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!
El Aviador Dro Y Sus Obreros (Especializados Gestalt) (1:52)
La Fura Dels Baus (Marea) (6:27)
Linea Vienesa (Cangrejos En La Cocina) (2:39)
Diseno Corbusier (Golpe De Amistad) (3:54)
Tres (I Doubt) (3:05)
Derribos Arias (A Fluor) (5:14)
Zombies (La Rebelion De Los Objetos) (2:30)
Diseno Corbusier (Meta Metalic) (3:27)
Los Inciados (La Marca De Anubis) (3:09)
Lavabos Iturriaga (China) (2:43)
Aviador Dro (Nuclear Si) (3:00)
Oviformia Sci (Mao's Children) (5:53)
De Picnic Jeanette Me Quiere (Party mix) (5:19)
La T (Dark Fields) (3:53)
Review: Switzerland's Bongo Joe imprint is all too often overlooked and underrated. Unlike other labels who are all about the branding and PR, these guys are in the game simply for the sounds and, more than anything, to bring you something that you may not have heard before. Much like that excellent comp covering the sounds of The Bahamas, back in the 50s, this new collection of tunes uncovers a scene that perhaps few have heard in this country, the post-punk wave that engulfed Spain at the beginning of the 1980s. To be precise, La Contra Ola covers the years 1980-1986, and the most striking thing about this LP is the diversity of sounds that these artists were using. Unlike the stale synth wave that swept across the UK in that Neo-romantic sway, the likes of Esplendor Geometrico, Derribos Arias, Linea Vienesa, or Tres, to whom this comp is dedicated to, used their own native influences to express their vision of electronic punk music, and the results can be heard all over this magnificent anthology. It's a piece of history that we finally have more knowledge of, and we thank the ever-reliable Bongo Joe for it!
Review: The genius of Music From Memory has always been the label's ability to shine a light of sublime music that most will have missed. Certainly, very few will be familiar with the work of Geoffrey Landers, a Denver, Colarado-based multi-instrumentalist who recorded three albums and one single between 1982 and 1987. This superb retrospective contains material from all of these releases, deftly showcasing Landers' intriguing musical palette - a trippy mixture of vintage electronics, experimental new wave influences, strange spoken word snippets, occasional dub influences, effects-laden guitar passages, post-punk attitude, minimalist synth-funk and what would now be considered discordant art-rock. It's a stylistic melting pot that makes for wonderful listening.
Review: The 1980s was a breakthrough time for underground electronic music. Before restrictive genre definitions saw different modes of expression streamlined, the options were wide open in the lawless surge of post punk and industrial culture. This finely curated compilation from PIAS provides an excellent overview of some of the deadliest operators from this wildly creative time - the names involved are integral to the development of electronic music in the 80s. Throbbing Gristle, DAF, Cabaret Voltaire, Front 242, Nitzer Ebb, Meat Beat Manifesto - just some of the legendary names shown in their best light on this essential collection.