Boomkat Product Review:
At long last, Ike Yard's seminal, influential album of post-punk minimalism originally released by Factory America is given the faithful reissue treatment.
It coincides with the group's first ever European tour and marks thirty years since they first swapped guitars and drums for machines and synths to make Factory Records' 1st and only LP release on their American sub-label. In the time since, 'Ike Yard' - or 'A Second' as it's often, erroneously referred to - has been hailed as a touchstone by a wealth of artists ranging from Raime to Regis and The Soft Moon and many more besides, but save for Acute Records' killer '1980-82 Collected' compilation, they've been sorely neglected by the reissue machine.
Anyway, the cream always rises to the surface and here we have it, six tracks of brutally reduced, paranoid urban dystopia, distilled in the belly of downtown New York from the finest influences - Joy Division, PiL, DAF, Can - by an inspirational gang of prototypical techno-punk provocateurs. It's peerless material, from the stoic funk of 'M Kurtz' to the roiling synth tang of 'Loss' (sound much like classic Regis, anyone?) to the numbed, grooving sensuality of 'NCR', the tribal darkness of 'Kino' or the spare, skeletal swerve of 'Half A God', laying a template for efficient, economical machine funk that we can clearly hear adopted in minimal D&B, in tonnes of the best Industrial and the most knowing Berlin techno - whether the producers know it or not.
But while Ike Yard might have been out of the spotlight as a proper entity since they disbanded in 1983 (and returned last year with 'Nord'), its members have been far from inactive: Stuart Argabright has left an illustrious trail of classics with his legendary electro record as Dominatrix, and as Death Comet Crew with Rammellzee for Mike Simonetti's Troubleman, and especially with his mighty Black Rain output, which turned up on Blackest Ever Black earlier this year, while Michael Diekmann knocked out a real ace on his 'Music For Hunting And Mapping' LP alongside his duties in Death Comet Crew and Fred Szymanski has cropped up on various projects. Simply, it's safe to say that this record is what you'd call an essential part of any techno/post punk/wave fancier's collection.