Review: New kids on the reissue block, New Zealand's Strangelove Music are off to a flying start with this beautiful 1983 art pop record from subversive chanteuse Lena D'Agua. "Jardim Zoologico" fuses electro boogie with Afrofunk with healthy measures of cosmic polish while "Tao" is a straight up Balearic gem that sparkles with sentiment and horizontal soul. Only ever released on Portuguese label Valentim De Carvalho, this reissue is over 30 years overdue.
Review: Though now famed as a top-drawer live performer with a string of acclaimed albums to her name, there was a time when Marie Davidson's music was less widely appreciated. In fact, when this eponymous EP first appeared on cassette in 2013, she was pretty much unknown. As you'd expect, it's perhaps a little more lo-fi than some of her more recent work, but that's what makes the EP so appealing. Check, for example, the sleazy vocals, distant drum hits and cascading melodies of creepy opener "Ma Vie Sans Moi", the unsettling lead lines, ricocheting cymbal hits and powerful drone bassline of "L'unique" and the dystopian, high-tempo minimal wave-goes-bleep techno trip that is "Le Lieu Ou Vous Voulez Vous Rendre"; all three remain amongst Davidson's most arresting cuts to date.
Review: Dark Entries has truly become a sensational imprint over the last few years, and they are showing no signs of stopping. In fact, they've just gotten better and better with each new release. We have a special one on our hands this time and, although the label have reissued a whole heap of glorious material, this is NEW music from the very best out there. Chicago industrial-tech-goth Beau Wanzer teams up with Unknown Precept's Maoupa Mazzocchetti, and the dup get on like a house on fire under their new De-Bons-En-Pierre moniker. Crepes is a gnarly little EP, blurring the lines between techno, EBM and industrial, but doing so in a way that makes the three genres sound like they should never ever be apart from one another. "Whole Body Irradiator", for instance, has all the beat elements of techno and yet the sounds are drenched in a punky, fuck-you kinda style that would make the Berghain faithful run for their lives, while we could easily imagine the torn, glitchy beats of "Francine" residing on some long-lost post-punk 7 inch from the likes of Pete Shelley. This is some mad gear - don't miss it.
Review: There's something strangely alluring about this curious - but undoubtedly inspired - debut EP from Belgian producer Victor De Roo. While brand new, it draws influence from a variety of vintage styles - Berlin school ambient, new wave, The Duratti Column and leftfield European synth-pop, in particular - and sounds like it could have been recorded straight to cassette in about 1984. De Roo's quirky, atmospheric musical sketches - the slo-mo early morning dream pop of "Voorbenachte Rade", spacey synth-scape "Beland In Bed", post-punk Factory Records drone of "Nachtdichter" and beautiful opener "Gewoon" - all come accompanied by stylish spoken word vocals by fellow Low Countries resident Alex Deforce, whose Flemish drawl adds an extra layer of cultured artiness.
Review: Ahead of an impending, headline performance at this year's edition of Berlin Atonal, Richard Fearless opens up his Death In Vegas project to the Industrial icons that are Chris & Cosey. It's "Consequence Of Love," an early highlight of the most recent DIV LP, Transmission, that is the focus of attentions here, and arguably a track that looks to Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti's Throbbing Gristle for inspiration. The original version is presented here on 12" format for those Death In Vegas loving selectors out there who want a loud pressing of the track and the accompanying Chris & Cosey remix does take it to a different place. That breathy vocal is given more prominence and fairly dominates the remix.
Review: Junto Club kicked off Snap Crackle & Pop late last year, and now the label returns with the debut solo release from London-based outfit DEEDS. While Rollo and Kiri Inglis may have previously popped up on an obscure compilation on Anti-Ghost Moon Ray, this record should see their coldwave sound shoring up with many more adventurous listeners. "Video Dreams" is a beautifully melancholic slice of electronica while "Unknown" reaches for euphoric heights. Remixes from Bezier and The Field round the record out as a wonderful exercise in emotive home listening electronics for sensitive souls.
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: 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.
Review: You'd be forgiven for being unfamiliar with the work of short-lived San Francisco band Dub Oven. After all, they only released one 12" single way back in 1983, and that was a self-released, private-press affair. Happily, the dusty-fingered diggers behind Music From Memory are big fans and here offer up a re-mastered reissue. Amazingly, each of the three tracks explores different sonic territory. Contrast, for example, the Tom Tom Club-goes-synth-funk eccentricity of lead cut "Skin 'n' Bones" and "Dub Oven", a thrillingly spaced-out chunk of no-wave/electro fusion that sounds like it could have been beamed down from another universe. Then there's closer "Millions of Sensations", which sits somewhere between Japanese new wave ambience and the post-punk funk of Bristolian outfits The Pop Group and Maximum Joy.
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: 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: With Minimal Wave at their current celebrated level, it's nice of them to occasionally dig into their archives and reissue some of their earliest releases for those Johnny Come Lately's who might have missed out first time around. Having done the right thing with an all too timely reissue of Das Ding's HSTA late last year, Veronica Vasicka's label now turn their attentions to Blackpool and revisit Spy Thriller by Das Kabinette. Originally released back in 2008, this eight track collection brings together material the trio of Michael Hall, David Bracher and Craig Hemmings recorded in the early 80s including the cult hits "The Cabinet" and "Fudge It" which appeared on a 1983 7". Fans of Silent Servant mixtapes will probably be familiar with these tracks whilst the remaining six tracks are typically unreleased studio productions that paint a fascinating picture of primitive synth music that's subtley touched by the death throes of New Romanticism.