Review: The original pressing of Subsequent Pleasures, the self-financed and ludicrously limited debut EP from Dutch darkwave pioneers Xymox (later to rename themselves Clan of Xymox), is notoriously hard to get hold of. Props, then, to reissue specialists Dark Entries for making it available again on vinyl for the first time since 1983. While this version doesn't include all of the tracks featured on the original, it does contain all the killers, including the electro-goth wooziness of "Going Around", the Joy Division-ish "Strange 9 To 9" and the superb synth workout "Call It Weird". It's one of those releases that should be an essential purchase for anyone with even the remotest interest in darkwave.
Review: Initially a duo responsible for a sole 7" release on Blind Prophet, Void Vision re-emerges here as the sole project of Shari Vari on this sublime 12" for the excellent Mannequin Records. The three track Sour precedes a debut Void Vision LP for the Berlin-based operation which is apparently due later this year and we cannot wait based on the sounds explored here. Lead track "Sour" is a ripe and muscular Italo track which is profoundly danceable and wholly erotic, whilst the accompanying remix from Bordello A Parigi pair Vanzetti & Sacco does a splendid job in magnifying more dancier elements of Void Vision's production. The full throttle instrumental thrust of closing track "20/20" will please fans of Void Vision's earlier work though we are more focused on what she's going to do next!
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: 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: Crimes Of The Future is the kind of label you can trust, no matter who is at the controls. The same could be said for Giallo Disco, and certainly the two labels orbit a similar space for lurid soundtrack-inspired hardware jams from the Italo age. Vercetti Technicolor is one half of the Giallo team alongside Antoni Maiovvi, and here steps out with a perfectly bombastic range of compositions that revel in B-movie brilliance. "Golden Taurus" is the perfect slow-burner, those mono bass notes warming like no soft synth ever could, while "Topaz Fear" brings a more action-driven sequence into the mix. "Death Wish" too opts for a pumped up club scenario, while Heinrich Dressel smokes out "Golden Taurus" into a seedy slow-jam.
Review: Dark Entries has been at the forefront of the coldwave and synth revival that has slowly taken hold over the last decade. Next up they turn their attention to a reissue of an out of print EP from 1988 by Jordi Guber and Krishna Goineau as Velodrome. Villalobos has been known to drop cuts from it, which should give you a good idea of its musical style: freaky 80s electro built on steppy drums, with taut and twanging synths reverberating around the mix, as exemplified by the opener. "Glasfabrik" is a hyper-speed cut with a tongue in cheek vocal, while "Capataz" is the most well-known joint with its acid bass and crashing hits.
Review: After equally wonderful turns from Junto Club, Deeds and Curses!, emergent deviant disco denizens Snap Crackle & Pop invite a band called Uncanny Valley to offer up their unique brand of deathly wave music shot through with on-point beyond the grave vocals. "Chain Store" is a nightmarish march through wobbly synths while "Nowhere To Nowhere" plots a strident course with its bouncing beat and fulsome, undulating bass. "Popcorn" flips the script with its uptempo thrust, but the vintage synth-pop threads are still the dominant force in the music. Manfredas drops a remix of "Chain Store" that maintains the freakiness with a slow but heavy house lurch, and then Mondowski strips the meat from "Nowhere To Nowhere" and leaves a potent, skeletal club treatment behind.
Review: Umo Vogue formed in Bristol by Stig Manley, Russ Crook and Neil Deamer who were in Bath based ska rock outfit 'The AT's', along with Bristol based singer Debbie Marlow. Neil's Brother Clive joined the band bringing a fantastic new dynamic to the band on drums, percussion and heavy artillery. The band name is a deliberate misspelling of the ultra-chic Italian fashion magazine 'L'Uomo Vogue'. After winning the Bristol 'Battle of the Bands' in 1982 they were signed to Phonogram and dropped a few months later. They then signed to EMI in '83 and released their first single 'Just My Love' released in early 1984. The second single was 'Make It Real' and was never released as the band were culled from the EMI roster in late '84. For this reissue of their debut single we've added 3 bonus tracks, a demo of "Just My Love", the unreleased follow single "Make It Real" and a bedroom demo "Erotica." Each song displays ridiculously catchy melodies and innovative electronic rhythms. The drum tracks, a combination of rhythm machines and hand percussion, were mixed down from the 4-track tape used as backing on stage, with the rich slap bass and Roland SH09 synths weaves fluid lead lines in between the harmony vocals. All songs have been remastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios. The record is housed in an exact replica of the original jacket and includes an 8-page booklet with photos, notes and press clippings from the band's archive. "We're synthetic but not antiseptic. We are interested in the naivety and spontaneity of music." - Umo Vogue
Review: Matthew Weiner is TWINS, an acronym for That Which Is Not Said. The Atlanta based producer has had several cassette releases on his own DKA and CGI Records in addition to appearing for Glasgow's Clan Destine and London based Crimes Of The Future. The Rather Not LP for Dutch label Enfant Terrible sees Weiner throw down some convincingly '80s sounding alternative synth music, such as on tracks like "Leader's Choice" which is reminiscent of Geography era Front 242 or "I'm Not The Same" channelling Gary Numan circa The Pleasure Principle. A must have for retroverts, this great album that pushes the same territory as fellow North American analogue synth heads like Beau Wanzer, White Car or Streetwalker.
Artificial Intelligence (Daniele Baldelli & Marco Dionigi remix) (4:53)
Artificial Intelligence (DJ Ralf remix) (9:40)
Review: Paolo Tarsi, enigmatic Italian producer of electronic and chamber music, follows up an impressive full length on Rebirth last year with "Artificial Intelligence EP" for Cattolica-based imprint Mondo Groove. Dark Italo disco on Giallo kind of vibes throughout - the EP presents three remixes of the title track by Italian pop outsider Andrea Tich, Daniele Baldelli and Marco Dionig with their slow, lo-slung and cosmic rework and DJ Ralf (founder of Laterra) who brings things to a close with a hypnotic polyrhythmic version that rides on an acidic house groove.
Review: We love Talking Drums. At the core, they are simply our type of band. An album, a few EPs, and then disappear before the scene kicks off and becomes commercialized. Boxes all well and truly ticked. The early 80s were a period of change what with punk music evolving into post-punk, and while the nu-romantic fashion that came to prominence in the mid 80s was a national movement, it was bands like Talking Drums which initiated it. Thanks to the ever-reliable Dark Entries, we now get to enjoy their best single, Courage, in all its glory - and it sounds like it's been pressed up properly, too! All you need to know at this point, if you haven't come across this already, is that it's one of the best disco-not-disco singles you'll ever cop...and we don't have a favourite tune...they're all equally raw, drum-heavy, house-envisioning, and utterly addictive. Hotly tipped!
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: Following up great releases by Jack Pattern and Hansen Windisch, Lustpoderosa now presents Leipzig based kosmische-kraut-punk live act Syncboy - who is said to have recorded these tracks live at an infamous squat in Zurich. From stunning melodic ambient journeys such as "Stolpern" through to slow burning psychedelic epics like "Green Market" or "Kiss An Elephant" respectively, or the po-faced cold wave inspired closer "Waterfalls". Recommended for fans of Vactrol Park, Vermont or Benedikt Frey. The German producer sure has a diverse repertoire musically and we're certainly intrigued by what Bodo Hansen has in store next for 2018.
Review: 'Nurse Surgeon Nurse' is the follow up to September's 'Your Body Is My Body' - the debut for both the Suspended In Gaffa band and the label. First up is Adam Rivet with his modern EBM reinterpretation, all rusty drum computers and grinding arpeggios like you'd hear from his great Kess Kill imprint in recent times. The early '80s aesthetic continues with Bronze Teeth's two awesome remixes: their first of "Your Body Is My Body" channels the decayed industrial aesthetics of early Cabaret Voltaire or Severed Heads, while their remix of "Fingered" goes for the same lo-fi techno vibe that they went for on their fab releases for Diagonal a few years ago.. or as they label would describe "a trancey club banger". On the flip is Opal Tapes head honcho Stephen Bishop under his Basic House guise, for a savage and terrifying noise experiment which is his rendition or 'corrosion' (as he'd call it) of "Fingered".
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: German electronic duo Staatseinde return to Enfant Terrible with what is their third release for the label, and what is perhaps their most complete piece of music to date. Unlike previous works, Neue Zyklus spans into more complete frameworks, taking plenty of inspiration from both coldwave and classic electro-pop. In fact, tunes like "Min Min" or "Kosmos" have the Kraftwerk DNA running deep in their systems, but the execution is a magnificent blend of ulterior pop sounds, with influences coming from as far as industrial and techno. "Just Chaos", for example, is a full-blown dance bomb, and "Volar" is the sort of gear you'd see the likes of Stingray blasting out on two decks. For the electro enthusiasts.