Review: Analogue synthesizer enthusiast Bezier first surfaced on Dark Entries in 2012, delivering the hard-wired retro-futurist fantasy Ensconced. Two years on, he's finally ready to release the follow-up, the similarly sharp and sci-fi themed Telemores. As with his previous output, the influences are obvious - think Radiophonic Workshop, electro, minimal, new wave and Italo-disco - but he smartly steers clear of pastiche and empty revivalism. Instead, we're treated to a range of dancefloor-friendly instrumental cuts, cyborg jams, and intoxicating robot rinse-outs. Closer "Fukushima", in which he doffs a cap to the synthesized horror-disco of John Carpenter, is particularly potent.
Review: You wait ages for a Bezier record, and two come along at once. Following hot on the heels from his excellent Telemores mini-album for Dark Entries, synthesizer enthusiast Bezier drops a surprise 12" for the affiliated Honey Soundsystem. As usual, the French producer has his sights set on mining the past for inspiration. "Mina (Everywhere)" begins in typical fashion - all spacey synthesizers and twinkling melodies - before morphing into a relentless chunk of dirty, Italo-and-EBM inspired house. The pleasingly sunny "Serengeti Drive" is more of a stripped-back Italo-disco bubbler (admittedly with dream-wave flourishes), while "Mysteries of the Deep" offers an intergalactic romp through cold-wave pastures with only cheap old synths and drum machines for company.
Review: Stupendously rare Italo gem from the criminally under-prolific Trieste-based Big Ben Tribe, this quirky poplet first came our way in 1984 on Gong. Last spotted changing hands for hundreds on auction sites, Dark Entries have done the disco world a favour and licensed a reissue. Untouched and naked in all its 80s glory, the synth patterns, abstract lyrics and arrangement were way ahead of their time and clearly influenced many electronic pop and Balearic bands who followed. Vocals just a bit too much for you? No worries, just flip for the instrumental. Tarzan loves summer nights, and we love Dark Entries for unearthing this utter classic.
Review: With releases on a who's who list of labels that are pushing experimental, underground house and techno including L.I.E.S, Creme Organisation, Echovolt and Strange Life, William Burnett has been steadily putting out releases that have gained a lot of respect without having to shout too loud about it. So much so that as well as running his own stella WT Records label, William is now often cited as a producer's producer. Deep and full of dub aesthetics that encompasses a world of it's own, his music is not just driven by a need to keep the floor moving, but are also about taking your headspace somewhere else. Progressing things a stage further is the Black Deer project. Recently launched, but in gestation for some time, it's introspective slant, plus loose referencing to his upbringing in Texas, allows William more freedom for experimentation. The Last Tortuga is taken from the same sessions that yielded the Willie Burns The Overlord EP on Trilogy Tapes as well as Black Deer's Trail Of Tears EP on Rush Hour, this 6 track EP has been due on the label for sometime, but it's been worth the wait as his sound has developed and expanded to take in ambient, drone and krautrock and highlights his musicianship in a new light.
David Bowie/The Rebels - "Revolutionary Song" (4:42)
Marlene Dietrich - "Just A Gigolo" (3:34)
Review: Here's something to get Bowie fans hot under the collar: a first worldwide pressing of the Thin White Duke's "Revolutionary Song", his only contribution to the soundtrack of 1978 West German flick "Just A Gigolo", in which he also starred alongside silver screen legend Marlene Dietrich. The song was recorded with a local band of musicians hastily dubbed "The Rebels" and sees Bowie in classic crooner mode, adding his distinctive vocals to a jangly, largely acoustic number that's effectively a folksy take on waltz. Over on side B there's a chance to enjoy one of Marlene Dietrich's last ever recordings: an atmospheric cover of 1930s cabaret standard "Just A Gigolo" which ended up being the movie's title track.
Review: As per usual, those fiendish folks over at Dark Entries have amazed us once again with yet another barrel of 1980s gold from the depths of the underground. This time it's German new wave band Boytronic who see a reissue, and the EP in question is 1988's "Byllyant", which features the magnificent Plus 8 mix - a shot to the head made up of warm bass tones and hard-hitting drum machine patterns - and also the US mix, which literally sounds like it was made yesterday; for being an '80s EP, Boytronic steered well clear of cheesy and to be honest, they give New Order a proper run for their money. The 1984 mix of "Trigger Track" is a wonderful electro stormer, stamping its fast beats over eerie pads and growling basslines. This would be silly not to recommend! For the diggers.
Review: If you've ever wanted some straight-up italo disco but then wondered where to find it, where to start, who to ask, then Dark Entries have sorted you right out. As usual, the label come through strong, and this time they reissue an italo disco classic by Brand Image (T.Scarfone and M.Scarabelli) originally released in 19983, and representing the genre with flying colours. "Are You Loving?" contains the 1980's in every sense of the word: quirky, melancholic vocals riding over a grainy drum machine beat, and accompanied by massive synth stabs and an inimitable sort of groove - simply lovely. There's an instrumental on the flip just in case you love the sounds but are slightly scared by the power of the vocals...
Review: The mighty Cherrystones originally dropped the crackling party heat of "Blood, Campari & Sand" on his own Bandcamp page, and now he's doing the right thing and committing it to wax via Duca Bianco. It's a vital, funk-rooted jam that revolves around dusty drum licks and piano, as badass as it is considered. "Meta Weta on the flip is equally cool in its execution, this time using some uneasy synth pulses that reverberate between the laconic step of the beat. Drawing on library music, Giallo and deep-digging grooves from the outer reaches, Cherrystones once again demonstrates his knack for off-kilter tackle to get the freakier party set moving in approval.
Review: After appearing on the first Calypso Records release out of Mexico last year, Colossio returns to the fray with a whole EP of sleazy jams for the warm up crowd to get nasty to. "Moto" is a grinding crossover track that features dirty garage guitars to match the low-slung synth undulations and sizzling disco beat, while "Fe" throws the windows open for a ranging cut centred around all kinds of instrumentation played with a post-punk looseness. "Ansia" keeps things nervous and atmospheric without skimping on party energy, and then Man Power swoops in for a remix of "Moto" that keeps things spooky while injecting a swinging groove into the mix.
Review: To accompany their re-release of East Wall's superb 1991 debut album, Silence, Dark Entries has decided to put out the Italian band's forgotten debut release, 1985 single "Eye of Glass". Tending towards the darker end of the Italo-disco spectrum, but blessed with typically cheery synthesizer melodies and skewed female vocals, it's a record that seems far more inspired by the earlier British new wave synth-pop movement than pleasing the clubs of Rome or Rimini. The vocal version is accompanied by a subtly different instrumental, which includes waves of warm synths and offers more prominence to the band's bubbly electronics, throbbing arpeggio bassline, and delay-laden drum machine hits.
Review: Newcomer Feon up next on Optimo Music, with some some gorgeous and sunkissed balearica. The London based producer wrote these tracks in a brisk 10 day session, shortly after the experience of Ayahuasca ceremony - which is evidenced in the psychedelic sound of the first track. He has explained that the production involved his vocals being layered 30 times in different harmonies, then put through a space echo and you can sure hear it! This one was awesome. On the flip, we have the trance inducing muscle disco of "Holland Fly By" with its super cosmic influences enough to propel your mind into the stratosphere. Finally there's something much more experimental on the solemn, breaks-driven tripper "Without Sound".
Review: Following initial appearances on Bahnsteig 23, Jonny 5 returns on the Pleasure Wave label with more of that well-travelled, groovesome voodoo for all manner of sonic wayfarers. "Apocalypse" in particular is a stunning piece of tom-powered menace, but it's quickly offset by the bubbling cosmic delights of "Electronix". "Firedance" on the B-side channels some righteous 80s industrial and synth pop tropes to create it's own kind of drama, and then "Stardriver" finishes the EP off with some pulsing, noirish wave synths and gaseous atmospherics. With the styles shifting from track to track, Jonny 5 has once again done a sterling job of keeping his options open and keeping us locked expectantly into his delirious sound.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Etwas stirs in die Ostlich. Edits and verks of twist sounds. Synth pop, cold wave, neu wave, minimal wave, industrial, neu beat, soundtracks and a selbst Balearen. Freiheit! Als erstes is hero of old Cybernetic Broadcast (CBS) and (Intergalatic FM) radio. Jonny 5 and his verstorbenen Blindsign blog and mixes were a steigen'n'steigen to rescue us from boring neu disco. Schieben his search and discovery for harder, but musical soundscapes. 4 edits is a geschmack. Start brave on the floor feel with the Neu Beut Euro Pop thumper Kaka Kaka. Geschleift, verdreht thoughts. Black Hole is hours spent in Eastern Bloc basements graben in the search for drahts. Stoned indeed, immaculate synth electronic battle cruiser, hart percussion, cut gesang and break. Ready for the percussive finale in Horizon's Change. Was Auch Immer. Bahnsteig!
Review: Thomas Leer was mainly active in the late 70s and early 80s, dropping two singles on Cherry Red that provided the source material for the two original tracks on this Emotional Rescue reissue 12". Opener "Saving Grace" is a rich, bombastic blast of synthwave, all chugging arps and massive leads, while "Tight As A Drum" heads into more psychedelic territory, using strange gating techniques and deft FX to create a wondrous, shimmering bed for Leer's poetic chat over the top. Bringing an inventive angle to the release, the label signed Bullion up for two wonderfully warm, wobbly remixes. Honing in on the weirder qualities of Leer's work, these modern interpretations make a perfect bridge from the old to the new - highly recommended!
Review: A seminal 81/83 record that epitomised so many sounds and melting pots: synth wave, Italo, New Romantic, electro, proto house... The list of worlds this groundbreaking song traversed is remarkable. Here Dark Entries compile the four versions that were cut during its two key release phases on GC Recordings in 1981 and 1983 in all their remastered glory. Smouldering, moody and still relevant to so much going on musically, this is true piece of history.
Review: Chris Garner, Jorg Burckhardt, Matthias Elvers, and Regina Petersen didn't release more than handful of EPs under the Peppermint guise, but what they did put out was as foundational and inspirational as more known electronic bands of the 80s like Liaisons Dangereuses. Dark Entries is responsible for this reissue, of course, a repress of an original going for near 100 bucks on the second-hand market, and this 1983 bomb has that rare characteristic of sounding retro and utterly fresh all at the same time. There's two mixes to the wonderfully wavy "Perfect High", and they both serve their own purpose; the radio edit, as you'd expect, is the one that gets the heads turning, its ominous bass charging menacingly amid the sweeter melodies and classic, new-romantic vocals, while the instrumental makes for the perfect beat companion to any serious cold wave DJ set.
Review: Patrick Keel started his career as a drummer with various unsuccessful bands, before buying a synthesizer in 1980 and forming "one-man-band" The Pool. While he released numerous albums and singles over a five-year period, it's 1983 single "Dance It Down" that has stood the test of time. This Dark Entries reissue features the punchy, electro-influenced new-wave original and spacey Dub from the U.S 12", plus the lesser-known European Mix (closer in style to Italo-disco, though actually made by a Belgian). Arguably even better is flipside "Jamaica Running", where glistening melodies cluster themselves around a proto-dancehall rhythm, and its' stoned, pitched-down alternative mix, "Jamaica Resting".
Review: Those in the know regard Space Art as one of French electronic music's most under-appreciated acts. Active between 1978 and '81, Synthesizer obsessive Dominique Perrier and drummer Roger Rizzitelli were famed for releasing killer chunks of "cosmic pop", before performing them live wearing specially made silver space suits. "Nous Savons Tout", which was recorded and released in 1981, remains one of their most potent singles. Creepy, strange, hypnotic and undeniably cosmic, Perrier's trippy synth parts seemingly rise and fall over Rizzitelli's metronomic, proto-techno drums. Flipside "Melodie Moderne" has an altogether different feel, coming on like a pitched-down, cosmic disco take on the artier side of 1970s progressive rock.
Review: In 1988, German siblings Ernst and Hans-Peter Stroer joined forces with Howard Fine and Nadeen Holloway to produce Kunstdisco Seoul, an EP of synth-pop/neo-classical/Euro-house fusion. "Night Falls", a cheery tribute to mid-to-late '80s Prince, was arguably the EP's strongest moment. Here, it gets the reissue treatment, with the tasty original version being joined by a trio of fresh remixes. Mudegg serves up two interpretations: the jaunty electrofunk-goes-synth-pop flex of the "Machine Mix" and the Balearic nu-disco inspired "Alpha Wave Mix". While these are both fine, the version that really stands out comes from German boogie revivalists First Touch. Their take - an authentic tribute to glistening NYC synth-boogie complete with vintage synthesizers and clattering drum machines - is almost worth the entrance money on its own.
Review: Emotional Rescue did the diggers another great service by gathering up the recorded material from Bordeaux synth-pop outliers Takenoko, and now they're sweetening the deal even further with this EP of wild style mixes from Dresden maverick Sneaker DJ. Picking three of the strongest tracks from the L'Amour Est Mon Arme collection, he comes up with three drastically diverse end results to suit the most adventurous selectors. The "Maquette" mix of "Lee Harvey Oswald" has a wonderfully lo-fi finish that accentuates the DIY new wave angles of Takenoko, while the "Traaans" mix of "Trans Amor Express" becomes a trippy, brittle beat excursion that should appeal to lovers of oddball 80s dub mixes. The "Dynamic" version of "John Wayne" finishes the record off in bombastic fashion, all boxy beats and powerful synth lines punching out underneath the quintessential wavey vocals.
Review: Label co-founder Gianni Vercetti Balopitas aka Vercetti Technicolor returns to Giallo Disco after the Black September LP. Here he presents the soundtrack to 'the psychedelic neon-soaked slasher short' Hard Pill. Directed by Daniel Freedman, Balopitas' Fulci meets Digweed score takes you from Mainetti to Martinez. Drugged out club hits and tense shadowed corridor atmospherics. The title track's dark romance is epic suspense and moodlighting reminiscent of the great John Carpenter while B side electro cut "Voice Of Darkness" goes down the same gothic brooding path as Visonia. It all comes to a thrilling climax on the slow burning closer "She Does" full on rich vintage synth flar, ricocheting Linn drums drenched in gated reverb and the most razor sharp arpeggios you'll ever hear. Alongside Timothy J Fairplay's LP on Charlois, we'd rate this as one of the 2017's finest offerings for new wave Italo fiends and retroverts.
Review: Having released over fifty records since their foundation back in 2009, Dark Entries use the widened exposure afforded by that excellent Patrick Cowley compilation released in the last quarter of 2013 as a springboard to launch a new dedicated 12" series. Retaining their archival approach, the first release focuses on the short-lived Italian act Victrola; formed as a four piece combo in Messina, Victrola slimmed down to the synthesizer and guitar-based duo Antonio "Eze" Cuscina and Carlo Smeriglio and moved to the fertile music scene growing in early 80s Florence. In 1983, the pair issued their one record-shaped contribution to the early 80s Italian synth scene in the shape of Maritime Tatami, a two-track 12? issued on the Electric Eye label. Recorded using the Roland TR303 and TR606 at a time when these models had only been made available, so this reissue of Maritime Tatami from Dark Entries offers a chance for people to assess a slice of analogue experimentation at its most nascent.
Review: This vinyl issue presents some of Edward Artemiev's finest soundtrack work, taken from Andrei Tarkovsky's classic films Stalker and The Mirror. The A-side is given over to four tracks from Stalker, with the haunting themes of the film's narrative explored in the title theme with chilling synth textures, pan pipes and harpsichord tones, while the prickly textures of "Train" and "They Go Long" offer tense introspection. "Exodus" and "Dedication To Andrei Tarkovsky" from The Mirror both offer that unique combination of monolithic scale and pastoral melody that makes Artemiev's music so intriguing.
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: Soundtrack reissues specialists Death Waltz finally deliver what everyone has been waiting for; a newly remastered edition of Angelo Badalamenti's timeless score for Twin Peaks. A project that was first announced back in 2014, Death Waltz have really put the work in here on this double LP presentation. Seeking out engineer Tal Miller to remaster the score, getting the approval of David Lynch on the artwork, sleeve notes from Badalamenti and of course the music itself pressed up on "damn fine coffee" coloured vinyl. Musically speaking, do we really need to describe what is a classic selection of compositions from the American? Both the foreboding "Twin Peaks Theme" and somewhat more soothing "Laura Palmer's Theme" should be singed on the cerebral cortex of any self-respecting fan of culture.