I’ll take any excuse to write about Christian rock, it seems, but Good Friday is probably the tackiest yet. Nonetheless, I’d like to take a moment to pay tribute to the strange genius of Christian alternative music, Ronnie Martin, and his synthpop project, Joy Electric.
Ronnie has been around the strange business of Christian music since the early 1990′s, performing in the Blonde Vinyl act Dance House Children with his brother Jason (now of the band Starflyer 59, which has its own obsessive following). Following the break up of Dance House Children, Ronnie took the only reasonable artistic route: He wrote an album of synthpop tunes about candy and fairytales as one of the first acts on Tooth and Nail Records, a label now better known for churning out dozens of largely identical emo acts, but then still somewhat cool. His first album, Melody, was released in 1994, and Ronnie has since turned out album after album of decidedly strange but brilliant synthesizer-pop. If Joy Electric were a secular act releasing music on cassette only, Ronnie Martin would be hailed as an outsider genius, but with the “Christian” tag permanently affixed, he remains a nice guy with a regular job who happens to have a huge discography of his own. His video collection is a little meager, since Tooth and Nail seems to spend their money elsewhere in most cases, but here are a few selections for your enjoyment.
From my favorite album, We Are The Music Makers, “Burgundy Years”:
Red Will Dye These Snows of Silver:
Song For All Time:
and Ronnie from the movie Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music?:
Joy Electric [Official site]