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: 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.
Five Times Of Dust - "Computer Bank" (The Floor mix) (7:12)
Five Times Of Dust - "Armoured Car" (6:57)
Unovidual & Tara Cross - "Like I Am, Comme Je Suis" (The Floor mix) (7:11)
Unovidual & Tara Cross - "Imponative" (3:28)
Review: Thanks to the eternally revered Minimal Wave imprint, out of NYC, Mark Phillips and Robert Lawrence's Five Times Of Dust project is going through a bit of a revival. The duo had first released some post-punk cassettes back in the 80s, and they clearly have not been forgotten. On this new remix EP, "Computer Bank" is given a makeover in the form of a The Floor remix, who proceeds to add all sorts of quirkiness over the tune's tough, heavy bass and driving rhythm; "Armoured Car" breaks the 4/4 in favour of something much closer to the band's original drum machine style. Once again, on the flip, we have a remix of "Like I Am, Comme Je Suis" by The Floor, who throws up a gnarly electro bass onto shady, neo-romantic vocals, and the whole things is finished off by "Imponative" from Unovodual and Tara Cross, who produce a slow, heady industrial groove for the dancefloor.
Review: Back in 1981, London-based Anthony Waites decided to create some "poetic, subversive pop music" with borrowed synthesizers in friends' bedroom studios. The result was a sole, self-released seven-inch single under the Scenes De La Boheme alias, a record that has long been a cult item amongst collectors. "Standing In The Rain", his first ever album, includes those two tracks - the bubbly brilliance of "Zara" and the lo-fi, beat-free, guitar-driven shuffle of "The Tale Of The Butterfly" - alongside four others recorded in the same period. It's an impressively off-kilter and atmospheric set, with the early Human League style hum of "Leap Into The Void" and the icy shuffle of "A City Such As This" standing out.
Arvid Tuba - "The Seasons Are Sitting On Chairs" (3:43)
Subject - "Don't Be Blind" (2:56)
Denial - "California Dreaming" (3:10)
Unovidual - "Dit Is Pas Het Begin" (4:19)
Aural Indifference - "Park" (3:31)
Autumn - "You Are You Are" (1:30)
Review: Over the last two or three years, New York's Minimal Wave outpost has focussed on releasing plenty of new music that fits in line with their unashamedly 'cold-wave' approach, and this has opened them to a whole variety of listeners and DJs. However, in our opinion, where they truly shine is in providing the underground masses with compilations such as this latest The Bedroom Tapes: A Compilation Of Minimal Wave From Around The World 1980-1991, a glorious snapshot of all the very best slices of lo-fi that has largely gone unnoticed to the modern eye. Of course, the majority of these tunes are now expensive in their original formats, but we're taking about a small crew of Discogs sharks who are upping the prices. Here, you're able to properly - and peacefully - enjoy some of the very best minimal machine-drum soul from peeps like Karen Marks, Vorgruppe, Perfect Mother and Aural Indifference, among others. This truly is a feast for the modern digger. Excellent.
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: Minimal Wave's 15th release is an LP by Stereo called Somewhere In The Night. The LP brings together the French band's best material recorded between 1982-1985, including the cult songs Somewhere In The Night and No More. The release is also available on CD, both formats are limited edition. The LP comes with a printed insert of photos and the CD comes with a mini poster. They both include full versions of each song, as well as an unreleased track from 1985 : Lover On The Run.
Review: The judicious Minimal Wave clan deliver another brilliant compilation of rare and wonderful music from the 1980's, this time an anthology of the best work from Japanese artiste Tomo Akikawabaya. Sourcing these songs in their original format has become harder and harder over the years, so they've really done us a favour with this effort. The double LP is made up of loneseom drones, lo-fi drum machine grooves and gorgeous synth work, all coated in Akikawabaya's wonderful vocal stance. The Japanese artiste has a unique style that borders on the melancholic, yet her music is always charged by a driving, proto techno feel. This is one to check if you weren't in the know.
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: A much needed repress for one of Minimal Wave's best and most impressive looking archival releases here. Originally issued four years ago, Synthesize pulled together some nine tracks from the archives of Autumn, aka Belgian duo Peter Bonne and Geert Coppens whose musical experiments together began in the 1970s and took full flight the next decade. This collection's inspiration comes from the 1981 &" of the same name that Autumn laid to tape in under seven hours, with both tracks featured and complemented by a further array of primitive electronics and supple synth experiments. It's worth it alone for the nervous energy of "Night In June" and "Laughter Of A Madman".
Review: Initially released in 2010, Minimal Wave's retrospective of obscure French '80s outfit Deux remains one of the label's most sought-after compilations. Here, it gets a deserved re-press, allowing a whole new generation of listeners to fall in love with the quirky works of the Lyon-based duo. The album's ten tracks, which were drawn from various obscure cassettes and seven-inch singles, effortlessly join the dots between moody electro, cold-wave, new wave and eccentric synth-pop, reflecting the pair's esoteric approach to wayward electronic pop. This second edition comes in a hand-numbered edition of 999 copies, with Minimal Wave's usual attention to detail present on the weighty packaging.
Review: Originally released back in the early '80s, Veronica Vasicka's label has done its audience a fine service by re-releasing Portrait by Swiss duo Guyers Connection. Full of self-conscious vocals and in places decidedly lo-fi synth lines, it's surprising and disappointing that this collection wasn't a big hit first time round. After all, both "Pogo of Techno" and "Keep the City Clean" are as catchy as an oddball Yazoo, "Die Grille" is a jaw-dropping, windswept synth composition and "National Und Stander" sees the duo fuse ponderous piano lines with pulsing, rippling basslines. Best of all though is "Ein Glas Voll Gurken" a breathy synth-pop song that could have conquered charts had it been sung in English.
Review: Minimal Wave's latest must-have release shines a light on the largely forgotten work of early '80s Belgian misfits The Misz, a duo who recorded and released off-kilter new-wave pop on limited edition cassettes via a variety of obscure labels. Their trademark sound - created using cheap and little-known synthesizers, lo-fi drum machines, effects-laden guitars and stylish vocals - remains hugely alluring, with this ten-track collection offering a superb introduction to their work. We're particularly enjoying the effects-laden trip that is "It Ain't All Garbage", the doomy shuffle of "A La Recherche De BL" and the alien synths and weirdo vocals of "Zastava Home", but there are plenty of other tracks across the LP worthy of lavish praise.
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: Minimal Wave present a reissue of Yoshifumi Niinuma's 1980 self-titled debut album, having already released his Automaticism and Plastic Love EP's previously. Produced in his Tokyo living room, Niinuma built his own synthesizers and speakers from scratch to create these 'intense proto-techno soundscapes.' A zeitgeist of early pioneering electronics, it runs the gamut from minimal synth ("A Worm"/"Automatic Type"), noisy industrial beats such as on "Temprament" or early electro sounds as heard on "Quick Starttype".
Review: The combination of Richard H. Kirk and Minimal Wave was never going to disappoint, but the four tracks on this Never Lose Your Shadow 12" are still very special! Digging deep through the archives of the Cabaret Voltaire front man, Veronica Vasicka presents a quartet of solo recordings that have never been committed to wax before. The highlight is undoubtedly the A Side title track, a lolloping ten minute track of hypnotic industrial action made all the more memorable by Kirk's acerbic intonations about "the blind leading the blind". If you've caught a Vasicka DJ set recently you will have probably lost yourself to these ten minutes. On the flip are three tracks recorded in the same late '70s period which are distinctly more experimental in tone and just as vital.
Review: The unwritten rule with any release from the Minimal Wave camp is that the illuminating nature of the music and the delightful way it's presented will almost always be matched by the story behind it - something that is undeniably true of their latest release, a collection of tracks from mid 80s UK synth act Hard Corps. Fronted by towering vocalist Regine Fetet, the band surfaced in 1984 with the two track single Dirty (the title track is included here) gained the studious attentions of John Peel (RIP) before signing with a major label and granted the chance to work with two 80s production titans in Martin Rushent and Daniel Miller. Hard Corps disbanded in 1989, having only released the one single Je Suis Passee amidst malcontent at their lack of support from Polydor. Clean Tables Have To Be Burnt collates six tracks from the Hard Corps canon, with the aforementioned "hits" accompanied by unheard archival material that will pique the fancy of any self regarding Minimal Wave fan.