Review: Music From Memory's first retrospective of obscure Brazilian electronic music, "Outro Tempo", was arguably one of the strongest compilations of 2017. There's a second volume on the way, with curator John Gomez this time focusing on music made between 1984 and '96. First, though, we get this taster EP featuring two previously cassette-only cuts. On the A-side you'll find Bruhaha Babelico's "Bruhaha II", a ghostly and mind-altering chunk of delay-laden new wave/industrial funk fusion full of fuzzy bass, echoing female vocals, dubbed-out electronics and psychedelic yelps. Turn to the flip and you're greeted by Individual Industry's off-kilter, outer-space synth-pop jam "Eyes". Like its predecessor, it's an unusual, intoxicating treat.
Review: The latest instalment in Pinkman's white label Broken Dreams series is a collaborative affair with imprint affiliate Identified Patient joining forces with vocalist Sophie Du Palais, who has previously contributed to one of the producer's other EPs. Du Palais is in full on mascara-clad minimal wave mode on trippy opener "Peaceful Panic", a throbbing fusion of raw synthesizer riffs, mind-altering arpeggio lines and crunchy drum machine hits. Her stylish spoken word vocals come to the fore on dark and psychedelic electro number "Sleep Without Rest", before Lasznikoff joins in the fun on closer "Everything is Done", a fuzzy and up-tempo workout rich in macabre, low-register riffs, incessant percussion hits and trippy, late night aural textures.
Review: Ah, a real gem of the NYC No Wave era is the focus of Dark Entries attentions here as the stunning Holland Tunnel Dive by ImpLOG is given a more than timely reissue. For the uninitiated out there, ImpLOG were formed by The Contortions band members Don Christensen and Jody Harris under the name ImpLOG, after the former left the iconic No Wave act in 1979, and released just the two records together. The story goes that Christensen's recorded experiments with found sounds, and an array of instruments such as a Univox drum machine and Casio keyboards impressed Lust/Unlust Records founder Charles Ball sufficiently enough to issue two tracks from the submitted demo tape as the Holland Tunnel Dive 12? in 1980. It's remained a highly prized record ever since and this lovingly recreated edition from Dark Entries is a must!
Review: Fans of mechanical techno-not-techno sounds will be all over Minimal Wave's latest transmission from 80s French underground heroes In Aeternam Vale. Having reissued several essential lost works from the outfit last year, most notably the proto-Sandwell sound of "Highway Dark Veins", Veronica Vasicka delivers another two tracks from the vault. Stylistically mirroring that previous two track release the title track is an equally brilliant synth-techno beast which could easily pass for a Function track today, while B-side "Calling Somewhere" sounds like a cold wave version of proto-halfstep. Needless to say, the fact that these tracks are 22 years old literally left us speechless.
Review: Fresh from releasing the superb Pink Flamingos album on Dement3d, In Aternam Vale returns to Minimal Wave. This time round, he's not alone. Each of the tracks features the breathy, stylish vocals of Madrid-based Belarusian, Anneq. Her sleazy, whispered refrain is the headline attraction on the throbbing, industrial pop-meets-techno hustle of "Je Ai Dissous", while she also chats seductively over the undulating arpeggio lines, restless drums and dystopian atmospheres of "Tendencia (About Blank Version"). The ambient-leaning "V6" take of that cut is also hugely inspiring, while the Page R version of "Je Ai Dissous" is a dark, atmospheric and intoxicating celebration of legendary '80s "computer musical instrument", the Fairlight CMI.
Review: San Francisco trio INHALT burst onto the scene back at the turn of the decade, going on to release a trio of well-regarded EPs on [Emotional] Especial and Dark Entries. Here they return to the latter label with their first 12" for almost four years. As usual, their music is stylish, dark and clandestine, with wild-eyed German vocals riding brooding, John Carpenter-influenced arpeggio lines, creepy chords and bustling drum machine grooves. Our pick of the bunch is probably the up-tempo, triple time hustle of "Commerce", though the more polished and atmospheric opener "Alles" and EBM-minded bubbler "Schwarz" are also mighty fine.
Cameron Allen & Graham Bidstrup - "Bikini Atoll" (3:40)
Foot & Mouth - "I Want My Mummy" (4:15)
Review: An intriguing confection put together by two Antipodean crate-diggers with an ear for the eccentricities and heroic creative travails of a generation of yore, 'Midnight Spares' chronicles a predominantly '80s era in which bedroom musicians took a post-punk DIY sensibility to create work that still rings out with originality and ingenuity decades on. Collected from manifold unusual sources, this compendium takes in early synth-pop, menacing lo-fi soundtrack work, a stray emigre member of The Flying Pickets, and even an early foray into recording from the members of legendary Ozpunk scamps God. Lurking somewhere between the spirit of John Peel and the world of outsider art, the resulting assemblage is a must-have for chroniclers of the weird and wonderful.
Review: Spanish darkwave enthusiasts Oraculo first appeared on our radar earlier in the year upon the release of the fabulous Larm Und Stahl EP - which featured great music by Melania, Crystal Geometry and Synths Versus Me. The Cataluna based label had been broadcasting their dark transmissions for a long time before this though, having released music by established names on the scene such as Boy Harsher, Kareem, Violet Poison and The Hacker. They now present I Tpame I Tvrame: the duo of Franc Kurti and Dina Hajrullahu, based in Tirana, Albania. Existing in the interzone of goth, EBM and electro, the duo's brooding noir antics are at once bold as they are sensual across this collection of a dozen or so tracks. Dina Hajrullahu's deadpan vocals are complemented by Franc Kurti's giallo synths, wailing guitars and metallic drum computer patterns.
Review: Minimal Wave return to their self-professed "First French love" In Aeternam Vale with a second LP-shaped trawl through the band's sizeable archive of cassette only releases. The Brooklyn imprint first introduced us to the work of the hugely prolific Lyon band with an eponymous LP of remastered material in 2009, and Dub Under Brightness proves to be just as important a release. The label points to an article on the band originally published by the Douche Froide magazine in 2002, where the journalist nails their appeal in the opening gambit - "There are bands that have been acting ruthlessly in the shadow for years, in a completely confidential manner, then one day chance (but does chance exist?) makes you find one of their recordings, listen to it, and at that moment you could kick yourself for not having discovered these soundscapes earlier and you try to find all of them". If you haven't indulged in the sounds of In Aeternam Vale yet, this eight track selection makes for a perfect introductory primer.
Review: The members of Munich's Instant Music have all done their fair share of wonderful things throughout the 80s post-wave scene, but their one-off LP as Instant Music is the one that still gets all the praise, both from listeners and second-hand sharks, so it's only natural that the mythical Dark Entries have gone on to reissue it in all its glory. The 1981 album is a stand-out piece of work, managing to merge the very best of post-punk, synth-wave and, yes, even a little bit of proto-techno. The latter is heard mainly through its arrangements and bass tones, perfectly formed for dancefloor action...and domination. All of it is, of course, guided by the wonderfully subtle and minimalistic vocals of Marion Siekmann, who then went on to do great things with Ski Und Der Rest. Recommended!
Review: Ionnalee's 2018 debut album "Everyone Afraid To Be Forgotten" was superb, so hopes are high for the artist's similarly minded sequel. "Remember The Future" is a little bolder, shinier and more upbeat than its predecessor, though stylistically it still sounds like a 21st century update of Kate Bush's distinctive early '80s sound circa "The Dreaming" and "Hounds of Love". It's a dreamy, ethereal and otherworldly take on electronic pop that's always alluring and often memorable. The album's plentiful highlights include "Some Body", the superb Zola Jesus collaboration "Matters" - a deep, bubbly and intoxicating affair - and "Mysteries Of Love", an echoing, Royksopp-produced cover of a song from David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti's "Blue Velvet" movie soundtrack.
Review: Biff! Dark Entries is on one of their famous rolls right now! We thought that after Portion Control's much needed reissue, the label were going to run out of steam but here they are again Van Kaye and Ignit's A Slight Delay, a tape cassette originally released in the early 1980's which has been hidden in the coils of time ever since. The Arnhem university duo were fascinated by percussive electronic rhythms and their collaboration works wonders, where lo-fi beats meet punky vocals in a fun yet sinister kinda mood. To be honest, this is just pure coldwave magic for all you collector-fiends out there and you'd be silly not to purchase because the only other way you'll find it is looking through millions of cassettes in weird junk shops.