jueves, 31 de enero de 2019

Tom Tom Club

Tom Tom Club began life as a side project for Talking Heads members Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth, who adopted a light, tropical dance style that won them a gold album in 'Tom Tom Club' in 1981 and a Top 40 single in "Genius of Love". They continued to m'ake albums under this moniker between Heads production projects: 'Close to the Bone' (1983) and 'Boom Boom Chi Boom Boom' (1989). They even toured as Tom Tom Club in the summer of 1989. When the Heads broke up in late 1991, Tom Tom Club became Frantz and Weymouth's main outlet. They released 'Dark Sneak Love Action' in 1992, but soon took time away from working with one another to concentrate on other projects. A Talking Heads reunion minus David Byrne resulted in the two coming back together, and so after eight years of an inactive Tom Tom Club, the two came together and released 'The Good the Bad and the Funky'. The next year, a live album marked their exotic and fun live reunion shows. In 2012, the band offered up 'Downtown Rockers', an EP of new material very true to their earliest work, featuring guest appearances from likeminded newcomers Wild Belle. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

miércoles, 30 de enero de 2019


Skin (or The World of Skin) was a project springing out of the American group Swans, which was a collaboration between the core Swans members Michael Gira and Jarboe. The project was initially called Skin, with the first two albums being released under that name, the last one being released under the name The World of Skin. In the UK, the first two albums were released by Product Inc., an imprint of Mute Records, while the last was released on Gira's own Young God label. 

Swans' album 'Greed' began a trend toward greater use of melody, and this trend continued with the later 'Children of God'. The work performed as Skin was initially in marked contrast with the less overtly melodic but contemporaneous Swans work, but later Swans work integrated the two aspects. 

'Blood, Women, Roses' (1987) was the project's first release and featured vocals entirely by Jarboe, who had previously mainly been performing backing vocals. Many of the tracks on this album were covers of show tunes and other popular songs (for example "Cry Me a River" and "The Man I Love"). Many of the tracks still featured the monumental use of percussion that was common in earlier Swans work, but combined this with a greater use of melody ("Red Rose" is typical of this). 

'Blood, Women, Roses' was followed in 1988 by 'Shame, Humility, Revenge', which featured vocals by Michael Gira (although Jarboe did perform some backing vocals). The first two albums were released only in Europe, but most of the albums’ tracks were combined in the US release 'World of Skin' (released under the band name World of Skin), which was followed by the final World of Skin release, 'Ten Songs for Another World'. This album featured vocals from both performers, including a cover of Nick Drake's "Black-Eyed Dog" that was performed by Jarboe. [SOURCE: WIKIPEDIA

martes, 29 de enero de 2019

Radio Free Europe

Radio Free Europe was an experimental, industrial, synthpunk minimal band from Austin, Texas, U.S.A, though this act has more in common with the strange art-experimentations of Bene Gesserit or Throbbing Gristle than say, The Screamers or Units. Little is known about the band, as their discography begins with a few 7” singles in 1979, and ends with Radio Free Europe’s lone LP, 'Laughoncue', released in 1980, but all the same, this record is an interesting and captivating release. [SOURCE: SYSTEMS OF ROMANCE

lunes, 28 de enero de 2019


Psychofon Records, their current label, compares them to The Residents, Nurse With Wound and Can. Which sounds like they’re casting way too wide of a net -until you listen to the surreal, percussive soundscapes of Déficit Des Années Antérieures (DDAA) and realize that yeah, that’s actually pretty spot-on. 

Formed in 1977 by three students from the School of Beaux Arts in Caen, France, DDAA’s music encompasses everything from eerie tape loop experiments to tribal percussion to minimalist post-punk anthems that make Suicide sound like Wham! by comparison. Until 1992, they were wildly prolific, releasing somewhere around 15 albums and various EPs and singles, many of which were available only on cassette. They resurfaced with another pair of albums around 2000, took another hiatus, and then have been pretty active since 2011, picking up right where they left off with releases like 'Ne Regarde Pas Par La Fenêtre' (Do Not Look Out The Window), a four-song EP of dadaist hymns set to industrial throbs and foreboding electronic music.

Amazingly, despite their prodigious output, Jean-Luc André, Sylvie Martineau-Fée and Jean-Philippe Fée -the three musicians who have formed the core of DDAA for the band’s entire existence- appear to remain virtually unknown outside of France. There is very little information about them available in English so I don’t know their full backstory, or what other projects, if any, they’ve been associated with. It does appear that “Fée” is a stage name, since the Psychofon website translates it and identifies them as Sylvie Martineau-Fairy and Jean-Philippe Fairy. Or maybe they just have a particularly apt surname for their otherworldly music and they didn’t want all us non-Francophone folks to miss out on properly appreciating it. 

Did France have MTV in the early ’80s? Maybe that explains the existence of several DDAA music videos from around that era, which are just as delightfully bizarre as their music, such as “25 Pièces Sont Vides” from their 1984 album 'La Familie des Saltimbanques'.

Most of their tracks, especially from this era, have very assertive, atmospheric bass lines, which appear to be courtesy of Jean-Philippe Fée. Nearly 40 years later, they’re still at it, performing live shows that are basically slow-moving storm fronts of aural unease, and releasing new music that continues to defy categorization. France’s answer to The Residents? Sort of -but it’s probably more accurate to say that DDAA don’t sound like anyone else. [SOURCE: THE WEIRDEST BAND IN THE WORLD

viernes, 25 de enero de 2019


Born out of the complex mid-1970's Berlin Krautrock underground, Rollkommando became best-known as the synthi-industrial duo of Jörg Reimann and Holger Klupsch in the early-1980's. Their style was both playful and experimental, and definitely inspired by Cluster, Kraftwerk and Conrad Schnitzler (a close friend of theirs). Despite their potential wide appeal, Rollkommando refused to compromise and never really made any serious headway beyond issuing a few cassettes. [SOURCE: DISCOGS

jueves, 24 de enero de 2019

Zircon & The Burning Brains

Leicester, UK based experimental industrial and Dada avant-garde trio. Zircon & The Burning Brains (aka ZBB for short) was established in 1981 as a sideline to Holy Atheist, a collaborative project of Alan and Steve Freeman with others. The unusual group name is a dedication to both Frank Zappa and Tangerine Dream's "Electronic Meditation". For most of the time, ZBB were an experimental trio comprising the Freeman brothers (from Alto Stratus) and Nigel Harris. Zircon was the equipment, originally an old ITT cassette recorder rewired as a feedback device, and The Burning Brains were the human performers. Instrumentation included motors, tin cans, pots and pans, a Sinclair Spectrum computer, various cassette machines, tape loops, and (later on) synthesizers, etc. The original band fizzled out and ceased in 1986, reforming for two albums in 2003 with totally different equipment -but the same anything goes free spirit. This reformation also spawned the one-off sideline project The Zircon Game and the related 2/3. [SOURCE: DISCOGS

[More info on Ultima Thule]

miércoles, 23 de enero de 2019


An obscure example of early 1980's Krautrock underground, bridging new-wave and the avant-garde, Aussenminister were a product of the Berlin industrial scene, notably inspired by the early pioneering work of Kraftwerk, Cluster and especially so Konrad Schnitzler who had on occasions collaborated with them. [SOURCE: DISCOGS

martes, 22 de enero de 2019

New 7th Music

New 7th Music existed from 1979 to 1986. It was a group of amateur musicians with an interest in improvisation. They would meet on occasional weekends at a place called the Arun Leisure Center, where they would play in a rented room without the presence of an audience. 

Nearly all of New 7th's Music is spontaneous and unedited. Its members were not professional musicians, just friends getting together for jam sessions. The music was sometimes "New Age", sometimes "Tribal / Ethnic" with emphasis on percussion (a type of performance known as "Gamelan"), and sometimes involving avant-garde or experimental music. They also threw in a bit of rock and roll on occasion. Some recordings were accompanied by live reading of texts, or improvised spoken word. While the musicians of New 7th Music were not professionals, some of them were rather good at improvising, which is an art in itself. 

The line-up of the group was continually changing, and not all members could make it to every session. Occasionally there were guest musicians -including Paul Kelday! The 2 constant members were Phil Kelday, who distributed the tapes, and Heather Rolfe, who designed most of the covers. [SOURCE: DISCOGS

lunes, 21 de enero de 2019

The Land Of Yrx

The Land Of Yrx were an obscure instrumental, synth, space-rock, electro post new-wave band from Shrewsbury in the 1980s. They comprised David Gate, Rob Andrews, and sundry other friends during their original phase of existence. Despite getting some prestigious exposure at Electronica Festivals in Sheffield and London, and regular local gigs, The Land Of Yrx never quite got the audience they deserved. They also had to be one of the most unstable of bands, in that they kept splitting up and trying out other projects before getting back together for a while, expanding to four or five piece on at least two occasions before splitting again.

Since the band split in the early 1990s, David and Robert both went their separate ways, David moving to Preston (Lancashire) and later forming the band Hyberus, whereas Robert stayed in Shrewsbury forming Aerie and Ra and working in several other collaborative projects and bands, some of them along with Steve Hillman. After almost a decade's hiatus, The Land Of Yrx got together to record some new albums. None of the releases of the 90s or those by the later reformed version resemble the original 1980s band however, being much more pastoral keyboards and guitars. [SOURCE: ULTIMA THULE

viernes, 18 de enero de 2019

Alto Stratus

The duo of Alan and Steve Freeman (owners of Ultima Thule), experimenting with synthesizers, industrial-noise-ambient sound collage. Since 1981 they recorded more than 30 releases as Alto Stratus (and under other guises: as Vrije, Q.S.O., Electric Junk), also as soloists, and the trio with Nigel Harris in ZBB. [SOURCE: DISCOGS]

[More info on ULTIMA THULE

jueves, 17 de enero de 2019

Kevin O'Neill

Pioneering Welsh synthesist primarily active during the 1980s. Kevin O'Neill was one of the rare examples of a unique talent with a distinctive personal style. True, he did occasionally display his roots and influences in his music, but he never set out to copy or emulate anyone. So Kevin was not another Schulze or Tangerine Dream wannabe, and this was what made his music so invigorating and exciting. For this reason alone Kevin's music has remained fresh and vital. Kevin released a total on 9 albums over 9 years, starting in 1984 with 'Icon' -an album that was released with universal acclaim from the "electronica" community. A playful, yet dark edged, music full of unique ideas, it established his style which he developed on and came up with further new angles from, never quite repeating himself throughout his career. Keys to the development of his sound included the OSCar synthesizer, manufactured by the Oxford Synthesiser Company from 1983, an instrument that was ahead of its time in many ways and one of the few mono-synths of its time to have MIDI. Kevin was also not a musician, but a dabbler. He had some training in electronic studio techniques, with help from Steve Howell at his Cardiff Hollow Sun Studio. But that was it, everything else was down his own exploration and experimentation. And throughout those 9 years Kevin never stopped experimenting. Kevin also played at 2 of the annual Electronica festivals, in Stafford and in London, and also at some other special events organised by the Network 23 collective of electronic musicians. It seems that he only gave up on music when cassette sales in the 1990s dwindled, and he since turned his attention to other things, as an author and computer artist. [SOURCE: ULTIMA THULE

miércoles, 16 de enero de 2019

Ken Moore

Multi-instrumental talent who released lots of cassettes in the 1980s, Ken Moore started to explore electronic music in the mid 1970s alongside working in various rock formations, including Elixir and the one-man-band Minas Tirith. Whilst settled in Baltimore, Maryland, USA he established Anvil Creations as a cottage industry cassette label, releasing old and new recordings. Ken's solo work of that era bridges electronic music, abstract stuff with synthesizers and Mellotron, through to more psychedelic rock based material. He also collaborated with Stuart Rosenzweig and (born out of the bands Kameleon and Runner) he founded the progressive rock duo Moore/Myers with David Wayne Myers. After a long public hiatus, Ken started musical musical activities again circa 2011. [SOURCE: DISCOGS

martes, 15 de enero de 2019

Region 5

Region 5 were the early sound experiments of the Freeman brothers (aka Alto Stratus) doing a form of plunderphonics before anyone had coined the term. Sourced from tons of library LP's and obscure synthesizer music albums, adding processing and some live electronics too, for a spooky balance of melody and dissonance. [SOURCE: DISCOGS

lunes, 14 de enero de 2019

Colin Potter

Colin Potter is a sound engineer and musician currently based in London. He has worked within the fields of electronic and experimental music for over 35 years, collaborating with the likes of Current 93, The Hafler Trio, Organum, Andrew Chalk, and most notably as a key part of Nurse With Wound alongside Steven Stapleton. He started the esteemed ICR (Integrated Circuit Recordings) label in 1981 releasing a clutch of wonderful home recordings of his own, over half a dozen small run cassette only releases. [SOURCE: DARK ENTRIES RECORDS

viernes, 11 de enero de 2019

Peter Frohmader

Peter Frohmader (born May 9, 1958) is a German electronic composer, musician and visual artist. He began listening to electronic music such as Tangerine Dream and Ash Ra Tempel when he was twelve years old. He quickly began composing music of his own and started several bands such as Alpha Centauri, an avant-garde band, Electronic Delusion, a Tangerine Dream inspired electronic band and Kanaan, which was an electronic music outfit with jazz rock leanings. He is also known by the pseudonym Nekropolis, a name under which he released several early works. Taking cues from Carl Orff, Magma, Glenn Branca, and Black Sabbath, Frohmader was recognized for his nightmarish and gothic compositions and as an important figure on the European progressive electronic scene. [SOURCE: WIKIPEDIA

jueves, 10 de enero de 2019

The Effigies

The Effigies were an important part of Chicago's seminal post-hardcore punk scene, along with Big Black, Naked Raygun, and Strike Under. Their legacy isn't as heralded as the former two, in part because they didn't push so many boundaries, either thematically or stylistically. But that assessment shortchanges The Effigies as a vital, intelligent, clearly capable band, one that helped lay the groundwork for a Chicago indie scene that would evolve and thrive for many years to come. Their music was a well-executed, fully mature product of its influences -the D.C. hardcore of Minor Threat, the British post-punk of bands like The Stranglers, Killing Joke, and The Ruts- and was often more melody-friendly. Less political than many of their peers of the era, The Effigies were most concerned with the gritty realities of everyday urban life, but were no less fierce in their musical attack. After three albums that helped draw attention to the Chicago scene, the group lost its stability and eventually disbanded, but reunited periodically to a still-fond local fan base. 

The Effigies were formed in 1980, making them one of Chicago's earliest significant punk bands. Their initial lineup featured guitarist John Kezdy, bassist Paul Zamost, drummer Steve Economou, and a vocalist known only as Norman. Norman didn't stick around for long, and Kezdy took over lead vocals and lyric writing; however, he was unable to play guitar and sing at the same time. With the recruitment of guitarist Earl Letiecq, Kezdy gave up the instrument to focus on singing full-time. The Effigies made their live debut in late 1980, and in early 1981 they made their vinyl debut on the locally seminal compilation 'Busted at Oz', named after the club that served as the epicenter of the early Chicago scene. The band's own debut EP, 'Haunted Town', followed late in 1981 on the small Autumn label. Unhappy with the label's handling of the record, The Effigies started their own Ruthless label, which would also release early material by Naked Raygun and Big Black, and land a distribution deal with Enigma. 

The Effigies' inaugural Ruthless release was the 1982 single 'Bodybag', which was accompanied by extensive national touring. It was followed by another EP, 'We're da Machine', in 1983, which drew fire from some scenesters for refusing to make explicit political statements, despite the band's clear musical improvement. It was followed in 1984 by The Effigies' first ever full-length album, 'For Ever Grounded', which bore a stronger post-punk flavor and found the band hitting its full musical stride. However, Letiecq subsequently left, and was replaced by Robert O'Connor. O'Connor made his debut on the second Effigies album, 1985's 'Fly on a Wire', which found the band now on Enigma affiliate Fever Records. 'Fly on a Wire' was a stripped-down, eclectic affair that threw some fans for a loop, but still won positive reviews. 

The Effigies returned to a steadier post-punk, post-hardcore sound on 1986's 'Ink', which proved to be the band's final album. Its release was delayed until after the tour that had been intended to support the record, and the resulting intraband tensions led to Kezdy's departure and the group's disbandment. They reunited briefly when Metallica offered them an opening slot on their European tour that year, but Kezdy rejected the opportunity over the objections of his bandmates; perhaps it was a fortunate choice, since Metallica bassist Cliff Burton was subsequently killed in a tour-bus accident. In any case, The Effigies disbanded once again. 

Kezdy would reunite with Letiecq in 1987, adding a brand-new rhythm section of former Bloodsport members: bassist Chris Bjorklund (also ex-Strike Under) and drummer Joe Haggerty (whose brother John was a member of Naked Raygun). Letiecq departed again in 1988, and when Bjorklund moved to guitar, ex-Bloodsport bassist Tom Woods joined up. Neither of these incarnations made any recordings, due in part to Kezdy's outside commitment to law school, but they did play around Chicago from time to time. In 1989, Roadkill released a retrospective of the group's early, Letiecq-related work called 'Remains Nonviewable', which was later reissued on CD by Touch & Go in 1995. The Effigies disbanded again in 1990, and the original lineup reunited for a one-off show in late 1992; they also reunited again for several shows in late 1995 and early 1996 to commemorate the reissue of 'Remains Nonviewable'. Five songs from one of those gigs were released on a limited-edition EP by VML. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC]

miércoles, 9 de enero de 2019

Paul Nagle

After touring the USA in a choir in his youth, Paul Nagle began to compose and perform electronic, experimental music in late 1970s. A leading figure in the UK electronic music scene, he released his early albums on cassette and performed at the legendary first UK Electronica festival in 1983. He has, over the years, released many new age / chillout and electronic albums, often in collaboration with other musicians. 

With an emphasis on live spontaneity, Paul has performed at Jodrell Bank Planetarium (UK), the Alpha Centauri Festival (Holland), Different Skies (Arizona, USA), the Harmonia Festival (Spain) and at the Ricochet Gathering events in Italy, Croatia, Romania and more. With collaborations that include the bands Binar (with Andy Pickford), Joint Intelligence Committee (with Phil Smillie), Ideation (with Pete Ruczynski) and Headshock (with Tim Rafferty), he has gained a vast amount of experience in both composition, production and performance. 

Sound On Sound magazine regularly reaps the benefit of this long experience: Paul is a highly respected reviewer of musical instruments, effects and software. Paul has also notched up programming credits for Roland, Access, DSI and Waldorf and has provided technical input to Steinberg, Access, Waldorf and most recently UK company Sequentix, in the development of the P3 and Cirklon sequencers. 

Turning to music and writing full-time, he has recently embraced the world of Apple, running Logic, Ableton Live, Wavelab and softsynths such as Omnisphere, Diva and Kontakt. Of course, the hardware side of the studio is still close to hand, integrated beautifully with the Mac thanks to the Sequentix Cirklon sequencer. [SOURCE: BOGUSFOCUS.COM