Future Islands is an American synthpop band based in Baltimore, Maryland, and signed to 4AD. The band formed in January 2006 in Greenville, North Carolina and is composed of Gerrit Welmers, William Cashion, and Samuel T. Herring
Marcel Thiel, aka Micky Mike, began his career in Belgian punk band Chainsaw (who released one EP, See-Saw, in 1977) before reinventing himself as electronic genius Snowy Red. Possibly the best of all the early minimal synth brigade, Thiel took Numan, Foxx and all the European influences forward into a project quite personal and outstanding while still following the ‘rules’. His music’s sheer sense of wonder and amazing freshness even today is breathtaking.
Snowy Red released four albums, the best of which in my humble opinion is The Right To Die, my second favourite one-finger synth album behind Foxx’s Metamatic. Never Alive is representative of its spine-tingling immediacy, and the lyrics are both ahead of their time and beautifully insane.
Like so many others Snowy Red’s music never received the commercial acclaim it deserved. A final album, titled (in hindsight with tragic irony) The Beat Is Over, surfaced in 1989 on Antler Subway. A live appearance at the Antwerp BimFest in 2003 was the last outing for the project.
Marcel Thiel died in May 2009 aged just 52, after complications following surgery. Onderstroom Records has just released a magnificent 5-album tribute box set including the three 1981-84 albums (Snowy Red, The Right To Die, Vision), plus B-sides, rarities and a newly-unearthed set of demo recordings.