Review: Mannequin and Platform 23 Records reissue what is considered to many the most complete album by perennial anarcho-outsiders Bourbonese Qualk.
The last recorded album at their South London squat, The Ambulance Station on the Old Kent Road, and again released on their own Recloose Organisation, saw the band develop further beyond the limits of the post-punk / industrial scene where genres increasingly became redundant.
Ethno, jazz, funk and EBM are all buried deep in the album as it seeks independence. The title, a critique of the Labour movements ineffective and limited call to arms against the prevailing Thatcherism of the mid-80s, encapsulates this wider oeuvre.
From opening Return To Order, the acoustic gloom is offset by tight musicianship and countering melody. The switch of Outcry precedes psychedelic anthem, Boggy Creek, with its VU remembrance. Blighted pulses Confrontation, Xenophobia, Backlash and closer, Insurrection, sense the darkness, but the ground has shifted forwards with the legendary 1.51 minutes of man'n' machine that is Lies, the enwrapping symphonic dub vocal of Born Left Hearted and incongruously pretty, Is It As It Was?
At times, suffocating, uncomfortable, at others light appears as history progresses. Preparing For Power is BQ at their most uncompromising and essential.
Review: The reissue material from the archives of Bourbonese Qualk keep on coming, with this second salvo from the sturdy partnership of Mannequin and Platform 23. The visionary London industrial agitators were on vital form on "Hope", which came out midway through 1984, and now Rude 66 has remastered the music for fresh ears. The mood is persistently murky, but it moves from danceable anti-funk to gutter-dwelling noise baths and atmospheric sonic totems. At once mystical and incisive, otherworldly and grittily real, this is another brilliant reframing of one of the UK's true industrial titans.
Review: The new Platform 23 release speaks to the fun and freaky side of vintage industrial - all Fairlight CMI slap bass funk and madcap sampling that nods to Tackhead amongst other reference points. It's no surprise to learn Chel White was producing this music between 1985 and 1991, although it's impressive considering he was primarily busy as a visual artist. Behind the zany sound palette there are some serious chops too - a distinct flavour that's all his own which reflects the early days of sample culture opening up the language of electronic music production in immeasurable ways.
Review: Concept City was a low-key release in 1985 that surfaced on Cordelia Records, an underground favourite for lovers of esoteric ruminations from bedroom producers tinkering with technology. That makes it no surprise this reissue of work from Mr Concept appears on Platform 23, the perfect home for such charming collages of sound recorded on lo-fi four track. The mood veers from track to track on "November" but there's a generous nod to The Durutti Column in the lingering guitar refrains that appear on many tracks. The scratchy, stuttering samples take on a hypnotic quality in their manic triggering, all caked together on tape and now lovingly repressed for fresh, inquisitive ears.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: The Alternative Funk series was a hidden weapon for obsessive collectors of 80s obscurities across the spectrum of new wave, minimal wave and other such cult movements in this most creative of eras. With Platform 23 having just dropped the first volume of reissued material from this deep cover collection, they're right back on the case with another 15 oddball gems for your delectation. Dee Nasty's "Orientic Groove" is as exotic and funky as it sounds, while 3M create a kind of nightmarish collage of noise, found sound, percussive lurch and a positively unhinged brass section. That gives you just some idea of the scope you can expect to enjoy on this welcome reissue.
Review: Billing themselves as an ethno-industrial outfit, French group Vox Populi! have more in common with the German kosmische movement than the sound of their own fair land. They came from serious stock, including Axel Kyrou's mother who was a musique concrete pioneer at GRM, which set them up to make a bold and challenging debut album Myscitismes, originally released on their own Vox Man label in 1985. Combining advanced studio manipulation and liberal FX treatments with a pastoral folk thrum, motorik synth work and a heavy dose of pan-continental mysticism, they created a stunning and forward-thinking work that sounds shockingly relevant in the here and now. Finally reissued after more than 30 years, now is the perfect chance to grab this trailblazing slice of sonic sorcery.