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: It would be fair to say that Montreal duo Essaie Pas don't have a particularly positive view of our planet. "Earth, what a shithole," they moodily grumble on the title track from their latest EP on DFA, their first since the release of last year's "New Path" LP. The cut itself is perhaps not quite as dark as you'd expect, with its throbbing, dark Italo-style arpeggio bass and crunchy drum hits being peppered with sharp, trance style synthesizer motifs, bubbly electronic riffs and female vocals that add an extra frisson of positivity. Italian scene stalwart Marco Passarani delivers a flipside interpretation that brilliantly re-casts the cut as a Bobby Orlando style mid-1980s Hi-NRG club cut, while bonus track "Corps Etranger" is a pleasingly sparse, bubbly and alien-sounding chunk of intergalactic electro.
Review: Laurene Exposito is back on Amsterdam's Knekelhuis with a follow up to her well received debut album. This new record is said to be very personal - life changes and her love life are said to be central themes. All tracks have been recorded at Exposito's home in the Rennes, France using all analogue equipment. Starting out with the seductive coldwave tribute "Yellow Density" which features some inventive synth action that reaches near acid moments over her deadpan vocals. On the flip, title track "Cocktail Mexico" goes for some Dopplereffekt style electro shenanigans and "Go Forward" conjuring up comparisons to early Tropic Of Cancer on this hazy lo-fi goth journey.
Young Person's Guide To The Orchestra, Op 34 (17:12)
Review: This recording of the Philadelphia Orchestra performing Sergei Prokofiev's 1936 story and orchestral score Peter and the Wolf was recorded in 1977 and was originally released in 1978. The role of the narrator on the recording was initially offered to both Peter Ustinov and Alec Guinness who both turned it down, before David Bowie agreed to take on the role, supposedly as a Christmas present to his son. On the B-side is another equally as charming piece of recent classical history, Benjamin Britten's Young Person's Guide To The Orchestra as narrated by Hugh Downs.
Review: Italo-disco digger Intergalactic Gary has described Silence, the 1991 debut album by largely overlooked synth-pop outfit East Wall, as a "timeless masterpiece" that boasts "unique atmospherics and pure emotion". Thanks to this re-mastered reissue from Dark Entries you can now judge for yourself. It's certainly a hugely entertaining collection of songs, all of which boast a killer combination of analogue drum machine grooves, sparkling synthesizers, and sassy vocals from East Wall's stylish front woman, Tiziana Wells. Interestingly, despite the album's '90s vintage, it all sounds like it was recorded in the mid 1980s. This is especially true of "Privacy", a thrusting chugger that is widely considered to be one of the heaviest tunes in the Italo-disco canon.
Review: El Deux is the Swiss electro-pop trio of Gutze Gautschi (guitar, vocals), Steno Onetz (bass), Martin Kraft (vocals, drum machine). Formed circa 1981 in Aarau by Gutze and Steno who played together in punk/New Wave band Fresh Color aka Frische Farbe featuring a pre-Yello Dieter Meier. Gutze's minimal electronic compositions did not fit the concept of Fresh Color, so they formed a new project with their live mixer, Martin Kraft, on vocals. The group was quite successful with many concerts, mainly in southern Germany and various TV appearances in Germany and abroad. Between April/September 1982 they recorded and mixed their debut album 'Nur Fur Madchen' in 15 days at Powerplay Studios, Zurich. The LP was released later that year on Gold Records. Influences at that time were of course the NDW "Neue Deutsche Welle'' movement and also from Gutze's time as a musician & guitarist since 1965. Their step up for recording was a Moog Prodigy, Korg Rhythm 55 (KR-55), Simmons Drums, Casiotone 202, Guitar and Bass. We've added a bonus track "Video King" that was originally released as a follow up single in 1984 before the group disbanded. 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 insert with photos and lyrics.
Review: Electric Youth have already achieved notoriety through their inclusion on one of the most iconic film soundtracks in recent memory, Drive, on which their collaboration with College, A Real Hero played a crucial role in said cinematic sensation. Yet this was merely a moment of serendipity on the way to this debut proper, which sees the Canadian duo set out their stall with a languorous brand of neon-drenched and '80s-tinged synthpop rich in luminous melody and potent melancholy. Nocturnal in atmosphere and cinematic in scope, Innerworld is no retro confection, rather a timeless and seductive document of electronic allure that is set to lurk in the deeper recesses of the consciousness.
Review: It's hard to keep accurate tabs on Dark Entries this year, such is the rate at which the West Coast label is reissuing material and the range of music covered. This latest archival endeavour finds Josh Cheon's label once again tapping from the sizeable well marked Tom Ellard/Severed Heads, having previously reissued the Australian band's classic Dead Eyes Opened. This an altogether rarer proposition however, with 80s Cheesecake a rather special reissue of solo material Ellard committed to tape in the early '80s, specifically the self release 80s Cheesecake and Snappy Carrion. Some of the material has been collected for reissue before, most notably on Vinyl-On-Demand's exhaustive Adenoids 1977-1985 boxset, but this Dark Entries edition presents a more affordable insight into some music that still sounds way ahead of it's time some 30 years on.
Review: On the face of it, this full-length collaboration between ambient legend Brian Eno and Underworld's Karl Hyde is an enticing proposition. With the duo's respective track records, you'd expect Someday World to be a bit of a cracker. Somewhat surprisingly, it's not quite as stunning as you might expect but there are enough brilliant moments to warrant further investigation. Check, for example, the slowly building sci-fi jazz madness of "When I Built This All", the jaunty, off-kilter beauty of the Different Trains-inspired "Strip It Down" and the textured, shoegaze-tinged "To Us All"; all three are simply superb.