Soft Riot is Jack Duckworth, a former Vancouverite now living in London who traces his musical beginnings to the vibrant underground art-punk/ hardcore scene emergent across the Canadian and American west coasts in the mid-90s. Duckworth was among the fixtures in that community’s northern outpost before helping to consolidate the early outpourings of a larger pre-“synth/new-wave” revival with his band Radio Berlin alongside others like Black Mountain, Wolf Parade, Frog Eyes, etc, though his output has shifted at least a few degrees from that older sound. His move to London is at the heart of his ongoing personal maintenance; the new atmosphere and cultural dynamic giving fuel to Soft Riot, previously just a concept.
Originally released as a shorter EP on Vancouver imprint Panospria, No Longer Stranger has been expanded by the addition of two re-recorded contemporaneous tracks into an eight song LP for its appearance on San Diego’s Volar Records. Duckworth self-describes the album as not “late night club music”, preferring to locate it in “dimly lit rooms and dark street corners” and its futurist outlook paired with his well-explored interest in film makes for a uniquely cinematic experience; all the drama of pulsating synths with a more or less menacing, semi-ambivalent narrative voice and approach to vocals, themselves done in a uniquely dynamic timbre relative to the norms of the synth revival.
Soft Riot is also releasing around this time an album of more current material called Fiction Prediction, available late 2012 on the European label Other Voices and later in the US again on Volar Records in 2013. While retaining the recognizable sound of the No Longer Stranger, Duckworth’s new material sees Soft Riot moving in a more upbeat, slightly more “synth-pop“ direction.
REVIEWS FOR THE ORIGINAL “NO LONGER STRANGER” RELEASE:
“...an exercise in spooky aesthetics that sets its hazy mood with dark drones, throbbing electronic rhythms, and dread-dripping soundscapes. If you’re looking for inspired electronic music that will give you the creeps, this is a keeper.” - Tim Anderl, YouIndie.com
REVIEWS FOR THE “ANOTHER DRONE IN YOUR HEAD” EP (released on Tundra Dubs, February 2012):
“...nothing’s quite touched the spectral glow of Soft Riot. It’s Jack cued up to serious next level: The conceptual result of all those wicked synthscapes and EBM swagger filtered through a pin-prick minimal lens. Soft Riot en masse, is what it’s refusing to do. Like the tension-soaked soundtrack to a robotic mob, just on the brink of anarchy.” - Mollie Wells, Mishka Blogin NYC