Review: Chris Garner, Jorg Burckhardt, Matthias Elvers, and Regina Petersen didn't release more than handful of EPs under the Peppermint guise, but what they did put out was as foundational and inspirational as more known electronic bands of the 80s like Liaisons Dangereuses. Dark Entries is responsible for this reissue, of course, a repress of an original going for near 100 bucks on the second-hand market, and this 1983 bomb has that rare characteristic of sounding retro and utterly fresh all at the same time. There's two mixes to the wonderfully wavy "Perfect High", and they both serve their own purpose; the radio edit, as you'd expect, is the one that gets the heads turning, its ominous bass charging menacingly amid the sweeter melodies and classic, new-romantic vocals, while the instrumental makes for the perfect beat companion to any serious cold wave DJ set.
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: Last year, Dark Entries reissued Lena Platonos' 1986 album "Lepidoptera", a beautiful, minimalistic set forged out of picturesque piano motifs and the composer's own surrealist Greek poetry. Now the lauded San Francisco label presents a quartet of new reworks of tracks from that album. There's a more dancefloor-centric feel throughout, with the standout revisions - in our eyes at least - coming from Anatolian Weapons, whose take on "Cyaniris" is a throbbing, dark synth-pop treat, and Pasiphae. Her version of "Araschnia Levana" brilliantly re-casts the track as a heavy, all-action dark electro workout tailor made for dark basements in The Hague.
Review: Patrick Keel started his career as a drummer with various unsuccessful bands, before buying a synthesizer in 1980 and forming "one-man-band" The Pool. While he released numerous albums and singles over a five-year period, it's 1983 single "Dance It Down" that has stood the test of time. This Dark Entries reissue features the punchy, electro-influenced new-wave original and spacey Dub from the U.S 12", plus the lesser-known European Mix (closer in style to Italo-disco, though actually made by a Belgian). Arguably even better is flipside "Jamaica Running", where glistening melodies cluster themselves around a proto-dancehall rhythm, and its' stoned, pitched-down alternative mix, "Jamaica Resting".
Review: Lena Platonos, born on the island of Crete in Greece, is simply not revered enough these days, often out of the spotlight. However, those who know, know very well what this musician is all about, and of the dynasty she has left to the wider music scene. The 1980s were hers, with more than ten albums having come out in quick succession, before being lost in the depths of the second-hand market; 1986's Lepidoptera, which Dark Entries have reissued wonderfully, is one of her very best works. Irrefutably non-genre and non-wave, this quirky collection of electronic shapes and improvisational ideas hasn't aged a day in 32 years, and there is nothing to suggest that similar sorts of musicians have pushed the boundaries any further. Balanced between exotica and electronica, this is pure Greek music with a twist. Moody, sensual and deeply enriching, this is an album for the ages. Recommended!
Review: Lena Platonos is a Greek pianist & composer. Originally recorded in 1984, the Sun Masks LP was Platonos' first record to feature her own lyrics and vocals. All instruments were performed by Lena herself. Argentinian writer Julio Cortazar and the film The Wall by Pink Floyd were said to be the main inspirations, as well as a reversal of thought processes and minimalist aesthetics which led her to experiment on a Yamaha C60 synthesiser, a Roland TR 808 drum machine and a variety of effects which she used on her voice. As label boss Josh Cheon observes, she "narrates each song in deadpan fashion, skillfully reciting her surreal Greek poetry." Lyrically it is said to be an exploration of love, human relationships and the bourgeois lifestyle of the 1980s. Another wonderful and much needed re-issue by Dark Entries.
Review: By now, we've come accustomed to Dark Entries digging deep to find curious material to reissue. Even so, few would have expected them to turn to the Greek synth-pop/new wave scene for inspiration. Gallop, the sixth album from Greek musician Lena Platonos, originally came out back in 1985. It remains an impressive, if unusual, set, with Platonos variously speaking and singing over backing tracks that veer between spooky, piano-laden oddities, sparse but seductive drum machine grooves and thrillingly spaced-out synth-scapes. Those without a grasp of Greek will no doubt wonder what she's musing on, but in many ways it doesn't matter; aesthetically, Gallop is a thrillingly imaginative and out-there album worthy of further investigation.
Review: Polaroid were an Italian post-punk/new wave band, formed in Turin in 1981. The original lineup of the band consisted of Marcello Zavatto (voice, guitar), Massimo Vagnarelli (bass, drum-machine), Evandro Fornasier (guitar), Claudio Vagnarelli (synthersizer) and Marco Farano (Drums). Polaroid made their debut with the cassette 6-track EP 'Senza Respiro', self-released in 1984. Influenced by Bauhaus, Joy Division, The Cure, Pere Ubu as well as Chic and Talking Heads. The music was dark and cold, but also melodic especially with regards to guitars and voices. At the end of 1984 the band added vocalist Michele Cantoblundo while drummer Marco left and was replaced by a Roland TR-909. With Michele began a period of very dark and poetic music, influenced also by bands like Red Lorry Yellow Lorry and The Sisters of Mercy. The band peacefully broke-up in 1987. This vinyl re-issue of 'Senza Respiro' contains all 6 original songs with 4 bonus tracks from the band's later period. All songs have been remastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios. The record is housed in custom jacket designed by Eloise Leigh and includes 4 polaroid sized postcards with photos notes and lyrics.
Review: John Whybrew, Ian Sharp and Dean Piavani are Portion Control. In case you didn't know about them, they're one of the most influential industrial bands to have come out of the 1980's and have also been a massive inspiration for the likes of Depeche Mode and Skinny Puppy. Moreover, it's their signature brand of rhythmic, mostly instrumental post-punk which has made the music of Craig Leon and others so sought after these days. Originally out in 1982 on Phaze Records, these ten tracks are timeless pseudo-techno jams which will always be coveted by DJs, musicians and samplers alike. Cop it now because the original is rather pricey!
Review: Veteran electronic experimentalist, producer and sound engineer Colin Potter began his career at the turn of the '80s, self-releasing cassettes on the ICR label. 'The Where House?', which here gets the Dark Entries reissue treatment, was one of his earliest releases, originally slipping out - unheralded, of course - in 1981. This first ever vinyl edition includes all 13 tracks from the original cassette release - think far-sighted proto-acid, bubbly electronic soundscapes, curiously strange ambient, backwards tape experiments and instrumental minimal wave throb-jobs - plus a quartet of hard-to-find contemporaneous productions that previously featured on various mid '80s tape releases. Like the original album tracks, they're deliciously out-there and thrillingly ahead of their time.