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 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: Platform 23 continue to do a great service to all seekers of furtive sounds from the DIY underground, this time shining a light on the wonderful Mode I/Q. Anyone who digs the sound of New York-tinged new wave and danceable post punk will love this record - the limber disco funk of the rhythm section meets with squalling guitar textures and dubby FX, all shot through with a hooky pop sensibility that makes this record so easy to fall in love with. "Confidence" is especially strong, as is the ramshackle party starter "Two Different Things". It seems there's no end to the overlooked gems from this golden era of independent music - it's time to catch up with Mode I/Q and file them next to your favourite disco-not-disco movers and shakers.
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: Platform 23 is delighted to present music from Colin Potter with It Was, a collection of tracks chosen from his 1989 cassettes Recent History Volumes 1 & 2.
After a burst of activity, mainly on his ICR label, from 1980 - 82, the tapes were the first released music in seven years and highlighted the intervening period.
While much of his earlier recordings have now been reissued by Dark Entries, Deep Distance and Sacred Summits, It Was covers the period where Potter recordings were limited while working as an engineer at his IC Studio, and pre-date his work with Nurse With Wound.
The ambience and guitar of The French Polisher leads to Diary Of A Nobody, an embodiment of Potter, sequencers and guitar against submerged, metallic percussion rising. Dense, claustrophobia follows in Solidarity At Wujeck Colliery towards the guitar refrains of Persistence.
Side two starts with Green Fields, where plucked guitars are surrounded and consumed by arpeggios. Propulsion without percussion, the layers of arps shift and redefine before the scatter of Saw with reversed synths and guitar acting as counterbalance. Nine Months, a possible centerpiece, has an autumnal atmosphere; crashing cymbals and ambulant guitar, leading to the closing Ships That Pass In The Night, a hazy drift of slowly sequenced synths & primitive voice samples.
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.