Minimal Wave present an LP of selections from the prolific Belgian synthpop band Polyphonic Size. Headed by Roger-Marc Vande Voorde, Polyphonic Size formed in 1979. The Earlier / Later LP are remastered selections, curated mainly from Polyphonic Size’s early output as a band, from when they formed in 1979 to when they began working with JJ Burnel in 1980. The tracks on side A represent their early period and were recorded between 1979-1980 and the side B tracks, recorded between 1980-1983, are representative of how their sound evolved whilst working with a producer.
XEX were an all-synthesizer band from South River, New Jersey in the late 1970s. The band formed when a trio of high school misfits with funny names (Waw Pierogi, Thumbalina Gugielmo and Alex Zander) teamed up with some friends from Rutgers College. They released their debut album “group: xex” in 1980 which Dark Entries reissued in 2010. “xex:change” takes a leap from where the band left off at the end of 1980. David Anderson left the group making xex a quartet. Recorded during the summer of 1981 and produced with Ziggy Rodberg, xex further developed the aesthetic of the first album. The seven songs here are more complex and hypnotic than the synthpunk outbursts of “group:xex.” Their new synthesizers, a Sequential Circuits Prophet 5 and a Minimoog, evoke the high-tech utopia of Patrick Cowley and proto-techno of Afrika Bambaataa. Thumbalina’s vocals have a detached, icy quality. Lyrics revolve around xex’ melange of oeuvres – pop, kitsch and New Jersey mall culture – offering commentary on species-specific adaptations for copulation, technophilia/phobia and the Jersey shore. “xex:change”, a multiple entendre that refers to the evolution of the group since its first album, group interaction in the creative process, and underlying sexual ambiguity. The group did not have the funds to release the album and it sat in obscurity for over 30 years.
Los Microwaves was a San Francisco-based synth-punk trio who formed in 1979. The main line-up included Meg Brazill (vocals, bass, synthesizers), David Javelosa (vocals, synthesizers), and Todd “Rosa” Rosencrans (drums, bass). Their recorded output consisted of a handful of 45′s and their lone LP, “Life After Breakfast,” released on the legendary Posh Boy records in 1981. Creating sound and music from the fusion of techno-punk, new wave pop, and electronic music, Los Microwaves featured a quirky audio theater that was best experienced live and from the dance floor. Sporting a combination of earlier portable synthesizers, bass and processed percussion, the music continues to deliver a unique groove. “Life After Breakfast” contains 13 songs full of teen angst, jerky rhythms, melodic chants, and punky shouts. Meg’s vocals are cheeky and peppy, recalling the anti-pop sound of The B-52′s, Devo and early XTC.
The Actor is a well known but simultaneously quite obscure minimal wave project that emerged from the Dutch home taping scene of the early 1980s. The duo was formed by Marcel Reimer (vocals, keyboards) and Sander Horsthuis (keyboards) in Breda, The Netherlands in late 1981. The track featured on this flexi-disc, ‘Unreal Personality’, is the opening track of ‘Exploded View’ and the archetypical The Actor song, with lyrics directly referring to the band’s name. The song was recorded during the summer of 1982. The equipment they used was the Korg MS-20, Crumar Performer, Casio VL-Tone, and Soundmaster SR-88 drum machine.