Boomkat Product Review:
Ecstatic offer a fascinating, often dizzying insight to the primitive industrial minimalism of Italian siblings, Giancarlo and Roberto Drago, a.k.a. The Tapes, via Selected Works 1982 - 1992 sourced from original tapes and pressed to vinyl for the first time ever. If you’re into the likes of Smersh, Pump, Tuning Circuits or Conrad Schnitzler we highly recommend checking it out
Ecstatic's Alessio Natalizia (aka Not Waving) had already compiled the excellent "Mutazione: Italian Electronic & New Wave Underground 1980-1988” comp for the Strut label back in 2013, in which The Tapes’ excellent "Nervous Breakdown” originally made an appearance.
Now, following on from Ecstatic’s issue of “mail artist” Danielle Ciullini’s Domestic Exile Collected Works 82-86, this set surveys a blind-spot in most people’s knowledge of early ‘80s Italian underground music, framed against a backdrop of the Anni di Piombo, or Years of Lead - a period of domestic political turmoil between the late ‘60s and early ’80s - and the mushroom shadow of nuclear war.
Like their international tape-scene allies, The Tapes reacted to this world thru a matrix of mono-synths, drum machines, microphones and 4-track recorders, mostly recording/experimenting ideas direct-to-tape in one take and making a virtue of their lo-fi set-up’s infidelities and imperfections - randomness and mistakes were embraced rather than discarded - whilst absorbing the counter-cultural influence of William Burroughs or Throbbing Gristle, and the sci-fi dystopia of J.G. Ballard and John Foxx.
These 21 tracks, drawn from 10 different, limited tape releases, perfectly distill a wandering, weirdo spirit, ranging from the funereal swagger of Tanz Fabrik and the darkwave hip-thrust of The Day of Silence to freeform, motorik trajectories such as Time Out of Joint and singular enigmas like the Actress-esque bobble of The Wait and Falso Movimento B2’s weightless, hyaline spindles.
Collected and compiled by Alessio Natalizia (aka Not Waving) and remastered by Matt Colton, Selected Works 1982 - 1992 represents a decade of modest but searching and instinctively grooving experimentation of the rarest, precious and compelling kind.