Review: You'd be forgiven for being unfamiliar with the work of short-lived San Francisco band Dub Oven. After all, they only released one 12" single way back in 1983, and that was a self-released, private-press affair. Happily, the dusty-fingered diggers behind Music From Memory are big fans and here offer up a re-mastered reissue. Amazingly, each of the three tracks explores different sonic territory. Contrast, for example, the Tom Tom Club-goes-synth-funk eccentricity of lead cut "Skin 'n' Bones" and "Dub Oven", a thrillingly spaced-out chunk of no-wave/electro fusion that sounds like it could have been beamed down from another universe. Then there's closer "Millions of Sensations", which sits somewhere between Japanese new wave ambience and the post-punk funk of Bristolian outfits The Pop Group and Maximum Joy.
Review: Digital Poodle are one of those outfits from the 1980's who happened to stumble onto techno by accident, focusing on making deadly, driving songs rather than fitting into a genre or style. Alongside them there are the likes of Psychik Warriors Ov Goia and a few others, but this stuff is pretty damn hard to come by, and releases like this are few and far between. The impressive Suction label out of Canada has decided to reissue their "Work Terminal" tune - a screeching, venomous bit of screamo EBM - backed by a trio of remixes. OH transform "Work Terminal" into a more direct techno bullet with subtle swarms of the original's screams, while Solvent give it a more aggressive reshape a-la electro. It's the Metro Tekno version that gets our attention, though, and those heavy percussion patterns must surely be total winners on the sound system.
Review: Dario Dell'aere cut his teeth in obscure Italian synth-pop outfits Ice Eyes and Fockewulf 90, before attempting to launch a solo career in 1985. While that didn't go all that swimmingly, his lone solo single, Eagles In The Night, has long been considered a hard-to-find Italo-disco classic. Here, it gets the re-issue treatment from Dark Entries, who as usual replicate the original track listing and artwork. Slower and more atmospheric than many Italo-disco tracks of the time, Eagles In The Night draws influence from eyeliner-clad new wave pop of the period, with Dell'aere's unusual English vocals stretching out over chiming melodies, bubbling synth lines and dreamy chords. The potency of the original production is confirmed by the superior Instrumental version lurking on the flip.
Review: Junto Club kicked off Snap Crackle & Pop late last year, and now the label returns with the debut solo release from London-based outfit DEEDS. While Rollo and Kiri Inglis may have previously popped up on an obscure compilation on Anti-Ghost Moon Ray, this record should see their coldwave sound shoring up with many more adventurous listeners. "Video Dreams" is a beautifully melancholic slice of electronica while "Unknown" reaches for euphoric heights. Remixes from Bezier and The Field round the record out as a wonderful exercise in emotive home listening electronics for sensitive souls.
Review: Ahead of an impending, headline performance at this year's edition of Berlin Atonal, Richard Fearless opens up his Death In Vegas project to the Industrial icons that are Chris & Cosey. It's "Consequence Of Love," an early highlight of the most recent DIV LP, Transmission, that is the focus of attentions here, and arguably a track that looks to Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti's Throbbing Gristle for inspiration. The original version is presented here on 12" format for those Death In Vegas loving selectors out there who want a loud pressing of the track and the accompanying Chris & Cosey remix does take it to a different place. That breathy vocal is given more prominence and fairly dominates the remix.
Review: There's something strangely alluring about this curious - but undoubtedly inspired - debut EP from Belgian producer Victor De Roo. While brand new, it draws influence from a variety of vintage styles - Berlin school ambient, new wave, The Duratti Column and leftfield European synth-pop, in particular - and sounds like it could have been recorded straight to cassette in about 1984. De Roo's quirky, atmospheric musical sketches - the slo-mo early morning dream pop of "Voorbenachte Rade", spacey synth-scape "Beland In Bed", post-punk Factory Records drone of "Nachtdichter" and beautiful opener "Gewoon" - all come accompanied by stylish spoken word vocals by fellow Low Countries resident Alex Deforce, whose Flemish drawl adds an extra layer of cultured artiness.
Review: Dark Entries has truly become a sensational imprint over the last few years, and they are showing no signs of stopping. In fact, they've just gotten better and better with each new release. We have a special one on our hands this time and, although the label have reissued a whole heap of glorious material, this is NEW music from the very best out there. Chicago industrial-tech-goth Beau Wanzer teams up with Unknown Precept's Maoupa Mazzocchetti, and the dup get on like a house on fire under their new De-Bons-En-Pierre moniker. Crepes is a gnarly little EP, blurring the lines between techno, EBM and industrial, but doing so in a way that makes the three genres sound like they should never ever be apart from one another. "Whole Body Irradiator", for instance, has all the beat elements of techno and yet the sounds are drenched in a punky, fuck-you kinda style that would make the Berghain faithful run for their lives, while we could easily imagine the torn, glitchy beats of "Francine" residing on some long-lost post-punk 7 inch from the likes of Pete Shelley. This is some mad gear - don't miss it.
Review: Though now famed as a top-drawer live performer with a string of acclaimed albums to her name, there was a time when Marie Davidson's music was less widely appreciated. In fact, when this eponymous EP first appeared on cassette in 2013, she was pretty much unknown. As you'd expect, it's perhaps a little more lo-fi than some of her more recent work, but that's what makes the EP so appealing. Check, for example, the sleazy vocals, distant drum hits and cascading melodies of creepy opener "Ma Vie Sans Moi", the unsettling lead lines, ricocheting cymbal hits and powerful drone bassline of "L'unique" and the dystopian, high-tempo minimal wave-goes-bleep techno trip that is "Le Lieu Ou Vous Voulez Vous Rendre"; all three remain amongst Davidson's most arresting cuts to date.
Review: New kids on the reissue block, New Zealand's Strangelove Music are off to a flying start with this beautiful 1983 art pop record from subversive chanteuse Lena D'Agua. "Jardim Zoologico" fuses electro boogie with Afrofunk with healthy measures of cosmic polish while "Tao" is a straight up Balearic gem that sparkles with sentiment and horizontal soul. Only ever released on Portuguese label Valentim De Carvalho, this reissue is over 30 years overdue.
Review: Cache-Cache head honchos Andy Votel and Doug Shipton compile, in their words: unreleased, unknown and unwanted reluctant punk and snide synth pop. Well then: '70s porn funk merges with Latin exotica on Philippe Brejean's "Hilling Car" while Melbourne cosmic travellers Cybotron (yes you heard right, Juan Atkins this 'aint!) traverse the asteroid belt on "Sweet 16/9th Floor". There's more rare gems worth checking. Try Plastiktanz, who released their one and only 12" in 1981 and the curious minimal synth jam "Mir Geht Es Danke Gut" is taken from this. Don Gere, he of Werewolves On Wheels OST (another re-issue on Finders Keepers) goes all guns blazing on the psych rock of "There's A Star In You" while Bernard Szajner aka Zed, (recently rediscovered on Agoria's InFine imprint also) gives us the epic cosmic synth journey of "The Premen" too. There's a lot to get through here and it's all rather curious we must say. Highly recommended.
Review: Italians Do It Better are back with the romance nouveau of French duo Clara Apolit & Thomas Maan aka Double Mixte on their debut release. Produced by label head Johnny Jewel, this dark, romantic yet charming opus takes in aspects of Italo, synth-pop and cold wave across the EP's tracks, or what the label itself described so eloquently as a 'digital thunderstorm of neon lit noire'. The title track's subtle violence, featuring the throb of snarling Vitalic style arpeggios and rusty vintage drum computers supports Apolit's come hither vocal delivery. Mann takes centre stage on the brooding Giallo-styled slow burner "Arlette" (bringing on the sinister Argento horror film vibes) while glassy-eyed closer "November" heads towards a more ethereal direction.
World History Trilogy: Into The Arena/The Temple Crumbles/Orphans Of The Empire (9:51)
Narcissus At The Pool (3:20)
Where Muses Dwell (5:57)
Sequencer's Song (2:18)
Ad Infinatum (5:31)
Theoretical Plane (3:38)
Review: Back in the 80s and 90s, Andrew Szava-Kovats used to go by the name of Dominion, an alias which was bourn out of the rise of electro across the USA and mainland Europe. Through a series of cassettes and slabs of vinyl, the artist manages to remain largely in the shadows while still receiving the praise and respect of the diggers. Spain's excellent Domestica imprint comes through with a much-needed reissue of the man's opening piece of work from 1985, a tape by the name of Where Muses Dwell. Originally out through K.O. City Studio, this is the very first time that this music resides on vinyl, which is a marvel in itself considering just how uber-pioneering it really is. We've tagged this particular LP as cold wave because, in fact, there is a lack of structure to many of these tracks, and that's exactly what makes them alluring to the trained or untrained ear. You can do yourself a favour by forgetting about all that new-school synth-tronica, and getting your vibes here this week. These won't stick around long, so be sure to cop a copy...
Review: There's no doubt that this brilliant, synthesizer-heavy soundtrack played a key part in the success of Netflix's deliciously odd thriller, Stranger Things. Written and performed by Survive members Kyle Dixon and Michael Steen, it has the right balance between John Carpenter style creepiness, Vangelis-like melodiousness, and the cinematic feel of classic movie soundtrack material. Happily, the streaming behemoth has decided to release two volumes of musical highlights from the series, beginning with this first volume. It's testament to the quality of the Texas-based duo's work that those who've not seen the series should still enjoy it. This is atmospheric, clandestine electronic music of the highest order. Moody, immersive, and reminiscent of the best material from the 1980s.
Review: Talk to anyone about Stranger Things and it will only be a matter of minutes before the sensational soundtrack is mentioned. The future retro synths of Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein have a huge impact on deepening the occult feelings you experience when watching the show and that continued through Series 3. Now you can grab the accompanying tracks on neon pink vinyl, which features the vulnerable "You're A Fighter", celebratory 80s synth pop stomps of "Starcourt" and meditative charms of "The Ceiling Is Beautiful" amongst other nuggets of gold. The producers themselves have said this is less a score and more a series of cues, and it certainly got us thinking.
Kaa Antilope - "Rise Up Helicopter, Like A Bird" (3:59)
Clan Of Xymox - "A Day" (6:40)
Ministry - "Same Old Madness" (5:10)
Fad Gadget - "Back To Nature" (5:51)
Review: With the renewed attention surrounding industrial and EBM in the last few years (and its influence on techno, again), it's important that someone with credentials gives the new generation a decent history lesson. Fitting that Berghain resident and MDR boss Marcel Dettmann curates a compilation of classics from the sound's heyday: here's someone who actually lived through it. As part of Amsterdam imprint Dekmantel's Selectors Series, these gems from yesteryear should certainly set the record straight and provide solid reference points for new school retroverts. Highlights (and there's many) include: Belgian EBM legends Front 242 with "Don't Crash", Philadelphia industrial underdogs Executive Slacks' "So Mote It Be" and the mandatory Cabs track comes in the form of "Low Cool" (the Marcel Dettmann Edit, no less). It wouldn't be a proper industrial comp without a bit of Wax Trax! would it? Label staples Ministry appear with their 1982 song "Same Old Madness", a period in the band's history that some consider their finest.
Review: The Desire trio is made up of John Padgett, Megan Louise, and Nat Walker. Together, they've released a handful of EP's and an LP for the excellent Italians Do It Better, and they return to the label with a new six-tracker of off-the-wall, sultry synth disco. "Under Your Spell" is a soundtrack kind of tune, where Louise's vocals ride ever so well amid crunchy, mid-tempo drum machine beats, but there's also plenty of uplifting discotheque fun such as "Don't Call", and the supremely funky "Mirroir Mirroir". The B-side features a moodier vocal mix of the title track, the quirky bleeps and beats of "I Can Dream About You", and the beatless vocal mix of "Don't Call". Whether you're into synth pop, coldwave, or disco, Desire is sure to please your needs.
Review: Recent reviews of Spirit, Depeche Mode's first studio set for four years, have remarked at how angry and frustrated the band seems to be throughout. Messers Gore, Gahan and Fletcher are not particularly happy with the way the world is right now, and have laid down an album of rare intensity, seemingly fuelled by a growing desperation at political events on both sides of the Atlantic. Producer James Ford undoubtedly played a role in defining the sound of Sprit, but the combination of raucous, punk style guitars, thrusting electronics and big choruses is what we've come to expect from Depeche Mode.
Review: Federico De Caroli's Deca project has been waving the flag for Italy's ambient and mystique concrete scene since the mid 1980's. The man's albums, which span a wild and diverse set of experimental sounds, are a rarity these days; this particular reissue, Deca's debut from 1986, is going for near L300 on Discogs, so count this your lucky day. Mass, as the name curiously implies, is a rip-roaring fest of a journey through the deepest and most cavernous of coldwave sounds. With its high-speed pace on the drums and a grainy, grey-scaled coating to round it off, it feels like rave music way before the term was coined. Proto-techno also doesn't it do any justice because tunes like "Inseminoid" or "The Door" go much further than that, heading way out into unknown territories which then became second nature to artists like AFX about a decade later. If you're into your dance music on the industrial side, and if you like it cooked raw, then this will please you endlessly. Be quick, though!
Review: As his career has developed and matured, so Xavier Thomas' sounds has broadened ever further. Never afraid of a concept and constantly looking to take in influence from all over the world, the Debruit mission last shored up on Soundway alongside Alsarah. Now Outside The Line pivots around the idea of washing up on an imaginary island, and it finds Thomas working his effervescent electronics up into joyous melees of tropical flavoured trap and footwork. There's space for playful, dubby house music and speedy bass music, but as always the generic framework plays second fiddle to the rambunctious melodic content.
Review: Richard Fearless returns with Death In Vegas' sixth album 'Transmission'. Collaborating with artist and writer Sasha Grey, the project is a killer combination of Grey's lyrics with Fearless' signature sound, honed in his Metal Box studio. Said to have bonded over a shared love of Chris & Cosey and Throbbing Gristle, the duo really find their comfort zone on this LP. Alongside lead single 'You Disco I Freak', we particularly enjoyed the very Songs Of Love & Lust sounding "Consequences Of Love", the dark and tunnelling minimal techno of "Flak" and sexy EBM pulsations of "Sequential Analog Memory" .
Review: Best known as a collaborator and co-writer on the legendary John Carpenter's recent Halloween score - as well as his Lost Themes and Anthology albums - Daniel Davies now presents his debut album on Kent based imprint Burning Witches. Featured on this eight track LP is a captivating imaginary soundtrack: otherworldly instrumentals that expand on the British-American musician's distinct talent for wringing modernistic soundscapes from vintage synths. It brings to mind the classic synthesized scores of the '70s and '80s. In addition to his work with Carpenter (his godfather), Davies is known for his work with the rock bands Year Long Disaster, Karma to Burn and CKY.
Review: With Minimal Wave at their current celebrated level, it's nice of them to occasionally dig into their archives and reissue some of their earliest releases for those Johnny Come Lately's who might have missed out first time around. Having done the right thing with an all too timely reissue of Das Ding's HSTA late last year, Veronica Vasicka's label now turn their attentions to Blackpool and revisit Spy Thriller by Das Kabinette. Originally released back in 2008, this eight track collection brings together material the trio of Michael Hall, David Bracher and Craig Hemmings recorded in the early 80s including the cult hits "The Cabinet" and "Fudge It" which appeared on a 1983 7". Fans of Silent Servant mixtapes will probably be familiar with these tracks whilst the remaining six tracks are typically unreleased studio productions that paint a fascinating picture of primitive synth music that's subtley touched by the death throes of New Romanticism.
Review: Minimal Wave have done the right thing here and repressed HSTA by Das Ding, undoubtedly one of the most popular heavyweight reissues of their reign thus far. Das Ding is of course Dutchman Danny Bosten, active in the mid 1980s from his Southern Holland base releasing his pioneering brand of electro as well as his friends' music via his own Tear Apart Tapes cassette label. HSTA refers to the Highly Sophisticated Technological Achievement tape Bosten released on the STUM label from which Minimal Wave also took several tracks including the title jam, which you're likely to hear Funkineven dropping these days. It's worth investing in this for "Take Me Away" alone, which sounds likes its been beamed down from the future despite its three decade vintage (Weatherall's a big fan of this one) and the remaining six tracks are just as thrilling.
Review: For Missing Tapes, Minimal Wave has managed to unearth a wealth of previously unheard gems from Dutch electro trailblazer Danny Bosten. Dark electro diggers may be aware of Bosten's early 1980s work, which was initially self-released on cassette, but has also been re-issued since by Minimal Wave and others. The material here was recorded in the same period and rediscovered some years back by the producer. It's similar in style, as you'd expect, with Bosten variously exploring otherworldly electro, sci-fi leaning Italo-disco, stylish, new wave synth workouts, and throbbing proto-techno. What impresses most, though, is the seeming freshness of the material; it might be 35 years old, but it still sounds formidably futuristic.
Review: D.A.L.I. is the new alias of UK legend Deadly Avenger aka Luke Insect aka the baddest British krautrock producer around. To mark the launch of his new moniker he's put out this new album by the name of When Haro Met Sally, a piece of work that evolves his trademark sounds into a blissful range of coldwaves and synthed-out drum-machine grooves. The album progresses in a dream-like state, going from the very loose and ethereal, such as on tunes like "Kuwahara Dreams", to something reminiscent of a 1980s film score - "Goodtimes In Badlands" standing out as a total winner among this extensive collection of summer burners. More than anything else, this LP is a perfect snapshot of a retro nostalgia that has won over dancers worldwide. Recommended!
Review: Over the course of her three year solo career, London-based Australian Carla Dal Forno has steadily moved from a dark, stylish and bleak all-electronic sound to something a little warmer and more organic in tone. On "Look Up Sharp", her third album, she continues this trend, complimenting her usual lo-fi drum machines and synths with low-slung post-punk bass and the kind of pastoral, traditional instrumentation more often associated with folk music (think flutes, recorders, clarinet etc.). It's a curious blend, but one that works wonderfully well throughout the album, and especially on those songs to which she adds evocative, often melancholic vocals.
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