Boomkat Product Review:
The quintessential :Zoviet*France: LP takes pride of place in V-O-D’s reissue scheme, making the death trance proto-techno charge of ‘Mohnomische’ available on vinyl for 1st time in 35 years.
Practically establishing a genre or sonic dimension unto itself, ‘Mohnomische’ enacts a sort of metempsychosis between industrial and ambient spheres which arguably birthed an Ur, inimitable form of proto-techno in the process. Coveted on the 2nd hand market, the 1983/1984, 2LP pressings and its 1990 CD edition have remained out of reach for most until now, so this new pressing offers an unmissable opportunity to immerse in one of electronic music’s most beguiling and mystic holy grails.
First presented in the wake of their debut ‘Garista’ and a pair of percussive 12” outings, the eight untitled sections of ‘Mohnomische’ sees :Zoviet*France:’s Ben Ponton, Robin Storey and Peter Jensen smudge the burred, cranky edges of their earlier releases to explore a liminal space between ritual rhythmic instincts and intoxicating electro-acoustic atmospheres. No matter how hard you look elsewhere, the album is practically unprecedented in the way it distilled and dilated ideas from krautrock/kosmiche to industrial noise, ambient and folk music into a new form, effectively laying hypnotic groundwork for the likes of Porter Ricks and Basic Channel or waves of noise techno navigators to come.
Ranging from foundry-style rhythmic noise to bleak tracts of moors-at-midnight ambient and churning pre-echoes of dub techno proper, the musick is hand-crafted from a patented alchemy of field recordings with tape loops, low grade electronics and custom made instruments in a way that instinctively future-proofed its unquantifiable contours and spaces. In that sense it speaks to an ideal pursued by Goodiepal, of a style of composition that cannot be decoded or emulated by a computer. It’s possible to attribute that on one level to the way they vacillate extremely saturated textures with the wide-open, windswept soundscapes of their native, post-industrial Newcastle and Northumbrian wilds to divine a unique sort of depth perception and atmospheric clag, but it’s also massively down to their hands-on tactility and attainment with ancient, atavistic spirits that wash up from Doggerland onto their local coast.
You may need to visit the region to know exactly what we mean, but ’Mohnomische’ is strongly a product of its environment and the unshakeably romantic hiraeth or sehnsucht (for want of a better Geordie word) of England’s socio-economically neglected north east and its accreted, outsider cultural intelligence and attitude toward art and music. Whether read as a sort of socio-cultural deep topography, an anthropomorphic sound inversion of landscape and geology, or just a mind-boggling enigma, this album will leave no listener unmoved by its super/natural, otherworldly audness.