Review: Fresh from releasing the superb Pink Flamingos album on Dement3d, In Aternam Vale returns to Minimal Wave. This time round, he's not alone. Each of the tracks features the breathy, stylish vocals of Madrid-based Belarusian, Anneq. Her sleazy, whispered refrain is the headline attraction on the throbbing, industrial pop-meets-techno hustle of "Je Ai Dissous", while she also chats seductively over the undulating arpeggio lines, restless drums and dystopian atmospheres of "Tendencia (About Blank Version"). The ambient-leaning "V6" take of that cut is also hugely inspiring, while the Page R version of "Je Ai Dissous" is a dark, atmospheric and intoxicating celebration of legendary '80s "computer musical instrument", the Fairlight CMI.
Review: Earlier this year Minimal Wave offshoot provided one of this year's most visceral dancefloor weapons in Kino-I, the debut from Doug Lee's new An-I project. Taking inspiration from techno, jack, industrial and punk, An-I successfully drew a line under some of the Berlin-based artist's previous disco-flavoured endeavours. And then some! If you like the Kino-I 12" you will love the new triplet of An-I productions housed on this appropriately titled Gutz 12". The title track alone should come with a health warning; such is the furious onslaught of machine funk it contains, whilst the unnerving "Rut" is the most schizophrenic production you will hear this year. Best of all id closing track "Save Us" sounds like a cross between in Aeternam Vale and Silent Servant. Pressed on a rather thick and dashing slab of magenta orange vinyl!
Review: The judicious Minimal Wave clan deliver another brilliant compilation of rare and wonderful music from the 1980's, this time an anthology of the best work from Japanese artiste Tomo Akikawabaya. Sourcing these songs in their original format has become harder and harder over the years, so they've really done us a favour with this effort. The double LP is made up of loneseom drones, lo-fi drum machine grooves and gorgeous synth work, all coated in Akikawabaya's wonderful vocal stance. The Japanese artiste has a unique style that borders on the melancholic, yet her music is always charged by a driving, proto techno feel. This is one to check if you weren't in the know.
Review: A much needed repress for one of Minimal Wave's best and most impressive looking archival releases here. Originally issued four years ago, Synthesize pulled together some nine tracks from the archives of Autumn, aka Belgian duo Peter Bonne and Geert Coppens whose musical experiments together began in the 1970s and took full flight the next decade. This collection's inspiration comes from the 1981 &" of the same name that Autumn laid to tape in under seven hours, with both tracks featured and complemented by a further array of primitive electronics and supple synth experiments. It's worth it alone for the nervous energy of "Night In June" and "Laughter Of A Madman".
Review: 32 years later... Eberle and Jones' third album still sounds as singular. Cosmic, futuristic, soulful, innovative; from the disparate twangs and Floydian vocal processing of "The Fisherman" to the poignant chords and distant breezy harmonies of "With Louise" via the space blues of "Seven Days From Now", this captures a unique moment of musical flux and clarity and has aged incredibly well. If anything it's more resonant as you hear so many echoes of inspired bands and artists who've followed. Its first reissue in almost 17 years, this experience is long overdue.
Review: Active between 1982 and 1994, Chicago duo Alebra Suicide was a unique proposition. Comprised of deadpan spoken word vocalist Lydia Tomkiw and guitarist Don Hedeker, the pair won plenty of plaudits for their unique blend of lo-fi drum machines rhythms, sparse post-punk guitar motifs, sequenced synthesizers and distinctive vocals. "Still Life" - the second retrospective of their curious career from Dark Entries - offers a neat introduction to their strange sonic world, drawing on cuts from a multitude of forgotten albums and singles. It's well worth picking up, if only to admire the undoubted brilliance of the pair's unique fusion of styles and sounds.
Review: Initially released in limited numbers back in 2016, Ash Code's sophomore set, "Posthuman", is now getting a wider vinyl release via long-serving American imprint and distributor Metropolis. If moody new wave and dark wave is your thing, it's well worth a listen. It's quite gothic in tone, sitting somewhere between throbbing, synthesizer-driven new wave, the "recorded in an echoing basement" darkness of early Joy Division, the 'screw you' sensibility of Chris Watson era Cabaret Voltaire and the brooding intensity of eyeliner-clad post-punk pop from the margins. There are few surprises, but then you wouldn't expect any: Ash Code has carved out its own niche and that should be celebrated.
Review: Arte Moderno was a short-lived outfit from the Canary Islands who scored an underground dancefloor hit in 1982 with the spaced-out punk-funk/new wave/dub disco grooves of "Ninette En New York" before all but disappearing. Here, we finally get a chance to hear what else they were up to, as Musica Cabeza - the debut album they recorded but then shelved in 1982, finally gets a release. It's a quietly impressive set, all told, offering up tracks that doff a cap to the likes of Talking Heads, Woo, Konk and Bauhaus, while also offering a fresh take on electric/electronic post-punk fusion. Had it been released when it was recorded there's no doubt it would have become an underground classic; now that it's finally seen the light of day, we can confirm it's every bit as good as we'd hoped for.
Cameron Allen & Graham Bidstrup - "Bikini Atoll" (3:40)
Foot & Mouth - "I Want My Mummy" (4:15)
Review: An intriguing confection put together by two Antipodean crate-diggers with an ear for the eccentricities and heroic creative travails of a generation of yore, 'Midnight Spares' chronicles a predominantly '80s era in which bedroom musicians took a post-punk DIY sensibility to create work that still rings out with originality and ingenuity decades on. Collected from manifold unusual sources, this compendium takes in early synth-pop, menacing lo-fi soundtrack work, a stray emigre member of The Flying Pickets, and even an early foray into recording from the members of legendary Ozpunk scamps God. Lurking somewhere between the spirit of John Peel and the world of outsider art, the resulting assemblage is a must-have for chroniclers of the weird and wonderful.