From the current hotbed of synthesizer-based acts, mainly the Canadian city of Montreal, there’s more than a resurgence of artists and groups from the 2000’s. From the depths of dungeons, assembled yet again but in exactly the same shape as before, comes a resurrection for …Of Tanz Victims in a digital format—rather then on vinyl. This Montrealian (Québecian-based) group had their peak during the 1980’s—then associated with the independent label and store (now defunct) Bunker Records—not to be confused with the Netherlands-based “acid-house” label with the same name. It consisted of the members Robert de la Carignan (Robert Mailloux) on guitar, bass and vocals, Denis Wooty (Dany Wauthy) and Roy Batty (Roy Batty) on synthesizers, drum-machine and vocals, with Sat W. Ford (Stefan Figiel/Stephan Faulkner) sampling, percussion and vocals. Everyone in this trio contributed with their voice for the project. Now they’ve put out their first single “Fighting False God“, and their fourth album “Haunting the Empire“—as a digitally buy-able and downloadable item for your consumption.
Their rather shady description on their Bandcamp-page suggests a contrast in between a real identity and a fake one, all for the purpose of entertaining theories on the origination of the project—but mainly questions about their identity. We don’t really want to find it out. Since their original releases on vinyl seem to have held quite a nice quality, there’s no reason to believe that the music have been re-mastered for this purpose—just digitized. But who really knows. The name of their project is equally ridiculous and fascinating. Not to mention how much more fascinating their music is, which seems to dwell in between an avant-garde take on industrial, electronic body music, noise and electro. Those main influences bring forth assorted non-electronic music with overt electronic ingredients—masterfully utilized in total synergy. We give our warmest recommendation for this group and hope this return bring them back with more interesting material—heads up to any and every re-issuing label out there. Listen to both releases down below.
Är man fanatisk när det gäller synth-pop så borde man slänga ett öga åt detta håll. Ja, självfallet när det handlar om låtar från 1980-talets dolda synthgömmor. Inte för att gruppen har försökt att undanhålla någonting, det har väl bara inte varit så att låten kommit ut på något släpp, än. Vildsvanen heter en undangömd synth-popgrupp som var mer eller mindre aktiva på 80-talet. Men deras passion låg inte i att visa upp sig för hela vida världen, eller för den delen Sverige, eftersom att de föredrog att spela in musiken snarare än att framträda live. Deras historia är rätt brokig men de hade en särskild förkärlek till DIY – do it yourself – eftersom att de var väldigt måna om att produkten, från topp till botten, skulle komma från dom själva. Gruppen har även ett annan namn som de ändrade till när de spelade in vissa låtar, eftersom att de var väldigt förtjusta i David Bowies låt “Moss Garden” – så fick det bli Moss Garten. Men namnet Vildsvanen behölls eftersom att Moss Garten-låtarna var annorlunda i jämförelse, skillnaden var inte bara i namnet utan också hur de lät. Den lustiga historien bakom namnet är att Mikael Isaksson från gruppen blev anfallen av en vild svan – således blev namnet: Vildsvanen (eller Vild Svanen).
Tillsammans med sin ungdomsvän Thomas så började de spela in år 1982, förfogandes endast över en 8-kanalig inspelningsmaskin. Ett år senare bestämde man sig för att spela in i en riktig studio, vilket gav upphov till “Zchlagers / Industrier” – deras första officiella släpp någonsin. Trots att det är en rätt förvirrad historia efter detta, med förändringar fram och tillbaka i sammansättningen av gruppen så är det ändå intressant att följa den rätt så icke-linjära historien. Allt kan förändras på blotta året och Moss Garten-låtar kan blandas med Vildsvanen-låtar. Egentligen orkade man inte hänga med, så ni kan se deras utveckling på en bild som medföljde vinylskivan när den släpptes på Domestica. Eller så kan man vända sig till deras hemsida, Domestica Records – som även var det skivbolag som gav ut en samlingsskiva med låtar från bägge alter-egon. Samlingen släpptes på vinyl för två år sedan och har sedan länge sålt slut på alla de tvåhundrafemtio exemplar som tillhandahölls.
Det som är mest intressant i sammanhanget är hur låtarna påminner om en opolerad Tredje Mannen, lite mer kaotiskt och mindre om vackra höstkänslor och andra mer lättlyssnade men melankoliska spår. Men givetvis finns det även melankoli hos Vildsvanen och särskilt i den låt som Repartiseraren fått tag på. Det är faktiskt en alternativ version av låten “Black and White” med Moss Garten som man fått tag på. Versionen är både längre rent tidsmässigt men också mer opolerad och dessutom på svenska. Vi är stolta över att kunna ge er låten “Turn Grey” – en av de bättre låtarna från den svenska synthens 1980-tal – även om det är hög klass på andra bortglömda synthlåtar från det årtiondet. Men det här är något som ger en det lilla extra i det annalkande höstmörkret. Lyssna nedanför.
Bright colors intertwined with VHS-quality and other psychedelic enjoyment. Together with the technology of yesteryear, Roladex have done good in their homage to where their influences come from. With their 80’s-infused synth-pop sound and their carefully executed visual FX create a hypnotic atmosphere which is almost exclusive to music-videos from that decade and before the 2000’s. You will find no polished turds á la big business labels and their PR-menagerie here. Not to mention their song “Glass Statuette” on their newly released split with ((PRESSURES)), which is saturated with the mesmerizing duo’s eloquent vocals whose delivery hypnotize you, as the spastic arpeggio rhythm continually rolls in the foreground – an aquatic melody seduces you. You can’t help but start humming the lyrics in a repetitive fashion. I also think the video captures a bizarre vein that Roladex don’t capture as well with their music, which seems to me when I listen to it to be in all seriousness, but the video itself adds that tongue-in-cheek vibe that music-videos used to give. Either because they were abhorrent in their silliness, or simply delivering a positive nerve in the musical delivery – which in Roladex’s case is true – as you also can’t help but smile.
It would’ve been great if this split-release could’ve featured a music-video by ((PRESSURES)), too. Because then it would’ve been more than two songs that you keep on the repeat. But with that said, I think the track “The Voices” complements “Glass Statuette” very well. I think ((PRESSURES)) are the ones whom deliver the futuristic touch to this release, as the B-Side coincides with Roladex’s passionate nostalgic reflections both in track and video. “The Voices” almost touch cold-wave territory, but instead of going into the coldness and reflections of that – there’s a clear disco-vibe to the whole she-bang. With vocals that soothe your soul, together with a steadfast drum-machine rhythm and cosmic synthesizers – I would say that the A-Side gives more hope for us in the future. Though a lot of melancholy can be heard in both tracks, the bleaker side is when Roladex comes on, but I’m not sure anymore after having seen their music-video. All of this might be my hypnotized me talking, but they’ve charmed me with their other side of the coin. Both tracks are complementary as I’ve said, but one wouldn’t stand with the other and they display different characteristics. I just wish they would’ve included the music-video with the release and also made a music-video for ((PRESSURES)) track. That way, their likeness and difference could’ve been visually represented as well as musically.
Since this is a joint release by Medical Records and Disko Obscura, you can either choose to order the limited edition 7¨ in thick transparent yellow, or transparent urochrome vinyl. It’s your choice whether you’d like to go with Medical Records or Disko Obscura, but they both have their unique take on it and if you’re a collector then you should go for them both. You can order the transparent yellow version here, and the transparent urochrome here. Stream both tracks digitally down below and watch the music-video above.
The busiest of them all seem to be the label Field Hymns from America, whom have been keen on releasing a booklet with a very special artist. This artist is Yves Malone – the creator of music for himself and to soundtracks for 1980′s independent movies – like Abysscoteque, The ECHO People and Zenith City. A common theme is the 1980′s but also the fact that every movie that he’s created his own music for, perpetuating a soundtrack of his own, are horror movies from this time period. Those kind of horror flicks that you wouldn’t know anything about unless you stumbled upon his creations, or if you were in any way involved in doing them in the 1980′s in America. Well, that might be stepping over the line a little bit, connoisseurs might have their thing and know it – but I sure as hell didn’t until I listened through his albums. These three releases are all a part of the booklet that Field Hymns are organizing to be put out for release, in honor of the already released albums which he put out himself in December of 2012. I’m here exclusively premiering two tracks from each album, but first you’ll get a description of what I think about them. Here you get FH044, FH045 and FH046. Now it’s time for FH045, which is “The ECHO People“!
The ECHO People. It feels like a more angular experience, with melodies in-fighting together in a perfect shape of suspense-ridden attacks to the left and the right. With an even more freaky touch which reminds you of the horror flicks that we’re subjected to, through a synthwave assault. Layers upon layers of freaked out synthesizers that bloom out into the flowers in the sound-scape in which they’re planted. Setting off an armada of different sounds that would make you believe that you’re in space. The current is strong with the analog warmth that is pulsating throughout the landscape of sound. It takes a few minutes to realize that you’ve suddenly moved on to another track and that’s perfectly fine, because Yves Malone knows how to lay down the transitions between his more suspense-ridden atmosphere and the more angelic sounds. There’s a certain carelessness with the creation he’s pushing out to you, because it feels like it is improvised to a certain degree, but at the same time it feels like he’s careful where he places his fingers. Just so he can get the right melody in tune with the fast hits and stabs, so the droned out sound becomes even more of an experience. Even though a lot is happening, there’s a certain sense of fulfillment that you get when you’ve listened through it. You’re totally submerged into the unknown territory which he explores for you, you’re just a passenger on your way from place A to place B – even though it sounds sterile – the place you’re moving through is like something sent from above. It is especially noticeable in the longer tracks where he gets more space to make grandiose creations, rather than fast pulses of synthesizer’s delight. There is no dull moment when you’re blown away by the magnificence that is his sound. The difference that can be noted for “The ECHO People” might be minimal, but there is surely payed more attention to the complexities that he’s been working with in “Abysscoteque“. Even though it might be some kind of deja vu, I’m perfectly sure that I could’ve heard this somewhere else. It’s also hard to distinguish a trilogy from the essential make-up of it. You can’t simply take away one of the albums and say that it constitutes something new, because he’s drawn a red line that he follows through with. Similarities can be heard but also the difference in between. I’m haunted (in a good way) by the astonishing malevolence of his sound, but also by the fact that he can create such a wondrous thematic. There is nothing that would surprise you when you listen to Yves Malone, because if you’ve heard just a little bit of what he’s been making, you know its his signature sound. “The ECHO People” will be included in the booklet being released by Field Hymns in June on cassette, make sure you have your eyes open so you can buy it from them when the time’s here.
The busiest of them all seem to be the label Field Hymns from America, whom have been keen on releasing a booklet with a very special artist. This artist is Yves Malone – the creator of music for himself and to soundtracks for 1980’s independent movies – like Abysscoteque, The ECHO People and Zenith City. A common theme is the 1980’s but also the fact that every movie that he’s created his own music for, perpetuating a soundtrack of his own, are horror movies from this time period. Those kind of horror flicks that you wouldn’t know anything about unless you stumbled upon his creations, or if you were in any way involved in doing them in the 1980’s in America. Well, that might be stepping over the line a little bit, connoisseurs might have their thing and know it – but I sure as hell didn’t until I listened through his albums. These three releases are all a part of the booklet that Field Hymns are organizing to be put out for release, in honor of the already released albums which he put out himself in December of 2012. I’m here exclusively premiering two tracks from each album, but first you’ll get a description of what I think about them. Here you get FH044, FH045 and FH046. Right now, however, you get FH044 – which is “Abysscoteque“.
Abysscoteque. The first release in this series of three releases, all themed after horror flicks. Albeit the fact that Yves Malone has put his sight on the softer but more concentrated side of 1980’s synthwave in this release, it is clear to me when listening to it that his intentions are of creating a soundtrack. Panning into the first few melodies, to hear the static rhythm that pumps up the blood within me, to listen carefully to the basedrum which is stomping its way through the sound-scape in a rather subliminal fashion. The first setting is already here and is placed upon me to decide, as the melodies gradually change from the darker intonations to a more grandiose and melodious; shall I say clearer sound, to which I nod my head to as I get tossed around. I’m waiting with suspense just to hear any form of subtle change in the sound-scape as it moves forward in a lingering fashion, making every synthesizer stab more aggressive, freaked out and non-passive. To then be introduced after the departure of the first, to a rather gloomy entrance of different synthesizers matching the neon colors that glow somewhere in the distance. This does not remind me of a horror flick at all, even though I notice the suspense to be there all the time. A rather doom and gloom sound for synthwave – which always seem to carry an upbeat torch not falling from grace – unlike the sorrowful display of palettes that remind me of awful days. Painting a broader picturesque notion of decay, a city that earlier bloomed has gone astray and you’re alone in the darkness, catching yourself in the monotonous living, the scariness of dark alleyways and people whom you do not recognize. People whose faces are covered. Maybe in masks. The album slowly sinks into the same methodical pattern that make it what it is. Feel what you’d like about it, but it is a masterpiece none the less and the more you get into it, the further you dig – the more melodious, morbid and angelic it gets – yin & yang are present to deliver their verdict. I’m noticing that everything really lies with the overtly grandiose sound-scape, created by layers of differentiating melodies, synthesizers, drums – but mostly synthesizers – far-fetched from any reality that I know of. Abysscoteque is a true soundtrack, no matter if you say its synthwave over and over again, the execution is in the aforementioned style – which is great if you’re interested in cinematography of different sorts. I can drift away into this every day, but it seizes to be music and simply needs a visual element to be paired with. Though I’m not so sure if any of those movies would do for me, since they’re not really my reel of film. Anyhow, it’s a basic introductory to the baby-steps you’re taking when taking in Yves Malone and his music – the sincerity is never lacking. You can buy this release soon, from Field Hymns records. But you will have to wait for a bit before it is fully realized.
I think it’s time to give you another treat, this time I’ll be recommending my favorite Gothic rock bands from the 80s. I begin with 1980-1981 (Part I) and then gradually move my way up throughout the years: 1982 (Part II), 1983-1984 (Part III), 1985 (Part IV), 1986-1987 (Part V) and 1988-1989 (Part VI). I’ll be continuing the fad of six different episodes and I’ll bid you my welcome into the world I knew and the world I’ve discovered and continually re-discover when I’m surfing the web. I want to give people another opportunity and to find out about bands and artists that they haven’t heard of before. Sometimes I occasionally sneak in a bigger band or two, but that’ll just be if the song is good enough. But by no means is this a top 30 of the best Gothic rock from the 80s, I’ll have to give you a top-10 list in the future of the Gothic bands that I think top my own list. I’ll also have some commentary beneath each clip as I had in the earlier parts that covered post-punk, mostly because it looks more aesthetically pleasuring and say something about the song or the lyrics. Let me take you into this world now.
You’re now entering Part IV of the recommendation.
If you wish to continue, click on the Continue reading button.
Have we got something for you right now! First up is The Straw Men, which basically was a post-punk/alternative band from the Sydney 1980s and they’ve re-released some forgotten material from their album “inland sea“. They’re really unconventional when it comes to post-punk, as they deploy some more funky and blues-oriented sound combined with that particular genre. At times, they sound like a combination between Au Pairs and some other unknown band that I can’t really categorize. Every single riff, the drumming and the atmosphere tells a story in itself. I would say that they don’t even need any lyrics, because you can tell by the sound-scape that it’s a whole adventure put down into the mix. There’s always been some different takes from Australia when it comes to post-punk, which is appreciated. You shouldn’t underestimate their employment of the psychedelic elements either, since they pull it off perfectly. The songs featured on this release range from “Refugee Stomp” to “Into The Night“, and it seems like they’ve self-released it.
Since I’m way off on the countdown this time, I’m going to introduce one new clip each day until the 24th of December. I’m eagerly awaiting Christmas (or Yule as we say) and this day is dedicated to The Stockholm Monsters – a criminally overlooked band which released one album and a number of EPs and singles. One of those records were their first and only album Alma Mater (1984) which contained one of my favorite songs from this blissful act, songs like “To Look At Her“, “Your Uniform” and “Terror“. Besides that, I’ve also got some other favorites that I’d like to tell you about here. The single How Corrupt Is Rough Trade? (1985) is one of their best singles ever to be released, accompanied by their other single which was released earlier, that goes by the name of Miss Moonlight (1983).
I must also say that I have no favorite EP that this band has released, since the singles and their only album at hand give me the listening pleasure I need. However, I need to recommend the compilation that was released in the 2000’s, titled All At Once (Singles 1981 – 1987) which was released in 2002. The track at the top is from this compilation and I think it pinpoints their sound and really doesn’t compromise with it either. All the tracks that are supposed to be on it is in there.
This is the 17th of December and I’m the Invisible Guy.