‘There are still people trying to work out what a genius Gary Numan is.’ Prince
‘I was always impressed by the way Gary Numan found his own voice–and it was unusual–but it was unmistakably him and boldly him. I see me doing what I learned from him.’ Trent Reznor, Nine Inch Nails
As an Electro and Industrial music pioneer Gary Numan’s influence has been recognized by a diverse array of the world’s greatest artists—from Prince to Lady Gaga, Jack White to Kanye West; Beck to Queens Of The Stone Age, and The Foo Fighters to Nine Inch Nails. Numan’s impact was crystallized in the U.S. some three decades ago with his now legendary performance of his worldwide hit ‘Cars’ and ‘Praying To The Aliens’ to an audience of 40 million people on the US TV institution that is Saturday Night Live—a performance that changed the sound of popular music forever.
While Numan’s unique, pioneering style continues to connect with fans from the worlds of EDM, Industrial, Hip-Hop, Metal, and Indie-rock, he remains as focused as ever in pursuing his own singular vision. Numan has never stopped trying to innovate and his latest album ‘Splinter (Songs From A Broken Mind)’—released 15th October 2013–is evidence of this desire to never standstill. Utilizing many new sounds and ideas whilst retaining the feel of a classic Numan record, the softly spoken Numan posses one of the most distinctive voices in music. His unique vocal style evokes a feeling of machinery and icy alienation whilst provoking strong emotions within the electronic noise of classic albums such as ‘The Pleasure Principle’ and ‘Telekon’ that connects with his loyal and ever-growing fan base of self-proclaimed Numanoids.
Marking Numan’s first full-length studio album since 2006’s ‘Jagged’, ‘Splinter (Songs From A Broken Mind)’ sees the Award winning electro-pioneer team-up with Nine Inch Nails guitarist Robin Finck and producing partner Ade Fenton to unleash his heaviest and most accomplished album to date. However, the seven-year wait between albums was not something Numan intended. After the critically-acclaimed reception of ‘Jagged’ he planned to swiftly follow-up the album with ‘Splinter’; having announced the title of the record many years ago as his next project after envisaging the sound of the album in his mind. But plans for the release of ‘Splinter’ constantly changed as Numan went through phases where he found it impossible to write due to a crippling lack of self-confidence brought on by severe bouts of deep depression. Despite this dark time Numan continued to tour, including being personally invited by super-fan Trent Reznor to join Nine Inch Nails during their set to perform several of his own songs including ‘Cars’ and ‘Metal’, which NIN had previously covered, on the band’s 2009 ‘Wave Goodbye’ tour. Numan also managed to co-write the single ‘My Machines’ with Battles, and Numan’s music continued to stay in the spotlight thanks to bands such as Jack White’s The Dead Weather covering the classic ‘Are ‘Friends’ Electric?’. For all his success over the years, Numan has never felt confident of his talents or comfortable with his role as a songwriter and during the making of ‘Splinter’ he would constantly throw out ideas and start over again and again. But Numan wasn’t only contending with completing new music, his personal life was full too, with a much publicized move to a new home in Los Angeles with wife Gemma and their three young daughters.
Numan’s permanent relocation to the US reinvigorated his creativity and had an immediate positive effect, with ‘Splinter (Songs From A Broken Mind)’ eventually being finished in his LA studio at the start of 2013 with Fenton as producer. The album features 12 tracks ranging from the classic Numan melodies and vocal delivery of ‘I Am Dust’ to slower velocity anthems such as ‘Where I Can Never Be’ and the orchestral strings of ‘The Calling’. Carefully curating the talents of guitarist Robin Finck to add a rich, eastern texture on several tracks, Numan ensured that ‘Splinter’ is most definitely an electronic album. Right from the start, it’s thrilling to hear Numan’s voice—almost unchanged from his early years—set against a backdrop of cold, dark electronics. And there’s both a real edge and sense of urgency to the new material, in the whiplash choruses and thundering bass lines of ‘Everything Comes Down To This’ and ‘Love Hurt Bleed’. There’s also a lingering sense of pain and isolation. ‘My Last Day’ and ‘Lost’ are two of his finest songs, an aching sense of loss communicated with a signature directness showcases his unique writing capabilities. Whilst ‘We’re The Unforgiven’ and the title-track en-rich the sound with weird hooks and Arabian riffs in a dark escapism from some of the more personal lyrics on the album.
‘Splinter (Songs From A Broken Mind)’ will be released in North America on 15th October with tour dates beginning in August through to November, including appearances as the special guest on the upcoming Nine Inch Nails arena tour at the personal invitation of Trent Reznor.