Boomkat Product Review:
Fizzing with cool energy, Brian Ladd and Julie Frith’s concoctions of new wave, punk-funk, and ambient as Psyclones are harvested from rare comp tapes by Grenoble’s Notte Brigante
Probing the nascent stirrings of the keenly prolific Ladd and his bewitching sparring partner, ‘Tape Music 1980 - 1984’ frolics at the fringes of then emergent paradigms, messing with the templates of drum machine driven grooves, tape loops as samplers, and astringent FX, all elevated by the shapeshifting vocals of Julie Frith. The duo would go on to variously work with likes of Mr. Bungle and Pacific 231, and issue records on a bevy of ‘80s underground labels, but their early years are arguably some of their best, as you find inside.
Between those years 1980-84, their music more often came out on tapes, from which this set has been harvested. It spans a signature style of louche grooves, oddly wired and dark-not-dark synths, threaded with captivating presence of their shared vocals, with Julie Frith at best between the flanging murmurs of ‘Departing’ and deeply eerie gynoid voice in ‘With The Other’, variously smeared into dubby contrails on the killer disco-not-disco budger ‘Reagan For Sarah’, and shredded into swarming phonemes on the buzzing electro-esque oddity ‘Between Space’, while Ladd channels a sort of David Byrne-like suss on the slunky hustle of ‘I Don’t Know’, and a strife-stricken sort of gothic character in ‘News Of The World’ adjacent to Tuxedomoon styles.