15 Most Anticipated Electronic & Experimental Reissues Q4 2013 (Part 2 of 3)
Part two of three in our feature on just released and forthcoming hottest reissues and compilations in electronic and experimental music that deserve to be in your collection. Features Seefeel, Woo, The Haxan Cloak, Sensations Fix and Trevor Jackson compilation for Strut.
1. Trevor Jackson "Metal Dance 2: Industrial, New Wave, EBM Classics 79-88" 2013 | Strut
Last year Trevor Jackson has returned on the radar after a couple of quieter year after his fabulous label Output has ceased operations in 2006. Famously Output has helped to kickstart the careers of such well-known musicians as Kieran Hebden aka Four Tet, The Rapture, Colder, Luke Abbott, Circlesquare and others. It also defined the whole aesthetic of luckier DFA records and even release some of the earliest LCD Soundsystem stuff.
We understand then that Jackson's creds as impeccable selector are beyond any doubt. It is also a known fact that Trevor is a digger of darkened 80s post-punk stylings which is the basis of his curated series "Metal Dance" for Strut. Despite the fact that there is no shortage of industrial and new wave compilations since around 2001 and there is a lot of bands and producers aping the stuff as we speak the first volume of Metal Dance got considerable praise for its EBM angle and coherent balance of usual suspects with a very obscure acts. Metal Dance Vol. 2 is pretty much in the same vein. Mind that if you already know this particular niche rather well there are going to be few surprises. Tracklist is full of big heroes of electronic avantgarde and synthpop of the mid to late 80s such as Tuxedomoon, Conrad Schnitzler, Test Dept, Front 242, Chris & Cosey, Liasons Dangereuses, Skinny Puppy, Propaganda etc. But all of this goodness pressed on wax with extensive linear notes is something that doesn't happen every day. Teaser of the compilation put together by Jackson himself is available for download below.
2. Woo "Whichever Way You Are Going, You Are Going Wrong" (1982) 2013 | Emotional Rescue
There were few interested in brothers Clive & Mark Ives music back in 1982 when they pressed "Whichever Way You Are Going..." in the limited run on the private label The Sunshine Series. In recent years however it became something of a cult object. UK label Emotional Rescue has now saved this piece of art from the obscurity of collectors music kingdom.
The music is top-notch impressionistic instrumentals that most often remind of The Durutti Column at his most dreamy. Another point of reference is equally obscure creations of Gareth Williams, whose "Flaming Tunes" have also been recently revised courtesy of Blackest Ever Black. You can really do no wrong with this album and if you have to listen to something this fall to heal your wounded soul it has to be this one.
3. Seefeel "Quique" (1993) 2013 | Light In The Attic
Seefeel started out with the set-up resembling conventional UK rock band. Necessarily (that being 1991) inspired by My Bloody Valentine. But somewhere along the way after performing on John Peel's show and recording their first and still most fascinating album "Quique" shoegazer'isms mutated into something altogether different.
Maybe those were Aphex Twin remixes or maybe the band members have been already too interested in UK nascent electronic music for bedrooms, but "Quique" is not the "Loveless" on a budget. Seefeel is far from being the first rock band to take direct inspiration from electronic and dance music. Even in their own time there were Primal Scream successfully working with Andrew Weatherall and Happy Mondays aping acid house, but Seefeel were braver in the sense of going all the way in submerging individual members egos necessary for rock band to be interesting and taking stance of anonymous electronics producer shyly tweaking the knobs and effect pedals on stage. No grandiose stories, big budgets, individual geniuses, epic drug problems, loud conflicts or any other type of ephemera usually accompanying hyped band. And hyped they actually were. "Quique" got raving reviews in almost every big publication at the time. They were expectedly compared to MBV, but also to IDM artists from Warp with which they eventually signed longer recording contract and where they preferred to stay until this very day. Their latest (after a very prolonged hiatus, again a-la MBV) came out on fledgling UK imprint in 2011.
"Quique" doesn't need any lengthy explanation other than it is one of the most essential british records for both, independent rock and electronic music. Its constantly plateauing rush of rolling warm ambience with harmonizing treated guitars and drowned vocals has forever imprinted itself as the zeitgeist of the early 90's eternal comedown after nights of druggy dancing.
4. Sensations' Fix "Fragments Of Light" (1974) 2013 | Superior Viaduct
Sensations' Fix is largely the child of Franco Falsini whose early recording is very much in demand after deal-sealing reissues of his solo "Cold Nose" soundtrack on Spectrum Spools and last year's "Music Is Painting In The Air (1974-1977)" compilation on RVNG.
Few years ago this type of prog-tinted new age rock may not have generated such a positive response, but recent success story of such acts as Emeralds plus myriads of their offshoots and side projects pretty much paved the way for the public to go back in time and investigate the sources and origins. Being recorded outside of professional studio set-up "Fragments Of Light" nevertheless sound Technicolor largely thanks to the band's uncanny ability to write memorable melodies and apply generous amounts of delay effects. History has it that the band was largely inspired by Robert Fripp and affiliated prog-rock project of the time, but nowadays it ended up in krautrock and kosmische tiers. Maybe because of prominent use of brightly-hued synths. Fripp or not, in retrospect playing style on this one reminds of the next wave of guitar innovators, such as Cocteau Twins' Robin Guthrie and The Smiths' Johnny Marr.
5. The Haxan Cloak "The Haxan Cloak" (2011) 2013 | Aurora Borealis
Bobby Krlic music as The Haxan Cloak is the rare occurrence of music coming out of nowhere and sounding like little else around. Obviously there are predecessors to everything and Haxan’s dark dirges of sweeping string instruments layered over bleeding dark ambient drones and waves of bass is not without reference points. A whole lot of industrial acts started experimenting with classical composition and dark ambient later into their careers in the early 90s. But the fact that the record was coming out as debut from a fairly young producer who had little experience and even less access to professional recording equipment managed to overtake collective consciousness of a certain music loving public for a while. Krlic music since then took sharp turn towards more electronics and beats-friendly approach not dissimilar to a less rhythmic and more spacious Shackleton on a suicide watch. Although the darkness never left it ended up sounding less bleak than his debut. Surprisingly though people still seem to be much more fascinated with suffocating desperation of "The Haxan Cloak". Death metal label Aurora Borealis promised to print the LP version of the album back in 2011, but it took almost 2 years to actually act on that. As I write this all 300 copies of the limited edition pressing are completely sold out. I guess people really like to be scared.