A genuine holy grail of Italian post-industrial music, The Cop Killers’ sole, eponymous tape is remastered and issued on vinyl for the first time via Alessio Natalizia’s Ecstatic label. Fetching triple figures on the 2nd hand market (there’s a copy on scogs atm for £300) this is an indispensable slice of ‘80s Europe’s underground experimental rhizome.
An important release for Ecstatic and one very close to their heart, ‘The Cop Killers’ was originally released in 1982 on the legendary Trax label and features the industrial power trio of Trax co-founder Vittore Baroni and label regular Daniele Ciullini assisted by UK’s Mark A. Phillips (Five Times of Dust) in supposing a sci-fi narrative set in a not-so-distant future society.
While clearly drawing influence and literary license from classic sci-fi by Orwell, Ray Bradbury and William Burroughs, the trio also take cues from the not-so-distant history of Italian fascism to offer a subtly coded and subversive warning against right-wing ideologies. In the process The Cop Killers distinguished themselves by preferring to plants seeds of hope amid the rubble of their peers nihilistic/apocalyptic visions, implicitly turning the album into a sort of “pacifist parable”.
The political aspect wouldn’t be half as crucial without the music, though. A coarse blend of Italian-accented english vox with backing tracks ranging from jaunty synth figures to cloven drum machine malfunctions and noisier wig-outs, it was mixed on a dual cassette deck and mixer from numerous tapes in just over 90 minutes, and successfully carries the narrative and its message to the point it’s become such a sought-after classic - not just for its obscurity, but also its charged energy, a condensation of candescent anger focussed into a pointedly oblique yet smartly allegorical condemnation of fascism.
Vittore Baroni: “As a music journalist and fan of radical and avant-garde audio researches, at the start of the 80s I was becoming increasingly bored by the mannerism of so many industrial and noise bands, and also annoyed by their gratuitous and stereotyped use of images of death, Nazism, war, with titles and texts soaked in right-wing ideologies. I wanted to produce an antibody to this depressive trend, with seeds of hope well concealed under a nihilistic-apocalyptic “industrial” camouflage."
Stonking EBM/electro/techno session from Moscow’s Pavel Milyakov in Buttechno mode on Veronica Vasicka’s Cititrax
Behind some of the most desirable dancefloor 12”s of recent years, Buttechno has saved some of his sharpest cuts for the six-track ‘Cherskogo Drive’, giving a fine taste of the much vaunted Muscovite rave scene in 2018.
The A-side is toploaded with the salty, puckered EBM twyst of ‘March Cherskogo’ with its sinuous and lip-bitingly sexy torque, along with the trippy bleep techno cadence of ‘Back To The E’, and the very Rudolf Klorzeiger-esque pulse and nosedrip tang of ‘Elektroshirka’, while the B-side also impresses with the Analordian scales and slinky flux of ’Slow Durk’, which almost sounds like a tempered take of his ’861 x 3’ zinger for City-2 St, Giga.
Reissue of Vic Serf & The Villains’ playful 1983 avant-garde concept disc - a suite of skewed Rock ’N Roll played by aliens for earthfolk. It’s nuts in the best way - imagine Joe Meek meets The Residents ...
“War Extension announces the vinyl re-issue of Rok Y Roll by Vic Serf & The Villains, originally released by It's War Boys on cassette in 1982. Musicians on the album comprised Vic Serf (alias of Jim "Amos" Welton), Cathy Spermwrecker, Rita Chulo, and Larry O'Houlihan, along with guest appearances from Ron Dealo, Lepke B., and Sara Fancy. The recording is situated in a particularly fervent and inventive period of 1980s independent and experimental music-making, in which musicians moved freely between such bands as Milk From Cheltenham, Tesco Bombers, and Raincoats, and record labels such as Rough Trade, Y Records, and Barcelona's UMYU.
This album, however, was more part of a rampant recording program by Welton in which he released, with help from many collaborators, an irrepressible number of bands and their albums, such as by the Just Measurers, Milk From Cheltenham, and Amos and Sara, as well as Vic Serf & The Villains. Rok Y Roll imagines an alien race based on a planet far away who have received radio signals beamed from earth in the '50s: rock and roll music. They assume that these signals are the language of the earth people and, inspired to communicate, concoct a suitable reply. Unfortunately, their culture has no concept of music or song and, as a consequence, their replies are somewhat skewed; Rok Y Roll is the result. The music, recorded mostly on lo-fi tape machines, and borrowed four-track cassette machines, found its locus in the various squats and derelict mansions that defined a now long-ago London. Important to this was the ever-present involvement of non-musicians and the untutored approaches and altered techniques they employed. Rejecting the wannabe naked careerism of 80's pop, the scene around It's War Boys's aim was, as Susan B.
Smoothe said, "nothing less than to turn the whole rotting wriggling carapace of music on its back and carefully prod each segment with a perceptually sharpened stick." The question remains, was Rok Y Roll a mining of past forms of inverted science fiction, in which chronologically displaced music functioned as an alien artifact? Or, was it an all-out attack on popular musical forms? Primarily, Rok Y Roll could be read as a celebration of utter naffness. Vic Serf and his collaborators asked the question, "How atrocious could a music and the idea behind it be? What would result?" Here you have the answer!”
Broken English Club flashes his industrial gnashers on the 1st part of a new LP trilogy for L.I.E.S.
Otherwise known as Oliver Ho, Broken English Club has become the bloodied ground for his most unrepentant, grotesque and personalised productions, a place where the bones of EBM/acid/techno rest in pieces beside the desiccated batteries of power electronics and the ghosts of late ‘70s/early ‘80s post-industrial styles.
Leading on from last year’s ‘The English Beach’ LP, Ho focuses his energies into 9 bitter cuts in ‘White Rats’, ranging from the coruscating noise guitar wizardry of the title cut and the clenched industrial strength force of ’Funny Games’ on the front, to thoughts about modern day Brexit Britain in ‘Animal Town’ - “barking nazi’s in plastic tracksuits” - along with the skudgy acid EBM burn of ‘Let’s Play’ and blown-out power electronics of ’Stab Boy’ on the other side.
RIYL Throbbing Gristle, Parrish Smith, Sandra Electronics...
Reissue of a 1990 Chicago house pearl with delectable Mr. Fingers remix and extended percussive version
As one might know or predict, the Mr. Fingers mix is exquisite, working to his deepest side with booty-nutrifying groove underlining some proper saxomaphone sauce on the ‘Jazzy Instrumental’, while the ‘Gallifré Drums & Club’ cut works up a drier, drum heavy groove that blooms into a full body & soul workout.
Reverberating recordings of sound artist Henning Christiansen riffing on the idea of “rock” music in homage to Ken Unsworth, recorded in Sydney, Australia, 1990.
“Holidays Records presents Henning Christiansen's Stone-song. Stone-song is a one-hour performance presented in 1990 at the 8th Biennale of Sydney (The Readymade Boomerang: Certain Relations in 20th Century Art) where time is being scanned and animated by matter and where the genius of Henning Christiansen (with fellow artist Bjørn Nørgaard and Ken Unsworth, to whom this performance is dedicated) establish a deep dialogue with the nature (of sound) watching the time, stone on stone, being at the same time actors and audience of its ephemeral and violent manifestations. What time is it? Is it what time? Time is it what? Released in collaboration with the Henning Christiansen Archive.”
Róisín Murphy returns with her anticipated new album Mi Senti, her first solo material since 2012′s ‘Simulation’.
The Italian-influenced album draws inspiration from a fine history of Italian pop, with Murphy giving a nod to Venetian diva Patty Pravo on the addictive ‘Pensiero Stupendo’.
Sublime charms from Hood co-founder Richard Adams...
“The Declining Winter return after a three year lay off with what is perhaps their strongest statement to date. Pushing on from the pastoral blueprint of the long sold out ‘Home For Lost Souls’ (2015),‘Belmont Slope’ is a bold and varied album, extending the boundaries of their earlier sound, introducing pop sensibilities and daring electronic flourishes.
Truly a Northern English album, Belmont Slope is a haphazard car ride across the M62, a love letter to the hills of Yorkshire and Lancashire, a paean to desolate beauty, unattainable love and lost friends. The Declining Winter is the brainchild of Hood co-founder Richard Adams, an ever changing collective who emerge blinking into the daylight from their Yorkshire enclave with a unique blend of pastoral and lo-fi pop, shimmering electronics and rural post-rock."
Brilliantly cruddy sci-fi garage rock skuzz from Dunedin, NZ’s The Futurians - think Black Mecha meets MARS at The Dead C’s gaff
Following dozens of tapes, CDs, lathe-cut 7”s and a few LPs dispatched over the past 15 years, ’Programmed’ is the first time we, like many others, have encountered the raw might of The Futurians and their incendiary sound.
As true offspring of the notorious Dunedin sound forged by Michael Morley and his ends-of-the-earth cohorts, The Futurians are raw as heck and properly up for making an hypnotic racket. On the A-side they do it on a side-long jam of oil-sputtering, churning motorik groove and possessed vocals demonstrating a blend of athletic endurance and locked-in drunkenness, before dividing their energeis into six more succinct bits on the back ranging from raging walls of mentation electronics a la Black Mecha, to clattering death rock swagger, and hammering primitivism recalling MARS’ no wave blatz, and proper, The Dead C-style psych soreness.
A no brainer. Most satisfying.
Finders Keepers come up roses again with dazzling, never-before-heard live documentation of two Buchla 200 concerts recorded in 1975 by Suzanne Ciani. Rightly heralded as “a distinctive feminine alternative to The Silver Apples of the Moon”. The words “Holy Grail” and “revolutionary” spring to mind! Remarkable stuff for any synth fetishists or historians of the future.
“This spring Finders Keepers Records are proud to release an archival project that not only redefines musical history but boasts genuine claim to the overused buzzwords such as pioneering, maverick, experimental, groundbreaking and esoteric, while questioning social politics and the evolution of music technology as we’ve come to understand it. To describe this records as a game-changer is an understatement. This record represents a musical revolution, a scientific benchmark and a trophy in the cabinet of counter culture creativity.
This record is a triumphant yardstick in the synthesiser space race and the untold story of the first woman on the proverbial moon. While pondering the early accolades of this record it’s daunting to learn that this record was in fact not a record at all… It was a manifesto and a gateway to a new world, that somehow never quite opened. If the unfamiliar, modernistic, melodic, pulses, tones and harmonics found on this 1975 live presentation/grant application/educational demonstration had been placed in a phonographic context alongside the promoted work of Morton Subotnick, Walter Carlos or Tomita then the name Suzanne Ciani and her influence would have already radically changed the shape, sound and gender of our record collections. Hopefully there is still chance.”
Amit showcases a spectrum of D&B, dubstep and mutant bass styles in ‘Splinters’, loaded with tracks by dBridge, Krust, V.I.V.E.K, Oris Jay, Mønic and many more
The compiler sets the tone with a wild halfstep roller ‘Cold Blood’, while other highlights come in the guttural shudders and spectral timbre of ‘Storm Doris’ by Mønic; a tense synth experiment from Krust called ‘Escape From Finland’; the vintage dark garage pressure of ‘Ghost & Darkness’ by Oris Jay & Innasound; and the fluid, sidewinding swerve of dBridge’s drums and ‘floor-scudding subs on ‘Own The Town’.
Unexpectedly terrific little 7” of dubbed-out rufige from Melbourne, Australia’s Pugilist
The A-side is the one for us - a wicked, scuzzy brukbeat licked up with soundsystem chat in a way recalling classic 2562 and Shackleton, but with a fizzing parry that Pugilist can safely call his own. B-side offers a fine contrast with ‘Hemisphere’, where he drifts thru crepuscular scenes of ganja smoke and lone guitar mired in heavy subs for a very trip hop feel.
Italian artist David August blends ambient-pop with Nico Jaar-like grooves, blues vamps and Giallo soundtrack-styled motifs in ‘D’Angelo’, his follow-up to a self-released ambient album and prior outings with Solomon’s Diynamic.