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: 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: 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: 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: Given that the Axel Libeert-helmed Pablo's Eye project has been running continuously since the late 1980s, it's perhaps unsurprising that Stroom has found it hard to put out just one retrospective of the Belgian collective's work. In fact, "Dark Matter" is the third (and final) part of a retrospective trilogy that has brilliantly shed new light on Libeert and company's work. Experimental, atmospheric and largely creepy, the showcased material variously touches on high-minded percussion music, slowly shifting ambient, Berlin school soundscapes, neo-classical-tinged global fusion, smoky downtempo grooves, the kind of intensely paranoid fare we'd expect from Dominick Fernow, and scattergun electronic dub.
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: 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: 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: You know an artist is on to something good when the records they release sound like no one else. Police Des Moeurs' releases certainly fit into this category. Since the turn of the decade, the synth-wave duo has delivered a string of singles and a pair of albums shot through with paranoid darkness. Of course, their influences - be they the industrial funk murkiness of Cabaret Voltaire, the synthesizer-driven atmospherics of minimal wave or the attitude-driven roughness of post-punk pop - are easy to identify, but are still moulded into thrilling new shapes. Dedales, their third album, ticks all of these boxes, but also sees the stylish twosome incorporate some previously unexplored inspirations, most notably Tangerine Dream, blustery synth-pop and early electronica. It's a blend that frequently hits the spot.
Review: Cult artist Colin Potter has been serving up superb albums for decades, with each year bringing a new clutch of solo or collaborative excursions. "Here", the veteran experimentalist's first outing for Poytechnic Youth, is another must-check affair. This time he's in a dark and intoxicating mood, offering up atmospheric soundscapes rich in woozy modular electronics, fuzzy guitar solos, metronomic post-punk bass, unsettling ambient chords, horror soundtrack aesthetics and off-kilter, delay-laden drums. It reminded us a little of early Joy Division, Chris Watson-era Cabaret Voltaire and other DIY-era experimentalists, though there's little doubt that it's a Colin Potter record.
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.