Boomkat Product Review:
A classic by Mental Overdrive gets the expanded and remastered treatment on Full Pupp's "techno not techno"offshoot Rett I Fletta!
"Per Martinsen was born in the Arctic town of Tromsø in Northern Norway in 1966, and spent his teens listening to imported records and tapes filled with electronic (and some non-electronic) music stemming mainly from the UK and Germany. He first entered the world of music-making by playing drums in local post-punk outfits, but moved on to electronic instruments when he bought his own Roland TR-808 drum machine in 1983.
Setting out on a mission to connect to the sources of his inspiration, he ended up in London in 1987, where he spent his days squatting in Hackney and working as an assistant programmer in This Heat’s seminal Cold Storage studio in Brixton.
Hit by the wave of Chicago house and Detroit techno invading London at the time, he soon found himself experimenting with making beats inspired by these new sounds merged with the 80’s sounds he was accustomed to from his pre-London era, like industrial music and EBM.
A cassette tape with some of these beats was given to a close friend, who at the time was signed to Belgium’s Crammed Discs, and this earned him an invitation to fly over for a series of studio sessions in Brussels courtesy of the label. The sessions led to several 12” singles being released by Crammed in 1988.Most notable of these was his collaboration with Minimal Compact’s Samy Birnbach (aka DJ Morpheus),
With the release of the single “Hallucination Generation” under the moniker “The Gruesome Twosome” in 1989. The single was licensed by Crammed to Nettwerk Records in the US, and peaked at number 9 on Billboard’s dance chart in the company of the likes of Madonna, Janet Jackson and Depeche Mode.
Freaked out by the notion of being sucked into the capitalist machine of the big music industry that usually followed chart success, Per ran away from Brussels and went clubbing at Gent’s Boccaccio club instead. Here he met Renaat Vandepapeliere of R&S Records, and soon found himself doing sessions with David Morley and Joey Beltram at the R&S headquarters, resulting in the release of his first EP under the Mental Overdrive moniker in 1990.
A series of EP’s for R&S followed, and after relocating to Norway after some time, the debut album “Plugged” was released on his own label Love OD Communications in 1995. The album moved on from the more industrial-inspired techno bangers of the early EP’s, and showed a more mellow side of Per as an artist and producer. More laid back, but not content with leaving the sounds of his machines unprocessed and without a personal signature, he commissioned two students at Trondheim’s technical university to construct the “Distortotron”, which is believed to be the world’s first “bit crusher”. The effect was used throughout the album, and led the mastering engineer to return the DAT-tape at first listen with the note: “Please send new master copy. This one is fucked.”
Cue summer 2014: Daniel Blackbelt Andersen brought his shabby copy of "Plugged" along to one of the regular Full Pupp shindigs and played Prins Thomas a couple of the slightly more "ambient" tracks off the album stating it would be a dream come true to remix all of these tracks and that he'd spoken to Per about getting hold of the stems, if any. A borrowed copy and a phone call to Per later we not only get the thumbs up to go ahead with the plan of reissueing the whole album and throw in a couple of extras."