Boomkat Product Review:
First ever official reissue of John Bender’s seminal sophomore LP, originally recorded 1979-81 around the same time as I Don’t Remember Now. A none-more-definitive slab from minimal wave/post punk’s most fecund period of innovation/exploration!!!
John Bender’s earliest output essentially forms a metaphorical bridge between the original templates of minimalist, industrial and punk music from Terry Riley, T.G. and Suicide in a way that was previously unimagined in 1979-81, or, at least executed with such acute, idiosyncratic vision by anyone else.
Originally issued on the artist’s own Record Sluts label, the first 1981 pressing of Plaster Falling was notoriously housed in sleeves that were hand-dipped in plaster and hermetically sealed in latex, meaning that lucky owners had to break open the box to get at the record inside.
What lies within is a true testament to following one’s instincts, which history has proven to be utterly fucking correct in its assertions that previously, mutually exclusive bedfellows, weren’t that incompatible after all.
It’s easy enough to say that in the non-linear flatland of 2017, but back when this record was made, nearly 40 years ago, this was a major achievement, picked up on by those few in the know, but largely reserved to fetishists and collector’s lists ever since.
A masterful balance of intuitive experimentation and avant-pop yearning lies at the core of its allure, deftly mixing drily sparky drum machines with off-kilter synth hooks and his own observational, lyrical abstractions delivered in a patented, droll and robotic voice in a way that, with hindsight, clearly predated, if not directly influenced, a whole wave of mimetic interpretations. But most crucially, they’re tunes! OK, albeit strange ones, but proper tunes all the same, and with devilishly strong grooves to boot.
Plaster Falling is the sort of record which didn’t exist before it was conceived, and not many since have topped it for immediacy and enduring effect. An essential addition to any electronic or weirdo music collection!!!