Review: Dark Entries has been at the forefront of the coldwave and synth revival that has slowly taken hold over the last decade. Next up they turn their attention to a reissue of an out of print EP from 1988 by Jordi Guber and Krishna Goineau as Velodrome. Villalobos has been known to drop cuts from it, which should give you a good idea of its musical style: freaky 80s electro built on steppy drums, with taut and twanging synths reverberating around the mix, as exemplified by the opener. "Glasfabrik" is a hyper-speed cut with a tongue in cheek vocal, while "Capataz" is the most well-known joint with its acid bass and crashing hits.
Review: A seminal 81/83 record that epitomised so many sounds and melting pots: synth wave, Italo, New Romantic, electro, proto house... The list of worlds this groundbreaking song traversed is remarkable. Here Dark Entries compile the four versions that were cut during its two key release phases on GC Recordings in 1981 and 1983 in all their remastered glory. Smouldering, moody and still relevant to so much going on musically, this is true piece of history.
Review: Matt Cheon & Co. unearth yet more rare gems from old school electro fiends Caroline Herve & Michael Amato here, on the second volume of Lost Trax. As story has it, after the French duo met at a rave in their native Grenoble in the early '90s, they made music heavily influenced by 80s synth, post-punk and Italo disco. Bored by the techno scene at the time, they set out out to lighten the serious tone and bring a campy sexiness to the dour musical landscape. From the sexy, four-to-the-floor EBM of "Upstart", the Drexciyan style "Love On" with its aquatic bass assault, or the classic Miss Kittin & The Hacker sound of old on the monochromatic" The Building" featuring the former's trademark deadpan vocal delivery.
Review: The Dark Entries label continue their impressive run of form with another killer reissue LP, this time by The Prefects member Joe Crow. Compulsion was Crow's first solo work from the early '80s and has been a digger's favourite for a long time, its itchy drum machine beats and disjointed guitar riffs being utterly singular at the time of the album's initial release. "Compulsion" itself is a mid-tempo beat jam containing Crow's own dreary vocals and beautiful synthesized keys. "Absent Friends" is slower, full of languish and life at the same time, while on the B-side, "Each To His Own" is the winner thanks to its punky aesthetic surrounded by that early 80's electronic oddity. A masterclass piece of music and an essential collector's item.
Review: We love Talking Drums. At the core, they are simply our type of band. An album, a few EPs, and then disappear before the scene kicks off and becomes commercialized. Boxes all well and truly ticked. The early 80s were a period of change what with punk music evolving into post-punk, and while the nu-romantic fashion that came to prominence in the mid 80s was a national movement, it was bands like Talking Drums which initiated it. Thanks to the ever-reliable Dark Entries, we now get to enjoy their best single, Courage, in all its glory - and it sounds like it's been pressed up properly, too! All you need to know at this point, if you haven't come across this already, is that it's one of the best disco-not-disco singles you'll ever cop...and we don't have a favourite tune...they're all equally raw, drum-heavy, house-envisioning, and utterly addictive. Hotly tipped!
Review: As per usual, those fiendish folks over at Dark Entries have amazed us once again with yet another barrel of 1980s gold from the depths of the underground. This time it's German new wave band Boytronic who see a reissue, and the EP in question is 1988's "Byllyant", which features the magnificent Plus 8 mix - a shot to the head made up of warm bass tones and hard-hitting drum machine patterns - and also the US mix, which literally sounds like it was made yesterday; for being an '80s EP, Boytronic steered well clear of cheesy and to be honest, they give New Order a proper run for their money. The 1984 mix of "Trigger Track" is a wonderful electro stormer, stamping its fast beats over eerie pads and growling basslines. This would be silly not to recommend! For the diggers.
Review: Ah, a real gem of the NYC No Wave era is the focus of Dark Entries attentions here as the stunning Holland Tunnel Dive by ImpLOG is given a more than timely reissue. For the uninitiated out there, ImpLOG were formed by The Contortions band members Don Christensen and Jody Harris under the name ImpLOG, after the former left the iconic No Wave act in 1979, and released just the two records together. The story goes that Christensen's recorded experiments with found sounds, and an array of instruments such as a Univox drum machine and Casio keyboards impressed Lust/Unlust Records founder Charles Ball sufficiently enough to issue two tracks from the submitted demo tape as the Holland Tunnel Dive 12? in 1980. It's remained a highly prized record ever since and this lovingly recreated edition from Dark Entries is a must!
Review: Having released over fifty records since their foundation back in 2009, Dark Entries use the widened exposure afforded by that excellent Patrick Cowley compilation released in the last quarter of 2013 as a springboard to launch a new dedicated 12" series. Retaining their archival approach, the first release focuses on the short-lived Italian act Victrola; formed as a four piece combo in Messina, Victrola slimmed down to the synthesizer and guitar-based duo Antonio "Eze" Cuscina and Carlo Smeriglio and moved to the fertile music scene growing in early 80s Florence. In 1983, the pair issued their one record-shaped contribution to the early 80s Italian synth scene in the shape of Maritime Tatami, a two-track 12? issued on the Electric Eye label. Recorded using the Roland TR303 and TR606 at a time when these models had only been made available, so this reissue of Maritime Tatami from Dark Entries offers a chance for people to assess a slice of analogue experimentation at its most nascent.
Review: Stupendously rare Italo gem from the criminally under-prolific Trieste-based Big Ben Tribe, this quirky poplet first came our way in 1984 on Gong. Last spotted changing hands for hundreds on auction sites, Dark Entries have done the disco world a favour and licensed a reissue. Untouched and naked in all its 80s glory, the synth patterns, abstract lyrics and arrangement were way ahead of their time and clearly influenced many electronic pop and Balearic bands who followed. Vocals just a bit too much for you? No worries, just flip for the instrumental. Tarzan loves summer nights, and we love Dark Entries for unearthing this utter classic.
Review: Though best known for their archival endeavours in the realm of early 80s synth pop and industrial music, Dark Entries never seen afraid to stray off compass if the mood takes them. Take this Split EP for example, which sees Josh Cheon's West Coast label travel back in time to unearth some nascent Detroit electro from Nu Sound II Crew and Magnus II. Linking both project is Sam 'DJ Maestro' Anderson, a Detroit native whose body of work has been issued on labels as diverse as Metroplex and Suge Knight's Death Row Records. This split EP gathers together tracks from both projects, with lyrical themes of outer galactic travel abounding on a set filled with primal Detroit electro energy and naivety.
Review: San Francisco trio INHALT burst onto the scene back at the turn of the decade, going on to release a trio of well-regarded EPs on [Emotional] Especial and Dark Entries. Here they return to the latter label with their first 12" for almost four years. As usual, their music is stylish, dark and clandestine, with wild-eyed German vocals riding brooding, John Carpenter-influenced arpeggio lines, creepy chords and bustling drum machine grooves. Our pick of the bunch is probably the up-tempo, triple time hustle of "Commerce", though the more polished and atmospheric opener "Alles" and EBM-minded bubbler "Schwarz" are also mighty fine.
Review: By the time they released the cheekily titled Deep House Anthems in 1991, Chris Shepard and Mike Mangino had been releasing thrillingly odd cassettes as Smersh for eight years. Despite the title, it's typical of their work, focusing as it does on a bombastic fusion of industrial attitude, EBM style vocals, ragged acid lines and obvious electro influences. Here, four tracks from that cassette appear on vinyl for the first time, thanks to the efforts of San Fran crate diggers Dark Entries. The quartet of cuts is as bombastic and full throttle as you'd expect, with acid-fuelled opener "Rhythm Crash" and techno slammer "Hard Wired" being our pick of the bunch.
Review: Dark Entries has truly become a sensational imprint over the last few years, and they are showing no signs of stopping. In fact, they've just gotten better and better with each new release. We have a special one on our hands this time and, although the label have reissued a whole heap of glorious material, this is NEW music from the very best out there. Chicago industrial-tech-goth Beau Wanzer teams up with Unknown Precept's Maoupa Mazzocchetti, and the dup get on like a house on fire under their new De-Bons-En-Pierre moniker. Crepes is a gnarly little EP, blurring the lines between techno, EBM and industrial, but doing so in a way that makes the three genres sound like they should never ever be apart from one another. "Whole Body Irradiator", for instance, has all the beat elements of techno and yet the sounds are drenched in a punky, fuck-you kinda style that would make the Berghain faithful run for their lives, while we could easily imagine the torn, glitchy beats of "Francine" residing on some long-lost post-punk 7 inch from the likes of Pete Shelley. This is some mad gear - don't miss it.
Review: Nitzer Ebb and Mute aside, if you're looking for some high-class EBM-style music then The Neon Judment should be your first port of call. Davo Da Davo and TB Frank made some utterly timeless music back in the 80s and early 90s, but what we really love about their style is that they effortlessly glided between synth-pop and odd, inimitably obscure strains of industrial tones. Cockerill-Sombre was originally released in 1983 and, of course, Dark Entries are here to reissue the gem in the finest of styles. The opener "Please Release Me, Let Me Go-Go" is the best post-punk nugget that's been reissued thus far in 2017; the tune is a bizarre blend of hip-hop vocalism rapped through a fuzzy, electro-like filter that has been playing on our turntable since Monday morning, while "Too Cold To Breathe" sprays a shuddery sequence of vocals over a nervy techno, 4/4 drum machine. "The Fashion Party" bubbles its wavy bassline over incessant analogue drums, and makes for a fine proto-techno joint, leaving "1 Jump Ahead" to provide us with a fast, tribal post-punk bullet that leaves us yearning for more TNJ material.
Review: If you've ever wanted some straight-up italo disco but then wondered where to find it, where to start, who to ask, then Dark Entries have sorted you right out. As usual, the label come through strong, and this time they reissue an italo disco classic by Brand Image (T.Scarfone and M.Scarabelli) originally released in 19983, and representing the genre with flying colours. "Are You Loving?" contains the 1980's in every sense of the word: quirky, melancholic vocals riding over a grainy drum machine beat, and accompanied by massive synth stabs and an inimitable sort of groove - simply lovely. There's an instrumental on the flip just in case you love the sounds but are slightly scared by the power of the vocals...