Boomkat Product Review:
**20-track double vinyl housed in glossy gatefold jacket with individually numbered certificate of ownership. Edition of 500** Vinyl-On-Demand return to the treasure trove of Paul Nova recordings, picking out his lone '81 single as Bizarre Unit, plus stacks of unreleased material, demos and alternative versions, digitally transferred and restored from original ¼ inch reels and acetates. The dark glam throb of 'Dancing' and the Ballardian sensuality of 'Away From The Screaming Car' appeared on Bizarre Unit's one and only single, recorded in Walsall circa 1981. It's now a highly collectable item (2nd hand would cost twice as much as this comp!), but that's not where their story stops. As V-O-D discovered, Paul Nova has a stockpile of entirely unheard gear from that era, which comprises the rest of 'A Strange Functional System 1979 - 1982'. Firstly, there's an unreleased 2nd single, the swaggering coldwave of 'Lovers In Paris' and the Joy Division-esque 'Frozen Wastelands Of Alaska', plus 'Video Age' from Paul Nova's 'Julie-Ann' single, comprising 'The 7" Recordings." Secondly, there's 'First Demo Session', dating to 1980 and featuring five remarkably accomplished and well dated cuts including the numbed eeriness of 'The Image Of You' and the odd byzantine groove of 'Factory Inamtes' - a clear forerunner to Gary War, anyone?! Thirdly 'Unreleased Recordings From 1982' shows another remarkable step forward, with cold drum machines, synths and pleading vocals strongly reminding of Soft Cell or Japan, while the final side of 'First Rehearsals 1979 & 1980' takes us back to their skinnier, rawer roots, mixing scratchy guitar and emaciated synth instrumentals with funky sequencer experiments and surreal electro-blues bits. It's still hard to believe there are so many buried treasures out there, but not for much longer if V-O-D have anything to do with it!