Sunday, June 30, 2013

xex' Changes out on Dark Entries

Dark Entries Records have released of xex' second album 'Change' as the final piece of our Americana Underground trilogy which comes from the state New Jersey, circa 1981. The album was recorded in the early 80's but the band did not have the funds to release the album and it sat in obscurity for over 30 years.
 All songs have been remastered from the original reel to reel tapes for vinyl by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley. The vinyl comes housed in jacket created by Alex Zander for his senior art project in college in 1980. Each LP includes a double sided 11×11 cardstock insert with lyrics and photos. Also included is a full length DVD featuring a 9-song xex concert from 1981, recorded at Hurrah in New York. With the bonus DVD included in the new LP, more people will see xex perform than ever saw them play live. More than 30 years later xex:change finally sees the light of day and fits in today’s world all too perfectly.

Retrovision: Altered Images- Bring Me Closer

Thirty years ago, Altered Images released "Bring Me Closer". It was one of the several singles which were taken from their third album 'Bite' which was released during the same year. The first single "Don't Talk to Me About Love", reached UK #7, becoming one of the group's biggest hits, "Bring Me Closer" made it only to #29. Soon after the final single and the group completed a UK tour, they disbanded.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Mute Announces The Cabaret Voltaire Reissue Series

Mute are delighted to announce a series of Cabaret Voltaire releases, starting with the vinyl issue of Cabaret Voltaire’s iconic 1981 album 'Red Mecca' – out on 22 July 2013. Remastered and available here on vinyl for the first time since Mute’s reissue in 1990, Red Mecca features the line up of Richard H Kirk, Stephen Mallinder and Chris Watson, and is Cabaret Voltaire’s third album, and the final full album with co-founder Chris Watson. 
 The series of Cabaret Voltaire releases will continue with a box set release on vinyl and CD in the autumn. #8385 (Collected Works 1983 –1985) will collate four of the Cabs’ classic mid-period releases, remastered – The Crackdown (1983), Micro-Phonies (1984), Drinking Gasoline (1985) and The Covenant, The Sword and the Arm of the Lord (1985) – alongside bonus CDs and DVDs.

Mote info about the first reissue:

Monday, June 10, 2013

Out This Week: Lust For Youth- Perfect View

Lust for Youth are back with new album which is out this week. This is the third full length album by the Swedish producer Hannes Norrvide which is announced to be warmer and more inviting than any of his previous work. The new album is entitled 'Perfect View' and is composed of largely instrumental pieces, focusing more on beats, samples and general ambiance. 
 The band will embark on their first European and us tours this spring and summer, joining Chelsea Wolfe in Europe this April/May and touring the Us in late May beginning with the Chaos in Tejas festival and ending with Brooklyn’s Northside festival.


Sunday, June 9, 2013

The New Chameleons' Reissues Announced for June 17th

Blue Apple Music, the official store for the music of the Chameleons has announced the reissue 'Dreams In Celluloid' and 'Why Call It Anything?'. Both releases are available combined and separate. 'Dreams in Celluloid' is a collection of rare recordings and this two CD set features newly re-mastered versions of classic early recordings, plus the ultra rare Tony Fletcher EP. The second reissue is Chameleons' fourth album 'Why Call It Anything' which also features two CDs. The first CD is the original album reissue while the second features the Chameleons live in concert at Manchester Academy, a sold out hometown show recorded in 2001, during the band’s brief reunion. 
Both releases are announced for June 17th and they were re-mastered in Spring 2013.

Next Wave: Engines of Malice

Engines of Malice is a French duo consisting of Roxy (Contre Jour) on vocals and Chris (The Glow Inc) on keys, programming and guitars. Their musical style can be described as Industrial/ethnic and they deliver a high-energy melting-pot of electro, ethnic, industrial, orchestral and rock influences, the sound of a fierce heart going into battle. This year sees the release of their self titled debut EP which will be out on July 9th. "Surrender", one of the songs from the upcoming EP and one of our favorites was already released as a single in February. A must for Austra, Zola Jesus and iamamiwhoami fans.

Friday, June 7, 2013

WAW: Vår - In Your Arms

The Danish group Vår, originally known as War and the Iceage offshot have released their debut LP 'No One Dances Like My Brothers' this year. Their music is a mixture of coldwave, post-punk, industrial, and ambient music, with few stylistic boundaries in sight. This is the video for their song "In Your Arms" which was directed by Kristian Emdal. Their LP is out on Sacred bones Records.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Style Council's Classic Album Collection Announced for Release on July 15th

This year marks the 30th Anniversary of the Style Council formation and celebrates their first single releases. All put together the label Commercial Marketing will release 6 CD box set which will feature all the band's studio albums, from their debut "Introducing The Style Council' all the way underground motivated 'Modernism: A New Decade'. This new box set is going to be released on July 15th and it is available on pre-order.

Monday, June 3, 2013

In Conversation: INHALT

The gentlemen of the San Francisco based trio, INHALT, are currently locked away and hard at work on their upcoming EP titled "Occupations". This being the follow up to their "Vehicle" EP. A fine and entrancing four song vinyl collection of pulsing, vibrant, rhythmic, and sometimes a bit abstract electronic craftsmanship. I remember being absolutely smitten after just one listen to each of the one minute samples. I desperately needed to hear them in their full glory and finally got the opportunity  upon the official release. In fact, it was one that made it into our Top 20 Ep's of 2012 list; rightfully so and well deserved.

Matia Simovich, Bryan Gibbs, and Philip Winiger incorporate the best bits and pieces of their early and current musical influences into their own songwriting. That said, they ultimately put their own personal spin on things. There is no blatant rehash to be heard here and that's something that's difficult to come by these days. The aforementioned three took some time out, from their recording, to answer a few questions i had. Here is what they had to say. 

1)  I'd like to start things off with talking about the origin of the band. How did it all come together?

Matia: Philip and I met several years ago over a shared love of analog synthesizers, drum machines, and authentic electronic music.

Philip: One day we just started to work together. From that first day on we sort of knew this was a collaboration that just worked. There was not much beyond that in the beginning.

Matia: That first session was deeper, more established, and honest than any other projects we had worked on individually. In 2009 I moved to London to finish an MA and met a great cast of characters in England. When I returned to California, Philip and I asked my old friend and colleague, Bryan Gibbs, if he would be interested in joining us with what at that point became INHALT.

Bryan: I was very interested in joining the project from the moment I heard the early songs. I had been developing a studio complex that, with the help of Matia and Philip, was finally christened "The Bunker" which has since become our main base of operations.

Matia: From there we put out our first 12" in London on Andy Blake and Joe Hart's imprint "World Unknown" and following that signed to Dark Entries Records and released our debut EP "Vehicle".
2)  Do any of you have formal music training?
Philip: As a teenager I played trumpet and then moved onto the piano. I started to dislike trumpet and my teacher, who could sense I was more interested in electronic music, introduced me to the synthesizer. Since then, it's a love that's never died for me.
Bryan: I have no formal musical training, but I taught myself everything regarding composition and tone shifting by reading and exploring on my own. My interests, however, were more on the technical side of music production and recording rather than composing. This love of the recording arts lead me to finish a diploma in audio engineering.
Matia: Everything I know about music production, writing, and arranging I learned through my own passion for music and through my colleagues both in this project and in the numerous jobs I've had the pleasure of holding in the greater music industry.
3)  Could you elaborate on your songwriting and recording process? Who takes on what particular responsibilities?
Matia: With INHALT we employ a multistage writing and production process. In short, there are typically two kinds of songs that we write: ones that are written start to finish with all of us in one room playing at the same time or ones that happen over a longer period of time where each of us contribute at different points in time. Often times I see my role in INHALT as the rhythm section, arranger, and co-producer, however, I feel as though we all take on various roles depending on the needs of the individual song.
Philip: I am the principal vocalist and melody writer of INHALT. We just fire up and go.
Bryan: I end up mostly doing recording and engineering and traditionally act as the other co-producer.
Matia: After we have a composition established and arranged we tend to move to a production stage where the focus is on tone shaping through effect processors, re-amplification and so on. Bryan takes the lead in utilizing physical spaces for reverberation and building very complex microphone arrangements. I've seen him do things with mics I've never seen in any other production that I've been a part of. Lastly we mix, always using a hardware mixing desk and stream down to Philip's Revox tape machine. Afterwards, we send the songs to Paul Lavigne in London to put on the final master. It's a team effort and everyone's energy, input, and creativity results in the finished piece.
4)  I've watched the instudio videos on your You Tube channel several times over. It seems you have quite the arsenal of synthesizers and drum machines at your disposal. Is this something that carries over into your live performances? In the traditional sense of performing electronic music live.
INHALT: We have not performed a live concert with this project yet. However, we are currently developing our set up for live to meet our needs without compromising the health of the vintage analog synths that we use on our recordings. What that means is that we are assembling a combination of new analog technologies, DIY and hand built discrete circuits, and emerging digital mixing platforms oriented for live use to develop the live INHALT experience.
5)  What was the idea of German lyrics instead of English as heard on the "Vehicle" EP? Is this something that will be revisited on the upcoming EP?
Philip: My native language is German. I felt that it was a natural expression for me to sing in my native tongue.
INHALT: On our upcoming EP,  there will be songs in German and also French and English.

6)  Who were some of your early influences? Was it a strong enough influence to guide you in the direction of recording and performing music?
Philip: Kraftwerk, Oscar Sala, Stockhausen. It inspired me to find my voice within the legacy of such highly creative electronic music. There is no measure of strength, it is exactly what is guiding me through this voyage. Also seeing likeminded electronic musicians doing the same is both comforting and inspiring.
Matia: My early influences were always of the New German Wave variety and early New Wave like Depeche Mode, Yazoo, Pet Shop Boys. In recent times my horizons have opened to other music but I credit many of these artists as the initial spark of motivation to learn how electronic music is made. Culturally, I also feel aligned with a lot of the ideologies present in much of this music, including a very pan-European sense of humor. Looking more introspectively, the specific creation process of our music, for me, is a practice of honest self-expression which is a deeply personal voyage.
Bryan: The first real music that moved my imagination was the psychedelic story telling of Pink Floyd. This theme continued into the electronic sounds of 80's synth bands, especially Depeche Mode, Duran Duran and the like. Industrial sounds of Front 242 and Skinny Puppy activated the appreciation for the darker sounds and less pop oriented styles of electronic music leading into the emerging techno sounds from Prodigy, Aphex Twin and Leftfield. The use of the synthesizer offered such an other worldly soundscape that I could not ignore it. This technology became as much a passion as the music itself. 
7)  Can you remember the first record or CD you ever purchased? What effect did it have on you? Is it something you would or still do listen to currently? My reason for this question is that i hear some people shun some of their initial music purchases and bands they loved once upon a time. They'll say that they were a different person then and can't relate to a "that band" any longer. Me personally, i can always go back and listen to ABBA and many others from my adolescent years. It brings back memories...good and bad. Ultimately, it reminds me of where i've been and how much i've grown (mentally) since those times.
Philip: NWA's "Gangsta Gangsta". I bought this in New York and brought it back to my little Swiss town much to the confusion of everyone else there. I still listen to it as warped as that vinyl is.
Matia: The first record I remember getting was Depeche Mode's "People are People". To this day, I feel as though the masters of the songs on this particular compilation are more endearing to me than the same masters of the same songs on their respective albums. I don't know if it's because it was the first record I had, or if they do actually sound more musically pleasing. I'd like to think my ears are tuned enough to make the later statement confidently.
Bryan: It was the cassette of The Beach Boys "Pet Sounds". I had absolutely no idea what that whole thing was all about at the time but I really liked the vibe and the complexity of those records. I still listen to that album and I think they were geniuses.
8)  What lies ahead for INHALT?  Are there any current and upcoming activities you'd care to share with our readers?
INHALT: We just recently had the pleasure of working with the legendary Pete Byrne, one half of Naked Eyes, on an original INHALT composition. This song, as well as several new ones and remixes will be coming out on our next EP, titled "Occupations", for Dark Entries Records. Half of this EP was mixed just outside of Vienna, Austria at Werner Freistätter's exceptional SSL equipped "Vinyl Carvers" studio. Being in a little village in Austria, breathing fresh air in the morning, blasting the mix at night, and working with close friends was definitely an unforgettable experience. We have a new video in the works by Dmitry Semenov, who has recently been doing videos for Alan Wilder (which are absolutely incredible and full of Dima's unique visual talent). Our graphic designer and conceptual ally, Leo Merz, is hard at work on our website which should be launching soon. In addition to the DJ appearances that we have been making, we will be booking live concerts. Outside of producing our next EP we are also remixing Sally Dige's absolutely stellar song "Doppleganger".
*For more info on INHALT, please visit: INHALT @ Facebook , INHALT @ YouTube , and Dark Entries Records

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Top 20 Singles- Readers' List- 1983

1.New Order- Blue Monday 
2.Depeche Mode- Everything Counts
3.The Smiths- This Charming Man 
4.The Sisters of Mercy- Temple of Love 
5.The The- This is the Day 
6.Simple Minds- New Gold Dream 81-82-83-84
7.Frankie Goes To Hollywood- Relax
8.Siouxsie and The Banshees- Dear Prudence 
9.Yazoo- Nobody's Diary 
10.Echo & The Bunnymen- The Cutter 
11.U2- New Year’s Day 
12.Soft Cell- Soul Inside 
13.R.E.M.- Radio Free Europe 
14.PIL- This is not a love song 
15.Depeche Mode- Get The Balance Right 
16.Culture Club- Karma Chameleon 
17.Howard Jones- What is Love? 
18.Kraftwerk- Tour de France 
19.Kajagoogoo- Too Shy 
20.The Stranglers- Midnight Summer Dream