokes the early 80s nightlife in our then adopted home of Wakefield. We cut our teeth playing at prototype Alternative Nights in local clubs, pubs and discos where the scene was brewing that brought about both Northern New Romantics and the Gothic movement.”

Steve: “This to me brings back the atmosphere of the kind of places we were playing when we first met our original sax player, the late Ian Nelson.”

David: “I was trying to create a musical reflection on the excesses of dipping a naive youthful toe into any such after dark activities.”

Hope (6.50) (Wright/Crickmore)

Steve Wright – Vocals, Keyboards; David P Crickmore – Keyboards, E-Bow Electric Guitar; Bass Guitar, Percussion, Vocoder Vocals

Steve: “This has strangely turned into an essential sentiment, given the time period it was written in, but when we first mapped it out it was really more about holding out hope with limited prospects, often done when young but can strike at any time.”

David: “E-bow guitar is the main instrumental feature – I was fortunate to be taught by the master of the art Bill Nelson. And we’ve resisted the temptation to use a Vocoder on any of our tracks…until now.”

It Wasn’t Supposed To Be Now (5.02) (Crickmore)

Steve Wright – Vocals; David P Crickmore – Keyboards, Electric Guitar; Bass Guitar, Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals; Will Howard – Sax

Steve: “We could have been drawing on the quote attributed to John Lennon that ‘life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans’ – the lyric reveals different scenes down the course of a life where that idea may or may not be true but basically it’s saying get on with it while you can!”

Breathe You In (4.19) (Wright/Crickmore)

Steve Wright – Vocals; David P Crickmore – Keyboards, Bass Guitar, Percussion, Backing Vocals; Will Howard – Sax

David: “A paean to new and perfect love, whenever it strikes.”

Steve: “Will’s sax and David’s patent Fiat Lux bass guitar sound are to the fore. Originally it had a full on rhythmical track but later, during our work on it, remembering our Polydor producer Hugh Jones’ approach, David paired it down for a more atmospheric result.”

This Is Your Lifetime (4.45) (Crickmore/Wright)

Steve Wright – Vocals; David P Crickmore – Keyboards, Acoustic Guitar, Bass Guitar, Bansitar, Drums, Backing Vocals, Percussion; Will Howard – Sax

Steve: “This sums up the overall theme of the record. It’s certainly one of our big production numbers. Our 1985 lost album Ark of Embers enjoyed a contribution from ‘The Godfather of Percussion’ Pandit Dinesh on tabla. In certain sections of This Is Your Lifetime we've tried to evoke the spirit of his playing. And David also plays a Bansitar."

David: “The Bansitar is a novel instrument, the invention of Peak District based craftsman Helmut Rheingans. It’s akin to a Sitar.”

David: “This might have been the title track had it not been for weightier circumstances presenting themselves during the recording period, which led us to choose Twisted Culture.”


Fiat Lux — Album Discography

  • Hired History (1984) – Polydor
  • Saved Symmetry (2019) – Splid
  • Hired History Plus (2019 reissue with many extras) – Cherry Red on CD / Universal Music digitally
  • Ark Of Embers (The Lost Album) (2019) – Splid LP
  • Twisted Culture (2021) – Splid
Fiat Lux - Steve, David, Will
Fiat Lux - Steve, David, Will

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