The year is 1981. The Kiel-based PostPunk / Wave underground outfit NO MORE releases their second ever single „Suicide Commando“ and their world changes forever. Well, not only their world – THE world. What began as an independently published 7“ single became a cult classic, a genre defining – and defying – song, an all-time dancefloor favorite of many, a timeless signature piece that escaped its original realm of PostPunk x Wave x Indie x Alternative to also become engrained in the DNA of modern electronic dancefloor culture most prominently in the beloved late 90s permutation presented by DJ Hell which became a classic in its own right. Now the year is 2021. Four decades have passed and NO MORE’s „Suicide Commando“ is back once again. And staying true to the underground blueprint this 40th anniversary re-release edition once again is put out on the circuit through a small independent label: the Intrauterin Recordings offspring El Caballo Semental.
Private Records presents „Let’s Go Into Space 6“. The collector series continues with another collection of scarce and unreleased 1980’s Italo Disco, Electro, Cosmic Disco songs.
SIRS presents a selection of edits in the memory of the East German music available for download on his bandcamp.
Playful 80s oriented Electro Pop mini-album on Bad Manners Records from Exterminador AKA Mario Resta, half of the deep techno duo Hinode.
Nuclear Device / Mahres 001 is a mini-album with 6 hot tracks produced by STIGMA the first time use alias of Steve Marie. The tracks are written during pandemic, it’s a mixture of some slow industrial influenced compositions, late night club bangers and 2021 revisited synth pop 80’s sounds.
A roundup of positive nostalgia from Fontaine SMC: two French artists and friends who share the same vision of electronic music. They have several project under other names, often axed on IDM/electro, but this time the joined the forces for a synthwave and punk flavor project. I was a soldier EP is a social criticism/journey into human fears and hard relationships, synthetized into an 80s look, dusty and raw sounding. A mix of punk dementia and the most intense dance music, the one that takes the joints and makes you move them well.
Greek electronic music legend Lena Platonos returns to Dark Entries with Balancers, an LP of previously unreleased material recorded between 1982-1985. Athens-based Platonos has worked with the label previously to reissue her three solo LPs – Gallop, Sun Masks, and Lepidoptera – as well as to release three accompanying 12” EPs featuring modern remixes of her work. She is renowned for her forays into cutting-edge electronic experimentation as well as her striking, impressionistic poetry and lyrics, always recited in Greek. The twelve tracks on Balancers reveal a murkier side of Lena, one draped in tenebrous washes and oneiric utterances. Ragged analog rhythms feature on several tracks, even breaking into a brooding electro groove on “A Cat in the Corner”, but the predominant tone is sparse and somber. Mournful instrumental “Phaethon” swells to mythological proportions, while “In September” feels small enough to fit in your pocket. Lena’s poetry sits amidst lush pads and Radiophonic Workshop-esque squiggles, her voice setting an intimate tone in the shifting electronic sea. Inspiration is drawn from Greek mythology and architecture, and lyrics evoke a soft sorrow, an ambivalence towards love, life, and the passage of time. Although the material here spans 3 years and features a range of recording fidelities and synthesis techniques, the collection possesses the heft of a singular artist’s vision.
On Back Up: Mexican Tecno Pop, Dark Entries brings us 10 divergent tracks of Mexican electronics from 1980-1989, full of skittering analog drum boxes and saucy synthesizer hooks. 8 of these songs were culled from the 2005 CD-only compilation Backup: Expediente Tecno Pop on AT-AT records. Also included are two previously unreleased cuts. This release marks the first time many of these songs will have appeared on vinyl; it is also the first ever vinyl compilation of Mexican New Wave and post-punk. While synth pop and obscure electronics from Europe and the United States have been extensively documented, much less attention has been paid to such offerings from the periphery. Back Up serves as a vital document of Mexico’s flourishing DIY scene in the 1980s, surveying a wide range of styles and moods. By using home recording techniques, the bands featured here were able to circumvent relying on the expensive studios of the era. Tracks by Avant Garde, Vandana, and Silueta Palida mine the kind of dreary-but-infectious wave that long-time Dark Entries fans will celebrate. Meanwhile, Volti and Artefacto offer a floor-ready pop sound that has echoes of NY freestyle, with Latin percussion and boxy beats. But darker turns are present as well, with Decada 2s New Beat-inflections and electro experiments of Syntoma and their side project Escuadrón Del Ritmo.
After his first record “Alamogordo/The Optimist“, Flood is back on Hanover’s “Kein Rauch Ohne Feuer“ label with his second EP. Following the heavy, hard-hitting debut, the new record now explores a more 80s-inspired sound between italo disco and electronic body music that despite its playfulness doesn’t lack the clarity and straightforwardness of Flood’s older productions.
World, Interrupted’s debut EP “Deception, Follow Me” is out now on cassette via Detriti Records. Haunting industrial coldwave from Poland.
A project based variously in the Midwest, the Bay Area, and currently Nashville, Stacian is a longtime vehicle for dance floor alchemist, electronic artist, and producer Dania Luck, who delivers for Chicago’s CLEAR a collection that synthesizes a wide breadth of influences; from varying strains of minimal wave, to the darker baroque flourishes of German new-wave and post-industrial— all while scavenging the displaced futurism of early analog electronic music. From the glam-spattered invocation of “Dance With Me” to the frenzied snare-hits of “Read Me”, to the post-industrial stomp of “We Are War”; “Fractal ID” unfolds like a map of hypnagogic states. By the time we reach “The Well” and “Idea of Home” a trapdoor in the dance floor has opened to an otherworldly abyss, where pulsating analog beats materialize, and glimmering arpeggiations illuminate the icy well of our shared technological isolation. Stacian’s “Fractal ID” is a propulsive and perilous journey to the depths, of dynamic rhythmic modulations and expansive sonic textures; a lone ray of light that bounces and refracts along the cavernous sub-levels of the club floor.
Though the hallowed halls of Berlin’s nightlife excess now sit cold, the sounds that once haunted their depths beat ever onward, and colder still. Birthed in these hushed plaguelands, XTR HUMAN’s new full-length G.O.L.D evokes the frozen melancholy of a post-pandemic city, driven ever onward by the impetus of night’s primary currencies: sweat, release and change. The latest full-length from Johannes Stabel, G.O.L.D finds the German producer evolving as much as the rest of the world has had to. Taking his political and socially conscious lyrics into his native tongue brings a deeper and more powerful thrust to their weight—particularly at a time when Germany is weighing its own social consciousness after years of being seen as a leading world figure.
Detriti presents “Miscellanea” from Tuxedo Gleam, an electronic/darkwave duo from Modesto, California (US), composed by Aunt Gleam (synthesizer, drum programming, voice) and Angel Marie (synthesizer, voice).
Absolute Body Control was formed by Dirk Ivens in 1980 influenced by the sound produced by the likes of Suicide, D.A.F. and the UK electronic scene. Eric Van Wonterghem joined the project next year just after the release of the debut 7″ “Is There An Exit?”. They released together just some cassettes during its brief initial run, but this was enough to gain a following in and outside Belgium. A compilation of tracks entitled “Eat This” was eventually done in 1993 and a first edition of the collection “Lost / Found” was issued on CD in 2005. Dirk and Eric took the project back on stage in 2006 and decided to re-activate it. They first re-recorded some of their classic songs for the album “WindReWind” and then continued releasing new material and touring all Europe and beyond. “Lost / Found” is the definitive collection of this minimal-synth-wave act and is now available for the first time on vinyl record with a total of 52 songs including 8 previously unreleased.
Nuovo Testamento is the Los Angeles & Bologna-based trio featuring members of Horror Vacui, Sheer Mag, Tørsö, Terremoto and Crimson Scarlet. With the addition of Chelsey Crowley on vocals, synthesists Andrea Mantione & Giacomo Zatti found that their initial coldwave tracks, originally written for the male voice, took on an undeniable synthpop feel. While still recording these songs for the debut Exposure EP in 2019, the band leaned into this evolution and their shared love of Italo disco, beginning to write what would become the New Earth LP. Recorded in isolation during a global pandemic, New Earth is a dark Italo record dappled with light. For eight new tracks, dancing synths perfectly balance the rich dream of a charmed life with melancholy. Guitars have taken a step back, allowing disco beats to flood the floor and joyful fun to prevail. The record anticipates a return to dance spaces, imagines shared experiences and celebrates personal power.
The fifth part of the Wave Earplug series brigs minimal synth pop, electro, new beat, old school EBM, dark wave and more. Input by artists from USA, Canada, Spain, The Netherlands, Slovakia, Sweden, Germany and Hungary.
In 1986, the young Rickard Karlsson, Magnus Jönsson and Fredrik Bergman formed the all-synth band Etage Neun in Ystad, Sweden. Admittedly influenced by Depeche Mode and right in the middle of the Cold War, their lyrics were often dark, about human conflicts and the nuclear threat. In May 88 they self-released their first album “War And Emotions” in cassette format only. This album has been impossible to find for decades and has become a must have for synthpop fans all over the world. Time has proved that Etage Neun should have gained more recognition back then, but at least we have the opportunity now to listen to this synth masterpiece with far superior sound quality than ever before.
An album of intricate minimal wave/post punk from Daniel Holt’s new project Human Figures. Human Figures is a completely new and personal avenue of expression for Holt. “Footsteps” is liminal, lonely and misty with negative space between each instrument. Each note invokes a warm hypnagogic atmosphere, tinged with fluttering anxiety. Through these eight tracks, this multifaceted musician shows another side of his art with guitars, basslines and drum machines. The mournful “Lifted Burden”, with its cowbells and echoing vocals swaddled in warm strings, sets the tone. Haunting notes are supported by a staccato beat as Holt´s melancholic vocals sail in “40 Days” before the bare brilliance of “An Open Heart.” A spread of influences is drawn on for Human Figures: the post-punk rawness of “For My Angel”, the synth romance of “Footsteps” the cold reductions of “Passing Beyond Body.” Sombre, stirring and superb.
“Footsteps” was release also on cassette last year on Popnihil.
Forever lost single track from Caroline K real name Caroline Kaye Walters – founder member of Nocturnal Emissions, one of the best UK experimental/industrial music groups in the 1980s. Conceived at her Brixton studio in 1983 during the same sessions of “Don’t Believe It’s Over, “Mirrorball” sounds heavily inspired by “Blue Monday” from New Order, unveiling an unexpected pop side from the British experimental artist, here with the help of Beverley Ireland at the voice.