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: My Mine were an Italo disco outfit from Bologna, Italy active between 1983 and 1986. Composed of core members Carlo Malatesta and Danilo Rosati plus Stefano Micheli and Darren Hatch, they reformed in 2016 with Malatesta and Rosati together and new singer Ilaria Melis - releasing the new single "Like a Fool". Their catchy 1983 hit "Hypnotic Tango" is one of the essential underground anthems of the scene, so influential that it was remixed by Frankie Knuckles (his legendary 1987 Powerhouse mix is featured on this very edition) and sampled by Detroit innovator Carl Craig.
Review: Despite being active for just seven years during the 1980s, Dutch new wave band Mekanik Kommando released a wealth of raw, off-kilter and intergalactic material. 1982's "Dancing Elephants" EP, which here gets the reissue treatment from Dark Entries, remains one of their finest moments, largely because it fuses crunchy, electro-influenced beats and Kraftwerk style computer bleeps with sassy new wave vocals, nods to synth-pop and the low-slung basslines and fuzzy guitars of post-punk rock. Our picks include the alien post-punk pop of "Beauty Of Language", the out-there, delay-laden, extra-terrestrial weirdness of "Miss B" and the new wave electro-pop perfection of "Stop & Play".
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: 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: Dark Entries' series of leftfield Italo-disco reissues continues with a double-header from prolific Italo disco session vocalist Helen (AKA Elena Ferretti), whose early excursions on obscure Italian labels Out Records and Discomagic have previously been the sole preserve of dusty-fingered crate-diggers. This EP brings together two of her finest EPs; 1983's scarce "Witch" - an exercise in bubbling, synth-pop inclined Italo-disco - and 1985's arguably better-known "Zanzibar". It's arguably the sparse, cowbell-laden "Afro Mix" - think Cosmic Club era Daniele Baldelli - of this track that steals the show, though all four tracks are shot through with that European strangeness that often marks out the best early Italo cuts.
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: 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: 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: 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: San Francisco's Dark Entries label does a good line in reissuing obscure, long forgotten, left-of-centre gems (their excellent collection of Patrick Cowley's little known soundtrack work for gay porn films, School Daze, was arguably one of the compilations of 2013). Here, they've unearthed another overlooked gem - Art Fine's previously rare-as-hen's-teeth dark Italo-disco gem "Dark Silence" (L200-plus for an original 1985 copy, should you be feeling flush). It's pretty much a straight copy of the New Wave-inclined original, with the sparser, looser "Long Version" (in which producer Fabrice Belli gives the synth melodies a little more room to express themselves) joining the dense "Art Fine Version".
Review: Lhasa is the brainchild of Alain Raes from Siegen, Germany. As a teenager he was inspired by Tubeway Army's "Are Friends Electric" and Art Of Noise's "Beatbox". In 1985 he began collecting analog equipment (Prophet-5; Oberheim OB-X; Linn LM-1) as digital synthesizers had started to become more popular. In 1986, New Beat was born in Belgium. Dancers tapped into the darker side of synth pop, and DJs would play 45 rpm records at 33 with the pitch control set to +8. Alain was playing in New Wave bands and had started production work and synth programming for other acts.
In 1988 he self-released the debut Lhasa single 'Acetabularia' / 'Acetatechno', with help from Kris Tremmery on vocals and concept. The record combined the icy melodies of Gary Numan and John Foxx with with the mechanical rhythms of Detroit techno and EBM. Thematically, both tracks revolve around the end of life on Earth, and include samples from 'Dr. Strangelove'. For this first time reissue, we've added 4 bonus tracks rescued from a 1990 recording session DAT tape. These demos show further development of the Lhasa sound with updated instruments (Roland D-20, Yamaha TX16W, Korg 707), faster tempos, and menacing proto-rave energy. All songs have been mastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley. Each copy includes an 11x11 poster with photos and liner notes by Alain.
Review: Last year, Dark Entries reissued Lena Platonos' 1986 album "Lepidoptera", a beautiful, minimalistic set forged out of picturesque piano motifs and the composer's own surrealist Greek poetry. Now the lauded San Francisco label presents a quartet of new reworks of tracks from that album. There's a more dancefloor-centric feel throughout, with the standout revisions - in our eyes at least - coming from Anatolian Weapons, whose take on "Cyaniris" is a throbbing, dark synth-pop treat, and Pasiphae. Her version of "Araschnia Levana" brilliantly re-casts the track as a heavy, all-action dark electro workout tailor made for dark basements in The Hague.
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...
Review: After a fairly overwhelming 2013 of archival releases that was topped off with that excellent Patrick Cowley compilation, Dark Entries seemingly are maintaining that momentum this year with a clutch of new projects. The first is this reissue of the classic Signals From Pier Thirteen EP by Crash Course In Science, which is a name that should be instantly recognisable to fans of minimal wave thanks to "Flying Turns". The track featured on the Minimal Wave Tapes Vol. 1 compilation curated by Peanut Butter Wolf and Veronica Vasicka and has been reworked by Jamal Moss, J Rocc and Ricky Villalobos in recent years. "Flying Turns" of course features on this EP, and this Dark Entries issue is the first time Signals From Pier Thirteen has been reissued on vinyl since the early '80s and is a must for anyone who likes crude electronics and synthesised beats.
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: As obscure Italo-disco producers go, Clay Pedrini must be up there. During the early 1980s, he released just one single, but it was a biggie. "New Dream", here re-issued for the first time on vinyl by San Francisco's Dark Entries, was a massive club hit around Europe in the summer of 1984. Ever since, it has been one of the most in-demand Italo-disco 12" singles around (for proof, check the shockingly high price original copies sell for online). It has aged rather well, with arpeggio-heavy bottom end, cheery chords and insatiable synthesizer melody still capable of causing commotion on dancefloors. The flipside original version - effectively a dub, with significant re-arrangement - is, if anything, even better.
Review: It's been some six years since Caroline "Miss Kittin" Herve and Michel "The Hacker" Amato last delivered fresh material together. While we await further news of their long-mooted comeback, there's this tasty EP of previously unheard archive material to enjoy. Made up of tracks recorded between 1997 and '99 - when their production partnership was in its' infancy - The Lost Tracks Volume 1 contains a number of fuzzy, stylish, floor-friendly bangers, from the S&M-themed madness of opener "Leather Forever" and stripped-back electro gem "Nightlife" (a tribute to Berlin clubs of the period, apparently), to the high-tempo acid-loaded freakishness of "Loving The Alien". Top-notch sleaze.
Review: The original pressing of Subsequent Pleasures, the self-financed and ludicrously limited debut EP from Dutch darkwave pioneers Xymox (later to rename themselves Clan of Xymox), is notoriously hard to get hold of. Props, then, to reissue specialists Dark Entries for making it available again on vinyl for the first time since 1983. While this version doesn't include all of the tracks featured on the original, it does contain all the killers, including the electro-goth wooziness of "Going Around", the Joy Division-ish "Strange 9 To 9" and the superb synth workout "Call It Weird". It's one of those releases that should be an essential purchase for anyone with even the remotest interest in darkwave.
Review: Digging deep into the Chicago Rave vaults to re-issue the debut EP from Billy Nightmare aka "Mystic Bill" Torres. Growing up in Miami, Bill was involved in various parts of the music industry, from working at Flamingo Record Pool, to playing guitar for the band Life In Sodom (80's Synth/Goth band). His interest in both House & Industrial music inspired him to make his move to the Windy City. Bill quickly became involved in the night scene with residencies at clubs like Shelter, Crobar, & Smart Bar. His studio work began with a remix of Kay Ladrae's "Lack Of Love" with Vince Lawrence, followed by a string of releases, including an LP on Trax Records. He has recently relaunched two record labels and several releases and remixes out each year.
'Reality Check' was released in 1996 on Woody McBride's label Sounds. Originally the project was to be titled " Billy's Nightmare", but to avoid being jinxed for life, Torres decided to switch it to Billy Nightmare. He put the Mystic Bill alias aside, got a hair cut, changed his sound and became this new persona. 'Reality Check' consists of 4 tracks, recorded at Mirage Studios in Chicago in 1996. Two tracks on the A-side are dark thumpers and will haunt your head for days. Side B has 2 versions of the same song, lighter and funkier in mood both show the diversity Mystic Bill is capable of producing. All songs have been remastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios. Each EP is housed in a custom designed jacket by Eloise Leigh featuring a 90s photo of Billy Nightmare staring into TV static and includes a postcard with notes.
Review: We are proud to present two new EPs from De Bons en Pierre, the duo of Beau Wanzer & Maoupa Mazzocchetti. Beau Wanzer spends the majority of his days sifting through paraffin embedded animal tissues and reading old issues of Fangoria, occasionally breaking his monotonous routine to record in various fits and bursts. As well as solo material, he is also in numerous projects including Streetwalker, Mutant Beat Dance, Civil Duty, and Corporate Park. Maoupa Mazzocchetti is the pseudonym of Florent Mazzocchetti, a French producer based in Brussels. His sonic vision is one which constantly straddles the line between wild experimentation and rhythmic compatibility, drawing influence from early concrete, 80's tape scene and Birmingham school techno. After working together on the 'Crepes' EP that we released in 2017, De Bons en Pierre reunited for a two day recording session in Brussels. The duo recorded 13 tracks that we've split across 2 EPs with 6 tracks on 'EP No. 1' and 7 tracks on 'EP No. 2'. Beau says, "We hooked everything up and just pushed play. We didn't really discuss much about the process....it was very 'spur of the moment'." The equipment set up included a Roland TR-808, TR-606, SH-101, CR-78, CR-8000, two Syncussions and effects. Each EP contains 25 minutes of dance floor perversions that tackle an array of rhythmic forms. Sludgy synths, serrated percussion and viscous distortion goops over leviathan rhythms. All songs are mastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley. 'EP No. 1' is housed in a sewage green jacket featuring a monster mask duo and spiky motifs designed by Florent Mazzocchetti, and 'EP No. 2' is radioactive orange with a different pair of monster masks.
Review: There was a time when original copies of Fantasy Life's sought-after 1985 Italo-disco gem "Over & Over" were changing hands for several hundred pounds online. While prices have come down a bit over the years, it remains a rare and hard-to-find delight. Happily, Dark Entries has saved us all a few bob by serving up this licensed reissue. The original version really captures the charming essence of Italo disco, matching chugging, motorized arpeggio synth-bass with cheery (some would say cheesy) synth-pop melodies and a catchy, impassioned vocal. Turn to the flipside for the dub style instrumental, which reminded us a little of some of Bobby O's early productions for the Pet Shop Boys (who were, fittingly, huge Italo-disco fans at the time).
Review: Photonz is the alias of Marco Rodrigues a DJ, producer and driving force of Lisbon's underground scene. For little over a decade now, he's been crafting his own deeply personal style of Portuguese house and techno for labels such as Creme Organization, 20:20 Vision, Don't Be Afraid, Skylax, Unknown To The Unknown and his own One Eyed Jacks. As a DJ, Photonz grew a reputation for deep crates and intensely euphoric sets and in 2017, together with Violet (co-founder at his Radio Quantica) and Lisbon's own Rabbit Hole collective, he started the now infamous Mina parties - a monthly, sex-positive, queer and intersectional-feminist techno party aimed at using the dissociative potential of intense raving to create a temporary space of suspension away from patriarchal expectations.
Etheric Body Music is Photonz's debut 6-track EP for Dark Entries and a simultaneous reference to hermeticism and EBM (Electronic Body Music). Marco loves that "aesthetic when 80s industrial and EBM bands split up and start to make trance in the early 90s and all the ritual magick pushes them to zen stuff and they do ecstasy." There's this concept in theosophy and hermetic philosophy of the Etheric Body, which is an energy body superimposed and connected to the physical body, similar to the acupuncture idea of an energetic body. That idea manifests itself as six primal club cuts, which also channel early techno, Drexciyan rhythms, balearic & old school jack. Raw arpeggiated synth lines and bass blast jut against metallic stabs and highly percussive shakedowns to create mournful atmospheric warped house. All songs have been mastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley. The vinyl comes housed in a psychedelic jacket with snakey green and purple velvet in an electric acid spewing weird biological alien energy form designed by Eloise Leigh.
Qu'est-Ce Qu'il A (D'Plus Que Moi Ce Negro La?) (4:30)
Hot Voodoo Dub (7:45)
Review: Legendary musician, DJ and broadcaster Philippe Krootchey was a hugely influential creative whirlwind throughout the 70s and 80s in France. Founder of Love International, frequent Casablanca collaborator with the likes of Lizzy Mercier Descloux and Mathematiques Modernes and an active member of France's foremost gay rights groups, his political and creative messages were clear in every action he made. Originally released in 1984, "Qu'est Ce Qu'il" carries a strong anti-racial message with humour that worked so well he re-sang it English and it eventually became "Whatazzy". Flip for "Hot Voodoo Dub" to find his creative messages as a studiosmith were also very clear.
Review: Amongst minimal wave and alternative synth-pop enthusiasts, short-lived London band Shoc Corridor has an excellent reputation. Although they released a pair of albums and a gaggle of singles in 1983 and '84, it is '82 debut single A Blind Sign that gets collectors drooling. On this Dark Entries reissue, it's easy to see why. Flipside cut "Sargasso Sea", a fantastically spaced-out combination of heavily dub influenced post-punk bass, minimalist drum machine hits and liquid electronics, is particularly special, while "On Reflection" is a fine slab of swooning, near Balearic electronica. The title track, a Gary Numan-esque chunk of mutant synth-pop that bizarrely includes some jangly acoustic guitars amongst the arpeggio bass and twittering synthesizer melodies, is also inspired.
Review: Classic Italo one-hit mystery, Tony More (or Tony Moore as he's often credited) gave the world this lavish futurist Marzio Benelli-written pop odyssey in 1985 before promptly disappearing. With original pressings fetching over L200, Dark Entries have democratised it for all to enjoy. And there's plenty to enjoy... A restrained by hooky riff, sparse but delicate and vulnerable vocals and a chugging synth groove that cuts with a heavy cinematic feel that's succinctly of its time. Complete with an instrumental for full mix creativity.
Review: Raw formed during the summer of 1990 in Athens, Greece when keyboardist Giannis Papaioannou and percussionist Makis Faros started composing music for imaginary waiting rooms. They combined the traditional cut-up technique of tape-loops, the industrial timbres of musique concrete with the harmonics of world music, all filtered through digital sampling and computer programming. Their first recordings generated an 8 track demo, which was freely distributed among friends and the local underground press. After 6 months of work and several sessions with guest musicians on acoustic and electric instruments, Raw self-released their first album 'Land' in December 1991 on Elfish Records. In 1992 they recruited the band's sound engineer, Coti K., as a third member, both on stage and studio sessions. 'City' was their second album fully inspired by the mechanisms of their home town. Presenting a different electronic face of Raw, manipulating rhythms with analogue synthesizers and harsh sampling to evoke the atmosphere of Athens.
Jump Over Barrels (early rehearsal version) (3:07)
Review: Post-punk aficionados may already by familiar with Crash Course In Science, a Philadelphia-based band who released two acclaimed singles between 1979 and '81, before going their separate ways. Here, one of the band's previously unheard 1981 demos gets mixed and released for the first time. "Jump Over Barrels" is a song about overcoming adversity, and in newly mixed form sounds like a lost post-punk classic. It's accompanied by a couple of demos - their initial 1981 recording, and an earlier, deliciously skeletal and heavy rehearsal version - and a fresh remix from Tadd Mullinix under his now familiar Charles Manier alias. The Ann Arbor-based producer does a good job of toughening up the track for modern dancefloors, whilst retaining the free-spirited essence of Crash Course In Science's original.
Review: Those in the know regard Space Art as one of French electronic music's most under-appreciated acts. Active between 1978 and '81, Synthesizer obsessive Dominique Perrier and drummer Roger Rizzitelli were famed for releasing killer chunks of "cosmic pop", before performing them live wearing specially made silver space suits. "Nous Savons Tout", which was recorded and released in 1981, remains one of their most potent singles. Creepy, strange, hypnotic and undeniably cosmic, Perrier's trippy synth parts seemingly rise and fall over Rizzitelli's metronomic, proto-techno drums. Flipside "Melodie Moderne" has an altogether different feel, coming on like a pitched-down, cosmic disco take on the artier side of 1970s progressive rock.
Review: Patrick Keel started his career as a drummer with various unsuccessful bands, before buying a synthesizer in 1980 and forming "one-man-band" The Pool. While he released numerous albums and singles over a five-year period, it's 1983 single "Dance It Down" that has stood the test of time. This Dark Entries reissue features the punchy, electro-influenced new-wave original and spacey Dub from the U.S 12", plus the lesser-known European Mix (closer in style to Italo-disco, though actually made by a Belgian). Arguably even better is flipside "Jamaica Running", where glistening melodies cluster themselves around a proto-dancehall rhythm, and its' stoned, pitched-down alternative mix, "Jamaica Resting".
The Man From Colours (instrumental version) (6:43)
Review: This timeless and utterly singular slice of italo disco magic was bootlegged a little over a year ago, but Dark Entries have decided to reissue it properly, with a remastered set of tunes for maximum playback effect. The 1982 bombshell, originally out on Discomagic Records, goes by the name of "The Man From Colours", and it is a special track indeed, one that's full of romantic charm, mystery and plenty of proto-house vibes. Its vocals will be embedded in your mind forever upon first listen, and you get an instrumental cut on the flip, too. Highly recommended - DO NOT SLEEP.
Review: Having spent much of the last 12 months furiously re-issuing classic Italo-disco bombs, Dark Entries has finally got round to releasing some more contemporary cuts. The man behind this EP is Victor Lenis AKA Cute Heels, a Barcelona-based Colombian who last appeared on the imprint in 2014. As usual, the two new productions showcased here see him explore a range of vintage electronic music influences, presenting them in a typically stylish and authentic way. "Third Skin" melds the muscular sweatiness of EBM to the jackin' energy of Chicago acid, while "Lipstick Information" offers a master-class in dark Italo-disco and early Detroit techno fusion. Steffi and The Hacker both give the title track a thorough going over, with the former's deliciously hypnotic, psychedelic take being particularly potent.
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: Aside from the wide spectrum of gorgeous post-punk and italo material that Dark Entries have been reissuing as of late, they've been earning some serious points from our end for their revival of so much material from Australia's Severed Heads. While the band are up there as one of our favorites from the 1980's, Dark Entries have picked exactly the right 12"s to reissue; "Lamborghini" is incredibly contemporary in sound, and it's subtle 4/4 kick allows its mild melodies and odd acoustics to fit above pretty much any house tune today. The same goes for "Petrol", a mild-tempered dance tune with minimal background vocals and a whole load of filter-attack quality. So recommended...
Review: Luis Garban aka Cardopusher's raw, electro-infused take on techno has earned him releases on labels like Boysnoize and Super Rhythm Trax whilst running his successful Classicworks imprint alongside co-founder Nehuen. His Muscle Memory EP for Bay Area retroverts Dark Entries sees him ride on the winning formula of raw and jacking house and techno grooves from yesteryear with a touch of modern flair. It's all aboard the acid express on high octane thrillers like "Regress To Nowhere" or "Into The Motion" which feature the signature glide and resonance of the Roland 303, to EBM-infused electro bangers (title track "Muscle Memory") and the deep down and dirty bump of "Nambu Line Dub".
Review: Damn! Dark Entries are on a roll! Their latest reissue is of Scotland's Thomas Leer, an early 80's independent artist who recorded "Private Plane" in his bedroom using an extremely limited set-up...the prototypical '80s experimental kid! The tune is dreary, funky and on the abstract side all at the same time, but our favourite is actually "International" thanks to its wonky groove, driving percussion stabs and bursts of distorted jazz flute. On the B-side there's also "Saving Grace", a more poppy affair in that inimitable 80's Karate Kid flair...highly recommended, a 12" worthy of a reissue.
Nothing Is True; Everything Is Permitted (instrumental) (4:54)
Breakin' Indistortion (instrumental) (4:16)
A Dirty Song (instrumental) (5:05)
Review: Dark Entries know their stuff when it comes to '80s synth pop reissues, and this latest reissue of Carlos Peron's Dirty Songs single is a sign of just how deep into the crates these guys get. Originally out over thirty years ago, these instrumentals are still total killers and will go down a storm in most DJ sets which venture out of the 4/4 formula. "Nothing Is True; Everything Is Permitted" and "Breakin' Indistortion" are particularly fresh and must have truly cut the edge back then: metallic drum machine beats and sparse melodies ring away into the cavernous ambience created by Peron. Wonderful and highly recommended.
Review: San Francisco's Dark Entries has a rising reputation for the quality of their Italo-disco reissues. Certainly, many of the tracks they select for re-release are undeniably obscure and in-demand. Blue Russell's "I Wanna Fly Away", originally released in 1984 on leading Italo-disco imprint Discomagic Records, definitely falls into this category (an original copy will set you back well over L100, should you find one). It's a typically fruity concoction, with bold synthesizer lines and Europop-influenced melodies riding a chugging groove. Just like the hard-to-find original pressing, Dark Entries' reissue boasts both the delightfully camp vocal version, and a chunkier instrumental.
Review: Unlike some of Dark Entries' Italo-disco reissues, Wish Key's "Orient Express" is fairly easy to come across on the second hand market. It is, though, no less alluring for that, and is most certainly worthy of the deluxe repress treatment. The Instrumental version, in particular - all relentless train noises, delay-laden drum machine solos and sparkling synthesizers - is absolutely killer. Wisely, Dark Entries has chosen to back it with three versions of Wish Key's 1986 single "Last Summer", an almost Balearic chunk of mid-tempo Italo-disco/synth-pop fusion. That, too, boasts a brilliant instrumental version - this time with a pleasingly glassy-eyed ambient build- up and a surprising Go Go Mix.
Review: Analogue synthesizer enthusiast Bezier first surfaced on Dark Entries in 2012, delivering the hard-wired retro-futurist fantasy Ensconced. Two years on, he's finally ready to release the follow-up, the similarly sharp and sci-fi themed Telemores. As with his previous output, the influences are obvious - think Radiophonic Workshop, electro, minimal, new wave and Italo-disco - but he smartly steers clear of pastiche and empty revivalism. Instead, we're treated to a range of dancefloor-friendly instrumental cuts, cyborg jams, and intoxicating robot rinse-outs. Closer "Fukushima", in which he doffs a cap to the synthesized horror-disco of John Carpenter, is particularly potent.
Review: Ahead of two albums worth of Severed Heads reissues on the excellent Medical Records, their West Coast compadres Dark Entries present a 12" edition of what is perhaps the band's most iconic track. One of three records due this month to celebrate Dark Entries fifth anniversary, this 12" is themed around "Dead Eyes Opened", perhaps Severed Heads' most iconic track and presented here in extended 12" mix version. Anyone with a passing interest in primitive electronics should be more than familiar with "Dead Eyes Opened" which sounds remarkably ahead of it's time even today. Both the B Side tracks from the original 1984 pressing make the cut too and Dark Entries have done a wonderful job in replicating the artwork too.
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: San Francisco label Dark Entries keep up the tireless pace of releases, focusing here on the acid house phase of Psychic TV, the long running and hugely prolific music project of Genesis P-Orridge and a cast of contributing musicians. Characterised by some spectral didgeridoo playing, "Alien Be-In" first appeared in original format on Psychic TV's 1990 LP Towards Thee Infinite Beat and it's license for reissue by Dark Entries is complemented by some fine remixes. The band's own Fred Giannelli turns in a mono mix "sourced from the Emax floppy discs" but the real coup comes from the pair of B-side remixes involving the ever-excellent Silent Servant. One, in collaboration with John Tejada, is gripping techno whilst the other solo effort is redolent of Juan Mendez's recent Cititrax outings. Another must have from the DE crew!
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.