Review: Primitive Brumbeat is the order of the day from Minimal Wave on this weighty seven inch presentation of early Karl O'Connor material. Recorded under the Sandra Plays Electronics banner, Her Needs presents two versions of the same track from different periods of O'Connor's musical development and provide further enticing historical evidence of one of techno's most illuminating figureheads. Those who indulged in the brilliant White Savage Dance 12" from Downwards from late 2011 will be all over the DIY odes to O'Connor's childhood heroes such as DAF and Liaisons Dangereuses here. The 1999 version in particular which originates from the same recording sessions that ended in the seminal Diversion Group release A Man Has Responsibilities.
Review: Hot on the heels of the updated DAF stylings of that Schwefelgelb 12", Enfant Terrible / Gooiland Elektro demonstrate the breadth of their output with this plate from Tobias Bernstrup. A decorated contemporary artist from Gothenburg, Bernstrup is one of those annoyingly talented individuals who works across visual, interactive, performance art and electronic music mediums and if there's a new wave of Italo Disco he's definitely amongst the top 5%. The Destruction EP is classic Bernstrup mixing elements of Italo with synth pop and at times it sounds like Bernard Sumner's been in the studio with Ali Renault. Dancefloor hits for the neo-romantics among us!
Review: It's as if throughout the production process and mastering session of Profligate's Can't Stop Shaking EP faulty connections and loose wiring were intended to give the two tracks a distinctly broken timbre. The title track, infected with a T.V-static buzz, marches with the most basic, but effective, industrial back beat drums, while classic New York electro synths offer a "Can't Stop Shaking" its melody. "Dormant" on the other hand is more frenetic in its arrangement, as megaphone vocals treated to a band-pass filter are embedded into a gauzy crowd of harsh textures and arpeggiated chords that ebb and flow between the despondent and uplifting.
Review: A special release from Minimal Wave here as the uber rare Irene & Mavis EP from UK synth poppers Blancmange is granted a reissue! Those with a pub quiz winning level of knowledge of UK synth pop will no doubt be familiar with the 80s hits of Blancmange duo Neil Arthur & Stephen Luscombe, yet this debut EP dating back to 1980 will still sound revelatory. The self released Irene & Mavis EP marked Arthur and Luscombe to be fully willing to experiment with DIY electronics, impressing Mute founder Daniel Miller sufficiently to proclaim them "maiden aunts of electronic music," and thus more than suited as a subject of focus from the Minimal Wave label. There are definite similarities between this nascent stage of Blancmange and the output of Cabaret Voltaire from the same era, particularly in the masked and disembodied nature of the vocals, whilst "Holiday Camp" and "Just Another Spectre" are wonderful examples of instrumental synth music. Despite originally being released in 7" format, the six newly remastered tracks are presented here in 10" format by Minimal Wave with the distinctive artwork retained!
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: 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: 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: Fresh and contemporary intergalactic reissue action from the ridiculously on-point Finders Keepers! For many old-school gamers and general niche nerds, the sounds of the inimitable Atari machines were the foundations of gaming culture. Never strictly available in soundtrack format until now, Suzanne Ciani's shimmering, quasi-techno sounds are the perfect example of the futurism that characterised the 1980s. This particular release features the opening theme and jingles from the Liberator game, which means that the wonderful Finders Keepers could certainly be planning another Atari-related release in the near future. He right, but in the meantime do not sleep on this badboy
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: Ah, a real gem of the NYC No Wave era is the focus of Dark Entries attentions here as the stunning Holland Tunnel Dive by ImpLOG is given a more than timely reissue. For the uninitiated out there, ImpLOG were formed by The Contortions band members Don Christensen and Jody Harris under the name ImpLOG, after the former left the iconic No Wave act in 1979, and released just the two records together. The story goes that Christensen's recorded experiments with found sounds, and an array of instruments such as a Univox drum machine and Casio keyboards impressed Lust/Unlust Records founder Charles Ball sufficiently enough to issue two tracks from the submitted demo tape as the Holland Tunnel Dive 12? in 1980. It's remained a highly prized record ever since and this lovingly recreated edition from Dark Entries is a must!
Review: ** Repress ** If you've been keeping abreast of all things Minimal Wave this year, you'll probably have picked up on Veronica Vasicka hinting at a forthcoming split release from Silent Servant and Broken English Club, the new project from UK techno man Oliver Ho. We've certainly been eagerly awaiting it her at Juno HQ and it's great to see Violence And Divinity live up to and surpass these expectations! Silent Servant mans the A Side with two tracks that will be familiar to anyone that's been lucky enough to catch his live sets of late, indeed it's almost too easy to visualise the flashing strobes as the pummelling EBM lines of "Cut Unconscious" unravel and beat you down. The two accompanying productions from Ho's Broken English Club dovetail nicely, but veer off into more wave orientated territory, with "Divinity" sounding quite like some of the earlier material put out by In Aeternam Vale. In a word superb.
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: Earlier this year Minimal Wave offshoot provided one of this year's most visceral dancefloor weapons in Kino-I, the debut from Doug Lee's new An-I project. Taking inspiration from techno, jack, industrial and punk, An-I successfully drew a line under some of the Berlin-based artist's previous disco-flavoured endeavours. And then some! If you like the Kino-I 12" you will love the new triplet of An-I productions housed on this appropriately titled Gutz 12". The title track alone should come with a health warning; such is the furious onslaught of machine funk it contains, whilst the unnerving "Rut" is the most schizophrenic production you will hear this year. Best of all id closing track "Save Us" sounds like a cross between in Aeternam Vale and Silent Servant. Pressed on a rather thick and dashing slab of magenta orange vinyl!
Death Machine (Antoni Maiovvi Nightstalking remix)
Review: Gerard Papasimakopoulos and Lucas Savidis aka The Rattler Proxy are making some of the best electro / sci-fi score music in Athens, Greece. The former takes care of the vocal end, while the latter indulges in deep, metallic synthesizers and together they are quickly carving their own sound and musical aesthetic. The title track "Death Machine" sits somewhere between Joy Division and the later cold-wave sound of the mid-to-late eighties, and Canada's Jokers Of The Scene transform it into a slow-stepping, synthed-out groover with an awesome array of mild pads and starry atmospherics. "Company Of The Wolves" is faster, break-ridden and owl-eyed, whereas Antoni Maiovvi's remix of the title track is perhaps the gem of the lot - an EBM kinda jam with plenty of shaking and low-end filth. Class.
Review: The latest Acido release sees the full debut of Karl Lukas Pettersson, aka Gothenburg's premier electro exponent Lukas Karl Pettersson who previously featured on Dynamo Dreesen's label back in 2007 under his familiar Luke Eargoggle alias. As Karl Lukas Pettersson, the Swede is evidently looking to explore a sound less trodden with both "Paradise Island" and "Travel The World" crafty concoctions formed from various elements of primitive wave and Das Ding style electro that sound convincingly like they were exhumed from DAT tapes in the late '80s. If you are a fan of Acido, you'll no doubt be used to such stylistic deviations from the label, but Dark Entries and Minimal Wave fans should also check these cuts!
Review: Damn! Dark Entries are on a roll! Their latest reissue is of Scotland's Thomas Leer, an early 80's independent artist who recorded "Private Plane" in his bedroom using an extremely limited set-up...the prototypical '80s experimental kid! The tune is dreary, funky and on the abstract side all at the same time, but our favourite is actually "International" thanks to its wonky groove, driving percussion stabs and bursts of distorted jazz flute. On the B-side there's also "Saving Grace", a more poppy affair in that inimitable 80's Karate Kid flair...highly recommended, a 12" worthy of a reissue.
Nothing Is True; Everything Is Permitted (instrumental) (4:54)
Breakin' Indistortion (instrumental) (4:16)
A Dirty Song (instrumental) (5:05)
Review: Dark Entries know their stuff when it comes to '80s synth pop reissues, and this latest reissue of Carlos Peron's Dirty Songs single is a sign of just how deep into the crates these guys get. Originally out over thirty years ago, these instrumentals are still total killers and will go down a storm in most DJ sets which venture out of the 4/4 formula. "Nothing Is True; Everything Is Permitted" and "Breakin' Indistortion" are particularly fresh and must have truly cut the edge back then: metallic drum machine beats and sparse melodies ring away into the cavernous ambience created by Peron. Wonderful and highly recommended.
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: It's been some six years since Caroline "Miss Kittin" Herve and Michel "The Hacker" Amato last delivered fresh material together. While we await further news of their long-mooted comeback, there's this tasty EP of previously unheard archive material to enjoy. Made up of tracks recorded between 1997 and '99 - when their production partnership was in its' infancy - The Lost Tracks Volume 1 contains a number of fuzzy, stylish, floor-friendly bangers, from the S&M-themed madness of opener "Leather Forever" and stripped-back electro gem "Nightlife" (a tribute to Berlin clubs of the period, apparently), to the high-tempo acid-loaded freakishness of "Loving The Alien". Top-notch sleaze.
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: Earlier this year, Red Light Radio founder Orpheu de Jong stumbled across a cassette, originally self-released in 1984, from an unknown San Francisco musician called Joel Graham. On the strength of the two tracks showcased here, it would be fair to say that Graham was ahead of his time. Hypnotic and minimalist in the extreme, the drum machine and synthesizer workout "Geomancy" - apparently recorded in 1982 on pre-midi analogue equipment - sounds like a template for techno. B-side "Night" is similarly inspired, and bears an uncanny resemblance to pitched-down versions of some of the dreamy new age house and nu-Balearica currently doing the rounds. It's superb, and almost as good as the brilliant A-side. Another superb release from the guys at Music From Memory.
Review: Aside from the wide spectrum of gorgeous post-punk and italo material that Dark Entries have been reissuing as of late, they've been earning some serious points from our end for their revival of so much material from Australia's Severed Heads. While the band are up there as one of our favorites from the 1980's, Dark Entries have picked exactly the right 12"s to reissue; "Lamborghini" is incredibly contemporary in sound, and it's subtle 4/4 kick allows its mild melodies and odd acoustics to fit above pretty much any house tune today. The same goes for "Petrol", a mild-tempered dance tune with minimal background vocals and a whole load of filter-attack quality. So recommended...
Review: San Francisco's Honey Soundsystem are doing a good job in unearthing long-lost Patrick Cowley productions. Having previously joined forces with Dark Entries to release the pioneering producer's soundtrack to gay porn flick School Daze - and soon, a compilation of his other work for pornographic movies - they've decided to go solo on this 12". Kickin' In features a trio of previously unreleased Cowley disco workouts, recorded between 1975 and 1978. The real killer is the title track, a typically epic, 15-minute excursion that fuses Cowley's throbbing, masculine synthesizer lines with vocals and instrumentation from disco band Loverde. Flip for two groovy, low slung disco workouts that are, rather surprisingly, free of Cowley's usual Hi-NRG arpeggios. Instead, there are live basslines, organic percussion and decidedly sleazy spoken word vocals from the great man himself. In a word: essential.
Review: Digital Poodle are one of those outfits from the 1980's who happened to stumble onto techno by accident, focusing on making deadly, driving songs rather than fitting into a genre or style. Alongside them there are the likes of Psychik Warriors Ov Goia and a few others, but this stuff is pretty damn hard to come by, and releases like this are few and far between. The impressive Suction label out of Canada has decided to reissue their "Work Terminal" tune - a screeching, venomous bit of screamo EBM - backed by a trio of remixes. OH transform "Work Terminal" into a more direct techno bullet with subtle swarms of the original's screams, while Solvent give it a more aggressive reshape a-la electro. It's the Metro Tekno version that gets our attention, though, and those heavy percussion patterns must surely be total winners on the sound system.
Jump Over Barrels (early rehearsal version) (3:07)
Review: Post-punk aficionados may already by familiar with Crash Course In Science, a Philadelphia-based band who released two acclaimed singles between 1979 and '81, before going their separate ways. Here, one of the band's previously unheard 1981 demos gets mixed and released for the first time. "Jump Over Barrels" is a song about overcoming adversity, and in newly mixed form sounds like a lost post-punk classic. It's accompanied by a couple of demos - their initial 1981 recording, and an earlier, deliciously skeletal and heavy rehearsal version - and a fresh remix from Tadd Mullinix under his now familiar Charles Manier alias. The Ann Arbor-based producer does a good job of toughening up the track for modern dancefloors, whilst retaining the free-spirited essence of Crash Course In Science's original.
Review: Dario Dell'aere cut his teeth in obscure Italian synth-pop outfits Ice Eyes and Fockewulf 90, before attempting to launch a solo career in 1985. While that didn't go all that swimmingly, his lone solo single, Eagles In The Night, has long been considered a hard-to-find Italo-disco classic. Here, it gets the re-issue treatment from Dark Entries, who as usual replicate the original track listing and artwork. Slower and more atmospheric than many Italo-disco tracks of the time, Eagles In The Night draws influence from eyeliner-clad new wave pop of the period, with Dell'aere's unusual English vocals stretching out over chiming melodies, bubbling synth lines and dreamy chords. The potency of the original production is confirmed by the superior Instrumental version lurking on the flip.
Review: Dark Entries has always been rather canny when it comes to their Italo-disco reissues, often unearthing obscurities from one-shot artists who disappeared just as quickly as they arrived. Ghibli was one such artist. He only ever released one single, I'm Looking For You, back in 1985. That it still sounds fresh, despite its' obvious period features - bubbling, Bobby Orlando style synthesizer sequences, bold chords and a heavily accented Italian vocals - is testament to the skill of the record's original producer, Alfredo Baraldi. As with the original pressing, this Dark Entries edition comes back with the superior Instrumental version.
Review: By Italo-disco standards, where artists often got one-shot at glory, Some Bizarre was relatively successful. The studio duo released three 12" singles, with 1983 debut Don't Be Afraid being most coveted by Italo-disco collectors. Here it gets a timely reissue from Dark Entries. The original vocal version actually still stands up well, sounding a little like a quirky European tribute to early Depeche Mode, with a little Visage thrown in. The drum machine handclap-heavy percussion and Yazzoo-style synth riffs make it more potent than some Italo-disco of the period, and the vocal is much stronger - and less heavily accented - than many Italian records of the period. As usual, it's accompanied by a dub-style Instrumental on the flip.