Boomkat Product Review:
Massive 13 x LP, 1 x 10”, and 2 x 7” boxset covering numerous little-known artefacts of Minimal Synth Wave from ‘80s America. Contains corresponding sleeves and certificates of ownership for each individual release - 13 total (effectively meaning sides A-Z!) - each hand-numbered in edition of 444. Heavyweight, debossed boxset limited to 333 copies. The vast majority of tracks have never appeared on vinyl before.
V-O-D’s Frank Meier commits another crucial portion of his nonpareil wave and post-punk tape collection to wax, this time surveying America’s fecund ‘80s Minimal Synth Wave quadrants with obscure aces ranging from Sara Ayers’ pop tunes to garage-punk from The Arms of Someone New, and synthesist compositions by Bill Rhodes and Scott Alexander.
As ever, there is decades worth of rarified research and knowledge collated inside, revealing the non-commercial intentions, expressions and aesthetics of a far-flung but self-supporting underground of musicians who weren’t gunning for stardom. Rather, they made music for the sake of it and thankfully V-O-D recognise that timeless worth.
There’s a heck of a lot of material, so we’ll highlight our favourites. High among them is an introduction to Sara Ayers’ piquant dream pop, pulling 8 songs of Kate Bush-alike innovation from her super rare, kitchen-recorded debut album, Fluorochrome, plus a trio of unreleased bonus cuts dating as late as 1994-95.
The Yu LPs are stuffed with goodies too, collecting no less than four releases - including a whole unreleased LP in Illusion Of Control and it’s avant porto-acid zinger Huxley’s Tune amid loads of whacked out Devo styles and the haunted industrial pop of Lies - and prog heads will finds lots to squirt about in the diverse styles of Everfriend’s collected works and the associated, “synthphonic” light shows of Bill Rhodes’ Applied Synthesis 1982-1988.
However, Greg Horn (Dow Jones And The Industrialists) really takes the biscuit here with both his Das Funk Ist Verboten (1983) LP + bonus 7” and Pointless (1985) LP yielding an array of ruggedly stripped down, cut-up and serpentine electro-pop bullets and funereal coldwave themes whose timeless, concentrated minimalism resonates strongly with current cold wave festishism.