Oz Echoes peels away another layer of Australia’s ‘80s DIY hive mind. The Oz Waves successor exposes a deeper circuit of micro-run cassettes, community radio archives and irrationally abandoned studio sessions, as Steele Bonus sequences a 10-track compendium of drone pop, psyche-electronics and agitated tape cut-ups. From the Sydney cassette network, The Horse He’s Sick returns with an industrial car crash, alongside Wrong Kind of Stone Age’s pagan cacophony and primal riddims. M Squared dynamo Patrick Gibson appears in both Height/Dismay and Mr Knott, his respective studio-as-an-instrument collaborations with Dru Jones (Scattered Order) and ex-Slugfucker Gordon Renouf – the former’s worn out apparition hails from an instantly deleted 1981 7”, while Mr Knott entrust one of the compilation’s five previously unreleased tracks. Matt Mawson represents Brisbane music media-printed matter collective ZIP, as Adelaide’s Three D Radio grants access to their vaults of live-to-air recordings and aspiring demo submissions, rescuing the slap-happy punk-funk of The Frenzied Bricks and Jandy Rainbow’s prodigious beginnings in Les Trois Etrangers and Aeroplane Footsteps. Synchronously in Melbourne, Ash Wednesday (Karen Marks, The Metronomes) leads Modern Jazz’ improvised proto-techno and EBM pioneers Shanghai Au Go-Go home record their sardonic synth-wave. A cherry-picked cast of unusual suspects, Oz Echoes’ unfamed artist and non-band narratives are detailed by track-by-track liner notes with rarely published archival visions and artwork from Video Synth, prompting further rabbit hole ventures into this golden era of creative risk-taking and instant action.
With an Arturo Micro brute synthesizer put through psychedelic effects, Modern Ruin keeps the flame of Andrew Weatherall and Suicide burning through times of isolation and disarray. This Synth Wave/New Wave experience of an album, released on LP on Höga Nord Rekords, sums up 2020 with its dark and cold sound. The title speaks for itself: “Unemployment Disco Line” reflects the desperation in the sound and the reverb-drenched vocals in the back of the soundscape comes from deep within the Covid hole. Drawing influences from masters like the legends above, Rowland S. Howard, Johan Balance + Peter Christopherson et cetera, this debut album by Modern Ruin sums up four decades of underground club music and no matter how long this pandemic goes on we are in “Nothing Blues” until the dance floors open again.
E-MAN was the first project of Norwegian musician Geir Jenssen (electronics, well-known from being in Bel Canto and especially Biosphere) with guest vocalists Ragnar “Spiss” Larsen and Frank Jensen, and Per Martinsen on additional electronics. They only released one cassette on Likvider in 1984 (LIKV 4025) with tracks recorded in 1983/84.
Absolute Body Control is back with new material after more than ten years. The legendary minimal-synth-wave duo formed in 1980 by Dirk Ivens (The Klinik, Dive, Sonar) and joined a bit later by Eric van Wonterghem (Insekt, Monolith) has been working together again and got finished a new EP. Six songs that fuse their classic sound with a theme that reflects the times of change that humanity is going through.
The first Electronic Emergencies release of 2021 is by Chris & Nogi, founders of the legendary Shoc Corridor. It reflects our love for minimal wave, simply called new wave back in the days. Released as a 10-inch, ‘Autumn Rituals and Refugees’ consists of eight tracks taken from 4-track-cassette tapes recorded in 1985-1988. Three of these are collaborations with avant-garde voice artist Sharon Gal. The original tapes, which had to endure a journey from London via Israel to South Africa, were beautifully restored by Ruud Lekx, who was able to retain the original sound and atmosphere. The cover art of ‘Autumn Rituals and Refugees’ was designed by Niels Vrijdag, exhibiting the DIY-mentality and modern living-fantasy of the music from the eighties.
Theo Delaunay aka Panoptique aka Constance Chlore is releasing his first solo album on Macadam Mambo. Head of the Simple Music Experience label (dedicated to release punk experiment on tape), member of Violent Quand On Aime, Succhiamo, Simplists, Ono Omen and United Assholes, he had previously been part of the “Danzas Electricas” volumes 1 and 3, released a little single in 2019 and curated the “Simple Music Experience Vol.2” compilation in the house. Panoptique stick to what he knows to do the best, to present his stories, singing spoken words, gogolitos deliriums, whispers and rough voices on Minimal Synth Wave ballads or Drexciyan’s Electro bangers, it’s brut, mental, sometimes brutal and so so groovy in the meanwhile. Special mention to his guest Fiesta En El Vacio for her ‘caliente’ featuring on “Menta Y Regaliz”.
Since the early 1980s the Eureka, California based duo Psyclones freak out in music. As one of the most long-standing DIY duos, Brian Ladd and Julie Frith created a body of work, that flirts with Ambient, experimental industrial sounds, New Wave, Post-Punk, Synth-Pop, and all that electric jazz. Besides a few hard-to-find vinyl releases, they published their music regularly via cassette tapes on labels like their own imprint Ladd-Frith or other famed 1980’s underground tape labels like Cause And Effect from Indianapolis, legendary San Francisco based Subterranean Records, Sound of Pig from New York, Insane Music from Belgium or the Spanish label Auxilio De Cientos to name but a few. Now, Notte Brigante is dropping “Tape Music 1980 – 1984”, a detailed compiled sampler on Psyclones early output, that was scattered over diverse tape releases. A nine tracks long trip into the work of a highly underrated band, that never lost their drive to explore new avenues in sound.
Minimal Wave present the reissue of a rare self-released record by Plugpoint Music called ‘Last Chance’. Plugpoint Music was the minimal synth project of Reiner Ossmann, who recorded the 12 songs on this album in his home studio in Germany in 1987 and released them as an edition of 200 copies. This gem of a record was never properly distributed and so essentially disappeared until it began circulating amongst various collectors during the last 15 years. It’s a true minimal synth classic in all of its eccentricity and lack of self-consciousness.
This compilation from Oráculo Records is featuring five tracks of minimal / synth pop by Dancing Plague, Carlo Onda, Most Modern, Karl Kave and Deathrippers.
Traxx(Nation) created a 6-hour selection dedicated to Danny’s in Chicago where he held his monthly party Passage. Curated and programmed musically by Traxx, transporting us to a full night of music from 9-pm til 2am. Passage focuses on the new wave/new beat era with a personal collection of music fashioned to alleviate your senses discovering different outtakes and unknown songs. It’s a lengthy journey that hopefully people will enjoy…
Montreal’s based Kindest Cuts is without any kind of doubt one of the actual world’s leading synthwave/synthpop acts. Perfect pop structures and outstandingly captive musical progressions in perfect combination with classical genre male deep lead voice, following the trace of early Depeche Mode or Camouflage.
Berlin duo NNHMN – Lee and Michal Laudarg – creates moody and evocative music infected with dark synth sounds, eerie ambiances and mysterious female volcals. They return to Oráculo Records with “Deception Island” where fresh cold beats meets hypnotic techno and avant-garde of a ferociously experimental nature. We find Lee’s sultry vocals over synthwave classical bass and rhythm structures, from dark Italo Disco with touches of light EBM to classic post punk.
Tester Housing was the short-lived band consisting of mates Bill Tolson and Ken Olver. The duo met during the early 1980s in the burgeoning Southside of Melbourne, St Kilda. Pitched along the bayside, St Kilda at the time was full of artists, painters, writers, poets and musicians. The suburb was the type of place where dwellers wore their hearts on their sleeves; the sort to be found sharing a jug at the pub after a fist fight. The St Kilda music scene during the late ‘70s and ‘80s was infamous, breeding bands such as the Primitive Calculators and The Boys Next Door.
BOY Records was founded by Michael Zosel back in 1987 but it was after a few releases that he started to work with producer Arno Müller. “Brian” by Absurd was the first techno release on the label and a great success in the German techno scene. The cooperation continued with singles by Hypnopedia and New Scene that worked very well and put the name of BOY Records in the charts and clubs all around Germany and abroad. In 1990 another massive success came with the single “Kennedy” by Deep Thought and since there the label did not stop to release hit after hit by lot of names like Time Modem, “O”, Cybex Factor, Sonic System, Moskwa TV, MCL and lot more. “Timeless Technology 1988-1991” compiles a selection of classic tekkno traxx released on label’s most fruitful years.
Winter is coming, with ‘Archive Tracks 2005-2009’ by Newclear Waves as its soundtrack. For the album, Berlin-based and Italian-born producer, DJ and label owner Alessandro Adriani let us dive into the vast archives of his Newclear Waves project. The resulting collection of 8 tracks can be described as minimal wave pur sang, reminiscing of the darkness and doom from the cold war period. The exorbitant and jumpy synth lines and derailing revolving drum machines keep us moving, all analogue of course. With this album, Adriani confirms his musical excellence.